I’m honestly not sure how much of a set up this one really needs
As all my faithful readers out there know, on Saturday August 4th, 2012 – Ohio Valley Wrestling is delivering the rematch of the ages.
Jamine Olivencia will take on OVW champion Johnny Spade for part two in this epic series.
Earlier this week I had the pleasure to interview the challenger.. Jamin Olivencia.
Let me say first, Mr. Olivencia is more intense, focused and driven – than I have EVER seen him.
It was actually kind of scary.
It was a whole nother side of Jamin.
Which goes to show how important this match truly is to both men, OVW and the wrestling world in general.
During that interview, Jamin had a couple of messages directed towards the champion: Spade.
Well, I think we all need closure on just what the Champion himself has to say in return.
So without further ado..
Here’s ovw Champion The Smooth one.. Mr. Johnny Spade sitting down with yours truly.
Jimmy Sick: Nice to see you again Champ. I hope all is well. So things have been a little intense for you since the last time we spoke in March. Thoughts on 2012 as a whole for Johnny Spade?
Johnny Spade: “Good to be back and crazy sums it up pretty good.”
JS: Understandable! One of the bigger stories of the year was your battle with The Family. Thoughts on that conflict?
Spade:“The Family was a powerful group. Fighting them night in and night out only made me a better wrestler and performer. I was happy to end up on the winning side and be the champion.”
JS: I think all us fans can agree with you there. We’re glad you did too. Your thoughts on losing the world title to Rob Terry and then eventually winning it back?
Spade:“Anytime you lose a title it fuels you to be able to get back to getting it again. I mean it’s Rob Terry, there was no shame at all in losing. It was sweet to regain it back and be THE man again.”
JS: I think the excitement all of us felt for you, when you wont that title back was magical. I haven’t been so happy for someone in a long time. That’s from the heart, my friend.
JS: No problem! Well, let’s get right into what EVERYONE is talking about.. The rematch. You and Jamin Olivencia will be stepping back into the ring to face each other on Saturday August 4th at Davis Arena. What are your thoughts on the match the world wants to see?
Spade:“The first match was an amazing match, so I wasn’t suprised he won the Number One contenders match to receive another shot at the title. This time we’re better than at the SNS! Like before though, I don’t plan on losing. Nuff said.”
JS: Wow. I like the way you put that. I know you said in our previous interview that you were VERY proud of that first match, do you believe that this rematch can live up to the greatness of that first offering?
JS: Nice.. that totally convinced me. Do you still share the same respect for Jamin Olivencia that you did after that initial championship match back in March?
Spade: “Absolutely, it not how many times you fall, but how many times you get back up. I knew he would.. maybe not this soon, but here we are again. Let’s do it!”
JS: Not sure if you’ve had the chance to read my interview with Jamin from earlier this week, but he had a message just for you. Did you happen to catch that?
Spade: “Yeah I read some of it. It’s his opinion and his opinion doesn’t mean squat to me.. beat me, then talk.”
JS: Whoa.. I guess what all of us true fans want to know now, Mr. Spade – is this.. What is your response to Mr. Olivencia?
Spade: “I’m the man too beat, I hope you’re ready for war. Can you be or even beat the man? I don’t think so. I was born to be a leader, the best! Nothing less.”
JS: I.. just wow. I’m not sure what even to say after that. After the smoke clears in this Epic Battle, Mr. Spade.. If you are still standing tall in the middle of that ring holding up the OVW title, what’s next for the Smooth one?
Spade: “I’ll continue to do what I do best and that’s be the top guy. I’m waiting for people to step up.”
JS: Amazing reply! I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t offer you a chance to say something to the many OVW fans out there. Anything to say to them?
Spade: “Love me or hate me.. I ain’t going anywhere for a while. I will do what I always do.. entertain and bring the best matches in the world right here in OVW and beyond.”
JS: Outstanding. Thanks so much, Champ!
What can I even add to that?
The intense words, actions and looks from of those men indicate to me.. this match is going to be INSANE.
The champion: Johnny Spade is even more focused and determined than I have EVER seen.
And honestly.. that’s frightening.
If you have EVER listened to your old friend, faithful narrator and local wrestling writer/nut job.. Jimmy Sick, listen to me now..
DO NOT MISS THIS MATCH!
Saturday, August 4th 2012 is a date that will live on in wrestling history!
Well folks, sometimes the God’s just smile down upon us fans of professional wrestling.
Saturday night August 4th, 2012 is going to be one of those occasions.
Ohio Valley Wrestling is gearing up for a rematch that myself and wrestling fans all over the world have wanted, craved and anticipated like no other.
Jamin Olivencia will take on OVW Champion: The Smooth one himself.. Johnny Spade!
Now I have your attention don’t I?!
Your old pal Jimmy Sick is VERY proud to say that I was once again able to sit down and speak with one of the JimmySick.com staffs favorite talents and the man who will try to rip the OVW title from the grasp of Mr. Johnny Spade..
Jimmy Sick:Hi Jamin! Great to be able to do this again, my friend. Last time we spoke was right after you were named 2012 PWInsider Newcomer of The Year for 2012 in Febuary. Man.. were they ever correct! How have you been?
Jamin Olivencia: Great to do this again. I have been working on a lot of side projects other than wrestling so expect to see Jamin Olivencia all over the place soon.
JS: I can’t say I’m shocked there. You are one of the most hard working guys I know!
JS: Let’s jump right into this. 2012 has indeed been a big year for you and your wrestling career. From the incredible matches, to the introduction of Chito Martinez and the war over the TV title. What are your thoughts on this year as a whole so far for you?
JO:This year has been like every other year in Jamin Olivencia’s world. Always progressing. Always moving forward and doing bigger things than I did the years before.
JS: That’s the response i totally expected. HA! What are your thoughts of the direction of OVW right now as a whole? Personally, I think that it looks like nothing but good things ahead!
JO: OVW as a whole continues to grow and gain popularity all over the US and other countries.
JS: I could not agree more. This is sincere and from the heart, each week I enjoy more than the last. You guys are putting on some amazing shows.
JO: We appreciate that.
JS: We appreciate your effort! Ok, so let’s get right into what EVERYONE is talking about right now! On the July 14th edition of OVW tv (Episode #673 For those who missed it. If you did miss it.. WATCH IT NOW!), you won a 6 Man Scramble Elimination to become #1 Contender. Thoughts on that match?
JO:It was a tough match. We had all of the best in OVW in one ring going to war. In the end, I showed all 5 of those guys that my time is now and the name is Jamin Olivencia.
JS: It was an insane match & watching your victory filled us all with pride! After winning the Scramble match & becoming the #1 contender for the OVW title. Can you explain YOUR feelings on being in that position again?
JO:The feeling is normal to me. I’ve been in these situations before. I am a world class athlete and always have been my entire life. The only thing I do is focus, focus, focus and make people look stupid. The first time, Spade and I ended up coming to a no contest for the OVW Heavyweight Championship. This time, I’m ready to run all over this guy. My cardio is the best it’s ever been and Spade is in for the fight of his life. I’m a warrior. He will feel like he is in a cage with a tiger.
JS: Incredible. Simply incredible. You do spin a hell of a mental image my friend. What are your thoughts on the possibility of Jamin Olivencia being OVW champion? What would that mean for you, your career & OVW?
JO:Being OVW Champion is and has been a goal of mine since I first stepped into the doors. It has always been just a matter of time before I had my opportunity to take the ball and run with it. Me being OVW Heavyweight Champion is going to only add to OVW’s success and popularity.
JS: I think there’s a LOT of fans out there that would definitely agree with you. During an interview I did with Mr. Spade in March right after that initial championship matchup, he had nothing but glowing reviews for you and that match. I really feel the need to ask you your thoughts on Mr. Spade at this time.
JO:Johnny Spade is a tremendous athlete. He has a tremendous amount of energy. Actually, he brings just as much energy to the table as I do and I believe that’s why he’s been so successful. However, he’s at a point in his career where he’s getting a little older and his age, unfortunately for him anyways, is going to catch up. He’s in the twilight of his career and for me, I’m just getting started.
JS: Wow. That’s a pretty strong statement. I guess what the fans and all our readers want to know now Mr. Olivencia, is this.. What would you sir have to say to Johnny Spade about your upcoming match if he were here right now?
JO:John, you will not beat me. Enjoy holding that title. It’s not personal and I hate to be the one to do it.. but I am going to put you down.
JS: That honestly gave me chills. One last thing before we wrap up this truly fantastic interview.. Do you have a message to all the fans of Jamin Olivencia and OVW out there?
JO:Yes I do.. Thank you all for your continued support. Love me or hate me, I enjoy performing for you guys. Expect a lot of things out of me.
JS: And we all believe it! Thanks again Jamin.. once again, you were amazing!
JO:Thanks. I appreciate it.
To say I was really excited about this match up would have been an understatment, but after this interview..
There’s NOTHING that will keep me from seeing it.
These two competitors night in and night out – leave it all in the ring.
They give you every single thing they have.
Pride in what they do and appreciation for the fans that love watching what they do.
Jamin Olivencia’s sincerity about this match, the OVW title and Johnny Spade came through like nothing I’ve ever seen.
I cannot thank Mr. Olivencia enough for this awe-inspiring look into this highly anticipated rematch.
All I can really say to end this amazing piece, is this..
What would Johnny Spade have to say in response to Jamin and his message if given a chance?
All of us will find out later this week!
As OVW champion “Smooth” Johnny Spade will be sitting down with your faithful narrator for a very special JimmySick.com exclusive interview.
Don’t you DARE miss the no doubt exciting rebuttal OVW Champion Johnny Spade will have for the professional wrestling worlds TRUE Young Gun.. JAMIN OLIVENCIA!
Stay tuned to JimmySick.com and do yourself a massive favor and do not miss a MINUTE of OVW tv!
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times.. I’ve ALWAYS wanted to get a great referee’s point of view of the wrestling world.
Well.. Mr Jimmy Sick wants it, Mr. Jimmy Sick gets it!
As most of my readers know, I’m a big fan of Ohio Valley Wrestling.
I honestly feel it’s home to not only wrestlings rising stars, but also it’s amazing and underrated veterans.
OVW also just happens to be the home organization for referee extraordinaire – Mr. Chris Sharpe as well.
over the weekend, I had the true pleasure to pick Mr. Sharpe’s brain about OVW and just wrestling in general.
And man.. when I say pleasure, I truly mean it.
Enough of the appetizer.. here’s the meal!
Jimmy Sick: Let me start by saying thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to do this interview, Mr. Sharpe.
Chris Sharpe:“No problem at all and thank you for helping spread the word.”
JS: No problem, it’s truly MY pleasure. Trust me! I guess I’ll dive right in, were you a wrestling fan as a kid?
CS:“Oh my gosh yes! In short my family couldn’t afford so much when I was really young. Luckily for me my Grandmother went to high school with Dave and Earl Hebner, two legendary and very influential figures not only in my life but in pro wrestling in general. They introduced me to wrestling right from the get go, I had toys, VHS tapes, magazines the whole nine. It was all I knew and I was perfectly fine with that. I watched everything! I was just so memorized by these awesome looking characters. I knew from an extremely young age that this is the only thing I want to do. Somehow, someway I’ve got to be involved in the main show.”
JS: Sweet! The Hebners were a HUGE part of a lot of us fans childhoods, but your story about them is much cooler. HA! Who were some of your favorites at that time?
CS:“Man I liked everyone. From Hogan, to Warrior, Big Boss Man, Bret Hart, Owen Hart, Shawl Michaels, Razor, Steve Austin, Angle, Benoit, Undertaker and so on. Where I grew up everyone knew of NWA. I watched WWF mostly and some ECW when it was on in my area.”
JS: Some amazing favorites. A who’s who of awesome! When did YOU decide to get into the wrestling business?
CS: “I started training some when I was sixteen. My buddies Jeff Early and Ace Montana, who still wrestle now on independents in Virginia met a dude from a group called Richmond Lucha Libre. They were looking to add new people to their events and we started training in a ring that was in our buddy Dave’s mom’s backyard. Ha. I tried as much as I could to help out with whatever and absorb everything. Needless to say I didn’t have a clue. El Sucio and Kamikazie Kid (now OVW TV Champ Chris Silvio and Paredyse) broke us in. Once I started being able to be used on their events I worked as a referee. Richmond Lucha was so awesome. Most independent wrestling groups are lucky to have 150-200 fans in attendance; we would average 700-1,000 a show. It was unreal. We did 18 and up shows at indoor and outdoor bars and they were usually from like 10pm to 2am. The crowds were rowdy and we had great production value. Paredyse would make these awesome video packages, much like the ones you’re seeing recently in OVW that made the matches feel larger than life. It set the stage for the matches and we had no choice but to deliever. We had bands open up for our shows too like GWAR who are Richmond, VA natives.”
JS: That’s an amazing route into the business honestly. Did you consider being a wrestler or did you think becoming a ref was the better route for yourself?
CS:“I actually wrestled, managed, refereed, etc. Whatever an event called for just to get my name out there as much as I could for about 3-4 years before moving here. Once I realized that in order to take this more seriously and make my goals and dreams a reality I moved to Louisville for OVW with about $700 in my pocket. Most went to joining the classes and the rest went to first months rent. I fell in love with this place and never moved since. I knew that I wasn’t a big guy and thought that my dreams would be more obtainable if I stuck with being a ref. I still took Rip Rogers wrestling classes for a few years as both a wrestler and a ref. I thought that if I knew more about what it takes to be a wrestler then I could end up being a better ref.”
JS: Holy cow, you were a jack of all trades! Good to see that chance is working out pretty well now. Who were some guys who helped you out a lot in the beginning?
CS:“Here, it was pretty much everyone. It’s a very tight knit group here and being a ref I have the privilege to work with everyone on the roster. Outside of the locker room itself, I’ve learned so much from Rip, Jim Cornette, Danny Davis and now Al Snow.”
JS: You couldn’t ask for better help honestly. I’ve seen some ref training myself and know it’s not easy – how did you feel about the training aspect?
CS:“I think it’s awesome. It should be hard. That’s the only way I’m going to get better and when I’m asked to help newer refs out here it treat it the same way. This place doesn’t produce the best in the world by being lazy; but hey, if it was easy then everyone would do it and it wouldn’t be as worth it.”
JS: I couldn’t agree more and well said! Thoughts on reffing your first match? How did it go?
CS:“Other than Richmond Lucha my first match was a singles match between two guys that still wrestle in Virginia now. Brandon Day and Chris Escobar. It was an outside show at the Richmond International Raceway during the Chili Cook-off. It had all of the top radio stations there and a lot of awesome bands played. In between their sets we had matches. In the middle of that match it started pouring down raining out of nowhere and the mat made us slip up quite a bit, haha. Good times.”
JS: HA! That’s hilarious! So a pretty memorable start. How did it feel to ref your first tv match?
CS:“To be honest I don’t remember what the match was at all. I did a few things here for a few weeks before reffing too. Such as selling merch and just coming to help clean up after.”
JS: Nice! I’ve always heard and agreed with people when they say, you learn so much more by doing all the jobs. So you have that over most. OVW.. What are your real thoughts?
CS:“Let me just say that I would have never gotten the opportunities I have if I didn’t come here. In my opinion the absolute best place to train if you’re serious about this.”
JS: Once again, I agree. Thoughts on Danny Davis?
CS:“He’s kind of like a father figure here. I love him to death and will always be loyal to him.”
JS: That’s a unanimous feeling apparently. Everyone has basically the samething almost word for word. Thoughts on the AWE Night of the Legends ppv last October? A show I attended and enjoyed very much by the way!
CS:“Thanks for attending! It was back in Virginia so my friends and family got to come as well. Being in the ring on live pay per view, not just internet pay per view with guys like Finlay, Silva, Jamin Olivencia, Sonjay Dutt, DDP, Kevin Nash and the Rock N Roll Express was awesome! So happy to have been apart of that.”
JS: I’m sure it was an experience not soon forgotten. I loved it myself. Did you feel that show would lead to more from AWE?
CS:“I mean who’s to say it wont lead to something more down the line. It was a great time and would love to see those people again.”
JS: I really hope so.. because I went to a few of their events and honestly they were always very entertaining. Besides OVW – Favorite places you’ve been able to take your talents?
CS:“I’ve done a bit with ROH. I’ve probably been on about 20 of their events and getting to do extra work for WWE lets me know that I made the right choice by moving here and I hope that that list continues to grow for the rest of my life. I’ve also refereed in England on two tours. Absolutely awesome!”
JS: Excellent! You really are living the dream then. Wow! I guess sticking with the “dream” aspect.. if you could ref one “Dream match” between anyone, who would it be?
CS:“No one in particular. I guess just who ever is on top in a major company would be the guys I wanna work with now.”
JS: Great answer! What does the future hold for Chris Sharpe?
CS:“I’m very excited about OVW teaming up with Impact Wrestling. I can’t predict the future and right now I’m having so much fun with my role here. No matter where I go I plan to make my company proud and do whatever is needed.”
JS: I could not have asked for a better response there. Do you have a message for your fellow referees, people in the business or anyone thinking of getting into the sport?
CS:“Just go to a place that has a reputation of producing top stars and work as hard as you can in every match. That’s what I believe will make you successful.”
JS: Any message for wrestling fans out there?
CS:“Thank you for taking the time to read this. Please share this interview and keep supporting not only me but Ohio Valley Wrestling. Feel free to add me on Twitter @RefChrisSharpe!”
JS: I once again want to thank you Mr. Sharpe.. this was just great!
Refreshing. That is the only word I can think to describe Mr.Sharpe.
You can honestly see how much he enjoys not only wrestling, but his role in the sport.
It so obvious that he is still a HUGE fan of professional wrestling.
when I, as a fan myself, see that in someone who is actually IN the sport.. it’s truly like seeing someone who is living their dream..
That’s just to cool for words.
You guys can and SHOULD follow Mr. Sharpe and all the stars of OVW on OVW TV on ovwrestling.com.
You can watch great action, amazing talent and even better.. IT’S FREE!
This was one of those experiences that left me totally speechless..
I guess this was an instance when I went into something expecting one thing and got just completely blasted with a sense of reality!
I must admit, I’m a huge fan of OVW star Mohamad Ali Vaez, but apparently his character made an even bigger impression on me than I had originally thought.
When he agreed to do an interview with the Sickster, I was pumped as I was going to not only be talking with one of wrestling’s rising stars..
But also one of it’s premiere heels!
After this interview was all said and done though, I realized Mr. Vaez was something else entirely..
A man who is EXTREMELY intelligent and VERY professional as well.
His path into the world of professional wrestling was filled with many twists and turns, and if you’re like me..
You will truly enjoy reading his take on all of them.
Without further ado, let’s get started..
Jimmy Sick: First I’d like to thank you for agreeing to take time out of your busy schedule to do this interview, Mr. Vaez. I really appreciate it!
Mohamad Ali Vaez:“No problem at all. Thank you!”
JS: I guess I’ll start by asking – Did you grow up a wrestling fan?
MAV:“I did in the sense that I used to watch the Saturday morning shows as an 8 or 9 year old…you know, the ones where Hogan or the Ultimate Warrior would kill someone you have never heard of in 2 minutes. I was never exposed to the NWA or USWA or any other “southern” territories until I actually entered the business, despite growing up in Kentucky. I lost interest in the business around the time I discovered girls…haha. It wasn’t until I was 20 years old that I really got hooked again.”
JS: It’s pretty rare to hear that once you take time away from watching it, you get hooked again! Who were some of your favorites? Or just guys that really “inspired” you?
MAV:“Triple H, hands down was the first guy that made me say “wow”. The guy was/is the literal total package. He could work with anyone, he looked like a star, and he could talk… THEN, I discovered Ric Flair, and it was over from there. Flair in his prime literally did work with everybody who was anybody in the 80′s and 90′s, and could make ANYBODY look like a star. When I entered the business, I wanted to be like that. The guy who could work with anybody…no matter who they were, how experienced they are,or what they did as far as in ring is concerned. It is still what I aspire to do. It seems as though a lot of guys these days…(especially on the indies) are only concerned with “getting their shit in”. Then they wonder why they can’t fill the building and why people don’t come back in droves to a second show. Getting your shit in doesn’t sell tickets. “Getting my shit in” is making you look good…so I guess in a way I am always getting my shit in! What Flair was able to do is unfortunately becoming a lost art form. There are only so many people left in the business…or on earth, who can teach someone how to do that. OVW can and does.”
JS: For you to say Ric Flair inspired you that much, really warms my heart. I’m a HUGE/obsessed Flair fan. How & when did you decide to get into professional wrestling?
MAV:“I went to West Point for college…which is a military academy from age 18-22. Our recreation consisted of shining shoes and other mundane military activites. We had no freedom. When I was a junior, we finally got the privilege of going to the local NCO club and drinking keg beer (if we were 21) on Thursday nights. There was a big screen TV, and they always showed Smackdown. That’s when I got hooked again…and Triple H was on top at the time, hence the previous answer. I always said, “If I get a chance to try wrestling, I will”…but I had no idea how to go about it. At age 24, after I got out of the military, I had a chance encounter with an indy wrestler by the name of Austin Meddler, who I believe still works in the Cincinnati area. He invited me to a show, and I started training (if you could call it that) at that location. This was around 2004.”
JS: Wow, did you find it hard at first?
MAV:“Absolutely! Physically it wasn’t. Well, besides being really sore. Hitting the ropes hurt! More so it was hard to get direction, especially on the small time indy circuit. I had two matches, and then decided to focus on finishing my master’s degree, which I had been working on at the same time. A year later, after being finished with school for good, I started working indy’s in the Kentucky and Indiana area. Once I started at this period.. somebody had the idea of putting a head scarf on my head…I mean, I am middle eastern. The reaction was UNBELIEVABLE. Suddenly, all of the indy shows in the area wanted me to be apart of their product. I did a lot of traveling, and met some really good people, some of whom I wish I was still in touch with…but life moves on I suppose. Then WWE debuted the Muhammad Hassan gimmick, and I quickly realized if I had been in the right place, that could have been me.”
JS: Man! that is a pretty hard path to where you are now. I agree about the Hassan character. You would have been just as amazing in THAT position. Who were some of the guys that helped you out the most at the beginning of your career?
MAV: “Jack Black, Vito Andretti and Ben Woods, were the three guys on the Kentucky indy scene that really gave me good advice and looked out for me. All 3 had been members of OVW’s roster when WWE first affiliated developmental there. All three, along with the Ky athletic commissioner Tim Gontherman, urged me to go to OVW and to get a real education. I suppose they saw my potential before anyone else did. Also, when I got to OVW, Joey Mercury really took good care of me, and taught me a lot about tag team wrestling.. and life in general.”
JS: That’s terrific for not only you, but the rest of us that they saw the potential. What was some of the advice you received during this period?
MAV:“Shut the fuck up and listen. Get a real education (besides bumping and “cool” moves) to fulfill my potential.”
JS: So basically.. INCREDIBLE advice. HA! Thoughts on your first match ever?
MAV:“I wrestled a guy named Big Gunn in Lawrenceberg, Ky. In front of about 50 people.. 25 of which were my inebriated fraternity brothers. It was God awful looking back. Nothing made sense and we were just doing shit that we had seen on tv. It was my first match, and I called it! That should tell you something as far as my aspirations to become a general. Terrible. I still have it on tape.”
JS: Ouch! I’d love to see that tape sometime though. LOL You’ve come a long way and evolved into what is considered a very controversial “character”. Have you received a lot of negative feedback from people?
MAV:“Yes. During the WWE developmental period at OVW, my character and ethnicity opened enormous doors for me. Right place right time. This was at the height of the Afghan and Iraq wars, so it was very controversial, but as Eric Bischoff said… controversy creates cash. I had a thick beard that stretched halfway down my chest. I literally looked like I walked out of a cave in Afghanistan. Try walking into Wal-Mart looking like that and see how many people stare at you. Personally, it was difficult for me because I was a) perpetrating a stereotype my family and I had suffered discrimination from, and b) because I went to a military academy, and had good friends that were killed and/or maimed in the line of service. I felt guilty making light of that by portraying an Islamic Fanatic. Which was the first incarnation of our Insurgency gimmick.
When Michael Hayes and I began working together, I had classmates from West Point contact me furious.. and that was difficult to deal with personally and emotionally. It was the only time I have really had to deal with the emotion of the juxtaposition of my background, and what I portray as ENTERTAINMENT. Of course those people didn’t watch the product. Mike and I told a story of a bully picking on someone. Yes there were implications of the war, and all that, but we never mentioned war, or ethnicity, or religion. On the surface, people see the traditional Arab garb I wore, and that I was holding a guy’s prosthetic leg.. and they jumped to unfair conclusions.
To this day, despite the fact that I don’t wear the Arab garb, I still have fans yell racist stuff to me. I have dealt with it my whole life.. so it really doesn’t bother me much.. except when it is small children. That is the hard part. Am I re-enforcing this in our society or is this merely a reflection of our society?? I still struggle with it.”
JS: I’m honestly at a loss here.. People not being able to differentiate between YOU and your character blows my mind. Have you ever provoked a crowd so much during one of your promos or angles that you felt unsafe leaving the ring or building?
MAV: “Yes, in 2005 a guy tried to stab me from behind with a screw driver while I was walking to the ring. I never saw him coming. The boys were watching from a second story window and saw it unfold and told me about it after the fact. Thankfully the Louisville Metro Police Department stepped in. I was oblivious to the whole thing! In 2008 The Insurgency caused a riot in Campbellsville, Ky during a live event tag match against the Locos.. Anarquia and Raul Lamatta. Despite losing the match, we needed a police escort to leave. There have been a few other times where my safety was called into question.. but those are the two instances that jump out at me.”
JS: Holy hell! That’s INSANE! Thank God you weren’t hurt either time. Aside from those two obvious favorites (LOL!) what are some other OVW memories that you enjoy?
MAV:“My debut. July 28th 2007.. my partner Khalil Gaspard and I beat up Al Snow. Luckily he didn’t have Head with him! Working Rob Conway and his partner at the time at Six Flags in front of 3000 people in 2008. AND of course my 10 month feud with Michael Hayes. Michael Hayes and I are the only two people to EVER sell out the Davis Arena on a one match show. NOBODY, including all of the WWE developmental talent were able to accomplish that. The only event that has ever sold more tickets at the Davis Arena than our cage match in January 2012 was the first time ROH did National Television tapings at the Davis Arena. That is something I will ALWAYS be proud of.”
JS: I have to second that all of those are GREAT memories and moments. That feud was just AMAZING. Sticking with this subject what have been your overall favorite opponents and/or feuds?
MAV:“Rob Conway, Michael Hayes, Jamin Olivencia AND “Hoooooooooooo!” Hacksaw Jim Duggan!”
JS: Outstanding choices! Besides OVW, where else have you enjoyed working so far?
MAV:“I have appeared on a few AWE shows, including their PPV back in October. I have also worked several dark matches for ROH. Working as an extra for WWE is always a learning experience as well. Other than that, I don’t regularly work indies. I try to take care of my body as much as possible. I don’t want my career to end due to injury before it really takes off.”
JS: I completely understand and agree with that. Speaking of the AWE Night of the Legends pay per view, an event I attended by the way, you had a GREAT match with “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan. Thoughts on that match and Hacksaw?
MAV: “Hacksaw is THE MAN! How can you not have a good match with Hacksaw. A NIGHT OFF!!! I am working with him and Sgt Slaughter on April 13th and 14th for 2CW in New York. I can’t wait!”
JS: It’s cool to hear you thought the match was as good as the rest of the crowd did that night. What were your thoughts on the AWE event in general?
MAV:“A lot of potential. A lot of experienced people behind the scenes working as agents and on the card. Unfortunately, it never went anywhere besides that PPV, but it was an excellent experience.”
JS: I agree with you here. I’m shocked it hasn’t gone anywhere from that event. The publicity and anticipation was amazing. Uh, what are you thoughts on TNA’s association with OVW?
MAV:“Hell yeah! WWE’s loss is TNA’s gain. I have every bit of confidence in the world that you will see me on Spike TV soon.”
JS: Once again.. I have to agree on every point. LOL! I’d like to get your thoughts on a few fellow OVW talents if possible..
JS: Michael Hayes?
MAV:“One of the best human beings I have ever met, and more resilient than most people will ever need to be. I am glad I was the first guy to get to work with him.”
JS: Jamin Olivencia?
MAV:“Extremely talented, not just in wrestling but in life. Very good friend of mine for years.. but tonight at the OVW SNS special, I will break his face. Business is business.”
JS: HA! I’m sure Jamin would expect no less. OVW champ Johnny Spade?
MAV:“A guy who really excels at connecting with the people, and someone who has paid more than his fair share of dues.”
JS: Shiloh Jonze?
MAV:“All the potential in the world. NOBODY with his experience level sells like him.”
JS: That’s very high praise! Rudy Switchblade?
MAV:“An extremely versatile and well rounded performer. Rudy is very talented and innovative. His wide array of training, really shows.”
JS: Alex Silva?
MAV:“All the potential in the world.. and a guy who will be making money in this business for a LONG time.”
JS: Al Snow?
MAV:“One of my main mentors. The guy who gave me my first break on OVW TV during the WWE developmental period. Al taught me, and continues to teach me what doing business means. He is so damn smart, I feel stupid in his presence.. and I don’t say that very often.”
JS: Danny Davis?
MAV:“He and Rip Rogers are the men who I will attribute any success I achieve in the wrestling business to. OVW is the greatest training school in the world. Besides the long list of national television performers of yesterday and today that trained at OVW, look at what OVW’s three guys (myself, Jamin Olivencia, and Alex Silva) did on that AWE PPV! Over f’n prepared!”
JS: Tremendous answer! Mike Mondo?
MAV:“A guy who truly lives and breathes the wrestling business. He is one of my best friends. His wrestling mind is astounding. ALWAYS jacked and tan! I can’t wait to see him take over ROH.”
JS: Rob Terry?
MAV:“Jesus.. have you seen Rob Terry in person? It is humbling. All the physical tools in the world AND he is the nicest, most humble guy. That is RARE in this business. Without a doubt, a future world champion.”
JS: Terry is a freak in person. It’s insane that one man is that big in that many places. LOL What does the future hold for Mohamad Ali Vaez?
MAV:“Short term.. I want to become the OVW Heavyweight Champion. It is the only accolade in OVW I haven’t achieved yet. Long term, I want to make a living in the wrestling business.. be it WWE, TNA, ROH, or anywhere. I love this business and hopefully my passion comes through in my work.”
JS: Without a doubt, it does! Do you have anything to say to your fellow wrestlers or youngsters aspiring to be wrestlers out there?
MAV:“Shut the fuck up, watch every match on the card, be your own worst critic, go somewhere that can teach you the BUSINESS…any idiot can bump and do moves…and most of all…GET IN SHAPE.”
JS: HA! Perhaps one of the best messages ever. Where can your fans or people who hate your character (LOL) keep up with you?
MAV:“They can follow me on Twitter at @Ali_Vaez and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ali.vaez. I have also recently signed a Sponsorship agreement with Genr8, a supplement company that makes a product called VitargoS2. A revolutionary engineered carbohydrate. It has drastically changed my body. I will soon begin competing in Physique contests, as I’m truly aspiring to be “Jacked and Tan”. Tune in also to the OVW overview podcast that I co host once a month. Google it.. along with my Youtube channel. It’s entertainment for free! That’s it from me.. Mohamad Ali Vaez, #princeofpersia.”
JS: Great interview! Thanks Mr. Vaez!
MAV: “Not a problem at all. Thanks for getting the word out!”
To say Mr. Vaez is an impressive guy with an amazing background, would be a massive understatement.
I think we were all to busy hating on him because of the despicable character he portrays in the sport he so obviously loves, to actually get to know the man.
But in the overall scheme of things, that’s always a good measure of how good a performer actually is.
We believe they ARE that despicable person. HA! The joke is on us.. as per usual.
Mr. Vaez said during the course of this interview that “he has every confidence in the world that we’ll see him on Spike tv..”
and straight from the heart.. I believe him to be correct!
Until then, make sure you check him out in a town near you or on OVW tv on ovwrestling.com.
I’d like to thank Mr. Vaez once again for granting me this interview and wish him the best of luck.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.. many many times and as loudly as possible..
It’s pretty darn good to be Mr. Jimmy Sick.
Today’s reason? Being able to interview another personal favorite of mine and one of wrestlings young lions.. “The Loose Cannon” Alex Silva!
Friends of the ol’ Sickster have probably gotten tired of hearing me go on and on about this young man for quite some time now.
Now that I’ve had the chance to speak with him and see what drives him.. I can’t even express how much more of a fan I am now.
Enough set up.. let’s get this thing started!
Jimmy Sick: Let me start by saying thanks for doing this. I’m a HUGE fan of you and your work.
Alex Silva: “No problem and thanks, bro.”
JS: Let’s dive right in.. Did you grow up a wrestling fan?
AS: “Yes! As far back as I can remember.”
JS: Who were some of your favorites as a kid? Or some guys that really “Inspired” you?
AS: “My father was, is and always will be my biggest inspiration. He was a wrestler himself. He wrestled all around the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada. Where he spent the majority of his career. I would follow him on trips and one of his matches was the first wrestling match I ever saw. I was also a big of wrestlers like Shawn Micheals, Bret Hart, Steve Austin, Brian Pillman, Eddie Guerrero etc.. “
JS: I honestly had no idea your dad was a professional wrestler as well. The fact he’s at the top of your list, tells me he must have been a great pro. Who were some guys who took you under their wing in the beginning of your wrestling career?
AS:“Once again I’d have to say my father. I wasnt patient. I couldn’t wait to be 16 or 18 to start my career. So I started class at 13 years old from Carl Leduc back home in Montreal. Since then, I’ve gotten a lot of help from Micah Taylor, the OVW staff and Rip Rogers. OVW has taught (and still does on a daily basis.) me so many things. Since the age of 16!”
JS: What did your dad think of his son wanting to follow in his footsteps?
AS:“I’ve been traveling back and forth from America to Canada for years now & my father did everything he could to help me. Now at 21 years old, with 8 years experience.. it’s only the beginning! My father was the biggest and best supporter of me and my career. From gear ideas, to mentally and physically helping me be prepared. He was My best friend, my brother and a father. We would eat breakfast together while watching wrestling. We would go workout together & then come back eat together again. Text each other constantly. He would sleep on a couch just so I could have a room.”
JS: Wow.. Your dad sounds like he was an incredible man. That kind of support for his son is incredible.
AS:“He was probably the best human being ever. I took my time away from OVW earlier this year because of his health issues. He passed away on Febuary 10th of this year at 2:29 am. It’s hard as I wasn’t ready for this at all. This explains my new sleeve tattoo on my left arm. It’s my dedication to him. One day I hope to grow up to be just like him. People that know me, know I don’t have alot of money to brag about. And to be honest I dont need it. (#DreamBIG) All I have is a car, some clothes, love, a life path my father helped create and one BIG Dream.”
JS: I really don’t even know what to say to that.. That was inspiratonal as hell and I’m honestly speechless. Your dad was a good man.
AS:“Yes he was.”
JS: Wow, how do I move on from there? Um.. memories of your first match?
AS:“My first match? I can’t really tell. I had too much adrenaline at a young age (14) and it went super fast. I know I was sore afterwards. It was demanding, but I knew this is Not easy. I really wish I could see that match now.”
JS: After growing up a wrestling fan, what were your thoughts on seeing yourself on tv?
JS: LOL! Well any of them honestly, but I’m guessing OVW tv was probably the first time you appeared on tv at all.? How was it?
AS:“It was and well.. it felt Natural.”
JS: I’ve always said you looked like a Natural in the ring, so that’s a fantastic answer. What are some of your personal favorite OVW memories so far?
AS:“Becoming the youngest ovw tv champion in history.. TWICE! Being the first TV Champion since TNA began their association with OVW. I’m very proud of both of these honors.”
JS: Feelings on your recent return to OVW after taking your hiatus for a few months?
AS:“It felt GREAT! With the loss of my father, it was the only thing I could do.. come back.”
JS: I understand that completely. You’ve had some great matches in ROH also. What are your thoughts on your ROH time?
AS:“Great learning experiences. Plus great life experiences. Be it a win or a loss, (most of the time… A loss) makes you stronger and a better person overall. If you deal with it and think of it as a positive life experience.”
JS: That’s an outstanding way to look at it. You recently wrestled a couple of matches in the WWE against Brodus Clay, Tell us about those matches.
AS: “Like ROH, it was a GREAT learning experience for my career.”
JS: You also wrestled Austin Aries recently in what has been described as a GREAT TNA dark match. Thoughts on that match?
AS:“Thanks for the compliment on the match and as a matter of fact, that is one of my goals at this very moment. To get a rematch with Aries, but this time,.. for his TNA X-Division Championship! Maybe on OVW tv or at Impact Wrestling. Either way.. I want it”
JS: I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say – we want that match too! THE BALL IS IN YOUR COURT NOW AUSTIN ARIES! How was Aries to work with? Did he have any advice for you or compliments after the match?
AS:“His only words were something like, “Better luck next time.” Well next time, if your so confident Austin, I want that X-Division title on the line. UH OH!”
JS: That’s outstanding! LOL In October you wrestled Finlay at the AWE Night of the Legends PPV, an event I attended by the way, in a outstanding match. How did you feel about that match?
AS: “It felt like a test honestly. It’s defenitely something I have achieved from all my goals. Finlay was the guy this life chose me to face to achieve and accomplish that experience. If that makes sense to you.”
JS: Of course it does! Your path lead you to that match. That’s a great way to put it honestly. How did you feel about the AWE event overall?
AS:“It Was my first ever live ppv apearence, so the experience Was AMAZING!”
JS: It really was. My buddies and I were blown away by the fact you stole the spotlight from Finlay that entire match. It was beautiful!
JS: No problem at all! I guess now if you’re willing.. I’d like to get your thoughts on some of your fellow OVW talent?
JS: Ok let’s get started with a guy that was also on the AWE pay per view, Jamin Olivencia?
AS: “Jamin was my first roommate. Intense, smart, and constantly helps me in hard situations. Great guy.”
JS: I like hearing that. Rudy Switchblade?
AS:“VERY talented. He was the center of the familly for a while and that should tell you alot.”
JS: It does! I’ve always thought he was a great talent myself. OVW Champion Johnny Spade?
AS:“Talented, but it’s Only a matter of time until I’m the next in line for a title shot. Wait.. sorry.. It’s just a matter of time until I’m the next and LAST OVW champion! UH OH!”
JS: Tremendous! Lookin’ forward to hearing what Spade has to say about that. Thoughts on Mike Mondo?
AS: “Mike Mondo is Mike Mondo.. He lives on a another planet! Guess what, me too! ”
JS: I would agree with that. LOL! Al Snow?
AS:“Al and I are both an 8 in Numerology.”
JS: An 8 stands for Power and Sacrifice, I have to say that fits you both perfectly. OVW owner Danny Davis?
AS:“Danny is like a father to us all. He’s just indescribable.”
JS: I hear that same sentiment from almost everyone I’ve spoken to about Mr. Davis. That’s amazing. Cliff Compton?
AS:“Cliff Compton is a hell of a guy. I’d like to have a match against him sometime soon. If I can beat Finlay, then I can beat Cliff Compton every day of the week.”
JS: I LOVE that response! Since you said that, Who are some “Dream Opponents” that you’d really enjoy working with/against?
AS:“Any era.. It would be Shawn Michaels.”
JS: Excellent answer. The Loose Cannon vs The Showstopper would have been incredible. What does the future hold for The Loose Cannon?
AS:“The main event, brother. Sorry.. main eventS.”
JS: I can see that being a definite. Do you have a message for your fellow wrestlers and your fans out there?
AS: “If you want it and you know that you really do – you just go 150% for it! Focus, send positive energy and toughts towards it.. and NEVER give up. Also.. #DreamBig #UhOh“
JS: OUTSTANDING! Where can everyone keep up with the Loose Cannon these days?
AS:“Fans can follow me on Twitter at @SilvaUhOh And watch OVW tv episodes weekly at ovwrestling.com. Also, make sure you follow @ovwrestling on Twitter.”
JS: Excellent! Make sure you keep up with Mr. Silva and OVW folks! I can promise you won’t be sorry. Alex, once again I’d like to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to speak with me here. This was a great experience.
As: “No problem and thanks to you!”
What can I even say to wrap this one up? The emotion Alex Silva feels for his sport is hard to even put into words.
The drive instilled upon him by his father is almost scary.
I had no doubt in my mind AT ALL, that this kid is going to be a legend in the world of professional wrestling before it’s all said and done.
Why? Because he wants to be and he will NEVER stop moving towards that dream.
I’d like to wish Mr. Silva good luck in his ever growing career. Even though deep down.. I don’t believe he needs “luck” at all.
PLEASE do yourself a favor and watch and enjoy Mr. Silva in OVW!
One of the many good things about being Jimmy Sick, is simply being able to talk to some of my favorite athletes. This interview is proof of just that.
As a true fan of Johnny Spade’s career, I was both extremely elated and proud on the night of March 3rd, 2012 – when Mr. Spade defeated Rudy Switchblade for the highly coveted OVW heavyweight championship at OVW’s “Saturday Night Special” event.
The victory was a milestone highlight in Spade’s amazing 15 year wrestling journey. It was also a very emotional moment for his loyal fan base.
With all that said – I couldn’t be happier to announce that the champ has taken time out of his INSANELY busy schedule to sit down with me for this exclusive JimmySick.com interview.
Jimmy Sick:Let me start by saying, thank you SO MUCH for doing this interview Mr. Spade. I’m a HUGE fan of your work.
Johnny Spade: “No problem and thanks! That means alot.”
JS:Let’s dive right in.. did you grow up a wrestling fan?
Spade: “Yes! I LOVED wrestling as a kid. Mostly WWF (WWE) and USWA (Memphis wrestling).”
JS: Who were some of your favorites as a youngster? Or some guys that really “Inspired” you?
Spade: “I was a Jimmy Snuka, Jake “The Snake Roberts” and Rowdy Roddy Piper kind of kid.”
JS: You can’t get any better than those 3 as far as inspiration goes. What was it about those guys that set them apart for you?
Spade: “I enjoyed Snuka simply because I loved the idea of flying of the top rope. Piper and Roberts were SO charismatic in their characters and promos. I just thought they were all amazing.”
JS: That just about sums them all up perfectly. So when & how did YOU decide to become a pro wrestler?
Spade: “I loved wrestling as a child, so after playing college baseball and not being drafted, I decided to try & become a pro wrestler. I lived in Louisville so the obvious choice was OVW. Which of course ended up being the best choice. The rest is history!”
JS: Wow! I had no idea that’s how it started. Was the leap from College baseball to professional wrestling a strange one for you.
Spade: “Actually no. I immulated wrestlers as a child and that helped the transition alot. I replaced baseball with wrestling. I’ve had baseball or wrestling in my life since I was 5 years old. So it wasn’t that strange”
JS: Nice! That’s actually really cool that it was that smooth. Who were some of the guys who helped you out or “took you under their wing” at the beginning of your career?
Spade: “I got very lucky here. I had Trailer Park Trash, Nick “U-Gene” Dinsmore, Doug Basham and of course Danny Davis.”
JS: That’s an impressive group of mentors & friends! What are some of your memories of your first match? (Your opponent? How did YOU feel about your performance?)
Spade: “My first match was against the “Last Prophet” Jason White and you know it wasn’t as bad as you’d think. It was actually my 20th birthday and we packed the house. I went over, but the fact Danny Davis was impressed, is all that truly mattered.”
JS: It’s refreshing to see someone say they liked their first match. Are you a harsh critic of your own work?
Spade: “Yeah, I’m extremely critical of my work. I pick everything I do apart, so I can better myself the next time. My first match was the shits because I didn’t know what I was doing, but I REALLY enjoyed that night as a whole.”
JS: Thoughts on seeing yourself wrestle on Television for the first time?
Spade: “I thought it was cool. I hated my body though and realized I needed to.. well.. get one! haha! But I thought and saw that I had really good charisma. Which is key in this business.”
JS: You are exactly right about your charisma! That’s a major reason you have such a loyal fan base. Thoughts on your time in OVW? (Over the span of 15 years)
Spade: “AMAZING! I’ve seen a lot and I’ve wrestled some of the very best in this business. I’ve lived and traveled with the likes of Danny Basham, Randy Orton, Jason Lee – the list goes on and on. I’ve been here through WWE developmental, to the current TNA developmental stage. I’ve also competed in matches for both companies. I’ve been very fortunate in my career.”
JS: You really have had an amazing run. Can you explain how it felt when you won the championship at Saturday Night Special after all these years?
Spade: “When I won the OVW title I was proud and just SO happy! I kept myself from getting it earlier in my career. But now these days – I’m on my game. I’m more mature and ready to move up to the next level. Proving I should be on top down here was an honor. Winning the title where I started was an emotional moment for me.”
JS: We could all see that emotion. I mean that! It was a special moment for us fans, so I can only imagine how it was for you. You say “you kept yourself from getting the title earlier in your career” – can you explain?
Spade: “I appreciate that and Let’s just say I was young and dumb. I had a lot handed to me early and I was too immature and not ready for any of it.”
JS: I understand that and respect the hell out of you for actually saying that about yourself. How did you feel about the recent and much anticipated match with Jamin? Did you guys realize how much of a “dream match” that was for OVW fans?
Spade: “The match we had was LONG and we both truly left it all in the ring. I know I was extremely sore and still feel the after effects of that match. Niether of us realized how much of a reaction the public was gonna take on this match. The response was HUGE. The buzz was HUGE. We were overjoyed and it definitely made the both of us that much more focused. Hopefully he’ll get another shot, because it was obvious that they fans loved the matchup.”
JS: I’m glad to hear you guys thought as much of that match as WE did. It was INCREDIBLE! I guess that could lead to this.. As OVW Champion, you have an impressive list of opponents gunning for you & your belt. Thought’s on just a few of them..
JS: Jamin Olivencia?
Spade: “Ball of fire and a great talent. Ready for next level.”
JS: Alex Silva?
Spade: “Rising star! In time he will definitely be called up. Good kid. Cocky, but I like that.”
JS: Rudy Switchblade?
Spade: “Ready for next level. Great mind and a great wrestler.”
JS: Shiloh Jonze?
Spade: “Athletic, funny, great wrestler and very versatile. A true rising star. Also a great friend!”
JS: Michael Hayes?
Spade: “A true inspiration, a great man and one bad ass little son of a bitch! Don’t let that leg fool you at all, because like Alex and Shiloh, he’s a true rising star in professional wrestling.”
JS: Nice to see you can appreciate your fellow competitors. Besides your incredible run in OVW, tell everyone about some other favorite places that you’ve showcased your talents.
Spade: “Obviously WWE & TNA. Traveling and doing indy shows can be hit or miss. I’ve done great ones and some.. well, let’s just say not so great ones.”
JS: So uh.. care to share any of those indy horror stories? LOL
Spade: “I remember wrestling at a county fair one night. Jack Black got me on the show. Bill Dundee was on the card that night too. They had me work the first match against this skinny, pot bellied redneck with a fatter skinny manager with a mask and a mullet coming out of the mask. I had no idea he was a U.S. champ for the promotion. So when I got in the ring, I didn’t realize it was for the belt! I asked him “you’re the champ” his response in the most redneck back of the woods response was “you’re goddamn right I am!” I turned my head and laughed my ass off! Wasn’t a bad match overall I guess.”
JS: HAHAHA! That’s INSANE! I hope my wife’s cousin gave you a good match that night..
JS: You’ve taken on some of the greats, but who are some of your “Dream Opponents?”
Spade: “The Rock from a media standpoint. A.J. Styles is someone I believe I can kill it with. Then old rilvalries like Randy Orton & John Cena. I would LOVE to wrestle Christian.”
JS: I would absolutely KILL to see you take on A.J. & Christian! Seriously.. my knife to a kittens throat! Seeing as how you brought some of them up during this interview, I’d love to get your thoughts on a few other wrestlers. If that sounds good..?
JS: John Cena?
Spade: “Cena worked harder than anyone. Dude was and still is money on the mic.”
JS: Randy Orton?
Spade: “Orton is one talented son of a bitch. His dad really passed the genes down to him. Plenty of stories about this guy. But sorry.. I’m keeping them to myself.”
JS: Dang! LOL Nick Dinsmore?
Spade: “Nick and I hung out a lot when we were younger. The bar scene & spring break. Talent wise, he’s a GREAT technician.”
JS: Danny Basham?
Spade: “Danny was a unique individual! People didn’t know how to take him, but we were always together. At one point I truly considered him my best friend.”
JS: I always liked Danny as a competitor myself. I guess now would be a good time to ask – What does the future hold for the champ?
Spade: “To hold the OVW title with the respect and tradition it has. Also.. to be in TNA soon. Which looks VERY promising so far.”
JS: Now there’s something I KNOW we’d love to see! Do you have a message for your fellow wrestlers or anyone who inspires to do what you do?
Spade: “Its a rough business. Work your ass off and be patient. You never know at that one moment who will be watching. Right place, right time and it can make or break your career.”
JS: Outstanding! Any message for your loyal fans out there?
Spade: “To my fans, I have always been a wrestler who gives back, so PLEASE approach me when you see me. Ask me anything you want! I love to interact and appreciate my fans AND fans of wrestling in general.”
JS: As a fan, you don’t know how much that actually means to us. Where can everyone keep up with OVW Champion Johnny Spade these days?
Spade: “Everyone should make sure they watchOVW TVatOVwrestling.com, its absolutely FREE! You can also follow my wild wrestling daily life onTwitterat@RealJohnnySpade. And I just have to say.. thanks so much guys for all the support!”
As I stated before this interview, I was a big fan of Mr. Spade’s work – now afterwards, I’m an even bigger fan of the man himself.
Very nice, very passionate about his sport and sincerely cares about his fans and their feelings on the business.
Coming strictly from my point of view, that’s just so refreshing to see.
I’d like to once again thank the champ for making time for this interview and wish him the best of luck. Though with his will, drive and overall incredible talent.. I doubt he needs luck. Until next time.. be sure you check out OVWrestling.com to keep up with today’s rising stars!
Let me start by saying this, it’s not everyday that someone gets to sit down for an interview with one of their all time favorite athletes, but this guy just got that chance! Steve Corino has been a favorite of mine for quite a few years now, so to say I was pretty excited, would be an understatement! Well.. enough with the buildup – HERE WE GO!
Jimmy Sick: I’d like to thank you for agreeing to this interview Mr. Corino! It’s one I’ve been looking forward to for a while now.
Steve Corino: “Thanks and no problem Jimmy.”
JS: Well let me start by asking were you a wrestling fan growing up?
SC: “I started watching pro-wrestling when I was 8 years old. My parents had just gotten cable TV and Georgia Championship Wrestling was on “Superstation 17″, which turned into WTBS, and WWF’s Spectrum Wrestling was played live on Prism.”
JS: That’s some good wrestling watching there! Who were some of your favorites?
SC: “Tons of guys: Tommy Rich, Eddie Gilbert, Tully Blanchard, Barry Windham, Ric Flair, The Midnight Express, The Rock ‘n” Roll Express, Dusty Rhodes, Jumbo Tsurta, Mr. Wrestling II, Riki Choshu the list goes on & on.”
Custom Graphics by T.E.C. Customs
JS: Our lists are alot alike apparently. LOL When did you decide to get into the wrestling business?
SC: “In early 1994, I was almost 21 years old and it was either I try or think about it the rest of my life. All I wanted to be told was no. No, I wasn’t big enough. No, I wasn’t strong enough. No, I wasn’t athletic enough. But I worked hard and made believers of everyone I could.”
JS: Did you hear “NO” alot in the beginning?
SC: “No. I was super lucky. I would get chance to run with the ball and my goal was always to score a touchdown.”
JS: Who helped you out most and really “took you under their wing?”
SC: “This is where I got really lucky. So many guys took me under their wing. Guys you may never have heard of like King Kaluha, Mark Mest, plus name guys like Jim Cornette, Dusty Rhodes, Dory Funk Jr., Mr. Wrestling II, Dutch Mantel, Shinya Hashimoto. I am the luckiest guy in pro-wrestling history. Lots of great teachers.”
JS: Wow! You did indeed get lucky with the mentoring. Thoughts on your first match? How do you feel the match went?
SC: “My first match was against one of my trainers Mark Mest. Now Mark is no small man. 5’11, 450 lbs and is the nicest guy you’d ever want to meet. Unless you disrespect him! He took such good care of me and made me look like I had way more experience than I really did.”
Custom Graphics by T.E.C. Customs
JS: That’s a pretty hefty size differential there! Glad he thought so highly of you. Thoughts on the first time you saw yourself wrestling on tv?
SC: “Its a bit freaky. They say we are all our worst critics and I am the absolute worst. Even know, 18 years later, I break down everything I did wrong on TV. You always have to strive to improve.”
JS: I understand how that goes.. the self criticsm that is. As your harshest critic, do you ever see good in what you’ve done now?
SC: “I do. I like a lot of my work in MLW, ROH, and Japan. A lot of things that I loved where because of how the fans reacted to a certain thing that I was trying to do.”
JS: The fan reactions were spot on, because it was quality work honestly.
JS: Early in your career you regularly appeared in Matt & Jeff Hardy’s OMEGA promotion. Any memories of your time there, or the fed in general?
SC: “OMEGA was so ahead of its time. Matt Hardy had this great vision and so did Thomas Simpson. I truly believe that if we all didn’t get picked up by the bigger promotions, OMEGA would have been where ROH is now. Think about how many guys there that went on to the big time: Matt, Jeff Hardy, Shannon Moore, Shane Helms, myself, Joey Mercury, Christian York, Mike Maverick (Dupps in ECW and WWE), Otto Schwanz (Dupps), Marty Garner (Dupps and Rock’s personal assistant for a few years), CW Anderson, and more.”
JS: I completely agree about OMEGA! The talent there was just INSANE. If it had stayed open, do you THINK you might have wrestled there for a majority of your career?
SC: “I would have moved on. Besides my 11 year run in ZERO1, I have tried to come and go. Keeps me fresh.”
JS: Good point. What are some of your thoughts on your time as Lightning Kid 2 in Puerto Rico?
SC: “I had no idea who “Lightning Kid 2″ was until I arrived in Puerto Rico! LOL. No one told me I was doing that gimmick. All of my gear had “CORINO” on it. I think Lightning Kid 2 lasted for about two weeks before they just started calling me Steve Corino.”
JS: LOL! That’s awesome. I think we’ve all heard atleast a story or two about how things go there, but do you have any horror stories about wrestling in Puerto Rico?
SC: “Besides being ribbed by Invader for my first few weeks, it was OK. I was a babyface and at the time people still believed so I didn’t have bottles of urine thrown at me like the heels did!
I did almost have a gun drawn on me and Guillotine LeGrande in 2009. I was getting heat on the outside when a guy went into his jacket and security tackled him. Then Carlos Colon yelled at me because he said I should have known that no one wears a jacket in Puerto Rico! Its always hot!!!”
JS: Yikes! He’s right about the jackets though. LOL! How was Carlos Colon to work for overall?
SC: “I hate Carlos Colon. Always will. He treats his wrestlers bad, starves them, and doesn’t pay them. But you know that going in. You know you are going to end up getting screwed eventually. It is a shame because I love the island of Puerto Rico and I love the wrestling down there, but I hate the lies. People always talk about how Paul Heyman lies, no one lies more than Carlos Colon.”
JS: Ouch.. That bad huh? Well, since you brought up Paul Heyman – What are some of your thoughts on the greatness/PERFECTION that was your run in ECW. Favorite memories of that era?
SC: “I had a lot of fun. I learned so much about different styles, TV production, and how a real company works. I had limited experience in the USWA (Memphis) and Puerto Rico, and this was the first real-company experience I got. I loved it. But I don’t miss it.”
JS: You don’t miss the ECW hardcore style?
SC: “Yes. It takes a toll on your body and mind. Plus I would have wanted to move on. It was always my dream to wrestle in Japan. I had a great time in ECW but eventually I would have had to go. My body wouldn’t have been able to keep up with that style forever.”
JS: I can see that. I don’t know how alot of those guys are still going so strong today. Memories of working with Dusty Rhodes in ECW?
SC: “He was the guy that put me on the map. I was the “King Of Old School” before he came to ECW and feuding with Taz and Tommy Dreamer got me heat, but they weren’t “old school”. When Dusty came to ECW, it legitimized the gimmick forever.
I learned how to slow down with Dusty and really listen to a crowd. He used to say “Kid, the crowd will tell us what to do tonight” and he was right. What an honor!”
Custom Graphics by T.E.C. Customs
JS: That was such an incredible feud. You guys were just a perfect mesh of styles. Really enjoyed watching you guys go!
Sc: “Thanks for that.”
JS: Not a problem, I meant it! Now was it true you weren’t being paid your promised salary towards in the end of your ECW run? (Or any other time in ECW for that matter. LOL)
SC: “No one was but that is what happens when a company is starting to go under. Its not like Paul Heyman didn’t want to pay us. He did the best he could. I really feel for him in that respect. But no matter how many dollars I was owed, I got so much more in knowledge that I probably owed him money!”
JS: That’s a great response and an even better way to put it. I know Paul Heyman has caught alot of flack over the years with how things ended up in ECW, but do you think he could still be in charge of a company somewhere and make a successful run with it?
SC: “I sure do. The guy is a genius when it comes to putting a pro-wrestling story together. He just needs a chance to work alone.”
JS: How did you feel about signing with WCW?
SC: “I wasn’t passionate about it. I was more worried about paying bills. I was hoping it would work out though.”
JS: Although you weren’t passionate about signing with WCW, do you think you could have had a successful run there?
SC: “In WCW you were always at the mercy of the bookers. In ECW, Paul pushed you if you were over. I would have been successful money-wise but maybe not in-ring wise.”
JS: How did you feel about the whole deal falling through after Vince McMahon purchased WCW?
SC: “Is “awe shit” the right answer? Haha.”
JS: The BEST answer honestly! HAHA!
SC: “But seriously, I had a feeling it was coming. Dusty had pretty much told me that Eric Bischoff’s new company was not going to buy the company, so I knew I would be let go.”
JS: Were you ever bitter towards the WWE for not taking the chance on signing you? I have to admit I was and still kinda am.
SC “God no. You can’t be bitter. There are a lot of horses in the stable right? You fall off one and you get on another. Too many guys think that the WWE is the only place for them. I would have loved to make money there but I am not bitter at all that they didn’t hire me.”
JS: Why do you believe they never took the chance?
SC: “A lot of reasons. My body isn’t WWE style. It is more suited for a Japan style. My work is not sports entertainment style. I think I have a reputation of standing up too much for myself (which I don’t think is true! LOL).”
JS: I can see what you mean there. Speaking of the Japanese style – Thoughts on working Japan & the fans?
SC: “They are the best. I love the country, the culture, the fans, and the people. Love it. I would move there one day if I could.”
JS: It really is a beautiful place. What are some of you memories of working in Dusty Rhodes’ Turnbuckle Championship Wrestling?
SC: “So much fun! It was like a throwback company. And we had guys like Dusty, Barry Windham, Dustin Rhodes, Scotty Riggs, Glacier, CW, Lodi, and a ton of young guys. It is where Cody Rhodes got in the ring to train.”
JS: There really was some amazing talent there. That was one company I would have LOVED to see still going strong today. Thoughts on your Horsemen stable?
SC: “The Extreme Horsemen were born in TCW. Dusty had an idea of putting me, CW, and Barry Windham together and calling us The Elite, but I thought “Hmmm, me and CW just came from ECW and Barry is a Horseman…Extreme Horsemen.” Dusty hated it at first until Barry said he liked it!
Simon Diamond was someone we always wanted in. There was talk in ECW that Simon, CW, myself, and Jack Victory would be together but that was scrapped when I turned babyface.”
JS: That would have been a great group! What are some of you memories of your TNA appearances in the early days of the company?
SC: “The TNA of 2003 and TNA now are almost two different companies. When I was there it was very unorganized.”
JS: Really? Was it that bad? Thoughts of the locker room there at the time?
SC: “It was OK I guess, I had a problem with my pay and where we flew every week. I didn’t care what they did with our characters but I wanted to be paid what I was promised. I wish I was there now and kept my mouth shut because they seem to have their stuff together, but I was pretty much only booked to be Sandman’s babysitter.”
JS: Was Sandman really uh.. well, for lack of a better word, “BAD” at that point, or were they just nervous that he was?
SC: “Probably a bit of both! LOL.”
JS: HA! Well.. that’s the Sandman! The night you Debuted in ROH and entered into your 4 year rivalry with Homicide, did you guys expect that to be as successful as it was?
SC: “It was one of those feuds that you couldn’t write on paper and think it would work. Gabe needed a team to work with The Backseat Boyz and both of us volunteered. From there Gabe said for me to turn on him during the match, and it just took off.”
JS: Thoughts on working with Homicide?
SC: “He’s so talented and I think I deserve a bit of credit for “making him”. He probably would have made it without me but I helped. He was/is a huge Terry Funk fan and we both loved the Funk-Dusty feud and love how they lived the feud 24/7. That is what we did. To the point where we would complain to Gabe that it was going too far.”
JS: I totally agree about you helping to make Homicide and I sincerely mean that. Was there ever any legitimate bad blood between the two of you?
SC: “We aren’t friends but I think he respects me as much as I respect him.”
JS: Thoughts on CM Punk, Bryan Danielson & Samoa Joe during that time? Did you feel they would rise to the level they have?
SC: “Those guys were awesome 10 years ago. I would have been more surprised if they didn’t have the success they have now. All three are so dedicated to their craft. I am very proud of them.”
JS: Fantastic answer. What are some of your memories of your time as Mr. Wrestling 3?
SC: “At first I turned it down. I was ready to leave pro-wrestling and I was in Hawaii wrestling and Mr. Wrestling II and I struck up a friendship. He was like a mentor to me and offered it to me. Then he explained that Mr. Wrestling 3 needed to be different then Mr. Wrestling and Mr. Wrestling II. That is when I gave the idea that it would be like a super hero type gimmick.
Beat “Steve Corino” to the point where he had to give up OR he finds that extra strength and puts on the costume. It gets over much better in Japan.”
JS: Anyone who hasn’t seen you do it, they need to! It was a great gimmick. Your thoughts on Kevin Steen and your recent much talked about ROH feud with him?
SC: “This kid is not your stereotypical ROH wrestler but there is no one more over right now. And he works hard. He is so smart and he’s only 27. I truly believe that one day Kevin Steen will be known as a great booker.
My feud was well done with him. Although I preferred teaming with him more.”
JS: That’s pretty high praise for Mr. Steen. Out of curiousity, Is there anyone that you’ve never had a chance to work with, that you wish you could?
SC: “Eddie Gilbert no doubt. He was probably my favorite of all time and passed away when I was a rookie. He was just amazing.”
JS: Eddie Gilbert was such an amazing talent. Could wrestle a classic match one night and then a savage hardcore match the next. A match between you two would have been outstanding! What are your thoughts on today’s wrestling product as a whole?
SC: “Honestly, its as good as it ever has been. Fans don’t realize that pro-wrestling evolves so much. What worked in the 40′s didn’t work in the 60′s. What worked in the 60′s didn’t work in the 80′s and so on. Vince McMahon knew this and coined his own brand “sports entertainment”. Its just a different style of pro-wrestling and it really is entertaining.”
JS:How long do you feel you will/can continue wrestling?
SC: “As long as the body holds up. I am almost 39 years old and tried to retire twice. It doesn’t work. Wrestlers don’t retire, they die. Plus my son, Colby, has started wrestling and it is a lot of fun to be on the road with him.”
JS: Your son is an amazing young talent aswell by the way.
SC: “Thank you for that!”
JS: Not a problem. Any message to your fellow wrestlers out there?
SC: “Keep doing your thing. This crappy economy can’t last forever. Pro-wrestling is not dead by any stretch of the imagination, but the economy hurts it direction right now. Don’t quit. The better the economy, the more money fans will have to come out to shows. Take this as your chance to get experience and get better so when the next boom comes you are ready.”
JS: Lastly – Any message for your many fans out there?
SC: “Thanks for the support. Fans get a bad rap sometimes because they are tough critics but 99% of them are great. You can’t let the negativity of some fans discourage you. Fans are fans and they are the reason you do what you do. Going out there and making them react is the greatest high you can ever experience.”
JS: Where can people stay in contact with and enjoy the “King of Old School” Mr. Steve Corino these days?
SC: “Well everyone can head over to www.WorldOfCORINO.com and also follow me on Twitter @SteveCorino. And for a great Podcast, listen (and subscribe on iTunes) to the Extreme Odd Couple Podcast w/me and Rob Dimension at www.XOCPodcast.com. Over 12,000 subscribers so far!!!”
JS: I have to agree, the Extreme odd Couple Podcasts are HILARIOUS! You and Rob have a dynamic that is just insane. LOL Well, I’d like to sincerely thank you Mr. Corino for taking time out of your busy schedule to give this great interview.
SC: “No problem at all, Jimmy!”
Nothing better than when you get to chat with someone you really admire and they’re exactly how you hoped they’d be and this is one of those times, folks.
Steve Corino is as honest and open as he is terrific between the ropes and you couldn’t ask for more from a wrestling great.
You guys make sure you do yourself a favor and check out his Extreme Odd Couple Podcast at www.XOCPodcast.com. It’s HYSTERICAL!
I would like to give a special thanks to T.E.C. Customs for the custom graphics they supplied for this article.
Well folks, your old pal and fearless narrator James Reginald Sick the 3rd (Not quite sure, just sounded good in my head.), is back again with another in my new series of Interviews with the Stars and Veterans of the sport we all love.
I had the extreme pleasure of sitting down with 20 year professional wrestling veteran Chad Byrd over the weekend, and to say I’m happy with the results – would be an understatement.
Chad is funny, clever and can weave one heck of a story, but the best part about Chad, might just be his outspoken ways.
Of which, Mr. Sick here is just tickled pink. Chad has worked in both the WCW & WWF(E) during his career, and holds nothing back about either. So sit back, relax and get ready for this one.. it’s coming right at you!
Jimmy Sick: I’d like to start by saying thank you for letting us set up this interview. I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while now.
Chad Byrd: “No problem at all, man. My pleasure really.”
JS: I guess I’d like to start by asking, were you a wrestling fan growing up?
CB: “Oh YES! BIG TIME! I remember being 11 years old and wrapping ol’ mule tape around some trees in our front yard to make a wrestling ring. Me, my buddies and other kids around the neighborhood would get in there and wrestle just about every day. We had tournaments and even made belts out of cardboard for these events. WE HAD TO HAVE A CHAMPION! My dad, who worked in the heating and air conditioning business always had spare pieces of chrome and such laying around his shop, well I took some of those and made an NWA Jr. Heavyweight belt just like Denny Brown wore!”
JS: That’s fantastic! How did your dad feel about these mat wars going on in your MacGyver style ring in the yard?
CB: “He was a little nervous about it. Always telling all of us we needed to be VERY careful. He didn’t want anyone pounding down our door after some kid got hurt in this thing. After all.. our top turnbuckle was a tree limb. LOL”
JS: Understandable. Who were some of your favorites when you were growing up?
CB: “Well throughout middle school I have to say, me and the buddies wanted to be the 4 Horsemen. As I guess every kid did at that time, but we tried to actually be them. I was the Tully Blanchard of our Horsemen! I even went out and bought me a pair of shorts, Speedos basically, and took them to a trophy shop down the road and had them put “TB” on them. I wrestled in those and cowboy boots in the tree ring for quite a while. If hard pressed to choose one all-time favorite though, I’d have to say that “The Raging Bull” Manny Fernandez was probably my favorite. I loved his style! His Flyin’ Burrito finisher was just great and the name was awesome. I wanted to be Manny so bad, I even started singing my school papers, “Raging’ Bull.” LOL
JS: HA! That’s dedication.
CB: “Funny side note on that, we put a Time Capsule in the ground when I was in high school, the day they open that thing up, I definitely wanna be there. Because I have a paper in there signed Raging Bull.. and I want it back!”
JS: Who wouldn’t want that back?! So being a huge fan of wrestling – going to the extreme of making the ring in your yard, I’m guessing you wanted to get into the sport as soon as possible? How did your career begin?
CB: “I did. I actually started working with my uncle who was in charge of a rec center. A few times a year we would get wrestling shows at the rec center. Regular Indy shows came through some, but Crockett Promotions would have shows here as well. That was HUGE! Here I was this kid helping his uncle and I was getting to meet guys the likes of the Koloffs, Rock n Roll Express, “The Boogie Woogie Man” Jimmy Valiant and Rocky King! LOVED IT! I would try to talk to as many of the talent that would speak to me, just trying to get advice and all. I met Grizzly Smith when I was 13 or 14 years old and he gave me a little advice, but when I met Barbarian.. I spoke to him just about every time he came through.
JS: Did he open up to you at all?
CB: “Well it was different era back then, ya know? Wrestlers didn’t open up at all to anyone who wasn’t in the business. But after a while and meeting him a few times, Barbarian had figured out I was a big fan of the sport and had my mind made up it was what I wanted to do. At that point I had already been lifting weight and was in really good shape. How getting started came along though, when I was about 14 years old. A company came through – I wanna say the name was South Atlantic, but just not positive on that one, that had talent like a young Vince Terrilli who went on to become Ken Shamrock! I spoke with the guys in charge there and they showed me a few things. The basics mostly. They beat on me and such, but during one session in the ring my shoe got caught on the mat and I flew head first between the ropes and then the floor HARD. They jumped out to see if I was ok and all, I jumped up and said yeah, let’s keep going. They found respect for me at that second. They knew I had heart and was going to make it. It was when FTWF came through here, that I met someone who at that point was most helpful – Jeff Victory who wrestled as Rev. Slim. I know I’m going a little off track here.. but I wanted to get it all in. LOL”
JS: You’re fine! We wanted to hear your story, so please don’t hold back.
CB: “Ok, good. Now Rev. Slim is one of the best, most underrated talents this business has ever seen. Just a super wrestler. Could do anything! He was the one who showed me how to take bumps and the little in’s and out’s that I needed to know just getting started and for that, I just can’t thank him enough.
JS: Who were some others who helped in your training and “took you under their wing” if you will? *Dusty voice*
CB: “Well Rev. Slim took me, Randy Sledge and Danny Dozier to an event that George South Jr. and Italian Stallion were promoting. I wrestled Dozier and something about us caught the eye of George and Stally. They thought we could be good talents with more training. So that’s when I made the best decision of my career, let them train me. Let me throw this in real quick, those two guys mean the world to me for everything they’ve done for me and my career.”
JS: So did you take to wrestling pretty easily being a longtime fan? Or did it take a lot of training?
CB: “Well that’s where George comes in honestly. LOL I thought I knew what I was doing. Thought I was pretty good at this whole wrestling thing, until one night here in North Carolina. We had a show that was pretty close to my hometown, so I invited all my family and friends to come check me out. I was so excited to show off what I could do! Well George and Stallion put me down to wrestle George that night and well.. he literally wrestled circles around me. I was clueless! He finally stopped the match and told the promoter, “Get this kid outta here and find me someone who can do this finish!” I headed to the back HOT. I saw Stallion and said, “I don’t care what you do or anything else, but don’t EVER put me in the ring with that guy again!” Well low and behold, I wrestled George South three times a week for over a year afterwards and I hated him! LOL Basically I hated him because he was just so, and still is honestly, so good. I learned any and everything there is to know about this business during that period. From everything to getting shine, how to get the right kind of heat, how to deal with the hatred, how to get the babyface love, to saving money and how to live on the road without spending much at all. Everything! And today I consider George South one of my best friends.”
JS: You mentioned that South and Stallion passed on the knowledge of all things wrestling, including “money conservation” on the road. What were some of those tips? Always a good note for some youngsters out there!
CB: “Well, one good thing that they taught me wad the fact that if you give a restaurant a signed picture, a lot of the time they won’t charge you back then. Take a few pictures with people and just share some stories and they basically cut you a break on paying. Share the car and gas money with guys. Share rides and gas money. If you don’t, you’ll go broke all together. They would put you in your place to though, as I remember one show in upstate Ohio, I went to George and complained about not having money and he said, “Here’s your share” and handed me a $2 check.”What is this?!” George replied, “That’s based on your standing on the card. That is your percentage of the gate. Work harder, get higher on the card and you’ll be paid more. Period.” I was honestly hurt by this at the time, but as time went on I knew he was preparing me for everything that I would see and hear in the future. I did end up finding a ride and sharing some food costs by the way. LOL Another thing they taught me was you DON’T lose that mystique while the show is in the building. I would wrestle my match, then run to the back, change and then run back out to watch the matches. People see you out there and try to talk to you, or get an autograph and basically.. ignore the 2 guys busting their butts in the ring. I knew he was right, because if I saw Paul Jones buying a damn hot dog, I would’ve wanted my damn money back! George said when you take all the attention away from the two men in the ring – you are hurting everyone. That made ALOT of sense and I like to tell my kids that now. Another big thing for those guys, and myself as a wrestler/booker now – you NEVER no show an event. Promoters and other wrestlers invest a lot of time, money and effort to promote guys for shows, and the crowd loves you and expects you to be there. When you don’t show up – it’s classless and unprofessional. The ONLY time I ever missed an event was when my son was born. There were a few health issues related to the birth, and I made sure I called the promoters days ahead of time and promised to make it right with them.
JS: That is all great advice for the young workers out there. Ok, I meant to ask you – who was your first match against and how did you feel it went?
CB: “Sure I do. I took on “Wild Thing” Tommy Ace. A heck of a talent. The match was about 45 seconds honestly. It was at a wrestling event that took place at a local fair. When I say 45 seconds, I literally mean 45 seconds. It was basically lockup, off the ropes, drop down, clothesline, crossbody for the 1, 2..3 and a Chad Byrd victory! We were happy with how it turned out, I guess. We were honestly just happy to be wrestling anywhere so it was great to us. We actually wrestled the match several times after that on the fair circuit, trading wins back and forth. That was really the only way to actually learn.. in front of a crowd. I try to teach my kids that today. You learn nothing, until you’re wrestling in front of a crowd of wrestling fans. I feel that’s, and before I start here I have to say I’m not exactly bitter, but more “let down” by wrestling today. I feel that there are WAY too many guys out there who start up training schools who don’t know how to do a damn thing. if you can’t work, how the hell are you going to train someone to work? Example – I’m currently 300 pounds and I had a 19 -20 year old kid in training with us recently. He’d been trained for a while by another trainer and I asked him to hit a dropkick. He couldn’t do it! Like I said before, I’m 300 pounds and can still hit a picture perfect dropkick! That’s sad! These kids out here are getting taken for $1,500 – $2,000 by these guys who are just crooks. Period! At least Google this guy before you start training with him. Ask around! If other wrestlers have never heard of him – then there’s a good chance, nobody has! And don’t get me started on these backyard wrestlers.”
JS: Not a fan, eh? Even with your “Tree Ring” past? HA
cb: “LOL Big difference there. We actually wrestled. We didn’t hit each other with sticks, chairs, light bulbs and everything else. We were WRESTLING. Doing that kind of crap, will not help you in this business. I’m sorry.. but it’s true. I tell people all the time, I realize this isn’t ballet, but half these guys NEED BALLET!”
JS: Fantastic line! Do you remember the first time you saw yourself wrestle on television?
CB: “Of course! I wrestled “Dangerous” Danny Spivey at Center Stage in Atlanta on Saturday Night”
JS: Oh Christ!
CB:”Let me put it in other terms.. “Dangerous” Danny Spivey fresh back from a Japanese tour. So at this point, stiff is a LIGHT way to put it. LOL So 3 short clotheslines and a power bomb later.. Chad Byrd had made his television wrestling debut! All I really had time to think was, “Holy Crap this is gonna hurt” HA.”
JS: Did it? LOL
CB: “Like hell! But it was totally worth it. By the way, not sure if you know this, but if I’m not mistaken – I’m still the youngest person to have ever wrestled on that program.”
JS: WOW.. really? That’s impressive! How old were you?
CB: “It was around 1991, so I was 16 years old. Wasn’t too far away from my 17th birthday. I actually lied on the paperwork and told them I was 18. LOL”
JS: That’s amazing! You should be proud of that record as nobody can ever take it from you!
CB: “Like I said, I’m not positive I still have that record, but I’m pretty sure I do. The feeling I got walking back to the back after that match and having Magnum TA throw me a good job nod and smile and George South telling me I took that beating well, was indescribable.”
JS: I guess that could be the segway into my next question. Who have been some of your favorite opponents that you’ve wrestled in your career?
CB: “George South of course. Bobby Eaton was also one of my favorites that I was able to go in against. Hell of a nice guy and an amazing wrestler. Jake “The Snake” Roberts was just amazing. One of the best ever honestly. Ole and Jody came to me and said you need to act terrified of the snake. I am terrified of snakes, so I told them – uh yeah, that will be no problem at all! Bill Eadie was one of the BEST. I had the pleasure of facing him as the Masked Superstar and as Demolition AX! Barbarian was/is fantastic to work with. I’ve even taken him on recently in the company I work for now, DPA(Death Proof Alliance) and he’s still as good as ever. Tony Atlas was another favorite match. I have a funny Tony Atlas story to tell you later, remind me to bring it up. Men on a Mission (Nelson & Bobby) were good to work with. We worked them way before the WWF brought them in. I like to think we taught them a lot, but they taught us how to work with big men – which was great. Nelson (Big Daddy V) might kick my butt for telling this one, but he and Bobby were going over on me and Randy Sledge in every arena, UNTIL we were in front of a big crowd of thousands one night, South said we were going over that night. M.O.M. weren’t happy about that, but they did it. George & Stallion actually got them their jobs in the WWF too. Still proud of those guys for everything they’ve done. Diamond Dallas Page was also great and Kevin Nash. Nash was excellent. He always tended to clothesline me in the mouth. Now I never was sure if this was on purpose or because he was green as hell at that point. I recently told Bill Mulkey at one of our DPA shows that they took the “Mulkey bumps” because they were great at it, I took them because I had to! LOL
JS: HA! Great point and awesome opponents there. I have to know.. What was the Tony Atlas story?
CB: “Ok.. but I have to throw this out there if he reads this. Don’t kill me Tony! Tony’s last run in WCW, was around the time Harley Race was there managing Vader. Harley used to carry this stun gun with him everywhere he went. And he would modify it in the locker room from time to time to shock guys with it. Not to hurt them, just scaring the crap out of them as a prank. Well Tony Atlas was TERRIFIED of that thing. Harley caught wind of that. Poor Tony was getting dressed one night and Harley started chasing him with that damn thing and the sight of a naked Tony Atlas running around a locker room is one you’ll never forget. Things were swinging and dangling and knocking cups over everywhere if you catch my drift. HA!”
JS: Holy lord that is hilarious! While we’re currently on this subject, any other funny stories?
CB: “Oh man, I’ve seen some hilarious stuff over my career. Forgotten a lot too! One of my favorites was one WCW road trip, I was riding with a couple of the guys and we pulled into a Wal-Mart to pick some stuff up before a show. Well we run into Michael “PS” Hayes while there and talk to him for a few minutes and tell him we’ll see him tonight at the show. Then after about an hour on the road, we hit a McDonalds right before we get to the arena, and damned if we don’t run into Hayes again. Spoke to him for a few more minutes and then we all headed off. That night myself and Ron Edgewood took on Bobby Eaton & Arn Anderson. Which by the way, the match itself is kind of a funny story with Edgewood wanting to do a couple of his best moves and ending up falling off the turnbuckle and blowing it. Anyways, after the match is over – Hayes comes out on tv and looks at us and says, “You guys work at Wal-Mart and McDonalds don’t you?!” I almost lost it on national tv laughing. HA!
JS: Leave it to a FreeBird!
CB: “Yeah, no kidding.”
JS: Well getting back on track here, I’d feel a little remised if I didn’t bring something up. It might be a bit of a touchy subject, but this is what makes for good storytelling!
CB: “Hit me with it, buddy.”
JS: A few years ago the WWE released a Hardy Boyz dvd set and during the documentary, there was a bit of bad talk when it came to Italian Stallion. Basically the Hardyz accused him of ripping them off for a “booking fee” and then leaving them stranded somewhere. Any thoughts on this?
CB: “I actually have LOTS of thoughts on this. Stallion AND George were both trainers and when Matt & Jeff came to them, they had some decent tools, but overall they needed a lot of work. Performing in a wrestling ring is a whole lot different than playing on a trampoline. I was around at this point too by the way, so this is firsthand knowledge. George and Stallion helped them out with furthering along their training. George and Stally also offered up a service of getting guys booked in WCW and WWE. Usually the guys got paid $150 in WCW for gas and performing. George and Stally usually took about $50 to sometimes $100 of the $150 for helping get you booked there and taking you. We ALL thought this was fair. They put in the calls. They had the means to get our foot in the door when we didn’t have those means. They drove us to the damn arena for God’s sake! All of us guys who worked with them and went through these means with them, thought it was extremely fair and never felt like we were being taken advantage of at all. NOBODY.. until Matt & Jeff came alone. As for the leaving them somewhere, that was total garbage! I was along on that trip and what happened was we called them and called them. No answer, no reply – NO NOTHING. We left because we wanted to get there. It was THEIR problem that they didn’t want to call back or be there on time. Then when we get to the arena, they’re already there and have told everyone that would listen, how they were “Ripped off”. George and Stally took alot of heat for that one and they just didn’t deserve it. That was garbage!”
JS: Wow. Why was there so much heat on George and Stallion, when honestly The Hardyz at that point were a couple of rookies?
CB: “Because in all honesty, George and Stally weren’t supposed to do that. BUT, like I said – they did everything so we didn’t mind. None of the other guys who they did this for EVER complained. Ask around! We all knew nothing in this world is free! There’s an old saying in this business and to me it puts everything in perspective here, “I can take you to the Ballroom and get you your first dance, the rest of the evening is up to you!” That to me sums this entire thing up. It was just total bs.”
JS: It good to see the other point of view on that one. Well we’ll sort of stick with the subject here, How much did you enjoy working in the WWF?
CB: “Oh it was great, I was there to work a tag match against the Smoking Gunns. Professional and I got paid. Couldn’t ask for better. LOL I get people asking me all the time about differences between WCW and WWE..
JS: Count me in with that, because that was my next question. Are you some sort of mind reader there, Mr. Byrd?
CB: “Yes and you should be ashamed! LOL No, but the main differences for me personally were, as a southern boy and being where I’m from (North Carolina), this is Crockett Country. FLAIR COUNTRY! To me WCW was REAL wrestling and the WWF was a cartoon show. It was great in its own way, just wasn’t my dream to be there like everyone else’s I guess. My dream was to be in the same ring that Ric Flair and Dusty Rhodes stepped foot in, in all their glory! But it was a pretty fun environment from what I saw. A funny story real quick – You always hear the stories about the late great Owen Hart being funny and a trickster. Well I did get to witness that first hand. All of us “enhancement talent” or jobbers, whatever the hell you wanna say, came in together. Well all of a sudden Owen is running up to us holding a Super Soaker water gun. Well as we walked by all these major WWF stars he’s shooting them with the water gun. They all turn and look at us as we’re smiling and snickering and are getting PISSED. Then Vince walks by and of course.. Owen just sprays the crap out of him. Vince turns and looks at all of us like “What the hell!?” then we kind of part to reveal Owen who is dying laughing and Vince kinda just huffs and walks away.” But basically it was just as fun and light hearted in WCW. I remember working security in WCW from time to time and basically center stage in Atlanta was in the basement of the building and you had to walk down a long hall way. One locker room was on the right, the other was on the left. I’d work security in the hall for Doug Dellinger, who by the way took his job WAY TOO seriously. Kind of a prick. LOL But I remember Dustin Rhodes giving me a chop every time he walked by me. I mean EVERY TIME. So finally I chased him down and gave him one. But that’s just how things were. Playful and guys testing you to see how you’ll react. Good times in both places.
JS: HA! That’s tremendous! Aside from being the mask for Owen’s trickery in the WWF, you’ve donned the hood a few times in your career. What were some of your masked gimmicks and just other gimmicks overall?
CB: “Under the mask I’ve been several characters. A Russian Assassin, Carolina terror and Midnight Ryder from time to time. I have also gone by Flaming Youth (George South is a KISS mark and loved that name.), Star Ryder and was part of a tag team known as Kane and Abel. I was Kane. So I’ve kinda gone the full spectrum.”
JS: So it seems. I was wondering if you have a favorite location to wrestle? State wise I mean.
CB: “I love wrestling everywhere, but my home state of North Carolina will always be my favorite. The fans here are still amazing. I’d say fans in the Carolinas and Virginia are still to this day some of the greatest wrestling fans in the world. They LOVE wrestling! Part of my love for wrestling here, falls back to my love for NWA and Jim Crockett Promotions. I also really enjoyed working in West Virginia. Two of my personal favorite stories come from West Virginia.”
JS: West Virginia stories? I HAVE to hear these. HA!
CB: “Well I was wrestling George in Gilbert, WV and while we were both locked up in the ropes, we looked out in the first row and there’s this kid out there barefoot, in overalls playing with a damn black snake! I mean he was rubbing it, kissing it and just playing with the thing. Me and George both screamed! About a year later we were back in that same area and during our match this woman stands up and proceeds to pull her shirt up and flash her boobs at George. IN FRONT OF EVERYONE! The best part of that? She was at the autograph table before the show to see George and told him she was a school teacher! George being the religious man he is, which is legit by the way – George is a devout Christian, he starts to yell at this woman that she should be ashamed of herself as a school teacher doing such things. This brought him more heat than anything he did in the ring that night!”
JS: HA! How do I even follow that? Well with your love of NWA/JCP and wrestling growing up – what’s your opinion on today’s product and talent? Any advice for them?
CB: “How much time do ya got? LOL I could go on and on about this honestly..”
JS: I have all the time in the world. To be perfectly honest, it makes my job a lot easier if you wanna answer any questions without me asking them! HA! Please.. hit the readers with your opinions.
CB: “Ok, remember – you asked for it. LOL Like I stated earlier one, I feel really let down these days. It used to be a secret in this business and nobody knew where to even buy gear. Seriously! You couldn’t buy boots and gear until someone felt it was time for you to know where to get them. It wasn’t cheap when you did get finally get them either. I bought a pair of boots in the 90′s that I still use today and they cost me over $400. But they were quality boots! Today these kids can pick up boots for around $75 ANYWHERE. That sucks, because they think after they get those.. and get themselves a pair of trunks – they’re a wrestler already. Uh no. You still got a LONG road ahead of you. Also as I said before, I really think kids need to do research on a wrestling school or trainer, before just handing money over to some guy who claims to be a former pro wrestler. Yeah, he might have been a wrestler – but if the guy only wrestled 5 matches in that career, then what the hell is he going to teach anyone, besides how to be a crook. Plain and simple. I think hardcore wrestling for the sake of hardcore wrestling is something that has hurt our sport. There’s another wrestling company.. and trust me, I use that term pretty damn loosely, that’s down the road here from our DPA shows here in Hickory. They basically run nothing but hardcore matches their entire card. Week in and week out. THE SAME CRAP! They wonder why they only draw 25-30 people every time they put on one of these shows. You put that crap out there every week on every card and where do you go from there? You have nothing to build up to at all. You’ve shot yourself in the leg.. which I guess could be the next match these idiots have planned. I’ll share more about that later though. Anyways, back to a more important subject, than those morons. I’m a strong believer in two main historical wrestling thoughts. First – To succeed in the world of wrestling, you have to have “the look”, ability and charisma. Now you can get by with having only two of the three sometimes. But if you only have one of the three.. you’re screwed. That’s it! Second – There is NO “Old School” or “New School” – there’s only the RIGHT WAY. End of story. That’s all you need to remember. There’s THE RIGHT WAY and no other description can fit at all. I think these kids today need to focus on the basics, before even trying to do the flips and such. I know they are a big part of wrestling today, and I enjoy that too – but you need to get the basics down first! Pardon my French, but a lot of these guys today can be such PUSSIES too! That really needs to stop. Don’t come up to me with that wrestler hand shake bullshit either, because I will literally try to crush your damn hand. I know this is a little all over the place and all, but I really want to make sure I get these things out there.”
JS: No really.. this is fantastic stuff, and I just hope someone can pick up some helpful tips from your advice to help out their career and help us fans out with a good product, ya know? Please continue!
CB: “Ok good. LOL Another piece of advice then, or just something that irks me either way you want to look at it. I ask a kid what can you do best? If he’s honest and say’s arm drag and a drop kick. Then that entire match will be based around him hitting those moves on me and him looking like a million bucks in the process. Guys need to learn that to help out the guy in the ring. if you’re going out there just to hit your moves, no matter how beautiful they might be – you’re not helping your opponent out, and therefore not helping yourself out! It’s win win, when you can showcase EACH OTHER! And when you’ve only wrestled 20 matches over a 10 year span, never tell a veteran you’ve been in the business for 10 years. Because if you’ve only wrestled 20 matches over the span of a 10 year career, it’s safe to say you don’t know shit. And one other thing – to make sure I definitely get this point across, if you come to me and say you were trained, I get you in the ring and you know nothing – and you wanna work for us, I’m sorry but you’re going to have to be trained again. If you’re not comfortable with having to train all over again, take it up with the man who stole your money to “train you.” Another big thing among young guys is this, don’t try to work out a whole match in the back. It won’t always work! What do you do if you forget something? What happens if something goes wrong? You need to learn to work on the fly in this sport. Don’t always believe what you’re being told in this business. No matter the source. A big company recently had an “open tryout” and all you had to do was pay them $250. So these kids are heading there to pay you to tryout? You’re a big wrestling promotion, if you were interested in most of these kids, you would already know and probably would have contacted them before this. You want the money. Period. I feel like I need to say something about some veterans also. There is nothing I hate MORE than listening to a legend or veteran complain about anything and everything – And I know it seems like I’m doing that, but I promise you I’m not. I’m sincerely trying to help. I want all of these guys to succeed. Because if they succeed, the business succeeds. This business.. the business that I love and have almost my entire life. I want everybody to do well for themselves! I want nothing but the best for them. I’ve heard all the political stuff. I’ve heard people say things in the business like “my spot” “my position” and what have you, but I want someone to take my spot! I can’t do this forever and I want to know that DPA has enough of the best talent around, that I can go off into the sunset and focus on booking or wrestling here and there lower on the card. I want that for them and MYSELF! Back to my point about the veterans complaining about everything a company does or other guys doing things that bother them, it pisses me off to no end! It’s like these guys won the lottery and they’re complaining about having to pay the taxes on it! I love this business and you do too.. just wish it the best and try to help what has given you a living!
JS: That’s really an amazing way you put that, Chad. I mean it. With what you said about Hardcore wrestling, am I to take it you didn’t care for ECW?
CB: “I thought ECW was a good product honestly. That first angle they did with the NWA belt and Shane Douglas throwing it down was just awesome. Never seen anything like it at that point. Plus if we’re being honest – that wasn’t the NWA. The real NWA was dead at that point. That was just a collection of indy feds who could buy the NWA franchise tag for a little price. So ECW did what they had to do and I thought it was genius. Their hardcore stuff was well done also. They always led up to something special with every angle that they did with their hardcore stuff. It was tremendous. PLUS they had something that most hardcore companies didn’t have.. EXCELLENT WRESTLERS! For every hardcore table on fire, thumbtack chair swinging wrestler they had there.. they had a Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Chris Jericho, Rey Mysterio, Dean Malenko, Raven – those are some of the all-time greats of this sport. They had incredible matches in ECW and they didn’t need hardcore stipulations to do so.
JS: Since we’re on the subject of hardcore wrestling, do you want to cover what you were talking about earlier with the “other guys?”
CB: “*Sighs* I don’t even know where to begin there. Basically it all began over the Deathproof Alliance Wrestling name. The guys down the road, and they aren’t even worth mentioning by name, claim the name was theirs. Well the owners of our name have it trademarked. I have nothing to do or say about the name, all I know is, if they did indeed make up the name, they were too damn stupid to get it trademark. If that’s the case, you’re the idiots who didn’t do what you should have. These guys bitch and moan and whine – week after week about DPA, our guys and our company in general. Well until the day comes that you can draw more than 25-30 people for your shows. Then your opinion might matter one bit. These pieces of garbage have been running these shows for years – and the small crowds have ALWAYS been there. That should tell you something.. YOUR PRODUCT ISN’T THAT GOOD! My opinion on what it’s really all about is this – They came here looking for a job and I personally saw them in the ring and said they had nothing. We’d have to train them or we couldn’t use them – because they didn’t know if they were winding their ass or scratching their watches. THEY SUCKED! They weren’t happy with my assessment apparently as all of this began. We even tested their name theory by taking to calling our company DPA – that didn’t fix anything. So basically, we knew that it wasn’t about the name. These guys have even taken to blaming us for taking down their event posters around town. Look genius when you hang them on drink machines and vending machines – VENDORS TAKE THEM DOWN! I’ve even made it perfectly clear to my guys, if I see one person doing anything to the competitions publicity stuff – they will be suspended and probably not used again. We need competition in this business.. but this kind of competition is pathetic. When you can’t be professional, then what kind of business can you actually run anyways? That goes for any business! To tell you how shitty and petty it’s gotten, we had a young man here who got into a personal situation in his personal life. I don’t want to go into any detail, because it’s his business – but when they caught wind of that, they made every effort in the world to tell people we were using guys that would do this and guys who act like that. The best part? They apologized for ever training him and getting him into this business. When he came to us, he knew very little. We had to train him and he busted his ass to learn and perfect his portion of this craft. We’re damn proud of how he was/is coming along. He has an extremely bright future, and these pieces of crap try to tear down a man who made a mistake? Try to take away his lively hood for what reason? Spite? Jealousy? It makes no sense what so ever. It’s just wrong! You can’t work worth a shit so you want to hurt people who can and do? Now that I’ve said all of this and brought it to light, let me say this – they know who I’m talking about and if any of those keyboard warriors/hardcore daycare workers want to come see me about anything I’ve just said – I say bring it on! This is no work, not part of an angle – this is real life. You have a problem with anything I’ve said or done – you come see me about it. These guys have a motto that goes (Pardon my French once again) “Death to the Business” & “FUCK KAYFABE!” You can see those mottos written on their sites and pages. Well that’s exactly what these clowns are doing with the crap they put out there.. killing the business. Just to show you how bad it is, they had a late night tv spot on local Charter TV, but the product got pulled because of the language and content. After that debacle, Charter was invited to come to ours and shoot some promos, they were hesitant at first, but eventually came and fell in love with what they saw. We are actually working on a deal right now, and hope to have a deal finalized by the spring. Put on a good quality show and product, and people will invest and back it. Period. You put out crap and you will have nobody following or supporting you. End of story.”
JS: Why don’t you tell the readers more about the DPA.
CB: “Gladly. The DPA name stands for Deathproof Alliance Wrestling and it’s owned and operated by CWK Promotions. It’s basically an old school, new school mixture of ACTUAL wrestling. Like a sort of “throwback” to the 80′s and 90′s style we fans always loved. We have a great mix of young talent and established veteran talents. Aside from myself as a booker/wrestler, we’ve also got Bill Mulkey, Rip Sawyer, “The New Age Horsemen” The Foundation and we bring in some amazing talent ALL THE TIME. Guys like “Punky” (Ricky Morton), Barbarian, George South, hell even TNA’s Gunner will be appearing one day very soon. We’re in a great facility, with great production and even the feel & look of the show is just incredible. The best thing about these shows is this, the owners are VERY sweet and religious people who wanted a wrestling promotion that was family oriented. That’s just what we are here. You can bring your family out and watch one heck of a wrestling show, and not worry about explaining to your kids what THOSE words meant, or why that guy was doing dirty things. Even though the name has harsh overtones, what it stands for is completely different. Deathproof stands for being covered in the Blood of Christ and resurrected. Unbreakable.. or DEATHPROOF! This business was based around bringing your family out to watch, and that’s what we’ve gone back to here. There’s even a jungle gym in the building and someone there to watch the kids if they want to go play during the show, for gosh sakes! We like to say we brought the actual SPORT back into professional wrestling. Back to the basics, like an old school COOL feel that we’re proud of. Plus we’re VERY proud to have a promotion that gives Legends and youngsters a place to showcase their skills week after week. DPA is just that!”
JS: That’s just amazing. It’s refreshing to hear about a promotion like that these days. DPA shows are run every weekend you said?
CB: “Yes ‘sir! Every Saturday night here in Hickory, NC at the Freedom Center. Doors open up at 7pm and bell time is 8pm. Deathproof Alliance Wrestling is definitely an amazing product that has a good following and great fans already. We usually draw a few hundred people every Saturday night and from everything we’ve seen and been told, they’re walking away VERY happy week after week. We look at it this way, they worked hard for that $10 ticket to get in to see our show, so I want to work twice as hard to make that ticket worth the money that you paid! That’s what we try to do and that’s what we tell our kids here too. This company is a company we’re proud of and we do it all for these great fans!
JS: Sounds great! While on the subject of kids, your son is getting into the business now isn’t he?
CB: “Sure is. He’s 16 years old and a great little worker. Still has a few things to learn, but he enjoys it and I think he’ll do great in this business.”
JS: Do you find yourself harder on him than any other of your students and workers?
CB: “Probably so. I’ve come to the conclusion that I do need to ease up on him a little. It can’t be easy for him, having me telling him do this and do that to make your style even better. BUT, on the same note – It’s my job to show him what he needs to know. Like recently, we were talking about a show a little ways off and he said something like “Ugh.. Long car ride.” I said THAT’S THE FUN PART! He’ll learn one day that some of the best memories of this business come from riding in cars with your brothers.
JS: You’ve delved into that a little during the interview, but anymore funny road stories?
CB: “I know a ton, but just can’t share them all! This one isn’t exactly a road story, but 20 years ago when I wrestled Barbarian in WCW he told me, “you do job for me, one day I may do job for you. Thank you my friend.” Well here we are 20 years later and when he was coming into DPA, I said to him, you remember what you said 20 years ago? He replied, “No.” I reminded him of the story and he laughed. I said well tonight big boy.. YOU’RE jobbing your ass off! HA! I do have one road story that impressed the heck out of me more than it was funny. One time in WCW a bunch of us guys were hitting the road in a S10 Blazer, and if you’re familiar with those, they are pretty small. Well before we hit the road, Barbarian asked if he could just catch a ride with us. Well long story short – imagine George South, Randy Sledge, James Clunts, Scotty McKeever, Chad Byrd and The Barbarian and ALL of our gear slammed into this damn truck. The best part was Barbarian was riding shotgun with George South driving and Barby had a pinch of skoal in his mouth and his spit cup between his feet on the floor. I have never in my life seen a man fall asleep with dip in his mouth and wake up just to spit every once in a while. It was hilarious.
JS: Speaking from experience.. that’s as impressive as it is hilarious. HA! Is Barbarian one of the legit tough guys in wrestling history?
CB: “Barby is one of the toughest men ever PERIOD. That is one of the strongest men I have ever met in my life. At one point he was a real hothead too, which was even scarier. LOL”
JS: That is terrifying honestly. Since we’ve basically just touched base with that, how about I mention a name & you give your thoughts?
CB: “Sounds good buddy.”
CB: “Yikes. Well I was on the card the night in WCW when he broke Joe Thurman’s back. Let me just say, Vader was stiff and hard on everyone. But I don’t really believe it was on purpose, it was just HIM. I wrestled him & though he was stiff – he was VERY professional. That night against Thurman though, it was pretty bad. If I’m not mistaken it was only Thurman’s first or second match of his wrestling career, I definitely know it was his first WCW match. How are you going to put a rookie in the ring with Vader? Made no sense! Vader’s chokeslam was what actually broke Joe’s back, but the follow up powerbomb was what just tore it all to hell. He got some flack in the back over that one, but it wasn’t like he did it on purpose at all.
JS: Ouch. That is one hell of a first opponent. You mentioned Gunner earlier. Thoughts on him?
CB: “He’s actually from my hometown here in Hickory. I REALLY like him, not just because he’s a hometown boy either. He has a ton of talent. I had a hand in training the man who trained him, so that makes me even more proud and a fan of him. I really do believe he could end up being a major player in the business one day. When the WWE comes calling, he needs to go as quick as he can. Vince would make him a superstar.”
JS: Nice! That’s high praise. I recently interviewed PWInsider Newcomer of the Year Jamin Olivencia. Thoughts on Jamin?
CB: “One of the best young talents in wrestling today. For as young as he is, that kid gets it. He has every tool that makes a wrestling star and I’m just very impressed with him. He’s a little on the small side, but he’s one of the guys that makes it work. Uses it so you don’t even notice. Nothing but good things to say about Jamin. When we worked the AWE ppv, which I hope we can go into soon, he grabbed everyone’s attention there. In a room full of legends, people noticed him. It was amazing. I’m not sure if he even knows this story, but Robert Gibson and Kevin Nash were watching his match with Sonjay Dutt on the monitors in the back and talking about how good a talent he was. Every time he repeated his name Nash said, man he’s reaching too much with that though – needs to remember he’s on tv now. A little later, I asked Nash what that kids name was again and he said, “Jamin Olivencia.” Now that kid put his name out there until it was stuck in this legends head. Nash said, “Huh.. maybe it did work. LOL” He’s going to be huge!
JS: That’s awesome! I totally agree too. You said you wanted to talk about the AWE Night of the Legends ppv?
CB: “Yeah. There’s been a lot of people who liked that show and a lot who didn’t care for it. I just wanted to say that a lot of that show was changed around. Marvin (Marvin Ward AWE Founder), had to sell a portion of the company to get the pay per view together. Then his mother became very ill the night before the show and with both of those factors in place, the company he sold the majority portion to started changing around the card. Allot of what was used in the dark match part of the evening was supposed to be on the show. Allot of us guys on the card were irritated by that as well. When Marvin approached me with the Midnight Ryder idea, I was all for it and excited about it. I thought I could do the character justice. He told me all about the Bunkhouse Brawl and I was pumped. Then they cut a lot of time off the match and a lot of the guys who were going to be in it, weren’t. I just wasn’t too pleased with how that worked out, but the match overall I’m happy with. I think me and George (South) put together a good show at the end there.
JS: I was actually at that show and it was good. it did have an odd feel to the entire event though. I didn’t care much for the boxing feel they tried to portray and the announcer was.. well to me personally garbage. He didn’t try to get the crowd into it at all.
CB: “I totally understand what you mean. The company that bought in, from what we all gathered was in the promoting boxing and MMA business. So it did have that feel. The original announcer, AWE’s actual announcer was told he was too fat for tv from what we were told. That kid is amazing and would have done 10 times a better job than that goof they brought in.
JS: Wow. I have to agree with you. HUGE mistake on their part. Great overall show though, if you were there in attendance. How did you feel about doing the Midnight Ryder gimmick?
CB: “I appreciate that, man! It was great. I loved doing that. Dusty is one of my all-time favorites and I like to think I did him and the character proud. Bill Mulkey told me later on that while I was out there, Terry Funk and Kevin Nash were watching on the monitors and Nash spoke up and said, “When the hell did the fat man get here?! Nobody told us!” Mulkey told them, “that’s Chad not Dusty.” Funk replied in the Funk voice, “Well it sure as hell looks like Dusty” THAT made my night. That made me believe that Dusty would have enjoyed that as well. I was really proud. Just wanted to add something really quick, I’ve always felt me and Dusty had a bit of a bond. He was the “son of a plumber” & I’m the “son of an electrician” I never saw my biological father much my entire life and I was born with Osgood-Schlatters Disease where my bones grew through my cartilage. The growing pains where sometimes unbearable, but I kept going. I had a lot of charisma and a lot of heart just like Big Dust. “I WINED AND DINED WITH KINGS AND QUEENS AND SLEPT IN ALLEYS AND DINED ON PORK N BEANS! HARD TIMES BABY!”
JS: That was honestly one of the best Dusty impersonations ever! HA! I definitely think Mr. Rhodes would have been proud of your Ryder tribute.
CB: “I appreciate that, man!”
JS: No problem. So back to your thoughts on some other wrestling talent. Here’s a name for ya — John Cena?
CB: “Hmm. I’ve never met him. LOL I have to say I do think his charity work is outstanding. The wholesome image is good for this business. He’s obviously a hard worker, determined and very charismatic. Takes pride in what he does. Not a big fan of his look, needs to get rid of the damn shorts and sneakers. I think his in ring skills could still use lot of work. I’ll leave it at that.”
JS: HA! Fair enough. HBK?
CB: “One of the absolute greatest workers that will ever be in this business. He has everything and can do anything. Shawn can wrestle anyone and make them look amazing. One of the best. He used to be quite an ass from what I hear though. LOL”
JS: Totally agree! One of my personal favorites – CM Punk?
CB: “I don’t watch enough WWE to say I’ve seen a lot of his work. And let me throw this in, that’s not because I hate it or anything like that, I just stay busy most of the time, so I just really don’t have time to watch. With booking, promoting, setting up shows, wrestling and having a family – I just don’t have the time to catch every episode. Now back to Punk, his interviews and promos are incredible. Everything I’ve heard and seen with his shoot style interviews are just jaw dropping. Good stuff.
JS: A man you work closely with and have known for a LONG time.. Bill Mulkey?
CB: “Actually you’re wrong there. I’ve only gotten to know Bill over the last couple of years. We had a lot of the same friends. We ran in the same circles, but we just didn’t know each other. When DPA opened up, he approached the owners via Facebook to get involved and they thought it was a joke. That it was a fake Bill Mulkey just messin’ around. They finally answered him and said “yeah c’mon in.” and they basically blew it off until he showed up. Everyone was blown away that it was really him! I didn’t even recognize him at first and we basically sat and talked for a bit. Then he watched one of my training sessions and got in the ring with me to help out with the kids. Then he and I did a little bit of wrestling in there. After the match he came over to me and said, “Man.. you can go.” I said, “Well Hell Bill – I hope so. Been doing this for 20 years now!” We became fast friends from that point on. His brother Randy as well. Randy had to fully retire from wrestling after recent back surgery, but he still travels with us and does things with us from time to time. Both are great men and great friends. Bill & I were the first tag champs in DPA, although we weren’t thrilled about that. We wanted it to go to one of the young teams, to build them up. But honestly, a lot of the teams needed more work – so the company felt it was best for everyone. We finally agreed to do it for a short period of time, it turned into damn near forever! But I couldn’t ask for a better partner in DPA, Bill Mulkey always has my back and I have his! EVERYONE better watch out for Mulkey and Byrd!
JS: Excellent! Thoughts on Randy Orton?
CB: “Great! A REALLY good talent I enjoy watching.”
JS: Current TNA champion Bobby Roode?
CB: “I like him and his work. I’ve really enjoyed everything I’ve seen from him and Storm too honestly.
JS: I was going to say Storm next.
CB: “Great talent. He has something special about him. One thing I do hate though, is with the lack of quality tag teams in this business, I wish they would have kept Beer Money together a little longer. They were a fantastic team. Good promos and good matches. I think they were just on the verge of all time greatness. That’s another point I’d like to make real quick. People think tag teams can’t work today apparently, they can and would if used properly! Most guys just need to learn how to use them or the talent needs to learn how to be in one.”
JS: That’s excellent advice. I’m a big tag team fan myself, so I’m glad someone said it. Let’s get to a couple of the sports legends. Hulk Hogan?
CB: “Besides 2 punches, a big boot and a leg drop? LOL Hmm.. I may have just killed me ever getting a shot to work in TNA. HA! I always felt hulk could do a lot more than Hulk did in the ring. He had a match with Paul Orndorff at one of those outside events they did in the 80′s and that match was amazing. They traded reverse hold after reverse and the action was just amazing. Don’t get me wrong, I know Hogan was smart for doing as little as he did. It preserved him and basically who and why would anyone challenge him to do more? He’s Hulk Hogan! You need him to stick around. I think he was very good for the business and especially the WWF, but if he’d come to the NWA – I believe he would have been eaten alive. Not just by guys like the Horsemen, but hell Nelson Royal or George South would have stretched him every which way but loose. LOL”
JS: That definitely would have given pro wrestling a different look. LOL Here’s one for you.. Ric Flair?
CB: “*Big sigh of respect* In the 1980′s you couldn’t touch Ric Flair. He told you a story and every story he told was the story of Ric Flair. It was all true. I sincerely believe that Ric Flair has a love for this business that nobody can ever even think of approaching. At the same time that worries me. He said during his final run in WWE that he would “die in this ring”, that worries me, because I sometimes think he will. I wish nothing but good things for Ric Flair and I hope one day he can find the happiness and respect from a promotion that he deserves. I hope they don’t try to embarrass him, like WCW did and some of the stupid shit Vince had him do from time to time. When I think of Ric Flair, I don’t want to think of anything but greatness. He is the one and only ICON. When Ric Flair cries during his promos and interviews from time to time, that’s all him. He is that emotional guy. The WM24 match will always go down as one of the best matches ever. Not just for the action, but my God that drama was intense. When HBK looked him in the eye and said, “I’m sorry” I know for a fact, everyone who has ever stepped into a wrestling ring knew exactly what he meant and how he felt at that exact moment. To me – that match is up there with Steamboat vs Savage and HBK vs. Bret in the Iron Man match. It was amazing.”
JS: One of my favorites. I love hearing that wrestlers enjoyed that one as much as we the fans did. Well, this is one you knew was coming.. Vince McMahon?
CB: “Allot of people complain about him, I’m not one of those people. I worked for him. I got paid and I was very happy with how everything went. Let’s be honest here, Vince is a genius. He did things for this business that nobody had ever dreamed of. Yeah he might have hurt feelings and done things others considered underhanded, but he’s a damn business man. Money talks, bullshit walks. That’s it! If you have talent and are marketable – Vince will use you. There’s always been a saying he’s used in this business and that was this, “I don’t offer guys contracts, I offer them opportunities.” and he’s exactly right. I will say a lot of us talent thought, when he used enhancement talent from WCW and turned them into superstars, that it made his product look a little weak to others. BUT, he made it work. Who else could have? Plus we all realize that if Vince created you, you were going to be huge. Look at Bret, HBK, Hogan and Taker. Yeah those guys wrestled elsewhere, but we all know who made them the legends that they are.”
JS: Great points! You just mentioned him.. Undertaker?
CB: “Legendary. One of the best ever. A locker room leader that no one can touch. An amazing leader and helper to anyone who wants or needs it. A problem solver as well. Just.. well amazing. He’s one of a kind. I’ve read recently about people bitching and moaning about the Undertaker vs Triple H match coming up at Wrestlemania, well what the hell else could they do? Those are two of the biggest and best ever. Let them do their thing!”
JS: That’s some high praise for the Deadman. Nice! Who are some young talent you enjoy?
CB: “I really enjoy watching Kofi Kingston. I think he does a great job. I hear a lot of good things about Richie Steamboat as well. I can’t say I’ve seen a lot of his work, but everything I have seen is just great. Husky Harris is a kid I wish they would have left on tv. He’s something different and that’s what this business needs. Just a hell of a talent and I think he’s gonna go far. Of course I’d like to mention my son Dakota as well. If you don’t mind I’d like to mention his Facebook page also.”
JS: I completely agree with you on Husky and by all means.. GO FOR IT!
JS: I highly recommend the readers check out those pages when you get a minute! I guess I’m down to only a few more questions now, Mr. Byrd. You ready for them?
CB: “HIT ME!”
JS: LOL Ok, Here’s one I meant to ask earlier – Who were some dream opponents for you? Someone you never got a chance to take on, that you would have loved to face.
CB: “Oh wow. Um.. Bruiser Brody for sure. Tully Blanchard would have been great. The original idea for the AWE ppv was to have him be in the Bunkhouse Brawl match and it be down to him and myself. Basically rehashing the Dusty/Tully feud, but it didn’t work out. I was disappointed with that! My all-time favorite dream opponent though, would have to be Magnum TA. He had already been in his accident and retired by the time I entered the business unfortunately. Magnum to me was just INCREDIBLE. He was going to be one of the biggest stars this business ever saw. I truly believe that.
JS: Magnum’s story really is a sad one. Such a talent! How much longer do you see yourself in the business?
CB: “Till the day I die. I will ALWAYS be involved somehow. I’ve basically been learning a lot of the booking and behind the scenes aspect to prolong my career even more. That has been great! As for actual in ring work.. I can see myself doing this another 10-15 years if I’m safe. I know I can’t do the things I’ve done before. I did the Alabama Jam leg drop off the top for 15 years, but couldn’t dare do it now. I’ve had a broken back, I got disc problems in with my neck and back now. I’ve torn both ACL’s and so on. So I think as long as I keep it safe, I can keep going. I’ll have to until someone comes along that shows they wanna take my spot! LOL”
JS: Do you have a message for your fellow wrestlers out there?
CB: “First and foremost I want to say this, I have SO MUCH respect for the “Older Guys” and legends of this business, who paved the way for me and everyone else who can and have earned a living in this business. They did that for little or no money and were happy to do that. I can’t tell you how much respect I have for those guys. I want to specifically thank George South and Italian Stallion for helping me in every aspect of my career by helping me get my foot in the door. Also for letting me step foot in the exact same ring as a lot of the former NWA greats of pro wrestling, as George and Stally actually owned the old NWA ring! I just want to thank everyone out there who ever bought a pair of boots, and yes FUCK A PAIR OF KICK PADS, BOOTS from B&A Boot Co. Anyone who ever bought trunks or tights from K&H Wrestling Wear. I’d like to thank the Austin Hall Boot Co. of Texas as well! I’d like to thank all of you guys out there that KNOW what wrestling was. Thank you to the Flairs, the Wahoos, the Mulkeys, to George South & Italian Stallion – I can only say Thank you! To all of you young kids out there trying to get into this business. Train hard with a GOOD TRAINER, watch video of classic matches. Everyone should be made to sit and watch at least 20 hours of NWA/JCP matches from 1983 – 1988 before you even step into a training ring, to see how and why to do EVERYTHING. Guys like Tully, Flair, Magnum, Dusty and the Rock N Roll Express Summer Sizzle Tour. These should be MANDATORY viewing for rookies! Also, the only way to learn is to leave your home state. Go get better and then come back and perform! To companies out there – you might wanna consider weeding out the little promoters and promotions and bringing back AN ACTUAL NWA-like version of working together. It would benefit us all! PLUS and this is a pet peeve and just the right thing to do for the business in general. If you rent out an Armory for your shows – clean the damn thing up afterwards. Put on a safe clean show for your fans also. If you do those two things, the owners will spread the word about how good and easy the wrestlers were to work with. That’s just smart business! And I guess.. just work hard guys!
JS: Amazing advice. I mean that. And finally.. a message to the fans?
CB: “To fans in general I just wanna say it seems sometimes like people are scared to admit to being a fan anymore. Don’t you dare be scared – be proud! Be proud to go out there and cheer on your guy and boo the guy you hate. Just be heard! If you hate something, tell that company and their booker. Get more involved and have a good time every time you sit down to watch a show! That’s why we do what we do guys.. so you’ll have fun! To MY fans, I’d just like to say this – Thanks for all your support. I want you to know, that I’m going to keep going for you, until I can’t go anymore. That’s Chad Byrd’s promise to each and every one of you. God Bless you all!
As you guys can see, Mr. Byrd is a VERY outspoken guy to say the least. We here at JimmySick.com, uh.. basically meaning me – Jimmy Sick, would like to thank Mr. Byrd for his time and granting us this very open and honest interview. I’d also like to wish Chad and Deathproof Alliance Wrestling all the best. Make sure to come check them out if you’re in the area. They put on a hell of a show! Until next time – let your voices be heard in wrestling!