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AEW Star Brian Cage Still Likes Fresno Donuts



Brian Cage dominates over his opponent and former teammate Ricky Starks, as referee Paul Turner looks on. (Image: AEW/TNT)
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While wrestling fans may be missing “The Machine,” Brian Cage is easy to find.

Maybe it’s his massive muscles on a six-foot, 272-pound frame. Maybe it’s his distinctive Mohawk and sideburns.

Cage, who spent several years living in Fresno, returns this weekend for the CVC card show, Saturday and Sunday at the Wyndham Garden Hotel near the Fresno airport (5090 E. Clinton Way).

“I’m from the 559. It’s been my hometown forever,” Cage said, speaking with Off the Bottom Rope from his Las Vegas home.

Never mind the show takes place the same weekend as WrestleMania — the WWE’s annual showcase event emanating this year from suburban Dallas. It is tradition in the wrestling world to converge for shows and meet and greets.

Not for Cage.

“Because of AEW contracts, (owner Tony Khan) would rather us not do anything WrestleMania weekend, because … he doesn’t want anyone to look like, you know, hey AEW is beneath WWE,” Cage said.

Watch Interview with Brian Cage

Still with AEW

Cage remains under contract with All Elite Wrestling, the chief competitor to WWE. AEW has two weekly shows on national TV — Wednesday nights on TBS and Fridays on TNT. Although Cage has not wrestled on TV since last October, he awaits his opportunity.

“I’ve been under contract the whole time. As for further details on what’s happened with AEW, I don’t have much (to say), exactly, Cage said.  “I’ve been told there’s been a plan this whole time. Whether I have more details or not, I wouldn’t be able to say.”

Cage’s AEW contract allows him to wrestle in other independent promotions.

“I love wrestling more than anything else … I get paid plenty fine from AEW. Financially, I don’t have to do independent bookings, but I do them because I love it,” Cage said.

Working indies allows Cage to have his “Brian Cage matches,” featuring more action than he can have in a TV match.

Cage Once Lived in Fresno

Cage grew up in Chico and started his pro wrestling career in 2004 in small California independent promotions. He eventually caught the eye of the WWE. Wrestling for its developmental territory in Florida, Cage stayed about a year before being let go.

He returned to California and moved to Fresno because “my girlfriend at the time, who would later become my wife, who is now my ex-wife … was from there.”

Cage lived in Fresno for seven years.

“I really enjoyed it there a lot,” he said.

Despite having a 530 area code, he was billed “From The 559” at his matches, something that took awhile to get used to.

“The more I kept hearing 559, the cooler it sounded. I guess it’s better than 530. It rolls off the tongue better the way (former ring announcer and current wife) Melissa says it is … It’s definitely a home away from home,” Cage said.

While living in Fresno, he appeared in commercials for Valley Fitness Nutrition. He once worked as a personal trainer, one of many jobs he worked waiting for his wrestling career to take off.

A Sweet Tooth and Favorite Fresno Restaurants

Cage hopes to hit some of his favorite eateries while in town.

“I love Batter Up. That’s my favorite breakfast I’ve been to. Don Pepe’s — I don’t even like Mexican food that much anymore. And I would travel to Mexico all the time and I would never eat any of the food. But I’d come back and eat Don Pepe’s. That place is amazing,” Cage said.

Other Cage favorites include Doghouse Grill, Pismo’s, The Berrock Shop (“a gourmet Hot Pockets”) and Donut Fantasy.

“I’m a big sweets guy. If I’m going to cheat, I want sweets. I don’t want burgers and stuff. I mean, I’ll eat them. I like those, too. But usually it’s the baked goods that get me. Cookies, the brownies, the donuts. That’s that’s what really, really gets me going,” Cage said about straying from his diet.

AEW star Brian Cage shows off his massive bicep. (GV Wire screenshot)

Credits Kanyon for Career Development

Growing up in Chico, Cage was a fan of the late Scott Hall, aka Razor Ramon. It was always his dream to become a wrestler.

“Everyone’s afraid to chase the dream of what they really want because they’re afraid to fail. What they don’t realize is the only way to fail really is to never try,” Cage said.

In high school, there was one fellow athlete who always asked Cage about wrestling, Aaron Rodgers.

“Aaron, being a (future) NFL quarterback and he’d always ask me on Tuesday, ‘Did you watch Raw last night?’ Always talking about it. I was a little mad that he got the world title before I did,” Cage said about the Super Bowl champion.

He credits his professional development to Chris Kanyon, considered one of the top innovators of offensive wrestling during the 1990s and 2000s.

“I see him wrestle and every time there’d be something new, something would stand out. So, whether he had the best match or not, his matches really stand out to me,” Cage said. “That just really struck a chord with me. So I wanted to be just like that.”

Where does Cage see himself in five years?

“I won’t say it’s a failure, but if I’m not world champion in AEW within three to five years, then I think that’s a big mishap,” Cage said. “Because if you’re not in here to be the best, be the world champion … you’re almost wasting your time.”

Rock vs. Smith a Shoot, Says Cage

Cage, a pro wrestling veteran, should know a work versus a shoot if he sees one. He is calling the “Slap Heard ‘Round the World” between Will Smith and Chris Rock at the Oscars the real deal.

“It was a bit ridiculous. Regardless of his reasoning for doing it, even if was defending his wife … with plenty of other people and any other circumstances, it wouldn’t be tolerated. So I don’t know why it’s tolerated in that regard,” Cage said. “If I go to the comedy club with my wife, if she gets made fun of and I get up and I slap the comedian — pretty sure I’m getting arrested for assault.”

Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email

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