Brewton-Parker College wrestler Hunter Young leaps over an opponent as his alter ego, “The Wrestling Saint.” Young, a senior, is a Christian Studies major contemplating entering the ministry. YOUTUBE SCREEN GRAB
In some ways Hunter Young is a lot like his peers. The senior at Brewton-Parker is looking forward to graduation and he gets to do a little speaking that helps him prepare for life after college when he’ll try to put his degree in Christian Studies to good use. But while most of his peers are speaking in youth group rooms or behind pulpits, Hunter employs a different platform.
He uses a wrestling ring.
Most kids admire superheroes. Eventually, they outgrow this obsession. Occasionally, you’ll find an adult or two who is still enamored with their childhood hero. And then there are those rare occasions when the child grows up to become a lot like the hero he admired. Such is the case for Hunter Young.
Young’s childhood hero was a professional wrestler named Mark William Calaway. Wrestling fans know Calaway by his stage name – The Undertaker. Now, on the Georgia independent wrestling scene, there are fans who know Hunter Young by his stage name – The Wrestling Saint.
Young’s professional wrestling career started after high school when a friend invited him to train a couple of times a month. One day, while setting up a ring for a show, the two young men did what any other red-blooded American males would do after setting up a wrestling ring – they started goofing around with some of the wrestling moves they had learned.
One of the wrestlers on the card that night saw the two dropping elbows and going for leg locks. So, he invited them to perform in a match that night before the official show got started.
“We were scared out of our minds to say the least,” Young says of the experience, but everything went well, and we were invited back for the next show.
“From there other promoters from other promotions heard about us. It has led to us wrestling [for] several different promotions in multiple countries, cities, and small towns.”
And just like that, The Wrestling Saint was born.
Love Jesus, love wrestling
Wrestling names always mirror some aspect of the real-life personality of the wrestler. It’s been said that the Stone Cold Steve Austin character is a lot like Austin’s real-life personality, just turned up a few notches. The same could be said for The Wrestling Saint. Young says that the name fits because, “I love Jesus and I love wrestling.”
The future is uncertain for Hunter Young. Whether he goes the route of the pulpit or the squared circle remains to be seen. But one thing is certain. The two professions have much more in common than one might think.
“In both wrestling and pastoral ministry, you are interacting with people you may or may not know,” Young says. “In both, you are trying to lead people somewhere by telling them a story through your words or actions. In both, you can use the platform you are given to give the glory back to God. In both, you have a great witnessing opportunity to lead others to Christ.
“Most importantly I always like to think that ‘where there are people, there is ministry.’”
And sometimes, where there are people, there are challenges. Regardless of what path is chosen, The Wrestling Saint is ready for any that come his way.
Jay Sanders serves as pastor of Towaliga Baptist Church in Jackson and a contributing writer for The Christian Index. He can be reached at email@example.com.