On episode 356 of The Art Of Wrestling, indie star, ROH color commentator, and pro wrestling podcasting pioneer, Colt Cabana, welcomed former Impact Wrestling X-Division Champion Trevor Lee to the show. During the interview, Lee got in-depth on his tumultuous upbringing, how professional wrestling helped him turn his life around, being homeless, and accidentally ripping off current WWE SmackDown Live General Manager Daniel Bryan.
Lee, the son of an independent pro wrestler out of North Carolina, had a wrestling ring in his backyard from as early as he can remember. Moreover, 'The Carolina Caveman' claimed that he grew up thinking it was normal having The Hardys training in his backyard.
"Ever since I can remember, we had a wrestling ring in our backyard, from like, probably until I was four or five [years old], so Hardy Boyz were like the big ones. They would always come there to train at the OMEGA training spot or whatever." Lee added, "Jason Arhndt [WWE's Joey Abs], Shannon More, Christian York, Caprice Coleman, Matt, Jeff, Marty Garner/Cham Pain, all those dudes would come through and it would just happen in my side yard, so like, it was kind of like, 'oh, this is how life is or whatever.'"
Later in the podcast, Lee admitted that his earliest memory of his mother is walking in on her having a sexual encounter with a pro wrestler (not Lee's father).
"My first memory of my mom, my dad let a former [pro] wrestler as well stay with us. And the fond memory from that one was walking in and seeing them… you know. This was like two, three years old."
On the subject of Lee's father, the current CWF Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Champion said his father's biggest claim to fame in pro wrestling was being an extra in a Hardy Boyz segment.
"His biggest claim to fame is like the night The Hardy Boyz won their first tag team titles, he was an extra in the segment before it like their EMS driver and JBL punched him in the face and went and lost the tag titles to The Hardys. That was like his biggest claim to fame. That was also awesome. I got to go backstage that night and I met The Rock and I told him, 'don't be a jabroni - eat your raviolis.'"
A couple of years later, Lee would become an attention-seeking juvenile delinquent with multiple assault charges against him. Lee admitted he was a "piece of s--t" because the deaths of his twin half-brothers drove him to act out and he had to take anger management classes.
"I was always in the ring younger, but, like, around I'd say, middle school, I got away from [pro] wrestling. I don't know… just like it wasn't something I watched anymore. I was just about being a real s--tty kid. It stopped once I started wrestling again, so it stopped. I got back in the ring to be wrestling again at 14 [years old] and started training again, but then, by the end of almost 15, is when I had my first match."
Lee recalled that he got back into pro wrestling when his dad started to help run a pro wrestling promotion that ran a show in his school. 'The Orange Crusher' shared that he was inspired by a match between Kamikaze Kid and Ultra Dragon.
"My dad started to help a guy run a promotion and that's what all started it again because they ran a show at my school when I was going from eighth grade to ninth grade. And like, I played football and I started amateur wrestling at this time, but then they did a show in my school and I saw how f--king cool it was. Like, the match that specifically did it was this guy called Kamikaze Kid and then Ultra Dragon, which is Lance Lude now, anybody know who that is, one of Ugly Duckling guys. This match was just all f--king crazy highspots. Like, watching it now, I'd be like, 'ah, this is the worst match ever!', but when I saw it then, I was like, 'this is so awesome' because I always loved The Hardy Boyz and they were doing highflying stuff."
According to Lee, 'The Technical Savage' was practically homeless from age 17 till 21, and mind you, he is only 23 now.
"I've always had sort of weird living situations all my life. I don't need a lot," Lee continued, "I've spent a lot of time sleeping on dudes' couches like that. Sort of kind of hard times, but I was devoting every day to [pro] wrestling. Like, I had a school and a capability of training every day if I wanted to. To, like, run the school, which helped me a lot and there was a gym. Every single day it's wrestling or just going to the gym, so I knew it would hopefully work out."
Lee indicated that he started living in the CWF Mid-Atlantic building and his social life did not suffer from his lack of domicile.
"I still had my friends there. I'd still hang out with them every night. Like, I would just hang out with my friends for as long as I could that day and say 9 or 10 o'clock, I'd go to the building and sleep."
Lee was grateful to the founders of CWF, Danny Wenkel and Jeff Rudd, for allowing him to live in CWF headquarters.
"Andrew Everett's dad, Danny Wenkel, is like the owner, and Jeff Rudd, he works for Highspots as well, [Cabana] may have met him from that, he's a big part of that as well. Him and Danny kind of own CWF and they've done a lot."
As a 15 year old, Lee gave himself the ring name, 'The American Dragon', unaware that Bryan was also using the name. As a result, Lee became 'Little Dragon' till he dropped the mask and became Trevor Lee.
"I had a mask. I was a real young kid. I didn't know at the time. It was [peak 'American Dragon' Bryan Danielson years]. It really was, so then it got changed to 'Little Dragon' and then I went and finally took the mask off and was Trevor Lee." Lee argued, "I still didn't know Ring Of Honor stuff at that point. I was just now getting back into it, so I had never seen that Ring Of Honor."
It's Colt Ca-Ba-Na! If you use any of the quotes that appear in this article, please credit The Art Of Wrestling with an H/T to WrestlingINC for the transcription.
Source: The Art Of Wrestling