Not everyone can live out their childhood fantasies.
However, this is not the case for two Gardner brothers.
Jake and Ryan King grew up idolizing the style of pro wrestling of the 1980s and 1990s as well as shows such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.
They said they were partly inspired in life by a charismatic grandfather whom they never met as he died young and their father who helped them build their first wrestling ring.
“It was one of the funniest times we’ve ever had,” said Ryan King.
Both brothers said their favorite wrestler was Mick Foley due to his character and storytelling as an underdog character.
“This guy would do anything,” Ryan said.
Mick Foley is a retired wrestler at 57 these days and is best known for his character Cactus Jack Manson. He is also a four-time world champion.
Jake King said he wished he’d stuck with it after college, but they rediscovered their love for wrestling when they started traveling in high school on the pro circuit with some of the same people who trained John Cena.
Jake said wrestling came naturally to him as a non-athlete and he went from loving the higher impact flying moves to the technical and psychological aspects.
“I’ve always been good at falling and not getting hurt,” he said.
Ryan said he also agreed and loved getting feedback from fans.
“It was so awesome,” he said. “So we kept playing the bad guys. You always try to reach people in the back row and be as expressive as possible.
Jake said that after years on the professional wrestling circuit, they took a few years off. Then in 2020, just when the pandemic hit, they decided to start their own wrestling group and teach wrestling in hopes of putting on a good show for the community.
“At first we weren’t sure if we wanted to start from scratch,” Jake said.
Ryan said they realized they had something cool going on. They were able to purchase supplies before supply chain issues got derailed.
The brothers have spent the past two years building a ring on their private homestead and teaching anyone 18 and older who is interested.
“In 2020 we thrived,” Ryan said. “It lit a fire with us, and we had so many great ideas.”
Jake said it became a daily project for them and they learned a lot about starting and running a business.
The brothers said they started Trailblazers Championship Wrestling for a family wrestling feel that is for the people, not the business and an inexpensive alternative for Gardner residents to have fun.
Jake said it had been a labor of love for them the past two years and they didn’t think it would come to this.
“We really enjoyed it and it was something to look forward to,” he said. “We didn’t think we’d be doing shows at first.”
Ryan said they were proud of the ring they had built and were focused on putting on a good 2.5-3 hour event that was affordable.
“We focus on putting on a good show,” he said.
Jake said they want even non-wrestling fans to think it’s cool and have fun.
“He tells stories about people,” he said. “It will be a great way for the city to have fun. I think people have to see it first, and then I feel like people are going to get into it.
Ryan said everyone has a story about how they watch wrestling or go to wrestling matches, and they want to bring that experience back.
“It will be as real as the fans want it to be,” he said. “The most important thing is to have fun. It’s telling stories about people and making connections.
Their first organized event is July 30 at the Army National Guard Building on the old Highway 56 in Olathe. Wendy Morris, known as The Wonderful Wendy, will be the ring announcer.
The brothers said their goal was to keep events close to Gardner because there weren’t many event venues in Gardner that could accommodate the space they needed. They said the armory was the perfect location for them and Southwest Johnson County.
“We want to stay in this area and give people something to look forward to,” Ryan said.
Jake said their current goal is to hold monthly events to keep the memories of the character stories from the last event fresh and alive with people.
Between events, they will continue to teach the basics to new students and refresh the basics and fundamentals to seasoned wrestlers. They said practice is important because you pick up a lot of bad habits and it’s always good to brush up on skills.
The brothers said they have always enjoyed helping people and now they can guide and mentor them on a deeper level.
They currently don’t have a wrestling program, but teach students based on lower fees to keep the business going and are open to men and women 18 and older.
Jake said many of their students had no athletic training, but were progressing well physically and mentally with poise and confidence. They are respectful and have a lot of fun.
“It’s about building relationships and being part of
something special,” he said. “It’s being at the starting point of a dream.”
“My favorite part is when you see the bulbs go out,” Ryan said. “There is so much more than the movements.”