Impact Wrestlings Josh Alexander had ear pinned to head after it exploded

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Impact Wrestling's World Champion is synonymous for wearing amateur wrestling gear – complete with the classic headpiece.

Ahead of his headline title bout against company legend Eric Young on Sunday at Slammiversary, he has finally told the real story about why he wears the gear.

And it involves very graphic detail about an exploding ear in 2012.

Speaking exclusively to the Daily Star, he said: “I got cauliflower ear from taking a 'head scissors' and it was swollen.

“I drained it, and I had to wrestle in a tournament the next day.

“In the opening match against ACH he kicked me right near my ear and it swelled up to the size of a baseball on the side of my head – it was severely uncomfortable and pretty painful.

“And I tried to drain it, but I couldn't, so I ended up going to the hospital and they ended up draining it.

“I came back and wrestled the second and third round of that tournament, because I'm silly, and when I did, I had all these bandages around my head.

“By the time I got home, I took the bandages off my ears swelled up to be the size of a huge headphone – and it just exploded wide open and was dangling down.

“And all this blood and stuff came out.”

The 35-year-old Canadian dad-of-two, who is married to former wrestler Jade Chung, returned to the hospital, where they ended up pinning the remains of his ear to the side of his head.

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They told him it would stay they for around two weeks, and he wasn't allowed to wrestle for around four months.

But, a wrestler is a wrestler, and Josh got a booking for three weeks time – which he attended.

In order to protect his pinned ear, he searched around on eBay and ordered the headgear he is now known for – and wrestled in it.

“I felt so goofy when I did it,” he laughed.

“I heard every insult there is to hear, but after the fight I just remember nobody was insulting me.

“They stood up and they were all applauding like crazy – they loved the match (against Mike Bailey).

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“I came to the back, and was told that I looked like a bad**s and that I should never take it off.”

The headgear remains, as does Josh's intestinal fortitude when it comes to carrying on the face of adversity.

He called on that mentality during the pandemic when his work visa expired and he had to leave America and almost give up wrestling altogether.

Having spent 14 years climbing his way to the top of the sport, being unable to compete during that time was not ideal for Josh, especially as Impact Wrestling was on the rise at the time – and arguably still is.

He explained: “I want to be here while this place grows, because I think we can grow together and we can help each other and it's a perfect place for me.

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“But like the visa stuff, as a Canadian, was stuff that made me want to quit the business because it was such a hassle.

“And it's just something that I've learned over the years to just be prepared for because I was born on the other side of this line somebody put on a map.”

Josh faces Impact Wrestling legend and former WWE star Eric Young on Saturday with the title on the line.

A fellow Canadian, Young debuted for the company in 2004.

He is seen by many as the perfect opponent for Josh, as the company celebrates its 20th anniversary during the show.

And he paid tribute to his opponent, too.

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He said: “He's won every single championship there is to win here. He's made people laugh, he's made people cry, and he's made people scared.

“No matter what, whoever he's been put in the ring with, he's always killed it. I'm excited for the match, because it's something I've wanted since I started wrestling.

“And it's the first time it's gonna happen, but it's gonna be something special.”

He also gave a possible hint at a future UK tour for the company – for the first time in several years – stating that it was "on the company's radar".

He added: "We have such a strong and loyal fan base out there, and I really think we should go."

Fans can watch Josh and Eric go at it at Slammiversary on Sunday on FITE TV.

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