Eric Bonacci, an independent professional wrestler, holds an action figure of himself that was made for him by a fan; in Rochester, N.Y. on Nov. 6, 2017. Eric says it "Genuinely makes me happy" when he sees the appreciation of fans.

After growing up watching professional wrestling, Eric Bonacci, 29, decided to become a professional wrestler himself. Bonacci has been wrestling since 2013, traveling within New York, Pennsylvania, and even to Canada to perform in shows. To support this passion Bonacci works as a construction worker for Colonial Fire Protection System. Bonacci’s day starts early at 5:15 a.m. in order to get to the job site on time. After six hours of construction work Bonacci comes back home to relax before heading back out to Upstate Wrestling school for the rest of the night where he practices, records promo’s and gets ready for upcoming shows. For these events, Bonacci will spend some time cleaning himself up but doesn’t spend to much time on it, “Some of the guys shave their whole body but not me. Do you wanna put me on T.V. and pay me millions of dollars, then ya, I’ll shave my legs. But until then I’ll work with what I got”. In order to get inspiration for upcoming shows Bonacci will watch old paper view WWE shows in his spare time. “I’m watching wrestling as I’m watching wrestling,” Bonacci said as he watches WWE on his phone and T.V. simultaneously. Since he was a kid Bonacci was enticed by wrestling, which he would watch on T.V. and then pretend his toys were wrestlers and make them fight each other. The main reason that Bonacci joined the sport and continues to do it is because it is fun. Growing up he was able to get attached to the wrestlers in a show the same way as a character in a movie. Now he is able to be that wrestler. Aside from being a fun hobby, Bonacci has been able to use wrestling as a way to improve his life. Wrestling becomes an outlet for him during hard times in his life but has also allowed him to meet many interesting people. “Wrestling has given me so much, and owes me nothing,” Bonacci said.

After work Bonacci relaxes by watching old paper view WWE shows in Rochester, N.Y. on Nov. 6, 2017. Bonacci will also watch WWE shows in order to get inspired for upcoming matches.

Eric Bonacci grabs a quick snack from his parent's dinner before heading out to the Upstate Wrestling gym in Rochester, N.Y. on Nov. 6, 2017. While his parent's aren't against his hobby Eric says, they aren't thrilled with the fact that he often gets hurt.

Eric Bonacci holds his recently acquired KDW (Kayfabe Dojo Wrestling) belt while packing his wrestling equipment before heading out to the gym in Rochester, N.Y. on Nov. 6, 2017. 

Eric Bonacci and his fellow wrestlers sit in the ring talking and sharing stories of past shows at the Upstate Wrestling gym in Rochester, N.Y. on Nov. 6, 2017.

Eric Bonacci wrestles with Brian Cayden Smith at the Upstate Wrestling gym in Rochester, N.Y. on Nov. 6, 2017. Bonacci says that when you are wrestling with someone you know, almost nothing needs to be planned ahead of time.

Eric Bonacci props his leg up against the ring at the Upstate Wrestling gym in Rochester, N.Y. on Nov. 6, 2017. Even though professional wrestling is staged Eric has received numerous injuries from matches. "When it stops becoming worth it to throw yourself to the ground, stop it." Eric recounts some advice he was once given.

Eric Bonacci and Chris Platas leave the gym after a night of wrestling in Rochester, N.Y. on Nov. 6, 2017. Wrestling is often the last thing in Eric's day as he usually goes straight to bed after getting home.

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