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Colt Cabana is a unique case study as a wrestler. In his decades-long career, he has worked for some of the biggest, most popular promotions, but he’s also taken indie bookings all across the United States and wrestled in many countries all over the world. He’s a well-respected worker inside the ring and is generally well-liked in the locker room, with the one major exception being CM Punk. All that considered, he has managed to make an even greater impact outside of the ring due in large part to his success in podcasting and his overall entrepreneurial savvy. Truly, the wrestling landscape, especially in the indies, would look very different today without "Boom Boom."
Cabana’s life both in and outside of the ring is incredibly fascinating, making him one of wrestling’s most interesting characters. That is really saying something in an industry that is full of some pretty out of this world personalities. From his ring accolades to personal details and everywhere in between, here are 12 facts about Colt Cabana only hardcore fans know.
Cabana has two other podcasts other than The Art of Wrestling
Cabana is, of course, renowned for his podcast "The Art of Wrestling," which premiered in 2010. The podcast continues to run well-over a decade later, and it has amassed nearly 500 episodes and counting. While "The Art of Wrestling" is clearly his most popular podcast venture, Cabana has two other podcasts under his belt.
"Pro Wrestling Fringe" was a 13-episode series launched in 2016 that explored lesser-known stories from wrestling’s often insane past. Episodes were about 20 minutes each with the podcast series touching on a number of incredible tales, from the surreal saga of Tom Magee to the ’80s and ’90s boom of Japanese women’s wrestling.
"Wrestling Anonymous" is a podcast Cabana launched during the coronavirus pandemic that’s very much a sister show to "The Art of Wrestling." Instead of highlighting stories from wrestlers, Cabana highlights wrestling fans who call his hotline with their very random stories of things they experienced at wrestling shows over the years.
He made his NJPW debut decades into his wrestling career
If there’s one thing many Colt Cabana fans know is that the guy definitely "makes his towns." He’s wrestled nearly everywhere imaginable, but it took him decades into his career to make his New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW) debut.
Following appearances at NJPW-related events in the USA, Cabana’s official NJPW debut in Japan took place in March 2019 as part of the promotion’s single-elimination New Japan Cup tournament. He was one of 32 wrestlers in the New Japan Cup that year competing for the opportunity for a title match for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. Cabana defeated Togi Makabe in his first match of the tournament. His second match was against Toru Yano in a comedy wrestler vs. comedy wrestler/salesman vs. salesman bout for the ages. His third match in the tournament was a loss against SANADA, which resulted in his elimination. On top of his singles matches, Cabana also took part in a number of multi-man tag matches on days of the tournament that helped fill out the undercard.
He’s authored a children’s book
Cabana is clearly a creative force, and he once took his upbeat energy to the world of children’s literature. He co-wrote a very cute children’s book titled "Wrestling Dreams." The book’s other author was Erica Weisz, who also contributed the book’s illustrations. "Wrestling Dreams" explores Cabana’s own story of falling in love with wrestling as a child and eventually going after his dream of being a professional wrestler.
In an interview with the "Orlando Sentinel" about the book, Cabana said, "I love the idea of helping to bring my love of wrestling to young people. It’s a book I wish I had when I was that age. I’m excited for adults to read it to their children or with their children. It can bring kids a love of wrestling, a love of reading and education. Nothing but positivity can come out of this."
As one would expect, "Wrestling Dreams" is available for purchase via Cabana’s official merch website aptly named ColtMerch.com, as well as other major book retailers including Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million.
The reason why he went to OVW instead of Deep South after signing with WWE
Cabana spent nearly two years under contract with WWE from April 2007 to February 2009. Shortly after signing, he went to Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW) in Kentucky, one of the developmental territories associated with WWE before the launch of Florida Championship Wrestling which became "NXT." During his time in OVW, Cabana engaged in a fierce rivalry with Shawn Spears over the OVW Television Championship, which Cabana won once, and Spears won three times. Cabana was also a two-time OVW Southern Tag Team Champion with the first reign coming with Spears and the second with Charles "The Hammer" Evans.
One of the other territories associated with WWE at the time was Deep South Wrestling in Georgia. In a March 2018 interview with Fightful, Cabana shared he was able to choose which territory he went to and why he chose OVW. "I had the choice of going to Louisville or Atlanta, and I knew [coach/trainer] Bill Demott was in Atlanta," said Cabana. "I heard what he was doing to the guys down there, and I had no desire to go there, so I choose OVW."
Demott had two stints as a trainer with WWE from 2004-2007 and 2011-2015. Following accusations of misconduct ranging from using racist and homophobic slurs to physical assault against injured trainees, Demott resigned from WWE in 2015. By that time, he had become the head trainer at the WWE Performance Center.
Cabana’s one of the more notable alumni of Wrestling Society X
MTV has been the home of some very interesting, yet short-lived, programming. One of those shows was 2007’s "Wrestling Society X." The show, which only lasted 10 episodes, would open with a musical performance and then have that musician act as a guest commentator for the match card that episode. Some of the musical guests included Pitbull, Black Label Society, Good Charlotte and Academy Award-winners Three 6 Mafia.
Despite the short 10-episode run, "Wrestling Society X" featured a number of wrestlers before they made it big, including Cabana. However, Cabana went by a different ring name on the show. That name? Matt Classic (Get it?) A masked wrestler, Matt Classic’s whole gimmick was being an old-timey grappler that used old-school wrestling moves. Along with Cabana, other distinguished alumni of "Wrestling Society X" include Seth Rollins, Scorpio Sky, Jimmy Jacobs, Matt Sydal, Jack Evans and referee Rick Knox. Classic didn’t pick up any wins during the series, but he did have two notable singles matches against Sydal and Sky. Cabana took the Matt Classic gimmick to other promotions including PWG, OVW, ROH and CHIKARA.
All 10 episodes were eventually released on DVD, which features a number of extras. Various clips and other moments from the show have since made their way onto YouTube.
The rise of Pro Wrestling Tees starts with Colt Cabana
If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’ve made a purchase or two or ten at Pro Wrestling Tees, the internet wrestling community’s storefront for merch from all of your favorite active non-WWE wrestlers and retired icons. Like other successful retail operations, Pro Wrestling Tees had humble beginnings. Pro Wrestling Tees is an offshoot of One Hour Tees based in Chicago. As the legend goes according to a feature published by "Sports Illustrated," CM Punk needed a shirt to wear on a 2010 episode of "SmackDown" that said "I Broke Big Show’s Hand." Cabana told then-friend Punk about the local custom t-shirt shop. Cabana then requested some shirts of his own, which led to more business for One Hour Tees.
Ryan Barkan, owner of One Hour Tees and Pro Wrestling Tees, told "Sports Illustrated," "Then Colt introduced me to Joey Ryan, the Young Bucks, and Kevin [Owens] Steen, and I started printing shirts for all of them. In 2013, I thought of creating a website where wrestlers could sell their merchandise online and we’d ship it all over the world. The wrestlers could network with each other, and with Colt’s help, he gave us a lot of credibility."
The rest, as they say, is very profitable history. On top of Pro Wrestling Tees’s main site, when fans visit ShopAEW.com, they will see at the top of the page the Shop AEW logo with "Powered by Pro Wrestling Tees" underneath.
He’s held some very prestigious titles and one title you might not expect
Like plenty of wrestlers before him, Cabana seemingly lives by Johnny Cash’s "I’ve Been Everywhere." He’s taken bookings at a wide range of wrestling promotions of varying sizes all over the world. As a result, he’s collected a number of titles.
As previously mentioned, he won the OVW Television Championship once and the OVW Southern Tag Team Championship on two occasions during his days at OVW when he was signed with WWE. He’s also a two-time Ring of Honor Tag Team Champion, with both title wins being alongside CM Punk. In singles competition, he’s held both the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship and the NWA National Championship two times each. Outside of the United States, Cabana is also a two-time Ironman Heavymetalweight Champion for DDT Pro-Wrestling in Japan and won the ICW Tag Team Championship with Grado in the Scotland-based Insane Championship Wrestling.
All of those titles come from notable promotions, but one championship to Cabana’s name will likely raise eyebrows. In July 2011, Cabana won the JCW Heavyweight Championship, the main title of indie promotion Juggalo Championship Wrestling. JCW was founded in 1999 by Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope, better known as the rap duo Insane Clown Posse. The promotion is still running today.
Cabana played division I college football
Cabana played Division I football for Western Michigan University in the Mid-American Conference (MAC.) According to a May 2018 feature piece by the "Chicago Tribune," Cabana was a standout on his varsity football team at Deerfield High School in Deerfield, Illinois. Despite that, he wanted to skip college and go straight to wrestling training, but his parents told him to get a college degree and then get into wrestling. He told the "Chicago Tribune" of his college football experience, "I wanted it on my wrestling resume. When I was wrestling on TV, I wanted them to be able to say I went to a Division 1A school."
When asked if there was anything he took from his college football career to wrestling in a March 2018 interview with Fightful, Cabana explained he realized just how athletic he was when he transitioned from the gridiron to the squared circle. He credited this to the intense conditioning drills he had to do during his time playing for Western Michigan. He said, "For some reason I assumed when I was wrestling, I wouldn’t be able to take the conditioning. Then I got there and was like, ‘Oh, I can handle this.’"
He’s appeared/acted on a couple of notable non-wrestling television shows (and one that’s wrestling adjacent)
The bulk of Cabana’s IMDb page is made up of appearances on wrestling shows, but if you look closely, you can see some interesting credits.
He appeared on a 2015 episode of Marc Maron’s IFC show "Maron," where he played himself as a guest on Maron’s podcast. Interestingly, the plot of the episode centered around Maron trying to get in shape for an upcoming talk show pilot. His trainer? CM Punk. Awkward! In 2019, Cabana appeared on an episode of NBC’s "Chicago Fire" and is credited as Hazmat Leader. The episode has the Chicago Fire Department working with the CDC trying to figure out a sinister plot involving the intentional spread of a lethal bacteria.
Lastly, Cabana appeared on a 2022 episode of NBC’s "Young Rock," which chronicles the life of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. The episode that features Cabana is titled "Corpus Christi" and recounts Johnson’s first match for the WWF in 1996. Cabana portrays notable jobber, The Brooklyn Brawler, in the episode.
Cabana has quietly done some producing work with AEW
Considering Cabana’s decades of wrestling experience, it only seems natural he’d eventually transition into a behind-the-scenes role. It turns out he already has done some producing work with AEW.
Cabana shared on a December 2021 episode of the podcast "Into The Danger Zone w/Chris Denker" (h/t Fightful) that while he’s still an active member of the AEW roster, he’s already dabbled in being a producer. He didn’t specify which matches or segments he’s produced, but Cabana said, "As I get older, there are people like Arn Anderson, who is known as this legendary producer. Something like an agent for the wrestlers. It can be a whole new aspect of my career. ‘How do I become the best…’ maybe I’m not known as the world champion, but maybe I’m known as the world champion producer, which would only be appreciated by the wrestlers."
With AEW President and CEO Tony Khan purchasing Ring of Honor in March 2022 and Cabana’s history with that promotion, it seems as though there could be plenty of opportunities for Cabana to make his mark influencing future generations of wrestlers.
Some of his fears are frightening and a little funny
Cabana appeared on the WNYC Studios podcast "10 Things That Scare Me" in January 2019, and while there he opened up about a number of his fears. Some are frightening in the irrational sense like his fear of his apartment exploding when he’s away. Others are genuinely frightening like his body shutting down, thus, bringing an end to his career.
At the time of recording, Cabana was about to turn 40. He said how around that age is when many wrestlers start seeing signs that the end of their in-ring career is near. Cabana detailed, "The doctor says that every time we fall on the mat it’s like a tiny little car crash. I’ve wrestled in over 4000 matches, and I probably, you know, hit the mat 10 to 50 times in those matches. So, I can imagine how many little car crashes I’ve been in."
Fortunately, not all of Cabana’s fears are on that same level. For example, he’s also afraid of fish. Why? He said he thinks fish can "just gang up and eat me." How did he land on this reasoning? Cabana said, "They’re all just battling each other in the ocean. It’s just one big battle royal down there, and I’m just another thing coming in that they’re unsure of, and they’re all fending for themselves … And so, you know, here’s something they don’t know about. So, take it down and get rid of it."
Cabana’s brother is an Emmy Award-winning animation director
Cabana is very successful in his own right, but so is his brother, Greg Colton, who has made quite the name for himself in the world of animation. Colton’s impressive resume includes work on "The Powerpuff Girls," "South Park," "Dilbert" and "Invader ZIM." However, he’s best known for his work on "Family Guy." Colton’s involvement with the long-running animated series dates back to the show’s initial run on Fox for three seasons before it was canceled in 2002. The show was revived on Fox in 2004 after it developed a substantial cult following thanks to reruns airing on Adult Swim.
Colton has directed a number of "Family Guy" episodes over the years. In 2010, he won the Primetime Emmy Award for "Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation" for his work on the episode titled "Road to the Multiverse." The main plot features Brian and Stewie’s adventures traveling to various parallel universes.