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Inside the Psych Ward: A Look Inside the Mind & Art of Samuel Shaw

Samuel Shaw has been locked away in a psychiatric hospital after being defeated by Mr. Anderson at Sacrifice 2014 in a Committed Match.  After being thrown into a padded van and being sent away, Samuel Shaw experienced solitary confinement.

As of recently, TNA Superstar Gunner has felt a personal connection with Samuel Shaw’s story and felt the need to intervene.  Gunner is not the only one with one-on-one capabilities with Shaw.  We gained exclusive access to the ward, and in hopes of gaining insight into this unique and rare situation, below is a recent interview conducted with Samuel Shaw inside the psychiatric hospital. 

IMPACT:  Tell us about your time so far in the psychiatric ward.

Samuel Shaw:  The very thought of being in the psychiatric ward was not a pleasant one.  When I was thrown into the padded van, a deep sense of failure washed over me.  Weakness for an impossible love ultimately landed me in a place I absolutely dreaded.  The psychiatric ward is not an environment conducive to a creative mind.  I was strapped tightly into a straitjacket and have been left alone with only my thoughts for hours at a time.  When I thought all was lost, Gunner shows up.  My straitjacket comes off, paper and pencils are in my hands once again and a new creative flame is ignited.  I can deal with this now. 

I:  You mentioned Gunner has been visiting you while inside the ward.  Can you tell us about your experience with him?

SS:  At first I was reluctant to even look in his direction.  I was so blinded by hate and disgust for the weakness I showed.  Emotions were turned off at the idea of someone like Gunner helping me.  But, this man understands that the only way to contain someone like me is to create.  He is extremely busy, yet comes right off the road after a long weekend of live events and comes to listen and speak with me.  We play cards, watch wrestling matches and even drink Bulletproof Coffee together.  The doctors feel that he is helping me and I’ve shown positive signs of a recovery.  I even get my smartphone at designated times, so I’m able to be apart of the bizarre social media world.  His visits have been nothing but beneficial.

I:  You have been allowed your pad and pencils while in the hospital.  Have you had any inspirations for your sketches?  And if so, what are they?

SS:  The first doctor gave up after a week and said I was unreachable.  He thought it was a bad sign when I was drawing scenes he deemed ‘violent in nature’.  The second doctor they brought in told me it was ok to draw whatever I wanted.  When if feel strongly about something, I usually have to release a certain energy.  Whether it be a nightmare or something TNA-related, I NEED a release.  I’ve had nightmares ever since I was a child.  Unfortunately, since arriving at TNA, they have gotten worse.  What has always helped me deal with it is releasing tension from my mind onto a piece of paper.  I guess you could say nightmares have been an inspiration.  Abyss is called a monster, but I don’t agree with these sentiments.  Like me, he is misunderstood and isn’t out to brutalize for the sake of brutalization.  He is an artist creating something spectacular and colorful and his work will be remembered forever. 

I:  What is it about drawing that helps you escape reality?

SS:  It’s all about a release for me.  I see certain things others don’t.  When I see Jeff Hardy flying through the air, I see vivid colors flowing behind him.  When he lands on top of his opponent it resembles an explosion of colors, almost like he splashed into a pool of fluorescent paint.  For a long time, I didn’t understand why others could not see what I was seeing.  Maybe this is why I felt needed to show this on paper.  Maybe this is why I became a professional wrestler in the first place while the majority of society sits in a cubicle.  Drawing and performing in front of a crowd are the greatest forms of expression to me.  If I can’t draw or perform in an environment like TNA, I might as well not exist.

Below are some sketches Samuel Shaw has drawn during his time in the psych ward:


A drawing by Samuel Shaw depicting the Monster Abyss


Samuel Shaw's Black and White Drawing of Gunner

Eric Young

Samuel Shaw's drawing of Eric Young after winning the Title

Samuel Shaw

Samuel Shaw's drawing of himself on the corner ringpost

For more personal updates on Samuel Shaw, follow on Twitter @TheSamuelShaw and @IMPACTWRESTLING