In college, Kevin Kiley studied communications and played football at Boston College. Like his father, sports commentator Kevin Kiley Sr., he married his two passions when he entered the workforce - although Kiley Jr. did so via quite a divergent route.
In 2007, Kiley shed his given name, adopted the moniker Alex Riley and became a professional wrestler. Four years and his first "feud" (with ex-mentor The Miz) later, Riley is appearing regularly on WWE's flagship entertainment program, "Raw," ribbing with WWE superstars John Cena and CM Punk and taking on his "arch-nemesis," The Miz, on this summer's WWE Raw World Tour.
The tour stops in Wildwood 8 p.m. Saturday, July 23. Additional WWE wrestlers on the bill include Cena, Punk, Rey Mysterio, Jack Swagger, Kofi Kingston, Alberto Del Rio and the Big Show. Tickets start at $15 for the show, which will be held at the Wildwoods Convention Center.
"If you're a fan of the WWE, the building is a pretty intimate environment," says John Siciliano, executive director of the Greater Wildwoods Tourism Improvement and Development Authority. "It's a smaller venue - it's not as large as, let's say, a Wachovia Center - so everyone in the building has a great seat, and you kind of feel like you're a part of the action there."
Bill Campbell, 57, agrees. The Philadelphia resident and longtime wrestling fan has been going to the event since Wildwood began hosting it seven years ago.
"I just think the Wildwoods Convention Center does a fantastic job putting this together. The security's great. They have stands," says Campbell, who tries to sit in the same section - center ring - every year.
Getting a close-up view won't be the only way for fans to feel "part of the action" Saturday - some matches require audience input. In Riley's match against The Miz, for example, fans will get to choose whether the wrestlers duke it out in a street fight or a Falls Count Anywhere match.
"It is going to be a fan's choice match, which is always a great thing for the audience," Riley says. "A street fight is - you know, we're gonna have some tables and chairs and ladders and anything else we can get our hands on.
"And the Falls Count Anywhere match is actually a match where the pin fall can happen anywhere in the arena or outside or wherever. So, if he wants to take me outside and pin me on the Boardwalk, that's legal."
Has something like this ever happened before? Riley laughs as he notes that it has. Last July, Mysterio dragged Swagger outside the arena to a body of water near the Corpus Christi, Texas, stadium where "Friday Night SmackDown" was being filmed.
"Jack got thrown in the water," Riley says. "It was really, really cool. And he deserved it."
Riley says he's ready for whatever The Miz, a "heel" (wrestling term for "villain") known for cheating in matches, throws at him.
"I was cheating for him for a long time, so I know all of his secrets and all of his little ways that he tries to win and manipulate the refs," Riley says. "He can't beat me without doing that stuff, and I think he knows that. And I know everything that he's going to try to do, so it should make for a very entertaining night."
Although Riley has been perfecting his finisher, an impaler DDT, he might not get to use it on The Miz during the match if the audience thrusts the pair into a street fight.
"The thing about the street fights is that it's not really about moves and technique. It's about the guy who's left on two feet at the end," Riley says. "It's kind of a war - just a brawl."
As such, Riley hasn't given a lot of thought to the moves he'll employ.
"I think I'm just going to try to beat him up," Riley says.
WWE Raw World Tour
WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday, July 23
WHERE: Wildwoods Convention Center, 4501 Boardwalk, Wildwood
HOW MUCH: Tickets, priced at $15, $25, $35, $45 and $60, are available through Ticketmaster or at the Wildwoods Convention Center box office.