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Mike Pankow

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Chicago’s Pat Monix still grinding for his dream

Chicago’s Pat Monix still grinding for his dream

By Mike Pankow

June 6, 2019

Pat Monix enters the arena at Warrior Wrestling 3 on Juanury 5, 2019. Monix, a five-year veteran in the wrestling business, was trained by Bryce Benjamin and influenced by wrestlers like Shawn Michaels, CM Punk, Ali and DJZ among others.  (Photo by Mike Pankow)

Pat Monix enters the arena at Warrior Wrestling 3 on Juanury 5, 2019. Monix, a five-year veteran in the wrestling business, was trained by Bryce Benjamin and influenced by wrestlers like Shawn Michaels, CM Punk, Ali and DJZ among others. (Photo by Mike Pankow)

The boyhood dream is still in progress for Chicago independent wrestler Pat Monix.

But after the last year around the scene, Monix’s goal of making it to the big time seems much more realistic.

The lanky, blond-haired kid is just starting to hit his stride after yearlong grudge feuds with Simon Grimm (aka Simon Gotch) in Zelo Pro and Sam Adonis in Warrior Wrestling.

Monix, 26, who graduated with a degree in business management from Bradley University in May 2015 after prepping at Dundee-Crown High School in the far Northwest suburbs and, is a five-year veteran of the business. Nowadays for a wrestler, he’s still very early in his career.

“My first match was in the summer of 2014 (against Prince Iaukea),” said Monix during an interview conducted at Warrior Wrestling 5 on May 12. “My first year or two was really slow. I was a college student at the time. Sometimes in wrestling, you’ve got to get your real life together before you get your wrestling life together.”

Monix received most of his training from Chicagoland veteran Bryce Benjamin, who wrestles for several promotions in the area on a regular basis, including Freelance, Zelo Pro, Kaiju Attack Wrestling and Berwyn Championship Wrestling.

Once his career got rolling, Monix learned and developed his style from people like WWE SmackDown Superstar (Mustafa) Ali, NXT prospect and independent veteran DJZ, 16-year veteran Gringo Loco, and luchadors Skayde and Discovery.

Monix grew close to DJZ and even lived with him in the Chicago area for a while, looking to improve his craft and grow in the business. Now DJZ (recently rechristened Joaquin Wilde) is off to NXT and potentially a greater future, a path Monix wants to follow.

I’m super excited for him,” said Monix, who recently wrestled against DJZ in his final independent match in the Chicago area at Freelance Underground. “I know as long as he just goes there and he’s him, he’s going to do wonders and the world is going to know who he is. I’m excited to watch it unfold.”

Monix ended up winning an “I Respect You” Match against Grimm at Zelo Pro: Wrestling on Weed St. on April 28 on the North side of Chicago, a match that went all around the bar and into the second level.

It was his rivalry with Grimm, the former NXT and WWE Superstar, that helped him get on the map.

“It all started one day when I checked my Twitter and Zelo Pro was running this (poll) to see who could be in the Milwaukee scramble match, kind of like a fan vote, five or six people were options,” Monix explained. “Simon Grimm posts this random video, saying ‘If you select him, I will destroy Pat Monix.’ There was no rhyme or reason behind it. This was just 100 percent real. I was shocked and at the time, I was pretty flattered, because I wasn’t getting very many big matches. For someone like him to call me out was pretty cool.”

Pat Monix, left, and Simon Grimm engaged in a yearlong feud in Zelo Pro Wrestling. At the end of the rivalry, Monix earned Grimm’s respect.  (Photo by Mike Pankow)

Pat Monix, left, and Simon Grimm engaged in a yearlong feud in Zelo Pro Wrestling. At the end of the rivalry, Monix earned Grimm’s respect. (Photo by Mike Pankow)

To top that off, Monix had a ridiculous brawl against Adonis all over Marian Catholic High School’s gym in a no-disqualification match at Warrior Wrestling 5 on May 12. Adonis, the brother of WWE’s Corey Graves and one of the hottest heels on the international scene, was accidentally cut open near his eye after a chair that Monix tossed at him bounced off Adonis’ knee and struck his face. Adonis ended up winning the hard-hitting, high-flying bout moments later.

The Monix-Adonis rivalry stemmed back to Warrior Wrestling 2 last Labor Day weekend when Adonis attacked Monix after his match with DJZ. The two were on opposite sides of a six-man, lucha-rules tag match at Warrior 3. Then, Monix came out to distract Adonis at Warrior 4, costing Adonis the match against WCW and AAA legend LA Park.

“The rivalry with Sam is an easy dynamic,” Monix said. “You’ve got this guy who think he’s this international superstar who thinks he’s way more important than he is. On the other hand, you’ve got someone like me, who’s true to the independent scene, hasn’t signed a major contract, hasn’t visited all these different countries. I think I know where I’m going. I think I’ll get to those places and I think I can do it in manner differently than the way he did it.”

These feuds helped establish him as a sympathetic fan favorite and a relatable person.

Over the last several months, Monix has evolved from a simple-looking wrestler into a personality known as Project M.O.N.I.X., where he comes to the ring in a cool, futuristic costume. With his experience comes the transformation into a more mature worker and a bit of larger-than-life character.

“In my life, I’m all in with this,” Monix said. “I feel like there’s a handful of people on the independent scene who truly treat this like a job or a profession. Those are the people who I want to follow suit, guys like DJZ.

“Creating that character visually was a process. I hit up someone with a bunch of ideas from cartoons, comics and movies. People have told me that it looks like a Mortal Kombat character. People have told me that it looks like Ant-Man.”

As a child, Monix drew his influence to pursue the business from a WWE Hall of Famer: “One day at Best Buy, I grabbed the Shawn Michaels: Boyhood Dream DVD, and that’s what sold me on it and maybe thinking of doing it someday for a living.”

He also mentioned Chicago’s CM Punk as an influence for him to start following independent wrestling.

While gaining more valuable experience from matches against Jake Crist at The Wrestling Revolver and an upcoming bout against Isaias Velazquez at Freelance Wrestling, Monix is still looking for his first offer from a large company and that remains a goal as he continues to grow.

“I’ve done some extra work for WWE, but as far as (feelers for) legitimately getting signed as a talent, not really,” he said. “The alternatives to WWE, like IMPACT, Ring of Honor, MLW, Evolve, New Japan, those are all goals, but that kind of stuff will happen when it’s supposed to happen. I got some advice from someone, saying ‘focus on yourself, stay in your own lane, and if you bet on yourself fully, that stuff is going to happen when it’s supposed to happen.’ ”

Monix appeared on WWE Raw on Oct. 8, 2018, as a participant in Baron Corbin’s global battle royal, where he was cast as performer from Antarctica. He is hoping that was just the first taste of stepping into a ring where the lights are even brighter.

One of Monix’s slogans is “Take my hand, we are all going make it.” He certainly is on his way.

“I started training when I was about 20, had my first match when I was 21,” Monix said. “I always kind of had this goal in mind of where I was supposed to be when I was 26 and I’m not really there. I wouldn’t consider it a failure, but my foot is on the pedal right now, I’m trying to make this happen.”

Windy City Slam editor Mike Pankow interviews Chicago independent wrestler Pat Monix (aka Project M.O.N.I.X.) at Warrior Wrestling 5 on Sunday, May 12, 2019. Monix talks about the evolution of his career and character, his wrestling influences, his feuds with Simon Grimm and Sam Adonis, his relationship with DJZ and his goals for the future.
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