“At 14 months old I was diagnosed with cancer.”
Bobby Starr is well known in the Oklahoma wrestling territory for his achievements in the ring, but most fans that cheer or boo him have no idea about the battles he has fought and won in his early years as a child. Starr’s worst injury in the ring was a broken wrist in two places in a match that he finished with only one good hand. But that’s nothing to what Starr battled as a youngster.
“Growing up I had a lot of health issues. I had cancer until I was around 11 or 12. During most of them years it was touch and go, a very small chance at survival. My older brother was really into wrestling and I would sit there with him and watch it. Over time, that's all I would watch, with or without him. I guess I would look at these guys and seeing them do battle. That helped me fight my illness. It gave me something to dream about when I grew up. I told myself many times and also family, friends and my doctors that I was gonna be a pro wrestler when I grow up,” Starr remembered.
“So with me being sick and whatever comes with being sick with cancer, I really didn't have time for sports at school or much of a social life. I was always trapped in bed or trapped at the hospital. So when I finally beat cancer I went somewhat crazy. I grew up in Oklahoma City until around age 12 then I moved to Wichita, Kansas,” Starr continued.
It was in Kansas that Starr would start out the same way that many other grapplers initially get their toes wet in professional wrestling and also where he would find a comrade in arms, someone who had similar goals and aspirations about entertaining fans in the squared circle.
“Wichita was where I met a good friend of mine. He would later wrestle under the name of Chris Chaos throughout Oklahoma. As far as how I got into the business, it was a very strange road. I started ‘wrestling’ like a lot of us do, playing wrestling in a backyard. My friends and I would start putting on shows in my backyard. None of us had any training what so ever. We all had fun, but for Chaos and I, we wanted more than just having fun in our backyard. So without any knowledge about anything in wrestling, Chaos and I had seen that there was a wrestling show in Oklahoma City and we wanted to be a part of it.”
As luck would have it, the show Starr was going to see was none other than Impact Zone Wrestling (IZW), Oklahoma’s premier wrestling organization.
“In 2007, we drove down to IZW, when IZW used to run shows in Oklahoma City. At the time, we didn't know how going on this trip would change everything. Chaos and I asked for a tryout match. After a bit of talking and a permission slip signed by my mom, having just turned 17, we went out there and thought we were the greatest they had ever seen. In reality, we stunk up the joint pretty bad. Coach Tool and Brad Michaels let us know we had a few things right, but a lot of things wrong. We were given an opportunity to come and train with IZW, but we were full of ourselves and just went back to Wichita,” Starr continued.
After continuing to run shows in Wichita, Starr continued to keep an ear out for a way to train and become a legitimate professional wrestler. That diligence led to a meeting with “Killer” Karl Krueger who had wrestled in Oklahoma and Kansas.
“Around this time, Chaos and I started getting really caught up with the wrestling bug. We wanted a ring. We found one on sale by ‘Nightmare’ Ted Allen and bought it. He brought it to my house and he showed us how to set it up. He ran us through a few drills and went on his way after a few hours sleep on my living room floor. When he left we could see the benefits we had with having our own ring to train in. So Karl would come by a few times a week and just run us through drills. Finally, the day came when Karl came to me and told me he was able to secure me my first match. So on January 24, 2009 I made my debut for Whiplash Wrestling working for Devan Scott in a small town near Kansas City, Kansas. I was in a battle royal. Didn't last very long, but it was a start,” Starr remembered.
Since 2009, Starr has made a name for himself traveling all throughout Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas and Iowa. But there’s no doubt there is one platform and wrestler that has allowed Starr to not only show off his wrestling credentials, but also his overall wrestling persona and that federation is IZW as part of Impact Elite and as the understudy to one of the nation’s top wrestlers “The Bronze Bull” Aaron Neil. Neil is the only 6-time IZW Heavyweight Champion and has proven his mettle on this continent and wrestled as far away as Japan all the while showing off his powerhouse wrestling style. Although Neil might not be at the top of the list for most liked wrestler nowadays, the pairing of Starr with Neil was a godsend for the younger upstart Starr who tries to mimic everything that Neil does.
“I'm called ‘The Brass Bull’, a name that was given to me by the Gods of Mount Olympus. I was given the opportunity to learn and be trained by the best this business has to offer and that man’s name is ‘The Bronze Bull’ Aaron Neil. So what better way to show my love and gratitude to the man than having the Gods pass on a name that best suites my status among the peasants in this world. I usually finish off my opponents with what has worked for my mentor and idol ‘The Bronze Bull’ Aaron Neil. He uses a spinebuster and so do I. I call it High on Mount Olympus. I also use a single leg Boston Crab. Still having a great debate with the Gods on what to name that move and make it my own,” Starr exclaimed.
Starr was recently in a 5-Way Scramble at IZW’s most recent iPPV, Halloween Hangover, and although he didn’t walk away with the gold, there’s no doubt Starr, who is surrounded by top-level talent as part of the faction, Impact Elite, is coming in to his own as a professional. The old saying holds true that iron sharpens iron and Starr is only getting better every week he is around such distinguished wrestlers.
“I see myself always there for my great mentor Aaron Neil and him being there for me. I have my sight set on a few people and now I want to start adding some gold to my waist just like my mentor Aaron Neil. If I told you all the plans the Gods have for me it wouldn't shock the world when it happens,” Starr revealed.
Most assuredly, Starr’s biggest wrestling accomplishments to date have been as part of the IZW roster and from that, fans worldwide have been able to catch all of the action, via various platforms, a fact that Starr relishes. “The future of IZW is very bright. I see nothing but great things for this company. I've enjoyed my time at most of the companies that I've worked for. Without them I wouldn't be the man in the ring I am now. But those other promotions just don't offer the same opportunities that IZW does. Such as the top talent in the state, the TV time, the iPPV time [on GFL] and now the 21.9 million people that get to see us [on Comcast]. How many companies can say they broadcast new content monthly to over 21 million people? It's a place where I can show the world just how great I am.”
Ask Starr to reflect on the best feud of IZW and he’s quick to point out his mentor, Neil’s feud with Jermaine Johnson. That’s understandable as that feud is probably at the top of the list for thousands of fans. But when I asked Starr about his own personal career highlight he gave an answer that very few would even know about, but makes sense given Starr’s unique life experiences outside of the ring.
“I have had a few highlights that come to mind working with some past Superstars. But the biggest and best highlight I have had was when I went to a camp I used to attend growing up for children with terminal illnesses. It’s called Camp Cavett down in Kingston, Oklahoma. I asked a few Oklahoma wrestlers if they wouldn't mind coming and putting on a show for these kids. It was great. The kids forgot about their pain and what they were going through and just had a great time. I went there wanting them to see that if they dream and fight back against their illness they too can live their dream. I have been able to do a couple more shows for the kids and they have loved every one of them.”
For Bobby Starr, or “The Brass Bull” or any other moniker he chooses to go by, the triumph he had as a child when he beat cancer will always be the most important battle of his life. He might not have won a gold belt that he can strap around his waist; no Starr won something more important. He has the ability to be a lifelong testament to what is possible if you continue to push forward and never give up. He’s an inspiration for children and adults alike showing them that even the most wild and unattainable goals are possible if you keep fighting.
For fans wanting to learn more about Bobby Starr visit him on Facebook at “Brass Bull” Bobby Starr. He will be getting a Twitter account soon.