By Thomas Gerbasi for F4WOnline.com
The Twitter bio of Aristidis Marousas, aka Andros the Greek, says it all.
“Corporate Analyst by day. Professional wrestler, aspiring actor/filmmaker/entrepreneur, blogger, bookworm, and overall renaissance man by night.”
That’s a lot to fit into 24 hours a day, but Andros, who returns to the ring this Saturday for the Warriors of Wrestling show in Staten Island, New York, makes it happen. It’s a tribute to parents who instilled in him the value of hard work, even if having a son pursuing a professional wrestling career wasn’t exactly top on their priority list.
In fact, it wasn’t on the list at all.
“Both of my parents are immigrants,” Marousas said. “My dad’s from Greece, my mom’s from Wales, and they never grew up with wrestling, football or any of that stuff. My dad was kind of strict when we were younger, where we could only watch educational programming. So things like wrestling weren’t really allowed.”
Fate had a way of making it all come together though, with the young Marousas accidentally finding a SmackDown event while flipping through channels.
“I still remember it,” he laughs. “It was a fatal four-way on SmackDown. We didn’t have cable, so all I had was UPN and it was Booker T, Undertaker, Eddie Guerrero, and I think JBL. It was the first time I had seen anything like it. I didn’t even know what it was but I was instantly hooked to it.”
From there, Marousas would MacGyver his way around an old television to find any wrestling he could at night, while days in biology class were often spent thinking about storylines and walking down the WWE ramp himself. That hasn’t happened yet, but the rest began taking form years later when, as a college student, he met Will Ferrara through a mutual friend on Facebook, with the Ring of Honor vet recommending the aspiring wrestler look up the Warriors of Wrestling training center.
It was 2012, and Marousas was on his way to fulfilling his dream, even if his parents didn’t know what he was up to.
“The first couple months, I didn’t tell anyone,” he said. “I told my mom first because she’s the most understanding. I don’t even remember how long it took me to finally break it to my dad what I was doing.”
And when he did?
“I think he was shocked,” Marousas said. “It wasn’t something that even registered on his mind. He didn’t even know I liked wrestling. (Laughs) He still isn’t a huge fan of the idea of me doing this, but at the same time, the few times he’s been able to come to the show, he’s always been one of the loudest ones. He gets sucked into it really quickly.”
It’s hard not to, whether you’re eight or 80. And despite school and his other interests, Marousas was determined to ride this until the wheels came off.
“I was the only student for a while and it was me and James (Rudeboy) Riley,” he said. “He really taught me the basics, taught me everything before I had to take a year and a half off (due to work and summer classes). When I came back, Jake (‘Logan Black’ Gomez) had more control of the school. J. George was teaching classes on Wednesday, Jake was teaching on Thursday, Riley was doing Tuesday. Jake has put so much time and effort into making Warriors the school it is today. We have so many students coming in to train now and Jake, (WOW founder) Joey (Bellini), and everybody involved really do a great job. For a school our size, we have such a great education program. It’s really a great environment.”
Yet while most who fall in love with wrestling are content to keep it to a level where they watch all the televised shows, go to matches and read whatever they can about it, there is that segment of the fan base that want to take it further like Marousas did. Why?
“Someone else said this, but I think anyone in this business, and not to get too deep, is broken on some level,” he said. “There’s something wrong with a person who wants to do what we’re doing, whatever it might be."
"For me, I love storytelling and I always wanted to be a storyteller/entertainer, but it was always suppressed in the house because my parents didn’t come from that background. They came here with $150 between them, and they worked really hard. They had the whole immigrant mentality of you work hard, you go to school, you become a doctor, lawyer or businessman and you do what you can to make enough money that your children can do even better. So the arts were never really fully supported in the house, and I think there was a lot of suppression in myself because of that, but I was always drawn to it. So finally, when I had little glimpses of it, I would try my best to follow it as much as I could, and this avenue really opened for me once my family left down to Virginia.”
With his parents and brother in Virginia while Marousas stayed in New Jersey while attending Rutgers, it was the opportunity he needed to learn the ropes and pay his dues. Today, he’s a rising star in the WOW promotion, with much of his work coming in his tag team with Marcus Marquee, The Perfect Strangers. This avenue has allowed Marousas to stretch out his creative muscles in order to pull off that toughest of tasks -- building a connection and creating storylines while not having weekly television spots to do so.
“We decided to make Facebook skits to try to get our characters over,” he said. “We’re serious in the ring but a bit comedic outside, just because of the way our characters interact. We do these sketches so that the Warriors fans and even beyond can get a glimpse of what we’re doing. Plus, you don’t really see that many guys taking advantage of social media in this way. I try to present content that fans will want to watch. And it’s slowly starting to work.”
So now, he’s that guy he wanted to be when he first saw SmackDown. Not bad, Mr. Marousas, not bad at all.
“When that music hits and we pop out of that curtain, it’s hard to believe sometimes,” he said. “I feel like all of us as wrestlers, we get to a point where we sort of take it for granted. But if 12-year-old me would see me right now, he’d slap the crap out of me. It’s a great feeling.”