1. How did you get involved in wrestling to begin with?
I wanted to become a wrestler from the age of 12, I was flicking through the channels with my brother and stumbled upon WCW by accident, watched Rey Mysterio Jr and was blown away by the athleticism and colourfullness of what he was doing, then Ric Flair was on after and his diversity from Rey and character hooked us in. I knew I wanted to be a wrestler from that age, I got my first set of weights for my 16th birthday and started working on a physique of some kind. Watching WCW, I understood I was a million miles away from looking like a wrestler especially at the time I was the second smallest member of my year in school. I did inquire at the only wrestling school I could find online at the time but they were based in London, living in North Wales I understood I would have to put wrestling on the back burner and pursue my second passion. I joined the army aged 18 and throughout my army career I was still watching wrestling and messing around with the lads on camp, I was in the regimental boxing team and mess around with a couple of friends who were also into wrestling. The urge to be a wrestler was getting overpowering and as I was due to leave the army, I started looking around schools in my home area and began training whilst I was still in regiment on weekends.
2. Who were your influences in becoming a wrestler?
Although Rey Mysterio and Flair hooked me in, it was Bret Hart mainly who I imitated growing up, he was the one I waited up to watch as a kid, he really was the excellence of execution, looking back at some of his and Benoit’s matches, there’s no wonder I used to think it was all legit. Also Goldberg, he wasn’t the best technically but to me at the time he had the whole package, the music, entrance, tough guy attitude, hard as you like. I remember jumping to my feet as he hit the spear, often out of nowhere then I’d be jumping shouting at the television when he set his opponent up for the jackhammer, it was all just so awesome as a child watching that level of drama and intensity. Fantastic memories.
3. When and where did you make your debut?
As I mentioned, I started training while I was in the army, I originally went to Futureshock Wrestling in Manchester, I would drive the 2.5 hours from army base to home, then the hour from home to training, the hour back home both Saturday and Sunday then the 2.5 hour back to North Yorkshire Sunday night/Monday morning. After leaving the army I still trained at Futureshock with The Blossom Twins, Cyanide, Jack Gallagher, Sam Bailey and Dom Travis to name a few until one of the trainees at the time suggested going to GPW that wasn’t too far from Futureshock on Sundays. At that time, I was in my peak physically and didn’t feel like I was being tested enough at Futureshock, the knowledge and education was brilliant but physically, I was used to being, and expected to be beasted. I mentioned this to Johnnie Brannigan who was the head trainer at GPW, sure enough I got beasted and that’s where I made my debut. Myself and a chap known to the lads as Nixi got squashed by Project Ego which, back then was Kris Travis and a lovely giant called Scotty Hexx. They looked after me and we went through the squash a million times as I was unbelievably nervous. I recall vividly standing behind the curtain thinking, “What am I doing, what am I actually doing here?! Why didn’t I just buy a ticket and watch the show”?! My gear was terrible, long baggy pleather shorts made by my now mother in law, scraggly knee pads with the wife’s black tights over the top and Sam Baileys kickpads. I still have the shorts, I can’t throw them away!
4. Who if anybody do you feel you have learned from in the ring?
Having worked with El Ligero for the majority of last year, I have obviously picked up a great deal of technical aspects of match structure and planning, what will work and when to do things, he really is the best in the UK. Also Bubblegum, Pip is so knowlegable and he’s always giving me little bits to help tweak and fine tune elements of my matches. Zack Gibson is technically one of the best and knows his audiences, I’ve had many matches with him with roles reversed but more recently was from my match with Jay Lethal, he really was one of the nicest guys, no ones ever got as excited planning a match as he did and the conversations we had mid match I’ll never forget, on the job teaching ha.
5. What would you like to achieve in your wrestling career?
As far as achievements go, I’ve won and lost many titles, more recently I was given three awards at BWP’s Christmas do, fan favourite of the year, match of the year and wrestler of the year. All voted for by the BWP faithful and my peers, being recognized by your own peers as achieving them kind of accolades is very heart warming and humbling. I wouldn’t mind being recognized as a champion at GPW sometime in the future, and although my 2014 calendar is filling up I am always happy to work for other promotions and get out there even more than I am, meet some more people, travel around a bit more.
6. Is wrestling your full time job?
No wrestling isn’t my full time job, as much as I’d love it to be, the money isn’t the greatest. And as a husband, dad and home owner I do have two day jobs, I’m very very busy with work and use wrestling as an escape. If I didn’t wrestle, I would be a pretty edgy person to be around, it calms me down and chills me out, if I don’t get in a ring on a weekend, I can get quite naggy, my personal life I keep very separate to my wrestling life, that way I feel I can give more as a performer if people only know me as that person, if that makes sense? So no, I work very long days and most weekends, my only spare time is usually taken up in the gym or playing with Joshua. It’s how I’ve always been, I never just sit and watch TV, or spend countless hours on a games console, it doesn’t appeal to me. I’d rather be doing something creative or in the gym. You have no idea how annoyed I get when wrestlers don’t go the gym and they tell me they don’t have the time to. If I have time, then anyone can find the time.
7. Who would you like to work with in 2014?
There’s a lot of new guys coming through the rankings that I would love to get in the ring with, I work face or heel depending where I am and so that gives me a great opportunity to work with lads from both sides of a character but ultimately there’s Jim Nastic at GPW, along with LA Austin who both have their cards marked. I love helping out the younger guys, try and teach them something in the process as I believe it all helps out the whole picture of British wrestling and improving the average Joes view on it, I will only help lads I know work hard as it is and enjoy rounding off and polishing their act as opposed to back to basics training. Although I have trained breaks new trainees, and I do enjoy it, I see myself as very psychologically based and get a buzz out of helping plan a specific spot knowing the reaction it should get, then enjoying the fruits of my labor.
8. What overseas promotions do you enjoy watching?
I will literally watch anything, WWE, TNA, AAA, ROH and all the little indy feds about, if it has a ring and spandex? I’m in. I like a lot of Japanese stuff, I’m a fan of legitimacy and realism but there’s always room in my heart for comedy and entertainment.
9. What UK promotions would you like to work for?
At the moment, anyone! There are so many fantastic promotions out there, now really is a great time to be wrestling in the UK, I’ve noticed an increase in crowds since I started almost 8 years ago. Don’t get me wrong, there are some horrendously terrible ‘companies’ out there but they never usually last but leave enough of a stain on wrestling to Joe Average for him to not want to go back again. HXC have been making a bit of noise and they are certainly one place I would love to get into, PW4U have a great thing going on in Stoke but all the dates they have me clash with other companies date commitments I have, Futureshock I wouldn’t mind doing something with and I’m excited to see what Infinite have planned for 2014, a new-ish promotion with an absolutely massive potential in improving an already seamless show.
10. Who would your dream match opponent/s be?
I have worked with pretty much everyone who is anyone in the UK, GPW have the ingredients to give me and Joey Hayes an awesome run but as for foreigners, Colt Cabana, Daniel Bryan, Chris Benoit, AJ Styles, Akira Tozawa are all people I YouTube whilst sat on the bike machine at the gym, all for very different reasons, some dream opponents more realistic than others also!
Was a pleasure to do this interview with Dylan, such a cool guy. As you read his 2014 calendar is jam packed so to get up to date with his appearances throughout the year please follow him on Twitter under the handle @Dyl_Roberts