RIDGEFIELD PARK, N.J. — Wrestler TJ Marconi will strap on his signature outfit and don his "Blue Eyed Devil" persona in Ridgefield Park this weekend.
When Marconi was young he saw real-life superheroes.
Now he sees his dream job.
"My first memories are wrestling," said Troy Joseph "TJ" Marconi.
"When I was six I turned to my dad and said 'I want to do this.'"
When he got older and grew to 6 feet, 6 inches-tall and 400 pounds, it didn't take long for opportunities to open up.
This weekend he'll be performing in Ridgefield Park in an event that features former World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) star Cody Rhodes.
In the past Marconi performed across Bergen County, including Garfield, Lodi and Wallington.
His large height and weight makes him a de facto villain (or "heel" in wrestling lingo). Commentators occasionally refer to him by his real name, but he's adopted the persona known as "The Blue Eyed Devil."
"I just take what a bad guy would be in a comic villain and times it by a thousand."
Outside the ring, he thinks his personality is very different from the larger-than-life villain he displays for fans. He says he's a laid-back person who roots for the underdog good guys in movies like "Rocky" and "Star Wars."
His daytime job is also a departure from what you'd expect from someone who wrestles for a living.
Before entering the world of suplexes and piledrivers, Marconi wasn't sure how to transition his interest in wrestling into a career. So he got a bachelor's degree in accounting.
It wasn't until after he graduated that he discovered Bodyslam Wrestling Organization, a wrestling school in Hasbrouck Heights.
He continues to do accounting work during tax season, he said, but his ambition is to wrestle full-time.
Marconi said wrestling is more than something to watch on TV: it's an art form that has something for everybody.
"You’re using your body to express yourself. It’s like being an actor, stuntman and athlete all in one."
Marconi has incorporated his real-life thoughts and feelings into his act.
After spending two years trying to get noticed, he and other wrestlers felt like the wrestling organization had stacked the odds against them.
"There was a group of people who felt slighted by the company. We were mad at professional wrestling," Marconi said.
Using elements of the "Occupy Wall Street" movement that was popular at the time, Marconi started wearing an anonymous mask that sported the word "Change."
His popularity surged and the organization loved it. He's had more creative freedom since then.
Marconi will be back in the ring this weekend at Ridgefield Park's Knights of Columbus, 106 Bergen Ave. Tickets can be purchased online for $20.