Justin Credible Goes the Extra 1,300 miles for his fans
Going Above and Beyond for the fans…now that’s Justin Credible
By Chris Gosek
Often times on all wrestling sites across the internet and through all means of social media, it is reported on, regardless of circumstances involved ever being considered, when a performer “let’s down” the fans and has to cancel or does not show for a particular engagement. Likewise, the average fan or reader of said reports more often than not does not even think to consider these larger than life personalities as human beings, much less as a father or a husband, who is not necessarily under a huge contract to WWE or TNA but makes their living traveling endless miles each weekend to perform for us, the fans, even though at times not only are they lucky to break even on their expenses in traveling to the shows and then back home to their families once they are finished, but often times they have to cut their losses altogether and lose money to continue doing what they love and giving the fans a glimpse of their heroes. While the stories of a “no show” or some type of perceived “rip off” is very commonplace in the internet wrestling world, the story I will tell involving former ECW Champion, Justin Credible from this past weekend is one that is exactly the opposite of this and tells a tale rarely heard about through these types of media I speak of, and that is one of a superstar going above and beyond all circumstances to come through for his fans even when the odds are completely stacked against them.
This past weekend, myself and my partner and longtime friend, Steve were involved with the fantastic, WrestleCade event in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, as over 100 superstars from the past and present were on hand for an all-day fan fest to be followed by an exciting night of wrestling action before a sold out crowd which I believe was upwards of 2,500 in paid attendance. Steve and myself (“The Scum” on air), host a weekly podcast interview show called WGD Weekly, and when we were first thinking of attending WrestleCade, back in late August, we contacted a performer that had just been on our show and was in the midst of doing his best to re-emerge on the wrestling scene through various social media outlets and such, Justin Credible. After speaking with the promoter and founder of WrestleCade, Tracy Myers, we were thrilled to find out that not only was it felt to be a good fit for Justin to appear on behalf of WGD Weekly at the show, but he was also interested in bringing him in as the special guest referee in one of the night’s main events, a return bout from the ECW days, pitting Tommy Dreamer against C.W. Anderson in an “I Quit” match. Justin was very grateful when we approached him about working at WrestleCade and has been very supportive and helpful to our show both prior to this coming about and in the weeks and months to follow. As the date grew closer, both myself and Steve, as well as the fans voicing their opinion on WrestleCade’s home website, Facebook, and Twitter accounts were thoroughly excited to see Justin possibly renew some old rivalries from his “extreme” days, given his history with both Dreamer and C.W.
In the weeks immediately preceding the event, Justin (P.J. Polaco in his everyday life outside of the ring) had been dealt some difficult twists in the road to say the least, as his wonderful wife,Jill was diagnosed with cancer. This would be a tough enough blow for any family to take, much less one who has their personal life for the most part seen at any “curve in the road” by millions of dedicated wrestling fans on a daily basis across the internet. Now, P.J. himself has always been very open and candid in addressing his own personal demons from the past, as well, and as a recovered addict that has just recently celebrated one year of being drug free and sober, one would certainly think that unfortunate news such as this, coupled with the weekend schedule of working the independent circuit would make it even more difficult for a ring veteran of two decades to keep on the straight and narrow, which he very admirably has managed to do. So, even though I am sure that it would be a difficult decision given said diagnosis to fly out the day after Thanksgiving to make his WrestleCade appearance some 675 miles from he and Jill’s Connecticut home, there was never even an inkling of him not making the appearance.
Fast forward to this past week, where on Tuesday, I briefly spoke with P.J. and he was dealing with some passport and paperwork issues at the Department of Motor Vehicles that he would need to take care of in order to make his Friday morning flight to Winston-Salem. After a brief conversation, I assumed all was in order and we had made arrangements for Steve to pick him up at the airport as he traveled north to WrestleCade. Just checking to make sure all was ok, I touched base again on Friday, just hours before his scheduled take off, and after repeated attempts with the DMV, and thanks in part to the recent government shutdown, he was not able to renew or receive the documentation that he needed to board the flight. Our first thought was, although we would be disappointed, that obviously sometimes things happen that are out of one’s control, but as our conversation continued, I came to realize that P.J., along with his wife Jill had already started on the road, driving the 675 miles completely on his own dollar so to not disappoint us and more importantly the fans at Wrestlecade who were looking forward to a rare southeastern appearance by the “Extreme Icon.” “I will be there,” he told me, asking for the hotel’s address and going on to explain that in his past he has regrets from some of his darker times in the industry and that he was not going to disappoint his fans no matter what he had to do to make the show.
A stop along the road on Friday night in Virginia for an exhausted former World Champion and his wife where once again they had to deal with the same issues regarding forms of identification would not defer his journey either, as after a brief stay for a few winks (very few winks, actually), P.J. and Jill were back at it first thing in the morning in order to arrive just on time to walk in and meet the thousands on hand at the fan fest just as it was set to begin. Myself and Steve, who have only briefly met this man prior to this were amazed at his dedication, as he stepped right from behind the wheel of his car, got his wife settled with a room key, and headed directly into the convention center where even before the pictures and banner were set up, the early entry fans were thrilled to stop over for a few words, a photo op, or for Justin to sign an autograph or two. Without missing a beat (or even eating the entire day), we came to discover through our conversations throughout the day with him that it wasn’t at all surprising that hemade the long drive to the convention, as we came to see that first and foremost, Justin Credible, former ECW World Champion and WWE superstar, is still after all the years a fan, just like you or I. Hearing him tell us about growing up a fan in the Northeast and following many of the legends that were at the event that day through the old wrestling magazines, and his genuine excitement at performers such as Tully Blanchard, the Rock n Roll Express, and even referee Tommy Young being at the event made it crystal clear a\s to why Justin Credible would make that trip on his own expense…he is genuinely appreciative of what he has been able to achieve and see as a result of his wrestling career and is even today still as big a fan as there was amongst the thousands on hand that day.
As the day wore on and with a brief hour break to grab a bite and get ready for his appearance as the official in the Dreamer/ C.W. match, there was not a mention of his long drive or the expenses he had to have endured in getting there. On the contrary, he went out of his way to continue taking pictures with any of the youngsters backstage and to introduce Steve and I to anyone in sight, even sending them our way for interviews and such for our show. After the intermission at WrestleCade, it was time for the “I Quit” match and it certainly didn’t disappoint, as Justin and Dreamer renewed their classic feud briefly when an errant elbow from “The Innovator of Violence” floored the guest referee and once regaining his feet, Justin turned on his ECW rival only to see his efforts backfire and lead to a Dreamer victory to the delight of the fans on hand. After the bout, once again, it was tough to not see P.J. Polaco, the fan, and not Justin Credible, despite the referee’s shirt, as he enthusiastically told us how once the match got rolling and it was Tommy, C.W., and Steve Corino (Anderson’s corner man in the bout) that he couldn’t help getting “that itch,” and wishing it was him competing against his longtime rivals from years gone by. While the man had to be completely exhausted given the events of the past 36 hours or so of his life, Justin was then insistent that he give us a full length interview for our show that to be honest with you was the most real and heartfelt conversation that Steve and I have had for our program out of the 25 or so performers from “Wrestling’s Glory Days” that we have spoken with to date. (Unfortunately, this may never be able to be aired as we believe that some of our equipment, including the recording device used for this was stolen at our hotel before we had left Winston-Salem) But, regardless, Justin spoke with passion for nearly an hour with us, proving without any doubt what I had said earlier in this piece about him being such a diehard fan of professional wrestling even to this very day.
Justin Credible is a throwback to a day gone by in pro wrestling. One that believes in shaking every hand in the locker room, from main eventers to rookies. One that through his fantastic ne YouTube show, “Pro Wrestling 101” is doing his best to “give back” to the young talent and future stars of the sport he loves. One that has accepted the demons that he has worked so hard to overcome and truly loves climbing in the ring, whether it is in front of 15,000 fans and millions around the world on pay per view or a few hundred fans at an indy show. One that has come full circle and has a fresh new outlook and has seen a “rebirth” of sorts to his career because of hishard work to turn his life around…and one that drove over 1,300 miles round trip, with two separate hotel stops in a 48 hour period to make his WrestleCade appearance for the thousands that paid to see him as a part of the show.
Like I said to begin this piece, it is not often in the world of sports entertainment of 2013 that you hear a story of a performer and their travels to a show unless it is one that is negative and bashes them for missing a date or being late, etc. This however was a story that I felt worthy of being told, as both myself, Steve, the people behind the Wrestlecade show and the thousands of fans who popped loudly when Justin came through the curtain and was introduced are very appreciative of his being there…even if no one other than myself, Steve, P.J., and his wife were aware of these issues he overcame to get there. To borrow a phrase from the man himself, I would have to say that a performer that would go above and beyond to these lengths to not let down his fans…well that’s not just the best, that’s not just the coolest…that my friends, is Justin Credible.