A gruesome ear injury was the best accident to ever happen to Josh Alexander.
Speaking with Wrestling Perspective Podcast, the IMPACT Wrestling X Division Champion told the story of why he wears headgear in the ring. Alexander notes that it all started at an independent show in 2013, which Dolph Ziggler was in attendance for interestingly enough. He said the following:
“I started wrestling in 2005 and until 2013 I was pretty much the hot prospect; blonde hair, you know, people compared me to Jack Swagger. For Ontario indie fame, I was ‘the guy,’ but I couldn’t break through and get any notoriety outside of here. So I started getting a few bookings in the States which is where you really get noticed. I always had a weird cauliflower thing. I’d always drain my ear. It was never too serious. In this big tournament for this independent promotion in Ohio, I got kicked in the ear and instantly my ear swelled up to the size of this headphone. I remember Dolph Ziggler was actually there with his mom watching the show because he lives in Cleveland when he’s off the road, so if he could come to indie shows he would come check it out. I looked over and I grabbed my ear and he was going ‘Oh [in disgust]!’ He was selling it because he’s a wrestler, he knows what cauliflower ear is all about."
Unfortunately for The Walking Weapon, he made the mistake of wrestling again the next day, which caused even more damage. After travelling back home to Ontario, Canada, Alexander underwent, what can only be described as an unpleasant-sounding procedure. He shared all the details, as seen below, although be warned, they are graphic.
"I went and got it drained in America; they wrapped my head up. I wrestled again the next day, two matches, which was foolish because by the time I got back to Canada on the 5-hour trip my ear had now swelled even greater to the point where it was starting to tear. I went to the hospital, waited a solid eight hours in Canadian healthcare system to sit on the edge of a gurney where I had nothing but the bar to squeeze with my hand. They didn't put any freezing in my ear and they cut my ear all the way around the lobe and peeled it down and then scrapped out all the scar tissue. Yeah, it’s a little graphic, but then they pinned it back, sewed it up, and they pinned my head -- they wrapped it super tight. They said, ‘Don’t take this off for at least 10 days and don't do any activity with your ear, like anything that could rub or touch it for, it think it was like three months.’ I was like, ‘Three months? I have an indie booking in two weeks. This can’t happen. I got to go to Ottawa and wrestle for some independent promotion.’"
Looking for ways to keep his bookings, Alexander randomly ordered headgear, although he admits that he was hesitant the first time he used it. While there were taunts at first, his work inside the ring quickly silenced any hecklers. Sticking with the gear was the best decision Alexander made because it allowed him to forge an identity for himself and break through to the next level of professional wrestling. Here is what he said:
"So, I was sitting at home and I decided to order headgear randomly. I paid like $40 shipping just to get it to my house in time. I went to this independent promotion called C*4 Wrestling out in Ottawa and I worked the first time. I came out and I was hesitant. I was nervous because I thought Rick Steiner. I thought I would look lean as shit. I remember walking out and people were chanting ‘Princess Leah’ or ‘Nice headphones.’ People were barking at me, but by the end of the match nobody was doubting anything and I came to the back and all the boys were like, ‘That looks badass.’ It didn't catch on right away but I kept wearing it, kept wearing it, kept wearing it for three months at all these indie dates I had and by the time I was done it became this identity that I had never had before that. Indie wrestlers -- that thing that had to get me to that next level was this identity that made people remember me, and before just being a half-decent looking, half-decent in shape blonde kid that can wrestle didn't really get me any notoriety. But all of a sudden, I put on this headgear and I had this different identity. I had this different look that would set me apart from everybody else and it was the best accident that ever happened to me, really.”
With IMPACT Wrestling since 2019, Josh Alexander is a former World Tag Team Champion as well as the reigning X Division Champion. He is set to defend his title at Under Siege on May 15th against the winner of the X Division Scramble match this Thursday on IMPACT TV.
Fightful provides live coverage of IMPACT every Thursday beginning at 5 p.m. PST. We will also have coverage of Under Siege on Saturday, May 15 at the same time.
If you use the quotes above, please credit Wrestling Perspective Podcast with a h/t and link back to Fightful for the transcription.