Chris “Abyss” Park is a professional wrestler and an Ohio University alumnus. Park attended OU on a football scholarship where he played offensive guard, according to ESPN. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in sport industry in 1991, he went on to get his master's degree in sports administration. Currently he works for TNA-Impact, a professional wrestling television program produced by one of the most popular wrestling franchises, Total Nonstop Action, where he has been for almost fifteen years.

The Post spoke to Abyss about his career as a professional wrestler and about his time at OU.

The Post: How do you go from playing college football to becoming a professional wrestler?

A: I went to school on a football scholarship, and I also got my master’s degree in sports administration program, which is a highly touted program. So when I graduated in ‘93, I wanted to stay in sports, so I moved to Atlanta and interned for the international hockey league - Atlanta Knights for a couple years, and then I moved back up to Cincinnati and worked for the Cyclones. Wrestling was always my passion, and I just loved it. [In 1995] the opportunity arose for me to go to [wrestling] school ... When I was [at OU], I never thought I was going to be a professional wrestler. One day, there was a radio commercial, and I was never the same after. I just dove into it and started training.

I did the independent thing from 1995 to 2002, which was just small little shows, no money. So I was pretty poor, and then in 2002, I got offered a position with a company in Puerto Rico. Then I came back and started with TNA-Impact which started in late 2002, and I’ve been there ever since.

P: Why have you stayed with TNA-Impact for so long instead of going on to other opportunities?

A: I would like to think that I’m a very loyal person. I’ve always been loyal to the company; they’ve been very loyal back to me. So I think the reason I’ve never left is that I’ve always felt like it was home to me. I always felt like I had a good role, good position within the company. I’ve been a feature wrestler there for over a decade, and now I’m actually behind the scenes doing some producing and some of the writing.

P: How do you settle on the name Abyss?

A: A mentor of mine came up with it — Dirty Dutch Mantel — an old time wrestler. When I went to Puerto Rico, he gave me the name. When I first heard it I thought, “I don’t know if I like it,” but it certainly grew on me fast. It was the best career change I ever made going from Prince Justice to Abyss.

P: What’s it like to be in the business for such a long time?

A: The business has changed dramatically in so many ways. It’s a very television-based industry now — it’s very much about ratings. Touring and doing non-televised live events is huge as well. It’s changed a lot, some for the better, some for the worse. But it’s like any other industry, everything changes. You have to roll with the punches, or you’ll get left behind.

P: What’s it like performing in front of so many people?

A: It’s great. It’s what you think it would be. It’s a rush. The one great thing about pro wrestling is that we get to control people’s emotions for the fifteen or twenty minutes we are in the ring. That’s the art of it … using the physicality to tell a story and elicit emotion.

P: What’s the most memorable storyline you’ve conveyed over the years?

A: I would have to say the most memorable one I’ve done is the one I did with Hulk Hogan back in 2010, ‘11 and ‘12. … The guy is, needless to say, a legend. So to do that angle and that storyline with him was really incredible.

P: What do you think people don’t realize about professional wrestling?

A: I don’t think people realize, and maybe they shouldn’t realize, how taxing of a career it is. Both physically and mentally. It’s a lot of travel. It’s a lot of away time from your family. It’s not easy. People turn on their TV, and they see what’s going on in the ring, and it seems fun and cool, but it’s not an easy industry. You have to be tough just to make it.

P: What’s the connection like with your fans?

A: It’s fantastic. It’s a rush. It’s such a reinforcing feeling of approval. That’s the whole point of it (is) to elicit emotion and to put on a great match, but when you hear that energy from the crowd, there’s nothing like it. It’s just incredible.

P: What do your parents think of your career as a professional wrestler?

A: My mom wanted to see me do something other than wrestle. Everytime I see her, she’ll say to me, “I thought you’d be the CEO of your own company,” and I tell her all the time that I am. It’s called Abyss, Incorporated. They just want the best for me. I’ve fortunately made a decent career with professional wrestling. The gamble did pay off, because it was a gamble. When I started, it was nothing. I was making peanuts.

P: What was your time like here at OU?

A: It was awesome. It was great. I love Athens, Ohio. It’s got such a special place in my heart. I spent arguably the most impressionable years of my life there. What a great campus. What a fun place. I had such a good time there. I had great teachers. If I had one complaint, we could have won more football games. But they seem to have handled that problem, the program seems to be turned around. It’s the most beautiful campus in the world.

@_taylorsnyder

ts802716@ohio.edu

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