Exclusive: George Hero Reflects on His Early Wrestling Days and Questions Pro Wrestling's Direction.

With a lifetime devoted to training, teaching and coaching, Midwood High School teacher, wrestler and coach George Hero is amazed at the changes the sport he's loved his entire life has gone through.

Professional wrestling has drawn a multitude of audiences since its early days as a carnival sideshow in the early 1900s. Although Hero's fanaticism of the sport doesn't date that far back, it was that spectacle of sports and entertainment that first caught his attention.

"Like everybody else, I grew up watching professional wrestling," said Hero. "It wasn't until high school where a friend of mine was wrestling at the YMCA and I discovered actual wrestling."

Upon discovering the real version of wrestling, Hero had found not just a hobby or a side project, but a way to devote his time to something he loved. With the YMCA only being a temporary outlet for his new found passion, Hero seriously continued his wrestling career at Fordham University. Despite not having the accolades of a Brock Lesnar or Rulon Gardner as a college wrestler, Hero wanted to share his experiences with future generations of grapplers.

These experiences weren't just wrestling techniques that could be taught during practice. They were life lessons, an extension of the sport that could be harvested into positive everyday life qualities.

"When I got back to high school as a teacher, I really wanted to share that experience, I felt it was something  great,"said Hero. "It helped me build character and self-confidence which has been a huge part of my life."

With his life primarily centered around being a history teacher and wrestling coach at Midwood, Hero found the time to rediscover his passion for professional wrestling. Being able to just sit down and watch as a fan has been a decent experience, but  frustrating one.

The current product in Hero's eyes is not the professional wrestling that he thinks is built to both entertain and sustain an audience. Long gone are the days of Bruno Sammartino and Bob Backlund, an era of legitimate wrestlers of few words. To take their place in Hero's view are talented athletes with too much story.

"It's become too story driven and too much of a show," said Hero. "You look at these shows between commercials and the talking, on a 3 hour show, there's a half hour of wrestling which is ridiculous."

 However, one aspect of the craft that goes misunderstood is the fact that these professional wrestlers are real athletes, performing real stunts and suffering real injuries. A fact that is not lost to Hero. Currently, Hero see's a lot of potential in the current crop of wrestlers who have the talent and ability required to be an excellent wrestler.

"I think Bryan Danielson is terrific, Randy Orton is tremendous and Cesaro is also excellent," said Hero.

Hero's best suggestion is to utilize talents such as Danielson, Orton and Cesaro, and accentuate their WRESTLING skills to the audience. Because at the end of the day, the skills and performance shine through over the top storylines and characters that take away the focus of the sport aspect of the industry.

Hero realizes that if he were in charge of the company, he'd likely get fired because of all the drastic changes he'd usher in all at once, but these changes in his view would only be for the betterment of the entire product.

"I would get rid of the costumes, I'd get rid of a lot of the storylines and nonsense and focus more on the wrestling," said Hero. "It's like you're watching a movie and looking for the special effects."

Listen to the rest of the interview here:

Mark Suleymanov

Sports Journalist.