Chris Velletri, who wrestles under the moniker of Talon, a wrestling lone wolf savior, didn’t venture into professional wrestling with the typical lifelong dream story.
He was helping out a few wrestling friends at a New Jersey independent show in his twenties, by conducting commentary and ring announcing. After the card, Velletri, a longtime wrestling fan, bounced around the ring and felt he was athletic enough to give it a shot.
Not too long thereafter, a passion was ignited. He said he started his sports entertainment training at ACE in New Jersey, and later with industry respected trainer Joel Maximo in Brooklyn. After his first match, Velletri said he was hooked.
“I didn’t think I was going to be a wrestler when I was younger,” Velletri, 31, said. “When I was younger I didn’t think people could become wrestlers. I didn’t even know that was a thing. I just thought they were superheroes.
“I spent more time thinking about myself in (Yankee) pinstripes than in trunks,” he continued. “Once I had my first match in 2010, that was it. It was full speed ahead, all systems go. I haven’t looked back since then.”
Over his seven years in the business, Velletri’s Talon wrestling character—which he said is inspired by the two vigilante Catholic brothers, Conner and Murphy MacManus, in the movie Boondock Saints—has developed a loyal following.
“Those two brothers in the movie are vigilantes that take care of the criminals that the cops won’t take care of,” the Manhattan College graduate explained. “To me, in wrestling, a lot of people get away with some stuff. Bad guys do some bad stuff. I’m going to do some bad things, too, but to the bad guys.”
Velletri, a certified trainer and head personal trainer at Harbor Fitness Center in Marine Park, said the long, black coat-wearing, unlit-cigarette-dangling-from-the-mouth Talon is somewhat of a likeness of himself in the way he goes about his everyday business.
“My persona, the look of it and mannerisms of it, I think, do kind of reflect myself in that I keep to myself, I do my own thing. I do what has to be done, and I go home,” the affable Velletri said. “I’m friendly, I’m sociable. I like to go out and have a good time with my friends. But when I’m at work, when I’m focused on something, I kind of keep to myself.”
Moreover, Velletri, who has wrestled for promotions such as Five Borough Wrestling (FBW), Warriors of Wrestling (WOW) and New York Wrestling Connection (NYWC), is wholeheartedly dedicated to the rough-and-tumble pro wrestling craft, and unequivocally believes in his in-ring abilities.
“I’m not trying to live out some kind of fantasy. I’m doing this because I think I’m good at it, and I think I can make a living doing it,” the Bay Ridge resident said. “And if giving the opportunity, I like to certainly prove that. But If I didn’t think I had a chance to be something in the business, I wouldn’t still put my body at risk to still do it. I do this with the confidence I can do it at the highest level.”
Happenstance or not, Velletri is determine to reach the top of the wrestling chain.
Follow Velletri at https://www.facebook.com/velletri.