Jesse Neal Talks Time With TNA, Hogan & Bischoff Coming In, Food Stamps Rumor & More
WrestlingINC.com: How did you get started in pro wrestling? Was it something you were into as a kid?
Neal: Yeah, I mean, I always had the dream like everybody else did since I was five years old but it just stayed a dream, one of those dreams that you never could become. I just thought of it that way and I joined the military. I actually went into the Navy for four years and I actually experienced something pretty bad. My ship, USS Cole, got bombed back in October of 2000. That actually changed me. It really pushed something inside me that I either needed to shut up or do something about my life. I just didn't want a normal life. I didn't want to just sit back and let everything pass me by, especially my dream. Something bad really helped me do something good.
When I got out of there it messed me up pretty bad in my head and stuff. We didn't really have the help that they do now in the military. They didn't know what post traumatic stress syndrome really was or anything like that. I was kind of just left on my own. I dealt with it on my own, and went job to job. I finally said screw it. I found out about Team3D Academy here in Florida. I said I might as well go. It's a sign; I better do it now. The rest is history.
WrestlingINC.com: Did you watch wrestling before that?
Neal: Oh yeah. When I was a kid I used to wrestle with my uncles and stuff like that and used to watch it back in the day. There was a period in my life when I just stopped watching it. I didn't watch it at all until I got in the Navy again. For some odd reason I started watching it again. It was a dream so I might as well watch it again and see what's going on. I picked it back up in the military and a little bit in high school, here and there but mainly in the military.
We used to throw little get together parties for the boys on the ship at my house. We used to have cookouts and stuff and watch the Pay-per-Views and things like that. It was a good time.
WrestlingINC.com: PTSD, obviously that's a really serious thing and a hard thing to overcome. Do you feel like you overcame that?
Neal: PTSD, you don't really overcome it or anything. You don't get rid of it. It just stays with you at all times. There's days where I still lie awake and my nightmares and stuff; I wake up screaming sometimes or yelling like I'm killing somebody or some weird stuff. I do some weird stuff in my nightmares.
With wrestling, it definitely helps. I found my, what do they call it, my stress relief type of thing. It used to be working out but then that wasn't working very well. When I'm on the road and I'm busy wrestling I don't really have episodes or anything like that, which is really good. I rarely do. It's when I'm sitting at home doing nothing; that's when it really kicks in.
WrestlingINC.com: Does it get better year by year?
Neal: It's kind of where, in my eyes, it doesn't get better. Maybe because it hasn't gotten better yet but it just goes away for a little while then it comes back. It doesn't really get better. Like everybody says, 'Oh, it will get better with time.' It really doesn't. You just find a way to relieve your stress and stuff like that.