Oakdale High School alumni Matt Vandagriff has made a name for himself on the independent wrestling circuit since he left town. He has wrestled internationally and has been climbing the ranks in the independent wrestling world. Late March/early April is typically the busiest time of year as it is ‘WrestleMania’ season. For Vandagriff, along with thousands of other grapplers, the much anticipated spring push has been postponed due to COVID-19.
“All shows have been canceled or postponed. This time of year, it is very busy for us. We all want to wrestle as much as possible, especially WrestleMania time,” said Vandagriff. “It’s been a tough time to say the least.”
Vandagriff had a packed schedule for the next several weeks before the pandemic took over. He had shows booked in various cities including San Francisco, San Jose, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and even in Mexico.
“It started to sink in when my phone was going off from promoters and fellow wrestlers started calling me that shows were being postponed or cancelled altogether. That’s a tough pill to swallow.”
Vandagriff had over a dozen appearances scheduled for the next few weeks. To make matters worse, he recently purchased several hundred dollars’ worth of new wrestling gear.
Although his in ring work has been put to an abrupt halt, he works in construction to pay his bills and put food on the table. He is currently working in Las Vegas.
“I’ve been doing this for a while, when I can get it. It helps during this time but to be honest it is slowing down too,” he admitted.
Vandagriff noted that the coronavirus has had a major effect on the business at all levels, just as it has impacted sporting events worldwide.
Vandagriff is remaining in shape by working out from home and training when he is not on the construction site. He is remaining positive and looking forward to in ring action when it returns.
“Hopefully this all gets squared away soon so we can all return to our everyday lives and get back to work. I hope this is a wake-up call for everyone and that we no longer take things for granted,” Vandagriff said. “As far as myself, I have been training and feel good. I am ready to get back to wrestling.”
Some of Vandagriff’s latest work included him competing in Mexico for AAA. “It’s always great to wrestle in Mexico. The wrestling culture and atmosphere is always great. The fans are great and I wrestled there in January and was scheduled to return too. Like I said earlier, I hope this is all over soon so we can travel and get back to business.”