ROH TV Champion Marty Scurll recently spoke with Donald Wood and the Ring Rust Radio Crew. The full interview can be found in the above video. You can also check out Ring Rust on BlogTalk Radio. They submitted these highlights from the interview:
Your Villain persona has become one of the most interesting and must-see parts of professional wrestling. How did this character come together and was there a moment that you recall knowing this was going to be something special?
"I get asked that question a lot. The Villain wasn't necessarily something I sat down and thought, "Oh this is going to be my character". I feel like it's more like most great wrestling characters where it's more of a reflection of my actual character. I think one day a few years back when I came up with it, wrestling is very much based on playing by the rules and conforming to certain rules, you have to do this, and play respect to this. I did do that for many, many years. That didn't necessary work the way I wanted to so I essentially got a massive chip on my shoulder. So, I decided I am not going to play by these rules and I was going to do what I want and play this game however I fancy and be me. I didn't care who I upset or that I wasn't playing by the rules. This is my character and I've got the chance to go out there and do it. I can't wrestle forever so I have the chance to get out there and make an impression. It wasn't a case of me thinking I was going to carry an umbrella and say this funny line, but one day I just decided to talk to the ring with an umbrella and it just kind of happened. The best way I can describe my character is to liken him to Jim Carrey in the Mask. That would be a good way to describe my character: a bit of an asshole but you can't take your eyes off of him. The guy that is there to make an impact and that's the best way to describe my character.
"In wrestling now, I asked my little brother to watch some modern wrestling and he did. He used to watch it back when he was a child, I asked him what he thought about it and Owen said, "I enjoyed it, I get it, it was interesting, and very athletic. But where have all the great characters gone? When I watched wrestling it was the great characters like Kane, Undertaker, Mankind, and all these other great characters but I am missing it now. Even though you are my brother, your character resonates with me". It's all very well to go out there and put on an exciting match, while some of my matches are the most exciting out there, but having a character like mine that people can relate with is very important. I feel like that is a good reason why my character has worked. The amount of tweets I got from people saying they were dressing up like the Villain for Halloween and I thought that was really cool and I am making a change. I am giving them a character they can invest their time in."
You were already one of the top wrestlers in the world, but many American wrestling fans are just starting to learn about you. How have the fans responded to you and how has your career changed in the last several months?
"I think a lot of them have never seen anyone or anything like me. They haven't seen anyone who wrestles the style I wrestle, that speaks like me, or that looks like me. It's all very new to me and very new to them. It seems they have accepted me or most have, as one of their own so maybe that says more about them than me. When ROH came to me, they made it very clear they wanted me on their team. It wasn't a case of them finding me, I chose them. I knew they were the company for me. I knew they were going to give me a platform to put out the best Villain possible if that makes sense. So far, the responses have been great and it's very exciting. They have only had a very small dose of the Villain so far. So, I am extremely excited to show them what I have in store and takeover the American wrestling scene. It gives me chills to think of the things that are going to happen in 2017."
WWE recently announced a tournament to crown its first-ever United Kingdom champion, and as one of the most highly regarded British wrestlers in the world, what are your overall impressions of the tournament and how do you feel it might impact the British wrestling landscape?
"I think it was certainly an obvious choice for the WWE to do such a thing. The British wrestling scene has been kicking ass for many years thanks to people like myself, Zack Sabre Jr., and Will Osprey. It just makes financial sense for them to do that especially with their network. I think it's a great concept. Everyone has been tweeting me to see if I was going to be in their tournament. Obviously, I am in ROH so I'm not going to be in the tournament. Then I see tweets saying it's a shame that they can't watch Marty on the WWE UK show tournament. Then I tell them that I am on ROH so watch that. Watch me wrestle some of the best wrestlers in the world. It makes sense to me since the UK scene has been doing so well. With the shows drawing such a huge audience and attendance. In 2017, so much is going to change in the wrestling industry, and I feel like a lot of it is starting here. WWE UK thing is happening, wrestling is returning to ITV.
"For those in America, ITV is the biggest channel in the UK and they are getting wrestling on that station on New Year's Eve. Some guys are going this way, some are going that way. Guys like Will Osprey and myself going to ROH, everything is changing and I think 2017 is going to be an exciting year where a lot of people are going to make a lot of money. It's going to be a hard year on the promoters, but in terms of the tournament, it's a great opportunity for the UK guys that for years had no way to get spotted or a light shinned on them. Ten years ago, back when I was wrestling, it was hard to get someone to cover you for a local show, but here I am today being interviewed by you guys, and now these guys are getting a chance to wrestle on the network. I got a handful of friends on there like Pete Dunne and Trent Seven and I am excited to see them on it. I think they will do the country proud in what they do."
There's some incredible promos on YouTube of you explaining the Villain character and your Twitter account is full of excellent tweets using the villain hashtag. You, along with wrestlers like Chris Jericho and Matt Hardy, seem to be using social media to truly enhance your characters. Do you think social media is being underutilized by other wrestlers and the industry overall?
"Possibly. A lot of wrestlers could be better off with getting off of social media to be fair. Things like Twitter and everything else give me another platform to get my character out there. So, they can be great tools in that aspect. Things like YouTube, I thought a while back while wrestling in the Indies, I would have pretty good matches and only 500 people in the crowd. I want to take over the world so what am I going to do? The difference between me and a lot of other wrestlers, not slagging any other wrestlers off, is I think bigger and outside the box. I think about what can I do to takeover and let my presence be known? I am doing these matches, I'm coming out to entertain, but nobody knows my backstory, what I have been through, what I do, or why I carry this umbrella. So, I thought to take it to YouTube, where I can be seen by a thousand people every weekend while wrestling on the Indies and I can also be seen by the whole entire world on YouTube. So, to me, complete a no brainer, I made those videos to get my message out there. There are many more to come with ROH now and they will be bigger and better than ever. This is just a small taste of the Villain, and it's enough to get people hooked and want to see me perform or buy my t-shirt or a ticket and much more.
"At the end of the day, wrestling works on an emotional investment. Just like boxing or MMA, if you feel like you are connected to that fighter you are going to get attached and pay to see them. I looked to things like YouTube as a great platform for me to show some character. With the Indies, I wouldn't get as much mic time or opportunity to do so. With all the social media outlets like Twitter and Instagram, it's another outlet to connect with the audience. Sometimes the Villain character is hard for me to describe because there is so many layers to it. I am 20 promos ahead in my mind of where I am going. To tell that's story to people it takes time and people need to digest. So, it's a really good way to help get the character over as such. It's a tool that is there to be used wisely, and I like to think I do. Does everybody else? Not necessarily but that depends on the individual. For me, it's a thumbs up as far as it goes."
Earlier this year, you managed to walk out of PWG's Battle of Los Angeles as the winner. What was that experience like for you and where does that accomplishment rank on your achievements list?
"It was one of those things where it was the best and worst weekends ever. Obviously, I feel like this generation of independent wrestlers are very underrated. Not that people wouldn't credit us as real workers, but I feel like our work is the best in the world. You look at someone who wrestles for WWE or New Japan, or AAA, they are working heavy schedules. For the most part, they are wrestling on tour with the same people so they are going to have great matches. As an Indy wrestler like me, I am traveling all over the world. Last weekend, on Friday night I flew out to LA and fought Zack Sabre Jr. in the main event for a forty-minute match. Then I flew out of LA to Dublin for a changeover, flew over to Iceland, then to drive to Belfast to wrestle in the main event, thirty-minute match with King Ricochet and I'm expected to have a five-star classic you know what I mean? That's just a normal weekend for me. That's just two shows, sometimes its three, sometimes its four. I'm expected to travel to all these places and most of the times its places I have never even been to before, never wrestled before, and wrestle a guy I never have worked with before. Sometimes they may not even speak the same language and you are expected to go out there and have an absolute classic. That for me is the art of the independent wrestler and the starving artist. That is how for me, I get that creative satisfaction.
"The point is, with PWG, every time you go out there, you can have a five start match, that's the point of the promotion. Heck six stars if you can. While I am in Los Angeles, I am from the UK, so the reason I carry an umbrella all the time is because the weather is bloody miserable all the time. I am used to the cold, but LA with that heat I am not used to. Being in that heat, then being told on the final day, to wrestle three matches that need to be five star matches, after one of those matches I feel like death warmed up. To wrestle three in one day is pretty horrendous. Obviously, in any other normal circumstance, if I was to have to do the equivalent of a CrossFit like circuit of matches, I wouldn't be able to do it. Because I was on such a buzz and such a high, being on something like Battle for Los Angeles, helped get me through it. The reason why the tournament was so important to me, was because PWG gave me that break in America. Other people had given me chances to wrestle in the states before, but PWG really gave me that platform and freedom to go out there and be me. To put on the type of matches I wanted to do and take away limits. How I envisioned it in my head, they let me do it with no questions asked. PWG to me already has a massive place in my heart. Then of course the tournament, for being such a huge one. No lies about it, it's the 24 best wrestlers in the world and there are matches that happen at PWG that couldn't happen anywhere else in the world. It really is such a special company and holds a place in so many peoples' hearts. I have it in my contract that I am exclusive in America to ROH, but I made sure I could still wrestle for PWG. That's how important it is to me and a few other guys it is very similar. There are matches that happen there that couldn't happen anywhere else in the world. The 24 best independent wrestlers in the world coming together. Cody Rhodes, and I said this in my speech afterwards, was in WWE, Intercontinental Champion, done WrestleMania, I'm sure made a lot of money, he left WWE because he wanted to wrestle in this tournament. That's how big the tournament is. Guys like Justin Liger, Chris Hero, Zack Sabre Jr., King Ricochet, all these guys are just insane performers. Then they come out and it's almost like, okay great, maybe I'm finally starting to get appreciated after all these years of hard work I'm not trying to sound too cliché, but it's almost like a reward for all the hard work that I put in. It was nice to be kind of given the nod and have people say that Marty Scurll is pretty damn good. They have given me that light to light the flame and run with it to take over the wrestling world. For me, it's certainly one of the biggest accomplishments in my career for the many reasons given and who knows? Maybe I can wrestle in Battle for Los Angeles 2017 and battle that Los Angeles heat again."
Sports Illustrated recently published an article where you spoke about you're not sure WWE would give you the platform needed to present The Villain and tell your story. Was that something that you spoke about with Ring of Honor before you signed and how do you see The Villain's story unfolding in 2017?
"It certainly was. I kind of knew already what kind of company ROH is and I know the platforms that they give their guys and for me it was very important to have that kind of how I mentioned before. Obviously, I let ROH know that was the case. I'm coming to ROH and I want to change things. I feel like me coming to ROH I can help the company grow, and I can help take it to places it's never been before. I was in the Indies and everything else and that was great fun, but a move for me to ROH is like a natural progression. The next kind of step-up and it's something I need to do. I can help them and I can help them do great business not just in the UK, in Europe, but in the whole entire world. There's absolutely no doubts in my mind that I'll be remembered heavily for my ROH career. I'm going to be world champion and I'm going to create a body of work and leave a legacy there but I want to help it grow to levels that it's never been before. There is no reason ROH cannot be as big as the WWE or UFC or anything else like that. I told ROH this and I think they appreciated that. They appreciate that I have this bold vision and they want to get on the Villain ride the whole way. It's not even a case of me being allowed to tell my character or do I want, it's a case of I'm going to do it. I'm going to do what I want and I'm going there to take over. For ROH it's an exciting time. As far as they're concerned, me there with the attitude and a bunch of other guys there with attitudes like the Young Bucks and whatnot, they're going to see business boom. It's good for them, it's good for me, and it's just good for the wrestling business in general. It's going to be a real exciting time. In terms of what's in store to come? Like I said I my mind is set on the little bit of gold and that's the obvious thing. It's important to go to a company and to have those belts and have those great matches. Like I said, for me I wanted to take it further. The big channels across the world, I want to get into those big arenas, I want to help the company grow, and crack that mainstream. Go to places that a company like ROH has never gone before. In terms of me helping the company grow that's what you can expect. In terms of the Villain character, of course if I let you know what was going to happen with that, that just wouldn't be me you know? So, I guess you have to wait and see and watch ROH TV and the pay-per-views very carefully to see what happens."
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