SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Ray Rowe captured the ROH Tag Titles along with Hanson at Ring of Honor’s “Final Battle” 2015 PPV.
It was the culmination of one-and-a-half-years of trying to catch up with the rest of the wrestling industry after suffering a motorcycle accident that probably should have killed him. But, it did not. Based on the fire that Rowe has shown since returning from the accident, it has actually made him stronger.
Now, a documentary has been released on Rowe’s journey covering his upbringing in a rough part of Cleveland the son of a factory worker, his early days on the independents in the Midwest and Texas, getting a break in ROH, and the near-fatal accident.
“The Path” documentary centers on the bike accident in August 2014. But, it continues the journey showing Rowe coming through the other side and returning to ROH six months later at the 13th Anniversary PPV in March 2015.
“I feel like I have so much ground to make up. When I was out, the world kept turning. People kept winning titles and getting opportunities,” Rowe said, poetically previewing the end of 2015 at Final Battle.
“I was on the couch and off the radar for six months. Now it’s on me to go out and show the world and remind the world exactly who I am. That is exactly what’s next for me. I’m going to be the best Raymond Rowe, the best me that you have ever seen. And, there will be no doubt in anyone’s mind who I am and what I am capable of.”
The no-frills, straight-forward documentary that runs about one hour in length captured what led up to Rowe’s major bike accident. Although he grew up in a less-than-ideal situation that included a violent temper, constant fighting, and trouble with the law, his upbringing made him strong enough to withstand not only the bumps & hard falls of being a pro wrestler, but how to survive terrible turns in life.
Notably, Rowe said the EMT who tended to him after his bike accident said in 15 years of being in the field, he had never seen someone survive that type of accident.
Yet, Rowe said, he was not out of the woods. If not for an emergency surgery a few days after the accident, he could have lost use of his left arm/limb because of the severity of the injuries suffered when he flew through the back window of a vehicle when the driver pulled out in front of him while texting and driving.
Rowe attributed his survival to (a) his upbringing and (b) his body being trained to withstand punishment and instinctively knowing how to brace for a bump – or in this case, a major vehicular crash.
Perhaps the best part of the documentary are the comments from Rowe, his girlfriend Catherine, and wrestling colleagues discussing Rowe’s long, difficult journey back to doing basic tasks such as tying his shoes.
Notably, Rowe kept telling his girlfriend that he did not think he would ever wrestle again. Catherine recalled the conversations and dialogue back-and-forth trying to keep Rowe in good spirits during his recovery.
Rowe eventually broke through, which ROH announcer Kevin Kelly described on the documentary as divine intervention considering where Rowe was when he started the recovery.
The documentary then showed Rowe finally making it back to ROH and teaming again with his tag partner, Hanson, who talks at several points in the documentary, showing a different side than the rough & tough “Warbeard” character that wrestling fans only seem to know about.
The interesting thing about the documentary is not a lot of wrestling fans know much about Ray Rowe, but his story is worth knowing about.
Rowe even shared one story in particular that he was so far off ROH’s radar when he left the Midwest independent scene for Texas that ROH officials thought he retired from pro wrestling. But, when ROH traveled to San Antonio a few years ago, they got wind of Rowe doing great work in San Antonio for Branded Outlaw Wrestling, Houston for Lone Star Championship Wrestling, and other Texas towns.
And, because Rowe had become one of the top independent wrestlers in Texas, Rowe got his big break when he blew away ROH officials with the reaction he received wrestling a non-TV match at a show in San Antonio.
Just when Rowe was set to get his break, the motorcycle accident occurred in August 2014. The documentary documented how devastated Rowe was because he had just moved to full-time wrestling and this was all he had. It was the ultimate test of his willingness to see through to the other side.
Now, Rowe ends 2015 as ROH tag champion with Hanson, setting up what could be an even bigger run in 2016.
ROH fans are still wrapping their hands around Rowe’s character, which took years to grow into. Rowe credited an early discussion with the late J.T. Lightning, who told Rowe that he was a b.a. behind-the-scenes, but acted like a wimp in the ring.
Rowe said he decided to bring the behind-the-scenes intimidation factor to his wrestling character, which has produced the mean-looking, tough-guy wrestler in the ring.
For many wrestling fans, though, there is an uncertainty about whether Rowe’s in-ring character is a put-on or if he’s just another tough-guy wrestler. The documentary certainly provides the answer that it’s not a put-on and Rowe is turning up the volume on his personality.
That type of personality seems to be a great fit for New Japan, which was the place where Michael Elgin turned the corner on his career in the 2015 G1 Climax tournament over the summer. Don’t be surprised to see Rowe end up in NJPW in 2016 as part of the new talent exchange between ROH and New Japan. After all, Rowe noted in the documentary that his two dreams as a pro wrestler were to wrestle for ROH and in Japan.
– The documentary also includes comments from wrestling colleagues Colt Cabana, Christopher Daniels (who stood out as a vocal leader with how he spoke and carried himself), Hanson, Lance Hoyt, Truth Martini, long-time Cleveland associate Shane Taylor, Steve Corino, Kevin Kelly, and Texas independent wrestlers Jax Dane and Houston Carson.
If you’re looking to know more about one of 2016’s break-out stars, the documentary, “The Path,” can be purchased for on RaymondxRowe.com. The pricing is $15 for a digital download and $20 for a DVD copy.