Meet the Vets Who Use Pro Wrestling to Combat PTSD – Klepper


[dramatic choral music] – We’re in San Antonio, I’m about to check out my first
Valhalla wrestling match. They’re expecting about 100,
150 people, and say many of which
could be vets. I’m excited to see the show. It makes me think back
to some of the improv shows I did to begin with. You do it because
you want the stage time. Uh, they do it because
they’re getting over PTSD. Equally valid. ♪ ♪ Gentlemen,
what am I expecting tonight? – So, tonight,
I’m being a heel. See how many people
I can offend and see if I can get people
to throw stuff at me. [spirited orchestral music] – The show
is physically impressive, and at times it deals
with serious subject matter. Like when
a character named Pizza Man throws pizza dough
into his opponents face, which we all know
really hurts. Because pro wrestling is
all about basic storytelling. A good guy or “the face” versus a bad guy,
aka “the heel.’ Today,
Eddie is playing the heel. He gets the job done
by humiliating veterans in front of the crowd,
and everyone boos. – Where are all
the veterans at? Air Force, sit down.
You don’t count. – Now it’s the good guy’s turn
to work the crowd. He does things
like chant “USA,” and everyone cheers. all: USA! USA! – You’re going
to be surprised. The winner was
the good guy chanting USA who’s going down on a veteran. [rock music] Welcome home, boys. – I’ve talked to veterans
that come to the shows. They’re like,
“Man, I get aggression out “by yelling at y’all,
by screaming at y’all. I get all–like,
I just get it out.” – Wrestling’s, like,
a comfort zone. – Is wrestling your pill?
– Oh, yeah. Wrestling’s–that’s my medicine
right there. The PTSD will go away as long
as I’m watching wrestling, and maybe one day
I can get in there. – Yeah. What would be
your character name? – I don’t know.
Uh… Handsome Stranger?
Something like that. [laughing]
– Handsome Stranger. Oh, there’s a little bit
of mystery there, it’s sexy, but there’s
a little bit of danger. [chill music] The desire for community
also stems from vets feeling isolated
at home. Jan experienced that firsthand when he came back from Iraq
in 2006. It took him several years to reconnect
with his daughter, Aslynn. Tragically, the same can’t be
said about his cooking skills. [both laugh] Is this how you cook bacon
in Texas? You kill it twice? Who was on bacon duty? – Him.
– She was. – What was it like… coming home? – It was very difficult, and then I was very,
uh, standoffish, um, and, uh, had anger issues
and stuff like that, and I was just overwhelmed and I wasn’t processing stuff
as I should. – My dad, he just looked
really out of it, and he seemed, like– he just seemed kind of spaced
and everything, and he looked,
like, devastated. – What–what
don’t civilians get about the transition
that vets have coming from overseas,
coming back home? – There isn’t, like,
a single right answer. I can try to tell somebody what
it was like to have a car bomb go off
not too far from you, but if you haven’t
been through a similar thing, it’s really hard
to fully grasp really why that changes somebody
on a permanent level. I have a few photographs. I took a lot
when I was out there just because
I never wanted to forget. This is, like,
one of Saddam’s palaces. – Oh, wow.
– And that was kind of a surreal experience,
and then this one– this is that car bomb. Some days you sit there
and you’re like, “How am I still alive?” So I look at this often
to look at myself and be like, “Okay, now I gotta take this
Valhalla Club to the next level. I gotta try
to help somebody else.” You know? – Wrestling is just one form
of alternative therapy these guys are using for PTSD. Eddie craves adrenaline. He’s a seven-time
jiujitsu world champ, and recently
started doing stand-up because there’s nothing like
telling grizzly war stories to drunk tourists
looking at their phones. – I’m a little bit nervous,
but nervous and excited. I’m used to getting up there
in my underwears and beating the shit
out of somebody. It’s a lot different than going
up there and saying, “Hey, you guys, look at me.
I’m funny. – The funny thing
with stand-up is, it’s based on expectations…
– Right. – And subverting
those expectations. He’s a meathead
who went off to war, right? – Right.
– But I gotten to spend a little bit of time with you, you are
a remarkably likable guy. Like, the ability
to see who you are and project that
in a way that they can digest, like, that’s an exciting thing. – I try to joke with them
about me… – Yeah.
– Because if–I feel like, if I can be self-deprecating, that can get the point across
that I’m okay. – You guys, we gotta wrap it up.
– We gotta wrap up. – We gotta wrap this thing up.
All right, Eddie. Break a leg, man.
– Thank you. [cheers and applause]
I know, like, right off the bat, half of you are wondering,
like, “Ah, man, all we’re gonna hear are some
fucking stupid army jokes.” When I tell an army joke,
it’s usually about how I got blown up
and shit myself, so… That deployment
was not as much fun for me as it was for some
of the other people. I appreciate it. Thank you, guys, very much
for hearing me fail. [cheers and applause]
Have a good night. – Eddie Wittern, everybody. – Hey…
[no audible dialogue] So I’m coming down here to do a piece with you guys…
– Right. – And we’re a show,
we’re on Comedy Central, so we have to find
some humor in this. It is hard trying to find humor
in stories about PTSD. How do you deal
with something like that? – You put it
in the fuck it box, and you deal with it
when you can. That’s it. For me, my PTSD came
mostly from survivor guilt. All my friends died
where I couldn’t save ’em. I was a combat medic
and my job was to save people and to make sure that my
friends came home in one piece. – Your job isn’t
to save everybody. – Your job is to save the
people you care about, right? – Your job is to save
the people you can save. – Rationally, that makes sense. However, PTSD is no respecter
of rationality of whatever. Think about all the bad shit that happened to you
in your life as jumping into a 20-foot pool
when you can’t swim, sinking all the way to
the bottom and standing there, counting to 25
and swimming back to the top. Because why? If you calm down and you relax, you will get back to the top and you will continue on
what you have to do. – Where are you in that pool?
Are you swimming up? – I’m trying. I’m trying.
Right now? I’m wondering where the fuck
other Jack and Coke is at. – [laughs] Well, that’s something
we can fix. – Here’s to brothers,
you and me. Here’s to brothers
we’ll never see. Here’s to brothers
they’ll never be. Here’s to brothers. – Salud.
– [grunts] – Oh, this just gives you
the warm fuzzies all the way down, doesn’t it? [country music] – I like the Valhalla guys.
They aren’t afraid to wear their emotions
on their sleeves. They’re remarkably open about
their every day struggles. Also, their anecdote game
is strong. Sniper tried
to take your dick off. – Yeah, kinda, yeah. – Yikes. In the ring,
they fight each other, but in the battle
against PTSD, they need to body slam
the impediments that get in the way
of them coping day-to-day. They need
the ultimate bad guy, and I knew
just where to find him.

74 thoughts on “Meet the Vets Who Use Pro Wrestling to Combat PTSD – Klepper

  1. Big fan of Klepper's work but this clip felt different… good different. The conversations seemed to be more personal and brought about genuine emotion from both the interviewee and Klepper.

    Wish the folks with PTSD have a speedy recovery and get back to their normal lives.

    Keep up the good work mate, pumped up for this show.

  2. I was trained as a combat medic in our conscription army, but hoooooly hell I'm lucky my country doesn't have a war going on and I'll never have to see combat. Serious props to that stand-up comic person!

  3. I love the episode But as a long time international fan of yours it feels like this episode am missing lots and lots of context. On your previous shows you build the story act, we know the good and bad guys of the story we are watching. Am basically saying we want/Love confrontation and giving it to the bad guys. Huge fan ♥️

  4. klepper has the thunder of the oldgods in him. he just needs to practice a lil to wake up his fierce warrior instincts.

  5. This is what you're supposed to use comedy for. Tell a story and help people heal. Thank you, Jordan.

  6. I miss old Jordan from Opposition, however, this was amazing piece about very difficult subject. I hope, if nothing else, that this piece helped at least a bit to those, in the video or others, dealing with PTSD after they bravely served their country.

  7. If the war hunter has PTSD, imagine the psychological torture war brings to the war prey ……no wonder middle east is the way it is

  8. This was awesome, thanks for bringing light these brave men that have to handle PTSD on a daily basis through other means

  9. "If I can be self-deprecating, that will get the point across that I'm okay."
    Trump? Anyone? Trump? 🤷

  10. How awesome is it to have Jordan Klepper back? As a former combat medic, I totally love this segment. PTSD is a scary animal, so glad to see him raising awareness on such important issues❤❤❤

  11. I have never served in the military or been a police officer. That being said, I tried desperately to resuscitate a dying friend and failed. I harbor guilt about that. I have never had success with therapy and have sought my own ways of coping, Skating being one that has been monumentally helpful, but isn't a complete treatment of my pain. This segment, and these people make me feel inspired to continue to unpack, manage, deal with, and grow from my experiences by pursuing alternate avenues. Thanks Jordan Klepper for making content for the world that matters to people like these men, and me.

  12. More people need to watch Jordan Klepper. With all the human trash out there like Ben Shapiro and Jihad Jordan Peterson, Jordan Klepper is a breath of fresh air.

  13. I think any of the fight sports help with many things like PTSD, depression, fear, etc while teaching empathy and respect much more so than pro wrestling.

  14. The last one really put me in perspective and got me tearing up. Thank you Jordon Klepper for doing this.

  15. 2:04 she is so pretty! She looks so proud of her dad. SO much respect to veterans and their families

  16. Not a veteran, but also recently diagnosed with PTSD. This is really helpful – the "fuck it-bucket" will now be used by me as well.

    Thanks, Jordan, for dealing with a complex topic empathically.

  17. Klepper I was wondering what the hell you were up to for all those months , happens you were up to a whole lot of no good very good stuff . Kudos to you and your new found friends .

  18. Jordan : Where are you in that pool? Are you swimming up?
    Eddie : I'm trying

    I hope you get back to the top of the pool, Eddie :')

    This is a REAL good stuff you're doing, Klepper!!!

  19. Miss your fkn face n your teams face from opposition! The opposition needs to come back! Miss all of you and your team from The Opposition!
    Glad you're finally back though!

  20. Let me say first that I respect our veterans and I don't want to take away from the PTSD they have from combat. Although I would like to see Kleppler cover PTSD in minority (black and Hispanic) neighborhoods. While vets go to another country with pay and comeback with support as a black man I have experienced death and harm leading to PTSD (compartmentalize, distancing, etc.) In summary… Keppler should do to a neighborhood to get a better understanding of that.

  21. Thank you and congratulations to everyone involved in producing this show and for choosing to feature the Valhalla Club in the inaugural episode.

    The three men you showcased had the common dream of becoming wrestling superstars. Each of those men made the heartrending decision to set aside that dream and risked everything in order to serve their country.

    Tonight, in some small part, you've managed to reward these three heroes in a way the government agencies responsible for supporting them never could:

    You gave the entire country an opportunity to see them as the Superstars they truly are.

    Thank you. I'm proud of you all for producing it; you did something good here.

  22. This was amazing, thank you. My mother has ptsd and went down the drug abuse road instead. Its nice to know stuff like this is out there to help

  23. Although I will miss the humorous interviews where he brings the irony out of what people are saying – god do I miss that. But I'm glad to see he is still around.

  24. Thank you for letting me tell my story, and for letting the rest of the Valhalla club get the message out.

  25. very cool story! 100% love the idea of pro wrestling helping with PTSD. didn’t even know about till now, thank you klepper

  26. i got ptsd from a policeraid and smoking pot helps me alot, but also caused another policeraid. f'cked up world.

  27. #russiaTROLLS here
    BIG RED SCAM = making asia great again; trump russia china NOkorea INC..
    i captured over a thousand russian weapons in desert storm, from the #ENEMY.

  28. "They are not afraid to wear emotions on their sleeves"
    Nobody should be afraid of that. All those people in the past, back in 18, 17 century, back in medieval times? They wore emotions on their sleeves. Not all of them, but being a stoic requires heavy training pretty much since childhood. And we aren't living in society that allows to be a stoic. We live in time when we are being told to be calm and compose when every bone in our body wants to cry and to be outraged because society demands us to be outraged.

  29. sorry to say that but beeing yourself instead of playing a character fits you way better jordan

  30. This may sound like a totally off-kilter takeaway from this clip, but this appears to be the most authentic peek into the lives of regular Americans in mainstream media atleast and feels eye-opening. In many ways Hollywood is a wonderful dream machine but it also does a strange disservice to regular Americans and how it depicts their lives and consequently how they end up being viewed by people watching from the outside. Everything is so glamorous and they invariably make them look so callous, shiny, first-world with not a care in the world. When in fact they are regular people struggling and trying to deal as best as they can with their lot in life and with such grace and humility.

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