A View from a DKM: Talking with Manimal

manimalIn today’s world of indie wrestling the man known as Manimal is a rare breed; he actually makes a living in pro wrestling. “My goals in wrestling are to find a way to go from making a living in pro wrestling to making a comfortable living in pro wrestling,” he notes. It isn’t easy and requires a lot, “I’ve now wrestled in 25+ states and in Mexico and Canada. There are some things in the works for more overseas stuff at the end of this year.”

His love of wrestling started early, “I was a wrestling fan as a kid, but separated myself from it as I grew into my early teen years. Then Stone Cold happened and I was hooked. To the point that I was tape trading and buying VHS tapes off the internet. I was into Austin, Foley and ECW. Then I found RF Video and learned about All Japan and Strong Style and death matches. I loved it all I couldn’t get enough! I knew that this was something I had to do for a career. I didn’t ever really idolize guys; I knew it was something I wanted to do so I never put guys on a pedestal. I liked guys like Austin and Foley, but never thought of them in a sense that I couldn’t do what they do! As I got into wrestling the guys I started watching and learning from guys that I felt were similar to me like Buzz Sawyer, Bruiser Brody, and Arn Anderson. I also found out that guys like Jim Duggan and Kamala were so much more than they were ever given credit for!”

In 2000 he decided it was time to start his career. “I broke into the business with Redd Dogg Rodney Mack and Jazz. I spent over a year with them before they went to New York at the end of 01. From there I had several guys teach me a lot. Krusher Kong really helped me learn to be a heavyweight. Manny Fernandez taught me a lot about slowing down. I still learn a lot from Kevin Douglas, I think Kevin and I learn a lot from each other these days.”

Kevin Douglas, who Manimal met while training with Mack and Jazz, would help him in a key way. “When I started wrestling in 2000 I was just Bull a good wrestler that did his job as a wrestler. I wasn’t making any money doing things that way so I had to make adjustments, just like any good athlete would do when something isn’t working. Kevin Douglas and I concocted the concept of the Manimal in 2007 and I started making improvements to my gear and the way I carried myself as a performer. The Manimal has been a staple since then and it hasn’t let me down yet!”

With over 13 years in the business and traveling across the country as well as other countries a person sees the good, the bad, and some change. “I don’t think the wrestling business has changed a whole lot since I broke in. One thing I have noticed the most, and this was kind of starting when I started, is a lot of guys are more interested and wrestling in front of their friends and family and make a piddly 20 dollars to go spend at the IHOP down the street. You take the good and the bad with the promoters, there are some that are good some that aren’t so good and a lot that are just clueless. Fans are what they are they are good to the Manimal, because the Manimal is good to them. He never goes out and gives you anything but the best he can and that goes along ways with fans, especially if you are good at your craft. I just try to never short the fans when I could give more.”

As for his future, “I could see 10+ years, but that isn’t exactly how I want it to happen. I love pro wrestling and love being in the ring, but it isn’t the only thing I’m good at. The Manimal can take care of himself without pro wrestling. I just want people to look back and say that dude worked hard for as long as he was out there. I can’t ask for anything more than that”

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