DENVER - Ryan Hood is all smiles, as he photographs flowers in the garden of Craig Hospital. He is standing next to one of the hospital's clients, Stewart Lundy, who lost use of his lower legs decades ago in a diving accident. The two have a relationship that isn't just based on their work together at the hospital, but on their admiration for each other as friends. That's why Hood knew he couldn't keep his secret life away from Lundy for long.
"I think people get to a certain point with me, where I know them on a personal level," said Hood, a therapeutic recreation technician at Craig Hospital. "So I'm like 'OK, it's time to tell.'"
Hood's secret? When he's not helping people like Lundy recover from traumatic injuries, he is doing the not-so-delicate job of being a professional wrestler. When he's in the ring wrestling for NRW (New Revolution Wrestling), he goes by the nickname "Hoodlum." And he takes quite a personality shift.
"He's a little violent, I guess," said Hood, with a smile, adding that the kicks and punches that he takes in the ring are very much real.
Hood's dream of wrestling began when he was a child.
"He was voted 'class entertainer' in kindergarten," said his mom, Kathy Hood.
Hood remembers watching wrestling matches on television and thinking he would be in the ring one day.
"Oh he'll be in the WWE for sure" said Hood's friend, an NRW Security guard, who goes by the moniker Mike Smooth.
Hood says his alter-ego is, basically, his own personality, "with the volume turned up."
Hoodlum's once-bad-boy-persona has won fans over as he's "made the switch" to a good guy, perhaps inspired by people like Lundy, who is wheelchair bound and living a full, successful life.
"When I see Stewart, I see somebody who is doing something that I don't know if I'd ever be able to do," Hood said. "He's the hero to me."
For more information on upcoming NRW wrestling matches featuring Hoodlum, click here: http://nrwrevolution.com/
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