Cell phone salesman grapples for attention of pro wrestling

Friday, September 13, 2002

WANT TO GO?

WHAT: WRESTLING TOUR OF DEFIANCE

WHEN: 7:30 P.M. TODAY

WHERE: SAVVIS CENTER, ST. LOUIS

FOR MORE: CALL 314-241-1888

THE HELLION

By Sam Blackwell ~ Southeast Missourian

JACKSON, Mo. -- Tonight husband, father of two and cellular phone service salesman Bill Moore becomes The Hellion.

The 36-year-old Jackson resident is one of five chosen from more than 100 entries to take part in radio station KSHE's Tough Enough promotion in St. Louis. He and the other wanna-be wrestlers each will get 30 seconds in the ring at the Savvis Center. Their goal is to strut and bellow their way into the hearts of the screaming fans there to see World Wrestling Entertainment's Tour of Defiance. The crowd favorite will return later in the night to play the role of guest manager in a match between WWE stars. Among those on the bill are Rick Flair and Molly Holly.

Moore took his wrestling name from a song by the heavy metal band Judas Priest. His "gimmick" will be to project a persona that crosses heavy metal with a modern Indian warrior.

"It's almost a galactic type," he says.

Moore is a 6-foot-5-inch, 235-pound Harley-Davidson-riding wrestling fan who could only have fantasized about doing this 10 months ago. He has psoriatic arthritis, a disabling disease that combines the symptoms of arthritis and psoriasis, a chronic skin disease.

"When it ballooned up there were nights I had to go straight to bed when I got home," he says. "I couldn't move."

His wife, Julie, sometimes had to help him remove his shoes.

Getting in shape

Moore always has lifted weights, but after injuring himself lifting two years ago his weight zoomed to 310 pounds. Inspired by wrestling idols like The Ultimate Warrior, he dedicated himself to getting back in shape.

He does 1,000 crunches every morning to warm up for his two-hour workout. "I never miss a workout," he says, "and I work out very intensely. There are not many people who can keep up with me in a workout."

A healthier diet and working out make the arthritis easier to handle.

Moore was a football lineman in high school at Fox of Arnold but not a wrestler. His grandfather, the late John Glass of Poplar Bluff, Mo., got him interested. He went to wrestling at Kiel Auditorium in St. Louis, and they would watch match after match together on TV. When two matches were on at the same time they would watch on two TVs.

Moore didn't tell his wife he had entered the contest until he found out on Tuesday that he was one of the finalists.

"I was kind of shocked at first," she said. "My jaw dropped to the ground."

But she doesn't have any difficulty imagining her husband in the bigger-than-life world of professional wrestling.

"He has a unique personality anyway. He has a commanding personality. He complements me in that way."

Neither she nor her husband rule out the possibility that tonight could lead to other opportunities in professional wrestling.

"I could see him doing it," she said.

As a salesman, Moore is accustomed to making cold calls. He views tonight as a sales call he is going to try to make the most of.

"This is a ground-floor opportunity for me," he says.

"... I'm going to press on from there."

Julie and their daughters, Tara and Rachael, will be at the Savvis Center tonight along with six other family members. He just wishes his grandfather could see him now.

sblackwell@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 182

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