Prior to AWS’s “Just Another Damn Turkey” on November 26th I had a chance to speak with current EWF Heavyweight champion “Uptown” Andy Brown. In our interview we talk about his start in wrestling, teaming with Adrian Quest, Swiss wrestling, his feud with Gary Yap’s Man in Black, his mother’s passing, his goals in wrestling, and much more. Click to learn more about Andy Brown.
Steve: All right I’m here with Andy Brown before AWS’s “Just Another Damn Turkey.”
Andy Brown: What up!
Steve: First off, thanks for agreeing to do the interview.
Andy Brown: Oh yeah, thanks for having me.
Steve: Like most interviews let’s start at the beginning, what made you decide to get into wrestling?
Andy Brown: Oh you know, like anybody else that’s in wrestling it’s a childhood dream, you know? You never really thought that, well, I never really thought it would be possible. But, I found a school, the Jesse Hernandez School of Hard Knocks and … it was funny because before that, I thought it was like you had to know somebody who knows somebody to get trained or whatever, but then I found this place on the internet and then I went there, hit the ropes, it was good. Took my first bump and was like “No, I don’t want to do this.” But then I fell in love with it, and that was that.
Steve: You were you just Googling it one day? Or had you gone to an indy show and…?
Andy Brown: No actually, EWF was my first indy show and the way I got into it was I Youtube’d something. I Youtube’d some type of WWE or whatever and … man that’s a good question. Actually my friend told me, I hate saying this, I really hate saying this, but we used to do backyard. I was trying to get away from that I’m not even going to lie. We used to do backyard. And then my friend found it online. He was like “Oh this place is in nearby.” So I studied it, that’s how I ended up Googling it. I studied it and was just like “Oh hell yeah, I want to do this.” Jesse Hernandez, the name is legendary, I want to go there. So that’s how I found it.
Steve: And what year did you start?
Andy Brown: 2011.
Steve: How long did you train before you had your first match?
Andy Brown: Like a year and six months.
Steve: You remember who your first match was against?
Andy Brown: Yeah it was Tarasso.
Steve: Jacob Tarasso?
Andy Brown: Yeah. It was fun. It was very nerve wracking to be honest with you. It was funny because in the match we’re doing stuff and the cameraman says “Look this way” and as I turned, he just goes for, I’m assuming he was going for a back kick, and as I turned he hit me right in the face. After that I just don’t remember much of the match. I don’t have a tape of it, and I really want that tape.
Steve: Yeah I know that EWF used to not film that much, now they’re really good at getting stuff out on YouTube. Awhile ago if you didn’t go to the show you didn’t see anything. It was like a mystery. I know when I first started going indy wrestling I knew of them through a guy, Cruiser Eddie Williams, that came out of EWF. I was a huge fan of his, and I knew he wrestled there. Would love to see some of that old stuff again.
Andy Brown: I think we adapted with the times, you know? Twitter, Facebook, Instagram all that stuff. Now you just see us flooding the scene just to get our names out there, to get that brand out there. Everyone knows EWF but sometimes you don’t know the wrestlers within it, you know what I mean? And then here’s Twitter, here’s Instagram, here look at our stuff. And I think that’s amazing.
Steve: Yeah I think it’s definitely helped a lot exposure wise. I definitely see more EWF guys like yourself, Adrian [Quest], on more shows when in the past it was kind of like a separate world. Those guys were on EWF shows and that was pretty much it. Speaking of Adrian Quest, you guys have been a really good tag-team. I did an interview anyway with Adrian earlier in the year and we talked about it a little bit. How did that come about?
Andy Brown: Well, at the time I wasn’t doing anything I was just wrestling, just doing matches and then so was he. We brought it to the EWF heads and we were just like “Hey, we want to try this team. Doesn’t have to be long term, we just want to try it.” And then we did it, and the crowd was really loving it. I guess the different styles of his high flying and my whatever it is I do, and they really enjoyed it so they just were like “All right, let’s do it again. Let’s do it again, let’s do it again.” We ended up winning the [EWF] tag titles and it’s just like “All right we’ll just keep going.” Yeah it was just two guys that wanted to try something, we did it and we’re pretty good at it. I love him to death, you know? I couldn’t have picked a better partner, for sure.
Steve: Yeah and you guys have even kind of moved on even outside of EWF, like tonight.
Andy Brown: We were actually surprised about that, cause once we stopped teaming at EWF, well not stopped you know, we still team here and there but once we stopped it was like “I wonder what’s going to happen next for us.” If we’re still going to be teaming anywhere or anything. And then just people will call us like “Hey can you do this over here? A team? Can you do this over here? A team?” And it’s just like “Okay, this is cool.” We didn’t think it was going to keep going. Then today for AWS is B-Boy and Cholo. I wouldn’t say they wanted us, but we wanted the challenge. Anytime you get to wrestle people of that caliber it’s a challenge because their level is where you want to get to.
Steve: Have you wrestled B-Boy before?
Andy Brown: I have wrestled B-Boy … three years ago I think. When I won my first title, the EWF American Title. My first defense was against B-Boy. Such a surprise. I was supposed to wrestle Jacob Tarasso but he got hurt so the substitute was B-Boy. Crazy, right? I think in that match I earned his respect. I came out with the win but barely. I wrestled him, I’ve never wrestled Cholo and I’ve always wanted to wrestle Cholo so this should be fun tonight.
Steve: I know you guys have wrestled in DWE as a tag-team and you are wrestling as a team at the next FCW show.
Andy Brown: Yeah.
Steve: And SoCal Pro of course.
Andy Brown: Yeah. FCW is December 10th. It’s me and Adrian versus B-Boy and Scorpion Sky. That’s should be a good one for sure, because Sky is another guy I’ve been wanting to work with. I worked with him one time in this four-way, so I didn’t really get to like, as weird as it sounds, touch him. You know what I mean? But it was good, it was really really good. And I’m really excited for this match.
Steve: Something I was going to get to a little bit later on, but I know you and Scorpio Sky went to Switzerland together. How did that all come about?
Andy Brown: The Switzerland thing?
Steve: Yeah. And you guys didn’t wrestle each other there?
Andy Brown: It was this … how do you explain it … It’s called Schwingen. It’s a form of wrestling. It’s Swiss wrestling. What they do is, it’s kind of like jujitsu. They wear these shorts that look like chaps, and you wrestle on sawdust, a circle of sawdust. It is nuts. It’s not what we expected at all but the experience of it was amazing. We went out there because people from Job Swipe, it’s a show out in Germany, and they came out here to all the schools looking for somebody, or looking for wrestlers. They ended up picking both of us. I still think it’s because we were black and funny. I’m not going to lie because we were the only black dudes out there. But you know, it worked and it was fun. Once we got there we just were like “What? We’re not wrestling? We’re doing Schwingen?” It was cool. The experience was great.
Steve: Now, we’re going to be moving backwards a little bit. I know late last year into early this year you had a feud with Gary Yap’s Man in Black, which was a big feud early in the year in EWF. That ultimately led to the anniversary show which is probably EWF’s biggest show ever. I know from going to those shows for 15 or 16 years, at that venue, that’s the most crowded I’ve ever seen it. People were outside looking in.
Andy Brown: It was nuts. I didn’t get to see it. I was so nervous I was in the back prepping, and I didn’t see the crowd but every match in front of me I could just hear it getting louder and louder and I’m like “How many people are out there?” But I didn’t want to poke my head out, because I was so nervous. We usually do intermissions but I don’t think I was out there that time. Whatever, music hits, here I come, and I just see this sea of people and it’s just like “Oh my god this is amazing! Don’t mess up! Let’s win, let’s get this.”
Steve: That was, first of all that was a really good match-
Andy Brown: Thank you.
Steve: I won’t spoil who the Man in Black is for anyone. I know it’s out there, but just in case anyone is reading who doesn’t know who it is, I won’t spoil it. You guys had a great match. You finally won the EWF Title and I think that was his first loss as the Man in Black in EWF.
Andy Brown: I was the first person he didn’t beat, his first time, or wrestling the first time, because he was just destroying everyone he wrestled against. He couldn’t beat me, and then he ended up choking me out but I didn’t tap. And then I ended up beating him at the anniversary. It was not easy, for sure. It was really hard hitting. I think he knocked me out once in there, but it was dope.
Steve: So you finally beat him. And it was a pretty emotional moment for you. I know afterwards you dedicated it to your mom, do you want to talk about that at all?
Andy Brown: We can. My mom passed away New Years Eve. And Gary decided to make it personal for whatever reason and speak about it. I didn’t take kindly to it. All that stuff happened but before that I was going to stop wrestling because of that. You know I just wasn’t right, I wasn’t feeling right. But I just remembered mine and my mom’s memories, that’s how we brought everything together was with wrestling. We sat down and watched it and everything like that and it was amazing, you know? And I was like “I don’t want to quit that, I don’t want to stop doing this.” Because that’s what brought us together, and I’m sure there’s someone out there that every time the EWF is out there their families go out there, you know and have memories with their parents. So I just kept going with it. And that match was very emotional, physical, all of the above. They say blood sweat and tears, now I see what they mean. And that match was all that.
Steve: The lead up to it and everything was so well done, the way that they built the Man in Black, so it more than you just beating some guy for the title because he was built so well. And you’ve held the title since then…
Andy Brown: Yeah, I’m still the champ now so that’s, you know, that’s amazing.
Steve: You have the feud going with H.A.T.E.
Andy Brown: With H.A.T.E right now, yeah. They beat us for our [EWF tag-team] titles and then they tried to… when was it, last week? Two weeks ago? I wrestled Ray Rosas and that was a fun match but I didn’t like the fact that I almost had him and then H.A.T.E came out. But that’s all right I, I get it. Scorpio Sky came out, team Schwingen, to help me and set up us versus H.A.T.E. I think that one’s December 2nd.
Steve: Are you guys going to wrestle in sawdust?
Andy Brown: I hope not. That sucks so much. And it was so hard to get it off of my beard, no joke.
Steve: Moving on from EWF a little bit. You’re definitely picking up a lot more bookings, I know you were already in SoCal Pro and DWE but now you’re starting with AWS, FCW coming up…
Andy Brown: That’s kind of it right now. I’m trying to go out there, I’m trying to get more outside bookings anywhere I can, you know to get my name out and to wrestle some of the best out there. Even if they’re not considered the best, I love wrestling anybody and everybody. I love wrestling. And if I can wrestle in front of different crowds all the time, It’s great. I know AWS crowd is very vocal. They’ll tell you if you suck or they’ll tell you this, and it’s cool. So if I do good in front of them, then I know I’m … I don’t want to say because of the fans I know I’m good, but, you know. Whatever. I’m trying to get everywhere and anywhere I can.
Steve: Do you notice a big difference working in a crowd like this versus, I don’t want to say EWF crowds, but it’s a more family crowd.
Andy Brown: Yeah, it’s a big difference. I like either crowd to be honest with you, because the family friendly crowds, if you’re keeping it safe, and trying to keep it friendly, they’ll call out. They’ll say it’s boring. Like “Come on man.” And this one, crowds like this, the more adult crowd I guess you can say, if you don’t bring it, then they’ll let you know. So it challenges you on every type of level, you know what I mean? And I like that. I like that it’s not just “Oh I can just go out there and just do my shtick.” No, you gotta change it up, you gotta be different, you gotta bring it.
Steve: Is there anyone who do you model yourself as in is there a wrestler where you’re “Man, that’s the way I want to wrestle”?
Andy Brown: I used to look at, before I started, to look at RVD and I was like “Oh I want to do that!”. Then I went up for my first frog splash and it hurt, and I was like “Nah. I don’t want to do that.” But now no, it’s pretty much just what I can do and what I can’t do. I know what I can and cannot do, like if I see Ricochet and I’m like “I can’t do any of that stuff.” So I’m just gonna do what I know I can do. Sometimes I like to push it, and if I feel like I can do something, like I just started learning how to back flip on my feet. Just a standing back flip, and now I can do it.
Steve: Is there any promotions, let’s start off with SoCal, any promotions in SoCal that you want to work that you haven’t had the chance to work yet?
Andy Brown: Santino Bros, for sure. That’s one that comes up. Honestly, anywhere else. Whoever, wherever to be honest. Santino Bros is one that I haven’t worked and I do want to work there.
Steve: Did you do a Dark Match Lucha Underground?
Andy Brown: Yeah. It was an internet match, I guess? It wasn’t on the show but it was on the internet.
Andy Brown: Yeah. It was on Youtube. That one was cool. I got my butt kicked. When we were coming down the steps, the crowd was just … I don’t know if they knew who I was, or it was just cause my name was on my ass but they were cheering for me but regardless I’ll take it.
Steve: Have you had any further communication with Lucha Underground about possibly going back?
Andy Brown: Just a lot of, I think it’s okay to say, I just did a lot of security and things like that. I can’t give too much away because it hasn’t been out. Just things like that. I’m trying to get something rolling with them, I’m trying to get signed by them but we’ll see how that goes.
Steve: And what about Pro Wrestling Guerrilla? Is that a goal?
Andy Brown: That’s hard. That one’s very very hard to… you know… I don’t want to say I’m not there yet, but I’m not on their radar just yet. But going different places and wrestling these awesome talents I’m sure I’ll get there and I’m sure they’ll see me.
Steve: What kind of goals do you have in wrestling?
Andy Brown: It’s so funny because me and my friend were talking about this, another wrestling friend of mine, were talking about “What is your goal for 2017?” Or just in general and I don’t know, to be 100 percent. My thing was I wanted to set goals in EWF because that was my home. I wanted to become a champion and I did, I’ve won all our titles. I wanted a main event at an anniversary show, and I did. The biggest one. So now it’s like, what else do I want to do? Right now, I just, I think my goals are to wrestle the top of the top guys. To prove that I am on that level. That I’m not just a “Weekend Warrior” so to speak. I want to wrestle these guys. That’s my goal now, I guess you could say.
Steve: Is there anyone that really stands out that you haven’t had a chance to wrestle locally that you really want to get in the ring with? I know you mentioned Cholo earlier.
Andy Brown: Willie Mack. Tito Escondido. Honestly, everybody. I really want to wrestle Willie Mack. Also Famous B. If there was any type of miracle, Kenny Omega. I know that’s out there, but hey.
Steve: What about like, NXT, WWE, or Japan even?
Andy Brown: Well yeah, you know, that’s the ultimate goal for sure. For anybody. To go to WWE or NXT. Anything that could get signed and be able to provide for your family, that’s the goal, you know. If there is a deal to go to Japan, yeah of course. You’ll be, I don’t want to say stupid, but you’d be dumb not to take that.
Steve: Even on the indy scene you see people able to make a living where that wouldn’t have been possible in the past. Wrestlers like Joey Ryan or the Young Bucks, I mean I know they’re outliers not everybody can do that, but the opportunities are there.
Andy Brown: You gotta hustle. Just have to work hard. The same way you train hard in the gym and the wrestling ring, the same way you work hard in front of the crowd, you have to work hard to promote yourself. Tee shirts, eight by tens, all that stuff. I’m slow on that. I don’t have a tee shirt, I just made an eight by ten. It’s just a lot of stuff like that you’ve just got to hustle hustle hustle hard. It’s not just “Oh I can do a cool move.” You gotta promote your ass off. I know for me I’m slacking on it.
Steve: Especially like EWF, I know you would probably sell a ton of shirts there if you did some. You’re definitely one of the more over guys there.
Andy Brown: Thank you, I appreciate that.
Steve: Before I let you go is there anything that you want to plug or put out there?
Andy Brown: Just my Instagram. My Facebook. My Twitter is @UpAndyBrown. On December 2nd and December 3rd I’ll be at EWF, hopefully people come out and check it out. December 10th is FCW. If anybody is listening or reading. Are they listening or reading it?
Steve: Reading. I’m going to transcribe it.
Andy Brown: If anyone is reading this and you’re pursuing to become a pro wrestler, keep going at it. It’s going to get hard, it’s going to get tough, but bruises will heal and everything will be all right. Just remember to always hustle, always work hard and you’ll be good. That’s about it.
Steve: All right well thank you for your time.
Andy Brown: Thank you very much, this was fun.