MLW superstar and leader of CONTRA Josef Samael spoke to Spencer Love about believability, MLW World Champion Jacob Fatu and being attacked by fans for his actions inside the ring

    Credit: Win Column Sports Canada

    Throughout the course of his 20+ years in wrestling, Josef Samael has earned a reputation as not only a hell of a professional wrestler, but one of the brightest minds in the business. Not only is he one of the most visible individuals in Major League Wrestling, but one of it’s busiest, taking on a wide variety of roles for the promotion since initially signing there over a year ago.

    Staying busy during the COVID-19 pandemic:

    Spencer Love: “We were talking before we started recording, but (you’re) in a very interesting position as far as it goes. I don’t know if it’s maybe more peaks and valleys are how you would describe it, but (you’re) very involved in pro wrestling both inside and outside of the ring. Even a couple of days ago, CONTRA Unit (takes) over Major League wrestling social media. I guess is that helped you in a sense stay sane or get through this a little bit, maybe easier than somebody else would?”

    Josef Samael: “Yeah, sure. I mean, as long as I can be creative, whether it’s designing or whatever I do online or in within the wrestling business, it keeps me sane. So it’s always been – and I know it’s kind of cliche for people to say it’s a passion – but it’s always been my passion and just to be able to work within this business that I have such a great passion for, I’m just very grateful. Yeah, it gets me through. This is a horrible time for everybody, but you know, there’s – we still do have certain things and we have comforts and there’s a lot of us that are in pretty decent positions. I know there’s a lot of people hurting and there’s bad stuff going on, but I try to keep a positive attitude, and wrestling definitely helps that.”

    The need for believability in professional wrestling:

    SL: “Let’s take it all the way back as far as inside the squared circle goes for you. I know I haven’t had a chance to watch you personally wrestle here in Alberta. We are a Canadian based podcast. But I think we’re really lucky in the sense that one name that people may recognize from your past is Blackheart Dave Johnson and I think that that’s a really great start as far as you go, because at least in my interpretation, and from watching stuff of his and I know you’ve got other people that you credited as your trainers, but (he’s) very indicative of sort of the style of professional wrestling you do: Bruiser Brody, Stan Hansen, Harley Race sort of shit, you know what I mean? So maybe for anybody who hasn’t had a chance to watch you wrestle live and in the flesh here or hasn’t given MLW as much time as I think they should just maybe a bit of a brief background into who you are as a pro wrestler inside the ring.”

    JS: “Sure! You mentioned Dave Johnson. Dave was very instrumental early on and basically not so much teaching me how to wrestle. My trainers taught me the basics, and that’s really all you can teach a guy. Dave really taught me how to make a living and professional wrestling, and his attitude was something that I that I took from his teachings. Just, you know, not to let anybody step on you that you mentioned, the Brody’s, the Hansens. Basically, Dave promoted believability, and that’s been something since the beginning that really, really, really resonated with me. The guys I used to watch when I was a kid, if I rewind back and think about these things, most every guy that that I attached myself to as a fan was incredibly believable. The Bruiser Brody’s the Stan Hansen’s, the Kevin Sullivan’s the Dusty Rhodes’. Whether they’re a heel or a babyface, it’s that believability that that I always was drawn to.”

    Learning from some of the founding fathers of professional wrestling:

    JS: “So, I came out of Florida. I started training in about 1998 early on, maybe 97 even. The guys that would come around, like Dave Johnson, were guys, students of Malenko, students of Hiro Matsuda. So I was able to learn from those guys that were taught by the architects of the business. Later on, I was very, very fortunate to work with Kevin Sullivan, and Kevin became a great mentor of mine. That’s really where the psychology came in for me. If anybody doesn’t know Kevin Sullivan, they should definitely look him up. I would rank him in the top five all time minds of professional wrestling out there with the Eddie Grahams, the Jim Barnett’s, the Dory Funk Sr’s, definitely somebody who was right underneath that learning tree of the real architects of the business, meaning Jim Barnett was a direct teacher to him. He’s responsible for putting wrestling on television. Then Dory Funk Sr, who taught Eddie Graham, Eddie Graham taught Kevin, then Kevin taught me. Being able to have this sort of – I’m just grateful for being able to learn from these guys that that were just so instrumental in creating what we know as professional wrestling today.”

    JS: “After learning from these guys, I basically took my knowledge that I acquired from them and I applied it to me, and then my situations in my experience . You know, I’ve been to Canada, Australia, Japan, Mexico, you know, all over the world applying my craft, and all of that knowledge I brought with me and then I also took knowledge back. I always was a student of the game and still am today.”

    “I always learned from people who made money”

    SL: “One of my favorite quotes I’ve heard from you in an interview before is “I always listened to people who made money.” I think that’s something that a lot of people don’t take seriously enough as far as professional wrestling goes, but I’m not a professional wrestler. I’ve got about the least right of an opinion to make that statement.”

    JS: “But yeah, it’s 100% true. It’s like I always looked up – now, you could learn from everybody. If you have a bad match with somebody, you could learn from that obviously, but I always really sat under the learning tree of guys who made money because of the obvious. So, that really was I was just fortunate enough. I mean, it’s easy to say, but I was in spots and places where, you know, Mr. Perfect Curt Henning was and Sullivan and John Kenta, Williams and on and on and on and on and on, and these just incredible brains. So, I was able to maneuver myself into these positions, but I was also never shy about going to these guys and not only – just doing it in a respectful way, asking them questions to where they didn’t want to shoot me off. Instead, they wanted – they wanted to teach me, so there’s a way to do these things, to get these guys to want to give you the knowledge, to show that you’re worthy of that knowledge.”

    “That’s really missing today as far as the locker room leaders, and also the kids today being receptive of the older guys. It seems like today’s – not that today’s worse than before, nothing like that. It’s just like, it seems like guys today are more accustomed to listen to their peers, and I think they’re really falling short on that because the guys that have traveled the miles and the guys that have made the money and the guys that have been places and more importantly, guys that have remained relevant for decades are the guys you should be listening to.”

    His role as a veteran in Major League Wrestling:

    SL: “You sort of answered the question for me, but I was gonna ask you: how vital is it to have someone like yourself in in a Major League Wrestling where you’re one of the deepest rosters in pro wrestling, period, but perhaps there are some individuals there who haven’t been in the ring or haven’t had the experience that someone like yourself has had in professional wrestling? Do you see that as a bit of your role as one of the veterans of the promotion?”

    JS: “Absolutely. Everything I’ve learned in professional wrestling, somebody’s taught me, Indirectly directly, whatever. So, you know, it’s my duty to do the same, whether they’re receptive or not. MLW has a very respectful locker room, the younger guys really, really respect the old guard. And, unfortunately, I’ve found myself as one of the old guard today, it’s weird, it happened in a blink of an eye, but I do like to take my knowledge and give it to these younger guys because I sit on – I see things from a completely different vantage point, and a lot of times what I say to a younger guy doesn’t apply, and a lot of times it does.

    Sometimes, I can just tweak them a certain way. ‘Hey, move right instead of left. Hey, when you do that, keep doing that, but do it this way.’ You know, ‘pull back on that, push forward on that.’ Just these little things that – a lot of wisdom in professional wrestling isn’t always-or-never. It’s situational. It depends on the person.”

    “So yeah, the younger guys are very receptive to me, and I have have found myself in that role quite often, agenting matches. That’s one of my favorite things to do with MLW, and I’ve been very successful with my finishes. I fancy myself a ‘finish’ guy. I am really good at connecting the dots and making sense of this thing. And I think that’s very important, is to not only make sense of it, but to have it be digestible to an audience. To do something, sometimes people do things just to let everybody know they’re smart, and that’s not always the route you should take in pro wrestling. Sometimes it should be spoon fed to an eight year old.

    Sometimes things should be obvious. Other times things should not be obvious. Sometimes when they think you’re going right, you should go left. Sometimes you should give them what you want. Sometimes you should take it away. It’s really, really important to understand the psychology of professional wrestling and to apply it in the right places. We’re not always right, and we’re not always wrong, but we we definitely try to have the best batting average as possible if that makes any sense.”

    Working with Alexander Hammerstone

    SL: “I really liked the point you made there on the psychology, because I think it’s something that applies really, really well to two individuals you’ve brought up in the past in Jacob Fatu and Alex Hammerstone. Now, obviously with the two it’s very obvious the relationship that you guys have as far as pro wrestling goes, but maybe take me a little bit into the relationship you have with the both of them and what made them sort of stand out as people you really wanted to take on as a mentoree.”

    JS: “So, Hammerstone I met first. I was promoting shows in Arizona, by way of California. We were doing pretty well, and Hammerstone was a young guy and I look through the lens of old school guy. I don’t like to give anybody anything. I like to make sure that they want it. I like to make sure that the knowledge that I give is used properly. I don’t – I make people work for it, and Hammerstone is one of the hardest workers I’ve ever met in professional wrestling, is one of the hardest workers I’ve ever met in life. He just is not scared to work. I tested him multiple times, I would say, ‘Hey, you know, you want to spot here. I’ve got a Cruiserweight spot.

    ‘ The guy shedded about 25 pounds and got shredded. I manipulated him in ways that were not malicious. I manipulated him in ways to see, you know, how mentally strong he is. A couple times, he wanted stuff a little too early, or he got frustrated, but I always kept beating the drum in the same way. Eventually, he would see on more than one occasion that I was truthful and I was trustworthy, and what I said was right, and it came to fruition. So I really, really took a lot of time with Hammerstone and, you know, learning him and understanding him and testing him. To be quite honest, he’s hit the ball out of the park every single time. He’s somebody that continues to get better. He continues to impress. He continues to shape up his body better, his mind, his psychology.

    He’s just somebody that if you see, and then you see him six months later, he’s better. He’s also somebody that absorbs knowledge. If you tell him ‘Hey, this….’ he doesn’t go ‘yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.’ He actually applies the knowledge, like, instantly and correctly. So, he’s somebody that I have a lot of fun – he likes to say I’m his mentor. I don’t like to take any credit for him. I’ll always be there to help him, but he is certainly somebody that has helped himself and done the work. Yeah, I’ve given him knowledge. Yeah, here and there I’ve done this and that for him, but others did that for me, too. So I definitely transfer that.”

    Working with MLW Heavyweight Champion Jacob Fatu:

    JS: “Fatu I saw and Fatu is somebody that when you see for the first time, it’s like, he’s a 300 pounder, and he’s like a 300 pound six-foot-something pile of money. He’s just absolutely phenomenal. I definitely had a few, I wouldn’t say fights, but we didn’t see eye-to-eye when we first met. He wanted something a certain way and I explained to him the way it really is. And he was very young. And then little by little, I earned his trust. 

    He’s just somebody that doesn’t have to try. He’s just incredibly, incredibly gifted. He has just probably one of the most naturally gifted guys I’ve ever seen. I mean, on his worst day, he can do better than 98% of the wrestlers out there. He’s just, he’s just incredibly gifted and he’s natural. So Fatu is somebody that I’ve really enjoyed kind of just sanding the corners off of.”

    “I think that’s where my talent lies is I’m not somebody that can tell a guy – I could – but I’m not the type of guy that that likes to take somebody from a seed. I like a trained guy that has got a little bit of momentum and then I like to show them how to get from the second rung of the ladder to the 10th rung of the ladder. I like to show them how to really, really exploit their talents, how to really, really shine the light on their gifts. A lot of times what hurts talent is they want to do something rather than – it’s like if you’re a duck, and you want to be a tiger, and it’s like, ‘hey, hey, you’re not a tiger, you’re a duck’ or vice versa.

    ‘Hey, you’re, you’re a tiger, don’t quack anymore,’ you know, and it’s like you’re trying to show these guys. And you really have to show them by them, gaining their trust, and then having them apply things. And then, when it works, live, some of the guys – not all of them, some of the guys and girls, not all of them – a light will come on when it works, and they’ll go ‘oh!’ you know, and those are really the people, the coachable people, the teachable people are the ones that I like to be around because there’s some guys that are just not coachable and they’re incredibly frustrating to be around and (with) Hammerstone and Fatu it’s almost like I got aces up my sleeve. I mean, those guys were gonna be good with or without me, you know what I mean? I just liked I just like to give them a little bit extra so they can get to the finish line a little bit quicker.

    So, I don’t take too much credit for those guys but I definitely enjoy being on the sidelines coaching them any way I can because they’re amazing. They’re incredible to watch and I am a fan of them.”

    The psychology of surprising people: 

    SL: “I love that you mentioned it a couple of times with Fatu specifically. One match that really got me into not just yourself with CONTRA Unit but MLW specifically was the whole feud and eventually the match with LA Park. I remember watching for the first time, (and) that I guess springboard splash or whatever you want to describe it as, I’d never seen it before. (It was) something that I’d never seen in professional wrestling before. I’ve got to figure that that’s perhaps one of those things that you talked about is maybe keep that in the back pocket and really blow people’s minds with it. You know what I mean?”

    JS: “Oh, yeah! With Fatu, the first time I saw him do the running dive over the top, I said, ‘Don’t you ever do that again,’ and he’s like ‘what are you talking about?!’ I said, ‘trust me, don’t do that anywhere anymore’. Finally, for that match, he looked at me and he goes ‘tonight?’ We both knew exactly what we were talking about. And I was like ‘tonight.’ He knew when to do it, and he knew it was the right time, and he trusted me enough to hold off on it until – it’s just one of those things of, not to whore yourself out, not to whore your moves out, just really, really to exploit and manipulate the people in a way that benefits you and your character to get you from one spot to another spot.

    That’s a lost art. Everybody’s like, ‘I can do all this stuff, I’m gonna do all this stuff,’ and it’s like, ‘well, you know, then you have nothing in your back pocket for tomorrow, you have nothing to build to.’ Then you know, some guys can do crazy stuff and then they’re like, ‘don’t worry, I got a bunch of it.’ Well, you know, you need – there’s I could go on and on and on about what’s right and what’s wrong, it would be way too involved, but that situation was something that was incredibly gratifying to me that he actually listened to me. He did it in the way – the lights went on of when to do it, and then when he did it, it actually worked exactly like we wanted it to. So it was very gratifying to have that experience with him.

    It’s something – it’s one of my favorite things that’s happened for me, with me, or that I’ve been involved in, however you want to phrase it, in the last decade. It was just a tiny little moment that – it was everything to me.”

    Salina de la Renta: 

    JS: “It’s been very positive. She is somebody that – she’s special. You have these pieces of talent, and, you know, there’s just certain pieces of talent that are just special. She’s incredibly gifted. She’s very young. I believe she’s 22, 23, I mean, maybe 24. I think she’s 22 or (23). But to have the, not so much the knowledge of the business, but the wherewithal. Just – she does the right things without nobody teaching her, you know what I mean? She’s just he’s just natural. She’s very gifted. You know, there’s this old saying in wrestling that you have to believe your own bullshit excuse my language.”

    SL: “No worries, you got the explicit rating on podcasts, were fine.”

    JS: “She believes what she does, much like myself. There’s something to be said about somebody that can talk in this business. A lot of your money is made with your mouth. Being able to talk in this business is something that – I like to think I can and a lot of people like to say that I can – and it’s something that I think is is is one of the greatest tools. The matches are always whatever, you know, the finishes I think have to be extraordinary. But it’s the build up to a match, the talking to people into the arena that I think is just such (an) important tool in our business, and she’s got it in spades. She is – and that comes with believing your own bullshit is the confidence.

    A lot of times you see people talking and you can see the gears turning. You could see the wheels turning, rather, you understand that they have memorized something. And it just really – for me, personally, it takes me completely out of the story. I like to have points and understand kind of where I’m going, and I like to speak as frankly and as naturally as possible. Salina’s just somebody that delivers promos and lines in just a confident way that every single time I see it, I buy it, and I believe it and if I was a paying fan, I would definitely be paying to see her. Whether it’s her getting beat, whether it’s whatever it is, but she’s somebody that definitely he convinces me 10 out of 10 times. I have nothing but high praise for her. She’s a wonderful piece of talent and I’m really excited to see where she goes from here.

    Not meaning other places! Not meaning other places, I mean how her character develops, because she’s so good now, we can only imagine her in her 30s and 40s and what type of a character she’s going to be. It It took me a lot longer to develop into something because I was I was more involved in the actual wrestling. I always had a good promo and this and that, but I never really had somebody put me through the paces and I never did the reps to where I had TV early on, I would cut promos, whatever, but she’s got so much time put into her, just like I do now.

    So we’re able to go through the reps now. I wasn’t able to go through the reps as early as she has, so I’m really, really interested to see her in a decade from now. She’s gonna be even more phenomenal.”

    Balancing real life and kayfabe:

    SL: “You’ve brought it up a couple of times throughout this interview, whether it’s the people who influenced you or the people that you’ve influenced, but just the need for realism and professional wrestling. (It’s) a bit of an odd way to put it, I guess, but how do you balance realism in pro wrestling and inside the actual product you guys are putting out versus doing stuff like this and doing interviews that are quote, unquote, out of character and not really, I guess, canon in the professional wrestling sense. Do you know what I mean?”

    JS: “Yeah, totally. Well, you know, it’s a different era. It’s a different age. So we kind of take the approach of movies. If you see Arnold Schwarzenegger on the screen, you believe he’s the Terminator. But if you see him in an interview, you understand he’s Arnold Schwarzenegger. Yeah. If he was walking around all day long acting like the Terminator, he’d be arrested. I think kayfabe is really a term that is – what’s the best way to put this? I think it’s misunderstood is the kindest way I can say that. When I was a little kid, you know, I started watching wrestling when I was three years old, Dusty Rhodes and I grew up in Florida, so Harley Race was our champion, 1977, I’m showing my age, but whatever, 1977 I was three years old. Harley Race was my champion.

    I grew up in Florida, the territory with Eddie Graham’s Championship Wrestling from Florida. I didn’t believe wrestling was 100% real when I was a kid, and some kids did and I understand that. That’s not why I liked it. I always watch wrestling like a movie. So when I say kayfabe is misunderstood. You know, when a car is in a movie, and a car has gone through a shootout and has bullets all through it and has bangs all over, it’s got dents everywhere. If you saw that car in the next scene and that car has bullet holes in it, that’s kayfabe. They’re continuing the believeability. If that car was shining and had no bullet holes, they’d be breaking kayfabe. So, I think we have this strange thing where we think kayfabe means worse. You know, the wrestling’s, real kayfabe means if you expose that. That’s not what kayfabe means, and anybody with any brainpower understand what it is we’re doing. So, I think it’s important to promote and present kayfabe on the job. I think it’s – to do it on television, to do it in the arena.

    When I walk out of my house and I get on that plane, and I get to that building, I am that character when I walk up there with my bag, and I’m that character when I leave into the bus, and that’s kayfabe to me. When I’m at home, if I was that character, well, my wife would leave me and about a week.”

    SL: “(laughs) It’s a bit tougher time for you.”

    JS: “Yeah, it’s not – kayfabe is not good for normal, regular life.”

    What it’s like to get attacked in public because of a pro wrestling storyline:

    SL: “You’ve brought up previously when you first started out professional wrestling, you’ve mentioned it throughout your career I should say, you want to bring danger back to pro wrestling, and that certainly was the case early in your career, like literally getting attacked. You’re the first individual I’ve actually had the distinct pleasure of having that happen to. What’s it like the first time somebody attacks you for something that happened in professional wrestling?”

    JS: “You know, I’m not trying to – I’m not the toughest guy in the world or anything like that, but I grew up in the in the hardcore scene, hardcore music. So I grew up in like, you know, Slayer, and Sick of it All, and Agnostic Front and the Kromaggs. So, I used to go to these places with some incredibly nefarious people, and I used to fight often and everything. I’m not really – I mean, I lived in Puerto Rico when I first started in wrestling, which was a lot different than my home and Florida, to be kind. It was a really hard place to live in the place I lived. So I’m not really a scared kind of a guy. I just react. So when somebody attacks me, basically all I try to do is I try to just stop the attack and get them as far away from me as possible.” 

    “So I have a few tricks where I fling them a certain way and I get them away from me as quickly as possible. But you know, the main thing is to understand your surroundings. A lot of times in independent wrestling, we’re not dealing – we don’t we don’t have the luxury of a proper security, or police, or anybody armed, so you really have to be careful meaning like for instance, I’ve wrestled sometimes in border towns and with no lieutenant, with no police or security, and I’ve gotten hit before. Well, if you jump on top of somebody and hit them, you’re pretty much going to get jumped by a crowd of people so you have to be very careful on – that’s where the puppet mastery of our business comes, because if I can get them incensed, I could certainly cool them off. So that’s where I get my working boots and I manipulate the crowd in a completely different way. Now, sometimes it’s just, as you know, it’s – you’re going to fight, and it’s right then and there, and it’s jarring. But at the time of the fight, I guess it’s the best time for me to fight because I’m in character, I have my adrenaline going, I’m angry, I got all of this behind me. So I’d much rather get into a fight there than somebody punched me in the face walking out of the grocery store.” 

    “So as far as situational, that’s probably the best situation for you if you’re gonna get into a fight to get into a fight, but I try not to. I try to take the fans a certain way, and as I’ve gotten older, or I should say, as I’ve gotten more experienced, I’ve learned how to control that, where, at first, I was so juiced on getting them incensed that I would have them spill over, and I just didn’t have the experience or the knowledge on how to – now, it’s so simple. I go out there, I go crazy, they start losing their mind, I see them spilling over, I get the baby face over ,they settle down, you know what I mean? But as a younger guy, without the experience level that I have now, oh, I would get these, I would get them and they would spill over and they spill over all over me, you know, and then I’d have to fight for my life. We’ve had people pulled guns we’ve had people with makeshift stabbing apparatuses, dirty diapers, cups of urine, spark plugs…”

    SL: “Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!”

    JS: “Yeah. We’re not trying to – like a guy like me, I don’t know about other guys – I’m not trying to be a tough guy and I’m not trying to beat somebodies Dad up. I’m trying to go out there have a good time. If somebody crosses the rail and they put my family in danger, then I’m gonna protect myself but I try to have everybody walk away (and) leave with having a good time. That’s the main objective. Sometimes it gets a little hairy, and sometimes things happen, but you try to entertain and not beat up the audience.”

    Signing his first-ever wrestling contracts with Major League Wrestling:

    SL: “We mentioned right off the hop on on this interview that you’re a very well traveled guy. You’ve wrestled for a number of different promotions, but I believe I’m correct in saying that this is your first professional wrestling contract, or, I guess contracts now by this point. What is it about the promotion that inspired you to make the jump and make a formal commitment to them?”

    JS: “Well, first of all, yes, it is. It is my my first professional wrestling contract, and that’s completely by design. It’s not that I was never offered or it’s not anything like that. I just always kind of traveled that Bruiser Brody route. He was somebody that was a great inspiration to me and I just felt like I felt like the business was an outlaw business, and when I broke in there was still crazies in it and it was like a place where crazies could go to work. That’s kind of what I like to do. I’d like to travel. I like to globetrot. I like to do stuff. As I started to get older, I was always concerned with keeping one foot in front of the other having something to look forward to it.

    You know, as far as work goes, I don’t have a retirement. I don’t – entertainment and professional wrestling is my life. It is my livelihood. If you’re a smart performer, you’re always trying to figure out how to have something else in the future. This way you never run out of work as long as you can. So I’ve always been somebody that learned every part of the business. I’ve always been in the back office booking and I’ve always been creating digital art and T-shirt designs. Everything. I’ve done every aspect of professional wrestling from top to bottom, besides editing. That’s the only thing I’ve never done which I’ll hopefully learn one day.

    But, as I grow older and I started to think as offers came in, I was kind of scared to do that because it felt very final to me, like somebody would own me or somebody. MLW was just the right fit for me. The people that are within the business are people that I respect. I know that they respect the professional wrestling that I like to present and I’m not saying that ours is better than anybody else’s but MLW’s product reminds me of World Class. It reminds me of the Florida Championship Wrestling of Eddie Graham, the Dory Funk Sr’s, it reminds me of All Japan, it reminds me of the professional wrestling business that I grew up to love.

    I certainly wouldn’t sign on with any company that I didn’t respect, and there’s plenty that I don’t but without naming any names, but when I definitely wanted to be with a group that I felt part of the family. I felt at home and MLW is certainly that for me.”

    JS: “So yeah, it was it was a bit nerve-wracking, but I had friends in there so I felt like I went you know what I didn’t feel out of sorts. I knew after speaking to them that I was wanted for more than just my in-ring, and that’s something that’s very attractive to me because I do have a lot of knowledge. I have a lot of knowledge from just my experience on the road, and from – I’m not trying to name drop, but I talked to Terry Funk often. I talk to Kevin Sullivan almost daily. I talk to Jake Roberts whenever I can.

    I talk to these guys that are, to me, the Einsteins of the business and I do have that knowledge to give these young guys, and not only do I have it, but I love to give it. It’s a passion of mine to be surrounded in the art and the history and the mechanics of professional wrestling. So MLW is just a great fit, I know it’s a long answer, but it’s just a great fit for me and, and a place that I feel at home, and I honestly don’t feel like -unless something absolutely crazy happened and they didn’t want me anymore – I feel like I’ll have a long history with MLW and most likely close out my career there.”

    Winding down his in-ring career:

    SL: “You bring it up yourself, (and) it’s something that I’ve heard previous interviewers ask you before, but they’ve mentioned and brought up sort of in the way that you did, winding out your career with MLW (and) perhaps being in the twilight of your career, but I don’t want to put words in your mouth or reactions on your face, but seeing sort of how you react when they questioned that, and just seeing how active you currently are, is, is that perhaps a statement that you would disagree with?”

    JS: “No, I mean, I – when I broke in, I was always taught that your 40s are your money years. And to be honest, that has come to fruition for me. So, I think it’s true. I think you have a mindset in your 40s that you’ve seen a few things, you’ve tripped a few times, you’ve been humbled, you’ve got the experience of the road, so as far as in ring stuff, I mean, my styles never been a style as such that I can’t, you know, do what I do at 50 or 60. Not to say that I want to or that I will, but I still feel fantastic. Like, I don’t have – I’ve always taken care of myself, I still do, and I feel fine. I also love the character that I’m playing outside of the ring, the boss of this crime syndicate, and we don’t really know exactly what it is, and where it’s gonna go.

    I really, really love that. I find that there’s a lot of depth to the character, I find that I can do it until I’m 70. I mean, it’s just like, as long as I’m healthy, I can develop into a Gary Hart and that’s something that is very, very attractive to me. I don’t mind staying with this company, and I don’t do my adult mind developing this company because I’m a creature of comfort and I’m very comfortable there. So it doesn’t bother me if people think you know, the This is the end of my active in ring wrestling career to be quite honest, it doesn’t scare me at all and and and I don’t necessarily not welcome that. But as long as the frugal wrestler in May the one that was taught how to make a living in this business wants to make sure that I get all the juice out of the lemons in every single aspect because if I can make money doing that, then I’m gonna make money doing that Why? Why put that on the shelf? I might as well it’s just like, when guys are heels and they’re like are the guys are baby faces and they’re like I want to turn heel I want to turn heel.

    I’m like, why do you want to turn heel like, get all the juice out to be in a baby face and then get all the juice out of being a heel!’ Like, guys think that this thing is a race. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon, and we’ve heard that a long time but that’s the type of mindset you have to have in this business is the mindset of longevity, you really do, because – unless all you –  I mean, other certain people have their what they want to do. I have always, and I don’t see my mind changing, I’ve always wanted to remain in the wrestling business, doing whatever. I just happen to be fortunate enough to be in positions to where I can have a top spot. I can be very, very useful on camera and behind camera.

    That’s fantastic. But to be honest, if I was going to be – I’m not even going to mention any positions because I don’t want to bury anybody but, I would do anything. Like I would do anything, as long as I can make a living and stay in this business. I love the business, and I love being around the boys and the girls and I love teaching and I love sharing and I love learning and I love it. I love experiencing it.”



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