“From the time I walk through that curtain until I walk back through the curtain, I compare the experience of wrestling to being a werewolf. The curtain is the moon, and once you walk out, you become something else,” says independent professional wrestler Joshua Hanson, also known by his wrestling name, “Duff Doyle.”
“Wresting is kind of like theatre, and that’s what drew me in. It’s really a stunt show, says Hanson, who adds that the winner is pre-determined,” He takes wrestling seriously. “You have to be in good shape, and you have to trust your opponent because you have to put on a show for the fans. If it’s not a good show and you’re wresting someone out of shape, you could cause serious damage. Or they could injure you because they don’t know what they’re doing.”
Photo: Josh Hanson aka DUFF DOYLE
Wrestlers work from a script known as a dirt sheet, “You have to tell a story, typically good guy verses bad guy,” Hanson says. He works with his opponent for 15 minutes to an hour ahead of a performance to make sure everyone knows what’s going on.
Hanson turned to wrestling after he decided not to go to college. His mother reached out to a local wresting promoter, and arranged a try-out. “That became a life changer. I used to be really heavyset, close to 300 pounds. I trimmed way down. I have to credit pro wrestling for that,” says Hanson.
An independent wrestler for 20 years, Hanson works with World Wrestling Entertainment’s independent shows in Colorado, South Dakota and Las Vegas, Nevada.
What about the trademark orange he wears, and where does the name Duff Doyle come from? “A telemarketer called my trainer. His name was Duff Doyle from Dacula, Georgia, and my trainer said, ‘Hold on a second. Let me jot that name down.’ He thought it would be a good character for me,” says Hanson. “Orange is a color that can be seen for miles and as a wrestler you have to draw eyes to you.”
Hanson shows no signs of slowing down. “The WWE used to cut people off at around age 30, but I’ve done more stuff in my mid to late 30s than I did in my late 20s,” he says. “And when I’m no longer an active performer, I’d still like to be involved with writing stories or promoting local shows.”