Archive for June, 2013

Josh Abercrombie

Josh Abercrombie

This interview appeared in “SALT” issue seven, published in the winter of 2005. The wrestling content of the magazine has always been the most contentious of inclusion to each issue, and for a while I wasn’t even sure that I should even write about my passion for pro wrestling in what was ostensibly a music-based fanzine. But my fandom won out eventually. Over the years SALT covered independent wrestling from the US, specifically the IWA Mid-South promotion run by Ian Rotten in the Carolina/Illinois/Maryland areas. As a UK fan in the early 00s it was hard enough to get copies of the recently defunct ECW promotion on tape, let alone the nascent Ring of Honor promotion that had just begun to make waves for its in-ring content. But through a tape dealer based in the North of England, I was able to get tapes of IWA, where I was able to watch the evolution of wrestlers who are now international stars – even household names. These include CM Punk, Chris Hero (now Kassius Ohno in WWE), Matt Sydal (Evan Bourne), Austin Aries, Samoa Joe, AJ Styles, Jimmy Jacobs, Petey Williams, Chris Sabin, Bryan Danielson (Daniel Bryan), Claudio Castagnoli (Antonio Cesaro), and one man against whom Josh Abercrombie was to really make his name: Tyler Black, now Seth Rollins in the ultra-over trio The Shield in WWE. Abercrombie’s feud with Black over the IWA Mid-South Light Heavyweight title in 2005 was one of the best I’d ever seen up to that point. This interview remains a revealing one for me, as it alerted me to a lot of the anxieties that even the most experienced and adept wrestlers have about their craft, especially when they are put in danger by faulty ring ropes, as he was in the three way match I mention in my original introduction. Post 2005, Josh went on to achieve all of the goals he’d spoke about at the close of the interview, but as of 2010 his whereabouts are a mystery. Wherever he is, I hope he’s still out there tearing it up for wrestling fans……….
Josh Abercrombie is one of the leading new talents of IWA-Mid South Wrestling, making a name for himself this year by winning the “Simply the Best” 6 Light-Heavyweight tournament and later defeating Delirious for that title in a great contest at the old ECW Arena, a belt he carried with distinction. His in-ring style varies from extreme high-flying to no holds barred submission wrestling – he’s even competed in death match-style bouts. His feud with Tyler Black over the Light-Heavyweight title has been the major highlight of IWA cards this year, their clashes have been gripping entertainment, far more so than the moribund heavyweight title reign of Jimmy Jacobs. I never fail to be compelled by Josh’s in-ring abilities; he’s one of the best new workers out there, destined for great things in IWA and beyond.
When did you first become interested in wrestling, and when did you decide you wanted to become a wrestler?As long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a wrestler.
I know that you have an amateur wrestling background: do you feel that this was an advantage in attempting to enter professional wrestling?I definitely think it is an advantage. I originally got into it when I was eight, thinking it was more like pro wrestling, but of course it wasn’t. I continued to do it, thinking that it couldn’t hurt. It teaches you discipline and hard work, as well as becoming comfortable with your body and its movements.
Who were your trainers, and where did you begin your pro career?I trained with Frankie the Face and Jimmy Jacobs and started here in Michigan. However, my first match was in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, six hours from me.
Are you able to make a full-time living from wrestling?Sorta. I wrestle usually Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but making tights for other wrestler during the week, which has helped me out a lot. I also coach wrestling grades six through eight from December to March.
Which wrestlers past or present would you say are key inspirations/influences on you?Growing up as a kid, I always was a Hulk Hogan fan. Near the late eighties, I got more into WCW and really got into (Ric) Flair, Sting and others. Most of my influences, wrestling-wise, came later. (Chris) Benoit, Hayabusa among others are who I tried to pick up on.
Do you feel that there has been resurgence in the US of independent wrestling since the dark days of 2001 and the collapse of ECW and WCW?If anything, there are more indies now than ever. That’s what hurts most mainstream or quality feds out there.
I only really get access to matches you compete in for IWA Mid-South via Smartmarkvideo.co.uk. Could you tell me more about some of the other less well-known groups that you work for?I wrestle regularly in the Detroit area for a few different feds. Michigan has an abundant amount of wrestlers, so a lot of the time I am wrestling people who haven’t wrestled before. I also wrestle for come federations in Chicago.
One of your signature moves is the Taliban Backpack Lungblower, a very explosive and innovative maneouvre – the only thing I’ve seen that resembles it is John Walters’ double knees to the back in some Ring of Honor matches. How did you come up with this finisher?Actually, I’ve seen Matt Striker, the teacher, do the same thing John Walters does in the Jersey Cup 2003 (I think), and thought it was pretty neat. I came up with the second rope jumping part just to add a little something.
What did it mean to you to beat Delirious for the IWA Light-Heavyweight title back in June?Winning the title was goal of mine. I felt privileged and it was meaningful. Delirious has a really unorthodox style and is one of my favourite guys to wrestle. I couldn’t have found a better person to win it from, yet he left me some big shoes to fill.
As a light-heavyweight wrestler, I wondered what you make of WWE’s decision to ban cruiserweights from using key moves like the 450 Splash, Shooting Star Press and dives to the floor, effectively eliminating that segment of their roster at a time when other promotions value their light-heavyweight divisions as highly as their heavyweights (like TNA’s X Division and ROH’s Pure Wrestling title)?Wrestling for the WWE is very different from wrestling in other federations. First and foremost, they are investing time and money into their talent. So by “toning down” their moveset, they know how to lessen the chance of injury. I can totally understand that. I wouldn’t consider it depreciating the worth of the light-heavyweights. It’s a move to protect themselves.
How on earth did you end up facing Ian Rotten in a Death Match in IWA?I didn’t. I did however, face him in a barbed-wire match in NWA-No Limits in Iowa. The stipulation was that if I were to best Ian in his style of match, I would earn an IWA Heavyweight title shot at the then-champion Danny Daniels. I did win and did face Danny the following month but lost.
In a spectacular three-way dance with Marek Brave and Tyler Black, you executed a sick-looking corkscrew bodypress onto them both and through two rows of chairs! How difficult is it to will yourself into doing a move like that, with all of the risks involved?I worry. All the time. I am so afraid of getting hurt, but then again, I want to entertain the people. Those ropes in that ring were the scariest part.
You have some very striking tattoos: who did those for you, and do you plan on having any more work done?A fella I know in Kalamazoo named Trip does my work. They have a meaning directly associated with my family. I do want more but I’m not sure what I want. Whatever it is, I want it to represent something. I am also big in symmetry for the time being.
What do you feel have you have accomplished so far in your career, and what else do you wish to accomplish in the business as your career continues?Winning the IWA Light-heavyweight Title is one of my biggest achievements. Wrestling at the ECW Arena was another. That happened on two occasions. The first time I wrestled for CZW (Combat Zone Wrestling), which was another goal. I will be in the Ted Petty Invitational in two weeks, which is cool. Of the things left, I would like to wrestle in Japan, Mexico and Europe. Have a match on national television. Wrestle for ROH just once. Make more money. And really that’s about it.


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