Flip Gordon might not yet be “All In.” But he is now indeed all in when it comes to professional wrestling.
The rising Ring of Honor star told Cageside Seats this week that his duties with the U.S. Army National Guard are complete and he is ready to embark on his career as a full-time wrestler.
“I’m actually done now,” Gordon said. “My contract is up May 1, but I have already fulfilled my last drill for the Army. It was torturous [doing both], but I made it work. And I’m excited to move on to the next chapter in my life, which is just professional wrestling.”
Gordon, 26, was an active duty member of the military for six years. For about four of those years, he was juggling those obligations with wrestling, first as a trainee and now a full-fledged member of the ROH roster.
Gordon has a busy weekend ahead. He faces Dalton Castle in a Proving Ground match at ROH Bound by Honor on Friday night in West Palm Beach, Fla. If he wins, Gordon will get an ROH World title shot. On Saturday, Gordon faces Scorpio Sky in Lakeland, Fla.
It has been just a little more than a year since Gordon debuted with Ring of Honor, but his stock is very much on the rise. He’s going to be in the New Japan Best of the Super Juniors tournament next month and he’s involved in some of ROH’s hottest storylines. It was time, Gordon said, to dive in head first to wrestling.
“One-hundred percent,” Gordon said. “That’s exactly what it is. I want to put everything in wrestling. If I can come this far with the military and taking my time away from this, imagine how far I can go with all my time dedicated to this.”
That’s not to say he would rule out one day returning to the military, which was an experience he said he would not have traded.
“Never say never,” Gordon said. “I love the military, because it opened up many doors for me that I wouldn’t have had if I never joined. I’m leaving on good terms, an honorable discharge. Therefore, if I ever want to return, I am able to. And one day I might. Some day I would like to. You never know.”
For now, though, it’s wrestling. And plenty of it. Gordon calls the NJPW Best of the Super Juniors berth a “huge opportunity” and one that can catapult his career even further. That begins May 18 at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo.
“It’s probably the biggest stage I’ve ever performed on,” Gordon said. “There will be so many eyes watching. It could skyrocket my career if I put on the best performance of my life. I’m excited, I’m nervous. I don’t get nervous often, but I’m a little nervous. But I can’t wait.”
Gordon said he’d love to work with New Japan as much as possible. He said he’d travel back and forth every month if that’s what they wanted. Gordon said the plan right now is to be with ROH and NJPW, which have a very close business relationship, for the foreseeable future.
“I would love to wrestle in Japan full time,” Gordon said. “I think it would be huge for me to do that. I see myself with Ring of Honor and New Japan for the next few years, at least.
“I just think the respect and the love the fans have over there [in Japan] and the wrestling, the way it’s looked at over there. It’s just so special over there.”
If he had to choose a dream match, it wouldn’t be someone in Ring of Honor or New Japan, though. Gordon said he wants badly to stand across the ring someday with fellow Massachusetts native John Cena.
“I get asked this a lot and everybody always looks at me weird every time I say it,” Gordon said. “But my dream match is against John Cena. He was like my idol growing up. He’s the main reason I’m a professional wrestler. I also get compared to him a lot. I always tell people he’s my dad.
“Just because a lot of people don’t think John Cena is a good wrestler or he’s stale or whatever people want to say. He’s been the face of WWE for about 15, 16 years or something like that. He’s a business man.”
Gordon’s post-military career in pro wrestling begins this weekend in Florida and he’ll be in Japan next month with a whole bunch in between. Perhaps Cena and the Tokyo Dome — another goal — will be further in the future. The way things are right now, though, are pretty darn good for the top prospect.
“I’ve got a lot of goals, but I think I’m on the right path,” Gordon said. “I’m not worried, I’m happy and I’m having fun. And that’s the most important thing, that I’m having fun.”