Matt Desrocher always wanted to be a professional wrestler.
In fact, some of his earliest memories as a child were from watching those glorified professional wrestlers on television.
“When I was three years old, my dad used to sit me down on his lap and I was just mesmerized.”
Those early memories created a fire inside Desrocher, one that to this day was never extinguished.
The wrestling world has taken Desrocher on a self-described ‘roller coaster ride,’ one that’s seen him travel across the world doing what he loves.
However, it wasn’t an overnight success story for the Surrey native, who’s battled his fair share of adversity on his journey up the wrestling ladder.
After that time when he was a wide-eyed three-year-old mesmerized by those wrestlers on television, it would be a long time until Desrocher got involved with his main passion.
As a kid growing up, his dad wanted him to play a sport, and wrestling wasn’t an option. He ended up playing a sport that was entirely different — baseball.
“Although I was forced to play baseball at first, I did end up loving it,” Desrocher said. “Still, it wasn’t what I wanted to do.”
Baseball eventually became about more than just a sport for Desrocher. It ended up being a way to take out his aggression.
Outside of baseball, Desrocher was bullied while facing a rocky life at home.
“I had a lot of problems both at school and at home,” Desrocher said. “I was bullied from kindergarten to grade nine.”
He also mentioned that his parents were on and off at the time, while both brought different spouses around him.
“It was a little bit of a mind screw at that age to see all these different people coming in and out of your life,” he said.
The problems that were engulfing Desrocher kept escalating. In his personal life , things weren’t settling down.
Desrocher took all of his aggression out on baseball at the time, and it led to him blowing out his arm at ten years old. It effectively ended his baseball career and closed off his aggression outlet as well.
With his channel of aggression eliminated, Desrocher developed other habits in order to escape from his demons.
“As I got older, I realized that I had suicidal tendencies because of the bullying,” he said. “At the time, with everybody and everything in my life, I felt like I didn’t matter to them.”
“I felt like I wasn’t appreciated or loved. I felt like I was scum, and it led to self-inflicting pain.”
While Desrocher admits that the path he was heading down wasn’t a positive one, he did have a watershed moment where he was able to turn it around.
“Everybody grows up,” he said. “One day I thought, why do I care what these other people think of me? If I can’t find someone who agrees with my beliefs, my life, or my style, I don’t need them in my life.”
“I just decided to put the past behind me and concentrate on something new.”
That ‘something new’ for Desrocher ended up being wrestling.
At just 15 years old, he discovered a wrestling promoter down in the Okanagan. Desrocher first got in touch with him by email, and he started making posters for the promoter.
Soon he found himself on a Greyhound bus travelling to Kamloops to meet this stranger.
“I was 15 and I didn’t know what I was doing,” he said. “I jumped on a bus to Kamloops to go to some stranger’s house, just because of a dream.”
Despite the red flags, Desrocher admits that the experience was overwhelmingly positive. He met with promoter Don Andrews and his family, who ended up inviting Desrocher to watch his first live wrestling show.
“There were no actual words to describe how amazing it was,” he said.
Not only did he watch his first show, but he ended up making connections with a couple of guys who would prep him for the wrestling world in Mark Vellios (Michelle Starr) and Nathan Burke (Disco Fury).
Once Vellios and Burke opened up their All Star Wrestling School, they invited Desrocher to train with them. He jumped all over the opportunity.
Desrocher said that the first day was ‘awful,’ and that it only got progressively worse from there.
“They tried to beat me up for the first month and a half to see what I could handle,” he said.
Despite limping to school covered in bruises, Desrocher said he wasn’t deterred.
“I had no thought of quitting whatsoever,” he said. “I knew right away that this is what I wanted to do.”
Desrocher still felt that way, even after his first match.
Six months into his training, Desrocher was up at a show in Hope, and they needed another body. That’s when he got the nod for his first match.
Desrocher donned his mask and walked into the ring filled with excitement.
Five minutes later, he was sitting on the sidelines in a blistered and bloody mess.
“Boy oh boy did I get chopped (slapped across the chest).”
“It was one after another. Boom, chop, boom, chop. My chest was welted, blistered and bloody by the end of it.
“(Michelle) Starr came up to me and asked if I was okay. I told him, ‘I’m fantastic.’ Even though that fight was only five minutes, those five minutes told me that this is what I wanted to do.”
Desrocher ended up having his first balloted fight on July 22nd, 2011 at the Cloverdale Fairground, fighting as ‘Matt Xstatic’ in front of friends and family, a match Desrocher ended up winning.
“I can’t even tell you how amazing that was,” he said. “I started to cry a bit during my entrance because my family was there, and I knew that this was something I wanted to do since I was a kid.”
His initial foray into wrestling ended up blossoming into a profession with loads of opportunities. Soon after his first match, he started to get offers for bookings in Alberta and in the Northwest United States.
Things picked up fast and as they did, his confidence started to grow.
As it did, Desrocher would be the first to admit that his confidence grew to inordinate levels.
“I got blacklisted because of my ego,” he said. “I got too cocky and I let all of the bookings get to my head.”
“I started not to care about where I was fighting. I just took bookings for money.”
“You’re allowed to have an ego, but you have to be humble about it.”
Eventually, things started to fall back into place for Desrocher. It kicked off with a Cruiserweight Championship victory when he was 19 years old, during the first ever tables, ladder and chairs match at All Star Wrestling.
“That match kind of kicked me in the ass,” he said.
Despite the challenges, it was a step in the right direction for Desrocher.
He was back to his old ways, travelling around Western Canada and Northwestern USA, when a meeting back in Cloverdale with WWE Superstar Jinder Mahal ended up changing his life. That interaction would send him on a journey to work with The Great Khali on the other side of the world.
This is part one in a series. Part Two will debut next week.