Local turns dreams into reality

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Garcia on her Reality of Wrestling debut. Photo Credit: Jennifer Garcia

The Flagship of Texas Wrestling is right here in Houston. Reality of Wrestling is a wrestling promotion and school run by WWE Hall of Famer Booker T. Its facility is located at the World Gym Arena in Texas City and caters to many hopeful and aspiring wrestlers from around the country.

Jennifer Garcia is one of those hopefuls, who lives and breathes wrestling and has a story to tell that one day everyone will know about.

If you asked Garcia what she wanted to do with her life, she’d give you the same answer she gave when she was 11 years old – a professional wrestler. Garcia recalls the time she got sucked into the world of wrestling. It began on a random Friday night, “I was very quiet and shy so I never really had plans with anybody and I had nothing to do. I flicked through the channels on TV until I saw wrestling and I was intrigued to say the least.” It turned out to be WWE SmackDown.

The program caught Garcia’s attention because of her background in Taekwondo, “I had three years [of Taekwondo] at this point so when I saw SmackDown, I thought to myself, ‘wow, this is kind of like what I do!’” She noted certain similar characteristics such as competing in a squared circle and the athleticism and skill. WWE presented their talent in different styles, clothing and gimmicks that were other factors on drawing more interest for Garcia. A few of those Superstars were The Undertaker, Batista, Rey Mysterio and Edge, “the entire thing felt so awesome and bigger than life,” Garcia said. Since that one random Friday night, Garcia tuned in every week and thought to herself, “you know…what if I did this, just like them when I got older?”

The Houston native grew up around sports and always rooted for her hometown teams. She always admired Houston teams’ work ethics, “they [Texans, Rockets and Astros] were never in first place but they always worked hard to get there and I always liked that because I would consider myself a hard worker,” Garcia said.

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Garcia training at the Reality of Wrestling gym. Photo Credit: Jennifer Garcia

Despite WWE being featured on ESPN, a lot of people don’t view wrestling as a legitimate sport. It can be frustrating for any wrestling athlete to feel that the hard work they put in to entertain millions is disregarded all together due to pre-determined results. Almost in every ESPN post about wrestling, there are comments along the lines of “not a sport” and as a wrestler in training, we asked Garcia how that feels for one to see, “I can’t say enough how that grinds my gears,” said Garcia. A sport is defined as, “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment,” in which Garcia truly believes wrestling holds. She challenges anyone to dare to try and take bumps (both on the back and on the face) daily, much like she does – voluntarily – “just because it’s a pre-determined competition, doesn’t take away from the universe, in which the competition exists, and the entertainment it provides,” said Garcia.

At 21, Garcia is enrolled in Reality of Wrestling, where current WWE Superstars such as The Usos and Ember Moon trained at, “I can’t even describe how lucky I am,” said Garcia. She remembers being there when the facility was created from scratch. She admits, despite not being a natural, it takes her longer to grasp things, however, the trainers have faith in her, “they’re are all so patient, so invested and really care about their students. None of them give up on me,” said Garcia.

A day at training consists of asking a lot of questions, which are all answered, and heavy emphasis on the basics, “it’s important to have those down before moving on to anything flashy.” She shares her favorite things about training, “I absolutely love doing reps because I challenge myself to be better each time…and of course, there is nothing better than getting advice from Booker T. A busy man himself, Garcia feels lucky to be taking advice from a five-time champion and WWE Hall of Famer, “it’s so humbling and so awesome,” said Garcia. However, the biggest advice she’s received is to “keep working hard and don’t give up.”

A year into her training, it’s everything she expected except for a few things like how much taking bumps would suck at first and running the ropes, which left her with bruises, “there’s so much more to it than the matches you see on TV,” said Garcia. She knows she still has a lot to learn. Her biggest challenge so far is overcoming her overthinking, “if my trainer asks to do a specific drill or a specific spot that involves a lot of moves I get nervous because it’s a lot to remember. I don’t have anything planned and I don’t want to mess up because I’m a perfectionist,” said Garcia. She settled with taking a relaxing position and feel out the match rather than treating it like a math equation.

Since kick starting her wrestling career, Garcia has had to make some changes and sacrifices to her normal routine such as skipping out on watching weekly wrestling programs, “I don’t do that [watches wrestling programming] anymore,” said Garcia, “I’m out training, doing exactly what they’re doing.” She never imagined having to break the tradition, “I do it voluntarily now every week because one day I want to be where they are but for that to happen I need to go out and work for it.” One thing that remained constant was wrestling, “wrestling is my life,” said Garcia.

Garcia debuts as Jackson’s new manager in a previous taping of Reality of Wrestling

“I have a dream and I simply will not quit,” said Garcia, who ultimately sees herself as one day becoming one of WWE’s Women’s Champions and someone whose name comes up when they talk about the best. She is very optimistic in her journey to the big leagues but is also realistic, “I will not take no for an answer…although hard work doesn’t guarantee anything, I will do whatever it takes to make it mean something to the right people,” said Garcia. She made it clear that even though it’s uncertain as to when it will happen, it will happen.

While she’s not studying for an exam or participating in other school commitments, Garcia trains nearly every day of the week. She strives to learn and get better as a new wrestler, “I love training! I can’t imagine not going as often as I do,” Garcia said. Other than making the gym a priority to look the part, she shared the importance of repetition and asking questions as a big part of her training, “I study tape, which means I watch old wrestling matches and pick out what they’re doing, why they’re doing it and try to apply it to what I do,” said Garcia.

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Garcia debuts as Jackson’s new manager. Photo Credit: Jennifer Garcia

Garcia wasn’t exaggerating when she said wrestling is her life. Does she even have any spare time away from wrestling? “I always laugh when I get asked about spare time because I never really have any,” said Garcia. On top of being a full-time college student, she works on the weekends and attends training on weeknights, “I’m not really a social person at all – never have been,” said Garcia. That doesn’t bother Garcia at all as she made it clear that she’s perfectly content with just watching wrestling but there has got to be other interests, “I also like to listen to music and watch Netflix,” said Garcia – fair enough.

She notices it’s an unconventional profession, especially for a girl, and has even been ridiculed for her choice but she could care less about what other people think, “I love this [wrestling] so much. I’m so passionate about it,” said Garcia. She wants to make people feel the way she felt when she was young when she saw her favorite wrestlers walk down the ramp to the ring, “I want to inspire people to go after their dreams, put on incredible matches, travel the world, entertain fans, make them and myself proud,” said Garcia.

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Garcia as an in-ring referee at Reality of Wrestling. Photo Credit: Jennifer Garcia

Wrestling has always been there for her and she’s giving herself up and fully immersing into it to become a professional wrestler, “everyone has to start somewhere and that’s why I took that leap with Booker T. and Reality of Wrestling. Catch Garcia on her journey to become a professional wrestler on Reality of Wrestling, the flagship of Texas wrestling.

On March 11th Reality of Wrestling will be having a live taping at the World Gym Arena in Texas City. New episodes are out every Saturday at midnight on the CW39.

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