June 2003 by Matt of Indy Insider
1Who trained you and how did you get started in the
My brother got into the wrestling business in Grand
Rapids in 1998. I was just out of 8th grade, and I
started hanging around. I helped set up chairs, put
up rings, recorded shows, worked the lights, worked
the music, did commentary for their tapes... whatever
I could, just to be involved. In early 1999, Joe
Ortega, who was a San Antonio native trained by Jose
Lothario, opened Lakeshore Wrestling Organization. I
did the website for him and he liked me and gave me an
opportunity to train. Originally, I was just going to
ref, but some how, one thing led to another, and I was
training to be a wrestler a bit before my 15th
2-What was your debut match(vs. who, where, when) and
how did you feel being in front of a crowd for the
My first match was a lotta fun. It was May 1, 1999 in
Holland, MI for Lakeshore Wrestling Organization. It
was their big show that they had been hyping for a
while, so there were a lot of things the promoter had
to take care of. When one of the wrestlers hadn't
shown up at 7:15 with a 7:30 bell time, Ortega pulled
him off the card and put me on, even though I wasn't
sceduled to debut until June. I had some sort of gear
with me because I was supposed to do the battle royal.
So, I wrestled The Strykedawg Michael Stryker who
later became Keith Kreme who later became Keith Chi,
who then quit wrestling. It was an ok first match. He
took care of me, made me look as good as he could. I
loved it. After the match I went outside, laying in
the dewy grass under the starlit sky and thought "Man,
I'm a pro wrestler." True story.
3-Who is the man you most respect in the business and
That's too hard of a question. I respect tons and
tons and tons of guys. If there was somebody I looked
up to and tried to model myself after, I'd say Ricky
Morton. I was a bit young to catch the time when
Ricky Morton really was in his prime, but I'm glad to
say that I've studied my tapes of him, and as a
babyface, I try to model myself after him.
4-If you had to quit wrestling for some reason how
would you want your fellow wrestlers and fans to
I would hope fellow wrestlers would see me as a hard
and dedicated worker who was somebody that they were
happy to work with. I would hope the fans would see
me as a guy who they always enjoyed watching.
5-In your opinion what could be done to help Indy
Wrestling and Indy Wrestlers get more respect?
That's a tough question. I don't think it's ever
gunna be totally respectable because indy wrestling is
bush league. Almost by definition, some of it isn't
all that respectable. I think for wrestlers to gain
respect, they can go to the gym, get gear, study
6-How does your attitude and persona change from being
in and out of the ring?
I think it's true of anybody that their in ring
persona is generally a part of yourself, just
magnified 1000 times. My babyface persona is goofy,
fan friendly, huggin girls, and what not. My heel
persona is just me HUSSing a lot. In real life, I'm
mostly quiet and a bit goofy, and I even HUSS a little
7-What does the term wrestling mean to you?
When I hear the term "wrestling," I think about when
attended the Blue Bloods training camp with Dave
Taylor, Fit Finely and William Regal. Taylor was
saying how people who talk about "chain wrestling" are
stupid, because what people call "chain wrestling" is
just wrestling. So to me "wrestling" is rolling
around of the mat, doing reversals, catch as catch can
sorta stuff, like what other people might call chain
8-As a rookie what did you feel was the hardest aspect
to pick up?
Body control always was, and still is an issue for me.
I dont have the best body control by any means, and
it took a long time for anything I did in the ring to
look good. Only now is my stuff looking crisper and
9-Did you watch wrestling as a youngster, if so who do
did you idolize?
Of course I watched wrestling when I was a youngster.
I remember being in first grade, wearing Bret Hart sun
glasses that I ordered from WWF magazine and I was
wearing them on the play ground, telling kids that
Bret Hart gave them to me at a WWF show. And when we
were younger, I used to pretend I was Bret Hart and my
brother would pretend he was the Mountie and we'd
fight. I also dressed up as the Ultimate Warrior. So
I liked those guys. Macho Man was one of my favorites
10-What advice to do you have for people who are
looking to start wrestling?
Go to a good, respectable school. It's much better
than going to a 2nd rate school. It's better
training, it's better knowledge, and it's better
exposure. It's good to be able to come out of
training and have a trainer that can help you get
bookings at respectable shows.
11-You have wrestled alot of high profile matches,
what would you consider your most memorable
match/moment til now?
I wouldn't say I've wrestled a lot of high profile
matches. I have a lot of memorable moments. I think
a lot of them are since I've been wrestling in IWA Mid
South. I'm proud of the matches I've had their with
Alex Shelley. I think my match with CM Punk was
really special to me because to me, it showed that
I've come a long way from where I once was, and I had
earned the repect of people that didn't think highly
of me in the past. And I thought that Punk lead me to
a really solid match.
12-What is your opinion of backyard wrestling?
Ya know, if you do it to have fun and you don't do
stupid things, go do it. But understand that backyard
wrestling isn't pro wrestling. Backyard wrestling is
fake fighting. Pro wrestling is an art, it's
storytelling, it's psychology, it's a lot more
complicated that people throwing fake punches.
Backyard wrestling will NOT get you a job in the WWE
too, let me asure you that.
13-Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In 5 years, I'll probably a washed up indy guy that
never quite made it, and I'll only be 24. God
willing, I'll be in good health, and still working.
14-Best Roadstory: We're in Lima, OH eating a an
Arby's after a show. Thats me, Brian Gorie, Anthony
Rivera, Zach Gowen, Truth Martini, some British chick,
Chris Sabin, Alex Shelley, Brian Green, and Nate
Mattson. While the rest of us eat Arby's, Truth and
the British chick, who is playfully named the British
Bulldog, start swappin spit in Truth Martini's car.
Alex Shelley, Chris Sabin, and I think it would be fun
have a 3 way dance on and around the car of Truth
Martini. So their little fun was quickly interupted by
Irish whips onto the car, double team manuevers, and
big worked punches. Sabin's working Shelley over by
the trunk of the car, but goes to the well one too
many times as he comes running at Shelley who counters
with a backbody drop. Sabin's up in the air, puts his
hands down on the trunk of the car kind of doing a
hand stand, then comes down ass first on the back
windsheild. CRASH. The back windsheild shatters under
the ass of TNA Super Star X Division Champion Chris
Sabin, who at this time flys up off the car selling
his ass full of glass. Truth gets out of the car,
looks around and casually says "That stuff happens...
Who's gunna take me to the liquor store?" I love that
I cant think of any real good ribs at the moment.
I'll tell you what. One time at IWA Mid South, Ian
Rotten had been bleeding a lot, and he's dripping with
blood. He turns to Alex Shelley and yells "Hey Alex"
and fwoooooosh, he flings this blob of blood at Alex.
I dont know if it was a booger covered in blood or
skin soaked in blood or what, but it was disgusting.
Alex sees it and all Matrix style bends backwards and
ducks it, sending the bloody goop propelling right
into the chest of Chris Hamrick. Disgusting.
16-If you could have a dream match against anyone dead
or alive, who would it be? and why?
Ummm... There are a couple guys I really want to work.
CM Punk was one of them. I'd really like to work
Ricky Morton. I could die a happy man if I worked
him. Sharkboy is also somebody I'd really like to
work because I think we're quite a bit alike in that
we both do silly gimmicks and work basic styles.
17-How do you feel being a referee before becoming a
wrestler helped you?
I think it helped me quite a bit. I actually think
wrestling helped me to be a better referee more than
vice versa. Once I started wrestling, as a ref, I
knew more of what to do to help wrestlers out. While
reffing, I learned a great deal though. I reffed with
a lot of guys that used to be WWF or WCW or ECW guys
and you see how they call matches and how they let
18-Where did the name and gimmick the Barbaric
Berzerker come from?
The whole thing wasn't really my idea. My friend
Jimmy Shalwin had been talking about getting furry
boots for years and years beause he always marked out
for Jon Nord. We would HUSS at each other a lot.
Finally, we were watching one of those guys who had
furry boots and I thought that nobody else is really
doing a furry boot gimmick these days, so I decided
that would be my thing. My mom made me furry boots
for Christmas, and it was the best present ever. Now
she makes all my tights too. Yay mom. The name
Barbaric Berzerker just kind of came. I almost did
Bruising Barbaric Berzerker, to get in the Bruiser
Brody, Barbarian and Berzerker references, but eh...
19-Alex Shelley and yourself are currently becoming
one of the most talked about feuds coming from the Mid
West, are there any current plans for you to come to
the East coast?
Ya know, there really aren't any plans right now.
There are a lotta guys I'd like to work for out there,
though. We just had a 30 min iron man match a few
weeks ago, and I'm kinda hoping that people see that,
and maybe something good will come out of it. We're
always looking for more work, different places.
20-Do you see yourself being involved in wrestling in
I really hope so, yes. I mean, I'm only 19 right now.
I've been wrestling for 4 years, and I've stayed very
healthy. Hopefully I'll be wrestling 20 and 30 years
He's only been wrestling a year and he has all the
potential in the world because he works very hard at
what he does. That's really why I like him, honestly.
He goes to the gym, he has cool tights, he studies
tapes, he trains in the ring twice a week. He makes
this his life. After only wrestling for 5 months, he
shattered his jaw and had to take 2 months off, but he
came back. He's got everything I could ask for in a
guy I'm working a program with.
He's underrated. Him and I had worked each other a
bunch, in my first few years in the business. I beat
him in a retirement match once, even. I'm glad to see
him get a shot in IWA. IWA gives chances for guys to
shine. He's one of the guys in MI who people are
going to start to take notice of (once he loses his
beer gut). Frankie the Face is a guy that Ian will
hopefully use in the near future and I know that
people will take notice of him because he's a solid
worker with a good gimmick and a unique style.
I have all the respect in the world for CM Punk. We
have some personal history and he hasnt really liked
me, and the feeling was mutual for a while, but he
really gave me another chance, and he's helping me out
a lot. I think he's a great wrestler and awesome on
the mic. I'm very glad I got the chance to work him
before he gets to the next level.
Ian has given me opportunity. I called him, he didn't
even know who I was, and he booked me. Since then,
he's given me opportunity to prove myself in a series
of matches with Alex Shelley and other matches as
well. I'm extremely grateful towards him for giving
me the chance to show what I can do and to learn from
the guys at IWA.
I like Gutter. He's gotten good at doing 5 or 6
things, and does them well and can have good matches.
He' sa good dude and if I ever ran a show, he'd have a
Sabin has tons of natural abillity and he loves
wrestling. I really like him. He's very quiet in the
locker room and I used to think that was kind of him
not wanting to be at the shows or thinking he was too
good or whatever, but since I really got to know him,
and went on car rides with him, I think he's one of
the coolest dudes I know. He's also a tremendous
talent, and he's really good now. In a couple years,
he'll be just awesome.
Danny is somebody I used to watch before I got into
wrestling and I loved him when he did his Delicous
Devon Daniels gimmick, and I love him now. I was
fortunate enough to work him in my 2nd IWA match and I
had a great time with him and we had a nice little
match. I like Danny a lot.
Chris is one of, if not my favorite indy wrestler to
watch. His knowledge of wrestling seems almost
unparalleled. His wrestling is flued. He can have a
good match with ANYBODY. His house is filled with
wrestling tapes. He's the nicest guy on the planet.
He takes time to watch your matches, and he'll give
you critism. Chris Hero is the best.
Elvis is another guy I watched early on in my
wrestling career that I always liked. I was really
happy to finally get the chance to work him just a
couple weeks ago. He's got a great mind, and a great
character. He doesn't do a whole lot, but what he
does, he makes count. We were working, and he gave me
a body slam, and the crowd popped because he made that
the best body slam he could.
-Tenacious Zach Gowen -
Zach is a way cool dude, and I'm totally happy that
he's getting to live out the dream that we all want so
much. The first time I saw Zach was before a show in
Detroit, I believe, and he was doing moonsaults and
top rope drop kicks and I was blown away. I saw his
first match ever with Truth Martini, and it was
seriously an awesome match. He also shares my love
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