DEARBORN (CBS Detroit) Some call politics a bloodsport, which means the WWE’s Rhino, aka Terrance Guido Gerin, should be better equipped for it than others.
Gerin, a Republican who enters the ring at 295 pounds as his wrestling alter ego Rhino, won the primary vote in a tight race Tuesday, beating challengers Paul Sophiea and Richard Johnson with 38 percent of the vote. He came down from the top ropes with a stupendous finish move to win the three-way Republican primary for the Michigan House’s 15th District.
He’ll face Democrat Abdullah Hammoud in the November election for the seat that represents Dearborn and Dearborn Heights, parts of Ann Arbor, along with Monroe, Romulus, and Taylor.
While supporters were casting ballots for him, Gerin was live on WWE’s “Smackdown,” in all his heaving, sweaty glory.
Gerin says, despite the over-the-top antics of pro wrestling, he is serious about politics. Specifically, he wants to see a better allocation of Michigan road funding.
“There’s money there, we just need to shift it to the right areas, you know a lot of districts are getting road dollars that they don’t need, but then they’re tearing up roads that don’t need fixing just so they’ll get the same amount of money the following year,” Gerin said, about one of his central campaign tenets.
Gerin also wants to give teachers more flexibility in the classroom.
According to his bio, Gerin is a lifelong Dearborn resident, whose grandparents moved to the city in 1953. Close with them, he and his brothers spend weekends at their modest home.
“They were hard-working Italian immigrants who were very proud to be American citizens,” his website says.
“These weekends were filled with great Italian home cooked meals and playing with neighborhood kids until wrestling came on. There was 6 hours of wrestling on tv on the weekends and Terrance and his brothers didn’t miss a minute of it. That’s when the seed was planted of Terrance ‘ s love for the industry.”
He worked through his school years at restaurants and delivering newspapers, and continued to work throughout high school while playing sports including football and wrestling.
“Since he was a child he always dreamed of being a professional wrestler,” his website says.
He made his professional wrestling debut on March 10, 1995. He signed his first contract with ECW on December 15, 1999. He went on to wrestle under contract with WWF/WWE , TNA, and Ring of Honor.
“Between 1993 and 2000, he achieved all of this while simultaneously working as an auto mechanic, doing construction, landscape work, and sales. His goal of succeeding at the highest level in wrestling has never changed,” his website says.
So, why politics?
His website says his “love for world and American history fuels his passion for politics, on both a national and local level, adding:
“He has always followed politics and gains inspiration from Abraham Lincoln, FDR, John F. Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan … Mr. Gerin believes that government is very important and business is very important. But, limited government is the most important. The two need to work together for the betterment of the people. Because the bigger the government the more they control and the more they control the less freedom you have.”
He feels that his day job as a pro wrestler is a good ice breaker, but don’t look for any wild campaign ads from his “Rhyno” persona.
“I’m not going to show up in my wrestling outfit, even though some fans would love it,” he said. “I think it would make great TV, it’s one of those things when you’re paying taxes year after year and you’re like ‘all right, let me look into what all this money is going towards.'”