The SWE Spotlight continues this week with someone that “All Night” Ian Ambrose mentioned in his interview last week, “Mr News”. When you have a wrestler called “Mr News”, just the name alone creates mystery and intrigue. Luckily enough, he lives not too far from me, so I was able to catch up with the mystery man this past week and talk to him about his career, his ambitions and the work he does for SWE behind-the-scenes, but for those of you who might not be familar with him, here’s a bit of background!
“Mr News” is a news editor (shockingly!) at a local radio station in the North-East of Scotland and his career in the SWE started when the promoter came in looking to get some exposure for one of the SWE’s “Hell for Lycra” shows. The breakfast radio DJ thought it would be a good idea to get promotion for the show by having “Mr News” train with the wrestlers and compete in a match. He enjoyed it so much that he’s stuck with it ever since! Sticking with news (see what I did there!), “Mr News” has recently turned heel so it was almost the perfect time to catch up with him. Let’s see what he had to say!
Tell us a little bit about how you got started in wrestling and who your influences were when you started watching it?
I started watching wrestling way back when I was just 5 years old. My family had just gotten Sky TV and I was flicking through the channels for the first time when I came upon Hulk Hogan and for some reason I recognised him. From then on, my brother and myself were absolutely hooked. Back then, I loved all the good guys like Ultimate Warrior, Big Boss Man etc, but as I got older and matured, I became more aware of the guys who could actually wrestle. Guys like Ricky “the Dragon” Steamboat, Ric Flair, Chris Jericho and performers like Shawn Michaels and Stone Cold Steve Austin – who remains my all time favourite to this day.
When did you decide that you wanted to be a wrestler?
I decided when I was about 21 that I wanted to give wrestling a go, so I started googling Scottish wrestling schools. The first one to pop up was BCW in Glasgow. I had a couple of sessions there, but gave up mainly due to the travelling. It was a couple of years before I tried again after learning of a school closer to home – that was W3L. Again, after a few sessions, I bailed after getting a pretty nasty back injury. I left it for a few years before the SWE came calling. I’m a radio journalist and the SWE promoter had called into my station asking how he could get Hell 4 Lycra talked about, so our breakfast presenter decided it would be fun to train me up and put me in a match. That was 3 and a half years ago.
For anyone that hasn’t seen you wrestle, how would you describe your style?
I’d like to think of myself as being a powerful brawler. I’m not the most technically gifted wrestler around – although I know my fair share of moves, I stick to my strengths which is being a power player. I do a lot of slams, suplexes, throws and throw in the odd high risk move just to keep things exciting.
What are your memories of your first match?
I remember absolutely cacking myself backstage! I’d only had 2 months’ worth of training before my first match. It was a tag team match alongside a guy called Iain Morris and we were up against Chaz Phoenix and the Red Devil. Because the match had been talked up something rotten on the radio, I felt a lot of pressure. I had lots of friends and family in the audience too, so my biggest fear was looking like an absolute joke in front of them, but it was a great experience. I had the biggest adrenaline rush and the match went very smoothly, so everyone was happy. Especially me!
Where are people most likely to see you wrestling?
People will always find me at SWE shows. We’ve got a packed calendar of events which just seems to get busier every year. The shows all take place in the Tayside and North East Fife areas, with the odd show in Peterhead. I’ve also made a few appearances for Wrestlezone in Aberdeen, which is always great fun too. I feel very lucky to be getting the chance to wrestle for two great companies.
What’s the one thing that frustrates you about the world of wrestling right now?
People bitching, whining and moaning. If people don’t enjoy what they’re doing and where they’re doing it – just get out.
There are lots of good, strong wrestling companies in the UK right now. What do you put that down to?
The standards are getting better. We’re living in an age where everything gets talked about online and if you’re putting on some substandard b/s then people are going to know about it and people will stay away. In order to keep people coming back to watch you, the show needs to be of a standard where people feel like they’re getting their money’s worth.
You’ve already been named Newcomer of the Year, Wrestler of the Year and held the SWE Heavyweight Championship. Which one of those means the most to you and why?
They all mean a great deal to me. To be named SWE wrestler of the year last year was a huge surprise as there are so many great wrestlers in the SWE right now like Johnny Lyons, Damian and Ian Ambrose, so I take a lot of heart from that. But to have held the SWE Title probably means the most as that title isn’t just given to anyone. I had only been involved in wrestling for 2 years before winning the belt and for me it was a sign of how far I’ve come in a short time. There’ve only been 4 SWE champions in the last 2 years and I’m proud to have been one of them.
Who’s been your favourite opponent to get in the ring with and why?
There’s 2 or 3 guys who I love to work with. Wrestling Martyn Stallyon is always fun especially with our contrasting styles. I’ve only wrestled Johnny Lyons once but it was one of the best matches I’ve ever had just because everything just clicked. I’ve also wrestled my tag team partner Randy Valentine on a few occasions which is always chaotic but in a good way.
Is there anyone you haven’t had the chance to wrestle yet that you’d love to work with?
EG Mackie. The guy is a superb wrestler who’s always full of interesting ideas. We’ve talked about what would happen if we ever wrestled together and it’s thrown up some interesting scenarios. With him being face and me being heel right now, I think it’s something the fans would love to see too. Outside of the SWE, there are a few names I’d like to wrestle one-on-one, including Mad Man Manson, Dave Mastiff and Damian O’Connor.
Of all the matches you’ve had in your career so far, which one stands out to you most and which one are you most proud of?
Oh boy, that’s the toughest question yet. To narrow it down to a single match is hard but I have to say the match where I won the SWE title. It was a triple threat in my home town. The match had two home town wrestlers in it which split the crowd: it made for a great atmosphere and when I won, all the wrestlers came out from the back and celebrated with me. It was really special.
You’ve wrestled across Scotland for the last three or four years. Who would you say you’ve learned most from, whether it’s training or in matches?
It has to be the two men responsible for training me – David Low and Charles Riddell. Those guys put a lot of trust and faith in me when I first got involved with the SWE and I owe a lot to them for that. They’ve taught me so much about the business side of things, as well as the wrestling side. There are other guys out there too who I’ve learned a great deal from including Steven Magners, All Night Ian Ambrose, Scotty Swift, Johnny Lyons and my tag team partner Randy Valentine.
You’ve been involved in the SWE for a while now. What brought about your recent heel turn?
The answer to that is simple – the SWE title. Mr News previously held the title and despite efforts to get it back, I would fall at the last hurdle. This in turn led to a lot of frustration, which meant I had to wrestle ugly, much to the displeasure of the SWE fans.
One of the things I’ve learned about you is that you’re helping to organise the “Hell for Lycra” shows on the east coast of Scotland. Was that something you expected to get involved with and did you have any idea what was involved in terms of putting on the show as a whole?
When I first got started wrestling, I never once thought I’d get this involved in the business side of things. I’m a person who always has ideas and David Low is the kind of guy that if you put an idea to him – he wants you to act on it so that’s how I started to get involved in this side of things. It’s only been in the past 2 years that I’ve learned about what it takes to put on a show the size of Hell for Lycra and I’m still learning.
Over the last few years, the SWE have managed to get some WWE legends at their shows like Ted DiBiase, Virgil, Tatanka and most recently, Chavo Guerrero. What’s it like to be around those guys backstage and are they generous with their time to the boys in the back?
It’s been very surreal to have these guys with us. Most of them are incredibly generous with their time especially Ted DiBiase. Ted has been here 4 years in a row and the reason for that is – he gives something back to us. He’s always giving us his time and we know we can approach him at any time now and get his advice about something. I spent a lot of time this year with Rowdy Roddy Piper – taking him to his autograph sessions etc. Rowdy was an absolute gentleman and it was amazing just hearing some of his stories during our road trips. I can only praise Chavo too as he had a much with one of our biggest stars, Martyn Stallyon, and took the time after the match to give him some advice to help him on his way. That’s something you can’t buy.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get started in the business?
Be prepared to work hard and dedicate your life to wrestling. The cliché is “no pain, no gain” and it’s absolutely true in wrestling. You gotta be prepared to take the bumps and do the work if you want to make it anywhere in wrestling.
Let’s pretend for a second that I’m Vince McMahon. I call you up and say “I want to give you a match at Wrestlemania against any wrestler from the recent past or present”. Who would you want to face on that stage and why?
For me – it would have to be Stone Cold Steve Austin. I’ve been such a fan from the Stunning Steve Austin days. I love the way he works, it can look very chaotic at times but I love it. It would be an absolute brawl!
If we caught up in five years time, what would you want to have achieved?
I’d hopefully have a couple more championships to my name by the time I retire, which isn’t too far away. I’d like to have moved solely into the business side of wrestling, helping to put on the biggest wrestling shows this country has ever seen and doing it properly!
And finally, have you got a message for all your fans?
For all two of them?! I love you mum and dad!!!
Well, that was the mysterious “Mr News”! It’s good to get a perspective on not just what it takes to work a match in the ring, but to hear what different advice he’s been given by so many different names throughout the wrestling industry. On another note, it’s not often that you get to sit down with the former Champion of a promotion, who’s just completely changed the direction of his character, so I want to thank Mr News for taking the time to sit down and do this interview with me ahead of the latest SWE shows, which were held in Dundee last weekend.
Feel free to follow “Mr News” on Twitter @aljo29
for up-to-date info on any future appearances and shows that he’ll be on. As always, follow @SWE_online
to find out about their latest shows and appearances, or visit their website at http://www.sweonline.co.uk
The SWE Spotlight is continuing to shine here on SLTD Wrestling and it rolls on next Wednesday with another member of the SWE roster. “Who will it be?” I hear you ask. You’ll need to come back then and find out!
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