Known in the wrestling world as Ben Carter, the 22-year-old has just been signed to one of the most prestigious promotions in the industry – the WWE.
However, the self proclaimed ‘Prodigy of Pro Wrestling’ says a lot of hard work and dedication went in to achieving that dream, and long before he was making his television debut he was appearing at shows right here in the Island.
Having played a lot of sport in his youth, representing Jersey in both football – including the Junior Muratti – and cricket, Carter was already equipped with an athletic background. At the age of 16, he had already begun searching for somewhere to start his wrestling career.
When asked how he became interested in professional wrestling, he said: ‘My dad was switching through the channels when I was ten years old and happened to leave wrestling on the TV, and I was hooked.
‘As I grew up my love for wrestling actually intensified, unlike most who happen to grow out of it at a certain age. I just loved the insane athleticism combined with compelling story telling. Real life superheroes that you can emotionally invest in, and see grow and evolve right in front of your eyes. It’s such a unique form of entertainment and it really appealed to me.
‘I did my research and found the one wrestling promotion in the Channel Islands to train at; Channel Islands World Wrestling. As soon as I got in the ring and tried a few things, I knew that I could be a professional wrestler and that this was what I was going to do for the rest of my life.’
After growing more and more confident in his abilities, he made the decision to head to the United States on a football scholarship – to Tennessee Wesleyan University – so he could pursue his dream of becoming a WWE superstar.
‘Throughout my four years at university, playing regular first team football for the college, I would wrestle as much as possible on the side. Sometimes playing 90-minute matches then shooting off to wrestle the same night.’
Two years into his college experience, the former Victoria College student decided to seek professional training and attended the Black and Brave Wrestling Academy, run by three-time WWE champion Seth Rollins.
‘I had always dreamt of being a trainee of his, so I attended the academy in the summer of 2018,’ Carter explained. ‘Watching Rollins on TV for years, having all of his t-shirts, to then actually train under him and build a rapport with him was so surreal.’
Once he graduated from the academy, Carter started wrestling on a more consistent basis and eventually became a regular at all of the major independent wrestling promotions in the country.
‘I would hop in a car and drive for countless hours to all of these shows to show my face and help set up and take down the ring, just to get a shot on their show – and once they gave me my opportunity, I took it. I began to build a large following on social media because of this, and my name started popping up everywhere.’
As a result of those appearances, Carter drew the attention of All Elite Wrestling, IMPACT Wrestling and the WWE, with all three promotions competing for his signature.
‘I agreed to wrestle matches for IMPACT and AEW, so that both companies could take a look at me first hand,’ he said. ‘I worked a match for IMPACT and they immediately offered me a contract. Not long after, AEW flew me down to their TV “tapings” to work some matches for them. My matches that I had at AEW set the wrestling world alight.’
Carter was subsequently given the opportunity to wrestle against one of AEW’s biggest stars – ‘Scorpio Sky’ – on a TV special in front of a million people.
Then, the Islander’s dream finally happened. The WWE – who had already offered him a contract – flew him to Orlando to tour their performance centre and have a meeting with WWE COO, Triple H.
‘It was then that I knew exactly where I needed to be,’ he said.
‘I had no idea how I was going to do it ... but I knew exactly what I wanted. That dream, it just came true. And one day, I’ll go down as one of the greatest to ever do this.
‘You can have all the talent in the world, but if you don’t work hard and take all the necessary steps you can in order to get to where you want to be, you’ll stay stagnant. Often the things that scare us the most, end up being the best thing we could ever do. I know I was petrified to leave my comfort zone in Jersey and chase this dream on my own in a foreign country – that’s really scary. But it was the best leap of faith I ever took.
‘I know it sounds cliché, but chase your dreams. Amazing things can happen if you really go for it.’