J-Rocc, Wrestler: 5th
and why did you get into wrestling?
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.)
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.
have you performed?
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.
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
are some of your career milestones?
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.
are your favorite opponents and why?
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.
you prefer wrestling as a heel or face, and why?
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.
is the biggest and smallest crowd you have performed
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.
do you describe your style?
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.
is your finisher?
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)
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.
are a few funny stories from the road?
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.
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.
is your promo / catch phrase?
Greatness, Experience Excellence, Experience J-Rocc...
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?
else would you like tell our readers?
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 www.jrocc420.com
or drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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.