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Peter Peter's WWE Column

Peter gives his views on what's hot and what's not in WWE

Peter interviews Mike Quackenbush - 9th March 2005

Peter's WWE Quiz - take the quiz here

Peter interviews Mike Quackenbush.
Mike Quackenbush
One of my longest friends, if not the longest; in the wrestling business - and certainly one of the most talented. I've interviewed him once before, but it was so long ago that I don't think anyone even remembers; so it's time to do it all again! So, let's sit down and find out the thoughts of 'Lightening' Mike Quackenbush.

PETER) : Hi, my friend; and let's begin. I'll start by asking a little about your childhood?
MIKE) : I wasn't a big wrestling fan as a kid. I liked Jake Roberts, more for his promos and the DDT than anything. I pretty much disliked everything else about wrestling in the 1980's. I grew up on comic books and TV shows more than wrestling. Shortly after I started watching wrestling regularly in 1990, it was banned from our house by my parents; which instantly made wrestling cooler to me, since my parents didn't want us (my brother, sister and I) watching it.
PETER) : When did you first view wrestling?
MIKE) : I remember seeing some of Hulk Hogan's "Rock n' Wrestling," which was a short-lived cartoon on Saturday mornings (CBS, I think). I thought that was professional wrestling. Months later, I realized there was also a live program as well, and that's when I first saw the WWF and "Superstars" or "Challenge" or whatever the squash program was called in that era.
PETER) : Did you know you wanted to be a wrestler, or did it just kind of happen by surprise?
MIKE) : After seeing Jushin Liger vs. Brian Pillman in 1990, I knew I wanted to be a wrestler. It was all I could think about.
PETER) : How did you get your first break in the business?
MIKE) : My first real "break" came as the result of wrestling four times on the cement floor of a since-demolished building at the University of Pittsburgh that was known as The Pit Theatre. It was a small proscenium (sorry if I misspelled that, theater-buffs) where I had a couple matches that were very well-attended in comparison to what the Pittsburgh indy scene was drawing at the time for legitimate shows. The popularity of the Pit Theatre outings I think opened the door to the Pittsburgh circuit in ways I didn't fully realize at the time.
PETER) : So, who trained you to wrestle?
MIKE) : At first, no one. And so I spent years languishing, getting injured; having horrible matches, and going nowhere. When I started to get some training, it was inconsistent; as there probably isn't a worse place to try and start a wrestling career than Pittsburgh. The first guy who really knew what he was doing, and took the time to teach it to me, was Ace Darling.
PETER) : What were your first matches like?
MIKE) : They were dreadful affairs. They weren't even matches, per se, so much as they were big piles of contrived moves that I thought looked cool.
PETER) : How would you describe yourself as a wrestler?
MIKE) : Now, I'm a much more well-rounded wrestler than ever before. I've really seen a lot of my game evolve in the last three years in ways I never anticipated. I think right now, I'm at my very best; even if I'm not really at my "most visible."
PETER) : What has been your favourite match or show that you were involved in?
MIKE) : There are a few CHIKARA 6-man tag matches I've done that I'm extremely proud of, the best of which may be the one from August of 2004 we did in Essen, Germany for wXw. The fans have as much to do with that being a favourite as the six of us in the ring.
PETER) : Who are your better friends in the business?
MIKE) : I'm blessed to have many. Just a few would be Mike Burns, Robbie Ellis, Ace Darling, Glenn Osbourne, Jorge Rivera, I could go on for hours. I'm very lucky to have made as many friends as I have. My students and co-workers are among my closest.
PETER) : What would you see as your lowest point in wrestling so far?
MIKE) : I went through a phase in 2000 - 2001 that I jokingly refer to as "The Bitterbush Phase". I tried to get out of wrestling, and was lured back by a match with El Hijo del Santo. But after that, I really resented wrestling. I came back, and hated it instantly. I was mad at myself for coming back, I was mad for being lured back; and I took it out on everyone I wrestled during that period. I put on bad matches, stuff I'd be embarrassed for people to see. I probably ruined a lot of good opportunities for myself. It took me a while to find my passion for wrestling again.
PETER) : What do you like to do in your spare time? It's well known that you're a very talented author.
MIKE) : I write a lot, over the last seven years I've written several books; four of which are already out. I'm a voracious reader, and I love music. I like everything from rock to jazz, blues to latin music.
PETER) : What five words would you feel describe you best?
MIKE) : Wrestler. Writer. Trainer. Storyteller. Cracker.
PETER) : What are your main plans for the future?
MIKE) : I really want to make CHIKARA the company to watch for new ideas, new concepts. Our promotion is the place where the acceptable boundaries of wrestling are ignored, and we are re-writing the rules as we see fit. I know that sounds like generic wrestling hype/rhetoric, but it's the truth.
PETER) : What are your thoughts on WWE and TNA, and the indy's?
MIKE) : WWE is so dull right now. I only see RAW and the occasional PPV here and there. There is so little wrestling going on there that it might as well be re-titled "Big Muscle Men Talking a Lot accompanied by Surgically Enhanced Women with a few moments of Wrestling in the Middle." If I didn't feel obligated to know what's going on with the "E," I'd never watch it. I think I've seen two matches from TNA, ever, so it's hard for me to judge. I wish them well, though, because we need something that can compete with Vince. They deserve a shot. The indy's are an incredibly juvenile, at times unoriginal; place to ply one's trade. But it also can be the site of tremendous originality, innovation and progressive thought. It is both the best and most depressing place to be.
PETER) : Who do you like to watch or learn from?
MIKE) : I love to watch Johnny Saint and his contemporaries from World of Sport, notables being Ken Joyce, Johnny Kidd, Steve Gray and Mike Jordan. I get such enjoyment from watching them wrestle. The whole program, especially with the commentary from Kent Nelson, is a pleasure to experience. I've learned a lot in the last two years from Skayde, when he visits us from Mexico. I am eternally indebted to him for the way he has helped me grow as a wrestler.
PETER) : And to wrap up, a thank you from me for this interview; and the chance to mention anything that you'd like to promote, or anyone that you'd like to thank?
MIKE) : Just about a week ago, CHIKARA hosted the biggest tag team tournament in wrestling history. Thirty two teams from around the world competed in our Tag World Grand Prix, and if you'd be so kind as to visit Smart Mark Video's website and buy a copy; you'll paint a smile on the face of everyone waiting for their checks to clear the bank. And thanks for this interview, Peter
Want to send Peter a message ? Email [email protected]
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