We had a chance to speak with Jeff Cobb after June 18th’s FCW show in Imperial Beach. We talked about his start in wrestling, his amateur career, Lucha Underground, his thoughts on Matanza Cueto, if B-Boy is out for revenge, and more. Click to read the interview.
Steve: First thank you for giving us a few minutes of your time. Let me start by asking how did you first get into wrestling? I know you were great at, I’m not going to say real wrestling.. amateur wrestling.
Jeff Cobb: I was always a fan since I was a kid. It was my first love, pro-wrestling. Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior, Bret Hart and I always wanted to do it. I thought at first amateur wrestling was pro-wrestling, and I showed up to my first day of training and it wasn’t it at all. [Laughs]
Steve: You started in high school?
Jeff Cobb: I started amateur wrestling in high school and then it just blossomed from there.
Steve: Where did you go to high school?
Jeff Cobb: I went to high school in Guam.
Steve: I know you went to the Olympics for Guam. I don’t know a lot about Guam’s Olympic team, I’m going to assume it isn’t very big?
Jeff Cobb: There was a total of four athletes. Two track and field, one swimmer, and one wrestler.
Steve: If you go to Guam now and walk down the street does everyone know you?
Jeff Cobb: No, not at all. MMA is huge there. When I started doing Olympic wrestling MMA started getting a lot more popular. MMA is probably the number one sport in Guam, that and baseball. Wrestling has a decent following, but not nearly as much as MMA.
Steve: After the Olympics is that when you decided to get into pro-wrestling?
Jeff Cobb: I went to the Olympics in my freshman year of college, so after the Olympics I went back to Missouri and finished my college career. After college I went back to Hawaii and found out there was pro-wrestling there and started training in January 2009.
Steve: Who did you train under in Hawaii?
Jeff Cobb: Honestly there was a head trainer but over there everyone helped each other. It was a little from this guy and a little from that guy type of deal.
Steve: When did you come to California?
Jeff Cobb: In January of 2013.
Steve: To Northern California?
Jeff Cobb: I moved here after I did two shows with All Pro Wrestling of Beyond the Mat fame and what not. Roland Alexander.
Steve: He was still there at that time?
Jeff Cobb: Yes. So I moved here in 2013. The booker at the time was good friends with Old School Oliver John and he said “this is the best trainer.” If you look to your right [Brian] Cage will attest to that. If you ask him who the best trainers he’s worked with, his number one will be Dr. Tom Prichard and number two will be Oliver John. So I moved here just to train with him and it was the best move I ever made.
Steve: I know you wrestled for Santino Bros., was that the first place you worked in SoCal?
Jeff Cobb: Actually my first time in SoCal was Championship Wrestling from Hollywood. I got in through Timothy Thatcher, who was their tag champion there. I went down there and worked for them for a couple shows and then I signed with Lucha Underground and unfortunately you can’t work any other TV, which sucks because Hollywood is a great platform and I loved wrestling there. I wish I could go back but can’t contractual wise.
Steve: I know Joey Ryan is able to do both.
Jeff Cobb: He signed a little later so he probably has a little different contract with more wiggle room. I’m not a good business guy. [Laughs]
Steve: With Lucha Underground, as far as your character there, Matanza Cueto, did you have any input into the character at all or was it something they came up to you and said “this is what you are doing.’
Jeff Cobb: I will neither confirm nor deny that is me, but if that is me I think creative has done a great job. I had no say in the character, I showed up and they said “we have this idea for you” and I didn’t have any involvement.
Steve: When Matanza was introduced on the show, meaning when he first showed up in Aztec Warfare II after all that build up to him at that point, the introduction was pulled off fantastically and I felt it was really the perfect way to introduce him. What did you think about his introduction to the show?
Jeff Cobb: Honestly that is how you build a monster. Other companies have tried to build a monster and it kind of falters. Kane was great, that was a great way to build a monster and that was the last time they [WWE] had a really effective debut like that. That was what, like 1997. Twenty years ago. Lucha Underground, I mean they are good at a lot of stuff, but their attention to detail and storylines is so good. I mean you’ve been there right?
Jeff Cobb: You’ve enjoyed most of what you’ve seen I hope.
Steve: Yeah, definitely. I’ve mentioned to other people, I pretty much stopped watching wrestling for nearly five years and Lucha Underground brought me back in full throttle. It’s something that is a lot different than anything else out there, and exciting for sure.
Jeff Cobb: Oh yeah. It’s a great alternative. I’ll give you an example. In January 2015 is when I first started with them. I mean I signed in 2014 but debuted in 2015. One weekend I was there, it was the same day as the Royal Rumble that year. I think it was the one Roman Reigns won. The internet had all these hashtags about cancelling the WWE Network and all this stuff and there was not one negative thing about Lucha Underground and from that I knew I was in the right place. We don’t start our shows with a 30 minute promo. We don’t treat the audience like they are dumb. It’s a great alternative. I enjoy every minute of it.
Steve: Do you see it kind of the same way ECW was at one point…
Jeff Cobb: It definitely is generating that buzz. It’s so different but it does have that ECW mentality of us against the world. We are essentially like that because a lot of people didn’t expect Lucha Underground to survive past season one. After the first season aired everyone was like “they’re done” like it was a one and done thing and now we are finishing up season three with rumors of season four. If there is a season four there is an audience for it.
Steve: What would you think about Lucha Underground touring?
Jeff Cobb: I hope it does happen. Lucha Underground did Austin Warfare and they sold out of a thousand seat arena and turned away people.
Steve: If NXT can do it…
Jeff Cobb: Yeah. It has that NXT buzz. That ECW buzz. There’s definitely people who want to see it.
Steve: Now, you won the match tonight against Brian Cage [June 18th’s FCW show in Imperial Beach, CA] so you are facing B-Boy at the next show for the FCW title. Now I know you said you can’t confirm or deny if you are Matanza but in Lucha Underground he killed B-Boy. Do you think B-Boy is going to have that extra motivation for some revenge? [Laughs]
Jeff Cobb: [Laughs] He better not take it out on me. That’s not me! I love that kind of stuff though. If he holds a grudge against me then bring it. I love getting kicked in the face and punched in the face. I have a face for radio.
Steve: Lucha Underground is seemingly getting bigger and bigger, but what are your ultimate goals when it comes to wrestling?
Jeff Cobb: I think Lucha Underground is going to get bigger. From day one till now it has just grown ridiculously. I wasn’t there the first month of tapings but from everything that I heard from guys that were they were barely able to fill the stands. They had to position everyone so it looked full. Now we are turning tons of people away. It’s free tickets and they disappear so quick.
Steve: I know the last ones went in less than 30 minutes.
Jeff Cobb: Everyone is asking me “how can I get tickets?” I don’t know. I don’t deal with tickets. I show up and wrestle. There is definitely a buzz for it and a market for it. People want it, and if people want it we’re going to give it to them.
Steve: Are you able to work in Japan if you wanted? I know guys like Ricochet and Joey Ryan are still able to.
Jeff Cobb: Yes. From my understanding the only promotions I can’t work for are WWE, Ring of Honor, and TNA. Everything else is fair game I believe.
Steve: Have you had any contact about working Japan?
Jeff Cobb: Not yet. It is definitely one of my goals. I would love to go to Japan. I like that kind of style. I think I would be a good fit there.
Steve: I saw that you were booked in Hawaii coming up.
Jeff Cobb: Yeah. I’m going back to my home promotion. I have an Undertaker schedule with them. I try to go at least once a year. Whenever they will have me I’ll definitely come over and help them out as best as I can. Whether it being trying to generate more buzz for the company or whatever. Trying to get more eyes on the company. Plus I turn it into a vacation. I’m there for two weeks.
Steve: We were there last year and I’m always saying “let’s go back.” [Laughs]
Jeff Cobb: It sucks leaving. It’s hard. Last time I went was December of 2014, I was there for two weeks, and it was really tough to leave.
Steve: Have you gotten to wrestle in Guam at all?
Jeff Cobb: No, there’s no wrestling in Guam unfortunately. I wouldn’t mind doing a tour there, but that takes a lot of money I don’t want to put up. If someone is willing to do it I have connections for sponsorships and what not. I just don’t want to deal with the business side of it. I don’t like to deal with that kind of stuff. Book me, pay me, and I’ll show up and give you the best damn match I can. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s great.
Steve: Before I let you go, is there anything you’d like to plug?
Jeff Cobb: Lucha Underground. New episodes are on every Wednesday. You can also find us on iTunes. Season one is available to purchase in full and there is a season two pass, and hopefully when season three is airing season three will be available on iTunes as well. Also, follow me on Twitter, @MrAthleticJCobb is my Twitter name. Follow me on Facebook. And on Instagram it’s JeffCobb. I need to keep it easy to remember, I get hit in the head a lot.
Steve: Thank you again for your time:
Jeff Cobb: No problem.