For over two decades, Cassidy Riley has been a force inside the wrestling ring.
“It’s very humbling for a small town guy from Monroe, Louisiana, to be able to travel the world and be paid to do it to win championships, ” says professional wrestler Cassidy Riley.
During his career, he’s won 30 titles from nine different organizations. But, if you ask Riley the biggest moment that stands out:
“Probably defeating Jerry Lawler on TV in Memphis, ” Riley reflects. “Very few people have been able to pull that off in their career.”
His love for wrestling came at a young age. It was thanks to a magazine, and a special gift from his family.
“My aunt and my mother made me a pair of wrestling tights for Christmas, ” Riley recalls. “I was probably six, seven, eight years old, somewhere in there. And, I was at my cousin’s house and he had some Pro Wrestling Illustrated magazines. There was Abdullah the Butcher, who was a 400 pound African-American wrestler. And, I immediately got hooked.”
After winning a state football championship with Oak Grove in 1991, Cassidy attacked wrestling head on. At the peak of his adventure, he signed with WWE. But, in 2008 Cassidy suffered a set back.
“I got let go from WWE, ” says Riley. “[I] also broke my neck. I realized I was going to have to have a back up plan eventually.”
And, that plan turned into a career in the medical field.
“My grandmother, who was a big influence in my life, she knew I cared genuinely about people, ” says Riley. “She saw that side of me. So, that’s why she always kind of hinted she wouldn’t mind seeing me do that.”
Riley, a registered nurse at Glenwood Hospital is forced to take down his biggest opponent yet, COVID-19.
“We’ll have days where it seems to slow down a little bit, ” says Riley. “And, I kind of think we’re getting a handle on this and then we’ll have a resurgence.”
The spread of coronavirus has taken an emotional toll on Riley and his Glenwood family.
“It’s very hard for the patients and the families, both not being able to be there, especially during such a vulnerable time when these people are so sick, ” says Riley.
Cassidy Riley’s supporters have been in his corner in the wrestling ring. Now, they’re with him and his coworkers during the biggest fight of all.
“Everybody came together in the parking lot, and had their flashers on, ” Riley remembers. “And, [they] were praying for us. To walk out, to walk out and see that sight, it was just very emotional.”