New MLW wrestler Calvin Tankman was announced to be a part of the "For The Culture" show in April before it was cancelled due to the pandemic. The show was meant to showcase people of color, whether they be wrestlers or wrestling fans.
Tankman discussed why a show like that would have been so important when he joined The Wrestling Inc Daily podcast.
"It's super important; representation matters. As a kid, the thing that pulled me to indie wrestling was I saw a guy like Ruckus that reminded me of me, especially at the point I saw him. He wasn't the smallest guy but he did things that nobody else I had seen in the ring had ever done before and it caught my eye," said Tankman. "I watched him and thought, 'If he can do it, why can't I?'
"You can watch a lot of people but sometimes you don't connect unless you see someone that looks like you. That's not necessarily a bad thing; that's just how it is. Once you see someone that looks like you or is from the same area as you, it gives you that 'I can do this too' because they come from the same circumstances."
Tankman grew up in a part of Indiana which he said didn't have lots of black people. In his opinion, not being exposed to diversity created opinions in some people's minds about what black people could and couldn't do.
"Until we see more of that, we've got to normalize it for young black kids to love and be whoever they want to be and like whoever they want to like. If it takes us being there to be that role model for somebody else that makes them say, 'I love this and I wanna do this.' Then by all means, we definitely need to do that," said Tankman.
"[For The Culture] was definitely big and I would've been proud to be a part of it."
Diversity in wrestling has certainly grown over recent years. Tankman, MLW's newest signee, assessed how diverse MLW's roster is compared to others.
"It's probably one of the most [diverse]. Wrestling is getting more diverse period. MLW is definitely pushing the envelope with diversity and truly wanting the best of the best and showcasing that," said Tankman.
Even though he's signed to MLW, Tankman has yet to make his debut due to the pandemic. He was asked what he wants to accomplish at the promotion and if he has any idea when MLW shows will resume.
"I do not. I'm checking my phone everyday hoping they'll send me when I start. But I do not know yet," stated Tankman.
"One of my biggest goals is to wrestle in Japan which is a huge goal. I guess, if we're not talking about titles or money, that would be one of those bucket list wrestling things that's the next on the list. MLW is giving me the opportunity to wrestle on TV – that's a bucket list thing. So the next thing would be to wrestle in Japan."
You can find more info about Calvin and MLW by visiting www.MLW.com. Calvin's full interview aired as part today's episode of our podcast, The Wrestling Inc. Daily. Subscribe to get the latest episodes as soon as it's released Monday - Friday afternoon by clicking here.