From Reality Stardom to Wrestling Superstardom…How IMPACT Wrestling’s Mr. PEC-Tacular went from Houseguest on CBS’ Big Brother to one of TV’s Most Recognizable Stars – By Mr. PEC-Tacular Jessie Godderz
What an incredible journey it’s been!
It’s a tremendous privilege and honor to have IMPACT on Pop and CBS’ Big Brother as my TV families.
They are my two absolute favorite shows and I feel like the luckiest guy on earth to call both of them “home”.
Before I get to them though, let me tell you how my career actually began.
It all started quite innocently enough when I was growing up in a small town in Iowa…
I always knew that I wanted to become a Pro Wrestler but just didn’t know how to get my foot in the door. It all seemed like a pipe dream back then.
I kept asking myself…How was a kid basically growing up in the middle of nowhere going to try to become a success in the world of wrestling?
I honestly had no idea.
I didn’t have any relatives in the sport. I was from modest means. I didn’t have any advantages whatsoever.
I just kept my fingers crossed and hoped for the best. But that’s all it was. Hope.
I was in high school at the time so I simply joined the wrestling team to try to get some experience under my belt.
Even though I was just 145 pounds, lo and behold, I actually seemed to do quite well at it.
That helped my love for the sport continue to grow by leaps and bounds.
My wrestling coach also seemed really proud of how well I performed so that motivated me even further to keep my wrestling dream alive.
But still back then, it was just a dream…and little did I know, my life was about to start a series of detours that would ultimately take me to where I am today.
Upon graduation from high school, I went to the local college, but instead of continuing to wrestle, I actually took my first detour (albeit a temporary one) into the Sport of Bodybuilding.
That kind of happened out of the blue.
You see, as soon as I started college, I also started hitting the gym frequently because I wasn’t into partying and drinking like most everybody else was who went to my school.
And that’s when I fell in love with working out.
I saw relatively dramatic results in a short period of time and I was ecstatic.
That was the positive.
The negative was that because I started gaining size so easily, other students (the ones who were partying and drinking and were jealous of my “transformation”) accused me of taking steroids to improve my physique.
What they didn’t realize is that I have never ever taken a single steroid or any other illegal substance of any kind…and never will.
Anyway, to prove them wrong, I decided to enter a Natural Bodybuilding show and I searched for a Bodybuilding organization that had the absolute strictest drug testing around…and I found it in the North American Natural Bodybuilding Federation (the NANBF).
And so I entered one of their competitions in the area…and to my surprise, I actually won their Teen, Novice and Overall Novice Classes.
At age 19 no less. I was stoked!!
I then learned that there was another NANBF competition in the area 2 weeks later so I decided to enter that one as well…and I couldn’t believe it…but I ended up winning the Teen Class again. I was surprised and excited beyond belief.
Then, on May 20th, 2006, having just turned 20 years old less than a month earlier, I entered yet another NANBF show, won the show… and this time, I actually earned my Pro Card.
That made me a Pro Bodybuilder for the WNBF (World Bodybuilding Federation)…at age 20.
By doing so, I became The Youngest Natural Pro Bodybuilder in the WNBF, a record I believe I still hold to this day.
That accomplishment alone gave me a tremendous sense of self-confidence that I never had before.
I then decided the time was right to channel that confidence into my pursuit of my lifelong dream…becoming a Pro Wrestler.
But I still didn’t know how I was going to make that lifelong dream happen.
The only thing I had to go on was that I had heard that you have to either be in New York or LA to make those kind of dreams come true…so I weighed the pros and cons and since I loved the beach, I thought well, I’m gonna move to LA!! Haha
So after my freshman year of college, I decided to take a job at the local train station as a train conductor to save up enough money to make the move to LA. I worked there for a year and 1/2 and then decided the time was right to make the big move.
So I left college, packed my bags, said goodbye to my family and friends in Iowa and drove to California, not knowing a single sole, and with no idea of what the future had to hold.
The only thing I brought with me to Cali was the never-ending support of my family who have always believed in me, encouraged me, and been by my side through thick and thin. They love me unconditionally, as I do them. Especially my Mom & Dad, my brothers Harley, Ryan and Evan, and my sister Kendra. I owe them the world.
Shortly after I arrived in California, things started happening VERY, VERY quickly.
Like had happened with the Sport of Bodybuilding, my life took another unexpected detour.
While still trying to figure out how to get my foot in the door in the pro wrestling industry, I joined a modeling agency and went on casting calls for two MTV dating shows, EXPOSED and NEXT!
As luck would have it, I got cast for not one…but both!
Those experiences were a lot of fun and several of the MTV executives even told me I had a future in television.
Little did I know then but they could not be more right.
Then the next casting call I went on would change my life forever…
The modeling agency sent me to a casting call for my favorite television show of all time…
CBS’ Big Brother!!
Little known fact…I didn’t even know that was the show I was going to audition for until I got there. When I found out, I was beside myself.
During my interview, I got along with the Casting Director extremely well, told my life story, was very animated, highly energetic, and really excited. Plus I flexed a lot of course. Haha
Then I left and hoped for the best.
And fortunately for me, “the best” is exactly what happened.
I got the call that I had been cast on the show…and it was the true turning point in my life.
As soon as I debuted on CBS that season, my life did a total 180.
I went from being a total unknown kid from Iowa…to being an “overnight sensation”.
I later learned some magazines even called me…a new “pop culture icon”.
It may have had something to do with the fact that I spent the entire time with my shirt off during the season, flexing in the mirror every chance I got. LOL
It may also have had to do with the fact that I caused quite a bit of havoc on Big Brother that season.
For instance, one of the most talked about episodes of all time was when I overheard a private conversation between two of the houseguests, decided to have some fun and tell another houseguest about it, and that set off a chain reaction, the likes of which have never been seen on reality television either before or after.
It was like a Saturday Night Live skit. Everybody in the house got involved. The argument lasted for hours.
I personally think it was the funniest fight on reality show television history.
Making it even more of a farce, in the middle of the heated argument with the entire house, we had to stop what we were doing and get together to cheerily sing Happy Birthday to one of the houseguests. It made for the funniest moment I could ever remember.
To this day, people stop me on the streets to tell me how much they laughed watching that episode.
Everyone was overly-dramatic and it made for incredible television.
Here’s a clip from that episode: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lInBBLsqSXo (It starts getting going at 10:10)
And while was in the house, without me knowing any of this was going on, the exposure I was receiving on the outside was insane.
I was the subject of feature stories in TV Guide, Entertainment Weekly, Variety, People Magazine, Muscle & Fitness Magazine and many more entertainment and fitness magazines.
I was also talked about regularly on E!’s “The Soup” on practically a weekly basis. It was crazy!!
Here’s one example that’s really funny: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QLCHGQlxAM
None of which I learned about until AFTER I got evicted from the house mind you. LOL
And once I got evicted from the show, I felt like a movie star.
I couldn’t go anywhere without being stopped on the street for my autograph. Fans actually told me that I was one of the most memorable stars in the history of reality television.
It. Was. AMAZING!!
In addition, during that time, Jersey Shore was still going strong on MTV and The Situation was a huge deal on the show.
As a result, once I left Big Brother, entertainment newsmagazines started comparing me against The Situation in side-by-side pictures for fans to judge who had the better physique.
So Big Brother really changed my life forever. I literally became a household name overnight because of the show. I truly owe Big Brother my entire career.
I had the time of my life while I was there. And the producers of Big Brother became like my second family.
Then once the Big Brother season ended though, I was at a crossroads.
I had gotten a tremendous amount of exposure having been on the show…but I hadn’t yet gotten my break yet in pro wrestling…and I still didn’t know where to turn to make that happen.
Then, while waiting to decide what to do next, my life unexpectedly took yet ANOTHER detour.
(If I ever decide to write a book, it could be called “DETOUR–The Jessie Godderz Life Story”. LOL)
I learned of an opportunity to return to my roots and the Sport of Bodybuilding so I took it!
I ended up going back to Iowa to enter the WNBF Mr. Natural Iowa competition in 2008…and lo and behold, I won that one too!
Yes, I became Mr. Natural Iowa 2008. It was an incredible accomplishment that motivated me even more to try to become similarly successful at Pro Wrestling.
So after that win, I returned to California with hopes of finally making the transition to Pro Wrestling.
And it was then that I would finally get my first big break in Pro Wrestling!
And it was by sheer luck…being at the right place, at the right time.
I decided to train at Golds Gym Venice one day when I spotted of all people…Pro Wrestling Legend, Nature Boy Ric Flair!!
I said to myself…okay, this is my big chance. What have I got to lose?
I got the courage to walk up to him, introduced myself, told him that I had a tremendous amount of respect for him…and wanted to follow in his footsteps and become a Pro Wrestler.
Fortunately, he was an unbelievably nice guy and was incredibly helpful.
He advised me to move to Orlando, Florida and enroll in a school called FCW (Florida Championship Wrestling) to learn basic skills.
That school, by the way, would later become NXT.
So of course I took Ric’s advice, moved to Orlando, and enrolled in FCW. The class lasted 3 months and was an invaluable learning experience.
Then, upon graduation, just as I was about to start looking for opportunities as a Pro Wrestler, my life took another incredible twist…
Or another “Detour” if you will!!
Talk about perfect timing…
Out of the blue, I was contacted by the Casting Department of Big Brother to return to California for a chance to be on Big Brother 11.
So what did I do?
I jumped at the opportunity to return “home” of course!! Haha
Got on a plane and went straight back to California.
So I returned to Big Brother in 2009 and had another amazing season at the program.
And that season ended up being even more important to me than the previous season…for one very important reason.
During my first day back on Big Brother on CBS, I decided to announce to the world something I had never revealed on Big Brother before…
That my lifelong dream was to become a Pro Wrestler.
The houseguests were stunned and very excited over the news!
I also announced for the first time anywhere on the Big Brother 11 Live Feeds that I was thinking of calling myself “Mr. PEC-Tacular”.
The reaction from my fellow houseguests was also incredibly positive to that revelation…and that’s why I’ve called myself Mr. PEC-Tacular ever since.
All of the entertainment newsmagazines picked up on my new nickname and started running with it doing fun stories about it throughout the summer while I was in the house. It was awesome.
So, basically, fans of CBS’ Big Brother learned of my wrestling dreams before most wrestling fans did!!
And starring on Big Brother 11 kept me in the public eye once again just as much as Big Brother 10 did.
Then, once I got evicted from Big Brother 11, I announced to Big Brother host Julie Chen live on CBS primetime that I was determined to go on and become a famous Pro Wrestler (and then I did my famous bicep pose…which Julie joined me in doing as well). It was phenomenal!!
And once I got evicted, my fellow houseguests held a memorable funeral in my honor that many of the entertainment newsmagazines also covered too:
Here’s a clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQofCXfJL34
My whole Big Brother experience was AWESOME during both seasons.
And that was only the beginning of my relationship with the show. I am absolutely honored and privileged that my Big Brother family has brought me back to the series to surprise the houseguests ever since on an almost annual basis.
In fact, I just marked my 8 YEAR anniversary on the show!
And I hope to continue being a part of Big Brother as long as they’ll have me.
In the meantime, I just wanted to send a very special thank you to everyone at Big Brother and at CBS for believing in me and supporting me through the years. I don’t know where I’d be without them today. They truly are my second family.
Some of those individuals include Chris Roach, Julie Chen, Rich Meehan, Allison Grodner, Robyn Kass, Don Wollman, Shawn Laws, Heath Luman, Jordan Kranis and Bonnie Clark.
And from CBS, John Redmann, Brad Bessey, Dustin Smith, Angelica McDaniel, Bayard Banta, Megan McGee, Caroline Newman, Ari Shuris, Maria Jemelian, and many others.
In particular, I just want to send a special shoutout to my Buddy Chris Roach…he has been my biggest supporter since Day 1…and I can’t thank him enough. For everything. He. Is. THEE BEST. Bar None.
Okay, moving on…
So right after Big Brother 11 ended, if I remember the timeline correctly, legendary Reality TV Star Jonny Fairplay from CBS’ Survivor brought me up to WFX Wrestling in Canada to be my Manager and we appeared together on Canadian TV for awhile. It was an incredible experience.
Meanwhile, I also starting asking everyone I knew if they could help get me my start in wrestling here in the US.
As a result, very good friends of mine from CBS and Big Brother contacted the TNA offices to put in a good word for me. I was incredibly grateful.
In addition, I asked my buddy Gary Trock from TMZ if he could also help me and I was so appreciative when he said that he would.
Gary, in turn, reached out to his colleague (another good buddy of mine) Ryan Satin from TMZ and they ended up doing a story about my interest in becoming a Pro Wrestler.
I owe Gary and Ryan the world.
I later found out that Ryan forwarded the TMZ story to TNA President Dixie Carter directly and also put in a good word for me…and I know that definitely helped a lot too.
With all of that happening, what I didn’t know then was that my life was about to take another unexpected turn that would change my future forever…
In an incredible surprise, I was contacted out of the blue by the head of Talent Development at TNA at the time, Terry Taylor, to see if I wanted to have a tryout to be on the show.
He told me that TNA President Dixie Carter and the Carter family had known me from Big Brother, knew my dream was to be a Pro Wrestler, and both he and Dixie wanted to give me an opportunity to join their TNA family.
I was ECSTATIC!!! It was like I had won the lottery.
I had watched TNA religiously for years and was on top of the world. It was like another dream come true.
Upon hearing the news, I immediately returned to Orlando…got a tryout at the TNA IMPACT Zone (using the skills I had learned at FCW)…and the rest is history.
I was excited beyond belief when TNA decided to sign me to a contract.
It was the ultimate dream come true in every sense of the word.
And TMZ got the exclusive news on the announcement (thanks to Ryan and Gary):
It. was. AWESOME!!
And let me just say Dixie has become the best boss you could ever imagine. Her support and encouragement throughout the years has been absolutely incredible and she treats everyone like family. It is a tremendous honor to be a part of Dixie’s company and to work for her and her promotion. Those aren’t just words. I realize how lucky I am being part of such a phenomenal company and working with such unbelievably talented writers, producers, and fellow wrestlers.
More on that a little later.
Then immediately after my contract signing, TNA sent me to the the Team 3D Academy in Orlando (owned by Bully Ray and D-Von) to hone my wrestling skills.
On a side note, The Team 3D Academy is THEE BEST in the business and it was a true privilege being mentored by two of the most successful legends in the history of the industry.
Then, once TNA teamed up with OVW (Ohio Valley Wrestling) in Louisville, Kentucky, I was asked to move to Louisville to become the inaugural member of TNA’s Developmental Program to hone my skills even further.
I was very excited about the opportunity and the first person I shared the news with was Chris Roach from CBS’ Big Brother!!
He told me that OVW would be another excellent learning opportunity…and, as always, he was exactly right.
I made my OVW Pro Wrestling debut in 2011 and at the time of my debut, I became THEE Youngest 2 Sport Pro Athlete in History in Bodybuilding and Wrestling.
OVW became invaluable to my growth and success as a Pro Wrestler.
While at OVW, I also became 1/2 of the OVW World Tag Team Champions FIVE times in 7 months…setting another brand new record.
The trainers were awesome at OVW and I especially want to thank Al Snow, Danny Davis, Nick Dinsmore, Frank Miller and Rip Rogers for all that they taught me during my tenure there. Al Snow, in particular, took me under his wing and helped make me into the athlete I am today. I am very, very grateful.
Then on the night of October 14, 2012, everything I had worked so hard for years for finally came true…
I got called up to TNA to debut at their BIGGEST PPV of the year, Bound For Glory, as The Hollywood Boyfriend of Tara (a.k.a. Lisa Marie Varon).
It. Was. AMAZING!!
Tara and I hit it off and we became a TNA Supercouple known as the “The Hollywood Power Couple” and “Hollywood’s Hottest Couple”.
We worked together on the show until she left the organization. And it was a HUGE honor being teamed up with her. We had tremendous chemistry.
Then, once Tara left, I was paired up with another famous TNA Superstar, Robbie E, and we formed the world-famous BroMans…
And BOOOOOMMMMMM, the rest is history (again). Haha
Robbie and I are truly like brothers and best friends and I trust him completely. He’s RIDICULOUSLY talented.
And like myself, Robbie’s also a former CBS Reality Show Star (having been on CBS’ The Amazing Race” a couple of years ago and almost winning the whole competition).
By the way, Robbie and I hold another record…
We are the only Tag Team in History to have starred on two major network reality shows (and they both happened to be on TV’s Number 1 Network, CBS)!
I was on Big Brother. Robbie was on The Amazing Race.
And since The BroMans were formed, Robbie and I have gone on to become 2x WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS.
The insanely talented DJZ also joined us in The BroMans for a while as our Personal DJ THO!!
And 5x Mr. OLYMPIA Phil Heath also joined us for a bit…as our Big Bro PHIL HEATH!!
He was there in fact when Robbie and I became Tag Team champions for the first time. That story was covered for FLEX Magazine (that pic is attached to this email).
And we also teamed up with The Beautiful People for a while and became The Beautiful Bros.
And now we have our very own SMOKIN HOT personal GURU Raquel who says she’ll help make us 3x CHAMPS vs. DECAY!!!!
That’s our main focus right now…we’re obsessed with becoming 3x CHAMPS…and we won’t allow anything or anyone to stand in our way.
Not even DECAY!!!!!
(By the way, I’d be remiss if I neglected to mention that I also teamed up with King Of The Mountain Champ E-Li DORK for a while. Okay, I mentioned it. That is all. I’m sure we will meet again. Dummy YEAH.)
On a serious note, I just wanted to send a very special thank you to everyone at IMPACT Wrestling for all of their support and friendship through the years…and for being a second family to me as well (like Big Brother is).
Most people are lucky to have one family. I really have 3. So I know how fortunate I am and I don’t take that for granted at all.
I wanted to send out a special thank you to Dixie Carter, John Gaburick (Big), Billy Corgan, Dave Lagana, Matt Conway, Josh Mathews, The Pope, Bob Ryder, Jeremy Borash, Eric Barnes, Rafael Morffi, Taz, Mike Tenay, and all the agents, producers, entire locker room, and to everyone in the TNA family…who have made me feel like family during my whole TNA career.
And here are some clips showing highlights from recent matches:
Now back to CBS’ Big Brother…
Since Big Brother 11 ended in 2009, I have been fortunate enough to be invited back to the show on numerous occasions.
Check out some of my annual appearances here:
CBS’ Big Brother 17: https://vimeo.com/177116122
CBS’ Big Brother 16 Press Day: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=jpsILQPK6ZM
CBS’ Big Brother 14: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=ZF6RmUpUWWE
CBS’ Big Brother 13: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=oYvAzUy6AnY
CBS’ Big Brother 12: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=0jYUysqZejY
And here is the promo Pop TV ran when I first hosted Big Brother After Dark on the network last season:
By the way, let me just say I am absolutely ECSTATIC to be on Pop!!!
Pop is my favorite cable network and I am honored to be on their station. With both IMPACT WRESTLING and BIG BROTHER AFTER DARK (BBAD) both airing on Pop, I feel privileged to be part of both TV families.
In fact, one of my greatest honors was when IMPACT WRESTLING announced that we were moving to Pop, Pop put a huge picture of me on the Home Page of their website to represent the promotion. My parents were so proud. It was one of the happiest moments in my whole career.
Some of the folks who I want to thank at Pop for all of their support are Bradley Schwartz, Paul Adler, Laura Slobin, Hilda Williams, Lindsey Meriwether, Hillary Davis Povar, Lori Parker and Lisa Working, as well as some new friends who I met through social media such as Debra King-Wichser, Leslie Furuta, Melissa Stone and Andrew Lutin.
And thanks to the tremendous appeal of Big Brother around the country, I’ve also been able to branch out onto many other shows.
For instance, my Big Brother fame (and my PEC-Tacular physique) has afforded me the opportunity to…
1. Host The Orwell Games on Pop’s Big Brother After Dark (thanks to my Pop family)
2. Make Surprise Appearances (that went viral!) on CBS’ The Talk (thanks to my good friend, Executive Producer John Redmann)
3. Make Special Appearances on CBS All Access (thanks to my CBS family)
4. Become Co-Host of ESPN’s CAWL To Arms College Arm Wrestling League series (thanks to my close friends Rob Buchalter and Sonia Blangiardo)
5. Make my Movie debut in the FX film SNOWFALL, directed by John Singleton from 2 Fast 2 Furious (thanks to my close friend Chavo Guerrero)
6. Portray Conan The Barbarian in the Independent Film Short Kid Barbarian (thanks to famous Director James Parris)
7. Appear on the Primetime Edition of the Price is Right (thanks to my CBS family)
8. Appear regularly on TMZ (thanks to my good friends Harvey Levin, Gary Trock, Adam Glyn and in the past, Ryan Satin)
9. Star as a Leading Man on the digital series TAINTED DREAMS alongside some of Network TV’s most famous soap actors and actresses (thanks to Sonia Blangiardo)
I was even asked at one point if I was interested in hosting the new Justin Timberlake series, The Phone, on MTV…but contractual commitments to another project took me out of consideration. But it was still an honor to even be asked by the Casting Directors.
As for some of the appearances that have worked out scheduling-wise, here are a few:
CBS’ The Talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=13&v=8SdqDt0sNBw
STAR Magazine: https://twitter.com/MrPEC_Tacular/status/692774971874152448
CBS’ Price Is Right/PEOPLE: http://www.people.com/article/price-is-right-primetime-special-big-brother-frankie-grande-exclusive
CBS All Access: https://twitter.com/IMPACTWRESTLING/status/746499584214466560
FX Film SNOWFALL: https://twitter.com/MrPEC_Tacular/status/664845570561978369
Muscle And Fitness Magazine (thanks to my good friend, Editor-In-Chief Shawn Perine): https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=353078404815281&set=a.241172762672513.53325.240529552736834&type=1&theater
And for more clips and info, please check out my website at: http://www.mrpec-tacular.com/
And here is my Twitter Page: https://twitter.com/MrPEC_Tacular
Needless to say, this experience has been a whirlwind!! And I owe everything to CBS’ Big Brother and Pop’s IMPACT on Pop.
My next goal?
To help make The BroMans 3x Tag Team Champions and then to ultimately become TNA WORLD CHAMP too!!
You know, ever since I entered TNA, many fans have compared my look, personality and charisma to that of John Cena so I also hope to become the John Cena of IMPACT Wrestling.
In the meantime though, I just want to send a huge THANK YOU to all the fans for sticking with me through the years.
Like I said at the outset…What an incredible journey it’s been!
And I’m only getting started.
Now THAT’S PEC-Tacular! #BOOM