It had been a long road in the professional wrestling journey of Kyle McRae. That saying was a familiar and possibly overused one in the wrestling word, but for McRae it was truer than for most others in all senses of the meaning.
Hailing from ‘out in the sticks’ in Scotland, McRae didn’t have the luxury of a local wrestling school or indy promotion where he grew up to help chase his dreams. His abilities, whatever you thought of them, were entirely self taught from an early age on an old mattress pulled from his childhood bed, with moves performed on which ever buddies were interested at the time.
In the early days it was the sVo that McRae grew up watching, or more specifically downloading illegally to watch. He grew up on the likes of Mike Best, Psyko Stevo, Alex Ross and Johnny All Star and dreamed of stepping into the ring like his heroes. Later he discovered other parts of the wrestling world when his hero Mike Best moved to High Octane Wrestling, daydreaming through his school years of matches with the likes of Christopher America & John Sektor.
For many years it looked like the wrestling dream was dead in the water, but then came the uncertain times of the year 2020, the rebirth of the sVo and the chance to move to America and chase his dreams. As a young kid with no fear, McRae jumped at the chance of some formal training in Las Vegas. Where he would live and how he would make enough money to eat were just small unimportant details to be worked out and worried about at a later date.
McRae’s time in the sVo would be pretty uneventful, nothing to write home about as they say. He won some, he lost some, in truth he really made little to no impact on the landscape. The was until one day in July 2022 when McRae’s whole life was to change on the basis of one throwaway sentence on HOTv from Xander Azula of High Octane Wrestling…
Katie Smith: “Can you remember where you were when you heard those words?”
We are in the highlands of Scotland, the air is crisp and even though the weather is unseasonably sunny, it is most definitely not warm. Katie Smith, the interviewer employed by the Sanctioned Violence Organization, is dressed in dressed in a pink bobble hat, large warm looking duffle coat and some high leather boots. However the man beside her, definitely more used to the climate, has only a hoody and a pair of jeans and sneakers on. That man is the sVo’s own Kyle McRae and he is back in his homeland with an sVo camera crew to promote his upcoming PWA sanctioned match against Xander Azula. McRae’s hair has grown longer and scruffier since we last saw him, the usual short stubble around his face having become unkept. The pain of recent events clearly having taken their toll on the wellbeing of the young man.
Kyle McRae: “Oh aye hen, I remember. I will never forget! I was sitting there in the Goodfellas Arena, backstage. As we do, the boys like to check out the HOW show after our one has aired whilst we are clearing down for the night. Clear as a whistle I remember it Katie, Xander Azula pops up on screen and mentions me, El Froggo and Absolute Zero, almost by name…. The hair on my neck stood up I tell you…..”
McRae trails off into his own thoughts, as he and Katie Smith continue their slow walk in front of the retreating camera man as they talk, an un-named loch twinkling in the background under the sun.
Katie Smith: “And from that moment, everything changed for you?”
Kyle McRae: “It certainly did. Picture it Katie hen, there is me, a wee bairn in the wrestling business. I got people that are stars in their own rights on my left and right. But there is Xander Azula on the most watched wrestling show on TV speaking my name! At that point people started looking at me different Katie, they started looking at me like I belonged. Even Jon Page started looking at me different. I went from having the odd match on Uprising to having matches week after week. I went from winning the odd match to winning, week after week!”
Katie Smith: “So we all know the story, you and Xander Azula go back and forth a little, leading up to a big night on Showdown for you. The first ever inter promotional match between the sVo and HOW. Talk to me about that night….”
McRae stares off into the distance, almost struggling to get the words past the lump in his throat.
Katie Smith: “There must have been a lot of pressure on you that night….”
Smith puts a sympathetic hand on the shoulder of the young Scotsman, which breaks him from his spell and gives him a second to compose himself and answer.
Kyle McRae: “Never had so much pressure Katie, never thought I wanted to feel it again either. Must have been like taking a penalty in the 90th minute in an old firm game when the score is tied!”
Smith looks at McRae blankly, the football reference going right over the pretty American’s head.
Kyle McRae: “Well never mind that hen. It was big pressure let’s just leave it at that. Deep down, I admit, I wasn’t ready going into that match. I should have spoke out, I should have said something. But I didn’t want to let down Page, I didn’t want to let down the fans. Hell, a part of me didn’t want to let down Xander Azula…”
Smith looks at McRae surprised.
Kyle McRae: “He had spoken my name on TV and as if by magic had shot me to the top of the world. I didn’t want him to wish he had called someone else out. I wanted to go out to that ring and show the whole world that I belonged. I wanted to show the whole world that I was the sVo star that deserved to be in that match!”
Katie Smith: “Well it’s fair to say that the match didn’t exactly go to plan. Xander Azula won it in record time. Where has that left your relationship with Jon Page now?”
McRae shakes his head emphatically.
Kyle McRae: “Ack I am definitely sent to Coventry on that one hen….”
Another reference that goes over the head of Smith, causing Kyle McRae to mansplain the answer.
Kyle McRae: “That might translate to say we are definitely on the outs Katie my dear. I cannae even get in the Goodfellas building anymore Katie. It’s not just me, I feel bad for me pals…. You know what I mean?”
Smith slowly nods her head, the blank look on her face slowly fading as she translates the Scottish accent in her head.
Katie Smith: “It’s put Harry Black and Alexander Hate, your team mates in a bad spot as well?”
Kyle McRae: “Aye it has. I feel bad for my pals because they done nothing wrong. I need to right the wrong for them as much as me, more maybe!”
Katie Smith: “Well that brings us around full circle. At Rumble At The Rock you were scheduled for the rubber match, a big chance…. What happened?”
Kyle McRae rubs his bushy beard with his hand again trying to find the words, clearly feeling a little embarrassed.
Kyle McRae: “Safe to say I lost me heid hen! I saw Azula and just remembered his smug face staring down at me that night on Showdown and I couldn’t wait for the match to get started. I just jumped in and before I know it I am sitting in solitary thanks to the HOW security. Very professional bunch though I must say.”
Katie Smith: “Well if Rumble at the Rock was your second chance, I guess that Chaos later this week is your third chance…. Third time lucky?”
McRae stops and takes a long look over the scenic countryside over his shoulder before answering the question.
Kyle McRae: “Chaos is maybe my last chance. I know that. I step out to that ring and I fulfil a life long ambition of wrestling in a HOW event, and I do it representing my first love of the sVo. I wasn’t prepared for Xander Azula last time, but this time I walk in there knowing that I have to leave it all in the ring, I have to go out there and have no regrets. If I don’t win this match then I might be back in this beautiful country full time, and if that is the end and my dream is over, then I need to be able to make my peace with that knowing I left it all out there.”
Katie Smith: “Thank you Kyle, and the best of luck for Chaos. I know all of the sVo fans will be cheering you on when they watch live on HOTv!”