For the past 21 years, Sal Rinauro has consistently worked and has been connected to professional wrestling. Though his name may not stand out to all, his passion and work ethic inside the ring will.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic made its presence known around the world, Sal was doing what he loved to do and that was wrestling anywhere he could.
“I had matches lined up with the NWA, a spot with Ring of Honor every time they came to Atlanta, and I was starting to have an extra spot for NXT regularly,” Rinauro said. “I don’t think that many people are going to use me if I had a lack of talent.”
Sal knew at a very young age that he was going to be a wrestler. At 13 years old, while living in southern California, he found a wrestling show that put on events at the local Boys and Girls Club three blocks from where he grew up.
The young teen had a passion for the sport and wanted to be a part of it. Sal was determined to make his presence known and he did that by arriving at the show before it was set up.
“I volunteered to do anything,” Rinauro remembered. “Eventually, I set out the chairs for the audience and helped set up the ring. Over time, I became the wrestler’s bump dummy, so anytime the boys wanted to try out a new move they called on me.”
At 15 years old, Sal moved to Milledgeville, Georgia to live with his aging grandparents and that town also had a local wrestling show.
With his fortitude and his understanding of the wrestling business, Sal was hired at that promotion and became a regular on the set-up crew. As time passed, an opportunity came his way that he couldn’t refuse.
“They needed people for a battle royal and someone asked me if I was old enough to wrestle. I told them yes,” Rinauro recalled. “They handed me a mask and told me to go wrestle.”
From that moment on, Sal was a pro-wrestler and he took every match that was offered to him. There was never any formal training or hours being taught inside a veteran wrestler’s school.
Sal watched wrestling on television and mimicked what he saw. He picked up tricks and different skills as he went along. All of Sal’s understanding of the sport came from learning on the job.
By 2010 and after 10 years in business, Sal had worked with companies like the WWE, Impact, Ring of Honor, and the NWA. Wrestlers who he had the chance to work with were talents such as Jimmy Rave, Kahagas, Alter Boy Luke, and Colt Cabana.
“At that point in my career, was the first time I had ever been called and journeyman. At first, it kind of stung.” Rinauro shared. “I have kind of carved my path that most guys might not be able to follow. I have done well enough to be brought back and to have fans and promoters interested in me.”
After two decades in professional wrestling, Sal has benefitted. Though he has never wrestled for the prestigious NWA World Heavyweight Title, he is content.
Sal has been fortunate to work with the likes of Dusty Rhodes, Justin Credible, Seth Rollins, Daniel Bryan, the Rock n’ Roll Express, and the Young Bucks.
“If somebody told me today that I couldn’t wrestle anymore, I would be upset,” Rinauro stated.” But at the same time, I would be very proud of the product I put forward.”