Part One: “Origins”
By Tiar’a Literary & Illustration
“We create content for individuals and businesses worldwide”
We’ve all heard accounts of the “small-town boy who struggled and eventually obtained success” in his desired vocation. Yet rarely are such accounts so profound that even a Hollywood motion picture could never properly execute its justice.
My background is steeped in creativity, and I am not simply choosing to use the word “steeped” due to my British upbringings. From a very young age my mind has been pleasantly blessed with creative thinking. Some, believe that being creative is a blessing. After all, not everyone is able to paint, sketch, write, and/or compose music out of thin air. These are what society has deemed “creative arts”. However, it is my belief that not just anyone can landscape a yard, design, and build a home, organize a home, clean a home, cook, crunch numbers, or teach others. To me, these too are forms of creative art.
Detractors, on the other hand, often say that creativity – versed expressly in the “arts” is a curse. I suddenly recall those nay-sayers who tell those who purportedly operate from the “left side of their brains” to “stop dreaming”, or “when are you going to get a real job?”. My direct response to those who say such things is, “What is a real job?” In the last three decades we have witnessed the creation of jobs such as Instacart Shoppers, YouTube Influencers, Closet Organizers, and Health Coaches. Sixty years ago, any one of these professions would have been considered utterly ludicrous – and not a real job.
Whenever a craft slants towards the creative, the public typically frowns upon it – until what the public deems “success” is achieved. This happened to my subject matter, professional wrestler, father and bass guitarist, Frankie “The Future” Kazarian. As a teen he would often be asked, “What are you going to do when you grow up?” His answer was always the same, “A professional wrestler”. Along the way, as you can imagine, many discounted the young man’s dream. But the moment Frankie signed a multi-year contract with TNA Wrestling, the same people who put him down suddenly wanted his attention.
Reality dictates that without people that focus on creative endeavors over what society dubs “normal jobs” our world would collapse. Consider: Without writers, there would not be school curriculums, laws, marketing, books, plays, films, instruction manuals and – your precious social media – nor internet for that matter. Without creative minds there would not be buildings, and again, instruction manuals, or/and again, marketing. We are not suggesting that all illustrations are helpful though. Who for example, has purchased an item from Amazon that requires assembly? Illustrations in which have no rhyme or reason to their existence?
Creativity, albeit “art”, breeds social progress. “Life imitates art”, as the late professional wrestler Ravishing Rick Rude said regarding an upcoming match with The Ultimate Warrior many moons ago. Anyone who disagrees with that statement does not possess a firm grasp upon reality.
I recently had the occasion to spend an afternoon with my wife, both of us in our back patio enjoying the brisk and beautiful winter Coachella Valley weather. We were sipping coffee and gaining perhaps yet a deeper appreciation and understanding for creativity with my friend, twenty-five-year professional wrestling living legend, and bass guitarist, Frankie “The Future” Kazarian. Frankie currently performs on television for AEW (All Elite Wrestling) airing on TNT and TBS, and for Impact Wrestling airing on AXS TV.
Frankie, like myself, is a man steeped in creative art. His journey in life began much like mine. It was during a time when pop-culture was at its peak. Nintendo, Atari, the movie Back to the Future and the wacky world of professional wrestling dominated the airwaves of global media distribution.
During the mid-nineteen eighties the younger Frankie Kazarian and friends, who spent most of their days at the Palm Springs Mall, in video game arcades, movie theaters, and baseball fields, took an impromptu trip to their local video store. Remember those. Blockbuster Video, The Wherehouse Music, Hollywood Video, and such? Frankie’s mother had been gracious enough at the time to allow the boys to rent one VHS. Frankie, being a near fanatical Rocky III enthusiast [his favorite movie] scanned the video shelves until he and his cousin stumbled upon a VHS case displaying Mr. T., whom the two believed to be Clubber Lang [his Rocky III persona], and Hulk Hogan, whom they presumed to be Thunderlips [his Rocky III persona]. “I was like, this tape must be a behind the scenes of Rocky III. We need to rent it”. Little did the young Frankie know that he and his cousin had just rented WWF WrestleMania I. The title art of the video case featured a young Mr. T. and Hulk Hogan, whom at the event teamed up to wrestle the late “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, and “Cowboy” Bob Orton.
“We put the tape in the machine and within minutes I was hooked, borderline obsessed”, Frankie tells me, reflecting upon the moment. The opening match at WrestleMania I featured professional wrestler Tito Santana, who would become one of Frankie’s early role models. “To this day, Tito is still one of my favorites. He and Curt Henning, Bret Hart, and of course, The Ultimate Warrior”, says Frankie.
Frankie grew up in Yucca Valley but frequently traveled to Palm Springs, Palm Desert, and Los Angeles. This likely explains his ability to endure rigorous travel engagements with several of them having been “death-defying” [more on this topic in future installments of this article series].
Frankie’s professional wrestling career began in earnest in 1998, training under the tutelage of fellow professional wrestling legend, the late “Killer” Kowalski. But in 1998, professional wrestling schools, appearing on television, and signing lucrative multi-per-annum contracts, weren’t as easily accessible as they are today [and we’ll touch upon this aspect in a future installment of this article series].
To pursue his chosen vocation, Frankie had to find a school that would teach him the “art” of professional wrestling. Back then, wrestling magazines such as Pro Wrestling Illustrated, would run advertorials: “Do you want to be a pro wrestler? Write us and we’ll tell you how” – and Frankie did just that. However, learning to become a professional wrestler was not cheap.
The nineteen-year-old Frankie had no choice but to spend an entire year working three jobs to save the money he needed to pay for his in-ring tuition. Frankie worked at Toys R Us, his parents tanning salon, The Tanning Palace in Yucca Valley, and Champs Sports in the Palm Desert Mall. After a year of saving, Frankie finally had enough money. He left home at age 20 equipped with his dream, a prayer, and landed in Malden, Massachusetts. There, he was to be trained by wrestling legend, the late, Killer Kowalski.
Upon walking through the doors of “Killer’s” school, Frankie, who stands six-feet-tall and weighs in at around 190-200lbs, was faced with a ring of grappling giants – and none of them were happy to see him. “Back then the business was really protected. When you were the new guy and you walked in for the first time, you were a target. There was no, hi nice to meet you. There were spots, and everyone wanted to be in the top spot, and none of those guys were giving it up. I was already homesick, and I’m literally thinking… I just made a mistake”.
More next month…
Tiar’a Literary & Illustration is a privately owned Coachella Valley content creation company that produces engaging and informative content for individuals and business in the form of promotion, marketing, books, advertorials, blogs, articles, product description, publicity, and media commercials. Email us your business inquiry today at: firstname.lastname@example.org