by Evan Ginzburg (9/04)
EVAN GINZBURG: Tell us about your training at Boogie's Wrestling Camp.
NIGHT NINJA: I started training at Boogies Wrestling Camp in Shawsville VA., Dec of 2003. I had grown up watching Jimmy "The Boogie Woogie Man" Valiant in the NWA/Memphis wrestling. Before I met Mr. Jimmy Valiant I had wondered what kind of person he really was, judging from what I saw on television I had envisioned him to be a good person; that was true in every way. Mr. Jimmy Valiant [I use the word mister a lot when talking about a person who is a legend of the sport] is the kind of man that will do anything to help someone out in any way possible. He took me under his wing and taught me the fundamentals of the wrestling game. I will forever be indebted to him as a human being and a professional wrestler. Everything I achieve in this sport is to the credit of the greatest teacher in the world, Mr. Jimmy Valiant...
EG: When did you first develop an interest in pro wrestling? What are your earliest wrestling memories?
NN: I would say when I first watched Hulk Hogan vs. Iron Sheik even though I had liked wrestling before then. But that's the first match I really remember well. And I was only four years old at the time when Hulk won his first WWF world title. My father took me to the matches when I was first born. I always tell people my favorite wrestlers in history are The Valiant Brothers (Jimmy and Johnny), Piper, JYD, and Steamboat in no particular order. I feel the best match I have ever seen in wrestling history - at least in the states anyway - was Steamboat vs. Flair Clash of Champions 2/3 falls from 1989.
EG: You have an extensive knowledge of wrestling history. Did you pattern your wrestling after any particular legends?
NN: I have a library of wrestling tapes dated all the way back to the 1960s. To say I patterned myself after just one person would be next to impossible ... However I took a little from everyone such as the great legends in this business...Piper, Steamboat, JYD, The Valiant Brothers, The Great Muta, The Great Kabuki, and last but not least the late great Hot Stuff Eddie Gilbert who was an influence because he made it a known fact it's not the size of the wrestler but the true skill of a wrestler that matters.
EG: Tell us about working with Jimmy Valiant. Any good Jimmy Valiant stories?
NN: Well, first and foremost Jimmy Valiant is a true pro at what he does... he not only teaches wrestling, he teaches respect and friendship. All of Jimmy Valiant's students are family. Mr. Valiant is a great mentor from all his years and knowledge not just in wrestling but also in life. He also is a great friend and is there to give praise and to pick you up when you fall down. Good Jimmy Valiant stories? Mr. Valiant told me he told Hulk Hogan that he would make a lot of money in this business when Hulk had just started out as Sterling Golden. Mr. Valiant told me he looked at Hulk Hogan and just saw green money signs.
EG: You recently had Johnny Valiant manage you at Jimmy Valiant's school. What was that experience like?
NN: Mr. Johnny Valiant managing me is the best experience I have had in this business as a worker thus far, bar none... and will always remain a great memory for me throughout my whole career. Mr. Johnny Valiant is the greatest manager in the world; he really helped me out by giving advice and putting me over. Thank you Johnny V.
EG: What memories do you have of Jimmy and Johnny Valiant?
NN: The memories I have of The Valiant brothers as a team is their being the most flamboyant tag team in HISTORY. I mean there was no tag team in the history of wrestling more colorful than the Valiants. For them to be in the WWF Hall of Fame is just a testament to their tag team career. Of course being that I am only 24 years of age I only remember watching them on TV as a child. Luscious Johnny V was the manager of the Original Demolition and the Dream Team and Jimmy Valiant I saw during his days in Memphis and the NWA.
EG: Tell us about your Night Ninja gimmick and your own martial arts background.
NN: The Night Ninja Gimmick came from none other than Jimmy Valiant himself. The Night Ninja name had never been used before so Jimmy Valiant one day said, "Hey kid, why don't you call yourself The Night Ninja?" And that's what I've been called ever since. The Night Ninja gimmick came from my many years in martial arts. My martial arts background consists of 10 years of an Okinowa style Shorei Goju Karate. I was a first degree black belt in that style at the age of 15. I was involved with a Korean style Tae Kwon Do for two years and currently am in my 3rd year in another Korean form, Tang Soo do Karate. I am a Brown belt in that style. All together I have been involved with martial arts for 19 years on and off. Even out of class I was still practicing the art. I have also studied under a Grandmaster 10th degree black belt and Korean national Olympic wrestling/world karate champion, Ho Sik Pac, who has 12 schools in Ca. and has appeared in 35+ feature films. I also have studied with Grandmaster Superfoot Bill Wallace - undefeated Kickboxing World Champion. He is in the Guinness Book of World Records for highest kick in the world. He's also a movie star.
EG: Tell us about your goals in professional wrestling. Where do you see yourself in the business in 5 years?
NN: To be the best I can be, to give the fans their money's worth, and to be recognized by fans worldwide. In five years I see myself still wrestling and doing what I love to do. Hopefully I'll be in the WWE and still putting on good matches for all the great fans of professional wrestling.
EG: Who are your current favorites and why?
NN: My current favorites? Randy Orton is the man because he is very charismatic and knows how to work a crowd. Psychology is the key. I also like Ron "The Truth" Killings and AJ Styles because those guys bust their tails in the ring and go above the call of duty to put on a great show.
EG: What do you like/dislike about the wrestling business and why do you want to be a part of it?
NN: I like being in front of people, signing autographs and when a little kid or adult fan walks up and asks for my autograph then it makes it all worthwhile to me. Just to put a smile on a fan's face... there are a lot of wrestlers in the big time that don't care about fans because I have seen this first hand. You have to realize the fans are what make you and they are what can break you. What I dislike about this business is jealousy, all wrestlers should be family and respect one another ... unfortunately we have people in this business just tying to hurt someone to be on top. Thanks for this opportunity to share some thoughts I have with you the fans.