written by: Marc Valeri
Sebastian Dastranj, better known as Sebastian Suave in the ring, finishes his oponent with ‘The Suave Effect’. Courtesy
Local wrestler grapples with life’s obstacles to live out dream
One thing that many of us will never be able to say is that we have lived out our childhood dreams. That won’t be the case for Sebastian Dastranj, who makes a living kicking ass across the country.
Dastranj, who juggles wrestling, school and a part-time job at the same time, has been wrestling on the indy circuit for almost three years under the name “Sebastian Suave.”
“I knew he always wanted to do this, as soon as I was exposed to wrestling at such an early age,” says Dastranj. “My parents forbade it. I could only watch it if I promised not to become a professional wrestler.
“I trained behind parents back for a long time – four hours travel, four hours of training, four days a week. There were so many obstacles, I didn’t think it was possible.”
Dastranj, a product of Squared Circle Wrestling, lives his dream, but at a steep price.
“Wrestling hurts,” he said. “Right now, I have two jammed thumbs, an injured rotator cuff, and I have a knot in my back. Wrestling takes toll on your body.”
‘Sebastian Suave’ is what the wrestling industry calls a “heel”; a persona that is intended to anger the crowd. The more you hate him, the better he does his job.
“You create people’s reactions and emotions, and there’s no better feeling than putting people on an emotional rollercoaster.”
Dastranj currently works for a number of organizations, but his home company is Blood, Sweat and Ears (BSE).
Dastranj has made countless sacrifices. Luckily, has had help from friends and family along the way.
“I’ve had to sacrifice just about everything. School took hit, I missed key classes. I saw my girlfriend maybe once a week if I was lucky with all the training and shows. You’re always on the road,” he said. “Money is tight because of training, attire, seminars and stuff. You have to go out of your way to get someone to remember your name down the road.
“I’ve been on the road a lot, three-to-four days a week, 200 plus days a year. Anywhere from Sudbury to Montreal to Detroit. I’m trying to attain my dream.”
One thing that Dastranj is asked about is the validity of wrestling – is it real or fake?
“It’s not black and white. It’s real inside a fake show. The beauty is not knowing what’s real and fake,” he said. “Especially at real shows compared to TV, it’s big difference for fans and their reactions. If the wrestler’s job is done right, they will captivate people and suspend their disbeliefs.
“Think of it as a good movie – you know it’s fake, but when the actors are doing a really good job, you forget that you’re watching a movie.”
Dastranj recently recovered from a broken-and-bloodied nose after getting kicked in the face. He also had his head shaved after losing a hair-versus-hair match.
In order to better his physique, Dastranj recently upped his diet and workout regimen.
“I always try to take advantage of workout opportunities. I hit gym between classes all the time, four-to-six times a week,” he says. “Since wrestling is big on wrestler presentation and physique, you have to look the part.”
Dastranj, whose nickname is “Your Savior”, has had a lot of success in the business, including numerous championships in the Great Canadian Wrestling (GCW) company.
“In my first year, four of your five matches will suck. I’m my own biggest critic, and I’ve only liked four or five of my own matches ever to this point.
“Education is key; you really need something to back up when your wrestling days are over. No one can predict the future, so if something happens, wrestling won’t be your only way to make money,” he said.
Suave has wrestled WWE legends The Honky Tonk Man, as well as Brutus Beefcake. Superstars such as these, Dastranj says, is what got him addicted to wrestling in the first place.
“WWE is somewhat like real wrestling. A lot of wrestling is based off WWE, since it’s the biggest promotion,” he said. “Only a portion of the show is what you see in the ring. There’s a lot that goes into it – creating storylines, designing the matches, the working out and diets. There’s a lot that goes on backstage and upstairs.”
WWE has gotten bad press from the tragic deaths of Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero. Pro wrestling organizations have also implemented steroid testing policies to ensure that no one is on the juice.
“I personally haven’t seen steroids on the indy circuit,” he said. “It’s more of an issue at bigger level where the money is. All wellness policies, like WWE’s, are legit and real, they’re definitely taken very seriously.”
The wrestling world was again stirred by Mickey Rourke’s Oscar-nominated performance in The Wrestler, a low-budget movie that WWE owner Vince McMahon was none too happy about.
“The Wrestler was depressing because it was very true. It was surprisingly accurate for some of the older guys. People passing out in the locker room does happen from the toll that wrestling takes on your body,” he said. “The people you know from wrestling become a second family for you. I found it very realistic, but bad because it portrays bad image in wrestling and their stereotypes.”
He still says, however, that he wouldn’t trade job for anything in the world.
“It’s easily the best decision of my life to take up wrestling,” he said. “It’s my passion and love.”