AN INTERVIEW WITH RUCKUS

Posted September 11th, 2014 by 1Wrestling News Team

Interview with Ruckus

By Joseph Feeney III
Twitter: @jffeeney3rd
Name: Ruckus
Height: 5”8
Weight: 210 lbs.
Companies worked for: ROH, CZW, AJPW, WSX, Chikara, JAPW, and MCW
Career Highlights: 3 time CZW Heavyweight Champion, 2 time CZW Junior Heavyweight Champion, 4 time CZW Tag Team Champion, IWA Mid-South “Simply the Best” tournament winner (2006,) MCW Shane Shamrock Memorial tournament winner (2006,) Big Japan Junior Heavyweight Championship

I had the honor recently to conduct an interview with one of the most incredible high flyers in independent wrestling history, Ruckus. From the time he wowed fans with his athleticism in his early days in CZW, to running the villainous stable BLK OUT, to his days with ROH, to the rise and fall of Extreme Rising, we covered it all. Enjoy…

JF: Were you a wrestling fan growing up?

RK: Yes! Ever since my grandfather showed me my first match; it was Curt Hennig vs. Nick Bockwinkel, and ever since then I was hooked.

JF: Nice! So were you the kind of fan who watched anything and everything you could get your hands on?

RK: Yes, anything and everything. I’m a big fan of old school Memphis wrestling.

JF: So who were some of your favorites from when you were young?

RK: 2 Cold Scorpio and Marty Jannetty are my favorite wrestlers of all time. Also, Ric Flair, Curt Hennig, and Shawn Micheals, I’ve always been a big fan of theirs.

JF: Do you have any favorite old Memphis angles that might not be that well known?

RK: Offhand, Jerry Lawler vs. Jackie Fargo is a feud that stands out.

JF: So, when did you start to get the idea that pro wrestling was something that you wanted to do?

RK: Well, I was always wrestling in school, from grade school on to high school. I think it hit me in my freshman year of high school, that this was what I wanted to do full time. I won tons of championships throughout my high school wrestling career, so I figured it’s what I’m good at, so let’s run with it.

JF: Did you attend a lot of live shows when you were younger?

RK: I went to a few live local shows and a few WWE and WCW shows growing up, but not too many. The best show I think I saw live back then, was King Of The Ring ’94, where Owen Hart won the tournament.

JF: I read that you did a little backyard wrestling. Was this before you officially trained?

RK: Yes, I did backyard wrestling while I was growing up, with a few friends. We had our own backyard fed called HCW: Hardcore Championship Wrestling. I wrestled under my real name back then. It’s kinda crazy, Sonjay Dutt and I would exchange backyard tapes from our feds back and forth, and this was all before I started training to be a pro.

JF: So what made you make the jump from backyarding to going and getting trained at a school?

RK: I decided to become a pro wrestler when the state of Maryland banned backyard wrestling. Sonjay Dutt, myself, and the Hurricane Kidd all began training at the same time. I started training at Brain Busters wrestling school in Essex, Maryland. It was run by the MEWF. My trainers were Bob Starr, Chad Austin, Dino Cassanova, and Axl Rotten.

JF: How was the training there? Do you feel you were properly prepared to start taking bookings, etc.?

RK: Well the training was great! I started learning the basics from Bob Starr, who knows a lot about ring psychology, then Chad Austin took over and taught me the ins and outs of getting my highflying cleaned up. Dino and Axl taught me how to be tough in the ring and how to take my bumps the right way. Overall, it was a great place to train. I loved it. I would walk to wrestling school every day. It was like a mile walk from my house, and I would get there at 9am and train till closing time, every day, for two years straight.

JF: It wasn’t long before CZW brought you in. How did your relationship with the Combat Zone begin?

RK: Me and Hurricane Kidd did a show in New Jersey for Power Pro Wrestling. That night, John Zandig was in the crowd along with Dewey and they got to see me work. A week later, I got the call from Zandig to come tryout with the Briscoe brothers, and all three of us got picked up afterwards.

JF: Very quickly, your unique style made you a favorite, not only in CZW but among all Indy fans. You were a bigger guy then, and that made your high flying moves even more exceptional. Did you have your eye on losing weight early in your career, or did that come later?

RK: No. I started losing weight after my first WWE tryout. They said they wanted to sign me, so they wanted me to tighten up and lose some weight. I did, and then of course, they said that I was too small, so I wound up signing with WSX. After WSX, I had another tryout with WWE and that time, they said I was too short, and I would have to wait for them to restart their Cruiserweight division.

JF: So your weight never really affected your in ring work or your ability to do some of your more spectacular moves?

RK: Losing the weight actually made the moves harder to do, if that makes any sense, but I was always, and I still am able to hit everything I could before to this day.

JF: Some of your early work in CZW involved the Junior Heavyweight Championship, and matches with Trent Acid and Sonjay Dutt. Can you describe that time period early on in your CZW career, and working with Acid and Dutt?

RK: Well they are both great wrestlers, and even better friends. I was always working with Sonjay before CZW, so that’s like a night off. He is so good at what he does, and ever since we backyarded, we have always been pushing each other to be better. Trent was someone I learned a lot from. I give him a lot of credit for making me the wrestler I am today. He taught me timing, and how to layout my move set. Every time I worked him I learned something new, and the matches just kept getting better. I never had a bad match with Trent. He brought the best out of me every single time, and I am grateful for the matches I had with them both.

JF: You also participated in what was a rather racial angle with the Rockin Rebel. Did you have any problem personally with feuding over that sort of thing, or with things Rebel would say over the microphone?

RK: Not at all! I met Rebel while I was training early on. He helped me get into the wrestling business, by pointing me to the Brain Busters School. One of my first feuds in the MEWF was with Rebel. We brought the feud to CZW. Rebel is a great guy outside of the ring and we have been great friends from the start .It was all business, nothing personal, and it made for a great storyline.

JF: You also did some shots for 3PW between 2003-2005. How did you like working for that promotion?

RK: It had its up and downs. The locker room was great, and the shows were always fun. I always had great matches there, no matter who I was in there with. Jasmin was a bitch, until you got to know her. I got let go from 3PW for taking a tour for All Japan Pro Wrestling over one of their dates, but was later rehired by Tod Gordon, who is a great guy as well.

JF: Through CZW, you made your way to both Japan and Italy. What can you tell the readers about your first visits abroad, and your favorite moments during those trips?

RK: Well my first overseas trip was to Japan, for Big Japan. It was a great learning experience and a great place to visit. The wrestling in Japan is awesome, and all the wrestlers there work very hard. It makes you wanna work just as hard, and winning the BJW Junior title in Japan was awesome. Italy was great, because I got to go over there with all of my friends. I got to have great matches with Trent and learn from Bret Hart every day. That Italy trip was such a memorable time.

JF: So in 2004, the BLK OUT stable formed. How did that come about initially?

RK: Well at the time, I was set to lose the CZW Junior Heavyweight title to Sonjay Dutt, and CZW did not know what to do with me from that point. So I asked to turn heel for a change, and at the same time, Robbie Mireno had just been put on the shelf. CZW did not want him to be the ring announcer, so Robbie had an idea to manage me and we would be like Biggie and Puff Daddy. Then we decided to add 2 friends of ours from back in the day, Sabian and Joker. So we got them in, and called ourselves BLK OUT. CZW let us run with it and book our own angles. Once it started to blow up, they based the company around the group and the rest is history. It was one of those things that happened at the right time. We later brought in Eddie Kingston, who is awesome all around, and it just rounded everything out.

JF: And it led to a CZW Tag Team Championship reign for you and Sabian that lasted most of 2004, and capped off with a CZW Heavyweight Championship reign shortly thereafter.
You had it the majority of 2005 after defeating Messiah, and eventually lost it to Super Dragon. What are your favorite memories of that championship reign?

RK: The night we won the tag belts was great. It made us feel like we were doing our jobs. CZW put us in a top spot and us winning the belts and carrying the tag division was awesome. When it came time that I won the World title from Messiah, it was a surprise to me. I never thought about being World champ ever, so the fact that they had faith in me to win the title and run with it was absolutely an honor.

JF: It was clear you were CZW’s top guy at the time, as you recaptured the title only a couple of months after losing it, and carried it through the first half of 2006 as well. You wound up losing this time to Chris Hero. Were you happy overall with your runs on top at this time? And how did you like working with Chris Hero?

RK: All the guys I worked with through my title reign were great. I worked with all great wrestlers, who really helped me to get over and show that I was the right guy for that time.
I was always happy with my title runs. Chris Hero is a great wrestler and a cool dude. I always enjoyed working with him. He is very professional and a master at his craft. All of our matches were good, and he always had nothing but nice things to say when I spoke with him. Hero’s just a great guy.

JF: After the end of your second reign, you faced CZW Founder John Zandig in a barbed wire match. What is your recollection of participating in such a violent match, especially against Zandig?

RK: I was looking forward to working with Zandig. He was like a dad to me. I always pitched the idea but it was never the right time. Zandig and I had a few matches before the barbwire match in Japan. The night of the barbwire match, I was nervous, but ready. It was very painful, but it came out great! I remember him getting mad when he whipped me into the barbwire and I flipped over the top rope to the floor and landed on my feet. It was such a good match. I always have fun working with him, plus his razzle dazzle is legendary!

JF: CZW wasn’t the only promotion to see you as a top star. That summer in 2006, you won not only the Shane Shamrock Cup, defeating names like Sonjay Dutt, Jerry Lynn, and Petey Williams, but you also won IWA’s Mid-South Simply The Best tournament, beating Ricochet in the finals to do so. What are your memories of those tournaments, and your opponents in each?

RK: All of the guys you mentioned are awesome. Winning the IWA tournament was such a great moment, and both Derek Frazier and Ricochet really came with their A game. We had great matches. The Shamrock Cup was something I always just wanted to be in, let alone win it all. Me and Derek Frazier were the last two in the match and went 15 more minutes of non stop action. It was one of my best performances, hands down. Getting to work with Jerry Lynn was an honor, he is just such a great. And I love working with Petey, Sonjay and Sabin.

JF: You’ve encountered Teddy Hart a few times during your career. What did you think of Teddy? Did you think he would make it to WWE as he wanted, or did you think his “eccentricities” would prevent that?

RK: Teddy Hart is a very good friend of mine, and he’s done a lot for my career. He has just been a great friend all around. Bret hooked me and Teddy up, and we have been friends ever since. Teddy has a good head on his shoulders and he is straight up, all the time. I knew he would make it to WWE, because he believes everything he says and he works until he makes it happen. Since I’ve known him, he has always done whatever he sets his mind to and I respect that. He is a great dude, and while he’s not everyone’s cup of tea, he’s my boy. It’s always a good time with Teddy, and I always have great matches with him and Jack Evans.

JF: So, up next was the Wrestling Society X experiment. What did you initially hear about it, and what were your expectations?

RK: Well Teddy got me hooked up with that. He introduced me to another couple of good friends, Kevin Kleinrock and Cody Micheals, who are both just great dudes. Initially I really did not know what to think of it, but I knew it was great, great money and I was doing what I loved with all my friends. Then once we were told the whole story and the whole idea, I loved it. It was a great time, and there was a ton of great talent. I think it would have been great had MTV stayed out of it, and let Kevin and Cody run it like they wanted to. MTV made WSX add all the special effects and the explosions. That all sucked, but as a whole, I thought the show was great.

JF: You became a 3 time CZW Champion by defeating Justice Pain, and defending through the remainder of 2007 until you lost it to a returning Nick Gage. How did you like working with some of the more hardcore CZW guys, who had been there pretty much from day one?

RK: They were the best guys to work with. My character as a heel worked well with all of their characters because really, in CZW I never really worked with any of them, so they were all fresh matchups. I love working Gage. He is the man, he always gets the house pumped, and we always tear it up.

JF: You have worked for Chikara a handful of times. What was your experience like, and what do you think of their product?

RK: Their product is awesome, with young talent and a great locker room. I always had a great time there. Mike Quackenbush has always been cool to me, and my man Eddie Kingston is killing it over there right now, so all is good.

JF: To step back a little bit, you teamed with Abdullah The Butcher in Japan…which sounds incredible! Please describe that night and that experience for the readers.

RK: First I will say, it was such a prestigious honor to be given the chance to work for All Japan, let alone do a tour! Teaming with Abby was great and the house was huge! It was by far one of the biggest I’ve ever wrestled in front of. Jinsei Shinzaki was awesome to work with, really cool guy and he taught me a few things. I also got to train with The Great Muta, Kaz Hayashi, and Taka Michinoku while I was there, so that was incredible too. The night of the show, I was scared to death, but it all worked out in the end and I had a great time.

JF: Now I’d like to turn the talk towards Ring of Honor. You were brought in as an ally of Jack Evans. But in my mind, you were an ROH fit long before that. Did ROH reach out to you in the years before that, or was this your first contact with them?

RK: No, ROH never reached out early on, don’t ask me why. Maybe it was the whole CZW/ROH politics from back then. But when they did bring me in, it was good. My time there was fun and the locker room was cool. I always had good matches and I got to work with a ton of great talent.

JF: You wrestled for their World Championship against Nigel McGuinness. What are your memories of that match, and main eventing an ROH show?

RK: That was awesome! Nigel is a great dude. We had a really good match. He really helped put me over and the crowd had a good time. Other than getting knocked out on that last lariat he threw, it was all good!

JF: Have you ever had any contact with TNA about joining their roster?

RK: I talked to them before I signed with WSX awhile back, but I’ve never really tried to contact them.

JF: Ok, so in the spring of 2012, Extreme Reunion/Rising debuted in front of a standing room only crowd in Philadelphia. You and BLK Jeez opened the show, and then attacked the Gangstas later to begin a feud. How did you feel about that first show, and about ER’s future?

RK: I mean the first show had its problems, but the Philly crowed showed up en masse and were super loud and that’s always good. I looked at ER like any other show, though. To me it was what it was. I never look at the future, I just let things come as they are. It’s like they say no one knows what the future may bring.

JF: You guys were awarded “Tag Team Of The Year” and “Match Of The Year” by Extreme Rising for 2012. That match was a pretty spectacular 3 way cage match with The Briscoes and The Dramaticos. What are your memories of that match, as it got pretty crazy pretty quick!

RK: That match was absolutely awesome. I love working with both teams, as we always put on a good show. We all went out there to just have fun and just go all out balls to the wall and that’s what we did. Everyone in that match is very talented and bring a lot to the table, and certainly showed it that night.

JF: ER made a return in late 2013 at the ECW Arena, with big talk about a TV show, etc. Did you believe the hype, and were you surprised when they folded operations?

RK: NOPE!

JF: So, in your over a decade in the business, who is your favorite opponent of all time?

RK: Trent Acid.

JF: Where do you see yourself in five years? In ten years?

RK: That’s future trippin. I don’t do that, I just let things ride!

JF: Ok, let’s say Saturday night, you are main eventing Madison Square Garden, the house is sold out…and you get to choose your opponent. Who would you choose?

RK: 2 Cold Scorpio.

JF: Excellent! Well, to wrap this up, where can fans see Ruckus appearing in the near future?

RK: MCW, PPW, September 27th ACW Maryland and subscribe to my YouTube page at youtube.com/blkoutczw
Also, check out Chocolate City Customs on Facebook for all the gamers out there.

JF: Is there anything else you want to say to the fans before we are done here?

RK: Just thanks for all the support over the years, and I hope to entertain you all for many more!

Category: Wrestling.

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