Jessie Godderz has parlayed the notoriety he received as a cast member on the CBS reality show “Big Brother” into a burgeoning career in professional wrestling.
The 29-year-old bodybuilder turned grappler first found success in TNA Impact Wrestling with his tag team partner Robbie E. The BroMans have since gone their separate ways, and after three years with the company, “Mr. Pec-Tacular” is looking to strike it big on his own.
An opportunity to do just that is a breakout performance within the Future 4 Group of the World Title Series, an ongoing tournament to crown a new champion Wednesdays at 9/8CT on Destination America.
“I think this is a blessing for everyone,” Godderz said. “A chance for anyone and everyone to showcase their abilities in matches they probably would never have had before. That’s why every single time I’m out there, I want to prove myself. I’m the future of Impact Wrestling and the leader of my group. It’s all uphill from here.”
A chance meeting with the legendary Ric Flair at a Gold’s Gym in California launched Godderz’ journey into the business. A few months later, the youngster was packing up his belongings and moving cross-country to Florida for training.
Over time he picked up fundamentals and honed his skills under the likes of Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley, Danny Davis, Al Snow and Rip Rogers. The native Iowan also attributes his success to his parents providing him with a solid foundation.
“When it comes to peer pressure and people are trying to influence you, I’ve been able to handle that all the way back to high school with drugs and underage drinking,” Godderz said. “I don’t do any of that stuff. I was always able to respond the right way just because of my upbringing.”
Watching The Miz’s success from MTV’s “Real World” to WWE also served as an early confidence boaster.
“You can never close the door on anything,” Godderz said. “Everything is truly possible if you put forth the effort and find out what you have to do to put yourself in the best position to succeed. I got to sit down and talk to him. He said, ‘You are going to hear a lot of no’s. Just don’t listen to them.’ It’s a lot easier to say no and destroy something than to build something. Just like any company or career, all the effort is in the start-up and learning to weather any storm.
“I knew the way my physique was, my athletic ability and the fact I was already on a reality show back then on CBS — the No. 1 show over the summer,” he continues. “I thought I would be able to take my chances and try my hand at professional wrestling. I had always loved it, but I knew these guys were massive giants. They were these larger-than-life characters I saw on Saturday mornings. I always had that passion, but I’m still a realist. I saw these guys as mountains of men. I didn’t see myself as them until I saw that reality TV star taking off.”
Coming into the locker rooms, the upstart knew there would be some who thought he wouldn’t take the profession seriously. However, Godderz gravitated to wrestlers like Rob Conway who knew his bodybuilding background and the discipline it took to maintain such a physique.
“I’ve been wrestling for seven years come February, but when I walked into TNA, people may have thought it was just a one-off and I’m just here for a cup of coffee,” Godderz said. “Now traveling down the road and on different tours, I’m seeing the new guys coming in and I’m no longer this newcomer. I think the hodgepodge of the guys and girls we have is great with those coming from promotions across the world. There is a mutual respect. Everybody has the common goal, and we are all having fun the entire time.
“When I first started out it might have been like I stayed in my little spot and worried about not stepping on anybody’s toes, but everyone was welcoming. Guys like Robbie E. being with him, he is obviously a character in itself. He brings a whole new aspect to it. It was an easy transition as soon as I started. There wasn’t any hazing or having to change somewhere else. I was just one of the guys. We all just went to work and are worrying more about putting on the best product we could possibly put on.”
The BroMans were seen as comic fodder early on, but their matches with The Wolves helped change fans’ perceptions of them. The duo, who also eventually added DJ Z to their group, won the tag-team titles twice before splitting up.
Now, Godderz is dedicated to perfecting his narcissistic persona and hopes to build momentum with it moving forward in the World Title Series.
“I think the matches speak for themselves and the direction I’m going in my career,” he said. “It’s upward and onward and about showcasing my talent, as well as showing more of me. I like to convey that I am ‘The Man.’ All the accolades and everything I’ve accrued right now, I walk out there with that same confidence. I want to show that this is my time now. …It’s like I finally hatched out of this egg. Everyone was waiting for it to happen. The tag team was a beautiful time. I loved the time with Robbie and learned a lot, but I also knew a lot before that. I’m a finely crafted vehicle. I’m the Ferrari of professional wrestling.”
His look helped him secure the role of Lightning Rod in Snowfall, a new John Singleton project for FX. Godderz is appreciative of fellow wrestler Chavo Guerrero for letting him in on the opportunity.
“If anybody knows who John Singleton is, this is one of the top directors in Los Angeles, and I got to work with him,” Godderz said. “Just seeing the way he works, it was a learning experience every single day. You just walk to set every day and watch how he handled the different actors and the way he gave advice. That’s something I’m able to take with me for the rest of my life.”
Photos Courtesy: TNA Entertainment