The year just past, 2017, had its share of great matches, with many four-star, five-star and even six-star matches from bouts around the globe. There’s one wrestler who wasn’t in the national spotlight, though, producing consistently-great matches. Meet Jeremy Wyatt.
Wyatt may not be a household name nationally, but his talent is on par with any professional wrestler in any promotion.
Wyatt has carved out a career mostly on the Midwest independent scene but now wrestles exclusively for the National Wrasslin League, based in Kansas City, Missouri. Wyatt has been the champion of the 3XWrestling promotion in Iowa, the Central States Champion and Metro Pro Wrestling champion.
“Not only is Jeremy Wyatt a great athlete, he also has one of the best minds for the business. He is so underrated on a national level that’s its criminal!,” said NWL tag team champion Michael Strider.
Wyatt was born June 26, 1978, in Kansas City, Missouri, and has lived in Kansas City his entire life. He went to Raytown High School (a suburb of Kansas City), excelled in football as a wide receiver, making second team All Conference and All District his senior year and drew some interest from Northwest Missouri State University, Central Missouri State and Mid American Nazarene. Wyatt claims baseball was his best sport, but he was bored with the sport and never played for his high school team, instead playing for summer league teams.
Raised by his father who worked mostly nights, Wyatt played sports with his friends and discovered professional wrestling when he was five or six years old. “My all-time favorite was Sting, followed by Macho Man Randy Savage. I was always drawn to those two because their gear was always so colorful and they had ridiculous amounts of charisma. I met Sting once after a show at Memorial Hall and he talked to me for a good five minutes or so. I was 11 at the time and he was already my favorite and that experience sealed the deal,” Wyatt reminisced.
When Wyatt was younger, he went to every show that came to town. “My friends and I would sit in either the first or second row, and we would always start chants. When you’re a kid, and everyone joins in, you think you’re the coolest kids in the building.”
There are plenty of memories from those shows. “There was a show at Municipal (Municipal Auditorium) and we were in the second row,” said Wyatt. “My dad’s friend took us. He got a little liquored up and ended up dumping an entire beer on Rick Rude during a match with Roddy Piper. Security came over, but no one would point him out since he was with ‘the kids starting all the chants,’ everyone said it was ‘some guy that went running back that way.'”
Wyatt started training in St. Joseph, Missouri in 2001 with Steve Estes. From Estes, Wyatt learned to bump and other basics, but Estes had a poor reputation in the wrestling industry which hurt Wyatt when he tried to get bookings. “I was grateful for the opportunity to get my foot in the door, but I should’ve done more thorough research and went somewhere more reputable,” he said. “Steve had such a bad rep that I was guilty by association, and had a stigma placed on me in the area. Once I was able to get on some shows that didn’t involve him, which took a few years, people saw I was decent enough to get some opportunities.”
Once the doors to the independent scene were opened, the 6-foot-1, 290-pound Wyatt started working matches in NWA Central States. “Michael Strider (fellow Foundation member) was one of the guys to vouch for me and push for someone to give me an opportunity. He had some pull at NWA Central States,” Wyatt remembered fondly.
Many have seen Wyatt progress from those early days, including Ace Steel/ “Wyatt is this area’s best kept secret. I wish he had traveled more early on. He has a really good mind for wrestling. His work right now is top notch,” said Steel.
Metro Pro Wrestling owner Chris Gough, who also was a WWE writer for a stretch, thinks Wyatt has tons of potential. “When I met Jeremy Wyatt back in 2010, he was already a well-known wrestler in the Midwest. Since then, he has become the best wrestler I’ve seen who has not signed a deal with WWE or any other national/international company,” said Gough. “When I ran Metro Pro Wrestling for six years, he was the best champion I had, and he was the backbone of the company. The years he was on top were the best years we ever had.”
Wyatt has had some opportunities through the years. “I had a stretch where I went down to Florida in 2010-2011 and had a chance to wrestle Tyler Black (Seth Rollins) to a 30-minute draw when he was ROH champion,” recalled Wyatt. “I’ve also had a couple of matches with Christopher Daniels that I’m really proud of. Daniels is the guy who drew me to independent wrestling. He is the guy that really stood out to me, so he ended up becoming my ‘dream match’ back then.”
Blending his athleticism along with the ability to work his opponent’s strengths helps Wyatt tell a compelling story in his matches. It’s a old school approach that works perfectly in the NWL. “The best thing I’ve ever done was go to a day long seminar with Nick Dinsmore in summer of 2008. I was floundering a bit, not improving at the clip I wanted. The way he explained things just seemed to click. Literally felt like a light bulb coming on. From that day on, I think my work, and the way I did things changed, very much for the better,” Wyatt explained.
When working against a giant brawler like Jack Foster, Wyatt incorporated Foster’s ability to fight and punch into the match, leading to a spot where Foster hit his hand against the steel ring post and “injured” his hand the rest of the match. Wyatt worked spots against the injured hand into the match, reminiscent of the nostalgic Andersons tag team who would injure a body part and work their entire match around the injured body part.
Gough praises Wyatt in and out of the ring. “In NWL, he’s a very respected ring general who isn’t the most vocal leader, but definitely leads by example. He’s one of the reasons I continue to enjoy working in wrestling,” said Gough, now an NWL executive. “It’s the details that make him the best. Every move and decision he makes in the ring has a purpose. Every sequence is part of a story. Wyatt can make you believe he can take down a man twice his size because he understands psychology as well as anyone.”
His versatility was evident in a feud with rookie Anthony “Sharkbait” Gutierrez. Gutierrez is a former MMA fighter who is athletic but transitioning into professional wrestling. Wyatt worked MMA spots into the match for Gutierrez to shine when he was on offense and made the match believable and competitive.
The chameleon-like ability to change is a skill, said Strider. “Jeremy is the hardest worker I’ve ever met. He’s continuously working on improving as a wrestler and is obsessed with having different matches for different scenarios. There’s no such thing as a ‘standard Wyatt match.'”
Everything Wyatt does has purpose. Two of Wyatt’s moniker’s is the “Monarch” and the “King of Kansas City.” Engraved on his long trunks is the head of a lion; the “Monarch” and “King of the Jungle.” What many fans may not realize is Wyatt is a huge baseball fan and the Monarch name is also a tribute to the old Negro baseball league team that was based in Kansas City, the Kansas City Monarchs.
“I do put a lot of thought into things, I’m going to work a match differently if it’s just a one off against someone than I would if it’s the first match of a new feud. And the same goes with the first match of a feud would be worked differently than the blow off. Just like with matches, building and telling a story, I like doing the same (probably even more so) with a long drawn out feud. I think I’ve developed a pretty good idea what works, what doesn’t. I think I process things pretty well as far as how to feel out the crowd. Sometimes you have an idea, if they’re not digging it, you have to be able to adjust. I never go into a match thinking I have to do anything for sake of doing it. If it fits into the story, cool. If not, I don’t need to force a square peg in a round hole,” Wyatt explained.
Despite being one of the best wrestlers in the Midwest, Wyatt has never really pursued a chance to wrestle for a national promotion. Married with a good job in town as the receiving manager at Brookside Market, he’s content. “Wrestling, as much as I love it, has never been the be all, end all for me. I am happy with my life, and I never felt the need to make certain sacrifices that would be needed to ‘make it’ in wrestling.”