On February 24 in Everett Washington I had the privilege of attending Without A Cause’s fourth show, With Love, WAC XOXO. There was a spectacular line up for the show. One match in particular caught my eye. King Khash would be making his last appearance before heading for Japan to work with Zero 1. How long would he be gone? No one knew; thus, he was having a send off match with some of his fellow wrestlers form the Buddy Wayne Academy. It seemed like a great way for ring brothers to say farewell to their friend. Guillermo Rosas and Cody Chhun would be sharing the ring with the Persian Prodigy and then there was a fourth person who would be in there with them. Nick Wayne, the son of Buddy Wayne himself.
I didn’t know much about Nick other than who his father was. In the match release on social media Nick looked very young, a kid really. I thought it was a quaint gesture and an opportunity for a sentimental match. Having never seen Nick Wayne perform before and considering his age, I didn’t expect this to be anything more sentimental match between friends. An homage to their legendary trainer and a goodbye to an old friend.
I thought Rosas, Chhun and Khash would carry the youngest entrant. Nick couldn’t possibly be old enough to demonstrate paralleled skill in the ring with these three grown men. I WAS WRONG!
Nick Wayne killed it! He performed every move with precision. If there was a flaw in his performance, I didn’t catch it. He was adroit and already a polished performer. He kept up with his ring brothers as their equal. No one carried Nick Wayne through that match.
While one might think it shouldn’t be a surprise, given who his father was and the fact he grew up around the world of professional wrestling, you have to remember, just because you grow up around something doesn’t make you good at anything. Having a parent who is a legendary talent does not mean their children are genetically predisposed to inherit their incredible gifts. Nick didn’t just walk into the ring and instantaneously become a profoundly gifted talent. He worked… hard…
Unlike many, Nicks education didn’t start by being a fan watching in front of the television and at local shows. His father operated a professional wrestling school at the family home. From a young age he watched his father train some of the greatest talent to come out of the Pacific Northwest. He grew up around his fathers’ friends including such wrestling luminaries as Rip Rodgers.
Not only was Nick’s father a wrestling legend, but his maternal grandfather is none other than Moondog Ed Moretti. The world of professional wrestling was all around him. It likely came as no real surprise when Nick decided to go from being a fan and playing around in the ring to the next level.
At the age of nine Nick decided to take his training seriously and make this a career choice. While in grade school he was learning how to take bumps, how to manage the pain, hit spots, cut promo’s and put his body through the harrowing process of becoming a professional athlete. This is a process that many grown adults try and are unable to persevere. Nick pushed through.
Today Nick Wayne is thirteen years old. He recently graduated from Middle School and will be a Freshman in the coming school year. Even though he is only barely a teenager, Nick has been through far more than most people twice his age.
At the age of eleven, in June of 2017, Nick went through something that leaves an indelible mark on one’s life. The world lost an incredible talent, Buddy Wayne. He was a legendary professional wrestler, beloved by fans across the globe. He was also a widely respected trainer and the Buddy Wayne Academy is so well-respected Daniel Bryan has referred students to the school. More importantly than anything else Buddy Wayne accomplished, he was a loving father and husband.
Losing a parent can break a grown adult, the effects it can have on a young boy can be devastating. Loss tends to stay with us, and it is not easy to move through the miasma it creates. Nick never lost sight of what he wanted to do. In the face of such a profound loss and self-doubts, he was able to use this as the fuel he needed to carry on, to bring honor to his father’s memory.
When I first met Nick Wayne, I found him to be an engaging and very polite young man. He made eye contact and presented himself with confidence and a firm handshake. I knew he was young but assumed he must be approaching adulthood by the way he carried himself. His face betrayed his age however and when I learned he was thirteen it was only a surprise because it was hard to imagine how someone this age could hold their own with grown men.
With what little bit I knew about Nick, I knew he had an incredible story, however at the age of thirteen, I would not be able to do so without his mother’s permission. I had no idea what I would encounter. I took the time to meet Shayna Edwards and found her to be a kind and endearing person. When I mentioned the possibility of doing an interview/article with Nick she was very supportive.
Nick Wayne discusses heritage, and drawbacks of the business as a teen
It is my express pleasure to introduce to readers Nick Wayne!
Philip: You are now breaking out into the scene and even though you are a teenager your performance in the ring it highly polished and demonstrates technical precision rarely seen in newer performers. Tell us about your training. How old were you when you first got into the ring and started throwing chops? What does your training look like now?
Nick Wayne: I’ve been in a ring training with my dad since the day I could walk. He trained students three times a week and I was always out there with him. I wanted to start taking it more seriously when I was nine years old. So, I decided to start training with all the students when I was nine. Now I train twice a week, every week and push myself every time harder and harder.
Philip: I think it would be impossible to discuss your training without talking about your dad, the late great Buddy Wayne. There is little doubt his training and the time he spent with you had an enormous impact on your development both in and out of the ring. What are some of the lessons you have taken from your father that really stand out and resonate for you?
Nick Wayne: In the wrestling world, I’ve taken every piece of advice he’s ever given me. Everything in wrestling I know is all what he told and taught me. But one thing that has really stood out to me is to always keep working hard. Make your money and have fun while you can.
Philip: As a fan who do you enjoy watching?
Nick Wayne: As of right now the independent scene, guys like Jonathan Gresham, Will Osprey, Bandido, Zack Sabre Jr. and Rey Fenix. All really inspire my move set in some way or another.
Philip: What do your friends think of what you do with your free time?
Nick Wayne: Only a couple of my friends support me for what I do. The rest of them just judge and mock me. I get a lot of “Why do you wrestle? It’s fake.” “It’s all planned out.” “It’s just acting.” I get those comments every day from many people, but it doesn’t stop me from doing what I love.
Philip: You have gone through a great deal over the last couple years. Tell us about what helped you adjust and deal with having lost a parent.
Nick Wayne: Losing my dad is something I will never get over. The reason I keep moving forward today in professional wrestling is all for him. When I burst through that curtain, I do it to make him proud. He is my motivation to keep doing what I’m doing today.
Philip: You have a great head start on your career. Where are you hoping to land? WWE? AEW? Where do you want all of this to take you?
Nick Wayne: WWE is my main goal. I’ve been watching it on TV since I was a little baby, and it’s the biggest stage of them all! There’s no bigger than WWE, so why not shoot for the farthest I can go?
Philip: Have you ever felt like giving up professional wrestling? If so, what made you stick with it? If not, what do you think drives you to keep doing this?
Nick Wayne: Yes, there’s been a couple times I felt like giving up all of it. I thought I was too young for this, that my body couldn’t take it. Another time I felt like quitting was cause of my age, that I couldn’t get booked anywhere or do anything in wrestling. The way I kept going was thinking about where I could be in the future. If I worked as hard as I could now, then by the time I’m 18, I could be a star. If I learn different styles of professional wrestling now, such as American, Lucha Libre, Technical, Japanese, and English, I could work everyone from any style.
Philip: As an observer of Professional Wrestling I know there is very much a brotherhood between performers, especially those who have been training partners and people you work with frequently. Who are the people you have a bond with and what have they contributed to your learning experiences?
Nick Wayne: Everyone at the Buddy Wayne Academy helps me in some way. Whether it’s people that have been training for two months, or people that have trained for five years. I don’t pick and choose my favorites out of my brothers and sisters, because I love them all in many different ways.
Philip: If you were able to construct your own dream tag match, who would you pick as your partner and who would be the team you went up against?
Nick Wayne: Oooooh! That is a hard one. I would have my partner be Shawn Michaels, and we’d go against Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio. That’d be DREAM Tag Match!
Philip: Who are the unknown wrestlers or people new to the business that you think are the one’s to watch? The next wave of talent, so to speak.
Nick Wayne: Some to watch out for on the indie scene are wrestlers like King Khash, Cody Chhun, Guillermo Rosas, Danika Della Rouge, Guerrero De Neon, Nick Radford and Thom Allman.
Philip: Most professional wrestlers have a repertoire of moves they perform. What are your favorite moves to execute in the ring and are there any moves you are hoping to add to your arsenal?
Nick Wayne: A couple of my favorite to hit on my opponents are Rolling Cutter, Enziguri, any variation of Neckties/hurricanranas, Spanish Fly, Superkick and drop kicks.
Philip: You have had an incredible foundation with training. Are there any workshops or performers you would like to learn from to add on to what you have already learned?
Nick Wayne: I would love to learn technical wrestling from Jonathan Gresham mostly, but I would love to learn from anyone that does a different style than American Wrestling.
Philip: How would you describe your style and approach to your performance in the ring?
Nick Wayne: I would describe my performance more of a high-flying style and a tiny bit of technical wrestling. The flying style makes me feel like I can defy gravity!
Philip: You have a real talent for working the crowd. Did that come naturally? Or did that come to you through hard work and practice?
Nick Wayne: It’s all a natural attachment I have towards the fans, but in a way, it came with practice being in front of more and more crowds during shows.
Philip: Tell us about where you have already worked and what promotions in the area are you hoping to make a debut at in the near future?
Nick Wayne: So far, I have worked for Without A Cause, Lucha Libre Volcanica and Invasion Championship Wrestling. For only three promotions. I work pretty often. I’m hoping before I’m 18, in the Pacific Northwest, I’d love to wrestle for DEFY Wrestling the most.
Philip: Does being a teenager have any drawbacks in the business?
Nick Wayne: When it comes to bookings… Absolutely. I have to have a license to wrestle some places, and to get a license I have to be 18, which I’m not quite there yet.
Philip: What have been some of your favorite matches you have been a part of? Who were they with and what made you enjoy those particular matches?
Nick Wayne: Some of my favorite matches where me and Cody Chhun versus King Khash and Guillermo Rosas. That match is special to me for so many reasons. Those are my brothers and to share the ring with all them was amazing. Another one was me and Big Jack versus Mike Rizzo and Carl Randers. That match was Big Jacks welcome back match and I’m glad I could be a part of it!!
Philip: Tell us something about yourself that not very many people know but you feel comfortable sharing.
Nick Wayne: There’s been a lot of times I felt like quitting wrestling. I felt like giving up my hard work and the success I’ve had so far. I thought my age would stop me from wrestling and that my body would be damaged by the time I was 18, but you just have to keep pushing and fighting through your pains and problems through life, cause if you really love something, you’ll do whatever you can to succeed in what you love.
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There will be a day, probably very soon, when everyone will have the chance to watch Nick Wayne perform on television. His story is one filled with destiny. To be his age and already an exceptional talent is a truly incredible gift. He wasn’t simply born with this talent. He has worked hard to develop his skills, to be, not simply good, but truly great. He has a drive that is rare in the human condition. The kind of drive that takes people to whatever destination their passion takes them.
Nick is a rare thing to find in this world. We have children who are master chess players, kids who can masterfully play instruments and prodigies who can solve the most complex equations imaginable. Nick is to professional wrestling, what those children are in their fields.
I’m not the only one who thinks so. Here are what some of the people who have seen Nick grow as a human being and as a performer have to say about him.
“I started training with Buddy Wayne in 2011 and have been there basically every week for the past eight years. I’ve seen Nick grow from a shy little toddler to a confident young showman. It’s unreal and almost unfair how much of a natural Nick is, but it also makes total sense with who his father is and… all the wrestling he’s been surrounded with.
I can definitely still hear his dad’s trademark laugh and sheer pride he has watching Nick train with us and learn everything from locking up to arm drags to hurricanranas. Buddy also loved lucha libre so I know he’d be proud to see Nick branching out and learning some lucha libre and working with Lucha Volcanica.” – Carl Randers, Professional Wrestler
“Nick is a natural. It seems pretty obvious to say that it’s in his blood. But he also works just as hard as any other wrestler in the area. He trains probably more than anyone else in the area… all while being in grade school. He’s incredible. I’ve been working with him since he was five or six years old. Wrestling aside, he’s also just a great human. Super caring and compassionate towards others. He’s such a good kid. I’m really proud to call him my little brother.” –Jack Stewart “Big Jack,” Professional Wrestler
“He’s been in the ring since before he was six years old… He’s shooting up like a weed. He can do all the moves and going in the ring with men… Nick has star written all over him!” –Rip Rodgers, Professional Wrestling Legend
“I’ve known Nick since he was eight years old and he’s been inside the ring since he was two with his dad, Buddy Wayne. That’s the best gift of life there is. It’s very scary to see how good he is at 13 years old. He’s light years ahead of anyone around. I’d be very, very surprised if he’s not on top of the pro-wrestling scene by the time he’s twenty-two.” –King Khash, Professional Wrestler
“Nick Wayne is one of the best wrestlers in the Pacific Northwest. Don’t let his age fool you! That’s the son of a legend and he’ll be one himself by the time he’s 25!” – Jordan Oasis, Professional Wrestler
“I’m sure everyone has talked about Nick Wayne when he was a small child and how good he is at wrestling at such a young age. And he is exasperatingly good for someone his age. But he’s also excessively mature and intelligent for his age. Probably the most mature, intelligent, and thoughtful kid/teenager I’ve ever known. Someone I am honored to call a friend. And if we can get hypothetical for just one moment; if he’s this good now, just imagine how excessively good at wrestling and smart he will be when he becomes a full grown adult.” –Nick Radford, Professional Wrestler
“Known Mr. Nick for five years now. He went from crying on a hip toss to being better than the rest of the students from the school. No lie, I’d rather work him than any anyone else there. Keep level headed and don’t get an ego…. He’ll definitely be a major player in the world of wrestling… Nick’s gone through a lot of shit and never let it derail his hunger for wrestling and drive to progress. I hope one day we’ll get in that ring and create magic.” – Darby Allin, Professional Wrestler
“Nick Wayne can work circles around wrestlers that have been working for years. He is going to be legendary, and I’m so grateful I get to watch him grow.” – Danika Della Rouge, Professional Wrestler
“He’s an incredibly polite kid, great attitude, and if he keeps his head on straight it seems impossible that he won’t become a star, he’ll have more experience when he turns 18 than some WWE stars have by the time they make the main roster.” – Bryan Alvarez, Professional Wrestler, Radio Personality and Author
Danika Della Rouge and Nick Wayne vs. “Kingpin” Johnny Flynn and Nick Radford
Nick Wayne vs. Carl Randers
Danika Della Rouge and Nick Wayne vs. Izzy McQueen and Nick Radford
“Classic” Cody Chhun and Nick Wayne vs. King Khash and Guillermo Rosas
Nick Radford vs. Nick Wayne
A clip of Nick Wayne training with King Khash and Darby Allin
Nick Wayne vs. Jacky Lee (part 1)
Nick Wayne vs. Jacky Lee (part 2)