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This is the Truth Network. From pro wrestler to minister to body slamming the congregation, I mean literally, wait till you hear the story today of the masked saint. Not the saint, but the masked saint. Stay tuned.
The Devil's Nightmare. Welcome back to another episode of It's Time to Man Up. Welcome back, man. I am excited today to have on the show with me, ready for this, the masked saint. Yes, you heard that right, the masked saint.
I'm trying to get that out right. Aka, also known as Chris Whaley. Chris, welcome to the Man Up show today.
Hey, Nikita. I'd tell you, I've done a bunch of interviews this year, but none of them have excited me more than this opportunity to talk with you. Thank you so much for having me.
Oh, well, man, I appreciate it, and I can only imagine you are in demand and with your story, and we're gonna jump into that here and talk about that for our listeners. Now, you're coming to us from the sunshine state of Florida, right? Right, just outside the Orlando area, a little place called Winter Springs, Florida, and it is absolutely beautiful in Florida. Well, I enjoy my time in Florida, depending on what time of year it is.
Yeah, yeah. I'm not big into the heat and humidity as much as I am the sunshine and the Gulf or the ocean and the beaches and that sort of thing. Well, I grew up in Florida without air conditioning, so... Okay, and... I'm used to it. You know, it's been said, I don't know if there's...
I guess there's some truth to this. What really exploded the whole South was that very thing, was air conditioning, right? Once air conditioning was invented, I mean, the South, the way I understand, exploded, and everybody then wanted to live here and enjoy. I know for me, coming from the great state of Minnesota, having grown up in blizzards and 32 inches of snow in a 24-hour period, when I came to the Carolinas, I just kind of fell in love with it. I'm like, yeah, okay, this is for me.
Yeah, absolutely. So let's, for our listeners out there, Chris, give a little quick backdrop on Chris. So you mentioned you grew up in Florida, but give us a little bit of a back story there to that. Yes, I grew up in central Florida. My dad was a long-distance truck driver and a fifth-degree redneck, and my mom actually was a Jehovah's Witness. And so, growing up, I was just constantly in and out of the hospital, sick, mostly with pneumonia. In the fourth grade, I had polio, viral encephalitis.
I had to learn to walk all over again. And I had a godly doctor that just really was the guide that God used to help save me physically. And he's the one that got me going to the gym and got me eating right and doing a lot of things that I should have been doing for my body. And so that was just a great, great thing to happen with God sending him into my life. And then my mom, even though she grew up as a Jehovah's Witness, just had some questions that needed answering, and her dad refused to do that.
He said, it's not for you to know. And so my mom and dad married, moved to central Florida, and one day a pastor was out knocking on doors and knocked on our door. And my mom said, I've been praying for somebody like you for a long time. And she invited him in, and she asked the questions. And before he left, she prayed and asked Christ to come into her life. And that was the beginning of the spiritual heritage of our family. And it was just a great, great thing that God did in my life, physically helping me, and then spiritually setting that tone with my mom that later came to fruition in my freshman year in college.
Freshman year in college. Well, you bring to mind something that a lot of my listeners are very familiar with, Chris, the man camp that Lex Lueger and I facilitate that centers around the spirit, soul, and body. I mean, the importance of what you just highlighted, the importance of taking care of our physical bodies, because they are the temple of God, right?
The temple houses the Holy Spirit. So it is important for us to take care of these physical bodies while we have them until we one day get that new glorified body, which I'm looking forward to one day. But in the meantime, the mandate to take care of that physical body, and so what a blessing to have a godly doctor, the Lord direct a godly doctor into your life to cross your path. And then you saw on that level, on the spiritual level, it's quite interesting that your mom's got questions, dad's not willing to answer them, you don't need to know, and yet God in his sovereignty sends a pastor knocking on doors, which is kind of a lost art, if you will, right? I think in today's day and time, I mean, there's probably still some pastors that do go out and knock on doors, but my guess is not many do that anymore. But praise God, this pastor knocked on your door and answered your mom's questions, and she surrendered her life to Jesus.
That's amazing. Yep, I was a little bit confrontational because I was used to having my Sundays off, and mom kind of wrecked that world taking us to church. You were a drug baby, you were drugged to church then, huh?
Yeah, yeah. When I was 16, I met a young lady in church that just stole my heart, and I had never planned to go to college, and my dad had a third grade education, my mom had a seventh grade education. Education was not really pushed in my household, but this young lady that I met who grew up in poverty, who said, I'm not going to live in poverty, I'm going to get an education, and she went to a Christian college down in South Florida, and the only reason I went to college was to follow her.
I love it. Yeah, I followed her down there, and she took me to church, to First Baptist Church of West Palm, and I heard Dr. Jeff Moody preach, and it just rocked my world and changed my life. And in my freshman year in college, on a Wednesday night, September of 1973, I got down beside my bed and prayed and asked Christ to come into my heart, and that was the greatest day of my life, was that day of accepting Christ into my heart. And so, you know, I went from college, we graduated, I felt the call of God on my life to become a pastor, but there just weren't a lot of positions open for a guy who's, you know, 22 years old, graduating from college, so you had to do youth ministry. And I sucked as a youth minister, I just tell you, man, I was the world's worst youth minister, it was not my calling. There's probably been a few bad ones out there, but hey, okay.
But I, you know, I did it, had a bad experience. My wife and I were back living in central Florida, and she was teaching high school math at her alma mater, and I was just going to the gym every day. I was in the best shape of my life, and one day I'm looking at the Tampa Tribune, and I saw those things that wanted professional wrestlers, and I jumped up out of my seat, I ran over to my wife who was grading papers, and I showed her what I was looking at, and she just kind of rolled her eyes and kept grading papers. But I, you know, I put a bag together and I drove over to Tampa, and I walked in, and there was one of the greatest heels that I, you know, ever watched as a kid growing up, the Great Malenko.
And so I got to train under the Great Malenko and the beginning of my time in professional wrestling, and it was just awesome. I mean, I worked every minute of it. Okay, hold on, hold on, don't get too far ahead of me here, Chris. Okay, okay.
Because obviously that's what ties into my introduction, the Masked Saint. We're going to talk about that, but let me just go back for a moment, because your journey here is pretty amazing. As we were just talking about, you know, the pastor knocking on the door, your mom coming to Christ, you going, and she kind of ruined your world by dragging you to church on Sundays. But, correct me if I'm wrong, so you met a young lady who, in church, who became your wife. You said you followed her to college, so she obviously did grip your heart.
She grabbed hold of your heart, had your heart in her hands. So you follow her to college, so same gal, right? You met her in church.
Okay. And still together. Yep, we celebrated 47 years on May the 2nd, just a couple of Mondays ago. Wow, 47 years of marriage. Congratulations on that.
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