There have been few professional wrestlers that have cultivated the sport in a way the Tom Carter's "Reckless Youth" persona has without being a national or international star in a major wrestling company. The Reckless Youth character made his name returning to a lost period of time in wrestling where wrestlers traveled all over the country, many times at their expense, just to make a name for themselves in the business. Reckless Youth was able to build a grass roots “cult-like” following at a time when the internet just began to play a major part in wrestling (1995 – 1996). He found his niche bringing together various styles from different areas in the world into his own approach (Japanese, Mexican, American, and European Hybrid) that was later duplicated by wrestlers making their way up or into the business in later years. He has been credited with ushering in the era of the light heavyweight division into American independent wrestling prominence. Few have made the mark on professional wrestling as he has especially considering that he was never a national star. The results of his influence can still be felt to this day.
The "Reckless Youth" name was actually used by another Monster Factory student (Vinnie Boombox) two times one year prior to Tom Carter assuming the name.
Upon the end of the short career of that student, the name was abandoned. Tom was granted permission by that sa
Tom began his official wrestling training at Larry Sharpe’s Monster Factory in Clementon, NJ in 1994 but had loose training going as far back as 1992 between Johnny Rock’s Rock Shop in Philadelphia, PA and Dick Woehrle’s training center in Voorhees, NJ. His first official professional match was against Mark “The Shark” Schrader in February 1995 at the Clementon, NJ WWA wrestling center. By the middle of 1995, Larry Sharpe had only used Tom on one other professional show. Thanks to a close friendship with Accie Conner (aka D-Lo Brown) he had an opportunity to begin training at Al Snow’s facility in Lima, OH.
While still training at Al Snow's Bodyslammers Gym in late 1995, he began to use the Reckless Youth character on various shows in that particular territory. This territory included western Ohio, Michigan, eastern Indiana, and northern Kentucky. Reckless Youth began to get some notoriety during a heated feud against a Michigan mainstay named Steve Nixon. After some good press coming from that feud, he actually began to receive offers to wrestle in his home territory on the east coast. Many promoters in the New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania area did not realize that he was a native of New Jersey and were surprised to hear that he was local to many shows. By the end of 1996, he had been wrestling regularly in the North East and Mid-West territories.
The “King of the Independents” moniker given to him was born out of a well publicized “NWO type” feud between some East Coast wrestlers referred to as the ECI (East Coast Invasion) and a Michigan company known as the Northern States Wrestling Alliance (NSWA) run by the late Dan Curtis. Reckless’ manager, Dave Prazak, began to refer to him as the “King of the Independents” during promos and the label stuck. The label was easily justified by his appearance on independent wrestling shows throughout various areas of the United States by that time.
Reckless Youth was fortunate enough to enjoy a great deal of positive press during these years coupled with many notable matches against various opponents all over the United States. Well recognized alliances like Revolution X with Edge & Christian, the ECI (Lance/Simon Diamond, Don Montoya, Twiggy Ramez, and the Misfits), and the infamous formation of the Black T-shirt Squad with “Lightning” Mike Quackenbush and “Dirty” Don Montoya only added to the respected reputation.
He at one time simultaneously held 6 different wrestling titles from various areas around country:
1) NWA North American Heavyweight Championship
2) GLW Heavyweight Championship (Michigan)
3) NJCW Light Heavyweight Championship (New Jersey)
4) IWA Junior Heavyweight Championship (Kentucky)
5) PCW Commonwealth Championship (Pennsylvania)
6) ECWA Mid-Atlantic Championship (Delaware)
During his career as Reckless Youth, he competed in 31 of the 50 United States:
The Reckless Youth name could easily appear in the top ten rankings of many different regional independent companies featured in wrestling publications such as Pro Wrestling Illustrated and The Wrestler. It was not at all uncommon for his name to be referenced in a feud or as an inspiration in the “Introducing” articles of up and coming professional wrestlers during that time and reached as high as the number 50 position in the PWI500 (1998).
He was easily known by many independent wrestling fans over his storied years and was fortunate enough to sign a Developmental Contract with the WWE in 1999. After only one year, he parted the company citing a lack of direction from the Creative Department and returned to the Independents. Shortly after returning to the Independents in 2001, he received what was thought to be a career ending back injury in Florida during a match with Jimmy Rave for the NWA. Over the next year, he co-founded Chikara Pro with long-time friend “Lightning” Mike Quackenbush. After about a year and a half, he returned to active wrestling for the first Chikara Pro event as the BTS took on CM Punk, Colt Cabana, and Chris Hero.
He still enjoys a modest amount of success wrestling a stark contrast ring style to that of his original as he is still plagued with injuries from the past. There are many times though that shades of Youth are rekindled at current events making everyone remember why he will be considered as one of the best there ever was.
He often said that while many get into the sport only for the fame and notoriety, he was simply passionate for perfecting his craft and entertaining the audience. Reckless will always rule in the hearts and minds of those that remember that character best.