Brawlin’ Bo Cooper has been around the SoCal wrestling scene for about six years. In this interview he talks about his various gimmicks, “Backyard Dogs”, the EWF/IWC split, Louie Spicolli, and more.
Steve: Lets start at the beginning, what got you interested in wrestling, and how did you get started as a wrestler?
Brawlin’ Bo Cooper: Well… As a kid I was always glued to the tube every Saturday night I would hope that wrestling would come on so I could watch it. I guess what really got me was when I went to my first live show held by the WWF in Los Angeles. I was about 7 years old and my mom took me and I started going every time they came to LA. I was about 12 years old when I went to a house show and I got there a little early and I was marking out standing by the entrance way hoping I could get a good up and close look at one of the wrestlers and that’s where I met Louie Spicolli. He was really young then and he was not even wrestling for WWF yet he was just there with Jesse and Bill as one of the “boys” I yelled for him to come and talk to me and he walked over and said “what’s up kid ” I then said I want to be a pro wrestler like you. He then said “well I think you mite be a little to young to start training but if you like I can give you a number to call when you get a little older. I held on to that number till I was 15, then one night I was watching a guy named Shadow conduct a wrestling talk show, and I heard him mention something about Bill Anderson and Jesse Hernandez’ School of Hard Knocks. I called in got the number and the next week me and my mom drove to San Bernardino to meet Jesse and Bill. The cool thing was that when I got there Louie was there and I brought that number he gave me with me to the school. Him and me kind of looked at each other and then he became the whole reason I got into the wrestling world.
Steve: What was training at the EWF School of Hard Knocks like?
Bo Cooper: Well I was very young and I pretty much thought that I knew it all because I watched wrestling my whole life. Well after the first 10 minutes I knew I was in for one hell of a ride. When I first started training it took me a while to grasp things I remember that I could never do a dropkick. Well Louie said “by the end of the night you will”. I said “I don’t think I can”, and he said “hey Jess give me that old jump rope you got back there”. He tied that jump rope around my feet and made me do 50 dropkicks with my feet tied together. I know have a really good drop kick. All in all Jesse and the boys at EWF were tough on me but very corrective. There is no other training in the world today that is like Jesse’s. He is always watching and making sure that every thing is perfect. ” Little things count the most sometimes” he says.
Steve: When you debuted you were the Hangman. Tell us a little about the gimmick and how it came about.
Bo Cooper: well I was still green and Jesse wanted to make sure that in case I went out there and messed up I would be protected under a mask. The gimmick was I was a old time hang man that cared nothing but getting the 123 even if that meant I had to use my noose. I was a heel and I pretty much got the hang of things in the ring under that gimmick at first I was kind of disappointed about having my first match under a mask but now I see the importance of it all my first match was with Krazy K.C. on 04 May 96 at the San Bernardino old boys and girls club.
Steve: How long did you wrestle as the Hangman?
Bo Cooper: One and a half-year.
Steve: Then you became Brawlin’ Bo Cooper?
Bo Cooper: No I then tried a gimmick as Bo Rotten I had the long blonde hair and Luna Vachoan told me I looked like Axle Rotten and then I thought that mite get over being a bigger younger brother to Axle and Ian Rotten… Well I did not. So I had that for about 6 months and then I went and trained in Florida for 4 months with dean malenko … during one training session a green kid gave me a stiff drop kick to me knee and blew it out bad. So I flew home from Florida and told Jesse I needed to take about a half a year off to let me knee heal. Once my knee was a hundred percent I came back to the Empire Wrestling Federation and the School of Hard Knocks. That’s when I found Brawlin’ Bo Cooper.
Steve: When you became Brawlin’ Bo Cooper, why do you feel that persona finally worked?
Bo Cooper: Well it fit. I like to brawl in my matches I like a lot of out side ring work and I was at first the AV brawler in Palmdale I was the home town kid when EWF came to Antelope Valley. After we stopped running shows in AV. I thought well I mite ass well change it to AV to just Brawlin’ Bo Cooper. I was face at first then stared siding with the heels.
Steve: About that same time Louie Spicolli passed away. With him being on of the people who trained you, and your main inspiration to become a wrestler, what were your feelings at that time?
Bo Cooper: When I first heard I could not believe it my mom called me at like 3 in the morning crying saying Louie died at first I thought it was a sick rib being played on me but then when I realized that it was my mother on the other line I was devastated. I waited till early morning to call Jesse and tried to find out what happened. When I heard it from Bobby Bradley’s and Jesse’s own mouth I felt like my hero just died. Which was true. Bill Anderson was the one I felt sorry for the most Louie was a like Bill’s son. They went everywhere together. Louie was in his prime he was the superstar that was just moments away from showing the world once again what a great wrestler he was.
Steve: Speaking of Bill Anderson, he and Jesse Hernandez had a very public split. What are your feelings about the split and why did you stay with the EWF?
Bo Cooper: Well lets just say me and Jesse clicked more and he thought me more than bill did. When Jesse called me and told me Bill Anderson is no longer with the Empire Wrestling Federation I felt torn because they both were in my life and they both were my trainers but I felt my heart and my commitment was to Jesse. Bill always had his “kliq” and I was never one of his ” boys” I was Jesse’s and Bobby Bradley’s “boys”.
Steve: Did you have any hard feelings towards the guys who left the EWF and joined the IWC?
Bo Cooper: Well to be honest I knew they would all come crawling back to Jesse. And Jesse is smart, he knew that too. So to answer your question I had no hard feelings I just knew that they would want to come back. And when they did I felt like they should have stayed with Bill.
Steve: Obviously Bill Anderson’s IWC is no longer around, while the EWF is as alive as ever. In fact the EWF is currently the longest running fed in Southern California. Why do you think the EWF has been able to last so long?
Bo Cooper: Because Jesse knows how to handle things when things are going down hill he knows how to take care of the business and the business has took care of him. Hell if you go and pick up the latest issue of WWF Raw magazine. There is an article about Jesse and the EWF and about Rico. Jesse Hernandez has the heart and the passion for the biz. He is not some idiot trying to make a buck. He wants his boys to be the best and he lets us know that it is up to us to make it with his support.
Steve: Recently Jesse Hernandez instituted a rule where wrestlers had to show up at EWF practices and have to get permission to work other non-EWF shows if they want to stay in the EWF. What are your feelings on the rule?
Bo Cooper: Well with the whole practice thing I think he is doing what every promoter should do. Why should there be guys that come to work out three times a week and bust there ass off in the ring and not get the chance to work a show because there are guys on the card that only come twice a week and still get to work the show? “Out of site out of mind” is his motto, and Jesse never asks any workers to ask permission to work other places, it’s about respect and the way his boys are being used in the other promotions. If a promoter wants to use some of his boys for a show Jesse wants to be contacted by the promoter. I think that is one of the most things I respect about Jess. If the promoter for a show calls Jesse and says he would like to use some of his boys don’t you think Jesse is going to make sure his boys get treated the right way not going off and having them kill there gimmick or something like that.
Steve: Moving away from the EWF, have you had much of a chance to check out some of the other promotions in SoCal, and if so how do you think they compare to the EWF?
Bo Cooper: I have done my homework. I think that there are feds out in SoCal that have heart and they try to put on a good show I respect any one that tries, but no promotion compares to EWF on a professional level that EWF’s dressing room has. Even you Steve said the EWF is as alive as ever. In fact the EWF is currently the longest running fed in Southern California that is why it comes first in my mind to any other fed. The story lines are awesome the crowd never dies we always have no BS when it comes time to hand out the money to the boys. Bobby Bradley is the main man behind the curtain and he makes sure ever match makes sense before he just throws guys out there and says work. It has to all make sense for the fans to keep coming back for more.
Steve: Moving back to you, what has been some of your favorite matches and favorite opponents?
Bo Cooper: Well if I had to pick my all time favorite, it would probably be the “Suicide Kid” Mikey Henderson. We grew up in the biz together and every time we stepped in the ring we flowed well we would have some awesome matches. I cant forget working with Bobby Bradley. Those were some crazy bumps we took. I loved working with the Honky Tonk Man, he was probably the funnest match I ever had.
Steve: You were in the movie “Backyard Dogs”, tell us a little about the movie and how it came about.
Bo Cooper: That was great. Jesse told me that he thought I would be good character in the movie so he brought me and some of his best guys down to do a try out for the part and we all made parts. It was great working the movie. Downtown Hollywood and every thing. They had me as “Captain Deathwish”. I played a big mean backyard wrestler.
Steve: What are your goals as a wrestler? Do you see yourself in the WWF, Japan, what is in Brawlin’ Bo Cooper’s future?
Bo Cooper: I want to be successful. I would love to go to Titan, WWF. I am not a real big fan on Japan, I love Mexico though. My main goal is to have faith and wherever this biz takes me I know there was a reason for it.
Steve: Are there any wrestlers in SoCal right now that you haven’t faced that you would want too?
Bo Cooper: I think I could have some great matches with B-Boy well Spanky but he is gone , and I would like to work the Ballards some time. I would like to work Pogo the Clown too. I think we could have a great hardcore match.
Steve: Since every interview seems to include it now days, how about some word association?
Bo Cooper: Shoot.
Steve: Jesse Hernandez.
Bo Cooper: Professional.
Steve: Rico Costantino.
Bo Cooper: Successful.
Steve: Bobby Bradley.
Bo Cooper: Loyal and best SoCal worker ever.
Steve: Bill Anderson
Bo Cooper: Who?
Steve: EWF Jeff.
Bo Cooper: Fan.
Steve: Los Cubanitos.
Bo Cooper: Determined.
Bo Cooper: Too hardcore for the money.
Steve: Frankie Kazarian.
Bo Cooper: Charismatic.
Steve: The internet.
Bo Cooper: Biggest porn shop in the world.
Steve: Wrestling sites on the internet.
Bo Cooper: Exposure.
Steve: Mikey Henderson.
Bo Cooper: Underrated.
Steve: Finally, Brawlin’ Bo Cooper
Bo Cooper: Good attitude, open minded, hard working, and great wrestler.
Steve: Before we end this interview is their any last words you would like to say?
Bo Cooper: Well other than thank you for doing this interview with one of the most rudest, crudest, tattooed, wrestlers in the world, I would like to say that no matter how far you go in the wrestling world, as you long as you got the heart, mind, and soul, then you have already made it. And be sure to check out www.ewf-wrestling.net.