1. When did you realize that wrestling was something that you wanted to become involved in?
Like most wrestlers in the business today I am a lifelong wrestling fan. I remember watching Smackdown on Sky1 as a 6 year old and every week inviting my mom into my room as I put on shows with my Hasbro wrestling figures and ring, booking faux matches, creative feuds and story lines, even building to PPVs where I’d charge my mom £1 to watch even though she had zero interest in my plastic product. Then when I was around 14 I remember telling the person I lived with at the time that ‘I’ll be a wrestler one day’ to which they laughed and I replied ‘You’ll see!!!’ before running upstairs to perform 10 push ups and chest press my school bag. I’m all for proving that you can do whatever it is you set your mind to and professional wrestling amongst other things were my challenges.
2. How did you go about becoming a wrestler?
I performed stand up comedy since I was around 20 with natural progression leading me into acting on stage, television and film. Although nothing to really write home about these gave me the skills to create the believable characteristics of my in ring persona Rocky Future. The skills I’d learned in regards to stage presence, character development, been comfortable on the microphone in front of an audience and a natural athletic ability led me again on the natural progression to my childhood dream of becoming a professional wrestler. I’d gotten back into the WWE product after a considerable hiatus and ventured to a UKW show in Halifax where I saw my first British wrestling show. From there, I took myself to the training academy and the rest is history.
3. Do you remember your first outing as a wrestler?
My first outing as a wrestler was not too long ago as I’ve been lucky enough to progress and gain the confidence of my trainers and promoter in a rather short period of time. My first outing was at an academy show at the UKW Thunderdome in which I gave a beat down to Jay Junior after his match and gave my first promo. Due to me being a huge believer in creating a professional product and not performing in every day shorts and T-shirt I asked if I could pass on competing for the first time as I didn’t have the relevant gear and to just provide a promo. It seems this decision worked as it gained me the respect of the promotion, trainers and built me up a little before my first in ring debut. At the next show I finally had my in ring attire and had my first match with Dynamite James Danielson who was a great help with leading me through the match without any hiccups and pushing me to perform outside of my comfort zone.
4. Is there anybody out there that you give thanks to for getting to where you are now?
I know Rocky Future has a huge ego and would love the wording of this question IE, ‘Where I am now’. I’m humbled and thankful that I’ve already in my relatively short amount of time performing in front of a paying audience been provided with the opportunities to take and make my own and stand out. People like Jonathan Sedgwick at UKW have seen something in me as well as MVK Valkabious for taking me and others under his wing to develop my in ring skills. I owe thanks to people like Liam Lazarus for providing me with a very competitive yet personal benchmark of where I can, should and will be (even though he doesn’t know it), James Danielson as I said before for constantly pushing me outside of my comfort zone in matches, especially since winning the UKW Academy Championship towards the back end of last year and Caleb Crow for his great advice and working some of my favourite matches with me. As well as the many various promoters who have had nothing but great things and encouragement to say about my work, who I look forward to working with throughout 2014 and the future.
5. Who is/was your inspiration to do what you do?
Of course the majority of the WWE attitude era roster and prior were big inspirations for me in terms of creating the idea that I wanted to do what they were doing on that scale. The Rock (My naturally similar manarisms led to the nickname given to me by trainer MVK Valkabious, I’ll probably never shake that) was probably a great ambassador for me as I could relate to his charisma and somewhat cheeky character and more recently, players like Daniel Bryan, CM Punk and Dolph Ziggler for their in ring talent and proof that you don’t necessary need to be 7 feet to make it anymore. I guess these were more recently whilst I had already started my journey in the 20×20 and could see how much they work to get the opportunities they have earned.
6. What do you think of the UK scene and its long term chances of competing with the worldwide scene?
In my opinion there is no better time for the UK scene since the era of Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks etc. The product of some promotions currently in Great Britain is at a peak with HXC, PCW, WAW and NGW especially pushing the bounderies of where professional wrestling in the UK should be heading. The spectacle and production of the shows is getting bigger and better and the amount of talent on the scene is incredible. I think as long as this carries on and especially with promotions like PCW, NGW and smaller promotions like UKW getting their product televised alongside things like Wrestletalk TV, we have a good chance of getting more people back into engaging with the the UK products and the prospect of a more mainstream and viable options of distribution on the horizon. The UK promoters need to continue to excel and fans of professional wrestling residing on our shores need to continue to shout about and promote what we have right under our noses and I have no doubt that we can compete in some respect, maybe not on a global WWE scale but certainly nationally.
7. WWE and TNA aside, which overseas promotion would you love to wrestler for?
In fairness, my knowledge of European and Asian promotions is relatively slim but Dragon Gate has a great level of talent on their roster which I’m always excited to watch and PWG is another favourite of mine, especially from an indy/spot filled perspective. Both of these I would love to showcase my skills for if given the opportunity as well as some of the bigger players in the UK. Watch this space!
8. Again WWE and TNA aside, which overseas wrestlers would you love to work with in the ring?
Due to my limited knowledge of talent outside of the UK and America I’m going to have to pass on this question and instead name players on home soil instead. Noam Darr is someone I would love to work with in the ring as to me he has the complete package. He’s young, colourful, ambitious, a worker, has great character and his in ring talent is something to really be admired. Kris Travis falls in the same boat for all of the reasons above so naturally he’s another British talent I’d love at some point to work with.
9. Who on the UK scene do you think is the complete package?
I can only really comment on talents that I’ve seen or worked with and the main names that spring to mind are the likes of Noam Dar and Kris Travis as mentioned above as well as El Ligero, Mark Haskins and MVK Valkabious. I think for someone as young and talented as Valkabious with his aesthetic physique, ability and speed it would be a crime for someone like WWE (who I know have already placed interest in his development) to pass up on the opportunity to build on the foundations he has already.
10. What is your proudest accomplishment in wrestling so far?
Even though my wrestling career has been relatively short thus far, I’ve had many proud accomplishments. The main being beating Liam Lazarus for the UKW Academy Championship last year at Wrestlebration V on a stacked roster including TNA talent, a fiery audience and in front of my family and friends. I couldn’t have hoped for a better match against a better opponent. I’d worked hard and reached my goal of earning a championship in my first year on the UK professional wrestling scene. My next goals and accomplishments have been set and all I can do is continue to work hard and build on what I have now by hopefully retaining my title throughout 2014 at UKW and winning a few others in the many other promotions I’m now being booked for this year.
Thank you very much to Rocky for this interview and thank you for the continued support. You can follow him over on Twitter @telbanham