Stephen Jensen caught up with independent pro wrestler O’Shay Edwards on the Fight Talk Podcast to discuss his training, the indie scene, his favorite wrestlers, favorite matches, career goals, and more!
Here are some highlights from their conversation on October 18, 2018:
SJ: How have you been in general?
OE: Life has been good, man. Staying busy, which is also a plus. Other than that, just trying to keep my calendar full, making sure that I can venture out there as much as I can. You know, be able to pay the bills and all that good stuff. As long as the wife is happy then I think that I’m doing a pretty good job.
SJ: For sure. Where did you train out of and where did you get your start? I know you’re currently out of Atlanta, Georgia.
OE: I got started by North Atlanta. Once I got my footing I trained out of West Atlanta with Robert Gibson. But yeah, I’m normally based out of Atlanta. I originally came down here (from New York) to go to school. The living was kind of good so I just stayed.
SJ: Have you been a lifelong fan of professional wrestling? Or were you an athlete and wrestling was something that you just kind of took to?
OE: The easy answer to that would just simply be: “yes”. I’ve always been a wrestling fan since I was a little kid. The first event that I ever got to go to, when I was maybe like 10 or 11 years old, my dad took me to Madison Square Garden for a WWF/E house show. As a kid, I lost my mind when Ahmed Johnson showed up. He was my guy. Ever since then, it kind of got me hooked and I’ve just always been a part of it. When I was in high school, I always watched wrestling. I played football my whole life and when I got a little older and a little bit smarter, I realized that I wanted to give wrestling a real try. I actually started training with Johnny Swinger in Kennesaw and then I went to train with Robert Gibson out in Douglasville. That’s when my education really began. As soon as I started training I realized that this was really something that I wanted to do.
SJ: How long ago did you start training?
OE: Only about 4-5 years ago. A lot of people are surprised when I tell them that because they figure that I’ve been in the business for like 10-12 years. When I’m invested in something, I go in full throttle. This is what I want to do with my life so why wouldn’t I want to learn every bit of it while I can from anybody that’s willing to take the time to teach me?
SJ: Aside from Ahmed Johnson, who were some other performers that you were a fan of watching growing up?
OE: Growing up, my mom made me go to bed like right after the first hour of Raw. So I’d only get to see a little of WCW and a little of WWF on Mondays. I’d have to call my friends the next day after school to find out what happened. But I was a big Booker T fan. I loved Booker T. When he finally got his singles run I was so excited. There was kind of a lack of black representation on the shows. Everybody loved Sting and the nWo but I wanted to root for the guys that looked like me. And Booker T was “that guy”. I was always a big fan of The Rock growing up. When I started to get older, I started to gain more appreciation for the athleticism. It was actually Shelton Benjamin that made me want to become a wrestler. The match that made me want to become a professional wrestler was Shelton Benjamin vs. Shawn Michaels from Raw (5/2/05). To this day, I remember that match like the back of my hand. I recently had a chance to meet Shelton Benjamin and got to tell him all of this as well.
SJ: A few months back, I watched you wrestle here at Southern Underground Pro (SUP) in Nashville, TN and a few days later you popped up in No Way Jose’s conga line on Raw. What was your experience like working for the WWE?
OE: It was a chance to just really have fun. That’s what they (WWE) wanted. I was really nervous before the music hit, but once it did, it was gametime baby. You can’t think about how many people are watching.
SJ: I know Shelton Benjamin works on the SmackDown brand, but did you link up with him through your work with WWE?
OE: We did Raw in Little Rock, AR then we drove to Memphis, TN for SmackDown. That’s where I had a chance to meet him. It’s really humbling to be able to meet your heroes. Meet your heroes and then aspire to be better than your heroes. I’m not saying that in the sense of being “better” than anybody but you know, you meet the people that you want to emulate and then you go off and try to do better. Because you have that benchmark and you know where you have to go to get past it. It was really awesome meeting people backstage and just getting to know them. You don’t normally get to do that. You’re there for a job and you want to put your best foot forward, but I also knew that I might not ever get this type of opportunity to talk to these guys in this type of environment ever again. So if they want to give me their time to talk, I’m gonna sit there and talk. Most of the guys were happy to talk and share some knowledge. I had a really good time and it’s something that I’ll take with me forever.
SJ: Was this the same SmackDown in Memphis where Joey Lynch competed on 205 Live after the show?
OE: Indeed it was. I got to sit there and watch him go for it. I gave him the biggest hug when he got backstage. I was so happy for Joey, although he’s one of my rivals from a competitive sense.
SJ: What was it like watching Joey Lynch win the Scenic City Invitational Tournament this year? I know that you were a part of the Futures Tournament that weekend. What was your experience like in Chattanooga, TN and is it one of your career goals to be a part of the “main” tournament next year?
OE: The SCI weekend is huge. SCI to me is like the South’s PWG. It’s like a wrestling combine to compare it to the NFL. It’s your chance to be put on a bigger stage than what you’re accustomed to. A lot of “movers and shakers”, bookers and promoters, have their eyes on the SCI. I bust my ass every single time that I go out there because you never know who is watching. I got a lot of good feedback from the SCI weekend this year. It was a big weekend for me. I’m a competitor at heart so of course being a part of the main tournament next year is something that I want to do.
SJ: SCI weekend probably my favorite weekend for wrestling because there’s the tournaments in Chattanooga and then there’s SUP here in Nashville the next day. This year, you, along with Brett Ison and Curt Stallion committed the “Music City Murders”. What was that all like for you?
OE: Honestly, it was my coming out party. It was a chance for me to be on a bigger stage and really put myself out there. A lot of people think that I make jokes and I’m pretty decent on the microphone, but let’s get one thing straight, I’m a killer. Once that bell rings, there’s no more jokes, because I hurt people, and I get paid to hurt people. It got to a point that the Nashville people were getting too comfortable and now the joke’s on them. Unfortunately, some people (The Carnies, AJ Gray, and Dylan Hales) had to be on the wrong end of it. It was nothing personal, just business.
SJ: Speaking of people on the other end of the attack, Kerry Awful probably got the worst of what you dished out. You launched him headfirst into a steel post like a lawn dart. It was nasty. You’ve actually done it to him on back-to-back shows. What’s your relationship like with Kerry Awful?
OE: On a personal and a professional level, I love Kerry. I’ll tell that to his face, I really do. The people that you love are the ones you hurt the most. So, I gotta do bad things to the people I love because if I don’t do it, somebody else will. And if someone else does it, they get that rub, they get that shine, they get that press. Trust me, if somebody else launched Kerry into that post, you wouldn’t be talking to me. You’d be talking to them. But I did it. And that’s why I’m here. I had to do this. The only way that I become known is to beat somebody up. The only way that I get bigger paydays is to take somebody out. SUP is known for Kerry Awful, Nicky Iggy, and Tripp Cassidy. How do you stand out from everybody else? You find the three biggest people and you beat them up.
SJ: What is your favorite match that you’ve ever been a part of?
OE: Some of my favorite matches that I’ve had a chance to be a part of have been in Pro Wrestling Ego out of Jackson, MS. I get to wrestle guys like Rey Fury and Ryan Taylor. Those guys can go. They can really work. There’s also history there, so sometimes it gets personal. I’ve had some good matches in the Southeast region with guys like Ethan Page, Kerry Awful, and AJ Gray time and time again. So, stuff like that really stands out as a wrestler.
SJ: Aside from Shelton Benjamin vs. HBK, what’s your favorite match as a fan?
OE: Steve Austin vs. The Rock. And I don’t mean one match in particular, I mean that entire feud that went on for years. It was a burner every single time. Even the interview they had in the locker room with Jim Ross leading up to WrestleMania 17 when Stone Cold said “I don’t just want to beat you, I have to beat you, I need to beat you”, that’s some deep stuff because people can relate to that. Plus, what you got in their first match was different than what you got in their second match and so on. By the time that they got to their last meeting, it was something completely different and they changed the game all over again. That’s the stuff I love.
SJ: Austin vs. Rock was probably the greatest rivalry in the history of pro wrestling. Nobody even knew that Austin was going to retire after WrestleMania 19 so there were no expectations and it just ended organically.
OE: It was just natural. I’ll fight anybody over the fact that The Rock takes the best Stunner ever.