Former WCW wrestler and current independent wrestler Lodi recently sat down with Wrestling Inc.’s Drew Rice for The Wrestling Inc. Daily to discuss a variety of topics.

During the interview Lodi opened up about keeping a positive mindset while suffering from injuries. Lodi talked about suffering an ankle injury during his first run with WCW that took him out of action for several months.

“It was frustrating,” shared an honest Lodi. “The one thing I was happy about was that, it happened on a live Nitro, that we finished the match with Psicosis. My body heals pretty fast. I jokingly tell people that God knew what I was going to do for a living and he gave me this starfish-like healing ability. The flip side is I realize taking care of myself as an athlete [is important] when it comes to rehabbing and that kind of stuff, I’m going to do everything I can to come back as fast as possible. I think when it happened the Lodi character was having a good run there. I was almost out for thirteen weeks; it was supposed to be ten. They [had] made a mistake and had to go back in and fix my ankle.”

Lodi elaborated on what exactly the mistake was that delayed his recovery process.

“When I say they made a mistake, the WCW doctor performed the surgery perfectly,” recounts Lodi. “I’ve got this thing about hospitals and I don’t stay very long. I check myself out as quick as possible. [So] I had surgery and checked myself out the next morning. Before I left, because I was flying back out to North Carolina for my rehab, the doctor/surgeon had his therapist come in and talk to me about what I was supposed to start doing after weeks seven, eight, and nine. My surgeon had said I’d be back in the ring in ten weeks.”

Lodi recounts that WCW then asked him to fly to Miami so they could film a commercial to promote a new Raven t-shirt. Lodi said that it was thanks to WCW sending him there that he later found out his ankle wasn’t healing properly.

“[I] wasn’t happy about it, but I flew to Miami,” said Lodi. “Funny story, I couldn’t walk, I was on crutches. They wanted to film at 7:45 p.m. before all the cameras came up. So, they took me out and I’m standing with the Flock in front of a full crowd behind me, the show is getting ready to start. They shoot the commercial, we get [to the back] and I’m talking to our trainer and he goes, ‘Hey can I see your leg, what’s going on?’ And I’m like, ‘Coach, I’m still in a lot of pain.’ And he says, ‘Its been three weeks, you shouldn’t be in pain, what’s going on?’ He said, ‘It looks really swollen, I want you to stay the night and fly to Atlanta tomorrow to see the doctor.’

“And they took some x-rays the next morning. What had happened was I broke the medial malleolus, which is a triangle bone, [I] split it apart. They put two pins in it and put it back together.  They did the x-ray the next day and the doctor comes in and goes, ‘What have you been doing to your ankle?!’ he was visibly upset. I said, ‘Nothing but what the therapist told me.’ He said, ‘No, why have you been walking?’ I said, ‘Doc, I have to walk. I’m on crutches.’ He basically said don’t lie to me.”

Lodi says the doctor told him that the bone had split apart again, far worse than what it had been initially. Lodi said he hadn’t been doing anything except the exercises the therapist gave him.

“[The doctor] goes, ‘When did he tell you to do those? Wait, I’ll be back,’” tells Lodi. “He went and spoke with the therapist. The day I got out of the hospital, my therapist thought I was coming back for my eight-week checkup. I had surgery that morning and started doing those exercises you do eight-weeks after surgery. I actually pulled the bone further apart doing the exercises. The good news is they asked why my knee was so swollen. He did an MRI on my knee, I had actually torn my meniscus as well. So he did my knee surgery, redid my ankle, and [I] came back ten weeks later.”

Lodi also discussed having had three neck surgeries throughout his career, with the latest coming in 2017, which temporarily forced his retirement. He opened up about the processes through all his physical rehabbing and how he thought his wrestling career may be finished in 2003.

“I had my first anterior cervical diskectomy in [1994], and my doctor told me I would never lift weights again, that I was done,” remembered Lodi. “I did the Mist Trail in North Carolina in 1995. So, I’ve kind of wanted to disprove doctors a lot. In 2002 when I had my next neck surgery, I had another diskectomy and a bone plug put in, [and] I was fused. I was in a brace for six months, and that was really frustrating. I thought at that time my wrestling career may be finished. I came back in late 2003. My third diskectomy I had in 2017, and I actually only took nine months out of the ring before I came back. It’s one of those mindsets, I want to walk away from wrestling on my own terms. I know nobody beats father time, unless your name is Mike Jackson. So, I really want to walk away with a healthy body.

“[With] all my wrestling injuries, nobody told me to be a professional wrestler. That was all my choice. So, for me to sit around and complain my neck hurts everyday, my legs are tight and I have this shooting pain, and I have this nerve damage on my left side, and I can’t do this, I can’t do that. Who wants to hear that? I chose to do it! It’s not like I’m a victim. I chose this life, and I’m the one who chose to go back to it every time after the surgeries.”

During the interview Lodi also opened up about his past issues with painkiller and drug addiction. Lodi says it is one of the most difficult things he has ever overcome in his life and discussed how quickly addiction can overwhelm you. Former WWE star Big Cass also recently opened up about his addiction to alcohol.

“It was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do in my life and my drug addiction, and my pill use, was absolutely obscenely out of control,” admitted Lodi. “You know, you’ve heard all the numbers of all the guys. Before I got into the wrestling business, I’d heard some of these guys taking this many pills, that many pills, doing this much of this, and this much of that. It was almost one of those things where it’s like, that guy has to be embellishing that can’t be true. Then you get caught up in it and realize you’re taking 40 pain pills a day. Like, how did it get to that point? Breaking that addiction was hard.

“I was just talking with a client this morning, just talking about the hell it was to go through that for a two week period, where when I got clean from the pain killers and stopped cold turkey. I remember I was home trying to get sober, and there was a two-week period where I was hot, I was cold, I was sick, I was throwing up, I was hot, I was cold, there was this gambit of emotions. It’s not something I would wish on anybody.”

Lodi said that his past bouts with addiction have resulted in him refusing to take any pain medications to help deal with injuries or surgeries. Lodi says he refuses them in order to ensure he doesn’t slip down the wrong path again.

“Because of my past history and because of my addictive nature, it has forced me to, with my injuries since then, I refuse to take any pain pills. I don’t take any medications. After my neck surgery in 2017, the morning of my surgery I got into an argument with a nurse. She was giving me my prescriptions for when I left and she was like, ‘You’ve got to take your oxycodone, you have to take your whatever.’ And I told her, ‘Mam, I can’t take that. I have an addiction issue and I just have to get through it.’

“People are like, you can take it for pain, but I can’t separate the two. Too many people it has been one pill and then next thing you know they go back down that path. I don’t want to ever go down that path again. People are like, ‘I feel so sorry for you because you can’t take anything for your pain.’ And I’m like, again, self-inflicted. I have myself to blame, not anyone else. And I bear that.”

You can follow Lodi on Twitter @Lodi1Brad. Part two of Lodi’s interview with Drew can be found via the players below:

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