Editor’s Note: This interview discusses matches which have been taped, but have yet to air. If you want to avoid spoilers for upcoming MLW shows, bookmark it to read after the Opera Cup tournament is finished.
Calvin Tankman had the weekend of life between his encounter with the legendary Minoru Suzuki and his successful venture into the Major League Wrestling (MLW) 2021 Opera Cup.
Tankman shared the ring with former IWGP Intercontinental champion Suzuki at WrestleMax STL Episode VI, followed by back-to-back Oper Cup wins at MLW Fightland across the first two days of October. For the young wrestler, it was an all-or-nothing sort of weekend.
“Really exciting. That’s one of those things you dream about happening, but you don’t expect it to happen,” Tankman told Cageside Seats ‘ Shakiel Mahjouri prior to his Opera Cup opening round match. “Now that it’s happening, I literally can’t wait. It’s easily the biggest weekend of my career going from Suzuki on Friday to the Opera Cup on Saturday and the possibility of four matches on two days. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. It could be a make or break weekend for my career and I’m looking forward to it.”
Tankman will face Davey Richards in the Opera Cup finals at War Chamber on Nov. 6, following successful outings against Matt Cross and Alex Kane. It’s an opportunity he hopes will prove just how far he can go in pro wrestling.
“It’s the opportunity to get back into the main event scene and prove that I belong to be,” Tankman says. “One of the lasting things I hear a lot of people say is... ‘I watched your match with Fatu. It’s really good.’ To a lot of people that would be a compliment, but to me, it’s saying your lasting memory of me in your head is me failing to get the biggest win of my career.
“That cup is something that no one can take away from me. It’s something that proves on that night I am one of the best wrestlers in the world.”
Tankman, 24, has a 7-year-old daughter at home. The past MLW World Heavyweight Championship title challenger opens up about how he balances parenthood and the selfish pursuit of wrestling.
“It’s not easy,” he admits. “Basically, I keep myself busy. It’s one of those things where if I’m not doing something where I’m making money — whether it be work or wrestling — then I should be spending time with my daughter and my family. I just try and spend as much time with her as I can. Between work and wrestling, there may be a week where I’m working six days of that week and I’m gone three of those days. Sometimes it’s seven days a week. Some weekends I have a couple of extra days.
“It’s all about using your time wisely. Making sure that she knows she’s loved. And then when I go someplace, maybe I’m in Seattle, I Facetime her and show her what I’m doing. Letting her see the crowd, let her see that daddy is out making money so that he can come home and buy her a new game for the Switch or do whatever we need to do. I try and help her understand that this is daddy’s work now. He’s worked hard enough to where it’s not a hobby anymore. It’s a job. That allows me to take care of her in the way that I need to be able to.”
Cross vs. Tankman will air on Wednesday, Oct. 20 at MLW Fusion ALPHA #5, broadcasting live on MLW’s YouTube channel. The event kicks off at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT.
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