This is the fourth in a series celebrating Black History Month. We will take a look back at influential African Americans throughout the history of professional wrestling and what the history means to stars of the past and present.
For part one on Booker T, click HERE.
For part two on Ernie Ladd, click HERE.
For part three on Xavier Woods and David Otunga, click HERE.
In a previous installment in this series, we examined the value of education amongst professional wrestlers using WWE superstars Xavier Woods and David Otunga as prime examples.
Both Woods and Otunga are college graduates and received their academic accolades from prestigious universities.
Experienced professors who were experts in their respective fields taught them both. None of those professors educated them in the art of professional wrestling. This took a professor of a different kind.
One of the many proverbial professors they learn from until this day is fellow WWE superstar R-Truth.
Truth is not asked to put the proverbial butts in the seats. That is no longer his role. His role within WWE is to be a locker room leader. Because of his wealth of experience in the wrestling business, Truth is a bit of a mentor to the younger talents who could use a little bit of guidance here and there.
But Truth isn’t just good mind to pick for wrestling knowledge, he prides himself on being someone with a lot life experiences as well.
“There’s a lot of great superstars now,” he said during a phone interview with philly.com. “They’re hungry. If there are any guys that come to me or I see where a guy is open to where I can go and put my two cents in I’m there and open for that.”
Born Ron Killings, Truth grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina, which is where he still resides today. His parents worked hard to help put him and his siblings through school and teach them the different between right and wrong.
“We didn’t have much of everything, but we had enough of what we needed to get by,” Killings said.
Truth may not have had it all growing up, but one of the things he did have was the belief and determination to chase his dreams, which was instilled in him by his parents. Even when Truth made mistakes in his life that put those dreams very far away he maintained the belief that those dreams really could come true.
“Coming from not having anything, sometimes it seems almost impossible even visualizing a dream, but you got to fight it someway, somehow,” he said.
Those same values that were passed down to him when he was younger, Truth is passing down to the young stars of the WWE today.
“That’s what it’s about. You have to give back,” he said.
“I try to tell them to be themselves, man,” he added. “[To] watch, learn and listen. You don’t have to always talk. Sometimes the best learners are the ones who are just listeners.”
Being in this position may not give Truth the best spot on the card, he may not be featured on every single pay-per-view offering from WWE, but it’s a position that he cherishes nonetheless; to him, its as important as being in the main event of WrestleMania. It’s giving back to the business that gave so much to him.
“It’s an honor,” he said. “I never take it for granted. I think about it and I thank God for it daily. I have four kids and a wife and I’m able to take care of my family. I’m able to help my mom out, my father out. I’m able to help friends out. I’m able to be a role model and give some hope to people.”
Whether it’s teaching the young stars of the WWE or teaching his own children the difference between right and wrong, Truth enjoys spreading his knowledge.
He wants people to live out their own dreams, just as he is doing now on an everyday basis.