Interview: Rockstar Spud – “It’s Not Just About Hair vs. Hair”

Rockstar Spud is one of TNA’s most entertaining performers. After over ten years in the indie scene, Rockstar Spud was initiated into TNA through the first season of British Boot Camp, a reality show for British stars to test their metal in TNA. After winning he was made Dixie Carter’s chief of staff, where he was friends and colleagues with her nephew Ethan Carter the 3rd. Their relationship turned sour after Dixie was driven through a table by Bully Ray. This all finishes this Friday on Destination America (Sunday on Challenge in Britain) when they go head to head in Wembley Arena in a Hair vs. Hair match.

Firstly, how are you?

I’m great mate, just chilling in Nashville.

Nashville is such a great city.

Honestly, it’s my favourite place in the whole US. Nowhere else where I’ve been living that I’ve enjoyed more than here. Maybe Florida, but Orlando puts me off. Too many tourists. I like being the only Brit.

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Nashville’s known for its music. Do you get into the music scene a lot?

I go, but it’s one of those things where if you go out in Nashville for a quiet drink with your friends it’s only a matter of time before a band starts playing Don’t Stop Believing again. And it’s in every other bar so it makes it really difficult to differentiate from places. But it’s the non-touristy places that are really cool to hang out in, those are the places I’m happier than anywhere else.

EC3 and Tyrus have been plaguing you for a good few months now, are you looking forward to fans seeing you exact some revenge on Carter?

Yeah I am, because I think that everyone’s perception of Rockstar Spud before this situation started kicking off was that “aw this guy sucks, he’s not a wrestler, he’s just an idiot that wears stupid bow ties and really ridiculous suits.” But that’s the beauty of pro wrestling. A lot of people have no idea that I was a wrestler for over ten years on the independent scene. This was before British Boot Camp and before I was Dixie Carter’s Chief of Staff. All these people in the audience wouldn’t have believed I could do anything before.

So that means it’ll be very rewarding when people do get to see the match in Wembley. They’re going to be more than surprised. Especially considering the story going into it, and the investment the fans have in the characters and the relationship between them. From the time they were first together, to the hunt for Willow, Dixie going through a table, the recent bullying, and this is the finale. It’s been a rollercoaster of a ride for eighteen months and it culminates at Wembley Arena. And as an Englishman there’s no bigger arena to perform in than Wembley Arena. It’s a Mecca for our country. I’m completely psyched, a dream come true for me, just like it would be for every wrestler.

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Do you also feel, that as a wrestler of a smaller stature, you’re talents aren’t as valued as they should be?

The big superman culture has been plaguing my life since I walked into the business. When you first look at me, you see a short guy. But here’s the thing. I’m 5’4, I’m one-hundred and fifty pounds wringing wet, and I just main evented for TNA at Wembley Arena in front of eight-thousand people. People back in the day didn’t believe someone like me could do that and more fool them. As much as everybody kept telling me no, saying “You’re not big enough,” it didn’t matter. I love this and nothing was ever going to stop me.

Yes, along the way I got the right time, the right place, the right opportunity and the right people seeing me in British Boot Camp, but you have to take these opportunities when they come. I can’t thank people like Matt Conway enough for the amount of faith they put in me to have me main event a television show.

People forget that I came from the independents, I went through British Boot Camp, I started out in TNA as a lackey, and went all the way up to a Main Event storyline. It can be done. One of the things I pride myself on is that when you see me perform you forget that I’m the small guy, because this is Rockstar Spud and you completely forget all the limitations that he has because of how he performs and what he makes you feel. And that’s all I try to do. I try to make the audience feel something.

I don’t go out there to perform a certain move set, I want the audience to feel something, I want them to react and I want them to believe in me. If they can believe in me in a main event scenario, then I’ve done my job.

There’s nothing stopping you in this business but yourself. You have to really knuckle down and focus on what this business is really about. It’s what I’ve done for my whole career. If people are going to put you down, just say “Yes sir, thank you sir,” use it, and channel it. Every time I talk, Every time I cut a promo, every time I wrestle, it unleashes this pent up aggression I’ve got for all the times I was told “No, you’re not big enough to play football,” told “No, you’re not big enough to play cricket,” told “No, you’re not big enough to play rugby,” told “No, you’re not big enough to wrestle.” And I’m like, “I love wrestling. You are not going to stop me.”

I’ve been told “no” too many times. I’m not just proving something to somebody every day; I’m proving something to myself. As much as people value me and I feel valued, I don’t value myself enough. I think that will always be my downfall. It will be the reason I’ll have a good career, but I’ll probably never be a millionaire. Maybe that’s my own personal insecurity, but I love doing this and it won’t stop me from doing my absolute best at it. When I see a glass ceiling, I look right through it. There’s always a way. If I can do it you can do it and all that Rocky Balboa bullshit.

Whenever I’m in the bathroom, or looking in the mirror, I’m doing a facial expression. Or if I’m driving long distance, I’m cutting a promo to myself. If I’ve nothing to do, I’m going to the gym, or I’m watching wrestling. I’m an absolute historian on wrestling. I watch, not because I’m a fan, but because I’m researching why certain things happen in every match. Everyone can call me a mark. I don’t care. The biggest marks are the wrestlers because we’re the ones who put the lycra on. I study it religiously because I want to be the best.

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TNA often films matches weeks in advance. Do you find it odd talking to fans about matches that have already taken place?

No, not really because I’m not going to tell you a lie about what’s going to happen. I would tell you that when this match airs, you do not want to miss it. This match is the culmination of a year and a half of story. People forget that and say it’s all about the Hair vs. Hair stipulation. It’s got nothing to do with Hair vs. Hair.

It’s about a situation that everyone can relate to. It’s about being bullied, or being taken advantage of by a friend, or being told that they aren’t good enough for somebody, and fighting back. It captures that emotion where they’ve finally stood up for themselves. Believing in themselves, and  being happy in themselves.

I represent the 99% of people in the world who were told they can’t do something, going up against someone like EC3 who represents the 1%. Someone who has all the money in the world, who runs the industry because his aunts in charge, who can’t take responsibility for what happened to his aunt, so he’s taking it out on me.

It’s about entitlement and embarrassment. He wants to embarrass me and I want to put him in his place. That’s why I really want people to see this match; it’s a coming of age story for Rockstar Spud and its drama. It’s pure drama. I can’t wait to watch it either. It doesn’t matter who has their head shaved at the end of the day. The winners are the fans.

Thank you Spud. The long awaited match between Spud and EC3 will take place on Friday Night on Destination America and this Sunday at 9pm on Challenge in the UK. 

Buy the next issue of Steel Chair Magazine to find out what Spud thinks of UK Promoters 

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