From unemployed to undeniable, Madman Fulton didn't let a bump in the road stop him.
The man known as Madman Fulton was signed by the WWE by 22, released by 27, and found his way to IMPACT Wrestling by 29. With a full career still ahead of him after WWE, Fulton turned to a familiar friend who happened to have unique similarities in Sami Callihan.
"I’ve been friends with Sami forever, like for a long, long time," Fulton told Fightful at a Lexington IMPACT Wrestling event. "We have roots all the way back into NXT and stuff like that. I’d known Dave and Jake [Crist] when I first started out, my first year in the business, their car broke down. I had to go pick them up and drive them to a show in Pontiac, Michigan on a whim. But, then I met Sami—I’d met him a few times, but we became friends down in NXT. After I’d parted ways with that and I was kinda lost in wrestling, he gave me an opportunity. He said, “Move back up to Ohio. Come work out with me, come work out with Dave and Jake, and it’ll all pay off for you in the end.” I took that leap of faith, man. This business is something you just have to jump into the deep end and just sink or swim, man. Those guys really helped propel me forward, gave me a lot in professional wrestling. I have all three of them to thank for all my success right now."
Though Callihan left NXT of his own volition, he was handling business outside the company with no intent on slowing down. Countless NXT alumni never wrestle and get out of the line of work altogether after leaving. Even though they shared some career experiences in that regard, Fulton tells us that it was their friendship that made him put trust in Sami.
"I think a lot of it came from being friends with him. I believe what he says because we’ve been friends for seven / eight years or so. He knows how hard I work and how much I want it. He’s not the kind of guy that just hands things over to you. He makes you work for it. All he can do is show you a path. It’s your job to follow down that. I think with the help of Dave and Jake really pushing me forward, helping me train at Rockstar and kinda getting me back into a more modern style, into something that’s going to propel me forward from where I was in NXT," said Fulton.
All those people that leave NXT, only to abandon wrestling altogether? That wasn't going to be Madman Fulton.
"No," said Fulton, matter of factly. "I love professional wrestling. I love everything about it. I love the travel, being in the ring, crowds—every part of it. It’s absolutely amazing. For me it’s always like trying to put together a puzzle and when you’re kinda lost, when you’re in a bad area of your career like where I was, to have these guys dump out a whole new bucket of pieces right in front of you there’s nothing to do except put the corners down, and start on your edges. You gotta just keep trying to fit everything together. So, I like that aspect of it. I like trying to figure out how to put together the puzzle and see how do I advance myself and advance my career like that. I started wrestling when I was 20. So, I’m coming up on my ten year anniversary in October. I was still wrestling in college, so I didn’t graduate until 2012 and then I started in NXT right after that."
Bittersweet initially, Fulton hasn't found a path in IMPACT, he brutally paved one for himself. Wrestling alongside his friends in OVE, he's made himself stand out from the rest of the roster.
Surprisingly soft spoken for as violent as he is in the ring, Fulton shared his philosophy with us.
"I think every time you step out you have an opportunity to prove yourself and you’re expected to. For me, one of the things about coming to IMPACT! was taking a path that I couldn’t achieve in NXT, taking something that I felt was, in my heart, me falling short and not letting it happen again. Every opportunity I’m given here I go out and give it everything I have. I feel like I’ve been making a pretty good name for myself here at IMPACT! Wrestling and the more and more I get an opportunity to carry a ball, the more and more I’m going just keep running with it until someone decides to stop me," Fulton closed,
You can see our full interview with Madman Fulton at the top of the page, and you can see him every week on AXS TV, Tuesday nights on IMPACT Wrestling