Meet the Montreal high school teacher who moonlights as 'The Green Phantom' wrestler
MONTREAL -- Classes start in just a few weeks and for one Montreal teacher, that means back to school and "back to the ring."
Joseph Fitzmorris teaches high school by day and is a professional wrestler by night.
"I never thought I'd be a teacher and, then again, I never thought I'd be a wrestler either!" Fitzmorris said in an interview.
At six feet five inches tall, The Green Phantom — Fitzmorris' wrestling persona — commands a lot of attention. Yet, the teacher does, too, but in a different way. Fitzmorris keeps his students engaged because he knows how to speak to a crowd.
"When I was a kid I stuttered like crazy, I could hardly speak in front of people and now that's what I do for a living," he said.
The 45-year-old is a former science teacher, giving lessons on the law of gravity and the physics of force. Now, he is at Laval Senior Academy teaching Phys Ed. and is the Panthers football team coach there, too.
On his first day of school next week, he will tell his students about his wrestler alias.
"I'm honest with them, I become a real person. Even though this isn't real. I add layers to myself, I add aspects to me," he said.
"Add levels of interest because of that, I am the 'cool' teacher. At least that’s what I like to believe," he said with a laugh.
Fitzmorris has been doing both jobs for decades.
"My colleagues give me the sideways look a bit, but the kids are like, "Sir, what happened? Did you get beat up this weekend?"
With pieces of art and colourful graffiti, his Verdun backyard has been transformed into a Green Phantom shrine. He also has a new sparkly cape to wear when he steps back into the ring next month.
In his Green Phantom character, he explains, "The ring provides an outlet to not get arrested, because if I did the things I do to people outside the ring, it's called assault, it's called against the law. But inside the ring, it's all legal and it's all entertainment!"
He promises never to talk to students like he does to fellow wrestlers. In character, he bellows about his colour of choice: "Green is the colour of growth, green is the colour of the future and when you come to a stop-light what colour do you want to see? You want to see green, baby!"
He's back to school next week at Laval Senior Academy and then on Sept. 4 it's back into the ring to teach some opponents a lesson at MTelus theatre.