Colt Cabana, a pioneer, and Ring of Honor Legend has been a staple of the independent wrestling scene for almost two decades. Now, with more promotions and wrestling content than ever for wrestling fans to consume, Colt has seemingly never been busier. He had an impressive run in the New Japan Cup earlier this year, he has become a big part of NWA, who recently debuted their weekly show called NWA Power, and not forgetting about his longtime company, Colt still finds himself as a top player in Ring of Honor.
As ROH gear up for their upcoming UK tour where they’ll produce shows in London, Newport, and Bolton, Colt Cabana took some time out of his busy schedule to answer some questions for SteelChair Magazine. He discussed ROH’s transition since huge names departed for All Elite Wrestling, the company’s historic event at Madison Square Garden, and much more in this SteelChair exclusive.
You saw the early stage of Ring of Honor in 2002 and its growth over the years. How important has the UK fanbase been for the company?
I remember the very first “tour” ROH did of the UK. Liverpool especially was so hot and ready for the stars of ROH to fly over. The UK has always had a smart wrestling fanbase that wasn’t necessarily catered to in the past. Fast forward ten plus years later, and it’s caught up. I feel lucky to still have the fans that appreciate our style and the name brand, and we’re so happy to have them.
It’s fair to say ROH has been going through a transition period in 2019 due to the high profile departures of Cody, Adam Page, and The Bucks. How big of a blow was that for ROH and what challenges did the company face after those names left for AEW?
Those wrestlers, plus, some others are amazing. Luckily for ROH, every time after a departure, new wrestlers get the opportunity to find their niche and pick up the ball and run. It just gives other wrestlers opportunities to shine.
Despite the ups and downs, and some criticisms the company has faced this year, you still participated in a monumental show at Madison Square Garden back in April. What was the experience like for you, and where does that show rank in the company’s history?
Size-wise it was the biggest show the company has ever done. I had come to grips with the fact that I would never wrestle in MSG. It did make me sad, but it was a reality, I thought. So to be able to get the chance and for the crowd to chant my name repeatedly, it was an experience I’ll never forget.
You have been influential in making comedic wrestling a big hit, so when you see acts like Orange Cassidy, Joey Ryan, and Grado, how does that make you feel?
It makes me feel great because these wrestlers are really good at what they do. If a wrestler is talented and has put in the work, then I admire them. No matter what the genre. If it’s good, it’s good… and I’ll dig it!
As much as you’re known for your comedic side, you can wrestle hard-hitting and intense matches. Is there a balance you try to keep with the comedy and the serious wrestling matches?
Of course, I know what a situation calls for. I’ve been wrestling for a really long time now, and I like to think I have a good grasp on the psychology of a lot of it. There’s a lot of maths that goes into it, and the explanation might be for a longer interview.
So with Joe Hendry signing with ROH, could we see any other Scottish talent in ROH? Perhaps an ‘Irn Jew’ reunion?
I’d love to see Grado in ROH. If Martina’s getting signed up, I can’t see why Grado wouldn’t be. I’m so glad Rampage Brown is touring with us too. If I had the book, I’d sign him and Sha Samuels full time!
Being a big fan of classic WOS and with the popularity of shoot style, would you like to see the pure rules division return?
Not really, lol. Maybe just a lot more Jonathan Gresham matches.
You had a great run in the New Japan Cup, can we expect to see you back there anytime soon?
Let’s hope so!
As an indie lifer, how does today’s indie scene compare to the indie scene of a decade ago? Is there a big difference in how you go about life on the road?
It’s very different, in terms of the audience, twenty years ago; it was mainly halls with children and families. The last ten years, and especially five years, have seen great growth in “hipster” type atmospheres, which I really enjoy. Eighteen and over, presented in a club. ICW had it right, and shows like ICW were sooooo few and far between in the late 90s. As far as life on the road, well, thank god for these smartphones!
With The Art of Wrestling coming to an end, is there one person you wished you could have interviewed?
I’m actually going to be doing some more interviews released in 2020, so I recommend you stay subscribed to my podcast feed. I’ve already done some of them that I haven’t released with people I wanted to talk to. I was supposed to do a talk with Robbie Brookside on four different occasions in which they didn’t happen. He’s someone I always wanted on the show!
Despite your podcast coming to an end, you were one of the original wrestling podcasters. Do you think we have too many wrestling podcasts today, or is there room for everyone?
I think if someone has a clear cut vision of something they’d like to do and podcasting is the way to get it out in the world, then they should do it! The cream will rise, and options are great for people who want to listen to different things.
PATREON.com/COLTCABANA (past AOW archives and fun updates)
For all the information on tickets, timings, and matches for Ring of Honor’s upcoming UK Tour that starts on October 25th, Friday in London, visit: https://www.rohwrestling.com/live/upcoming-shows
All images are courtesy of RING OF HONOR/Ian Storck