Not too many wrestlers at the age of 23 can say they have been wrestling for eight years unless that wrestler had started when they were 15 years old. For Barrett Brown from Seven Points, Texas, he did.
His mother had always known of his passion for the sport, so she got in touch with one of her friends from high school that did some professional wrestling around the North Texas area. His name was Cody Cunningham and he agreed to train the determined teenager.
“Wrestling was always a part of my family and I just grew up with it,” said Barrett Brown. “I always wanted to know what it felt like to be in front of a crowd and to know what it meant to be a larger-than-life figure for the fans. So that was always an aspiration for me.”
Barrett met with Cunningham and the two became really good friends. The two trained off and on together for about four years. Cunningham was able to pass on a real solid foundation of wrestling skills to the young teen.
“He taught me the bare basics of wrestling. I had no idea of what I was getting into,” said Brown. “Despite my age, he treated me like an adult and didn’t hold anything back.”
While he was still 15 years old, he had his very first match, doing some small local shows around the Dallas area. After Brown had been wrestling for a year, he wanted to grow as a wrestler, so he reached out to Killer Tim Brooks and Johnny Mantell. They were veteran wrestlers that had made names for themselves and had successful careers in professional wrestling.
“I wanted to branch out further than just the small local shows. So, I went to train with them,” said Brown. “I got on some of their shows and they opened a lot of doors for me even though I was so young.”
Brooks and Mantell stressed the fundamentals of wrestling and the importance of paying attention to the details. He was taught psychology, history, and how to appreciate business.
One of Barrett’s big breaks in his career came when he was just 18 and he started wrestling on television under Matt Riviera’s promotion Traditional Championship Wrestling in Arkansas.
“People that I had worked with were telling me if I ever had a chance to get on that roster to do it,” said Brown. “That was when I felt like I was really getting the ball rolling.”
With Brown being on the Traditional Championship roster, it proved to be an important step in his career. Not only was he getting his name out in public with the T.V. exposure, but he was also given opportunities to wrestle some famous names in the business like Cowboy Bob Orton.
Orton is a second-generation wrestler and the Father of WWE superstar Randy Orton. He started wrestling in 1972 and has wrestled all over the United States and around the world. The Cowboy has been associated with a countless number of promotions including the NWA, WWE, and All Japan Pro Wrestling. He has held single and tag team titles almost everywhere he has wrestled.
“I think that was the biggest match that I have had in my career name-wise. I got two years of knowledge just being in the ring with him,” said Brown. “He has been wrestling longer than I have been alive. I didn’t know what good was until I got in the ring with him.”
Brown pinned Orton, which was a huge win in his career, but what he gained by being in the ring with the veteran wrestler was priceless. After wrestling with Orton, Brown noticed that his footwork and timing started to improve and worked better for him when he would step into the ring with his opponents.
“He helped with those two things and that is what I took from him after having that match,” said Brown. “I was really able to learn a lot of knowledge that I was able to incorporate with what I already knew to get better.”
Now that Barrett has been traveling and introduced to different wrestling styles, his confidence in his in-ring abilities is growing, and he’s been able to focus on major career goals. He wants to win the NWA Jr. Heavyweight Championship that is currently held by Arrick Andrews.
In 2012, Brown had a shot at wrestling for that title when Kevin Douglas was the NWA Jr. Heavyweight Champion, but after nearly 15 minutes, the match was stopped by the referee due to interference. Even though the match didn’t end the way he would have liked it to, it was still a special moment in his career.
“It was very surreal to me because I wasn’t even 19 at the time. I didn’t expect to receive anything that important until I was 20,” said Brown. “I think we put on such a good match because our styles were so similar and it was like a clashing of the minds.”
While growing up as a wrestling fan, Barrett knew that the NWA World Heavyweight Championship was the title of all titles. At five feet six inches and 160 pounds, the junior title is a closer reality for Brown to achieve. Putting that belt around his waist would mean more to him than just being Champion.
“My original trainer Cody was a big NWA fan,” said Brown. “If I win that title, I’d be able to show him that I did it. It would make everything worth it.”