[Note: This interview was conducted in late 2011. Special thanks to www.wrestlehustle.com for letting it be reposted on Alliance-Wrestling]
Photo: Cory Lockwood
TEZ: Can you tell us about the early years of KrackerJak?
KRACKERJAK: I wasn’t even a fan of wrestling until I hired Super WrestleMania on the Super Nintendo back in 1992. I was just taken in by the characters, rented a tape of SummerSlam ‘91 from the video store and was hooked. I was all: “I’m going to do me some of this!” but I was already 13 or something and I never got any taller and figured the idea of me even being a wrestler was ridiculous.
Of course, five years later, the WCW Cruiserweight division had completely changed mainstream fandom’s expectations on wrestler-size and suddenly it didn’t seem so ridiculous.
I’d actually been aware of the existence of Australian Wrestling since going to Wrestleriot 2 back in ’93. I’d gone to see Road Warrior Hawk and the Big Bossman and then there are all these other guys in the undercard I’d never heard of- who turned out to be Australians, carrying out a long-standing tradition of filling out American Indy cards that couldn’t afford a full international roster. But I’d never really known anyone who was involved until I met long-time scene devotee Sue Chuter in the late 90’s- who put me onto some local shows. While there was some talent to be had, I really did think: “Oh hell, if this is the standard I can certainly do this” and shortly after that, I began my training under Red Hot Ricky Diamond, whereupon I learned that I actually couldn’t do this very well at all. Except the character stuff- that all came quite naturally.
TEZ: Have you been using the KrackerJak name since day 1 and how did it come about?
KRACKERJAK: KrackerJak (the name is just something that appealed as an onomatopoeia- it literally sounds like a spine collapsing) started as a scrappy, underneathy comic role which was fine as I started out either as a goofball heel or a sidekicky underling-type face. Over the years it’s evolved to the grumpy old engine of destruction it is today. I guess a big part of that is me being 11 years older than when I started and also because Aussie Wrestling’s a fairly small pool and I’m now a relatively large fish. It’d be interesting to see whether I’d try to do the same thing if I moved to a bigger scene or revert to the underdog thing again.
TEZ: Most Australian wrestlers head to the US, Canada and now even Japan to further their careers, but in 2006 you ventured to the UK. What was it like working there and which promotions did you
KRACKERJAK: I worked for a guy called the Dominator in the UK, just one show outside Oxford with a bunch of guys like Jody Fleish and the UK Pitbulls. It was a little nightclub show, pretty cool. The main guy had done a hardcore match that night. I left him a copy of my second deathmatch with Mad Dog before I left and I think after viewing it he was pretty glad he didn’t let me use any weapons on the night.
As far as Japan went, we all thought we were there representing now defunct Melbourne fed PWA in a PWA vs Big Japan tournament. Of course, we arrived to find out that was bullshit and Big Japan didn’t know what the hell we were talking about. Suddenly there were 10 Australian wrestlers all looking for work in Japan simultaneously. A handful of us turned up to a Big Japan show and Mad Man Pondo (whom Mad Dog, referee Daniel Beaumont and I had worked with while he was in Australia) squeezed us onto a card as opening tag and we managed not to suck enough to be taken on a short tour with the Big Japan crew- which was obviously awesome.
TEZ: Do you have any plans to work overseas again or are you happy to just wrestle in Australia?
KRACKERJAK: At 32 years old and with 11 years worth of wear and tear, at under 6 feet and under a hundred kilos, I don’t think I have a career waiting for me at the WWE. That and even if I did, the WWE probably only has one spot for a scruffy, hairy guy who talks well and looks like he needs some sleep and CM Punk seems to have that job taken. That being said, I’d love to spend some time in the States just as a learning experience. Especially now, while I’m still relatively young. I figure I’ll have the rest of my life to wrestle on local shows here.
TEZ: What sort of injuries have you suffered over the years due to the hardcore style of matches you take part in?
KRACKERJAK: To be honest, I’ve never really suffered much in the way of debilitating injuries doing hardcore stuff. I’m more a stabby/gougey hardcore wrestler than a big dangerous bumps guy so while I’ve been horrifically mutilated in various matches around the country, all my injuries (bone breaks, muscle tears, concussions) have all happened in standard wrestling situations. I still maintain you’ve more chance of suffering a career-ending injury taking a backbody drop in the ring than falling against barbwire.
Unless you tear your throat open, I guess, but that’s pretty unlikely.
Glass though, that’s a whole different matter…
TEZ: Do you have any regrets in regards to all the scars you have received or is it all just part of being the Mad Bastard of Australian wrestling?
See, I forget they’re there. Most of them were accrued in a series of matches across ’06-’09 and I haven’t really added to them much since so I’ll just go out to buy coffee in a singlet because it’s a nice day and my guns are goddamn fantastic and the world needs to see them and I’ll realise people are looking at me like a lunatic because of all these horrific 6-inch scars all over me. I guess, much like fake tans and ridiculous outfits, it’s one of those things that looks great when you’re in the ring and not so great when you’re out in the real world.
I also figure it’s quite polarising when I meet other wrestlers too. It’s not 1999; a lot of workers hold ultra-violent wrestling in fairly low regard, mainly because so many people do it terribly.
It’d be worse if I was a fat guy though. I don’t think the world needs any more fat guys with scars looking like hacked up ham demons.
Regrets though? Nah… I just gotta make sure that if I do get more scars that they’re in places I can’t conceivably reach with my hands so people don’t think I’m emo. I’m goddamned hardcore, not emo!
TEZ: You appeared on the Channel 9 program “1 vs. 100” a few years back and were eliminated in the first round. Apart from being asked now, do you still get the occasional rib about this?
KRACKERJAK: No, I don’t know how many people remember that horrible show at all, let alone my moment on it. Fact is, while I really could have used the money at the time, I got far more exposure from spectacularly bombing out anyway.
TEZ: Have you made any other TV appearances?
KRACKERJAK: Aw hell, the tape archives for all the commercial networks are packed with my inglorious appearances. I wrestled on OneHD’s live sports show, promoting a company that barely lasted long enough to run one show, I attempted to break the Guinness World Record for running through consecutive panes of safety glass (5 stitches, a day in hospital and no record later…)
I taught Peter Rowsthorn how to wrestle on ‘Can We Help?’ I’ve done various interviews and my beautiful sister KrackerJill attempted to elevate Women’s Wrestling in the country by beating up a young woman and attempting to seduce Kyle Sandilands. He, uh, wasn’t up for it. Maybe he’s not into chicks?