The former Justin Gabriel, now known as PJ Black, spoke to Pro Wrestling Sheet as they discuss the ROH wrestler teaching himself how to walk again, being five years away from his prime at the age of 38, and wrestling for two different companies at Madison Square Garden.
On recovering from a career threatening injury:
“I was in hospital for six months. I broke both my legs base jumping, twice. I took me about 10 months to be weight-bearing again. I had to re-learn how to walk. Re-learn how to run, jump, everything. Doctors told me I’d never wrestle again, But that’s when my journey started. I lost a lot of friends to opiates and they gave me a handful of pills in the hospital and I was like ‘I don’t wanna take this. I know I’m gonna get hooked on this, I know what it’s done to my friends. So I started looking into alternative medicine/holistic medicine. CBD, THC, a bunch of other stuff. I also tried hyperbaric chambers, oxygen chambers, the flotation tanks. I had stem cells, and I still do cryo to this day. But of all those things, the only thing that worked for me was meditation. And that’s how I got on this spiritual journey.”
“It was the worst thing that happened to me in my life, but it was also the best thing that happened to me in my life. Because if it didn’t happen to me I wouldn’t be as mentally and physically as strong as I am now. “
“I [took] my first steps in a swimming pool and I did that for weeks and weeks and weeks. I tried to strengthen the muscles and tried to the mobility back in the joint. After a month or two it felt like it was never gonna happen.”
“ I went back to South Africa for like two months were I didn’t talk to anyone, switched off my phone and justfocused on recovery. Physically it was hard but mentally it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.”
A reminder that Black will appear at Rajah Live during Double or Nothing weekend, reuniting with Nexus member Michael Tarver.