1. Welcome to TheBritishWrestlingRevival Jody, first of all please introduce yourself to the readers and give them a quick summary of yourself as a wrestler???
Hello all, I’m Jody Fleisch. I’ve been a pro wrestler since 1996, when I made my debut for Hammerlock Wrestling promotion, based in Kent, England. Since then I’ve worked around the world for most well known companies. These days I still do a little, mostly round the UK and in Europe.
2. You began your in-ring career in 1996 and were trained by Andre Baker, Dino Scarlo and the Michinoku Pro Dojo, how did you get involved with training with Andre, Dino and also at the MPro Dojo, how was the experience, how were they all different as trainers and if you were training now to become a wrestler who would you train with??
Me and a few friends wanted to get into the business but didn’t really have any idea how. I must have heard that having an amateur wrestling background was a good idea if you wanted to do it professionally so we found an Olympic Freestyle wrestling school in Essex, another in Ilford and then finally one in West London. 3 of us stayed doing those classes for about 2 years and were told by somebody there of a pro wrestling school in Kent, Hammerlock Wrestling.
We turned up there one Sunday and immediately started training. We were shown the basics by Are Baker and a few others, including at times Dino Scarlo. Dino took me under his wing and I started working with him on his markets and various other things, mostly legal:) He really knew what wrestling was about.
I left Hammerlock after about two years, started working for other British companies and eventually was seen by a Japanese company called Michinoku pro. You asked about the Michinoku pro dojo. I do remember being there maybe once but I didn’t train there. When I was brought into the company I was doing shows from the day after I arrived in the country but obviously I do consider myself to have been learning on the job over there from day 2 – very good learning experience. So in summary I guess my training from Andre was minimal (basics) From Dino was substantial (lol lots more basics) and my training in Japan was, well, working but there was an awful lot of it. Shows almost every day with some of the best workers in the world – would have been almost impossible for me to not learn a lot.
The styles I was versed in from Andre, to Dino, to Michinoku were very different from each other, which I feel helped me no end. I think if I was a new guy today looking to get into the job I’s try to train with and work with as many different people as possible. I’d try to learn every style that I could. As especially these days a pro usually has to do a bit of everything.
3. Doing abit of additional research before this interview I find out you have wrestled Jonny Storm 108 times, how has it been wrestling someone like Jonny so many times and would you say you have wrestled each other as many times as you have due to the chemistry you have in the ring??
I have no idea how many times I’ve worked with Jonny Storm, but yes, I would definitely say a big part of the reason for that has been the way we’ve worked together. People still seem to react well to it. It’s been a lot of fun through the years and we’ve had some of our best matches with each other.
4. You were a runner-up in CZW’s 2nd Best of The Best tournament beating Jonny Storm, Ruckus and Johnny Kashmere on the way to the final, looking back now did going over to countries like America really help you develop as a wrestler, how was the experience wrestling different talent on one night and do you wish to go back to America or even other countries in 2016 and beyond??
Looking back of course, yes. Working in America helped me develop an awful lot. The best of the best tournament was not only my first night in America but also my debut in the ECW arena……which was, well if there was a single building and a single small group of fans that was the heart of wrestling’s attitude era, that was it …….and they were that group. There was a moment at the end of the show where they went through the names on the show on a microphone, asking the live crowd who they thought was their honorary “best of the best”. Although now I would question whether this is ethically a good idea, when they announced my name the crowd’s reaction actually blew me away – I legitimately wasn’t expecting it. Based on that response, and also their response when they were asked about “match of the night,” they gave me 2 trophies (match of the night and crowd’s best of the best) and the next time they brought me in they gave me another for their match of the year 2002. It’s a great memory for me, and though it was tough (I remember throwing up afterwards lol) it was great to get to work in front of that crowd. My dad had actually took me on holiday to that same arena when I was younger and I’d sat there picturing what it would be like to work there. When “straw hat guy” asked me for my autograph I signed it for him, but made sure he gave me his too! I loved working with the late Trent Acid. That match made me feel like I was on ECW TV, which had been probably my favourite show to watch as a fan.
5. You are known to many British fans as being part of FWA and 1PW two wrestling promotions who have gained I would say the biggest exposure for both the right and wrong reasons and for FWA in particular they had a TV deal in their time on the Wrestling Channel, do you think that British Wrestling will ever return to TV and there was even a show at Coventry Skydome off the back of the Wrestling Channel deal, how was it wrestling in a place as a big as the Coventry Skydome and do you think that shows like this that aren’t WWE suffer atmosphere wise??
It was great being a part of both companies. They both were special in their own ways and like any other company in the world they each had their positive and negative impacts on the business. The wrestling channel was good exposure (though maybe too much of it) for us but it’s all part of the journey, right? Not just for us but for British wrestling. I would like to think that a return to mainstream tv for British wrestling is a matter of time. Yesterday I stopped channel surfing on bowls. Now I’m not one to slate any sport but the camera panned across the crowd (packed house to be fair) but I couldn’t see a face that was under 70 and some of them were actually asleep. The British scene hasn’t been better or more full of talent in what, 20 years, minimum?!? If it didn’t eventually get a push it would be tragic for a lot of people, fans and workers alike.
The Skydome gave me another of those moments crowd reaction wise. The response I got from that arena on my comeback was another time I’ve been blown away. Was comparable to the one I mentioned at the ECW arena. I think that there are plenty of companies who can successfully run big venues like that who aren’t WWE and many can do it a lot better in a lot of ways – just have a look at what a companies like ICW and Rev PRO are doing regularly these days. The atmosphere is often better than your average WWE show.
6 + 7. You wrestled up to 2013 then stopped for a year before returning in a match vs Will Ospreay and Jonny Storm for IPW and now your a main fixture on the UK wrestling scene again, has it been good to return and pick up where you left off, who in the current crop of UK talent would you say is the future and who haven’t you wrestled yet who you want to wrestle and Speaking of the UK wrestling scene, the blog is called TheBritishWrestlingRevival so what are your thoughts on the current state of British Wrestling and what do you think the future will hold for it??
It’s been a lot of fun coming back for a while and seeing how much the industry over here has progressed. Every time I show up I’m told how I’ve inspired people who are now themselves doing great things. I didn’t realise during the main part of my career that having such impact on other younger guys would end up being up there in the things I manage to do in|for this business. I even get a buzz and feel pride when I hear of companies doing great shows I’m not involved in. (is this too corny?)
I could name so many who I would consider the future but I now think it’s more of a collective thing. When it comes to who I’d like to work with the list gets shorter though. Remember, to work with them it means that I have to keep up with them. This isn’t something I consider to be getting any easier. I could name people like Will Ospreay, Marty Scurll, but nowadays there so many different types of great talent around this country that I’d feel it was unfair to lots of others who deserve more than a mention. I DO worry that the old halls that have been ran forever by people like Brian Dixon will die out though. I hope they don’t. I still feel like when it comes right down to the bare bones of it that wrestling should come down to a baddie and a goodie. I feel like this is a fundamental part of our identity, as it is everywhere else in the world. This is what wrestling is about. I think and hope that when this round of technical wizzardry, great execution, this particular type of match structure, runs it’s course there will still be halls full of people who want someone to boo and someone to cheer, and that there will be yet another crop of talent who understand and work towards this.
8. What do you still want to achieve in your career and where do you see yourself in 5 years time??
Maybe just doing a few bits for fun I guess. I’ve been working outside the business as a personal trainer, which has inadvertently meant that my clients have became more physically equipped in terms of endurance, stamina, agility, strength, mobility to function well in a 10 – 20 minute wrestling match so maybe I’m actually training up the next wave of British talent. All I have to do now is convince them to leave their well paying jobs and loving families to become workers – and tell them what wrestling is. LOL seriously, maybe I’ll get more into the teaching side of things. I’ve taught sessions for CCW in Ireland and IPW in Kent lately and have always enjoyed teaching wrestling.
9. Where can the readers find ‘The Phoenix’ Jody Fleisch and where can promoters book you??
Fans can keep an eye out for me by following all the uk promotions. They can also go to my fb page to see details of upcoming shows and if you’re a promoter, your best bet (outside of simply giving me a call) would be to find me on Facebook too. I may set myself up a separate page soon but if we’re not already friends on there then just send me a message along with a request. I’ll be glad to speak to you:) I’ve almost almost finished setting up my own web site – http://www.phoenixfitness.uk.com
10. Have you got any future dates or projects you wish to plug??
I’m in Germany next weekend for Celtic Underground, back in Ireland on Feb 20th for CCW and will be appearing for Kamikaze Pro soon too, to name a few. (haven’t got my diary on me at the moment but check my Facebook and stuff for other upcoming shows). Also, send me a message on Facebook if you’re interested in personal training and live in London. I specialize in functional training (as in making you more physically able in general) for all shapes, sizes, genders and ability levels and do 1 t 1 and group wrestling training too.
Thanks to Jody 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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