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Wrestling Then and Now
INTERVIEW WITH "TEXTBOOK" PHILLY MADISON

by Dale Pierce

DALE PIERCE: Why use the name of Philly Madison? Were you a fan of the Billy Madison movie?

PHILLY MADISON: Never seen the movie. Philly Madison is my real name, and I usually wrestle as "Textbook" Philly Madison. "Textbook" was a nickname I picked up in wrestling school, so I use it. Plus I come down to the ring with the textbook Pro Wrestling for Idiots just in case I need to look up a move or distract the ref.

DP: Where did you start wrestling, and whom were you trained by?

PM: I started training in a wrestling school on Staten Island, New York in December of 1999. The two teachers were Joe "Zeig" and Eric Kreed. After about a year, the school started putting on shows and called themselves NEPW--North East Pro Wrestling (http://teamnepw.com/) Unfortunately, the school has closed down in November of 2002.

DP: What wrestlers did you grow up watching that you admired?

PM: Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels, and Ricky Steamboat, mainly. Ric Flair's heel work is amazing. Shawn Michaels' charisma is off the charts. And Ricky Steamboat's wrestling ability was untouchable.

DP: What promotions do you wrestle for now?

PM: I'm currently working for GWF, UWC, UWF, JWA, and PTW (if you can call five seconds in a battle royal wrestling for them)

DP: Were the independents a let-down for you, or are you happy with what you have seen so far?

PM: The indys are what I expected, pretty much. I knew there would be a lot of traveling and a lot of guys getting pushed when they shouldn't and a lot of guys being held back when they can out-shine the rest. Just recently I felt the sting of the indys when my tag partner is being booked under our tag name with a diffrent partner. That was a real heart-breaker in more ways then one.

DP: Are there any promoters you would flat not work with again?

PM: There are no promoters or promotions I would not work for specifically, but I have a few close friends that are also wrestlers. If I feel they are getting screwed out of doing a show for the wrong reasons, then I'll not work the show to show them support. The show will still go on with out me, but at least I'll be able to look at myself in the mirror.

DP: With whom have you had your best matches?

PM: My all-time best match was againest Bill Ding in GWF this past March. Bill Ding is a 400-pound giant, and I'm a 200-pound lightweight. In all honesty, I faired very well against him, went about ten minutes or so. Bill Ding is usually in handicap matchs that end with him winning in a few minutes. He still won our match, but it was an overall great match. If wrestling was boxing, I would have beat him in points. Don't tell him that!

DP: The steroids and drugs are evidently a major problem in the big time. Have you seen much steroid abuse in the indys, or do you think the problem even exists?

PM: I haven't seen any real signs of drug abuse in the indys. I'm sure it's out there, but I haven't seen any of it. Or maybe I'm just not paying attention, who knows?

DP: What finishing move do you like to use?

PM: My main finisher is called the Madison Slam. It's a modified version of the STO. It can be done on anybody, any size. For special matches, I will pull out the Kinniku-Buster, which is a super powerful neck breaker. I can only do that move to other lightweights, though.

DP: Have the older people been willing to help you along or given you any advice that has been useful?

PM: The older wrestlers are great. See, I may be young, but I wrestle in an old school fashion mostly. Crowd work is a must. Most valuable piece of advice I recieved was, "If the crowd isn't into the match, ya might as well leave." So a lot of the older wrestlers give me tips on crowd work and how to slow the pace of my matchs down.

DP: Do you ever think you'll make it to the WWE, or are you happy working the indys--like say, Sabu or others who seem to prefer the indy shows to the big leagues?

PM: Hmmmm. I know I'm not ready for the WWE yet. Although I would love to work the cruiserweight divsion one day, or even have a run for the Intercontinental Title. That would be awsome. But for now, I'm happy in the indys.

DP: Do you prefer heel or baby?

PM: Heel. I started wrestling as a heel, and about 90% of my matchs I wrestled as a heel. I get a lot of compliments on my heel work. Other workers have called me a "thinking man's heel" because of my crowd work and such. Only problem with being a heel is I don't sell as many pictures. Even though I like being a heel, I can be just as good as a babyface.

DP: As an older guy, I don't like the end of kayfabing, but what can I do? As a younger guy, how do you feel about the fact no one even tries to say wrestling is real anymore?

PM: Wrestling's not real? Since when?

DP: Likewise, do you think all the Web sites, sheets, and expose programs help or hurt wrestling?

PM: I haven't seen any of these really, so I couldn't say. Whatever the wrestling fans want to do is okay with me. As long as they're coming to the shows, it doesn't matter what they say.

DP: Have any of these sheets or Net people been critical of you? If not and you later get criticism from some of them, how would you respond? Some wrestlers don't care, others blow their stack and would probably kill these critics if they could.

PM: I don't think I've been criticized by any Web sites. I would love it if I was, though. For someone to take the time just to write something about me is very flattering. Any kind of exposure is good exposure.

DP: Have you ever considered going to Mexico or Europe where there are more wrestlers your size?

PM: I would love to go to either Europe, Mexico, or Japan. Size is not an issue for me, though. I can pretty much adjust my style to any wrestler I'm wrestling. I like to think of my style as a "Jack of all Trades" style, because I can do a little bit of everything. Overall, I do prefer to wrestle other lightweights, but like I said, it really doesn't matter.

DP: What do you do for conditioning and training now?

PM: Well, I'm in the gym about four to five days a week. I do diffrent types of weight training, and I wear a 40-pound vest and a backpack with a 25-pound weight in it while at the gym. I also do diffrent types of cardio, and I have a trampoline, so I use that also. For eating and such, I don't eat any kind of red meat or mammal, for that matter. I also don't drink any soda or alcohol, mostly water. If I was to eat and drink any and everything, I would probably be a lot bigger.

DP: Closing comments?

PM: Just like to thank you for this interview. If any promoters or wrestling fans want to contact me, my e-mail is phillymadison@yahoo.com. I'll answer any question you may have, and if you would like an autographed 8x10, it's only $3 ($2 for the picture, $1 for shipping, autograph is free) Thanks!

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