Wrestling greats like Eddie Guerrero, Mike Awesome, Road Warrior Hawk, Chris Benoit and many more have succumbed to horrible fates mainly due to the difficulty of maintaining their bodies after being in wrestling for a long period of time.
For years a dark cloud has engulfed professional wrestlers when it comes to their latter years, but after reading Rick Bognar’s Wrestling With Consciousness it’s very refreshing to see that there are wrestlers who are able to find peace after their wrestling career is over.
Bognar, 6’6, 290 lbs, was known to most wrestling fans as the Fake Razor Ramon, appearing on World Wrestling Entertainment television during late 1996 after the original Razor Ramon, Scott Hall, left WWE to wrestle for World Championship Wrestling.
Bognar’s stint in WWE did not last long as he reveals in the book that WWE boss Vince McMahon Jr. only wanted to prove to Hall that he made the character and that he could easily do whatever he wanted with the character. Bognar believes McMahon has a God complex, the same McMahon who created his religion ‘McMahonism’ and who wrestled and defeated God on pay-per-view.
Bognar also found success in Extreme Championship Wrestling. He wrestled mainly as Rick Titan until ECW boss Paul Heyman saw his Razor Ramon impersonation and got McMahon’s attention. Bognar believes his WWE career ended thanks to the departure of Bret Hart with the company in 1997. Bognar’s theory looks tight—a lot of WWE talent that were friends with Hart were released not too long after Hart’s jump to wCw.
Bognar did find quite a bit of success wrestling in Japan, where he explains his friendship with Awesome, who was also quite popular in Japan. Bognar explains that he was not a stiff wrestler, but when the time asked for it and if the time and place was right, he was no stranger to it. Unfortunately in Japan he saw his career slowly drifting away as his only hope was a “maybe you go to wCw” from his Japanese bosses. Bognar did not even get that chance as he suffered a terrible neck injury that left him with two cracked vertebrae, ending his career.
Bognar is extremely honest when he talks about how careless he was with his money, how egoistical he was asking for stuff because he was Razor Ramon and how he had prima donna girlfriends who loved him when times were great, but played Houdini when times weren’t. When he discusses his dark times, such as his painkiller abuse period, it really shows that Bognar did not just wake up one morning and changed his ways, he learned the hard way.
With life experience and Buddha techniques, Bognar now believes that in order to be happy one needs to be happy with themselves. He finds self-improvement requires courage and work because it’s not just going to happen. Surrounding yourself with happiness is one thing, but you also need to keep up with what is going on around you in the world, something Bognar calls ‘suffering of change’.
Bognar found that at 29 years of age, he still had a whole life to live. After his wrestling career, Bognar met Lisa, a woman who he felt melted into their energy. Once he got past “Are you gay?” he soon found the love that he always wanted in life.
Wrestling With Consciousness is a short autobiography featuring a few random black and white pictures of Bognar during and after his time in the squared circle. Wrestling historians will be in an uproar over Bognar’s retelling of the Survivor Series 1997 screwjob—Bret getting pinned and then yelling at Earl Hebner is not exactly what happened. However, Bognar’s tale should be a leading example for wrestlers and different types of celebrities who fall from grace and have trouble picking up the pieces of their lives.
Wrestling With Consciousness
By Rick Bognar