Pro Wrestlers bring message

Published 7:00 am Saturday, March 8, 2014

 

Slam time: Former WWE Star (and New Orleans Saints player) Jon Heidenreich slams Kent Truth in a 2008 show at Resurrection Life.  Photo submitted

Slam time: Former WWE Star (and New Orleans Saints player) Jon Heidenreich slams Kent Truth in a 2008 show at Resurrection Life.
Photo submitted

Big names in the wrestling world will be visiting Picayune when Pro Wrestling Outreach comes to Resurrection Life Church on Sunday, March 9 thanks to efforts of Picayune native, Danny Jones.

Jones started the ministry 10 years ago. The former Christian music producer and Resurrection Life staff member said that he had connections through his former career and saw changes in people within the industry.

“Our ministry slogan since the beginning has been, ‘Let the unthinkable reach the unreachable.’ We want to reach the wrestling fan, who would not come to a normal church service but would come to a wrestling show,” Jones said. “Whether it’s a church service or a Wrestling Outreach event, everyone will leave having heard the Gospel.”

Jones said  many of the wrestlers from the old-Mid South wrestling territory that covered Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Oklahoma are now born-again Christians.

Stars such as Ted DiBiase Sr., “Cowboy” Bill Watts, “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan, Kamala, Terry Taylor and Magnum T.A. are now Christians and “Dr. Death” Steve Williams participated in many Christian wrestling outreaches before succumbing to throat cancer in December 2009.

“One of Williams’ final matches was a Christian wrestling outreach with me, in California, where he shared his story of overcoming drugs, alcohol, and partying by giving his life to the Lord,” Jones said.

Ted DiBiase Sr. and Tully Blanchard (of NWA/Four Horseman fame) are now full-time evangelists. DiBiase runs “Heart of David Ministry” while Blanchard travels the country speaking to prisoners through Bill Glass Champions for Life ministry.

Both are active in doing “Wrestling Outreach” events.

“There has been a strong revival within the wrestling community in recent years. Many wrestlers including: Hulk Hogan, Sting, Shawn Michaels, Big Van Vader, Nikita & Ivan Koloff, and Lex Luger have all recently became Christians, though not through our ministry,” Jones said.

Ted DiBiase, Jr. is also active in the ministry now, having recently stunned the wrestling world with his announcement that he would not renew his WWE contract and was leaving the sport.

DiBiase, Jr., who hails from the Jackson metropolitan area, said it was tough traveling, which made it hard to spend time with his family.

“As a WWE Superstar, there was a time when I bought into the illusion that I was the fame and the movie star that I portrayed,” DiBiase, Jr. said. “You can have all of the money and fame and feel completely hopeless. At the pinnacle of my success I was the most miserable.”

DiBiase, Jr. said his father consistently asked him if he was being a good father, a good husband, if he was maintaining a strong relationship with God, and facilitated him to remain close to his roots instead of being alienated by buying in to a false sense of identity the wrestling world perpetuated.

“My father was always been more concerned about my character, integrity and relationship with God than how my royalty checks were coming in. I have other friends in wrestling that were not so blessed,” DiBiase, Jr. said. “At the end of the day, I don’t want to be remembered as a professional wrestler and movie star. I want to be remembered as a man of God and a good husband and father.”

While at the same time, DiBiase, Jr. acknowledged that God has given him a platform and he feels obligated to use it responsibly.

“I want people to know the Lord can bring freedom into your life. I love to meet people and offer the encouragement that salvation brings. I want people to know that no matter what your profession is, you can still serve God.”

Jones said DiBiase, Jr. is one of many who share the message of radical change through salvation.

“Many of these wrestlers had everything that most people would strive for. They had the big house, the nice cars, the fame and fortune and yet they were still empty. They came to the realization that nothing can satisfy you except a relationship with Jesus.

I love hearing their stories because it dispels the belief that no one can ever truly change,” Jones said.

Tickets for the outreach match, can be purchased at Resurrection Life Church on Sunday morning or at the door.

Tickets are $10 for general admission and $13 for ringside admission. Children 3 and under are free. Doors will open at 5 p.m. and the bell will ring at 6 p.m.