If you’re sitting in one of Ponsonby’s great cafes or bars, perhaps even waiting at the hairdresser or dentist, it’s quite possible you could be sitting next to a top sportsperson, actor or artist. But have you ever considered that the normal-looking guy sitting next to you might actually be the country’s heavyweight champion wrestler?
After “years and years” of watching wrestling on TV and thinking it was a bit of a laugh, Shaw then became obsessed with the sport, and from sitting watching it Friday, Saturday and Sunday he now trains three to four times per week as well as around four gym sessions.
Wrestling, or at least this form of it, is not the biggest sport in New Zealand, and is not the same type of wrestling you see at the Commonwealth Games, but is the kind with all the theatre and drama, face paint, masks and fireworks. It’s also the sport James Shaw loves and one he’s hoping to make his fulltime career.
The 25-year-old wrestles all around the country most weekends and has wrestled in Australia as well. He’s currently in talks about a trip to Japan and perhaps even a full time spot on the Japanese circuit. An opportunity like that would be a step up for Shaw, he even admits his diet would take a bit of “overhauling” but given he continued wrestling even when he’d torn the PCL in his knee, then there’s certainly enough to suggest that he has the toughness, both mental and physical, to make
a good go of it.
It was soon after that point, sitting on the couch at home, that Shaw decided to commit even more of his time and energy to the sport, rehabilitating his injury properly so he could get back to his full potential. “Oh man it would just be such a great opportunity; I’d jump at it with both hands and really give it my best.
“I’ve been wrestling for around eight years now and I worked so hard to get my national title, in fact it was pretty emotional, I had a tear in my eye. So yeah, being able to wrestle in Japan and for me to be able to give up my night job would be just so amazing. It’s so much fun and I just love it.”
Wrestling, dancing around the ring, inflicting awkward body positions on his opposition seems like a life away from his day, well night, job as the drawbridge operator at the Viaduct Harbour, but it’s also helping him to achieve his goal. “It’s not too taxing on the body and while I currently make a little bit of money from wrestling, it’s not enough yet to do it full time.” (GEORGE BERRY)
If you too are interested in wrestling or would like to watch wrestling live, check out James’ facebook page www.facebook.com/jamesshawipw