A thrill of a ride

Photo c/o Brian Thrill fan page

“It’s the most addictive drug on the planet. You can’t just quit.”

Brian Arrowood is an addict. In just five years, he has sacrificed family events, holidays, birthdays, relationships, and job opportunities to get his fix. He routinely risks life and limb just to get his high.

“It’s that adrenaline rush man, it’s always something different every time.”

Brian is a professional wrestler.

Despite the blood, the pain, and the struggles, he wouldn’t change a thing. If you were to ask him, Brian would tell you that working as a professional wrestler is the best thing he’s ever done in his life. “Everyone says it’s about that emotional roller coaster ride you take the fans on, but what no one is saying, is it’s about the roller coaster ride you are on.”

A Southern boy from a tight Irish family, Brian grew up with wrestling. His mother, who worked in the business before he was born, would tell him stories of traveling the United States and performing in –front of fans, making money and spending time with her friends. His father, who follows Brian to his shows today, would sit down with him every week to watch World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and then named World Wrestling Federation (WWF). These childhood memories would ultimately drive Brian to enter the ring himself.

I first met Brian in high school. We had class together, but never spoke to one another; I’d wager that he probably didn’t know I existed. Brian, a natural showman, was more comfortable in front of a crowd than behind a desk, was commonly found trying to find some way to make other students laugh with his antics. By the time our senior year rolled around, it was not uncommon to hear people clapping for him every time he entered a room.

The first time I had ever spoke to Brian was in 2008, over a year after we had graduated. I happened to bump into him at a local electronics store, and he offered me a spot playing bass in a band he was trying to create.

After several months of failing to get the band off the ground, Brian and I decided to scrap the project and move on to something else.

When he couldn’t find anything else he wanted to do, Brian turned to wrestling, but he didn’t to go into the business solo, so he called me. “I was like, ‘he’s probably going to laugh at me and call me a queer’ but why not?”With some reluctance, I agreed, and before I knew it, we were in an 18 x 18 ring, taking bumps and bouncing off the ropes, training to be professional wrestlers.

We made our in-ring debut on July 4th, 2009 in an over the top battle royal, and every Saturday night for the remainder of that year, Arrowood and I worked at APW as “Brian Thrill” and “Dustin Ride” and together we were the tag team “Thrill Ride.”

By the winter of 2009 Brian was working three shows a week all over North and South Carolina, while I was home nursing an injured ankle.

In 2010, he hit the road with a group of wrestlers he had met the previous year and began traveling all over the Southeast for the better part of the year.

“I’ve slept on so many promoters couches and in their floors it’s not even funny.”

Brian’s hard work earned him an invite to Mexico, where he worked an trained for a month.

By 2012, Brian was working four to six shows a week, often in different state. In December of 2012, after nearly five straight years of non-stop traveling, he finally decided to take a break. He traded his championship gold in for a wedding ring, and has been out of action since. He is currently working as a welder in his dads auto repair shop.

Brian admits that he can’t stay away from wrestling forever. While he doesn’t plan to travel as much, Brian will be performing across North and South Carolina through the Spring and Summer of 2013. He also hopes to open his own promotion within the next year.