Member Spotlight: “The Pali Prince” Sal Erakat
Member Spotlight: “The Pali Prince” Sal Erakat
By Jeff Sharkey
How encouraging it must be for the long-standing CAC membership to see their desire to carve their niche into history and earn a good living rekindled with the same spirit from future generations. Sal Erakat took time recently to share his goals and aspirations, and it’s clear that although he puts his best foot forward, he is still seeking veteran encouragement whenever he can get it.
“As far as the wrestling business is concerned, I do plan on making it to the top. To do that you have to have the passion and motivation and drive to do whatever it takes,” Erakat said. “In 2012, when I made the decision to leave three jobs, pack up my car and head 28 hours north to Calgary, it was a decision I made for myself to further my career. To get the best training available, in my opinion …to go up and train with Lance Storm, and I encourage everyone to do the same. Sometimes you have to, without the parachute on, and without able to see the safety net below, you gotta be able to jump. And if you jump, you’ll definitely get the results you want.”
Erakat, who wrestles professionally under the name of The Pali Prince, tells us his tale. “I’ve been involved in wrestling since 2008, and began wrestling since 2010. I went up to train with Lance Storm in 2012. I’ve been coming to CAC for 5 years now,” Erakat said. “Currently I work out of Phoenix, Arizona. I do work a lot of Indy shows that I work on the weekends. Out of that area, I am traveling to Utah, Texas, sometimes in New Mexico… a little bit in California just to get out and travel wherever I can. I am available to go wherever possible. I do have a passport to travel internationally; I have lived and wrestled in Canada as well.”
Erakat is roughly the same age as many of the stars he watched initially as they rose to prominence in the 1980s. “My first memory of the business was Brother Love, doing his famous “I LUUUV YOU”! It just stuck with me,” Erakat said. “From that point on, I watched…and wrestling was always there for me. I could always turn on Monday nights, and could always put it on Saturday mornings and watch it, but I never knew how to get into it. Finally after an extremely rough year in 2007, I said I’m going to figure out how to do this. So I went to the bar where they were running shows, got the name of the promoter, and he invited me down to the show. I met the trainers, and began training in 2008. I started wrestling at 25 years old, I am now 31, and not planning on stopping anytime soon.”
Sal’s enthusiasm is not tempered at all by some who have knocked his late start, as his age is merely a number, in his view. “It’s honestly how valuable an asset that you are, and what you can offer and still bring…if you’re 20…30…40; it doesn’t matter, it matters in what you do to make yourself different, so that you become a commodity,” Erakat said.
Before his debut as an active participant, Sal Erakat learned elements of the wrestling business from a technical perspective. “I was very lucky in Phoenix, starting out doing the production side of things, I had guys like Val Venis around me. I had Tommy Dreamer and Bill DeMott around, that I was able to sit in on production meetings and listen to what they thought needed to happen… and see it coming to fruition,” Erakat said. “I began to understand the tip of the iceberg of what the business really means on how to take it to the next level.”
You can count Sal as one of those who sees the intrinsic value of Cauliflower Alley to today’s young talent. He remembers his maiden CAC voyage, the same year as his debut. “My first year was 2010 when Stone Cold was here; Mick Foley was here; Sgt Slaughter was here. Being so fresh in wrestling, and still being a fan, always being a fan I believe that as a wrestler we are the biggest fans out there. I went up to Stone Cold Steve Austin and even though he was in a hurry, he took time, and I asked him what was piece of advice he could offer me,” Erakat said. “I encourage everyone to do that when you come here, because we are a family and this is the Ring of Friendship. . You can go to anybody and begin asking questions, and people are going to be willing to offer the answers and help and give you what you need!
Take heed of Erakat’s advice as it extends to all aspects of the wrestling business. “If you have a vet, don’t be afraid to ask them for constructive criticism. Don’t take it as it’s going to hurt you or get down on yourself…use it! These people have been around,” Erakat said. “The greatest part about coming here to CAC is being able to talk to everybody and see where they came from. So whether they were a promoter, if they run a blog site; whether they were a wrestler, a referee or whatever it is, they have taken part in the business, and you can learn something from every single person you talk to.”
Admittedly, Sal Erakat likes the informal nature of how these lessons are learned, under the bright lights of Las Vegas. “Going to the big bar at the Gold Coast and talking to guys like Ron Hutchison, or Bob Johnson out of Calgary… talking to guys like Ross Hart. Picking people’s brains while they’re walking around,” Erakat said. “I recommend it to everybody in terms of getting a different perspective from the business, being able to get the information you need. You want to talk with people you’ve never been able to talk to before and network with people you never have before. I’ve been very blessed to make friends who have helped me in many different avenues, not only with the business but in life. I’m planning to come to the 50th next year and not knowing what to expect, other that it’s gonna be probably the biggest one they’ve ever had, and seeing all the new faces.”
The Golden Greats are giving the rub to the newcomers, and it shows in the attitude and desire of The Pali Prince. “I try to stress positivity with everybody. If you can see the silver lining in the clouds, you’ll be able to get wherever you’re going; that is the most important thing ,” Erakat said. “If you’re having fun, those emotions will be felt; they will translate to the crowd, or whatever you’re doing in life, and it’s gonna drive people to want to be around you more. Nobody likes a Negative Nancy!”
— Jeff Sharkey, CAC member
Editor’s note: Read more about Sal Erakat here!