The crowd gathers to take their seat. The feel of electricity buzzes in the air. People are ready to see violence. People are ready to see action. People are ready to see professional wrestling.

After several hours of intense wrestling, the crowd begins to file out. A few collect near the merchandise stand, hoping to purchase T-shirts or DVDs to remember the event. If expectations were met, the fan leaves with a smile on his face, happy to have seen the greatest show of his or her life. And sometimes, the fan leaves disappointed. Maybe his favorite wrestler came up short and lost the match. Or maybe some underhanded tactics helped the bad guy sneak out another victory. Whatever the case may be, the fans eventually leave the show, waiting patiently for their next opportunity to be wowed and amazed.

The only thing the fan is able to see is whatever happens at the start of the show, at the end of the show, and everything in-between. The story to them is the only thing they can see during the event. But what about all the other unaccounted time? What about the period between two shows? What do the wrestlers do after the final bell rings? What are their lives like before the crowd starts to trickle in?

Many people are unaware of the fact that these wrestlers, who moments ago clobbered each other with steel chairs and made each other bleed, are people too. They are real people, who lead real lives.

Some wrestlers are new to the industry. Some are fresh out of high school or college, looking to make a name for themselves in a career they’ve idolized since they were little. The paths they must forge for themselves are long and winding, with many hardships along the way. Will they survive a business that has destroyed the lives of so many others? In a world where so few rookies are given a chance, how are they able to break free from the rest? These young kids must work a mile a minute, almost without break, with a desire to one day the very best in the world at what they do. This is the drive and determination that fuels their never ending quest for success.

Then there are the stories of the people on the other side of the path to success. Those who have already gotten the chance to experience it, even taste it. The wrestlers who already fought to make it to the top, and face a different struggle: fighting to stay at the top. Times change, and eventually the next generation of superstars will come to claim their place on the top of the mountain. Nothing can last forever, and one day they will have to step away from their reign as the number one person in the only business they have ever known.

This is a look at a handful of these stories. Wrestlers, real people, fighting real battles in the world of fake fighting. Some are younger, while some are older. Some are still several years away from reaching their prime, while others begin their descent from the peak. But one thing unites all these individuals: their love of what they believe in.