One of Major League Wrestling’s brightest stars, Mance Warner talks to Spencer Love about the importance of authenticity in professional wrestling, if he feels he’s underrated due to the style he works and why he feels MLW is the right fit for him.

    Credit: Win Column Sports Canada

    Few professional wrestlers in recent memory have been able to capture the hearts of wrestling fans quite like Mance Warner. The Major League Wrestling star is far and away not only one of the most popular wrestlers in the promotion, but in the worldwide wrestling scene.

    There’s little argument that the Southern Psycho is one of the most charismatic wrestlers in the world today, and his never-say-die attitude inside the ring has done nothing but grow audience’s love and respect for Ol’ Mancer.

    Wrestling against MJF in a Loser Leaves MLW match in front of no one:

    “See, it’s a whole ‘nother ball game right there, because like you said, my favourite thing is to go and do the fights, do the shows, the events. Right now, we ain’t got a lot of that going on, so to go out there in front of what I’m used to as a big ol’ crowd, and there ain’t no crowd out there. You ain’t got the people to pull from to get that energy, so you’ve gotta kinda just go out there and remember that they’re going to be watching this, and they’re rooting for you, and you’ve gotta put on a fight that they’re going to appreciate.”

    The first time he got punched in the face:

    “Are we talking in wrestling? Or just in general? Because I’ve been getting in fist fights since I was a little tiny kid. God, it had to be like – I’ve been getting in fights since elementary school, so it had to be around then.”

    “In pro wrestling, it would be kind of when you first break in, (when) you start training out there. When you get into wrestling, there’s a lot of people that get into it and they want to learn how to do 450 splashes, or go over the tippy-top rope, or do a suicide dive or whatever it may be. I just like fist fighting people.”

    “Once you step into the ring, the first time that you get hit by somebody, sometimes that breaks people. There’s some people that get into wrestling and they think it’s going to be one thing, and then they get hit (and) you see the lights kind of go. Now for me, the first time I got hit, my eyes lit up man, because now I’m like ‘this is what I’m all about.’ I want to get hit. I want to hit somebody back. We get paid money to go out and beat each other up, and we ain’t going to get arrested for it, man. That’s a win-win.”

    The importance of authenticity in pro wrestling:

    “Now, I can’t speak for nobody else. My thing has always been I ain’t going to bulls**t nobody. I ain’t going to lie to nobody. If I get hurt, I’m going to tell people ‘hey, I’m hurt.’ I ain’t going to bulls**t nobody. But, for me, once you lie to the fans, to the people that are spending their money to come see this, you’ve already lost them. At the end of the day, you wouldn’t want to get lied to, I wouldn’t want to get lied to, so why would you want to lie to the fans out there that are spending their money that they’ve gotta work for every day to put a little bread in our pocket? I ain’t going to want to break bread with somebody if they’re lying to me, so I try to always be honest, I try to always call it right down the middle and let people know what’s going on.”

    Why he feels he stands out in MLW:

    “I think, for me – and like you were saying, that roster’s stacked, man. You can look through that entire roster and from the top to the bottom, everybody in there brings something different to the table. It reminds me of old-school ECW. I think the MLW shows, there’s sometimes people that don’t watch it, and then I’ll tell some fan that don’t know about MLW yet, I’ll say ‘hey, go watch this show.’”

    “I’ll always hear that. I’ll always hear ‘man, it’s one-hour long, from the beginning to the end there’s always something going down.’ There ain’t no bulls**t in it. The backstage promos are always fun and it goes to something else that’s going to happen, and they enjoy it. I never hear anyone watch it and say ‘I hated that damn show.’”

    What he loves about working for MLW:

    “Out there, they let Ol’ Mancer do what Ol’ Mancer does. You know what I mean? Ain’t nobody gonna tell Ol’ Mancer ‘do this or do that.’ I show up, and I go out there and I get to do the same thing that I do at any show that you come and see. No matter what company it is, if you know Ol’ Mancer’s going to be there, you know what you’re going to get. Out at MLW, they’ve let me do barbed-wire matches. They’ve let me do empty-arena fights. They’ve let me do backstage. I go out there and there’s always something different going down that you get to see Ol’ Mancer doing something different in a different environment with different people. It’s fun to watch a fight, man, that’s what I always say.”

    If he feels he’s underrated due to his love of violent matches:

    “I don’t like telling people what they should or shouldn’t think. I think at the end of the day, people can say whatever their thoughts is on something. I’ve had people get on Twitter and bury Ol’ Mancer and talk shit about Ol’ Mancer, saying I’m a garbage wrestler and I just do death matches, and that’s fine if they want to say that, because then the fans who have seen me do hour-long fights where I go out there and we’re just (in a) straight-up wrestling match. Those fans will then step in and say ‘no, no, no, no, no, you just watched one thing, or one clip or a 20-second clip of me throwing a guy into barbed wire, or throwing a guy through a flaming table,’ and then people want to judge somebody and say ‘well, that’s all he does,’ when they ain’t watched nothing else.”

    “Like I said, people can say what they want to say. The people that watch Ol’ Mancer, they know what I do, they know what I bring to the table. It’s not just strong style, or death matches, or technical wrestling, or comedy, or promos. I take everything that there is in pro wrestling, I try to make a little buffet and let people have a little bit of a sample every time in a little different fashion.”

    The need for trust in death match situations:

    “I’ve heard people say this type of stuff before: a lot of guys get more hurt doing a regular, let’s say a regular, straight-up wrestling contest. Let’s say a guy goes for a big dive, he blows his knee out. Now, that motherf***er can’t wrestle for a year. Same thing goes for death matches. I always say, and I’ve pissed people off by saying this before, I think the only way that someone should be dabbling in death match wrestling, (is) they should first be really, really good at just pro wrestling. I don’t want to get in there with some guy that only does death match wrestling, and he can’t take a bump or he can’t give you any type of manoeuvre. Why would I want to have that guy swing a barbed wire at my head? For you to do death match wrestling, you should first know what the f**k you’re doing in professional wrestling.”

    Beginning training at 25:

    “Ol’ Mancer’s kinda crazy, man. If I woulda started this when I was probably seventeen or eighteen, god knows what I woulda got into. For me, I got into it when I got into it. I’s one of those things where you’ve gotta be all-in or you ain’t gonna do it. Once I jumped in, I know I’m doing this ever damn week, for as many days of the week that I can. 

    “The advice I always give, because a lot of people come ask Ol’ Mancer s**t, and I always go ‘damn, dude, I ain’t been doing this that long, you need to go ask someone else that stuff first.’ But then people go ‘well, no, you’re doing this or this. You’ve went here, you’ve done these things,’ so, the advice that I give people is find a school that you can go to and they ain’t going to rip you off, there’re gonna teach you, they ain’t gonna lie to you, because here’s the truth about pro wrestling: not every motherf**ker in this is gonna make it. So, you’ve already gotta be kind of messed up in the head to step your toes into something where, okay, you could get injured, you could get injured, you could get real f**ked up, you may not make any money, and you may be doing this s**t for a long, long, long time before you ever even get your name out to a place.”

    Training with Billy Roc:

    “I always looked at it like if you’re going to get into something – now, everybody knows Ol’ Mancer loves going to the dollar stores, right? I love dollar dinner, I love my cheap light beers, I love those things. It’s just the way that I am. But, I know if I want to make it in pro wrestling, I need to find a place that I know for a fact they’re going to teach me everything I need to know. Billy Roc don’t have a school no more, he just shut down after a little bit, he did his thing. If you look at some of the people that came out of there, Ruby Riott, she came from that same school.”

    “We trained inside of, I guess you could call it a little tiny storage unit out there, it was in Lafayette, Indiana out there, and it’s a little tiny storage unit. In the wintertime, it’s cold as hell; there was some holes in the ceiling, so you’d get ice on the ring some times. If there was a damn blizzard, we’d still be out there shovelling the snow out of the way to get in there to learn our craft.”

    What’s allowed him to succeed thus far:

    “I think anyone that gets into something new, right, they always have doubts. They always question things. I never did that, though. Once I got into pro wrestling, I knew ‘this is the thing that I’m going to do, and if I don’t make it at this, I’m f**ked, I’m s**t out of luck.’ For me, it’s going ‘okay, this is the thing you’ve always wanted to do, here we go, this is how you get into it, this is where you need to go.’ And then, just keep going. Keep going to companies, keep getting your name out there, keep busting your ass. Do what other people don’t want to do. People don’t want to do promos, I’m doing promos every week. I’m always doing promos. People don’t want to tweet stuff out all the time, I’m always tweeting out s**t.”

    Dealing with comparisons to Stone Cold and Dusty Rhodes:

    “The way Ol’ Mancer looks at is is, we all get into pro wrestling, even maybe you’re just a fan. Maybe you want to become a writer (in) pro wrestling. Maybe you want to be a camera guy. Maybe you want to be a talent. Whatever it may be, we all get into it for a certain reason, right? We can all remember at some point when we were kids the things we loved about pro wrestling. For me, it was Arn Anderson, Ric Flair, Macho Man, Dusty Rhodes, Terry Funk, Jake the Snake, all these guys that you could sit there and listen to them, and you forget you’re even watching wrestling. You’re just listening to someone tell a story about how he is gonna beat someone’s ass or whatever it may be. 

    “You can’t ever forget that once you’re in to pro wrestling, because that’s the stuff – I didn’t get into pro wrestling to do cool moves. I got into pro wrestling because I like fighting people anywhere I go, and I like telling stories. So, if I can sit down and talk to you and pay attention without even doing anything, right there, here we go baby. It’s that thing of it’s not relying on, because I think the way you worded it was relying on something the past, you’ve got to remember how it all got to this point. So, while other guys are trying to do the craziest thing over here, I’m gonna be over here dancing in the circle doing everything. It’s just kind of take your own spin on it, and then beat the hell out of people and tell some stories in between.”

    Earning all of his nicknames and if one is particularly meaningful:

    “There’s so many nicknames there, because I started out doing shows in Ohio and Indiana and the Midwest, out in Tennessee, wherever I could go I would drive and go to the show and hit the pay window and fight people. The one – I got a beer mug that a fan made for me, and they took their free time to make every nickname that I have on the back of it. And they had it cut out, each little piece, and they glued it on there and stuff. So, I’m sitting there drinking beer out of this thing, and it’s cool to know the connection I have with the fanbase to where they’ve given me these nicknames.”

    “I guess, for me, Southern Psycho kind of represents everything that I do, because when you hear that, you automatically – if you don’t know who I am, you go ‘what’s happening,’ and then you watch and you go ‘awe, I get it.’ Back in the day, people had nicknames, you would hear it and you knew exactly what it meant. So, for me that kinda represents exactly what I’m bringing to the table.”

    “I always feel bad. Nick Manawa, the ring announcer out there at IWA Mid-South, he pinned that tweet on there and he told me to put all the nicknames there, so when people gotta do the introduction, they can look and say the names right there. Guys will come up at different shows and they’ll be like ‘hey man, which one do you want me to say?’ And I always go ‘say whichever ones you want, man!’ And they’re like ‘well, now I gotta read ‘em all, man! That’s like your thing!’ And I go ‘no, no, no. You ain’t gotta waste all your time reading all that s**t. Take some that you like, I don’t care which ones you say, say whatever one you want. Let’s just go out there and do what we’re doing.”

    His favourite people to have a beer with:

    “I’m gonna pick two, though. I’m gonna pick Dusty Rhodes and Terry Funk would be the two I would wanna sit down and drink with. Currently, I’m gonna say Stone Cold, because he, maybe we get him one more match at some point, but I would like to sit down with him.”

    “Another guy that I’ve drank with – I’m trying to think of the most oddball one I could think of. I drink with a lot of people, man! It’s hard to think of just one. Like I said, usually after shows I go out in the parking lot and drink beers with fans, they bring beers (and) it’s a good time. I’ll just say all the fans, man. I like sitting out there, bulls**ting, drinking a beer and talking about life.”

    The most creative weapon he’s ever had used against him:

    “Let’s see, there’s been a couple. At one point, you know the little lawn chairs that you have at your front yard during summertime? There was a fan out at Cleveland, Ohio, that took barbed wire and he took out all the part you would sit in and all the plastic there, and he just put barbed wire all around that stuff. I got picked up and slammed on that, and Jesus Christ, that stuff just cut you all up. It was not fun at all.”