1. When did you first become a wrestling fan?
A toughie seeing as I don’t remember most of my childhood for one reason or another. I remember sometime at primary school I was playing football in Blackburn for a team called Blue Star and I was friends with the coach’s son Phil, we must have been about 9 or 10. I’m starting here because I remember busting Phil’s nose on his mum’s couch kicking out of a Boston Crab- I’ve always been a bit of a lummox. So I guess it must have been before then. I do used to head to my Nana’s every weekend when I was a little younger than 10 and remember seeing Vader in WCW so when would that have been? Anyway, I’ve been a fan from a young age but not having Sky TV until I was 15 prevented me from watching it religiously. My best mate Matt, who I was best man for last year, used to record odd episodes of Raw and WWF PPVs for me which started not long after we met. That was the first day of secondary school at Clitheroe Royal Grammar School in ’94 so maybe from late ’94-early ’95 kind of time. We’d watch together and later play the PSOne games War Zone and Attitude. We even used the Headbanger’s taunt as out goal celebration when playing football! You know, the one where they collide with each other and spin round? I’m not sure where this fits into the timeline but I remember playing the old Wresltemania game on my Atari, the one where you played as Hogan, Warrior or Bulldog to take on the likes of Warlord, Mountie and Sgt Slaughter. That was awesome! Maybe you can answer the question of ‘when did I become a fan? better than me!?
2. When growing up which wrestler inspired you to want to become one yourself?
Probably a collection rather than just one. I was never a Hogan fan and I’m still not. He’s got his positives of course, he’s done loads for wrestling, but just like Cena today his ability was limited and he was divisive and forced upon us. I suppose early on I was amazed by Vader as the big scary baddie that he was to me then. More in awe than amazed perhaps? I can’t say he really inspired me to become a wrestler though. I suppose seeing as I was brought up more with the attitude era, I’d have to say the likes of Bret & Owen Hart, Stone Cold, even Ron Simmons in his Faarooq guise were a party to my desires but the two that actually influenced me the most were The Rock (for obvious reasons) and perhaps surprisingly, D-Lo Brown. I managed to tell him this recently via Twitter and he graciously replied saying he was honoured to be an inspiration. You might see me using the Frog Splash from time to time? Who’s version do I use? That’s right, D-Lo’s. Not RVD’s or Eddie’s but the Lo-Down version. He got me hitting leg drops too but every man and hits dog hit those. As for The Rock, I was a fan, who wasn’t in his prime? He was a riot and never failed to make you laugh. Mum even bought me a life-size cardboard cut-out of him from WWF New York when that was still going which I ended up taking to Uni and proudly displaying in my ground floor bedroom window for the world to see! In my early days I did use be Rock Bottom from time to time but the only thing I do now is raise the old eyebrows after teaching myself to do it ha!
3. How did you get involved in wrestling?
When I first got in it was through that ‘dirty’ avenue I backyard wrestling. I use inverted commas because it’s looked down upon by many but I look back at it with fond memories. It was a strange one our backyard organisation, it’d been going a while in Blackburn before I joined after finding out about it after meeting new people at Sixth Form. It’d even been in the local paper once or twice. I could say so much about this place and go on a nostalgic ramble about it but I’m not sure everyone would understand. What I will say though is that it was like a family and surprisingly well run. I’d say it was better run than many promotions who’s shows I’ve seen or been booked on even! We had a fixed ring (albeit one we built and not a true ring but it served it’s purpose), we had a fixed entrance way with strobe lights, multi-coloured disco style lights, a smoke machine, multi-point cameras converted from old CCTV equipment, all sorts! That’s where Sebb was born, starting out mimicking the likes of Tazz, The Rock and D-Lo. We had some very talented guys there to be fair, smart guys too. There was a large amount of dross too but we made a name for the promotion, drawing crowds and a small fan base. The guy who ran it, Bobby, had an interview about it in Q Magazine and it was in the paper again. He even got a last minute invite to do the Christian O’Connell show for Channel 4 before producers axed it due to lack of prep time. We had become somewhat notorious and had caught the eye of a promotion in Wigan who sent their head trainer and a few of the boys to take a look at the best of us. Suffice to say they were impressed given our lack of training at that point and invited us to their school. Me and two others headed there a week or two later and the rest is history.
4. When was your debut match and against who?
This is going to sound terrible but I’ve actually forgotten who I had my first match with. Actually, no I haven’t, my first match in front of a paying crowd was with one of the guys from our backyard fed who’d been training with me in Wigan. They put us together because we already knew each other and worked well together. He doesn’t wrestle any more though and you likely wouldn’t know his name. It’ll have been in 2000 if I remember correctly, maybe 2001. A lot’s happened since then and this never intending to be my full time job I haven’t focused on stats and I’m terrible with dates anyway. I remember it going well though, me being the blue eye and getting a decent backing from the kids in the audience.
5. Who has been your favorite wrestler to work with so far?
I’ve almost worked with so many UK greats over the years but my favourite to work so far has probably got to be Ruffneck, either in singles or when he was tagging with Joey Hayes. I did have a really enjoyable match with the UK Undertaker (not one of the shitty tribute acts but a top worker in full gimmick) early on which was a fun ‘semi-mark out’ moment being finished off with a big boot-chokeslam-tombstone combo. I just had it in my head that it was the man himself. Sounds daft now really. There have been loads though. In more recent times since getting back on board with wrestling I’ve enjoyed working against my partner Paul Harris and the very talented Mark Starr amongst others.
6. How did you and Paul Harris become a team?
The quick answer would be that we were thrown together to do a promo spot in training and it just stuck. This was back at the Wigan based school ahead or two after I started there. We met there, hit it off and when his original partner quit or they broke up or something we teamed up. Our styles worked well together, he was more the grappler with his amateur background and I was the brawler. I can’t remember how I came up with the name Ultimate Devastation but that stuck even though I’d have changed it looking back!
7. What promotion have you enjoyed working for most of all?
That’s got to be DPW or Dynamic Pro Wrestling in Leeds. It was a good venue, well put together shows, top talent (including some overseas) and I got to work with top guys like the legend that is Keith Myatt and the team of Pryde. We also had a match with Marty Scurll though I loathe typing his name.
8. What promotion do you hope to work for in the future?
Well since I took a lot of time out of wrestling, arguably made some bad decisions in hindsight, had injuries & health issues and moved around the UK quite a bit I’ve not managed to maintain the standards I’d like so consider myself almost back to square one. That being said, I got back into training again in 2013 at Grapple in Leeds and having been working their shows. Also I started working for KGW and K&S. I’ve had word that I’d be welcome at over in Grimsby too which was a nice gesture after meeting a face from the past in Sykes at a KGW show. I’ve scheduled a few bookings at some smaller shows around Yorkshire but for me I want to head back over to train and be involved with Futureshock and possibly NGW. I’ve much improvement to make before getting there but my short comings come down to my own confidence levels. I’m working on that to try to make myself more confident in all areas of life so wish me luck there. Oh and I almost forgot ICW!
9. Who would you love to realistically work with in the future?
Realistically? Let’s see. One person if like to work with again is Paul. We have some natural chemistry from tagging together so that would be fun. I also want to team up with him again and face some teams like The Proven. In singles I’d like to work Liam Lazarus, Priscilla again as I didn’t do myself justice last time, who else? Pip (Bubblegum) and I were slated for a match several years ago which never materialised and I’ve a lot of time for him so him for sure. In all honesty though I need to work hard and get many more matches under my belt before I can step up a level.
10. What does 2014 have in store for you?
Firstly I need to train hard and improve my confidence, ability and fitness. Improvement in each will aid the other two as well so I need to focus. The year is starting off well as Grapple have got several shows in a short space of time, there’s also the other promotions I’ve mentioned already that I have bookings for in the first few months so we’ll see how things progress. I need to seek out opportunities too. There’s always the chance I might resurrect my plans for my own promotion if things go right. I have to remain ambitious in my job though so that’s the priority. I’ll always be a weekend warrior though.
Thanks to Sebb for taking time out to do this and you keep a track of his actions in 2014 by follow him on Twitter @SebbStrife and you can follow me @Craig_Jarrett