When you think of all of the wrestling promotions around the world, naturally the first one to come to mind is the WWE (or the WWF as it was called when I was a growing up). The WWE is the biggest draw in America and has been for many years. Several promotions have come and gone and others have stuck around long enough to grow their brand with a decent following. None of the promotions in central Texas are quite like NWA Pro Wrestling TeXAs though.
The company’s message is not like the message you typically see at many wrestling events. NWA PWT’s anti-bullying and anti-drug campaign is something that current NWA World Heavyweight Champion Jax Dane is passionate about. When Dane was a child, he was bullied. Yes, the same 6-4, 300 pound wrestling champion who goes by the nickname of “Godzilla” was once bullied.
Dane and fellow wrestler Ray Rowe teamed up and founded the anti-bullying and anti-drug organization “Walk The Path.” The company has said that its goal is “to be present, accessible heroes and role models, while making an impact on the future.”
This message carries over to their live events too. Many times it is announced at their events that foul language is not acceptable, as the events are catered to be family friendly. “Here, we’re family friendly, no-foul language, no excessive, no over-sexuality,” said Dane. “It’s a family friendly, less than PG-13 environment where people can come and have a great night of family entertainment.”*
Dane, Rowe and many other wrestlers have made several trips to local schools, youth sports teams and hospitals in the central Texas area, as well as in Ohio and Tennessee, to promote their message and to do their part in ensuring the future is bright for many children.
“Like a lot of things, you start planting seeds,” said Rowe. “You know it takes a little time to get things rolling. We’re at the crest of the wave. We’re seeing the ground swell of support.”*
Last week, Rowe and Dane appeared on the “We Are Austin” show and spoke a little more about their organization.
“We feel (that) we’ve been given a platform where we can do good in people’s lives,” said Rowe. “We can actually make a difference for kids. Bullying is an epidemic that is completely different than when we were kids. When we were kids, you might get bullied at school and then you could go home to escape. Now with social media, it’s actually worse at home for a lot of kids. Every time they look at their phone or look at their computer, it follows them. We both had experiences of being bullied in our past, we’ve got close family members and friends who have been bullied and it’s something that Jax and I have talked about for a number of years. We felt like we had the ability to change. So we did something and we stepped up (and created Walk The Path).”
“We’ve been very fortunate and the reception has been fantastic so far, getting us into some of the local schools in south Austin especially,” said Dane. “What we’ll find is that there is a lot of bullying that goes on in our schools. Ray always starts the program with the question of asking the children to raise their hand if they have ever been a victim of bullying and about 95 to 99 percent of the hands go up. So we know that there is an issue out there and like Ray said, we just feel absolutely fortunate to be given the platform that we have. So now it’s our time to step up, go back and get into these schools and let kids know that it’s ok to let people know that you are being bullied and that it’s more than ok to take a stand against the bullies.”
It great to see two wrestlers who are great in the ring, be even greater outside of the ring. Be sure to catch Jax Dane and Ray Rowe in action on June 18th at Pinballz Kingdom located in Buda, Texas as they host a benefit event for a local family who lost everything in a house fire.
*This quote was used from an article posted on the Hays Free Press. The article can be read in its entirety here.
To watch Jax Dane and Ray Rowe on “We Are Austin” click here.
All photos used in this article are courtesy of Jax Dane, Walk The Path or Pro Wrestling TeXas Facebook pages.