In Romania, wrestling is better known as WWE. Tell us more about the wrestlers you admire – who is your favorite active wrestler in the WWE and who was your favorite when you started?
Hahaha, it’s funny you say that – I was shocked when discussing wrestling with my trainees here in Romania – nobody knows about any wrestling outside of WWE and a little TNA? For example a trainee today asked me – ‘Do you like Antonio Cesaro?’ I said I am a big fan of Castignoli (Cesaro’s real name and ring name prior to being signed by WWE). He looked at me very confused and clearly had no idea that he had been a huge star wrestling independently all over the world for over 10 years prior to signing for WWE? While WWE is great, I always tell my trainees how important it is to watch as much wrestling as they can – all different styles. While today what you see in most countries is a mix of most styles – it never used to be that way. I always give my trainees suggestions based on who I love to watch. British style was very technically based – so go watch Johnny Kidd, Rollerball Rocco and Johnny Saint. American style was quite cartooney following the Rock n’ Wrestling phenomenon of the 80’s – I always advise people to watch Hulk Hogan, Ricky Steamboat and Ricky Morton – these guys are masters of selling and dramatic comebacks. Mexico is high flying lucha libre – guys like Silver King, Psichosis and Mascarita Dorada (who now appears in WWE as El Torito) are my favourites to watch from there. Japan has it’s hard hitting strong style which can be seen through guys like Mitsuharu Misawa, Shinya Hashimoto and Kenta Kobashi. Some of my biggest influences come form Japan – guys in the 1990’s who successfully merged all of the popular styles of wrestling into one package – wrestlers like Great Muta, Jushin Thunder Liger, Ultimo Dragon and Great Sasuke are a huge inspiration for me because of this. As for when I was a kid – I loved late 80’s early 90’s WWF stuff – to this day I still love to watch Hogan, Mr. Perfect, Randy Savage, Rick Rude, Honky Tonk Man, Ted Dibiase (Sr.). While wrestling has evolved a lot form those days – there is still so much to learn from what they did. As for WWE now – Dolph Ziggler is one of the best bumpers and sellers I’ve ever seen! Daniel Bryan is fantastic and I hope to see him working with Antonio Ceasaro again soon.
In Romania, wrestlingul este asociat in mare proportie cu WWE-ul. Spune-ne mai mult despre wrestlerii pe care ii admire. Cine este wrestlerul favorit al tau din WWE si cine a fost favoritul tau cand tu ai inceput.
E amuzant sa spui asta, pentru ca discutam cu studentii mei aici in Romania si nimeni nu stia nimic despre wrestling in afara WWE-ului si un pic de TNA. De exemplu am fost intrebat “Iti place de Antonio Cesaro?” si am zis ca sunt un mare fan a lui Castignli – Numele lui adevarat si cum este cunoscut in independente. Am primit drept raspuns o privire foarte confuza ceea ce spunea clar ca statutul de star de independente de peste 10 ani inainte sa fie semant de WWE, nu era o informative cunoscuta. WWE e grozav, nu ma intelege gresit, dar prefer sa le spun studentilor mei ca este foarte important sa urmareasca cat de mult wrestling pot, mai ales stiluri diferite. In ziua de azi ceea ce vezi in majoritatea tarilor este un mix intre toate stilurile, ei bine nu asa a fost mereu. Eu sugerez ca studentul sa urmareasca stilul pe care il prefer ei. Stilul britanic este foarte tehnic, deci daca vrei urmareste pe Johnny Kidd, Rollerball Rocco sau Johnny Saint. Stilul American este foarte exagerat, mai ales dupa fenomenul Rock’Wrestling din anii ’80, asa ca sugerez Hulk Hogan, Ricky Steamboat sau Rocky Morton; toti maiestrii in a vinde manevrele si de a face reveniri dramatice. Mexicul are stilul Lucha Libre, asa ca oameni precum Silver King, Psichosis sau Mascarita Dorada (acum in WWE ca El Torito) sunt favoritii mei. Japonia are un stil dur cu oameni precum Mitsuharu Misawa, Shinya Hashimoto si Kenta Kobashi. Unele din cele mai mari influente ale mele sunt din Japonia, oameni care in anii ’90 au unit toate stilurile populare intr-unul singur: The Great Muta, Jushin Thunder Liger, Ultimo Dragon si Great Sasuke. Cand eram copil, iubeam WWF-ul din anii 80 si 90. Chiar si in ziua de azi imi place sa urmaresc oameni precum Hogan, Mr. Perfect, Randy Savage, Rick Rude, Honky Tonk Man, Ted Dibiase (Sr.). Desi wrestlingul a evoluat de atunci, inca se pot invata multe de la ei. Acum in WWE, Dolph ziggler este unul din cei mai buni in a lua bump-uri si a vinde manevre. Daniel Bryan este fantastic si vreau s ail vad lucrand cu Antonio Caesaro cat de curand.
Many fans miss the Attitude Era. Do you think the move to PG content was the correct approach for WWE?
WWE is one of the biggest and most successful corporations in the world – they generate billions of dollars and have done so for decades – You can’t fault their business decisions! Personally, I grew up as a Hulkamaniac which was a very child friendly, PG and most importantly hugely successful time in wrestling. When I was a teenager, things became a lot more violent, bloody and sexually orientated – this caused another boom and hugely successful period for the wrestling industry. Around this time I grew tired with wrestling? I had seen people set on fire, thrown of cells, run over by cars etc… things had become so ridiculous – it seemed there was nothing left to do – how do you top that? Now people say it is more PG and the company is still doing great! One thing I will say – regardless of PG or not – the quality of in ring wrestling is incredible right now! While some people might miss the characters, catchphrases and violence of 15 years ago – I think the wrestling is technically much better now than it has ever been.
Multi fani duc dorul perioadei numita Attitude Era. Crezi ca tranzitia catre un program PG a fost o abordare corecta pentru WWE?
WWE este una din cele mai de success corporatii din lume, ei generand bilioane de dolari si fac asta de decade, asa ca nu prea le poti ataca deciziile de afaceri. Personal am crescut ca un Hulkamaniac ceea ce era o perioada foarte focalizata pe un public tanar si a fost una din cele mai de success perioade in wrestling. Cand am devenit adolescent, lucrurile au devenit mai voiolente, mai sangeroase si mai sexuale, lucru ce a generat un alt boom si o alta perioada de success pentru industrie. In aceasta perioada m-am plictisit de wrestling. Am vazut oameni arsi de foc, aruncat de pe custi, calcati de masina etc. Lucrurile devenisera aproape ridicule, de parca nu mai era ce sa faci, nu aveai cum sa te autodepasesti. Acum ca suntem in era PG comania o duce foarte bine. Totusi pot spune ceva: indifferent de PG, calitatea muncii in ring este incredibila acum. Inteleg ca unii duc dorul personajelor, zicalelor sau violentei de acum 15 ani, eu cred ca acum tehnica este mai buna ca niciodata.
How many matches did you wrestled and for what organizations, as a professional wrestler?
To be honest – I’m not sure – definitely over a hundred, probably not 200 yet. Years of being dropped on your head isn’t good for your memory Prior to moving to Romania I worked for many companies across Scotland and the UK in many different capacities over the years, although now, as far as Scotland goes, the main companies I currently work for are Scottish Wrestling Alliance, Zero1 Scotland, Source Wrestling, Pride Wrestling and Scottish Wrestling Entertainment. Since moving to Romania, I have wrestled in a few places across Europe such as Italy and Hungary. Next year will see a lot of interesting developments on this front – but I won’t say anything until it’s officially announced.
Cate meciuri ai avut si pentru ce organizatii, ca wrestler profesionist?
Sa fiu sincer, nu stiu. Sigur peste 100, dar nu 200. Ani de a fi aruncat in cap nu iti ajuta memoria. Inainte sa ma mut in Romania am lucrat pentru multe companii in Scotia cat si in tot Regatul Unit, in tot felul de roluri. Cele mai importante din Scotia sunt Scottish Wrestling Alliance, Zero1 Scotland, Source Wrestling, Pride Wrestling si Scottish Wrestling Entertainment. De cand m-am mutat in Romania, am luptat in diferite tari din Europa precum Italia si Ungaria. La anul o sa vedem niste dezvoltari interesante in acest subiect, dar nu zic nimic inainte sa fie anuntat official.
You had the chance to learn from Douglas Williams, what were the most important lessons he gave you?
Wow – Doug is a class act! He helped with some different opinions on match psychology and how to structure matches a little differently. I also picked up some great advice for working to cameras. I’m blessed to have been trained at Source Wrestling School! In addition to the great coaches and British wrestling veterans Damian O’Connor and Mikey Whiplash, the Source School bring in some of the top trainers form around the world. I’ve trained with WWE scouts and trainers, New Japan Wrestling star (and one of the top wrestlers in the world right now) Prince Devitt, one of my biggest heroes – Ultimo Dragon, British wrestling legend Johnny Kidd and many more – I’ve learned so much by getting to train with people who have been to the top of the wrestling industry. If I had chosen a different wrestling school (there are many in Scotland!) I would never have gained these experiences!
Ai avut ocazia sa inveti de la Douglas Williams. Care sunt cele mai importante lectii pe care ti le-a dat?
Wow, Doug este un tip cu clasa. El m-a ajutat cu niste puncte de vedere total diferite despre psihologia meciului si cum sa structurez altfel un meci. De asemenea am primit niste sfaturi despre cum sa lucrez cu camera mai bine. Sincer sunt norocos ca m-am antrenat la Sourse Wrestling School. Pe langa niste antrenori grozavi si veteran Britanici precum Damian O’Connor si Mikey Whiplash, scoala Source aduce cei mai buni antrenori din lume. M-am antrenat in fata cat si cu oameni din WWE, starul din New Japan Wrestling Prince Devitt, unul din cei mai mari eroi ai mei Ultimo Dragon, legenda wrestlingului Britanic Johnny Kidd si multi altii. Am invatat atat de mult antrenandu-ma cu oameni ce au fost in varful industrieri. Daca as fi ales alta scoala (sunt multe in Scotia), nu as fi avut aceste experiente grozave.
We know that small wrestling organizations are not able to invest too much money – how much did you make for an appearance at a show? Was that enough for you to cover your travel expenses?
Well, I’m a professional wrestler and it is unprofessional to discuss details of pay and salary publicly. What I will say is – I get paid what I believe I am worth to a show. If a promoter wants a specific wrestler on a show – they negotiate a price – if one party does not agree – the wrestler will not wrestle on the show – simple. Travel expenses are paid separately, and in addition to the appearance fee.
Stiim ca organizatiile de wrestling independente nu isi permit sa investeasca prea mult. Cat castigai pe aparitie la show? Era destul sa iti acopere cheltuielile?
Ei bine, sunt un wrestler profesionist si nu ar fi professional sa discut detalii despre plata si salariu. Pot spune ca sunt platit pentru valoarea mea pentru un show. Daca un promoter vrea un wrestler anume sa apara la un show, ei negociaza un pret. Daca cei doi nu cad la un comun accord, wrestelrul nu apare; simplu. Costurile sunt platite separate, pe langa suma primita pe aparitie.
You wrestled at the same event where the legend Bret The Hitman Hart was present, did you have a chance to talk to Bret? How was the encounter?
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to spend much time talking to Bret. He was incredibly busy giving interviews to members of the media all evening. However, his segment was immediately after my match, so I was able to speak with him briefly after I came through the curtain at the end of my match, while he was waiting to start his part of the show. He was very complimentary and showed a lot of respect to the wrestlers and fans in the building.
Ai luptat la acelasi eveniment unde a aparut si legenda Bret “The Hitman Hart”. Ai avut ocazia sa vorbesti cu Bret? Cum a fost intalnirea?
Din pacate, nu am avut ocazia sa vorbesc cu Bret. Era incredibil de ocupat cu interviuri si membrii mass mediei toata seara. Desi, segmentul sau a fost imediat dupa meciul meu, asa ca am apucat sa vorbesc cu el foarte scurt cand am trecut Cortina dupa meciul meu. A avut numai complimente si a aratat mult respect wrestlerilor si fanilor din cladire.,
You opened the first wrestling school in Romania: Source Wrestling School. Tell us more about this project and why you chose to open the school in Romania.
The Source Wrestling School: Romania is located inside the ‘Box Club Mircea Team’ boxing gym. The gym is only a 10 minute walk from Piata Unirii and all public transport links and training takes place on Sunday evenings from 19:00-21:00. You can find all details of the location, pictures of the facilities and times for training athttps://www.facebook.com/sourcewrestlingschoolromania
I opened the school for many reasons. One main reason is that I have said for years how much I love living in Romania and would stay permanently – if only I could wrestle here as often as I do in Scotland. So I want to create an independent wrestling scene, here in Bucharest. I can’t do this without wrestlers – so I need to train people to become wrestlers. It will be a very long and difficult road but I have seen how pro wrestling started form nothing 10 years ago and became bigger and bigger over the last few years in Scotland and would love to see something similar here! When I saw my first Scottish wrestling show, there were less than 100 hundred fans there. Last month I w I wrestled a few kilometres away from where that first show was – at SWA Battlezone 2013 – there were almost 1000 people in the crowd, on one of the best shows I’ve ever been part of and one of all the all time great wrestlers ‘Ultimo Dragon’ wrestled on the show. I’d love to create a wrestling scene like that in Bucharest and hopefully similar success here one day.
Another is backyarders… I have been sent videos by many wrestling fans in Romania who call themselves Pro Wrestlers. They claim to have taught themselves pro wrestling and want me to critique their matches they have with their friends on gym mats, trampolines and gardens. These guys have no idea what they are doing. It’s difficult to watch. The guys are almost killing each other by performing moves, incorrectly and dangerously. There is a reason WWE tells everyone not to try this stuff at home!! Not to mention the quality of the wrestling is an embarrassment and an insult to everyone who has dedicated their lives to becoming a pro wrestler. Although, I don’t blame these guys – they just don’t know any better! So I decided, since there is literally nobody else in the country with pro wrestling experience, I would open the school to help these guys out! I teach them how to do things properly, safely and the importance of respecting the wrestling business
Ai deschis prima scoala de wrestling din Romania: Source Wrestling School. Spune-ne cate ceva despre proiect si de ce ai ales Romania.
Source Wrestling School: Romania este localizata in sala de box “Box Club Mircea Team”. Sala este situate la 10 minute de Piata unirii si antrenamentele au loc Duminica seara de la 19:00 la 21:00. Puteti gasii toate detaliile despre locatie, poze cu facilitatile si orele noastre la https://www.facebook.com/sourcewrestlingschoolromania
Am deschis scoala pentru diferite motive. Unul important este ca am zis ca iubesc Romania si as vrea sa locuiesc aici permanent, doar de as putea sa fac wrestling pe cat de des pot in Scotia. Asa ca am decis sa creez o piata de wrestling independent aici in Bucuresti. Nu pot face asta fara wrestleri, asa ca trebuie sa antrenez oameni sa devina wrestleri. O sa fie un drum lung si greu, dar cum am vazut ca wrestlingul profesionist a inceput de la nimic si a tot crescut acum 10 ani in Londra, as vrea sa vad acelasi lucru aici. Cand am vazut primul show de wrestling in Scotia, au fost mai putin de 100 de fani. Acum 2 luni am luptat la cativa kilometrii de unde a fost acel show. Acum erau peste 100 de oameni in multime la SWA Battlezone 2013, si a fost unul din cele mai bune showuri din care am luat parte, Ultimo Dragon chiar luptand la acest show. As vrea sa creez o piata asemanatoare aici in Bucuresti si intr-o zi sa avem acelasi success.
Alt motiv este backyarderii. Am primit multe video-uri de la fani din Romania ce se auto-denumesc pro-wrestleri. Ei sustin ca s-au invatat singuri si vor ca eu sa le critic meciurile ce se tin pe saltele de sport, trambuline si gradini. Tipii astia habar n-au ce fac. E chiar dureros sa urmaresti asa ceva. Ei aproape ca se omoara executand manevre incorrect si periculos. WWE insista cu “Do not try this at Home” pentru un motiv. Asta ca sa nu mai zic ca ei nu fac decat sa fie o rusine si o insulta pentru cei ce isi dedica viata pentru a devenii un pro-wrestler. Desi, nu dau vina pe ei: nu cunosc mai bine. Asa ca am decis, pentru ca nu e nimeni altcineva in tara cu experienta in pro-wrestling, ca pot sa deschid o scoala sis a ii ajut pea cesti doritori. O sa ii invat cum sa faca totul cum trebuie, in siguranta si desigur importanta in a respecta wrestlingul.