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Wrestling with cancer

Posted at 5:00 AM, May 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-20 09:08:13-04

BALTIMORE — From the music, to his moves, the man wrestling fans know as 'The Bruiser' has made a career out of bringing them down in the ring.

“I've fought my whole life," said RJ Meyer, aka, 'The Bruiser.' "I've been wrestling since 1997, and I'm not backing down from anybody.”

Or anything. After being run down, suffering from severe sweats and bruising, Meyer, learned he was in for the fight of his life.

“I'm in the gym working out like normal and slowly my heart felt like it was going to pop out of my chest after my first set, and I was like, 'this is really weird.' And then I noticed these lumps, popping up [on] my head, neck and side of my chest," said RJ. “The doctor came in and said you have Leukemia, and I was like 'oh, that's fabulous news thanks for coming in and telling me,' so he left and my parents and I had our five minute cry and that ended and I looked at my mom and I said, 'we're done crying, now it's time to fight.'"

He turned to fans on Facebook to share the news. He's been vlogging daily through his good days and bad and during his two rounds of chemo. He's been touched by their love and support.

“The man who is going to beat Leukemia ass into the dirt," he said. “It was a little overwhelming at first. I wasn't expecting how, like how me, just being a pro wrestler in Joppa, Maryland, would get that kind of support from my wrestling community and gym community.”

Fans filled Jimmy's Seafood for a Crab Feast to help with medical bills, and the support he's received goes beyond Baltimore.

Words from Professional Wrestler Roman Reigns were especially inspirational for RJ and his two boys, 15-year-old Connor and 8-year-old Xander, who's a huge wrestling fan.

“When I had to tell my kids what was going on it was right after Roman Reigns just came back from beating Leukemia so I told Xander and he was like, 'alright Dad, Roman Reigns [could] beat it and so can you.'”

While he's missing his time on the big stage, he's ringside, not far from the action and still working with MCW Pro Wrestling.

Twice a week, he's training 40-50 students, work that he's proud of.

“We've got four people with the WWE right now, and we've got 10 people with the Ring of Honor, and we're making the next wrestler," Meyer said. "We're making the next superstar.”

It's work that also serves as a welcome distraction while he wrestles with cancer.

“I had back surgery in 2010 and that was ten times worse. I got sober in 2012 and that was 1,000 to a million times harder than dealing with this.”

It's his faith that's keeping him strong throughout this fight.

“I feel he gave this to me, so maybe my kids don't have to get it. He gave this to me so maybe somebody weaker couldn't fight it and beat it.“

“Do you see yourself in the ring again?,” WMAR-2 News asked.

“He's missing seeing me in the ring right now," said RJ as he was referring to his son,"So I need to get back in the ring for him one more time and get back in the ring for all the fans that are supporting me for all these years, one more time.”

To get there, RJ will have to win one to two more rounds of chemo. If he has a successful, he'll try for a bone marrow transplant this summer, taking home the champions title and making cancer tap out.

There’s a Jimmy’s Slamboree in June to show support and help raise money to help with RJ’s medical expenses. Jimmy’s Seafood is sponsoring the live wrestling benefit show June 1 at the MCW arena in Joppa. For details on tickets, click here.