(From left to right): Carson Ceman, Matt Desrocher, Paul Fair and The Great Khali. (Submitted photo)

PART TWO: That time when Surrey’s Matt Desrocher worked with The Great Khali

The Surrey native’s wrestling adventures led to overseas opportunities

It’s been a wild ride for Matt Desrocher.

We previously documented his journey into professional wrestling in part one of this series, where he overcame childhood obstacles while learning the ins and outs of wrestling.

His stint in the local wrestling world had him rubbing shoulders with a couple of the greats. Most notably, WWE Superstar Jinder Mahal.

Desrocher was approached by Mahal at a local wrestling event in Cloverdale. Mahal, a Calgary native, approached Desrocher and asked him if he wanted the opportunity of a lifetime.

That night, Mahal went up to Desrocher and said, ‘The Great Khali is running a school in India and he needs a coach. Are you interested?’

“I didn’t know what to say at first,” said Desrocher. Internally, he was caught between chasing the dream while considering his reality back home.

“I had a really good job at the time as a forklift driver,” he said. “Me being an adult, I didn’t want to risk it.”

So Desrocher passed up on the opportunity, and life gave him a swift kick in the rear end two weeks later.

He got fired from his job just days after passing on Mahal’s proposition, after his employer found his fan page online.

“It was disappointing for sure. After that, I just put my head down and kept wrestling, kept going to the gym, kept eating right.”

Six months later, Mahal returned to Desrocher’s stomping grounds at the Alice McKay building in Cloverdale. Sure enough, he asked Desrocher the exact same question.

“Before he could finish his sentence, I said yes,” Desrocher said.

That began a journey to India, marking the first time he had ever travelled overseas.

“It was hard to leave at first because I had to leave everything that I knew. I had to leave my family, my girlfriend, my friends, and go into this new world to do what I love.”

It was a long journey all the way to Jalandhar, India for Desrocher, about a six-hour drive north from the airport in New Dehli.

However, he received a warm welcome when he arrived.

“It was a huge welcoming. They welcomed me with plastic roses and open arms. It was 100 per cent humbling,” Desrocher said.

His first interaction with one of the most well-known wrestlers of the 21st century was also a gargantuan experience.

“When I first met him, he shook my hand and gave me a hug, and I thought I was going to die.”

That might not be a surprise for anyone who had received a hug from someone who is listed at 7’1” and 347 pounds.

“If you’ve ever seen a flat of eggs well, his hand almost covers the whole thing.”

“He’s a giant bear though, such a lovable and respectable guy. His daughter is the sweetest little girl ever. I got to spend a lot of time with him, trying to help him make his company better.”

It surely wasn’t a vacation for Desrocher, who was up at 2:00 a.m. daily as part of his full-time routine.

Desrocher helped train and teach over 80 students, who also lived at the school as well. He taught three classes per day, all of two hours in length. He also ran wrestling shows with the students every Saturday, putting their skills to the test.

DesrocherKhalischool

With students and their families living at the school, it helped Desrocher grow closer with the students.

“My relationship grew with them grew a lot since we were living together,” he said.”

“It’s amazing what a school of 80 boys can do. I got to have relationships with all of them. I was eating with them, talking with them, and experiencing their life.”

With students coming in and out of the school, Desrocher says he trained over 100 students during his six months down there.

Of course, Desrocher was also still chasing his own dream.

While teaching down at The Great Khali’s school, he got to run a WWE tryout in front of talent agents for the league’s largest wrestling spectacle.

However, Desrocher wasn’t going to miss out on this opportunity to participate.

During his tryout’s, talent recruiters Canyon Ceman and Paul Fair told Desrocher that both his ring work and speed were good, but for his size, he has to be at the top of his class for his style of wrestling.

Like always, he took the criticism as motivation, and kept on wrestling.

He got another opportunity of a lifetime in Panipat, India, where he wrestled for Continental Wrestling Entertainment (CWE) in front of 4,000 people against the biggest stars he had ever faced.

Desrocher

“It was an amazing experience,” he said. “It was the first time I worked in front of that many people, the first time I was up on the jumbotron, and the first time I’d wrestled against someone who was on national TV.”

“There were no words for it. Just another notch under my belt, and it made me that much more humble.”

It wasn’t long after Desrocher arrived home that he was given another offer to wrestle internationally.

“Right after I came home, I got an offer to go wrestle in Japan,” he said. “Not even three weeks later, I packed up my bags and left.”

He wrestled four times during his two-week stay, with his most notable match coming against long-time Japanese wrestler ‘Asian Cougar.’

“It was a bucket list thing for me to wrestle in Japan,” said Desrocher. “A lot of the guys I watched and admired went to Japan before they got famous.”

“When I got back from Japan, I told myself that nothing was going to stop me. I said no one is gonna outwork me, no one is gonna dedicate themselves as much as I am.”

“No one loves what they’re doing as much as I do.”

After coming back from Japan, the rest of 2017 has been chalk full of wrestling for Desrocher.

“It’s been booking after booking and show after show,” he said. “Road trips, title shots, and bigger matches.”

Desrocher has also become a part of the West Coast Wrestling Connection, based out of Salem, Oregon. They have a monthly television taping that is broadcast locally.

“It’s really developed my skills,” said Desrocher. “It’s grown my abilities to work a regular show. Now you have cameras on you, so it’s just something else you have to pay attention.

To this day, Desrocher is still grinding away through bookings and shows, living his dream as a professional wrestler.

“I tell myself that no one deserves this more than me after everything I went through,” he said. “I wanted to be a professional wrestler. Now, no one can tell me what I did was wrong, and no one can tell me this is stupid.”

“The only person to tell me what I can’t do is me.”

While Desrocher loves what he does, he still has a dream of one day becoming a WWE wrestler. He knows his size at six-feet-tall and 180 pounds is a deterrent, but he wants to keep working at becoming the best at what he does.

“I’m still hungry,” he said. “Everyone has a destiny, but you can’t let destiny happen. You have to try and make it happen.”

After more than six years of being a pro wrestler, the 24-year-old doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon.

Short Sleeve Sampson told me to keep riding the wave,” said Desrocher. “If you resist it, you’re going to fall off your board.”

At the end of the day, Desrocher is still grateful to be doing something he loves.

“My favourite part about wrestling is interacting with people,” he said. “If I can make a child smile or a grown man hate me, that’s money to me. That’s my payment.”

“Not about the money, fame, or fortune. It’s about enjoying something you love.”



trevor.beggs@surreynowleader.com

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Matt Desrocher taunts the crowd during a wrestling show in India. (Submitted photo)

The Great Khali (middle) stands beside Matt Desrocher and the rest of his students down at the CWE wrestling school. (Submitted photo)

Matt Desrocher (left) and The Great Khali (right). (Submitted photo)

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