WWE en Espanol's Hugo Savinovich comes full circle
As people from all walks of life line up inside a small area of a prison, something becomes increasingly clear: They are searching. But what they are searching for won't be found simply within the squared circle, where Superstars and Divas fight for their chance at the gold. No, these people, sometimes forgotten, aren't searching for gold or the accolades that come with the three-count. They are searching for inspiration, and fighting to get their lives back.
People hear Hugo Savinovich's voice across WWE programming in Spanish-speaking households and countries across the world. And though they feel the excitement and inflection in his tone with each body slam and move from the top rope, many don't know where he's been; his life inside the ring for many years, and what happened outside of it.
Hugo had reached his dream -- becoming a professional wrestler. Since he was a teenager, his life revolved around his love for the entertainment business. But with dreams sometimes come pressure -- family, staying successful, drugs and alcohol.
"I had everything -- I had my family, the greatest job in the world, you name it. But just because you reach your dreams doesn't mean everything will be great," Hugo expressed to WWE.com. "It makes everything more challenging."
Savinovich found himself in a dark hole, and turned to drugs and alcohol as his way to pull himself out, a decision he calls extremely dangerous. Eventually, getting caught up in the wrong things cost him not only his job, but part of his life, as he found himself in prison.
"I realized I had two paths I could choose. I could stay in prison or change. That's when I knew I could take my experience and help others. I knew I needed to move away from the bad influences and change my life."
That was 12 years ago.
Hugo, a minister himself for eight years and his wife, Diana, along with help from ministers Daniel and Sara Morrero, have traveled to numerous Latin American countries, spreading the good word about faith, hope, and how no matter what you've done in your life, you can change and help make a difference. (PHOTOS)
They travel to places many have never dared or dreamed to travel. They speak to men who have been convicted of murder, alcholics, drug addicts and those who have lost track on the path of their lives.
"People need to learn that no matter what they're going through in life now, that doesn't determine their future," Hugo said of speaking to inmates. "You can't spend every day hammering yourself. You need to forgive yourself for your past and reach for your dreams."
And the many men and women Hugo has spoken to have received his kind words and changed their lives. He offers them a hug, a handshake and advice so they don't fall into the same dark place he once was.
But his work extends outside the prison walls. It also encompasses those less fortunate in these same countries. Every time he travels through the dirty and dusty roads of nations, he sees the overwhelming amount of poverty-stricken families in his journey. Savinovich and his own family sponsor several families in Ecuador, where he was born, and children in Africa. It's a small way of saying thank you for the second chance at life he has been given.
"After my troubles the McMahons really fought for me and had faith in me," Hugo said of the Chairman, Vince McMahon and his family. "My work that I do is about showing my gratitude to them and the others who supported me."
And as Hugo continues to travel to speak to those in need of inspiration, his message to the WWE Universe has become very clear.
"Never give up. There's always hope."