Coming up on Impact Wrestling this week, fans will witness the culmination of a 18 month relationship ending between Rockstar Spud and Ethan Carter III.
The former 'best friends' have turned on each other to become the worst of enemies and what better way to settle a feud then a 'Hair Vs Hair' match in front of a packed and vocal crowd in London's SSE Wembley arena.
Given the opportunity GiveMeSport jumped at the chance to interview one of the most intriguing, fun and entertaining characters currently on televised wrestling, none other than Birmingham's own Rockstar Spud.
Here's the full interview...
GiveMeSport (GMS) - Spud, thanks for joining us and can we start with one thing that has always confused me, you're a proud Brummie, yet you're an Everton fan! How and why?
Spud - Been a huge fan because of my father since I was very young. My favorite players were Neville Southall and Duncan Ferguson. I wrote to Duncan Ferguson when he was in jail for headbutting that Celtic player all those years ago when he played for Rangers. He was my hero. I went to the 1995 FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium and we beat Man Utd 1-0. Was one of the fondest childhood memories I shared with my father.
GMS - Is there anything you miss about living in the UK?
Spud - Bacon, bread, chocolate, digestives, malted milk, borbon biscuits and some of the clothing.
GMS - You've won many fans both in and out of the wrestling world; do you attribute this to anything in particular?
Spud - I like to think that when you watch me I have the ability to make you forget that I'm 5'4”, 150lbs and not the stereotype format for what a 'pro wrestler' should look like. What you see is what you get and that comes through the screen. I love entertaining people. I love making people so angry they want to see me get beaten up and I love being able to make the audience care so much for me they want me to win. I love having the ability to make people feel 'something' and I’m very proud that the writers and management in TNA have given me the opportunity to give the product my best at that.
GMS - With many seeing the Professional Wrestling world as the "Land of Giants", it is a testament of your talent to say that you are one of the must see characters on Impact. Have you found it to be immensely challenging to get promoters to see just how talented you are simply due to your size?
Spud - Very. It's been a very difficult journey. The problem with industries like Pro Wrestling is that you always judge a book by its cover on first appearance. Mine just happens to be a lot smaller than others but I have a lot more pages inside the cover. I think people always looked at me as someone who is talented but who wouldn't get a fair shot at a mainstream wrestling company due to my lack of stature and eventually even I believed it and still do now. The biggest critic of myself is me. The person who doesn't know my real value is me. Maybe that's down to my own insecurities, I don't know, but all I do know is that is what makes me different. Those insecurities, those doubts, those words that I heard time and time again to this day telling me “You cant do this because you aren't big enough,” they all go away as soon as I get to work and that's where all the fire comes from. It burns at me every day to be the absolute best performer I can be and that will never ever go away.
GMS - Who are your wrestling and on screen character influences?
Spud - I honestly couldn't single any one pro wrestler out because I sit and study everything and everyone. Take a little from here, take a little from there and try to make these things my own. What I do different to others is that I watch a lot of television shows, stage plays, comedies & movies and think how these performers made me feel in situations like in wrestling story lines and how that emotion made me feel. What a lot of wrestlers don't understand about this industry is that not only are you an in-ring performer but you also have to research a role for a character and this character has to have depth and this character has to be watchable and this character has to be someone you invest yourself in and care about them enough to see them win or lose SO much that you will be prepared to get off your sofa and part with your hard earned money to see them live and in person. You are an attraction. You're not simply a wrestler. If you aren't making people pay to see you then you can easily be replaced.
GMS - We've seen you play the comedic role as well as the serious role with your time on Impact wrestling. Do you find more enjoyment in playing one role more than the other?
Spud - Here's what people misunderstand. I'm not being comedic or serious, I'm just being Rockstar Spud. If I am put in a situation where I am at a disadvantage then you'll probably refer to me as an underdog. If I'm put in a situation where I'm lost in New York because I'm stereotypically British and cannot read a map then the situation has made it appear comedic. That's what everybody doesn't understand the most about pro wrestling. The 'situation' dictates how the characters will react but you're always the same person.
GMS - What can Impact do to seize public and media attention and grow as a company?
Spud - Constantly growing our audience is a necessity and I think branching out and touring across other countries and markets will provide us with more growth. We are a success already because we have been around just over 10 years and we have television, reputation, reach and markets all over the world. We must be doing something right as I don't see that from any other major promotion outside of WWE.
GMS - Do you feel that the wrestling industry is missing something that Impact can bring to the forefront with this #StandUp concept we have seen come to light?
Spud - I think what separates our company from others in the world right now is that we actually have a core divide or GOOD VS EVIL. Sure there will be fans that like the 'bad guys' but in its core roots professional wrestling was built on that standard of GOOD VS EVIL and that is exactly what IMPACT Wrestling brings every week.
GMS - TNA is growing throughout Europe, are we likely to see a European tour as opposed to just a UK tour in the future?
Spud - I'd really love that, I think our markets in Europe are some of our biggest and to capitalise on that with a huge European tour would be awesome. Obviously the UK is where we present some of our biggest shows but branching out to the other countries in Europe would do us nothing but favors. I'm all for it!
GMS - Grado has "something" and provides entertainment and a character that appears to cross to American & European audiences. If you were in charge of TNA, would you give him a contract?
Spud - There's a lot of people I would give a contract to if I was in charge but it's not up to me sadly. I think Grado is a polarizing character and has that special something that people are completely drawn in by. Who knows what happens in the future but I love the guy to death and he's always been the same whether you love him or hate him. He really loves this business and he's just enjoying the ride and I'm super happy for him and all his successes.
GMS - With the Bootcamp concept being a hit for the UK market, do you think a similar wrestling based reality show would work for other countries with immense wrestling heritage such as Canada, Mexico, or Japan?
Spud - I think it could but that is all down to having the right presenters and scouts to research the suggested markets. The UK scene has a tremendous relationship with TNA and shows like British Boot Camp have always been for their benefit long term. I would like to see it as the more different flavours of ice cream that we have on our roster, the more people will pay money to try our company out.
GMS - Should TNA sign some of the other talent from British Boot Camp 2, such as Kay Lee Ray and Dave Mastiff?
Spud - Again that's not up to me. I do know that whomever TNA sign that it's done so because they have somewhere they can 'fit' on our show. It's very easy to say “Oh this person should be signed” or “That person should be signed”. You need to have somewhere they can fit. Both Kay Lee and Dave are equally tremendous and unique and a worthy fit on any roster in the world as you've seen by their performances on British Boot Camp and on IMPACT Wrestling. If it happens, good for them I say.
GMS - This week you face former 'best friend' EC3 at the SSE Arena Wembley, what can fans expect?
Spud - You're going to see one of (if not) the bloodiest battles in pro wrestling history. You're going to see drama and you're going to see a fight. It’s not going to be for the weakened heart and it's probably not going to be suitable for children or the squeamish. All I can promise you it is that it will always be remembered and you'll never forget it.
GMS - Hair versus Hair matches have been a long standing way to culminate a feud between two wrestlers. Are there any specific matches with this stipulation that stand out in your mind heading into this week?
Spud - There are many that stand out. You had Roddy Piper vs Adrian Adonis at Wrestlemania 3 where Brutus Beefcake brought out the sheers. I remember as a child Beefcake cutting the hair of every local guy he wrestled every week on television. People don't get that myself vs EC3 isn’t about HAIR. It’s about embarrassment, entitlement and giving someone who thinks he is above everyone in looks, wealth, family and everything else getting to be made to feel like he's made others feel ever since he stepped foot into the company. This spoilt rich kid when seeing his Aunt Dixie get put through a table could not accept that he was part of such a travesty and blamed others and everyone around him but himself. Everyone has been in a situation where they have been mistreated or bullied by someone they've cared about whether it be a family member or a friend and that's why people have connected with the two characters and the story. We've made this year-and-a-half long movie chronicling the story of EC3 and Rockstar Spud. We've seen the beginning, the middle and now this Friday on Destination America and Sunday on Challenge TV it’s the end. The final battle. You've seen enough movies to know what happens in the final scenes of a battle, it’s all guns blazing and it's going to be explosion after explosion until this roller coaster comes to an end. I truly believe its going to be one of those matches people remember for a long long time.
GiveMeSport would like to take the opportunity to thank Rockstar Spud for spending time with us and answering our questions, prior to the final TNA UK tour shows on Destination America and Challenge TV.