Recently, Dougie Nunny of TWV sat down with Randy Walker, of ESW fame, and conducted an exclusive interview.
Below are the highlights:
Dougie Nunny: So, how do you like being the current ESW Interstate Champion? Randy Walker: Being the ESW Interstate Champion is a great honor. I feel I am able to keep building the credibility of the title that former champions Tommy Caliber, Chris Cooper, and Shade have given it. It's a great feeling when a company puts enough faith in you to carry the belt.
Dougie Nunny: Do you feel like you earned the faith that ESW has instilled in you by making you their champion heading into one of their biggest events? Randy Walker: I feel that I have done a great deal so far in this business to earn the faith of promoters throughout the Northeast. Getting their faith to take the title into ESW's biggest event of the year is an added bonus to all the hard work.
Dougie Nunny: How big of an honor and/or impact will it be to you if you are victorious at Wrestlebash, the event we keep referring to? Randy Walker: It will be a great honor to keep the gold around my waist. As I'm sure you already know, I am part of Club Elite in Empire State Wrestling, along with Ice and Jonny Puma. Ice has the hardcore championship, and Puma has a match for the ESW Heavyweight Championship against 9 month champion, Mastiff. When I keep the championship and Puma takes back his title from Mastiff, that will solidify Club Elite once and for all as the most dominating faction in ESW.
Dougie Nunny: If you are able to do that at Wrestlebash, what kind of fears do you have about living up to the standard that other factions like the 4 Horsemen and Evolution set by doing that? Randy Walker: It is going to be tough to do. The Four Horsemen set the standard for dominating factions, and I don't believe anyone until Evolution has even come close to matching the success the Four Horsemen had. Even to be compared to either of those factions would be an honor in its own.
Dougie Nunny: Have your goals changed at all between August, 2002 and now? If so, how? Randy Walker: In August 2002, I was completely gung ho on making it to the WWE no matter what. Now I sit back and look at everything I have been able to accomplish just on the independents in the short time I have been working them. I have made so many good friends in all different places across the Northeast; as well have made a decent name for myself in just two years. In all actuality I have only been wrestling outside Western New York for not even a year now. My goals right now are to just keep doing what I am doing in the industry and get people to recognize me. If I get enough recognition and end up getting noticed by NWA-TNA or OVW, then that's awesome. If I don't, I'm just going to keep doing this and keep working hard in school.
Dougie Nunny: So WWE is not really a focus anymore? Randy Walker: It's not that it isn't a focus; it just isn't where I am planning on heading with my career right now. Don't try and mistake this for I am not going to go out each and every weekend and bust my ass, because I am going to do that. It's just like I said before; if I get noticed enough to make that step in my career, that's awesome. If not, school and the Indys will continue to be my life.
Dougie Nunny: You mentioned Dan Murphy above; exactly how much of an impact do you feel Dan Murphy of PWI has had on your career? Randy Walker: Besides Dan being a really good friend, he helped me a lot with psychology and getting me tapes of matches to study. When I first started off a couple years ago, the matches that were "in" were matches full of high spots. So we went out and did those types of matches. It seemed like what the crowd wanted to see. But I now realize that all it was really doing was hurting the business. I think high spot matches have their place in the business; I just don't believe that everyone should have to cut their careers short with ridiculous bumps. I believe the best advice I was ever given is that less is more.
Dougie Nunny: By looking at a picture of the belt you hold now, it looks eerily like the Smackdown Tag Belt. Does this coincidence freak you out at any time? Randy Walker: Not at all. That thought has actually never crossed my mind at all. I toss on the belt because I am the ESW Interstate Champion. Maybe if I was coming out in front of crowds from 15,000 - 20,000 people, the coincidence might freak me out a little more. [Laughs]
Dougie Nunny: On the ESW site, it lists that you do a version of the Van Terminator and the Frog Splash. So can we all safely assume you idolize Rob Van Dam? Randy Walker: Van Dam used to have a great deal of influence on me. However I'd say it has been about a year now since I really have had much influence at all from Van Dam. Don't get me wrong, he is a great wrestler, and a great athlete, but I wanted to break out into my own style. I've only used the Frog Splash once within the past year. I've been using a Gory Bomb and a Cradle Piledriver for my finishers of choice now. As for the variation of the Van Terminator, that is a move that really does have to be seen to be believed. I used to do some hardcore on occasion and wanted to come up with something cool to use for a finisher in those matches. So instead of sitting the opponent down in the corner, I hang him upside down in the dead center of the ropes and drop kick the chair into his face. It really does have to be seen to be believed.
Dougie Nunny: Nice. You say you do springboard variations as a last resort. What kind of variations are we talking about? Randy Walker: Some springboard variations I have thrown have included, leg drops, dropkicks, cross bodies, and I have been known to pull out a springboard 450 before.
Dougie Nunny: How long did that take to perfect? Randy Walker: That was an extremely interesting process, considering for some reason I can never get the rotation doing it from the turnbuckle. I saw the move done on a Japanese video I had and thought I might be able to get the extra rotation from springboarding with it. The normal 450 from the buckle I took months trying to get it down and couldn't, but the springboard I ended up nailing on the third try.
Dougie Nunny: So, a springboard 450 and a Van Terminator variation that has "to be seen to be believed." Anything else you have in your repertoire with noting? Randy Walker: If you've seen a regular Gory Bomb ever thrown in a match, which has been my finisher of choice for the last year, that is another move that has to be seen live. Instead of just hooking for a regular Gory Bomb, I will set up for a powerbomb, flip the opponent over my shoulders right into my version of the Gory.
Dougie Nunny: Well, how long do you think my jaw will stay on the floor during your matches then? Randy Walker: Hey, if I can get your jaw to hit the floor just off of one of my moves then I feel that I have done my job. With the bar being raised to impress fans over and over again, just getting them excited a couple times within a match lets me know that I have done my job.
Dougie Nunny: How hard would you say it is to drop the fans' jaws yet not turn the match into a spot fest? Randy Walker: That is a very good question. Any of my matches within the past year and a half you can watch and will notice that it is not a spot fest. The fans have liked some of them; some of them they feel they have been cheated out of. Within the first six months of my wrestling career you will see a lot of spot fests. Now I try to incorporate some of those spots into my matches but tone the match down from being a total spot fest. After ECW and for the fans that have seen CZW, it is incredibly hard to make fans' jaws drop, so anytime you can do that, you know you are doing a great job. So to finally answer your question, it is incredibly difficult to please the fans without killing yourself.
Dougie Nunny: Is there anything you feel is ironic about your career thus far? Randy Walker: Hmm, I would have to say the most ironic part of my career so far, was just how high and fast my career got lifted off the ground. I went from having so much shit talked about myself, to being out on the independents across the entire east coast every weekend of the month, anywhere from two to three matches in a weekend. And for not even being twenty years old, and in college, I think that's a nice way to prove all my naysayers wrong.
Dougie Nunny: What do you mean "so much shit talked about" you? Randy Walker: Not to really get into it, but there were a lot of people that went out and opened there mouth about the ESW group and how none of us would ever make it when we first started. When ESW started there was already another federation in the area, and they didn't like the fact that someone was invading their territory. Thankfully, everything since then has been talked through and both federations are on good terms with one another to my knowledge.
Dougie Nunny: Do you hold any resentment at this point for what happened? Randy Walker: No not at all. I have been asked to work for the other federation. Just happened to be the day after I worked three, twenty minute matches down in Pittsburgh in a Cruiserweight tournament and was on crutches with a dislocated hip for two weeks. I have the utmost respect for them and everyone that works for them.
Dougie Nunny: What was it like to be partially trained by Jerry Lynn, arguably one of the most underrated stars of all time? Randy Walker: That was incredible. If you watch any of my matches B.J.L. (Before Jerry Lynn, not to be confused with JBL) you can notice a huge difference. The guy just really is what you said: one of the most underrated of all time. Fantastic guy, fantastic worker, and knows the business like the back of his hand.
Dougie Nunny: What was the best advice or lesson he gave you? Randy Walker: The best advice he ever gave to me, and I believe I said this earlier in the interview, was less is more. And it really is.
Dougie Nunny: If you had to pick one wrestler, who would you give that piece of advice to? Randy Walker: [Laughs] Definitely Teddy Hart. I really don't think I need to get into that as his reputation precedes him.
Dougie Nunny: Would you call him the black sheep of wrestling's favorite family? Randy Walker: I would have to agree with that statement. With being trained by Bret, you would have to believe Bret did not teach him to wrestle with the psychology he does. I don't know what goes through his mind when he puts on a match, but in reality no matter how great he thinks he is his matches are just killing the business.
Dougie Nunny: What do you think about his promotion closing? Randy Walker: It never got started, so I really don't have feelings on it one way or the other. It could have been a good thing, it could have been a bad thing; either way, we'll never find out now.
Dougie Nunny: Triple H is listed as one of your favorite wrestlers. Do you have anything to say about the controversy that surrounds him and his supposed "backstage pull?" Randy Walker: All the controversy that surrounds Triple H and his "backstage pull" I feel he put to an end at Wrestlemania this year. Anyone and everyone didn't think for one second that Triple H was going to lay down for Benoit, and that is why Michaels was going to be placed in the match. If memory serves correct though, Triple H was the one that tapped out to Benoit. He hasn't gotten the strap back since then. He has had a few matches for the strap, but if those had anything to do with his pull backstage, who else was going to get put into those matches? There are only a select few that are ready for that level of match on Raw, and one of them is getting his shot at Summerslam.
Dougie Nunny: So what do you think about Orton Vs. Benoit? Randy Walker: Think it has all the potential in the world to end up being WWE match of the year. Orton and Benoit are definitely two of the most underrated top wrestlers in the WWE.
Dougie Nunny: Who do you want to win? Randy Walker: Orton. Give the company a new young champion, and start teasing the inevitable feud that breaks up Evolution.
Dougie Nunny: Where on the Indy circuit do you think you would most fit in, style wise? Randy Walker: For the better known promotions I feel I could fit in well to Ring of Honor, JAPW, WXW, but I also feel I fit in fine to all of the promotions I am working right now.
Dougie Nunny: Where do you want to end up on the Indy circuit? Randy Walker: Hard to say right now. I would like to get a couple matches in with WXW, JAPW, and ROH sometime in my career. Ultimately though I am enjoying working for the promotions I am working right now the most, and if nothing higher comes out of my career, then I would like to end up right back here.
Dougie Nunny: So if you had the option at ending in the main event of Wrestlemania or the opener on Wrestlebash, which would it be? Randy Walker: Wrestlemania. It is the grand stage of them all. If anyone in this business told you that isn't why they got into wrestling, they are lying through their teeth.
Dougie Nunny: Who would you want to main event there? Randy Walker: Shawn Michaels
Dougie Nunny: Any reason? Randy Walker: He's one of the best this business has ever seen. For how long he has been in the business he can still go out there and put on a five star match with anyone.
Dougie Nunny: You seem to have a storybook career so far, yet what match would make it all perfect? In other words, what is your dream match? Randy Walker: My dream match would have to be myself and Shawn Michaels teaming up against Randy Orton and A.J. Styles.
Dougie Nunny: What do you feel about the site, TheWrestlingVoice.com? Randy Walker: Think it's a great site that not only gets the information out there on the WWE and top Indy feds, but also helps out in giving the up and comers on the Indy circuit exposure.
Dougie Nunny: Has the "Eye Candy" thing actually worked with the ladies yet, or are you just fooling yourself? Randy Walker: The "Eye Candy" thing always works. I've always had the ladies coming up to me begging me to take them home after the shows.
Dougie Nunny: How well will it work when you lose your hair...excuse me...if you lose your hair? Randy Walker: Number one, I am not going to lose my hair. Number two, if Shade has a dozen horse shoes up his ass and then cheats to get a win over me, then I'll have to deal with it then. But the "Eye Candy" will still be here; I mean look at this face.
Dougie Nunny: Well, I am; that's why I asked the original question. Randy Walker: See now you're getting smart with me. And those that have done that in the past haven't faired too well.
[URL=http://thewrestlingvoice.com/interviews/headlines/94117091.shtml]Finish Reading This Interview[/URL]
Does anyone remember Owen vs Shawn from late 1997? This is after Bret left and there was even talk of Owen vs. Michaels at WM14. Well, they ended up having a fantastic match on RAW. This is when Owen had the "BlackHart" gimmick.