A lot can happen in 798 days. Anger can turn to admiration, aspiration becomes expectation and lasting legacies have a way of building themselves. All of these tenets and more are true of the now former (still feels weird to say that) Action Wrestling champion AC Mack.
For 798 days, nearly the entire existence of the suburban Atlanta, Ga.-based promotion. Mack reigned as Action Wrestling’s inaugural champion, one of many championships that the self-coined “Loudmouth” has held across the southeast U.S. in his five-year career.
But that reign came to a climactic end last week at Action’s Eyes On The Throne event. Fellow Action regular and recent All Elite Wrestling signee Alan Angels betrayed Mack and helped Arik Royal become the second person to hold the title. The moment encapsulated everything that makes fans fall in love with wrestling in the first place: drama, intrigue and the inevitable end that leads to new beginnings.
Mack is proud of that moment and all that he accomplished both for himself and Action during his two-plus years with the title belt he named “Alice,” including appearances with Beyond Wrestling, Butch vs. Gore and Game Changer Wrestling. But, for Mack, not having “Alice” anymore still feels like a part of himself is missing.
“It feels weird because, once you have [“Alice”] for that long, she becomes part of my gear. She becomes part of the gimmick. I’ve gone to so many shows and so many states with her, so now it kind of feels weird without her,” Mack said on the Outsports podcast LGBT In The Ring. “Not even just “Alice” but this is the first time I’ve been without a belt since April 2017. It’s really weird for me. I know there are people that say [titles] are just props but, no. I’ve had them for so long that they’re not props. They are part of me.”
Being titleless for the first time in nearly four years may seem strange to Mack but he isn’t shying away from the challenges posed by not having a title on which to hang his hat. And it surely isn’t going to change his brash, supremely self-confident presentation. Rolling with those punches is due in no small part to the fact that Mack never fully defined himself through the title but rather used the profile it brought to supplant himself as a positive source of representation for Black and LGBTQ populations that engage with pro wrestling.
Mack accomplished this through appearances on LGBTQ-focused events like Butch vs. Gore and EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch and Black-focused events like GCW’s For The Culture and Ohio Wrestling Alliance’s Good Trouble. Good Trouble hit even harder for Mack due to the event’s tie-in with beloved Georgia lawmaker and civil rights activist John Lewis.
Mack is also set to compete in Butch vs. Gore’s upcoming Cassandro Cup tournament on March 28.
Being part of those shows and as well as plenty that didn’t focus on marginalized groups satisfied a desire in Mack to show that pro wrestling is for those that look like him. And that desire runs deep.
Mack grew up with the understanding that Black people didn’t watch pro wrestling and was told early in his wrestling training that he should keep his identity as a gay man private from the wrestling world. But now his presence is proving both of those ideas wrong for the next generation.
“I’m starting to see more Black and Brown faces at the shows, which is cool… Representation matters. They’re showing up because they have more people to look up to. They see Ashton Starr, Joe Black, David Ali and Owen Knight. The more we push out there, the more they will come,” Mack said.
“When I debuted in Beyond Wrestling, there was a guy… that hit me up afterward and said, ‘It was really cool to see you. I’m so glad you’re here. I hope you come back.’ He flat out said, ‘I want to see more Black wrestlers.’ He kept saying that,” Mack recalled. “It was just one guy but seeing that just made my entire experience going to Beyond. We just want to do that on the regular. It’s as simple as that. We don’t want to take anything from anybody. We just want to add to what we already love.”
That feeling is a championship that can’t be lost.
Listen to the full interview with AC Mack on the Outsports podcast LGBT In The Ring, available here: