Earlier this year, Rockstar Spud, along with Marty Scurll and Hannah and Holly, The Blossom Twins, took part in TNA’s search for a new star, TNA British Boot Camp. As we all know by now, Spud that came out victorious, earning a spot on the TNA roster in the process.
During the series, the grappler from Birmingham, England was praised by the likes of Rollerball Rocco, Hulk Hogan and Kurt Angle. Spud also featured on the TNA Road to Lockdown tour in the UK, where he made his in-ring television debut against Robbie E.
Joshua Modaberi recently caught up with Spud to talk about the British Boot Camp experience, making his Impact debut and to find out what else is in store for 2013…
How did you first get into the sport of professional wrestling?
I always loved it as a kid and was a big fan of Hulk Hogan and the old WWF with all the larger than life characters. There was a bit when I stopped watching wrestling but then, when I was around sixteen years old, I looked about ten and all my mates would be going to bars. I wasn’t able to get in, so I would stay at home and watch Monday Night Raw.
It was around the time of WrestleMania 13 and the peak of Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Bret Hart, and that was a great match, like nothing I had ever seen before with the storytelling during the match. It just sucked me straight back in, and I was watching it every week.
Who were the wrestlers that influenced you when you were younger?
Well I loved Hulk Hogan and all the big guys but then I saw Spike Dudley in ECW and he didn’t look like he had been to the gym; he looked quite scrawny and just looked like your average man off the street and that made me think if he could do it then maybe I can.
You were on Snog, Marry, Avoid, and numerous British wrestlers have been on various reality and game shows – do you think that helps the British wrestling scene?
I don’t think that there were very many performers that actually did anything in an entertainment format with national television before I did Snog, Marry, Avoid.
As soon as I did that show people from all walks of life realised how much of a versatile performer I was and I still get stopped in the street with people remembering me from that episode.
Another show people will now recognise you from is, of course, TNA British Boot Camp. Looking back what was that journey and experience like?
It was amazing; looking back I didn’t really get a chance to watch the last two episodes until I got back from the UK tour. The words I would to describe it would be an emotional roller-coaster, I wasn’t hiding my personality at all and I refuse to whenever I do anything like this, so everything you saw on TV were the real reactions.
There were times that I didn’t know how the girls [The Blossom Twins] and Marty [Scurll] were feeling. You kind of feel for all of us towards the end of British Boot Camp, especially in episodes five and six because we didn’t know we would be going to OVW let alone going to the Impact Zone.
We were kind of nervous the whole time; those final three days from Louisville to Nashville to Orlando were really tense, especially at the Impact Zone. They only told us on the morning that they were going to reveal the winner after the matches, so we just did not know and you saw my reaction – it was just a combination of happiness, relief and a mass weight lifted off my shoulders. When I watched it back when I got back home I cried, I knew the ending and was sobbing my heart out on television, but when watching it back I cried like I was watching a character on television – it really did hit home.
When watching TNA British Boot Camp back what was it like hearing the comments from guys like Kurt Angle and Hulk Hogan?
I was honoured; it was really nice to have that professional respect from greats in the business, especially from your own boss [Dixie Carter], Hulk Hogan, Kurt [Angle] and Jeff Hardy. All these people have a proven track record in the industry and I don’t have a proven track record yet, I’m going to have one and I’m going to be just as good as them and I’m going to give everybody just as much as them as well.
It was just great to get that feedback from them and the things they said were very complimentary and I can’t thank them enough but it’s up to me now to take that ball and run with it and prove to them that everything they were saying was right.
You were involved in the recent TNA UK Tour and the Impact UK TV tapings – what was it like being on tour with the guys for the first time?
It was a learning experience, finding out what life on the road will be like. The only things that I took away from it were things like planning your workout times and rest times because a lot of the time it is very difficult to get rest.
The schedule we had there was no partying all night, we did the Glasgow show, then from Glasgow we drove down to Manchester that night and that was a long drive we didn’t arrive in Manchester until 5am. We then had breakfast at 10am, then you have a workout, then we drove form Manchester to Nottingham and back to Manchester in one day, we then had the Manchester show and after that we drove from Manchester straight down to London and that was another long drive and didn’t arrive until 5am. So that is the main thing I learnt from it, making sure you get the right rest, the right food, the right time to fit your workout in.
Then of course performing in front of such amazing crowds, you don’t understand the fans in the United Kingdom and how crazy about TNA they are, they love TNA and TNA loves coming to the UK because they bring that atmosphere and that energy, which strives everybody to work ten times harder. I had the best experiences of my life on that tour and it was whole beautiful learning curve for me, I was just really pleased to be a part of it.
You’ve made your official TNA debut in a match against Robbie E – what was that experience like?
Robbie E called me out in Manchester and it culminated at Wembley … it was just brilliant to walk out at Wembley and the whole crowd just accepted me as a TNA superstar and that’s what I take most out of that match.
You have wrestled in the Impact Zone, but when you head over to America TNA are taking Impact on the road. Is that something you’re looking forward to?
Yeah I’m very much looking forward to Impact going on the road, and the added bonus for me is that I will get to see a lot more of America; when I’ve been to the United States in the past I haven’t really seen many places so it will just be nice to travel across the country and see different things and meet different people, experience different crowds and different venues.
It is going to be different but I’m jumping in with two feet; I’m moving out to the States on 27th February and I’m really looking forward to it, it’s a new chapter in my life.
Who are some of the wrestlers that you’re looking forward to getting in the ring with?
I’m willing to step in the ring with anybody, I would love to be in the ring with generals like Bully Ray, Bobby Roode, James Storm and RVD. People like that really, I think they can bring the best out of me and I want to bring the best out of them, especially someone like Bully Ray would just be a good story so hopefully that will come about.
I’m also looking forward to getting involved with the X Division as well, just to add a bit of a new flavour to the division. There has never really been a real British X Division type of wrestler and I’m hoping that will be me, I’m not even hoping I’m guaranteeing it will be me.
If there is a second series of TNA British Boot Camp, which four wrestlers would you pick to take part?
My choices would be Grado from Scotland, I would pick Mad Man Manson because to me those two are the most entertaining guys in the whole country, they really are and it would just make for good television. And if I were to pick to females I would probably go with the Alpha Female and Nikki Storm, because I think Alpha Female just has an incredible look and presence and Nikki Storm is a great Scottish female wrestler.
It’s been a great year for yourself already – what else can we expect from Rockstar Spud for the rest of 2013?
I will tell you this I’m not returning home until I’ve become a champion at Impact Wrestling, this is what I see. I see Rockstar Spud coming back on the UK tour next year and we’re in Birmingham, so I’m going to come out in my home town as champion, I want to walk out in my home town at the Birmingham NIA as the X Division champion.
You can watch Rockstar Spud on Impact every Sunday at 9pm on Challenge TV, and follow him on Twitter @RockstarSpud.
This article was written by Joshua Modaberi.