Ring of Honor star and former World Television Champion Silas Young isn’t your modern man, he’s a real man. In fact, Young reminds wrestling fans that he’s “The Last Real Man” in professional wrestling.
With slick back hair, a hairy chest, strongly built and a thick mustache which Young says “You either got the ability to grow a manly mustache or you don’t,” he’s bucked the rend of the prototypical wrestler.
“The Real Man thing came about as a nod to my father and just how guys are nowadays,” Young said. “The whole Real Man thing comes about as basically if our fathers or grandfathers looked at how men act nowadays, they’d be ashamed. Men of today are not the men our fathers were or our fathers’ fathers were.”
According to Young, his father was a no nonsense type of guy and considering Young had five older brothers, by the time he came around, his father wasn’t taking crap any more. It showed. All of the kids in their neighborhood were legitimately fearful of him.
His father carried a sense of bravado that Silas now carries with him in the wrestling business. He looks tough, he talks tough, and he carries himself like a man who can beat you in the ring, travel to the next town, enjoy some whiskey, and then prepare to do it all over again. He loves the lifestyle that comes with pro wrestling.
“It’s a lot of travel especially on the UK tour. It seemed every day, you were getting on a plane to fly somewhere or getting on a bus or getting on a train,” Young said. “Luckily, the trains in the UK sell beer on them so a lot of the nights after the shows, we’d ride back on the train and buy all of the beer on the train that they had. We’d all hang out, drink, and play some games and do whatever to have fun and pass the time.”
Young has been with ROH for over five years now and has been a great heel while ramping up the masculinity. At last year’s Final Battle, he won his first singles title: the ROH World Television Championship. He’s only one of four guys who have held it multiple times, an honor that Young says meant so much to him.
“As a kid growing up, you watch wrestling on TV and see these guys with these title belts and it’s the greatest thing in the world,” Young said. “So to be wrestling for a reputable company with a worldwide reach and be a multiple time champion and have some great title defenses during the run is a great honor.”
But many fans don’t know the story before Silas Young stepped into the squared circle. The story about growing up in Appleton, Wisconsin, a city which was ranked one of the best cities to raise a family and it’s where Young lived until he was 24 years old.
“I had a pretty normal life but at the end of high school and out of high school, I got into drugs a little bit. More than a little bit, to be honest,” Young said. “I was doing dumb crap I shouldn’t have been doing.”
He had a buddy from high school who was training to be a pro wrestler. He came to Young’s house one day and told him he was having his first match that night and was selling tickets and wanted to know if he wanted to buy a ticket.
“I said, ‘Hell yeah, man, I want to see this.’ So I bought a ticket and at the same time, I was selling drugs to get myself through life and support my problems and a few months before he came by, I was getting to a point in my life where I said there had to be something better than this in life and was starting to clean myself up and was kind of in limbo and not knowing what to do.”
Being a drug dealer at the time, Young had $5,000 in cash on him. He decided on a whim the day of his friend’s show, to open up a bank account. Going to his vault, he took the money out and deposited it in the bank before heading to the wrestling show.
While he was sitting ringside, cheering on his friend, Tom, during his match, Young admired the job he was doing and thought to himself, “Maybe this is something you can do with your life?” As Young tells it, he had an epiphany that this is what he needed to do with his life.
“I left the show with my brother that night and we had a great time and we were talking on the way back and I said, ‘Man, I think this is what I’m going to do with my life,” Young said. “I’m way more athletic than Tom so I think I can be pretty damn good at this.'”
When he got home that night, Young had realized that someone had kicked in his door and stole his safe. The safe that previously held his $5,000 in cash that he deposited it in the bank that day on a whim.
“I was sitting there that night and going, ‘Man, if you have ever been looking for a sign telling you to do something with your life, what more do you need?’ Young said. “By that fall, I was completely clean and the next spring started wrestling training.”
Inside the ring, Young was a natural. His talent has taken him to WWE and ROH. It’s a long way from his first ever match in the early 2000s, when Young played a guy wiping the ropes down when an opponent decided he was going to fight him in an impromptu match.
Not only is he excelling in ROH, he’s now booking his own independent shows in Wisconsin, never too far from his roots and always pushing forward. The 39-year old star has a son named Jack with his wife Val Malone, who is a big wrestling fan as well and works as a valet in the industry.
“When Jack was really young, I didn’t want to be one of these dads who pushes things on their kids. My wife is a big wrestling fan as well. So we’ve always had wrestling on at home and he’d come and peak in a little bit but it wasn’t until a couple of years ago when he started to really get into wrestling. Now he’s a huge fan. He watches all of the YouTube videos on it, he does stop motion videos with his figures on his iPad so he’s super into it and thinks it’s pretty cool.”
Jack is already trying to get his wrestling career started.
“Since I started running my own independent shows here in Milwaukee and now every month when we’re talking about the shows, he keeps trying to get me to book him on the show. I’m like, ‘You’re 9 years old, dude. You can’t wrestle on these shows.'”
Jack’s rebuttal was to make his case by mentioning that 10-year old Nicholas teamed up with Braun Strowman at WrestleMania in April. It still wasn’t enough to persuade “The Last Real Man.”
Pro wrestler, promoter, father, husband, and redeemed, Young has worn various hats during his rise in the pro wrestling industry but he’s quick to stress how genuine it is and who the real man truly is.
“I’m real. I’m not fake,” Young said. “I’m not out there playing some character. I am who I am and I think that comes across really well on screen.”