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Welcome to In Your Head! Wrestling podcast, news and community!
By Oliver Newman
Interview with 'The Stampede Kid' TJ Wilson By Oliver Newman
Hey TJ, thanks for taking the time out for this interview, not a problem man.
Can you give the first time readers a little background knowledge on yourself? Well I began training to Wrestle at 14 years old, competed in my first match in 1995 at the age of 15 when I tagged with Harry Smith and we lost to Teddy Hart and his brother Matthew (RIP).
Thoughts on your first match? Very nervous and scary just wanted to go out there and impress everyone and do the best I could.
Who was you trained by? Bruce and Ross Hart originally and then Toyko Joe.
Thoughts on Keith and Bruce Hart as trainers and as people? They helped me out a lot with my Wrestling at different stages, as people we have grown apart a bit but they were usually pretty good to me.
Thoughts on Tokyo Joe as a trainer and a person? Damn the best trainer in the world!! Tough as hell, a great person (I get along with him very well) and will always be so grateful for what he showed me.
Trained In the famous 'Dungeon', thoughts on the Dungeon and it's legacy? A very thin pad to land on, being thrown by 300+ pound guys when I was 16 was not fun. Pipes that hang down, a low ceiling made it very surreal to me.
Thoughts on Dungeon graduates:
First Bret 'The Hitman' Hart? The best, helped me out quite a bit,
the reason I Wrestle is because of Davey vs Bret WWF SummerSlam 1992.
The late great Owen Hart? A great Wrestler! Very good to me, flew me to WrestleMania 12 and International Incident, a great guy also. Owen had some great matches in Japan, he was my favourite Wrestler for a long time when I was younger.
Davey Boy Smith? Inspirational to me, gave me a pair of his boots which I still wear proudly. Worked out with me on the weights when I was 19 the best muscle Wrestler I have ever seen.
Dynamite Kid? Legendary, ahead of his time.
Jim Neidhart? Great character with unbelievable strength who completed the Hart Foundation.
Chris Benoit? Amazing role model could watch his matches for hours. I study him a lot (Benoit v Angle WWE Royal Rumble 2003: That match is so good, I watch it all the time).
Chris Jericho? Very good representative of Canadian Wrestling who is also Entertaining.
Lance Storm? Chair shots to RVD, enough said.
Johnny Devine? Really good, such a fast learner he started a year after the others and myself but he caught up very fast.
Was their a defining moment/match when you thought I want to be a professional Wrestler for a living? Bret Hart v Davey Boy Smith WWF Summerslam 1992 and seeing Teddy Hart's brother Matthew vs Harry Smith in 1994 have their first match.
Thoughts on WWF House show October 5th 1996 with Teddy Hart v Harry Smith & Andrew Pakarnyk? Very nerve wracking, scary, intimidating but it was a dream come true. Even though the experience was quite surreal.
When did you make your debut in Stampede, your thoughts on the company? I actually made my debut for Stampede before I was taught in the Dungeon. We were just kids and they let us on the show because of family connections.
New School Dungeon Graduates:
Nattie Neidhart? Very good Wrestler, lots of drive and continues to improve.
Teddy Hart? Controversial but he is extremely talented and incredibly innovative.
Harry Smith? The future of the professional Wrestling industry! My favourite opponent. Stands 6'5 260lbs but moves like a guy my size.
Apocalypse? Amazing wrestler and a very tough opponent (works very hard and can adapt to most styles).
Crazy Dean, Dirty Durrango and Greg Pawluk? They were great to train with we all learned together and they each had an amateur background that we could use as well, we were all competitive and hungry (but in a good way).
Dave Swift? Very good Wrestler, very agile for his size.
Who came up with the nickname the "Stampede Kid", and is there a story behind it? My Japanese trainer Tokyo Joe, since Dynamite Kid and Pegasus Kid went to New Japan from Calgary he came up with Stampede Kid I was kind of like a third generation Wrestler.
Your first tour of New Japan came about in 2002, thoughts on the tour and being booked to wrestle in NJPW for the 1st time? Scary as hell (I was so afraid). It was my first time Wrestling outside of Canada on the flight over I was very anxious/nervous/excited/scared.
Thoughts on tagging with Super Crazy and Koji Kanemoto?? I loved tagging with them, it was on that first tour I realized just how amazing Kanemoto was.
Thoughts on your opponents for that night: Jushin Liger, Kakihara, and Naruse?? Liger is a legend (He is amazing), Kakihara and Naruse are both very tough (they both have MMA backgrounds).
NJPW Best of Super Junior Tournament 2003 May 25th - June 13th 2003? The first time in '03 was mind blowing!! I was the only guy from North America in the tournament and I know the history of the Best of the Super Juniors. It meant a lot to me to be in it following guys like Dean Malenko, Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit and Owen Hart in the process.
Would you like to tell the readers who else you face in the tournament and your thoughts on each individual match?? Sure. The first guy I faced was Tiger Mask 4, it was a good match (fast paced) but I lost. I Wrestled Jado next and it was a bit of an extreme match (I splashed him through a table off the top to the floor) and beat him with a roll up.
In the third match I Wrestled Koji Kanemoto, who is definitely one of my favourite Wrestlers (he beat me with an ankle lock I believe). In the fourth match I lost to Kakihara via the Kakicutter (STO), in the fifth match I Wrestled Naruse and he beat me with the Naruse Lock and in the last match of the block I beat El Samurai with a victory roll.
How did you get your start on the independent circuit? The first show I did on the Indies was ROH after I had done New Japan (Teddy Hart's dad set it up).
Thoughts on Ring of Honor and your match v Teddy Hart from Glory By Honor (2003)? I have Wrestled Teddy so many times! It was cool to do it in ROH (that was my first match in the U.S.).
Thoughts on MLW Global Tag Team Title Tourney? It was a lot of fun and a great experience to be in that, Harry and I Wrestled Puma and Bobby Quance, who I think are good Wrestlers and then the Havana Pitbulls in the finals. MLW was the first promotion to really give the Stampede Bulldogs a chance.
Thoughts on MLW match v Havana Pitbulls? A very tough contest, both teams had advanced the night before. I had been to New Japan before, and I knew the Pitbulls had as well there was a bit of magic in the ring and we came out on top.
Thoughts on capturing the British Commonwealth Mid Heavyweight Championship?? That was amazing!! So many great names have held that title (Dynamite Kid, Davey Boy, I think Benoit and Owen) it was an amazing feeling.
Thoughts on your opponent Dirty Duke Durrango?? Another really good Wrestler from the Dungeon, we had quite a storied feud and it felt good to finally take the title from him.
Thoughts on winning PWA Canadian Tag Team Championships with Harry Smith?? That was such a good feeling, it was our only tag title together. It was a 4 corners 60 Minute Tag Team Iron Man Match we went the distance and captured the belts.
Thoughts on your opponents in the match? The funky bunch Marky Mark and Phoenix Taylor (They deliver to the fans every night they go out there and work hard). Crazy Dean and Ravenous Randy (Very creative) Dirty Duke Durrango and Greg Pawluk (Durrango and Pawluk were Dungeon graduates).
Thoughts on match for All Star Wrestling v Nigel McGuiness in February 2005? The Match was good, again very technical.
Thoughts on Nigel? I think Nigel is doing a great job in ROH. I have heard great things about his match with American Dragon in Liverpool!
On Nov 25 2005, you captured your first Heavyweight Championship by defeating former tag team partner Harry Smith, thoughts on the match? It was amazing, we had both Wrestled twice already I Wrestled Matt Richards in the first round (he is a quitter at most things so I knew I could defeat him). In the Semi Finals I Wrestled Apocalypse that was tough! I barely got the win, defeating him by countout.
Harry beat Duke Durrango and Raj Singh I believe. To meet each other in the finals (the people knew what they were in for). We got a standing ovation (we gave it our all) at that time it was my best match ever!
Thoughts on being first ever winners (with Harry Smith) of the AWA Pinnacle Grapple Cup?? That was a true test! The night before in Stampede there was a one night tournament for the North American Heavyweight Championship and in the finals it was me vs Harry
(so we wrestled 3 matches that night).
The next day we get on a plane and head out to Pinnacle and we had to win 4 matches in order to win the Grapple Cup! 1 on the Saturday, and 3 on the Sunday. So we had 10 matches that weekend, all of them were tough, we beat 4 teams to win the Grapple Cup.
Thoughts on your opponents in the cup? All of our opponents were different, some were very unorthodox. We didn't have time to prepare for them as we would finish one match, then 10 minutes later be Wrestling again.
First we beat Skag Rollins and Dave Hollenbeck (who were feuding at the time but tagged up anyway, Skag turned on Dave, leaving him easy pickings for the Bulldogs). Next we beat Gentleman George Michael and Chris Ryseck (they gave us a bit of trouble very unusual tag pairing as well) In the Semi Finals we beat Jack Evans and Laramie Lexow (they were tough!) and in the finals we defeated Rolling 2 Deep (Cadillac Callis and Wildcard) they have improved lots since then, they were just beginning at that time and they went down hard.
Thoughts on winning the AWA Pinnacle Heavyweight Championship?? That was good because we pulled a good plan and fooled Harry Smith.
We?? Me, Laramie Lexow, Chris Rysek, Dash Venture, and the man behind the plan Buddy Wayne.
Tell me more........... We decided to get the belt off of Harry since he was leaving for the WWE. So I challenged him to a good one on one match and when the time was right he got struck with the plan.
Thoughts on capturing GCW Canadian National Title?? I wrestled Johnny Devine earlier in the night to enter the title match (I beat Devine in a very closely matched contest) I then had a 3 way match with Michael Elgin, and Shark Boy (I was able to pin Elgin, which felt good, usually in 3 ways the champion ends up not getting pinned and that allows an excuse).
Thoughts on opponents in the match? Shark Boy and Elgin were good opponents. Although Elgin has to cheat to gain advantages.
Thoughts on winning the PWA Heavyweight Championship for the 1st time?
It was in a cage match with Duke Durango (mine and his first cage match) I had beaten him for the British Middleweight title previously, and he had beaten me also (It was a gruelling battle but I hit the flipping leg drop off the top of the cage for the win).
Thoughts on winning the Stampede International Tag Team Championship (with Bruce Hart)? Well I didn't really win that one! Teddy was his partner but he got injured so I took his spot.
Thoughts on opponents and match? We faced Dave Swift and Apocalypse. Apocalypse and I have a very storied and long history. Dave Swift also from the Dungeon was very good, very agile for a guy his size (always coming up with new things) on this occasion we were able to get the better of them.
You have just came back from a week long tryout for the WWE in Deep south down in Atlanta, can you tell the readers your thoughts on Deep south and your tryout? I thought things went fairly well, it is run so professionally. I felt like I did well, I went out there and did my best: so we will see what happens next.
Thoughts on Stampede and working for them?? It's always been fun for the most part. It is where I started, they gave me a chance and I can never show my gratitude enough!
Thoughts on New Japan and working for them?? It was great at the time
a dream come true!! I couldn't believe I was going to New Japan (at the time the top promotion in Japan) it was so professional and like I keep saying this is a place where Benoit, Dynamite, Davey, Owen, Bret, Eddie Guerrero, etc have all Wrestled and made a name for themselves.
ROH as a company?? It has it's style which works for them, they have been going for 4 years strong.
Thoughts on PWA and working for them? I have always enjoyed working for PWA, we have fun each and every show no matter what
at least when I am there .
Can you explain the Matrats concept to the readers? It was a show where the age limit was 21 once you were 22 you couldn't Wrestle there anymore, we had a lot of fun in those days. We were all younger and did a lot of crazy stuff!
Thoughts on working for MLW and as a promotion? MLW was great to me, they flew us out and treated us well. I had a lot of fun there
and it was too bad it closed down.
Thoughts on All Star as a promotion and working for them? They are great! Wrestling full time. Every Indy guy should experience that, that Iife on the road. I did 56 shows in 61 days! Wrestling in 86 matches.
Do you have a favourite Wrestling promotion/s to watch in 2006? I like ECW. I like the look of it, with the lights off and stuff, I think it is different I also like CM Punk's matches there (they are entertaining to me).
Favourite Wrestler/Wrestlers now your in the Industry? Chris Benoit, Kurt Angle and Finlay.
Name Association if that is ok? Sure, no problem.
AJ Styles? Very innovative, high action. I enjoyed Wrestling him.
Thoughts on Match with Harry v AJ and Black Dragon at Stu Hart's 88th Birthday Show? The match was a great experience for us, I was about to go to the Best of the Super Juniors. Taking on AJ and Black Dragon was a great test for me and Harry it was a very back and forth match until Harry finally made Dragon tap out.
Jack Evans?? Amazing high flyer, the best I have seen for high flying!
Petey Williams?? Very innovative.
Blade Hart?? Funny kid! I get a kick out of him everytime I see him
As a Wrestler? He has trained a few times and he's not bad for a beginner.
Shelton Benjamin? Very athletic.
The recently retired Trish Stratus? Improved so much she grew into Wrestling in front of everyone on T.V. and she became a very good female Wrestler.
Doug Williams? Very talented, I enjoyed Wrestling him.
Thoughts on All Star Wrestling match v Doug Williams? Match was very technical, very smooth. In the end he beat me when I missed a springboard legdrop and he rolled me up.
Samoa Joe? Very intense, great striking and he works very hard.
Paul London? Very talented, agile and entertaining to watch.
Chris Sabin? A very good Wrestler, always exciting and innovative also.
What did you think of match v Senshi at TNA Bound For Glory? Match of the night for sure, very good stuff they worked very hard and I enjoyed it a lot
Senshi? A very good Wrestler also. Hard hitting and he has a great presence.
Bryan Danielson? Great guy! He's a hard worker and an amazing Wrestler.
Charlie Haas? Nice guy had a good match with Harry in Buffalo (August 2005). It was a good match and Mick Foley was the ref.
Jonny Storm? Only met him one time, nice guy and a talented high flyer.
Shawn Michaels? Amazing, one of the best of all time!!
Ric Flair? Great talker.
Rocky Romero? He is a very good Wrestler, very talented and a great guy.
Sting? Cool character had a great build up in 1997.
Chris Daniels? Fairly smooth in the ring and a nice guy.
KENTA? Very quick, hard hitting and exciting to watch.
GHC World Champion Naomichi Marafuji? Very innovative and also exciting to watch.
Kenta Kobashi? The man in Japan the biggest star right now after so many amazing matches!
Mick Foley? Crazy but the nicest guy ever!
Homicide? Very good and is actually underrated for his Wrestling skills.
Steve Corino? Nice to me and a good bleeder! Hehe
The late great Eddie Guerrero? Amazing, my favourite at that time! He had it all and he could Wrestle any style.
Thoughts on WWE as we stand in November 2006? I like a lot of things going on in WWE. Benoit is back! Liked I said before I like CM Punk in ECW and I like ECW. The team of Orton and Edge is interesting and I like the IC Title scene.
Thoughts on TNA in November 2006? Getting Angle is a step in the right direction. I like Joe, AJ and hope that Devine is on TV more.
Arguably TNA's biggest match in their existence happens in less than two weeks at TNA Genesis, when Samoa Joe takes on Kurt Angle, could you share your thoughts on the match and the two participants? Everyone is excited to see the match. Kurt Angle is arguably the best Wrestler in the world right now and Joe is very good as well. I just want to sit back and enjoy the match!
Thoughts on ROH in November 2006? Haven't seen much, I just watched Danielson v McGuiness from Liverpool it was a good match and both guys worked so hard.
Favourite match as a Fan in 2006? Kurt Angle v The Undertaker (WWE No Way Out 2006).
Favourite match from a Wrestlers perspective? v Harry Smith, Harry's last Stampede match before WWE.
You started out in 1995, what was your 'goal' to achieve in the Wrestling business? To be the best I could be and to make a name for myself.
If the fans could watch one TJ Wilson match to see you at your best, which one would you recommend? v Harry Smith, Harry's last Stampede match before WWE.
TJ Wilson v Who in a Dream Match? That I haven't Wrestled yet,
Just this past week you were on The Wrestling Channel (in the U.K.) for a promotion called Irish Whip Wrestling, thoughts on your match and your opponents? I wrestled a 4 way match v Pro Wrestling Noah's Ricky Marvin, Red Vinny and Bingo Balance the match wasn't bad, but I would have liked to have a stronger debut.
Are there any websites you would like to mention? www.stampedekid.cjb.net, www.stampedewrestling.com and www.stampedewrestlingtv.com
Any final words for the readers? Thanks for supporting Indy Wrestling and being a fan!
Thanks for taking the time out to do this interview TJ, not a problem thanks for interviewing me.
TJ was yet another great interviewee, he has had a fascinating career thus far and the WWE beckons for him! As we all know TJ has signed a developmental deal with the WWE. TJ is an incredibly gifted Wrestler and whether he is teamed up again with Harry Smith (Stampede Bulldogs) or on his own, he will hopefully have a long and successful career.
Thank you all for reading I hope your experience was most enjoyable, I'm on myspace: www.myspace.com/brummieol where you can feel free to leave comments in my blog, message me, or if you are not on myspace you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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