Barrington Hughes was encouraged by his late grandfather to pursue professional wrestling.
One of the last conversations he had with him was to live life without any regrets. The native South Floridian took those words to heart and took the first steps in realizing a dream.
“I remember watching Monday Night Raw with him,” Hughes, a regular for Major League Wrestling, said.
“For me, the match that stands out to this day was Razor Ramon versus the 1-2-3 Kid when Kid finally got the pin. Just seeing the underdog overcoming the big man was cool. I wanted to be like that. It was inspiring at that time.”
At 6-foot-1, nearing 500 pounds, it’s ironic Hughes, real name Manny Williams, would consider himself an underdog. However, charismatic talent recalls first breaking into the business and being told isn’t going to make it.
“They said I was too big and not athletic enough or boring. I was told everything,” Hughes said.
“It almost deterred me to just quit. I’ve contemplated quitting on several occasions. I just had to sit down with those who love and support me. They said, ‘when you’re ready to finish, you’ll finish. You’ll know when you’re ready. Right now, you’re not ready. Get past the negativity. Get past the garbage. The hard work will pay off. They were right. And it’s just starting to pay off starting with MLW. I’m eternally grateful to them for that.”
The Hallandale High graduate submitted information upon finding out about the relaunch of MLW. Mister Saint Laurent responded with an idea and asked if he was available for a certain amount of dates. Hughes, looking at his nonexistent PTO at the day job as a customer service representative for a personal training company, said yes.
“I made it happen anyway because I remember watching MLW on Sunshine Network late nights on the weekends,” Hughes said.
“Everything is coming full circle at that point… Getting more frequent books and real life Is starting to get in the way. It’s a great problem to have. At same time, you have to maintain the work balance. It’s a tricky rope to walk, especially since I’m new to it. I’ve been wrestling for five years and got my opportunities with MLW. That has opened the floodgates. Now it’s about trying to make it to work where I can make money and provide for my family but still chase my dream of going to Japan.”
Fellow MLW star and SoFla native MVP had the same goal and accomplished it after a successful stint with WWE. Knowing the similarities, Hughes sits under the “Mr. 305” whenever he can.
“He gives me pointers here and there. He is walking me through the finishing school of professional wrestling,” he said.
“He has really taken that mentor role for me, and I appreciate that. MVP tells me to always be professional no matter what. You’re worth your weight. Don’t wrestle for free. Always make sure you are valued and know your worth. If someone wants you that badly, they will show your value and worth. That’s just some of the advice he has given me.”
Another influence was Nelson Frazier, Jr., who fans know better as Mabel or Viscera. He saw what he did with his opportunities.
“Through Facebook, we had a couple of conversations where he watched my matches and critiqued things,” Hughes said.
“He told me what worked and didn’t. He said I was going in the right direction and not to stop. Just keep going. When the world lost him, I took a huge blow. This was someone who was similar to my size that was able to make it to the highest level in the industry. To have him pass so young was heartbreaking.”
Much like Frazier, Hughes is more than meets the eye. The colorful figure not only designs his own ring attire, as well as for others through his business, Kongo Kustoms. Among the most famous clients in the past includes Johnny Gargano and Daniel Bryan during his United States title run.
“It started by just doing favors for buddies and word spread,” Hughes said.
“That opened the floodgates for more orders. I put up my artwork, and it got noticed. TJ Perkins put me in contact to Daniel Bryan. He asked for artwork through email. I did a couple of designs for him that appeared on television. It just went from there. I never had a chance to meet him in person, but it was surreal to see my artwork and design work out there.”
The up-and-comer is ready to make his own splash, figuratively and literally, in today’s landscape that features all shapes and sizes. He has been a dominating force in MLW with matches last mere seconds. Fans have gotten behind the “Carmel Colossus” in a big way. Hughes feels the promotion has only scratched the surface when it comes to him.
“My little pink wagon is parked with MLW right now,” he said.
“They haven’t steered me wrong yet and given me opportunities to show the caliber of athlete I can really be. I am a bigger guy and larger than most of the guys on TV and on the independents, but it doesn’t take away from my abilities and my talent. It doesn’t take away from the charisma I bring. There is a reason I am there and always want to go out there and show and prove I belong.”
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MLW in Orlando
MLW: Spring Break ’18 is 6:50 p.m. ET Thursday, March 8 from GILT Nightclub in Orlando.
The card includes the semifinals of the world heavyweight championship tournament with Matt Riddle battling Filthy Tom Lawlor and Jimmy Havoc taking on Shane Swerve Strickland.
Fans are encouraged to bring the weapons for a grudge match between Bad Boy Joey Janela and Darby Allin.
WWE alum MVP battles Low Ki (presented by Stokely Hathaway in an unsanctioned fight).
Full card and tickets are available at:
The event will be available digitally days after.
For more information, visit www.MLW.com.