Matt Striker Talks Being Outed As A Wrestler While Teaching, Signing With WWE, Working WM, ECW
Wrestling INC: How soon did you know that this is what you wanted to do?
Striker: Well, I didn't know that you could do this. I didn't know that it was open for people to try to crack into the brotherhood of the business. Once I realized that there was an opportunity to learn the craft, I said I want to learn it. I didn't know how far it would take me.
Wrestling INC: When did you become a teacher?
Striker: Well, out of high school, I was really lucky and my dad was real supportive. I was playing hockey and baseball and my dad was like, "why don't you go as far as you possibly can." I went pretty high with hockey, semi pro level, but living in suburbia New York, it really wasn't that easy. You had to go upstate or up to Canada to really pursue the game at an advanced level. So then my father said, "listen, why don't you just get a degree?" So a few years after high school, after I'd messed around a little bit, I got a degree at about 23 years old and started teaching.
Wrestling INC: Did you ever watch that show, Learning the Ropes? It was a sitcom back in the day with Lyle Alzado and he played a teacher who moonlighted as a wrestler.
Striker: Yeah, it was a great show. It was awesome. I'd love to redo that show now, with me as the teacher moonlighting as a wrestler. We'll get Mr. Belding to play the evil principal. Then we have to have a nine year old student, maybe a male/female brother/sister tandem that constantly help me get to my shows every weekend. That's the Saturday Morning sitcom. Book it, I'm available, let me know.
Wrestling INC: I'd watch it. How long were you doing both?
Striker: Oh boy, four or five years, just about. I was teaching during the day, which didn't really work to me. I was just going in and having conversations with smart kids. A lot of people think that those kids are young; they're not smart. That's not true. On the weekends I was wrestling, with not so smart kids.
Wrestling INC: How did you finally get outed?
Striker: Well I'm still in the closet. Joke. Outed. My students were avid wrestling fans. I went to wrestle in Japan and one student, because of the Internet, saw me and didn't say anything. He was very cool. But a couple of weeks later I had done something with WWE and that showed up on television and that secret could not have been kept. So that's how it kind of all unraveled from there.
Wrestling INC: What was it like when you met with the school board? Did you know what was happening when they asked for the meeting?
Striker: I was fortunate, and then the school board is really good at providing you legal representation. So I was fortunate and had the time to know what was going down. So I got together with my close circle, which translates to my dad, and we sat down and said what do we do here? If they're really going to pursue this and they're going to take your license away, you're screwed. If I resign, I can at least keep my license and maybe something else will come up. That was the decision we arrived at and thankfully it worked out. I got to keep my teaching license.
Wrestling INC: After that happened, it was reported that WWE, I guess because this story got some media, it was reported that WWE saw the story and then contacted you about joining full time. Was that pretty much how it happened?
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