Sometimes looking like a top star isn't the best thing.
That was the case for MLW National Openweight Champion Alex Hammerstone. The imposing figure may not be one you recognize if you haven't seen him since last year. He explained to Fightful recently why it was that he decided to chop off his hair, change his gear and start anew.
"There’s a couple of things that went into the decision. Obviously, I was getting comparisons to certain other long haired wrestlers, certain other wrestlers with H in their name. After a while you get so sick of hearing it. And you also get so sick of companies saying “Hey, we’d like to put you on TV, but you look like this guy or that guy,” or whatever it is. So, the first decision was the hair coming off. But I’d been playing with that idea, kind of radically changing up my look, changing up the way I present myself for a couple months," said Hammerstone.
The change paid off for Hammerstone. He's joined a wildly successful fashion in Dynasty, has won the aforementioned National Openweight Championship, and is thus far undefeated in the company. However, he wasn't feeling so fresh-faced last year, which helped contribute to his big changes.
"Basically in 2018, I was in a rut with wrestling where I felt like I was basically going out and playing the hits. And that’s a reference to being in a band where you don’t have inspiration to write new music, you’re not passionately in love with what you’re doing, you’re just playing the songs that you know the people are going to clap for and you know its gonna keep getting you paid to do your gigs. And that’s where I had fallen into. So, I took a step back and thought about what I wanted to do, how I wanted to present myself. And I took a huge gamble cutting the hair, changing the gear, really changing things up, changing my music, changing a little bit how I work in the ring, the way I talk on the mic. And it’s been a nerve wracking thing because you have this guaranteed, “Hey, this is working for now at this stage; for sure it’s gonna continually get me indie bookings.” But, I want to evolve. And that can either make you or break you. And obviously for me it’s been a launching pad, especially with MLW and to for them present that new character on a national and international stage has been phenomenal," Hammerstone would tell us.
With the Championship comes challengers of all sizes -- hence the title -- and all expenerience level. The gravity of that situation will come to fruition when Hammerstone takes on WWF veteran Savio Vega of all people at MLW Never Say Never.
Hammerstone has high hopes for the title that he holds, and is currently establishing.
"A lot of the time when you’re in the position of holding a championship title, you’re in the position of (taking on) all comers. Especially with the Openweight Championship. It means I can be literally going up against anybody. There’s not a weight limit on the belt. So a contender comes in with, either someone whose worked their way up through the MLW ranks or someone like Savio Vega, whose pedigree speaks for itself. So he gets to cut in line, so to speak. Those matches, I don’t really get to turn it down. I just take all comers. So a lot of times these match-ups, I’m learning about them at the same time everyone else is, when it’s getting announced via the MLW web page or the Twitter or whatever else it is. My goal with this Championship pretty much run parallel to my goals with signing with MLW in the first place. There’s a lot of guys get opportunities with companies with TV deals or things like that. Younger guys who just are happy to be there. “Oh, this might be cool. Oh, I wanna tell my friends I’m on TV or I’m gonna make pretty good money.” Cool, whatever. But, when I signed that contract my mind went, “Okay, I’m gonna be the face of MLW. I want this company on my back. I want to be a franchise player. I want, a year from now, my name to be synonymous with MLW.” And, at the time, it was eyes on the prize as far as going after that Heavyweight Championship. That’s all I wanted. It’s all I was focused on. Then, this National Openweight title got announced and it’s like you said, I’m the first one to ever hold it. So I get to set the bar, set the standard for what this Championship means. So, my goal is to make it the most sought after Championship in wrestling, the most must-see part of our program. I want it to be something that, if that title is being defended, people want to watch that match. I want it to be a main event belt," said Hammerstone.
Major League Wrestling's Never Say Never takes place July 25 from the Melrose Ballroom in Queens, New York. You can purchase tickets at this link.
Thank you to William Thatch for contributing to this article.