1. First of all, please describe yourself to the readers of TheBritishWrestlingRevival??
I am The Babyfaced Pitbull or Pitbull if you prefer(it makes little difference to me in all honesty). Started training at the RWA (Runcorn Wrestling Academy) back in 2006 under Andy Baker, ex OVW and FCW talent. Now wrestle regularly for the likes of BWP in Wales, Infinite Promotions in Liverpool, PW4U in Stoke and many others sporadically. Also trained by Taz at the Team Taz Dojo in NYC and someone who younger readers maybe not be aware of but who’s a bit of an old school legend and a “World of Sport” veteran, “Gypsy” John Kenny
2. Did you watch Wrestling growing up and if so, did this inspire you to train to become a professional wrestler??
I certainly did, back in the mid/late 80’s, I was brought up on WWF PPV’s when there were just 4 and the usual weekly shows on Sky, Challenge and Superstars and VHS’s – showing my age here probably. My heroes were the Ultimate Warrior, Macho Man, Big Bossman, Mr Perfect, British Bulldog etc. The characters were great back then, Debiase, Piper, Jake Roberts, they really got me hooked. I never imagined back then I would “be” a wrestler one day though.
3. You were trained by ex WWE/ECW star Taz, how did this experience come about??
Yea well I was actually made aware of the camp by a friend of mine Ciaran McConnell(Infinite Promotions joint promotor and fellow pro) back a the end of 2010, he saw the link online somewhere and suggested I apply as he thought it would be ideal for me. The chance to be trained by someone of his calibre and experience was obviously something that appealed to me to improve my craft. You find comparisons are often made and style similarities highlighted between guys at grass roots the top guys on the world stage, mine were always Shamrock and Taz for example, so to be coached and trained by someone who had a similar style so to speak and I was such a fan of was an added bonus. I applied, spoke to Taz personally and went over to New York February 2011.
4. Looking back on it now, what are your thoughts on the training Taz offered you when you were over in the States??
It was a complete appraisal and assessment of each individual that was there – so a full and complete education into the business, a fantastic experience and I learned an incredible amount. The idea was he was taking guys that had a certain level of experience, you know weren’t “raw”, and “polishing” their skills. The detail level was incredible, but that’s what’s I needed to improve and push myself and get better. Believe me he was very frank, but that was what I wanted, not someone blowing smoke up my arse telling me everything I was doing was great. If I was doing something poor I wanted to be told and given a solution and coaching to improve it and eradicate it from my game. Another great thing was the fact there weren’t many there so the training and coaching wasn’t diluted.
5 Would you say your style in a way is influenced by the training Taz gave to you??
Only slightly in fairness. Specifically as I mentioned Taz training was about polishing skills overall rather than building from scratch or forming a style from nothing per say. He did teach me the Northern Lights suplex though whilst I was out there ha ha! So if you see me do it, that can be directly be attributed to his training lol.
I think a wrestlers style comes from a mixture of things, physical attributes, body types, training and personality.
You can’t be every style so you have to find out what suits you and be realistic – stick to your strengths. Whether that’s size and power, high flying athleticism, comedy/entertainment. My strengths are explosive power and speed on the mat, aggression, intensity, low centre of gravity. That’s why you won’t catch me doing many comedy matches or high risk aerial manoeuvres(unless its Doomsday Device with Timm Wylie at Infinite Promotions)
Sure you watch the guys who are the best in the world at what they do and try and learn from them. As a student of the game its people with similar body types as myself like Dynamite Kid, Kurt Angle, Taz I learn from especially just to name a few. But you must be yourself, not a 2nd rate version of anyone else. Its generally others that make comparisons(which is a massive compliment by the way), and coin nicknames, the “Canine Suplex Machine” etc.
6. You have a background in Greco Roman/Freestyle Wrestling and Brazillian Jiu Jitsu after training under UFC coach Nathan Leverton at Leicester Shoot fighters, do you think you have an advantage over your opponent by having this MMA style under your arsenal and have you ever thought about doing MMA instead of Wrestling??
Well yes, but I think professional wrestling combines an eclectic set of skills and brings them together in a unique way. So any previous experience that has transferable skills which can used in your training and career are advantageous, whether that be sports in general(gymnastics or contact sport for example), acting or generally performing in front of an audience. In my case I was training heavily from around 2004-2010 and competing in grappling(submission wrestling) competitions, and my coaches were of an excellent standard and guys I was training with very tough so I learned the hard way and have the cauliflower ears and scars to prove it. This has obvious advantages from a technical, physical and athletic point of view. My finishing manoeuvre “Canine Clutch” stems from an “Oma plata” shoulder lock from BJJ for example. All those years of competing and training give you a lot a confidence in the ring too, knowing you can handle anything that gets thrown at you, because you’ve done if before, if it gets a bit “tasty” out there. Transmitting an aura of confidence to the audience is crucial as well, if you don’t believe in yourself, there’s no chance they will.
I think you were asking me back in 2006 before I entered the pro-wrestling business, I would have 100% expected to go pro in MMA back then. However things change in life – its impossible to try and be the best you can be in 2 different trades at the same time AS WELL as hold a full time job down and earn a respectable wage to have decent standard of living. So for various reasons early 2010 I gave up grappling and MMA to focus on pro-wrestling and give it my full attention. I’ve done odd bits of rolling and sparring since then but nothing major. I would do a one off fight for the right price, but going back full time isn’t an option, my focus remains 100% on my pro-wrestling career.
7. Going onto TNA British Bootcamp 2, you appeared on the Manchester auditions this past weekend getting to round 2, have you watched it back and if so what are your thoughts??
I was disappointed to not to progress obviously. I can’t knock the guys that went through, 4 top pros with great talent. However I thought and still think I can bring my own unique strengths to the table too. That’s my opinion, but its TNA’s and the judges that counted. I’m not the type to go home and cry about it, I’ll get angry and come back better and stronger.
8. Following on from this, what do you think you need to change for the next time you get an opportunity like this??
I’ll be practising “in and outs” for a start lol. But no seriously, considering I was last to be eliminated before the London finals, I don’t think fundamental overhaul is necessary, just an adjustment maybe, Al Snow said he didn’t think I showed quite enough on the day? I won’t let let that happen again, believe me.
But Just to give an insight, it was a very long day and they must have had a tough task getting it down to just a one hour programme. It was massively challenging for everyone involved, going out there not knowing what to expect is quite daunting – especially when you’re fully aware they may show the “bad bits” for good TV viewing. I’m guessing thats what they wanted though, seeing how we react when tested on the spot and have to think on our feet under pressure.
9. What’s next for the Babyfaced Pitbull (future ambitions etc)??
Ambitions remain the same, to be the best I can be, perform on the biggest stages possible and of course make as much money as possible 😉
10 . Where can the readers find you on Social Media and have you got any future dates in the pipeline??
Sambfp@twitter.com and face book page facebook/thebabyfacedpitbull.
I’ve mentioned my regular promotions, so expect me see there in the future. There maybe a few surprises though so don’t want to spoil those obviously. Appearances I can mention are PW4U on 14th November in Stoke, that will be exciting, new venue and a great match planned. I’ll be at the Kris Travis charity show on Sunday 16th November too, obviously not the circumstances we’d like but all the guys are doing their best to help Trav financially and giving him moral support through his recovery.
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