Jim Stryder: Indie Spotlight Watch

A graduate of the Tyson Dux Wrestling Factory, Stryder has emerged as a frontrunner for the Smash Wrestling championship. Over the past year, he has been on various parts of the card. Jim Stryder has shown a commitment to his craft and in particular, wrestling ever since essentially his entire life. He is the latest focus of our Indie Spotlight Watch.

I’ve been a wrestling fan as far back as I can remember. Watching guys like Bret Hart and Roddy Piper with my dad, and wrestling with my friends (despite the don’t try this at home warnings) were some of my favorite memories. I had always wanted to wrestle, but it seemed like such an impossible, faraway goal – until the Tyson Dux Wrestling Factory opened in my hometown of London, Ontario.

His unbridled passion for wrestling was never forced but always there. Stryder felt the task of wrestling at one point was so daunting. He never felt that he could achieve the goal of becoming a wrestler. However, it wasn’t until he stepped into Tyson Dux’s wrestling academy that the impossible became possible.

Jim Stryder: The Tyson Dux Wrestling Factory Trainee

I remember walking into the Factory for my first day of training. There were only four of us there at the time, standing in a ring at the back of an old hockey arena. It was damp, stuffy, bare-bones. It was perfect. Boiling hot in the summer, freezing cold in the winter, you had to push past your comfort zone and test your limits. My first lesson in pro wrestling was that if you can’t adapt and evolve, you don’t make it. A lot of people quit. Tyson didn’t baby us, he didn’t throw us any softballs, he pushed us and demanded results. If you were out of shape, like I was, just getting off the couch and between the ropes – he would force you to move at his pace, to get stronger and faster.

Too often talent will come into a scenario starry-eyed and walk out unable to continue. The task is simply too great for them to overcome. This wasn’t the case for Stryder. It wasn’t about being comfortable. Stryder knew if it was comfortable everyone would be in this line of work. As he mentioned it was about going outside one’s comfort zone. Professional growth is key. To overcome mental hurdles is as significant as overcoming physical ones. Under the tutelage of the Wrestling Machine himself, Stryder knew he wouldn’t be given any allowances. Push and push hard or you won’t succeed. For Stryder, it appeared as though failure wasn’t an option.

There’s an emphasis on traditional chain-wrestling at the Factory. We practice endless reps of holds and reversals, grounded in realistic, aggressive, mat-based wrestling. A lost art in much of today’s indie wrestling scene.

That repetition and discipline have become part of my wrestling DNA. I use an aggressive, grinding, brawling style. I’ve never fantasized about being a high-flyer, which is fortunate because at my size it’s not a very realistic or healthy style for me to practice. 

Stryder hits hard and hits often. Much like he described, Stryder doesn’t attempt high-risk moves but rather commits himself to a more mat-based stiff style that he has become synonymous with.

Jim Stryder: The Journey Forward

My first match was a tag-team match on a pre-show, which is the standard introduction for someone new to the business. It was myself and Kyle Boone, vs Jordan James and Alec Realm. We knew each other well, having trained together for almost a year at that point. It was an insane rush of adrenaline and nerves, an addicting high that’s difficult to explain. I was hooked.

It takes time for anyone preparing and in training in this sport. For Stryder when the time finally came he never relented. He was able to push past nerves. His debut came as part of a tag team match which in itself is a challenge. When two talents work with one another it takes communication on both parties’ parts. For Stryder, he was debuting as part of a tag team match where everyone’s input is crucial.

However, Stryder has been recently faced with bad luck. An injury to him in the Fall of 2019, saw him have to put a halt to his immediate wrestling plans.

Jim Stryder: The Temporary Setback

I ruptured my Achilles Tendon in October 2019. It was a devastating setback, a freak-accident that didn’t even occur in the ring. I was scheduled to return in April 2020, my first few matches back were a Smash Wrestling title Match against reigning champion Kevin Bennett, followed by a match against the man who taught me everything, Tyson Dux. They are, in my opinion, two of the best wrestlers anywhere in the world. These were important tests, important moments for me. I was feeling ready, strong, healthy, and after a long hiatus, I was eager to return, to prove I was back and better than ever. Best laid plans… 

Stryder hasn’t allowed this injury to dictate his future. It has rather fueled him to best put his foot forward. Despite the current situation surrounding us around the world, it hasn’t dictated Stryder’s future.

The COVID-19 quarantine, which we are in the midst of, has left a big question mark regarding when any of us will be able to return to normal life and get back to what we love.

It could be a year or more since my injury before I’m able to step back in a ring. Is it scary? Sure. Frustrating? Absolutely. While there are uncertainties we all have to face, there are factors I can control. I can get stronger, improve my cardio, study tape, rehab injuries, increase mobility, It all circles back to my first lesson in the ring; Adapt and evolve.

A key for Stryder will be to maintain a mental toughness that often is something difficult to overcome. Stryder appears poised to do so. With a tremendous support system behind him in both Smash Wrestling and the Tyson Dux Wrestling Factory, Jim Stryder is a name fans should be keeping an eye out on in the future.