It’s not often that two people who grew up in two completely different states could have so much in common.

It’s not often that two people who grew up in two completely different states could have so much in common.

But when those people are both professional wrestlers, then the occurrence is more common than one might think.

For Amarillo, Texas native Chandler “The Truth” Hopkins and former Dickson Comets All-State football standout Joe Herrell, now known as “The Chickasaw Warrior Ky-ote”, this strange and winding road known as pro wrestling has taken both these former gridiron warriors across the United States.

Saturday night though, it will bring them both to the Hardy Murphy Coliseum for the Imperial Wrestling Revolution event Oklamania II, where both men will be featured on a stacked card.

“I’ve always been a fan of pro wrestling,” Herrell said. “What’s so funny is that my senior year of high school, Jerry Bostic (IWR owner) ran his 

first event in this area. My trainer Al Santos even wrestled on that show. He (Bostic) told me he was about to open up a wrestling school in this area, and going to that event and meeting with Jerry peaked my interest.”

Before taking the next step towards being in the squared circle, Herrell first had to turn down multiple football scholarship offers from Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant, North Texas University in Denton, TX and Minnesota State University. 

Since stepping into the squared circle, Herrell has amassed 16 total championships throughout multiple wrestling associations, including the IWR Revolutionary Championship as well as one half of the IWR World Tag Team champions as part of the “Arrow Club” faction.

Herrell has also had the pleasure of working with some of the biggest names in the business including John Cena of the WWE, John Morrison, Rhyno, Evan Bourne aka Matt Sydal, as well as Marshall and Ross Von Erich of the legendary Von Erich family. 

Now 11 years later, Herrell said he doesn’t regret his choice to lace up his boots and step into the spotlight.

“I was burned out on football and wanted to try something different, and pro wrestling was it,” Herrell said. “I’m just now starting to get noticed after all these years. It takes hard work and dedication to get to this point, and I feel like I’ve done that. To be so well liked and respected in the wrestling community is a blessing for me. I’ve gotten to train wrestlers now who have won multiple championships across the country which is an honor for me.”

Among the wrestlers Herrell has gotten to train, is none other than Hopkins.

“Texas is a big wrestling state, but what is funny is that when I was younger I wasn’t allowed to watch wrestling,” Hopkins said. “When I was 12 my step dad came around and he would take myself and my brother into the living room while my mom was at work. I wrestled in middle school and played football in high school as well as playing some at the semi-pro level. Football was my thing, and then when I was through with it I came into wrestling.”

Hopkins added that at first he was just wanting to find out if he even had the physical capabilities to be a wrestler. Then, after attending a WWE RAW show in Oklahoma City with a friend of his, Hopkins was directed towards IWR and the next step in his journey.

“I had wanted to just see if I could do it at first,” he said. “Everyone says football is a tough sport, and it is. Wrestling though is a lot more physical. I wanted to see if I could stay in the shape required and take bumps in the ring. I love challenging myself so I viewed this as a challenge.”

“A friend of mine told me about the IWR after we got back from Oklahoma City,” Hopkins added. “At the bottom of the page it said if you are interested in being a wrestler then contact us. Two weeks later I came down and began school. I broke my wrist three months into my training, and then three months later I was working live shows. I recently just reached my one year mark performing.”

Herell was among the many trainers Hopkins got to learn from while undergoing his training.

Since stepping into the ring, Hopkins has gotten to perform with wresters such as “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan, along with El Fuego Del Sol, and “Doomsday” Cody Dickson among many others.

As for Herrell, he is considering Saturday nights event at the Hardy Murphy Coliseum as a special homecoming and a way to show those who doubted him that he proved them wrong.

“It’s bittersweet for me to be honest,” he said. “I was told I was too small, and so many other things. Now I have wrestled for WWE multiple times as well as all around the world. To be able to give back to my dad by being in the main event of Oklamania against the Von Erichs, is very special to me. I wouldn’t be in this business if it wasn’t for people like the Von Erichs, and my dad loved watching them so it’s going to be a special night for both of us.”

Among the other talent scheduled to appear at the event is Sting, Lex Luger, Chavo Guerrero Jr., among many others. Hopkins said his journey to the second Oklamania event is a dream come true after being security at the first event.

“I worked security at the first Oklamania event, and a lot of people don’t realize that,” he said. “This is just a prime example of showing everyone that if you chase your dreams and follow them hard enough, they will come true.”