Interview – Tony Kozina

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    1 . Welcome to TheBritishWrestlingRevival Tony, first of all please introduce yourself to the readers and give them a quick summary of yourself as a wrestler???

    Thank you kindly, Samuel.. Well, I’ve been performing throughout North America for almost 19 years now.. Done alot of everything through the years, so there’s no “style” of pro wrestling that is foreign to me.. As for my personal tastes, I was very influenced by the Crocketts NWA, so that very physical, believable, meat-n-potatos fight style is what i like best, but I also know that doesnt work some places, for many reasons… I’m fortunate enough to keep on steamrolling along, breaking into different areas, staying busy, and every now and again getting another bigger opportunity that lands in my lap. The adventure has been beyond my expectations thus far!!!!

    2) Lets talk about your growing up, did you enjoy watching wrestling growing up or did it start much later and if so, who inspired you to think I am going to become a Wrestler??

    Ohh yes. I watched as much wrestling as I could growing up.. My dad’s side of the family were rabid wrestling fans, and my mother’s side liked it as well… plus, in the territory days, when TV shows and channels were limited, everybody knew about their local wrestling show.. I was raised in Portland, and Don Owen had Portland wrestling on TV every Saturday night. Most big names of the 70s and 80s came through Portland, as well as most other territories. Even now, 30 years after the territories have died, & I live in St Louis, people still talk about wrestling at the chase, which was the TV show for st. Louis wrestling. That’s how big the territories were and how much they meant. 30 years after they have gone under, people still talk about Portland wrestling, about wrestling at the chase, about Stampede Wrestling, Memphis, the Von Erichs in Texas, and so on. It was a fantastic time to be a wrestling fan, and it is now.. Its just a different era. Growing up, I always knew it was either becoming a professional wrestler, or becoming a rockstar. I just didn’t see myself working 9 to 5 and being satisfied with that.. Gosh, 1st influences that made me think I wanted to be a wrestler?? You know, the first thing I remember and the first wrestling matches that I remember, is when Jesse Ventura turned on playboy buddy rose and become a baby face. I remember when it happened and I remember turning to my father and pleading for us to go watch them fight the next week, and we went! I had to been only five or six, but I remember everything. I remember the smoky arena, filled with excitement, and Buddy Rose bleeding in the wrestling ring.. it took a few years for me to consciously know that I wanted to do this, but it definitely captured my imagination, and hooked me. Later in grade school…7th or 8th grade, I remember pleading w/ my grandmother to drive a friend and I across town so we could see Roddy Piper battle buddy rose in a cage match on one of the Tuesday night specials that was not televised.. I didn’t go to the wrestling matches very often, which looking back, is surprising, but when I went, I was completely captivated and I remember every moment.

    3) How did you get involved with Wrestling training, who trained you, how was this experience and if you could have been trained by any one else or even do a seminar with dead or alive when you started off wrestling who would it be and why would it have helped you as a wrestler ??

    I ended up contacting Billy Jack Haynes in Portland, and he got me started training. From there, I came into contact with Matt Borne, who really got me up and going.. The training was difficult.. Neither man showed any mercy getting us to bump and learn ropes and buckles. In fact, they would bump right along with us, so you had zero excuses.. You sucked it up, or left with your head down in defeat, and that was it. I was the only guy Billy got going that lasted. As for training under someone dead or alive, I’d say the late Eddie Graham.. As I’ve understood it, he was the best at storytelling, finishes and what not, and Ive heard many big names and successful promoters learned the craft from him. Anyone can bump and do moves.. Hell, my cousins and I were doing that in my grandparents basement in grade school… but to tell a story..THAT is the art.. Eddie Graham and Pat Patterson is another I would love to learn from. I’ve heard Pat is a master storyteller as well, and he was one amazing performer in his day..

     
     

    4) You had a hand in training one of the best in the world in Davey Richards, how does it feel for you to see him now working with TNA and how his career has gone, also you faced him in TNA previously how was this experience and TNA has got a lot of bad press recently for money issues what was the feeling like backstage when you were there??

    It’s been an eye opening experience to see his progression through the years, and I’m very proud to have played a part, no matter how large or small.. The TNA experience was tremendous. You’ll never hear me bash that company, or the people in it. It was 1st class all the way. The vibe backstage was great! I knew alot of the guys, so it was nice catching up with old friends..and they were happy to see me given an opportunity. I also had a chance to meet, and talk to some of the roster I hadn’t met before, and they were very cool people with positive attitudes. I can’t speak for anyone but myself. I got what I was promised, and left with the door open for more work with them in the future. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.

    5) You have worked in ROH a lot in your career, do you think that ROH is still as big as it was now as when Danielson and Black were with the company and in your time with the company through various matches you worked quite a lot with Kyle O’Reilly how is it now to see a wrestler you have worked with before working in Japan and becoming one of the best in the world did you think that he had something special about him back then??

    I haven’t tuned in to much ROH in recent years, but it certainly seems that they are bigger, at least by perception, then they were years ago. They are performing in new markets, and the association with New Japan Pro Wrestling gives them worldwide credibility. Kyle O’Reilly is not only a tremendous wrestler, but a fantastic human being underneath it all.. And that’s what I like most about him. I am very glad that he is rising to the top, and doing well in New Japan, as well. It’s just fantastic to see, and his performance is just so smooth, and strong looking…and that’s from the years of kick boxing and Jiu Jitsu that we were all doing together in St Louis.. When you train to fight, you begin to naturally move like a fighter and perform like a fighter, all of that comes forth in your performance, and you stand above the rest. He’s got a long way to go before he peaks. Kyle only recently had a taste of the singles spotlight with the New Japan Best of the Super Juniors, and he rocked it.. That’s a sure sign of things to come for him!! He came out to STL a few times, from Vancouver, BC to train with us, and I told him… If you want it, you’ve gotta move here. F the legalities, and citizenship, and all that nonsense right now, JUST. GET. HERE. And, to his credit, he did. When he was willing to leave it all behind to take that chance on the unknown, it showed me he has what it takes to succeed. I mean, physically, the performance was there.. He had strong potential, anyone could see that.. however, you can have all the talent in the world, but if you’re gonna sit on your ass, or wait in lines for your turn, or to follow “rules” forget it.. So his willingness to sacrifice told me that mentally, he was in the game.. And that is more important than the physical in many ways..

     
     

    6) You have also worked for the likes of WWE, AIW, 2CW and PWG in a career spanning nearly 20 years, what has been your favourite match and wrestler to work with in your career and do you think when you hang up your boots that you will endeavor to do seminars/open your own training school to teach the future??

    I couldn’t even tell you one single favorite match, but I can tell you I have many favorite matches. I’ve always been open to training people and running seminars, & I don’t think that will ever change.. I always have made sure I have many avenues of opportunity in my life, so until I end up living at the Oregon Coast, I will always be involved in wrestling, and at least the training end of it, after my body gives out, if it ever does, hahahaaa.. But I figure, once I move to the beach, I will be out and away from where all the action and opportunity is, so for someone to come clear down there the train doesn’t make much sense.. At that point, I’ll leave it all behind, and move forward with a smile..

    7) Of course the name of this blog is TheBritishWrestlingRevival, I spoke to you before the interview about your desire to come over to the UK in 2016 what is your message to promoters who may be thinking of booking you and who do you want to face if you come over??

    You better believe I want to come over to the UK, and Europe, in general in 2016. I started learning about all the fantastic wrestlers over there when Davey started making frequent trips over there, and coming back and telling me about guys like Tommy End and Zack Sabre Jr and so many others… once I started looking at the matches on YouTube, I discovered more and more talent over there that was just so solid and impressive. And I remember when I was over there in 2000 for the NWA, the young English boys on the pre show, just mat wrestled like machines and it blew me away. Of course, they were trained by the late Andre Baker, who as I remember, had a very strong wrestling background, and demanded these boys learn how to wrestle.. There’s no one in particular I want to face over there, because I want to wrestle them all.. The more people I wrestle, the better I become, and the more experience again. That’s how it’s always been.. So my message to all of the Promoter in the UK, and all of Europe, is to simply give me an opportunity. A lot of people already know who I am, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the feedback I’ve received from the promoters I’ve already contacted. So, if all goes well, this will be the start of many trips, as far as I’m concerned.. Shows, and seminars…training camps, I’m open to everything..

     
     

    8) What are your future ambitions in Wrestling and where do you see yourself in 5 years time??

    My future ambitions in wrestling is to simply keep as busy as possible, and travel everywhere I can.. It’s always been the same.. I want to work everywhere and learn everything. There has never been an “end goal” so to speak…but the desire for an ongoing adventure.. I can’t even begin to tell you how many wonderful experiences, and amazing people I have met through wrestling. You simply cannot put a price tag on that. In 5 years time, anything is possible, and I’m open to everything! I’m always looking to meet people in the industry and take opportunity, and that includes becoming an agent, or other backstage position in a major company.. On the other hand, I have begun saving for my beach house in Oregon, preparing to move forward in my life.. but I’m never set on any one path..if adventure calls, my bag is always packed!!

     
     

    9) Where can the readers find Tony Kozina and where can promoters book you??

    Fans, and Promoters can find me all over social media. Facebook, as well as Instagram and Twitter where my handle is @TTKozina1. I recently started doing broadcasts on periscope, so I like to shoot a little bit when I’m on the road, and share my adventure.. For promoters who wish to book me, Facebook is always a quick way to reach me, or at TTKozina1@gmail.com.

    10) Have you got any future dates or projects you wish to plug??

    I’m closing out 2015 with a huge show next weekend, December 19th, in Clarksville Tennessee. TNT wrestling has a stacked card with a lot of TNA performers, & I will be competing in the 6 pack challenge, which should be crazy. I recently started going back to my daredevil style that put me on the map so many years ago, and on Dec. 19th I’m going to steal the show.. No exceptions!!!! As for 2016, I’m likely headed back up to Canada in January, as well as all across the Midwest US, as I have dates booked into April now.. I recently finished shooting a little independent film in Chicago, so that should be out early next year sometime.. And also, I will finally be working on a career retrospective Multi DVD, not to mention, my new badass, KOZINA- “Product of the old school” t-shirt is out now and been well received. So, I’ve just been so busy, and I’m so grateful and thankful for all the opportunities, and everyone who has been helping me, and encouraging me.. And I look around, and after all these years, I’m busier than I’ve ever been, and it’s just overwhelming. I really don’t have the words to express my gratitude.. Just a heartfelt thank you to all.

    Thanks to Tony for taking part in this interview and taking time out of his schedule to complete these, as a thank you please go and support him on social media and there will be more like this coming up only way to find out when they are out is by going to :

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