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From super skinny to WWE Superstar

How a kid from Grand Rapids made his professional wrestling dreams come true.
Credit: Ryan Parmeter
Parmeter wrestled in the WWE as Konnor

COMSTOCK PARK, Mich. — When looking at their team picture, one can't help but wonder what members of the 1994 Comstock Park JV football team are up to.

Most likely, they've settled into normal lives. They probably have houses, cars, and families.

But there's one member of the team who has all of that, and can also say he’s body slammed world heavy weight champions.

“I was very fortunate,” Grand Rapids native Ryan Parmeter says smiling. “I was very lucky and I was blessed.”

It goes without saying the Parmeter of today looks a heck of a lot different than the Parmeter from back in the day. 

He’s got muscles on muscles now but years ago, he was practically skin and bones. In fact, if there was a yearbook superlative that said, ‘Least likely to be a WWE Superstar,' it might have been him to earn the honor. But he had a passion that would take him further than he ever expected.

“I always collected the little (wrestling) toys. I had the action figures, I had the ring, and it just kind of evolved from that,” he said.

But while Parmeter, now 41, had an interest in professional wrestling, he never thought he could make it a career. Then at 17, while working as a landscaper in Florida, he caught the mother of all breaks.

“Long story short, I ended up doing some work with a buddy of mine, and it ended up being Sergeant Slaughter's house,” he explains.

By then Parmeter had bulked up considerably, so he looked the part. And so just like that, with an Andre the Giant size assist from a wrestling legend, Parmeter's career was off and running.

“I hate to say it but it was easier for me than a lot of guys,” he admits.  

After just five years working smaller shows, Parmeter got a job working in the WWE. He then spent a few more years working through their developmental system, and then in 2014, he was finally called to the big leagues.

“I cried when I went home,” Parmeter remembers. “I was really excited because you are basically a statistic. You are just a guy trying to life a dream at that point. Then finally you happen to get in the door.”

Known as Konner, Parmeter would wrestle in a tag team known as the Ascension. The night of their debut, Parmeter was nervous, until he found out he had the support of one of the WWE’s best. 

“(Wrestling legend) Big Show was like, ‘I love these guys.’ To hear someone like that at that caliber, it’s so cool.” 

At 34, Parmeter had made it. He traveled round the world, wrestled all the greats, and never once took it for granted.

“To go out there and perform, you really don't have any words for that,” he said.

And though he was released in 2019, Parmeter says he holds no hard feelings toward the WWE. After all, he got to live his dream.

“I love that company because that company gave me everything.”

From collecting toys, to becoming one himself (several actually). Not bad for a skinny kid from West Michigan.

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