by Mark Kawada
Mark Kawada caught up with CZW star Ruckus after CZW’s junior heavyweight tournament, “Best of the Best”. Ruckus, who is set to make his SoCal debut on June 16th’s EPIC show discussed that, XPW, backyard wrestling, and more.
Mark: We’re here with Ruckus on the night of CZW’s second annual “Best of the Best” tournament. Ruckus, thank you for being here.
Ruckus: No problem.
Mark: First off to start the interview, a simple question. How did you get started in the wrestling business?
Ruckus: I started off in high school wrestling, collegiate style. Then from there I just fucked around in the backyard with some friends. Then I went to wrestling school, got trained, and started April 18th, 1999. Since then I started with CZW in the summer of 2000. Then it went on from there.
Mark: Where did you train?
Ruckus: Brainbuster’s Wrestling Academy in Baltimore. I was trained by Chad Olsen.
Mark: Who were some of the other guys you trained with?
Ruckus: Axl Rotten, Balls Mahoney, and some others.
Mark: How soon after training did you have your first match?
Ruckus: Three months.
Mark: Who was your first match with?
Ruckus: It was a battle royal actually.
Mark: What about your first singles match?
Ruckus: My first singles match was me versus Chad Olsen.
Mark: How did you get into wrestling? Did you get into wrestling as a fan growing up?
Ruckus: Yeah, my grandfather [got me into wrestling]. I’d sit there and watch it with him. I just fell into it from there.
Mark: Who is your favorite wrestler?
Ruckus: Shawn Michaels and Rob Van Dam. Also [Keiji] Muto and Masahiro Chono.
Mark: What’s your favorite angle?
Ruckus: Michaels, Marty Jannetty. If you watch some of their matches, they had some of the better matches for their time.
Mark: What about your favorite match?
Ruckus: Lets see, it’s between Owen Hart and Bret Hart at Wrestlemania 10, and Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon’s first ladder match. Oh yeah, also Muto and Ric Flair versus Terry Funk and Sting.
Mark: So, how did you get in to CZW?
Ruckus: Me and my friend, Hurricane Kid were doing a show for Power House Wrestling, and Zandig and a couple guys were there and saw what I can do. So they gave me a shot and the rest is history.
Mark: How do you feel about CZW?
Ruckus: It’s the greatest independent around right now. They are going to be huge soon.
Mark: What do you think of the locker room?
Ruckus: The locker room is awesome. The greatest bunch of talent you’ll ever see on any show.
Mark: Where did the Ruckus gimmick come from?
Ruckus: I was just sitting there and [the promoters] said I needed a name. I was just going to wrestle under my real name but the promoters didn’t like that. So [the promoter] just named me Ruckus and it went from there.
Mark: How do you feel about the matches you had tonight?
Ruckus: Oh, the matches were great. Jody Fleisch is a great competitor. Tony Mamaluke is unbelievable. So is Max [Fury]. They are all really good. I was really happy with all my matches.
Mark: What is your favorite style to work?
Ruckus: Lucha Libre.
Mark: Why is Lucha your favorite?
Ruckus: Lucha Libre is unbelievable. I mean, you bring in a unique style of wrestling with Lucha. My style, I try to mix a little bit of Lucha Libre, plus some stuff you wouldn’t see on a normal show.
Mark: Would you ever consider working in Mexico?
Ruckus: Oh yeah. Definitely. Any chance I get I’ll take it. I’ve worked in Japan a lot for Big Japan. That’s a really good experience, so I’m always up for something new.
Mark: What is your take on the criticisms you get when people say you are “spotty”?
Ruckus: If you look at it right now, look at any typical match. That’s all spots. Look at the stuff on Monday nights and it’s just punching and kicking. No one wants to see that. My matches, I’d compare them to an old kung fu movie. You see a lot of different stuff in my matches. If a person thinks I’m too spotty then they don’t have to watch me, you know?
Mark: Do you have any gymnastics or martial arts training?
Ruckus: Judo, Tae Kwon Do, and kickboxing. I didn’t do any gymnastics. I’m self-taught in that.
Mark: How did you end up in Big Japan?
Ruckus: They called Zandig and told him they wanted me to come over for a tour, and I just took it. I guess it was from the popularity of me and Trent’s matches.
Mark: What was it like touring in Big Japan?
Ruckus: Great. One of the best learning experiences I’ve ever had. Really good.
Mark: How was the locker room?
Ruckus: Locker room was great. All those competitors over there are good. Men’s Teioh is fantastic. The shows are unbelievable. Unbelievable.
Mark: Do you plan on going back there soon?
Ruckus: I’m not sure.
Mark: What did you think of the Japanese fans as compared to the American fans?
Ruckus: Japanese fans are more respectful. They want to be quiet and let you do your stuff. They’ll pop for your big stuff. They’ll pop for your spots. But fans back home, you can’t beat the fans back home, you know? They’re into it. They’re hungry. They want to see something new every time, and I try to give them that.
Mark: Do you think you’d ever do deathmatches, or do you plan on just sticking to technical wrestling?
Ruckus: I mean whatever, you know? I’ll do whatever matches come my way. I’m not scared to do deathmatches; I’m not scared to do hardcore. Whatever, you know?
Mark: Have you taken any bookings outside of CZW and Big Japan?
Ruckus: Oh yeah. I’m about to head to California for EPIC of course. Me and Trent Acid. So, that should be really good.
Mark: Is this going to be your first trip to SoCal?
Ruckus: Oh yeah, it’s my first trip. But, anywhere else, I wrestle all around the East Coast.
Mark: What are your thoughts on EPIC?
Ruckus: It looks like one hell of a card from what I saw. I mean, me and Trent Acid will go down there and get it on one more time.
Mark: What are your thoughts on the EPIC locker room?
Ruckus: Sabu, Messiah, all those guys are awesome. I’ve always been a Sabu fan. I mean, this show has a ton of talent on it and a lot of really good matches, so it should be one hell of a show.
Mark: Are you familiar with the SoCal wrestling scene?
Ruckus: It’s going to be all new to me.
Mark: Any sightseeing when you go to LA?
Ruckus: I’m going to try to.
Mark: So what kind of wrestling do you watch now?
Ruckus: Now I watch a lot of Japanese wrestling, a lot of Indy. I’m not too keen on the Monday night stuff, but I watch it anyway.
Mark: Who is your favorite wrestler?
Ruckus: That’s a hard one. Like Rob Van Dam is my favorite wrestler. Shawn Michaels was always good. Right now at this time I’d say Rob Van Dam. Eddy Guerrero. Chris Benoit, how can I forget him? Chris Benoit is the man.
Mark: What feds and styles are you a fan of now?
Ruckus: My favorite fed to watch right now, other than CZW, would have to be All Japan. All Japan and I like AAA.
Mark: What are your thoughts on Rob Black and XPW?
Ruckus: I don’t know. They contacted me and tried to get me to come over. I’m not really feeling that scene. I mean I don’t know Rob Black so I can’t say anything. Messiah’s from XPW. So obviously, I have heard some things. But I haven’t seen some of their stuff as of late. They’re trying to do what they’re trying to do, you know?
Mark: Would you ever be willing to work with them?
Ruckus: No. My loyalty is with CZW so that’s where I’ll stay. I don’t see myself working for XPW at any time.
Mark: If you could pick anyone right now, whom would you want to wrestle?
Ruckus: If I could pick anybody, I would want to do a match with Randy Savage in his prime. Randy Savage is the greatest. I want to wrestle him in his prime. Or Masahiro Chono. Or RVD, if I had the chance.
Mark: Who is your favorite guy to work with?
Ruckus: Trent Acid. I love working with him.
Mark: Did you choose him as an opponent for EPIC?
Ruckus: No, they contacted me and told me that’s what the match was going to be.
Mark: What’s your take on backyard wrestling, considering you mentioned doing it?
Ruckus: Backyard wrestling, if you wrestle and you do it right, I don’t see any problem with it. When I backyard wrestled we didn’t do anything too dangerous. We had a real ring and everything. I mean I see some backyard wrestling now where kids are like breaking light bulbs over each others heads and cutting each other up. I mean that’s not wrestling. Wrestling is where you go in there with another person and you guys are trying to make it look good and you’re not trying to kill each other. I agree with some, but I have mixed feelings on it.
Mark: What do you think about kids renting arenas or a ring and trying to say they are a legit promotion?
Ruckus: I mean, to any backyard wrestler I say, if you stay in the backyard, that’s where you are going to stay. Get the money, get trained, and start to make a career out of it. That’s what I did, so I encourage any other backyard wrestler to do the same. There’s a lot of talent out there.
Mark: What’s your take on the WWE?
Ruckus: I don’t like the fact that they are called WWE now. Takes all the tradition out of it. They are too dramatic now, too much entertainment. They focus more on angles than wrestling, and I don’t agree with that.
Mark: What about the current state of wrestling as a whole?
Ruckus: Wrestling is a funny business, you know? It goes up and goes down. Right now, I like the way wrestling is going, the direction my career is going. So in a whole, I still like the way wrestling is going.
Mark: What kind of role do you think the Internet plays?
Ruckus: Oh, a huge role. I mean the Internet has an advantage and a disadvantage. Advantage wise it’s getting a lot of people’s names out there faster. It’s putting over a lot of the good talent out there. But, then you look at the disadvantages, when they give away finishes and you got the people who want to trash you. I mean people trash what we do, but the people who trash what we do can’t get in there and do what we do. Know what I mean? If people can’t fill our shoes, then people shouldn’t comment saying how we are bad if they can’t do what we do.
Mark: What do you think about the fans who take apart a match and critique it?
Ruckus: The fans that do that, they’re fans. I’d like to see any fan take apart a match, then go in there and do better. It just doesn’t work that way. Anybody can sit at home and watch it, and bitch and complain, but it takes a certain something to be able to get in there and get it done.
Mark: What do you think the importance of psychology plays in wrestling?
Ruckus: Psychology plays a huge role. If you look at some of my earlier matches you don’t see hardly any psychology. Now that I’ve been learning more, I learn every day. I’ve been putting more psychology into my matches. Like me and [Tony] Mamaluke. We put a ton of psychology into it. Me and Trent use a lot of psychology now. Psychology plays a huge part. You can’t just powerbomb a guy then pick him right up and give him something else. You got know where to put things. You got to know what to do. I’d say it is fifty-fifty with the athleticism.
Mark: So what does the future hold for Ruckus?
Ruckus: Hopefully one day I’ll make it to the big show. Until then I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing and get better.
Mark: Any last words for the SoCal fans before your match with Trent Acid at EPIC?
Ruckus: Get ready for something unbelievable. That’s all I can say. Get ready for something you wont see anywhere else on that card. Something crazy.
Mark: Thanks a lot for your time.
Ruckus: No problem, anytime.