Tyson Dux is the Godfather of the Ontario independent wrestling scene. He is revered by his peers, admired by the fans, and appreciated by promoters. Now Dux has decided to jump into the water as a full-time wrestler criss-crossing the world to make his mark.

Since debuting in 1997, Dux — real name Tyson Moody — has made a name for himself in wrestling. He has had his moments in the sun with the WWE and TNA, but just recently he was not a full-time wrestler. “My focus is just to be booked,” said Dux. “Not for a major company; just to be booked and wrestle full-time for a year.”

Tyson Dux has the respect of Ontario indy workers. Photos by Holly Lengyel

For many years Dux worked as a full-time truck driver while moonlighting as a part-time wrestler. His decision to make his living just as a grappler was not an easy one. “I hit a breaking point,” related Dux. “I asked myself, ‘What if I didn’t give it my all?'”

These questions no longer haunt him as he travels to shows across North America and to Japan as well. With bookings for Japanese promotions, All Japan Pro Wrestling and Zero One, Dux has been busy. “They were looking at new people and they brought me in along with John Bolan and Joe Doering,” said Dux. “In Japan they work extremely rigid. Even in the matches, they are so tight that wrestlers think they might be in for death. Pro wrestling is an art form there.”

Another place to ply his trade has been Ring of Honor. Over the last year, he has made appearances with the promotion that is known for developing the stars of tomorrow.

Now in his 17th year as a professional wrestler, Dux still has the passion for the grappling game. “I just have a drive to get better and I want to break new ground,” said Dux at a recent Buffalo Championship Wrestling show. “I’m 35 years old and I have more to prove in this young man’s sport.”

Making a living as a full-time wrestler can be difficult. “It’s all about marketing yourself,” said Dux. “There are so many talents out there and so few jobs. It is about staying busy. That’s the key; always trying to find work.”

Dux understands that professional wrestling is not a normal 9-to-5 job and it can be challenging. “It is weekend heavy and you have to make the most of it,” said Dux. “The same with the merchandise I sell; I try to make the most of it. Wherever you can make a buck, you make a buck. That is the biggest challenge for me staying busy enough. You can never be too busy.”

Another part of the job is keeping fit and maintaining a muscular look. “Some of the young guys and some of the old guys say, ‘I don’t have the time (to train),’ but this is the business that you are in,” said Dux. “If your truck has no gas you can’t make deliveries. If your printer is out of ink you can’t print. It is the same thing. We have to take care of our bodies, stay in shape and stay injury free. It helps to have a good lifestyle. ”

Tyson Dux is ready for action.

One of his frequent opponents over the years has been Jesse Scott who has gone by the identities of J.T. Playa and Tiberious King. “Back then he was good, but he was nowhere near the calibre he is now,” said Scott. “Something changed in him and he took it up so many gears. If he wants to go then he will go. There aren’t too many guys who can really keep up with him. ”

Globetrotting wrestler, podcaster and entrepreneur Colt Cabana has high praise for Dux. “I have been wrestling for 15 years now and Tyson Dux is someone I still look up to. I think he is an unbelievable performer,” said Cabana. “We were always on two separate paths, but he was always making waves and doing incredible things for himself. You could tell he was just one of those guys who was just trying to get a break. A lot of us assumed it was just a matter of time before Tyson got his break and now he is not a young pup, but he is still wrestling at the same level that he has for the past 16 years. It’s not like he is this old vet on the card. If you are on a card with Tyson Dux he is going to be the hardest worker on the show. He is going to look the part and be one of the top professionals there. A lot of us think the world of Tyson. I think he deserves a big break somewhere and a lot of us will still say it is only a matter of time until the world gets to know Tyson a little better.”

When not on the road or training for his next fight Dux can be found helping the next generation of wrestlers at Border City Wrestling’s training school in Windsor, Ontario. “I am an assistant to the head trainer,” said Dux. “I like to perform, but when others ask for my insight it is not a task to do it.”

One of those wrestlers he helped along the way is former TNA star Cody Deaner. “I’ve wrestled Tyson Dux more times than I can count. Every time I wrestle him, I learn something,” recalled Deaner. “He’s the guy who helped me learn about how this business really works.”

While some young wrestlers might have shied away from a veteran wrestler picking apart his matches, Deaner embraced Dux’s knowledge. “When I was still very green about 12 years ago, he sat me down and explained to me why my matches sucked,” said Deaner. “Some guys might take offense to that. I didn’t. I got it. I understood. It was my first A-HA moment in wrestling. From that moment on, I really started to grow as a professional wrestler, and I really started to learn my craft properly. That’s all because of Tyson Dux.”

The always intense Tyson Dux.

Dux reflected on the changing landscape of independent wrestling in Ontario over the last decade and a half. “When I started the talent was terrible,” remembered Dux. “Guys like Derek Wylde, ‘Showtime’ Eric Young and Cody Deaner we changed Ontario wrestling to what it is today.”

Wrestler and southern Ontario wrestling promoter Jesse Scott remembers Dux’s impact many years ago on the Ontario circuit. “When I came in the best guys back then were Jack Damage, Tornado, Tyson Dux, Derek Wylde and Eric Young,” said Scott. “If all of those guys were on the same show it was a good show.”

Today he looks out at Ontario wrestlers and he proudly sees a crop of fighters who are some of the best around. “Ontario compared to the world? I would say book anyone in Ontario and book the crap out of the kids we have,” said Dux. “What we have is the most talented bunch of young wrestlers on the planet.”

Tyson Dux tortures Brent Banks.

Two of those young wrestlers who have been influenced by the Godfather of Ontario wrestling are Sebastian Suave and Brent Banks. “My first impression of Tyson was when I was a student at BCW. I was about to have my first match in Timmins, Ontario, with Brent Banks when the veterans of the locker room Tyson Dux and El Tornado came up to us to give us advice,” recalled Suave. “I specifically remember coming through the curtain after the match and those two were waiting for us, clapping for us and hugging us. He spent about half an hour giving us advice. It’s something he doesn’t have to do. Every time I mention to him, ‘Why are you so helpful?’ He says to me, ‘Other people helped me and it is my job to keep Ontario and Canada wrestling strong. It is my job to make the future strong. When you ask, “What can I do?” I would want you to do that for the next generation.'”

Brent Banks is very thankful for the guidance the veteran grappler has provided. “[Tyson Dux] is definitely the Godfather of Ontario wrestling,” said Banks at a recent Smash Wrestling show in Toronto. “Ever since my first match in Ontario he has been right there in the ring helping me, making sure everything is polished and to be ready to go for the show. He helps everyone. He is so very humble. Every time I have a match I go to him and ask him what he thinks and what I can improve on. He is right there willing to help.”

Suave is a young wrestler who is thrilled to follow Dux’s example. “It is a selfless act. He doesn’t do it for himself; he does it for the sport. He loves the boys and girls in the locker room,” said Suave. “You always see Tyson watching others. You see him preaching and teaching what he has been watching. He is always learning and trying to better himself. If after 17 years he is still learning and honing his craft who are we to not keep learning after only a couple of years.”

One of those up and comers that Dux highly rates is “Psycho” Mike Rollins. “He has the tools and the mind,” said Dux. “Sometimes his life gets in the way. I hope he sticks it out.”

Tyson Dux has stuck it out. At every stop he has proven that he is a star ready for the next level. After all these years in the ring he has finally entered his first year of full-time employment in professional wrestling. The Godfather of Ontario wrestling might still be given an offer he can’t refuse in one of wrestling’s major promotions.

— with files from Greg Oliver