Interview - J-Rocc

Interview: J-Rocc, Wrestler: 5th June 2003

How and why did you get into wrestling?

Well, I have loved pro wrestling since I was just a little boy, maybe about 5 years old or so. Back then, I discovered we had syndicated NWA television (there was no cable in OH at this time, so no TBS) every Saturday morning, and I remember the first things I ever saw from the NWA were the best of seven match series between Magnum TA and Nikita Koloff, the Badstreet USA music video from Michael Hayes, and the Ric Flair/Magnum TA angles where Flair ended up stripped in the ring after buying Magnum a new suit and he ripped it up. It was so different because all I had been exposed to at this point in time was WWF, which I was a mark for, but the NWA was so different and more realistic. Everyone else at school only saw WWF, so no one ever knew what I was talking about when I'd mention Ric Flair, or the Road Warriors, the Horseman, Dusty Rhodes, etc., (except from magazines and stuff). I grew up loving it, but I didn't even know what an independent scene was, let alone that you could actually get in the business. I never even saw an indy show until after I started training. Anyway, back to the question. A friend of mine knew I loved it and he had seen a local building that advertised a wrestling school here in Cleveland, OH and passed the number along to me. I was still hesitant to sign up, so my brother bet me that I wouldn't go check it out, and offered to pay my first months tuition if I actually did it, so I did and the rest is history. (I was trained by JT Lightning at the Cleveland All-Pro Wrestling School.)

What's your background?

I had no athletic background when I began training, just a little bit of high school football and wrestling, but nothing serious. Actually, even my first few years in the business I wasn't smartened up yet and thought that you could be a wrestler no matter what shape you were in, which is so far from true. It is only in the past few years, thanks to a lot of advice and nutritional help from workers like Nova, Julio Dinero, Tracey Smothers who pushed me to get in shape and let my body match what my mind could do, that I truly began to work on being a "real" professional wrestler. It's all about respecting the business, really. I graduated from high school with a 3.9 GPA and attended a year of college, but wrestling is in my mind and my heart, so I decided to follow it and see where it leads me.

Where have you performed?

Mostly in the Midwest and east coast regions of the US, places like Ohio, West Virginia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Indiana, I have worked as far south as Georgia for NWA Wildside. All independents, however, all though I did have about 6 or 7 tryouts with ECW around the time they were going out of business, which helped me tremendously just by being in the locker room with the boys, seeing how they treated their jobs and themselves, seeing how you act when you have a "job" in the business, things of that nature. I have also talked with reps from NWA-TNA and am hopeful to soon get an opportunity there to showcase myself a bit.

What motivates you?

Wanting to be the best I can be, no better than everyone else, but just the best I can be. If you dedicate yourself fully to something, put your heart behind it and strive to be the best you can be, I have learned that things seem to happen for themselves in this business. You can push and self-promote, all of which are great qualities to have in this business, but you have to put the time and effort into yourself and you'll get it back 10 fold eventually. Of course, I am also motivated by the people who told me I couldn't do it or I wouldn't be any good at it, but that is a side benefit of hard work, proving to others what you knew was inside you all the time. Plus, above it all, I love and respect the business, period! Everyone says that, but it isn't true a lot of the time. I don't care to mark out for myself as long as we have done what's right for the show, promotion, etc. You have to leave this business better than you found it, or you shouldn't have been here.

What are some of your career milestones?

Well, getting an ECW tryout wouldn't be one, because a million indy guys got tryouts when they were around, as long as you had the right friends. What I am proud of there is that they asked me to come back a few times, which made me proud because that meant they saw something in me that was worth something, even if the rest of me needed work. Tommy Dreamer told me he liked my mind for the business, and since I was an ECW mark, that gave me chills. So in that regard I look highly on it. I have also been blessed with the chance to work with and learn from some of the best this business has ever seen, guys like Tracey Smothers, Chris Hamrick (who is the most underrated indy worker in the US), Julio Dinero, D-Lo Brown, Gangrel, Greg Valentine, Jerry Lynn, so many I dont want to leave anyone out. That is what guys forget sometimes, that you only get better when guys like that take the time to teach you what this business is really about, and if they dont want to teach you, you never really figure it out. I am blessed with a lot of friends who are awesome workers and have taken the time to help me along. Without all of them, I would be worthless, because I didn't have a clue. Anyone can watch a tape and copy it to learn the moves of a wrestler, but someone who has been there and done it has to teach you how to be a wrestler. I have been ranked in the Pro Wrestling Illustrated list of the top 500 wrestlers in the world for the last three years, so for what its worth, that also makes me feel good about what I have accomplished so far. I almost forgot, working with Christopher Daniels stands out in my mind, because I am a huge mark for him, I think he is everything right about the business and every young worker should strive to follow his examples. I really marked out to work with him, and it was awesome.

How are your favorite opponents and why?

My favorite opponents, wow that is hard because there are so many, and I dont want to exclude anyone, but I would have to say Chris Hamrick, because we are just on the same page when we work together, and two indy talents who you will know in the next few years, Fabulous and Adam Cage. Hamrick is just truly the man, he has been everywhere and done everything, WWF, NWA, Smokey Mountain Wrestling, ECW, NWA TNA, England, Japan, you name it he has been there and is someone to learn the business from 100%. Fabulous is one of my favorite indy guys, because I pretty much trained him and he has one of the best attitudes in the business, he is friggin fearless in the ring and respects the business. Adam Cage was trained by my trainer, JT Lightning and he is an amazing talent as well, a great person outside of the ring, and they are two of my few real friends outside of the ring.

Do you prefer wrestling as a heel or face, and why?

I am a heel at heart, and would love to just always be a heel, but my problem is I am a pretty good worker and a heel, so usually after a while I end up getting babyfaced by the crowd and have to end up doing a face run. It makes me mad, because a lot of guys try to be cool heels and get cheered, but I dont believe in that stuff, because if they are cheering the heel, that means they are crapping on the face, and that's not the job of a heel. I am all about making myself look bad if I have to to get the face over, it's called showing ass, any good heel shouldn't be afraid to do it. I just feel it more when I am a heel, some people love to get cheered, but not me, I'd rather get booed out of the building.

What is the biggest and smallest crowd you have performed to?

The largest crowd I have worked for would be about 900 people, the smallest, around 9 people, LOL! But you work just as hard no matter what, you just work a little smarter, LOL.

How do you describe your style?

I try to be as well rounded as I can, but anyone who knows me will tell you that my strongest asset is definitely my speaking ability. I think I have some sort of charisma, whether face or heel, that makes the people think I believe what I am saying. My wrestling style is technically based, but I try to do a little of everything. I have an arsenal of top rope moves, a good frog splash, split legged moonsault, etc., but hardly use them because I dont need to. I was taught to work smart, and I'll give you an example: I work every month at the same place for New Era Pro Wrestling here in OH and it is the same base crowd every show for two years now. I am just now, 2 years later, breaking out basic moves I never did, because up until now I didn't need them there. If I had pulled out my whole bag two years ago, I would be stale there by now, but I didn't and every month I give them something they never saw me do, and it keeps me fresh and over. Last month I did my first plancha, and you'd have thought I did something special, because they went nuts since they never saw me do it before, and that was a simple plancha. You have to work smart to last in this business.

What is your finisher?

A modified version of the death valley driver, aptly dubbed "The One Hitter Quitter." I also on occasion use a version of the frog splash, "Froggy Style" (yes, I was an ECW mark, i picked up Joey Styles annoying habit of naming all my moves, LOL)

What injuries have you sustained?

I have separated my shoulder 3/4 of an inch on the right side, slightly tore the labrum in my left. I have the usual damaged knees of a wrestler, a few small tears that healed on their own, nothing life threatening, thank God.

What are a few funny stories from the road?

Wow, well I have a million, but I don't want to tick anyone off, so I will edit them a little. A lot of them you would have had to be there. Chris Hamrick is the all time ribber on the road, he cant go without getting someone, whether it is messing with peoples gear while they work, wearing Christopher Daniels priest gimmick out to do Polaroid's, then hanging it back upside down and wrinkled, hiding all your clothes while you're working, etc. One time we tried for 45 minutes after a show to cut promos on each other for TV, and 45 minutes of tape produced 30 sec of usable promos, because first I ribbed him while he tried to talk, then he kept waiting until halfway in my promo to mess me up over and over. We have had some hellacious trips with Tracey Smothers, he is a riot to travel with, just old school and a great time. Two local guys here like to goof off on smaller indy shows they dont work, and they show up in the crowd dressed up in different gimmicks, like Whinnie the Pooh and Tigger, just to rib the boys. I've seen peoples shoes glued to the floor. On time, we had a friend whose wife was Asian, and she always no matter what washed his gear when he got home, and a friend of mine hid an Asian porn magazine in his gearbag, and the poor guy ended up sleeping on his couch for a week. The same unnamed assailant was also responsible for once booking half a dozen indy guys over the Internet for a show 3 hours away. These guys all made the trip to a building in a town that didn't even know what indy wrestling was. Not cool, but it was funny, so always make sure you know who you are working for. So many stories I need permission to tell, though, LOL.

What are your short, media and long term goals?

Just to continue making strides in this business, gaining the respect of the boys is important to me. I'd like a chance to get some exposure nationally/internationally and see if I can't make a decent run in this business before I am done. I also was hired last month and began training at a new OH wrestling school, so I now have goals in that regards as well, as far as wanting to teach my guys right and create some new, respectful, good talent for the Indies. I want people to look at them and say, I want to learn from J-Rocc he teaches his boys the right way. I love teaching, as frustrating as it is sometimes, and definitely think this is what I want to do whenever I hang up my tights. I also would love to get over to Japan at least once before my career is over, as it has been a dream of mine for years to work there.

What is your promo / catch phrase?

Experience Greatness, Experience Excellence, Experience J-Rocc...

What's your motto?

My motto in this business is to treat others the way I want to be treated, always conduct myself professionally and with respect towards the boys and the business, and hard work will get you where you want to go a lot more than sitting around and hoping for it to fall into your lap. And of course, also to have fun and enjoy every minute that I am lucky enough to be a part of the business I love, which you should never take for granted, ever. How many people can say they got to live their dream, even if only for a day?

What else would you like tell our readers?

I hope that I didn't bore everyone to death here, I just wanted to pass along some of my experiences. I am also realistic to the fact that no matter how hard I work or what I do, everything that happens to me in this business happens only with the grace of God, and he is the one who decides what happens to you. So I always ask God to bless me with whatever endeavors I pursue in the business and leave the results up to him. You might not understand things now, but everything has a purpose in the end and everything happens for a reason. I hope to get to meet some of your readers soon, as I would love to work in Australia (hint to local promoters, LOL) and anywhere abroad. Please feel free to peruse my website at or drop me an email at Thank you guys very much for allowing me the time to talk about myself, God knows it is my favorite thing to talk about, LOL.