by Cal Manska & Lonnie Hill
Just recently, the rumors of the Messiah being fired from XPW for having a love affair with Lizzy Borden soon spread all over the Internet. He contacted Cal Manska and Kfir Hezroni from XPW1.com, telling them it was false, and giving them his number to do some sort of interview. Luckily, Cal was willing to have me along to conduct the interview so it could be on both
of our sites. Interviewing Messiah, I could tell he was genuine. He pulls no punches, but at the same time, he shows someone who truly loved what he did. In one of the best interviews I’ve ever
conducted, Messiah spoke candidly on many subjects involving his past, XPW, the rumors, and even his own recount of the events at ECW Heatwave 2000. I could not be more proud of this interview, and I want to thank Messiah again for being generous enough to share this time with us.
– Mr. Hill, 08/28/01
Mr. Hill: My first question is the one on everybody’s mind. What happened between you and XPW?
Messiah: Well, obviously, I am no longer with XPW. It was a decision that was made about a week ago, and other than that, there is really nothing more to go into. We had a falling out.
Cal: Was it a mutual decision?
Messiah: No, it wasn’t a mutual decision, but at the same time, it was a decision that I really had no power over. I’ve told people before that pretty much everything I had was gone in the span of 48 hours. I had to wake up the next morning just being a “regular guy,” if you want to call it that. I don’t know if a lot of people know this, but I also worked for Extreme Associates, so when I woke up, I was no longer part of XPW or Extreme Associates. I had no place to go really.
Mr. Hill: What has it been like working for XPW over the past year and a half?
Messiah: Honestly, it was a roller coaster ride, but it was the funnest roller coaster I’ve ever been on. Working for XPW kept me on my toes. I can honestly say that, while I wasn’t with the company when it first started and I don’t have the claim to fame that guys like Jimmy, D, Webb and Kaos have, but I was there when it was still a baby. I mean, when people see XPW, they usually put three faces to it: Supreme, Sabu and me. I was almost like the XPW poster boy. *Laughter* I was getting sick of myself, seeing myself on the website and stuff. I wasn’t put in that place by myself, I was put in that position by Rob. He felt that I could be in that position, and that I could, for lack of a better word, “be” XPW. It was funny, because I used to get jumped on a lot for being a “Tommy Dreamer ripoff” or “Tommy Dreamer wannabe.” As far as what I wore, that wasn’t my decision, but at the same time, it was very much an honor to be considered the Tommy Dreamer of XPW. If they asked me to do something, I did it. It sucks to know I won’t be wrestling for XPW anymore. Whether or not it’s a permanent thing, I don’t know, but don’t expect me to be coming back like next show or anything, that’s defiantly not gonna happen. But anyway, working for XPW was probably the greatest thing that ever happened to me. It’s also one of these things that I think a lot of wrestlers go through. You think, “man, I don’t know if I should be doing this with the rest of my life. Why am I gonna do a thumbtack match?” You’re always second-guessing
yourself, and I constantly did that. But being faced with the fact that I can’t do it at all now, I wish there was a bed of thumbtacks or a bed of barbed wire in front of me right now, I’d go face first through it. The fact that I can no longer wrestle at XPW is very much a hard thing to swallow.
Cal: Going back now, how did you originally hook up with XPW?
Messiah: Basically, I’ve only wrestled for two promotions in my entire life. One was XPW, the other was Slammers Wrestling Federation. I knew a lot of guys coming out of Slammers, like “White Trash” Johnny Webb, Homeless Jimmy, Dynamite D, etc., and I only wrestled for Slammers. Then, I took about a year off from wrestling and moved to Georgia. I was there for about 8 months,
then I came back. I was watching wrestling one night, and a thing for XPW came on. I noticed I had wrestled a lot of those guys at Slammers. I wanted to get back into wrestling, but I didn’t
know how. I was very much a dreamer. So I went to the show, bought a ticket, and stayed after. I approached Dynamite D about getting in, and he was like, “yea.” Also, my trainer was Carlito Montana, and he had just started there at the time as well, and that was how it all began.
Cal: Did you make your gimmick before coming in?
Messiah: Oh no, that was Rob. That was all Rob. Rob and Kevin totally came up with that. I mean, when I was in Slammers, I was “Iron” Mike Earnheardt, and oh boy, that was probably the gayest, biggest homo gimmick you could come up with. *Laughter*. That was always what I was. Verne Langdon always said I would never be a heel, that I have too much of a pretty face,
and then I went to XPW and Rob is like “you’re gonna be a heel.” I was thrilled.
Mr. Hill: The night you debuted, Guido was doing the ring announcing, and he called you “Jesus….”
Messiah: And I almost punched him in the face for it! *Laughter*
Mr. Hill: How did that happen?
Messiah: When Rob first saw me, I was under the Blunatic mask, and I was jobbing out to Nicole Bass. I was actually taking the choke slam from Nicole Bass! *Laughter* They were trying to think of a way to use me, and in the mean time, they were jobbing me out as much as they could. Originally, he wanted to use me for a tag team that was basically a Right to Censor type gimmick. It was a pair of bible thumping brothers who go against everything XPW stood for, but at the same time, they cheat. The problem was, there was no one good to fill the spot for my tag team partner. I got a meeting with Rob, and I sat down and said, “I got an idea for a gimmick.” He said, “OK, what is it,” and I told him “we have a great gimmick here, why can’t I just wrestle singles?” Supreme was right there, and he said, “yea, you should do it.” Rob agreed to it, but told me “if you drop the ball, it’s your ass.” So I come to practice the next week, and I see him walking down the hall, and he said, “what’s up, Jesus?” I said, “WHAT?” Originally, I was supposed to be “Luke, the moral crusader.” Rob says, “hey, you’re gonna be Jesus.” I’m like “no, I can’t,” because I come from a Christian background. I went to Sunday school, and one time, I went to Brazil to help build a church with my father and my stepbrother, so I told Rob, “c’mon, you gotta be kidding.” So basically, the day of the show, I believe it was December 17th, 1999, they didn’t have a name for me, and Guido just calls me “Jesus,” and I got up in his face and said, “don’t you ever call me that again.” From that point on, I told them “I’ll be either Savior or Messiah,” and they said,”we’ll call you Messiah.”
Mr. Hill: You had a match with Dynamite D at the Palace in January that some fans to this day call “the best XPW match of all time.” What are your thoughts on that match, and the steady push your began to receive afterward?
Messiah: The funny thing was at the time, I was a curtain jerker. I think that match was like the second on the card, and after it was over, I felt great. That was when I really came into my own, if you will. That was also the first time I did the Godsmack. When I had D in the fireman’s carry, I can remember hearing someone call “Louie,” like for the Spicolli Driver, and then I did the stunner out of the blue, and everyone popped for it. I remember the feeling I had when that happened. Also, any time you wrestle Dynamite D, you’re gonna have a great match. That guy will put you over, and he comes up with some of the most innovative stuff I’ve ever seen. One thing I was proud of, and I’m not a very internet friendly person, I don’t get on the internet that often, but I used to check it for feedback sometimes, and for the fans to call it the best match in XPW history, even to this day, felt good. What’s funny is I watched the match about a month ago, and I can see some of the stuff I improved on. I’ve never had a match that I’m 100% satisfied with, I’m my biggest critic, I’m very much a perfectionist, and I watched that match like “ohh, I just messed up that punch,” ya know? At the time, it was the best match I’ve had, but I know I’ve had better matches since then. They may have not been as technical. Ya know, I didn’t go to the show on Saturday, I wanted to, even if it just meant sitting in the bleachers by myself, I wanted to support the company by being there, but I heard Kaos and D tore the house down. I heard that match went 100 times smoother than the match that D and I put on almost two years ago. They’re always improving, and I wish I could have been there to see the kind of match that those two put on. As far as my push in XPW goes, when I started out, I was the new kid on the block. I was jobbing out to Nicole Bass, but I didn’t wanna overstep my bounds. I was never one of those guys who said “no, I’m not doing that.” I just wanted to wrestle. You know, XPW fans are smart fans. They don’t have a tally sheet of how much you win or lose. They’re all about what you do in that ring. I remember I had confrontations with guys before where I didn’t feel very comfortable, especially in these past few months. When Vampiro was coming in, he wanted to work with Sabu, and they wanted to put him with me, which made me feel nervous, because I was kind of representing the XPW workers to him, so I couldn’t screw up.
Cal: Was Sabu considered one of the workers? Like, was he one of the boys backstage?
Messiah: Yea, he was. I mean, he never dressed with us or anything, but he would sit down with us and crack jokes. He’d make fun of Kronus just like everyone else would. He was a cool guy. When I was in Toledo for the Insane Clown Posse thing (Gathering of the Juggalos), it was me, Kid Kaos and Homeless Jimmy, and he was watching out for us. The three of us had never been on the road before, so we were very inexperienced and very green, and Sabu was there to watch us. He was taking care of us, and me and Kaos told him “thank you very much for what you did.”
Cal: Are you friends with any of the wrestlers? Like, do you talk to any of the wrestlers still?
Messiah: Yea, that was my biggest concern. I can’t help what’s posted on the internet, it’s just going to happen. A lot of times I see something and I’m like “WHAT?” The funniest thing I read was in the Torch, where they had a show recap of Scene of the Crime, followed up with “XPW notes.” One of them said “the wrestlers consider Rob Black a Paul E. wannabe,” which is bullshit, and they went as far as to say “Messiah is like a Tommy Dreamer, except he is not liked backstage.” I’m like “What?” I’m fuckin’ friends with everybody in the back. Everybody from the San Jose crew of Pogo, Rizzono and Vic to everybody from here in Socal. I was friends with everybody and I hung out with everybody. When the Rev Pro guys were around, I was the first one to introduce myself to those guys, and they were cool guys too.
Mr. Hill: Yea, one of the things Excalibur told me about you was that you were really cool to them.
Messiah: Exactly. XPW always got bashed because we were all “dickheads,” and it was bullshit. We have a laid back locker room where everybody is friends with everybody. No one is trying to get over on anybody. We all changed together in the same locker room. We were all buddies. We hung around each other, we goofed on each other, and we were very much a big family. The guys who I am very close with are like Dynamite D, Supreme, Kaos, Homeless Jimmy and Angel. Those are the guys who I’m very close with, the guys I go out to dinner with, and the guys I called and told that I was no longer with XPW, because I didn’t want them to read the shit that was gonna be on the Internet, because I knew there was gonna be shit. I’ll be honest with you guys, I didn’t want to do any interviews. I told Kevin, “I don’t plan on doing any interviews. I was born in XPW, and I’m dead in XPW.” I think I came full circle as a worker in XPW. My punches weren’t as stiff, I was doing better at fitting together a match, etc. It was like everything I had learned in wrestling school was clicking. I used to be clumsy and whatnot, but everything started clicking. In order to become a great, or even good, professional wrestler, you always have to have an open mind to learn, and one of the great things about XPW was bringing in guys like Vampiro, Sabu, New Jack, Candido and Shane Douglas. Those guys will teach you as long as you’re willing to listen. I was friends with all those guys too. The hardest part about all of this is I’m not gonna be able to give a hug to Supreme or to Kid Kaos before a deathmatch or something and say “hey, be careful out there,” or when they’re done, I can’t say “great job guys” and it hurts that I won’t be able to do that anymore.
Cal: What’s your future in pro wrestling?
Messiah: I’ve never had to send out feelers, and I wouldn’t know how to start sending them out. This was like starting new for me. The day I was let go, I bought a new house. I lost people I care about, and people I love. I just wanna say something, and I think you guys might be tippy-toeing around it, but, I heard the rumors about me being caught sleeping with Lizzy. That’s just bullshit. When I saw that post, I knew I had to do something, because that was bullshit.
Mr. Hill: You mentioned that you were “XPW born and XPW dead.” The fact remains that you are a professional wrestler and you have gained a lot of fans. Would you go out there and work for a fed like MPW or Revolution Pro?
Messiah: I would like to do it, I really would, but right now, I just need to get my head on straight. I’ll tell you guys this much: at the time XPW let me go, I was going through a lot of personal stuff. When I say that, I don’t mean drugs, alcohol or anything like that, I just mean personal stuff. It was affecting my work at Extreme Associates, and it was affecting my work at XPW. Rob tried to help me out as best he could. So did Kevin and Tom Byron, but I wasn’t getting things done on time, and that affected the company. I was also missing practices, and I missed a Saturday show that they did. Basically, they tried to help me out, and I dropped the ball. Like I said, Extreme and XPW are like a family, and now I’m faced with not being a part of that family. It sucks.
Cal: Do you have any hard feelings?
Messiah: No. I don’t have any hard feelings at all. Like I said, I dropped the ball when I was being helped.
Cal: Did you hear about the promo at the beginning of the show?
Messiah: Yea. I kinda knew it was coming. I remember telling Kevin, “what are you gonna say, I went to heaven?” They did what they had to do. I’ll be honest with you, I was willing to do anything to make things right. I told Kevin that I would wrestle a deathmatch and a world title match, I just wanted to make things right.
Mr. Hill: You won the XPW World Title in May in a match with New Jack. How do you feel about XPW’s booking decisions pertaining to the title (i.e. the champion has only been pinned for it once)?
Messiah: The world’s worst fuckin’ job is being a booker, especially in XPW, because you have guys like Sabu and New Jack who actually wrestle for other companies. Our shows have to get switched around. We’ll get a call saying “hey, so and so has another show scheduled first on this date.” It was just one big mix up, and I they figured they would just put the belt on me, because I’m someone who will stick around and be here for shows. I was very hesitant to have the belt, because of the backlash, but at the same time I felt it was a great honor. One of the things I will always cherish is that I was XPW champion, and that they gave me the belt and had the confidence in me to let me represent the company. As far as booking decisions go, I really can’t say anything because I don’t know what I would have done if I was in their shoes because, like I said, being a booker, especially for XPW, is one of the toughest jobs in the world. When you have so much talent, and you have guys who are calling up who want to come in all the time, and you have guys you want to come in but have previous dates and stuff, it’s hard. I mean, Kevin and Rob will be at the office until four in the morning trying to come up with stuff. They’re always trying to please and surprise the fans. It’s defiantly a tough job, and I didn’t see any problem with anything that they chose.
Mr. Hill: This question just popped into my head, and if you feel like answering it, go for it. Let’s go back to last summer, and ECW’s Heatwave Pay Per View…
Mr. Hill: Looking back, what are your thoughts on what happened?
Messiah: Every time I do an interview, this is like the main question, *Laughter* but I don’t have any problem answering it. We went down there to get free publicity. We were like “hey, ECW is in town,” so we bought front row, we had our shirts, we were psyched. It was bullshit, because ECW was suing as at the time for the name “(e)Xtreme,” which was a bullshit lawsuit, because there are plenty of feds out there with the name “Extreme.” So we got there, and the Atlas security guys told us “I can’t let you guys in with those shirts on. If you turn the shirts inside out, I’ll let you in.” They wanted to see where we were sitting too, but because so many of our guys were in the cheap seats, one of them just showed the guards his ticket. So we sat down, and the pay per view starts. We were all looking at each other like “Rob is gonna be fuckin’ pissed off,” because he spent all this money on front row seats, and the shirts didn’t get on. What was funny was if you watch the PPV, you never saw us once anyway, so they way overreacted. The main event came, and we said “if we’re gonna do it, lets do it now,” so we did. We showed our shirts. Supreme got his torn off, Kloss got his torn off, I got mine torn off. What was funny was as security was escorting us out, I had my hands behind my back, and some guy hits me upside the head. Kaos and I turn around thinking it’s some old, drunk fan, and it’s fuckin’ Paul Heyman! He doesn’t have his hat on, he hasn’t shaved, and he’s just like “you motherfuckers! You motherfuckers!” So we get thrown out, and Paul Heyman looks at Kid Kaos and spits in his face. He’s like “hit me you motherfucker,” when there are three LAPD officers standing three feet behind us. If any one of us took a swing, we’d be arrested right on the spot. Kaos was about to do it, and I just stopped him and said, “Paul, we’re not gonna hit you. Why would we do that, so you can arrest us? All we wanted to do was wear our shirts, but you wouldn’t let us do it. It’s as simple at that Paul, all we wanted to do was wear our shirts.” So he spits in my face, and he’s screaming “hit me you motherfucker, you pussy,” and I’m like “no, I’m not gonna do it.” So then he turns around and goes back into the building, and that’s when the whole ECW locker room ran out. No one took a swing at me, but Kid Kash and Balls Mahoney were in my face, and I’m not the biggest guy in the world anyway, so I was like “OK.” And then there was a big scuffle, and they beat up a lot of the ring crew guys, and that was pretty much it. That’s all that happened. I’m not saying XPW was in the right, but all we wanted to do was wear out shirts, and like I said before, if you ever watch the PPV, you don’t even see us anyway, so it was all for nothing. They wasted their breath on that. It was stupid. That’s really all that happened. I remember reading somewhere that “Sabu and Supreme were planning on doing a run in.” It’s like “what are you talking about?” We never tried to disrupt the PPV. Not one time. We just wanted to wear our shirts. But when push came to shove, it was like “OK, put up a shove.” It’s funny,
since ECW isn’t around anymore, the guys who didn’t make it to WWF are calling up XPW looking for work now. These are the motherfuckers who tried to do shit in the street.
Cal: Do you have any harsh feelings towards them?
Messiah: No. I mean, New Jack was one of the guys who beat the tar out of one of the ring crew guys, and New Jack is the coolest guy in the world. He told me stories about guys who used to wrestle in ECW want to come to XPW to get heat. If they try something, they try something, I can handle myself. There was no heat with anybody. It happened, but it happened back then, so fuckin ‘what. You’re here with us, and that’s what matters.
Mr. Hill: Well man, I want to thank you for doing this interview with us. We wish you luck in the future with whatever you do.
Messiah: I want to thank you for giving me this place to vent. Like I said, I need to get my head straight and decide on whether or not to continue wrestling.
Cal: I also want to apologize on behalf of XPW1.com for posting the rumor about you and Lizzy.
Messiah: It’s OK. I don’t have any hard feelings about it, because you were just doing what you had to do. When I saw that post, I knew I had to come out and say something, because Lizzy was one of my best friends in the back. We used to goof around just like we goofed around with the rest of the boys. This Internet rumor has affected the people I love, and that is where I draw the line. Once again, thank you for giving me this place to vent, and for getting the truth out there.