[Note: This interview was conducted in late 2011. Special thanks to www.wrestlehustle.com for letting it be reposted on Alliance-Wrestling]
Photo: Tez Himself
TEZ: You took part in the TNA tryouts in late 2009, did you hear back from them and have you ever had a tryout for the WWE?
KRACKERJAK: Ha! No, I didn’t hear back from them. I believe a couple of workers did but nothing was ever publicly announced. I never thought it was a real TNA tryout anyway- more a publicity exercise. As if TNA is going to spend all that money getting Visas and stuff for an Australian! And then the whole damn tour was cancelled anyway.
I just thought it would be a good chance at some exposure. It was pretty much exactly what I expected, a real cross-section of the local industry, some of the best talent, some mediocre guys and some of the real f****** dross that drives potential fans away every time they get in the ring and pretend to be wrestlers. But I thought Obie Cartel (my match opponent) and I acquitted ourselves well and the crowd watching, who were mainly people who’d never seen local wrestling, seemed entertained by my schtick.
I’ve never done a WWE tryout. I think they’d take one look at my scars and go: “noooooooooo thank you, scruffy indy guy” but it’d still be a tremendous learning experience. Anytime you can get in the ring in front of a veteran and get some feedback, even it’s to tell you what you’re doing is horrible, it’s invaluable stuff. I kinda wish we’d gotten more of that at the TNA tryouts. There was just Jarrett telling a news crew he thought a lot of the guys were lacking basic fundamentals, which, considering half the guys who turned up were barely even wrestlers, all I could think was “no s**t.” It’s just a shame that so many wannabes clogged up the process that there was no time for any real evaluation.
TEZ: What are your impressions of Australian wrestling in 2011 compared to when you first started?
KRACKERJAK: There’s a lot of sentiment among those in the scene that things are terrible now compared to the old days. I don’t know which old days their thinking about because in terms of TV exposure, things have been f****** since the ’70’s. As far as where things have come from 1999 to now, well for starters, inflation seems to have increased the cost of everything except wrestler pays, which remain lower than they were 12 years ago. But then, it’s so easy to get into the business now that the industry’s flooded with scab labour who’ll work for free. This is admirable in a way ’cause their so keen but firstly, they lower the cash value of wrestlers everywhere and secondly, most of them are s**t so the cheap arse promoter uses them, keeps the costs down for one show but due to them sucking, nobody comes back the following month and the show dies. A lot of promoters miss that point. I may not draw an extra 500 people with my name on the poster because none of us really have a profile beyond the local scene, but I WILL make sure that most of the people you manage to draw actually come back next month.
But terrible pay-rates aside, shows are better than ever. A lot of the skinny kids people were complaining about eight years ago are now older, wearing better gear and about 20 kilos heavier than they used to be, there’s a greater emphasis on physique than there has been in years. The work rate is of an international level, in that guys like Dick Togo, Raven and Bryan Danielson have been able to come here and have believably competitive matches with our guys. The production value on many shows is much higher too. But there are still more shows than the scene can really support and no matter how terrible a worker is, he’ll have some stupid mate who’ll run a show just to book him. There’s no quality control which hurts the scene in general. But unfortunately you can’t stop people from doing their thing, just because they suck at it. Otherwise I’d be striking dozens of crowd-deterring bumblef***s from the face of the planet.
TEZ: WrestleRock is returning in September after a long absence. Being a former WrestleRock champion, will you be returning to the promotion?
KRACKERJAK: I certainly will be. There are lots of promotions in Victoria but none of them really cater to the same kind of audience that Wrestlerock does. It’s an over 18’s show, with rock bands and hyperviolence and I think it’s a really unique product to Melbourne that’s been missing on the local scene of late.
And where else can I stab someone in the face with a fork, blunder into the crowd covered in blood and be bought drinks by the crowd? Wrestlerock is awesome.
TEZ: Who have been your favourite people to work with?
KRACKERJAK: Starting out, Melbourne workers like Spike Steele, Steve Frost and Mad Dog McCrea drew the best out of me. And it was Mad Dog who played a big part in luring me into the hardcore style of wrestling so I like to place a significant amount of blame on him for my current mutilated state. These days, as much as I like pushing and testing a new worker, I really prefer to get in there with someone better than me, so I have to strive to keep up with them.
Other than that, getting to work with my real life brother Logan as the Bastard Brothers is possibly the most fun I ever had in wrestling.
Finally, convincing promoters to let me put on a dress and wrestle women in the female division as KrackerJill opened me up to a whole new series of opponents which I’ve had tremendous fun with.
TEZ: Is there anyone you would like to work with in particular that you haven’t had the chance to yet?
KRACKERJAK: Any international, obviously, because they’re coming from a completely different background of matches and opponents meaning their experience is quite different from mine. Not necessarily more extensive, just different. Wrestling’s fundamentally the same animal everywhere in the world but it’s like horses and zebras so it’s always cool to learn from someone who has a different way of doing the same thing.
Locally, there are still multitudinous workers I’ve never locked up with but off the top of my head, Robbie Eagles, Shane Haste and Madison are three people I could do interesting things with.
TEZ: Are there any plans for a KrackerJak Best of DVD set?
KRACKERJAK: I actually put together a 3-match sampler a year ago with me in my tights introducing matches as a kind of “please-hire-me, please” promotional video. But it’s just one big track and I’m a technological retard so I’ve no idea how to break it down into individual tracks but once I shake down some egghead to do that for me, I’ll start flogging it at shows along with my upcoming and utterly awesome Bastard T-Shirts that I promise will be better than the ones my brother and I used to crudely make by hand at shows.
Beyond that, I’d like to do a 2-disc thing with one disc being regular matches and the other being hardcore ones. I don’t actually have copies of many of my matches as they’re all in a vault at Mikey Jay Productions headquarters. I’d really need to watch them all before I decided which ones to use, lest my shameless habit of spot-recycling be revealed to the world.
TEZ: After over a decade in the business do you still have the same passion for it and how long can you see yourself still doing it?
KRACKERJAK: I hurt myself quite badly late last year, tearing a part of my rotator cuff and a hole in my right pec during training. While I’ve had plenty of minor injuries over the years that I’ve been able to work through instead of taking time off to recover like a sensible person (wrestling a hardcore intergender match with my broken foot in that giant spaceboot was the best bit) I really couldn’t work through this. I couldn’t even do a push-up and so I found myself taking a complete break from wrestling or even working out for the first time in about fifteen years.
When I was starting to rehab it was the first time I’ve really felt my age. I’m only 32 but 11 of those years have been spent doing horrible things to my body and you just don’t recover at 32 like you do at 22. I’d never felt so weak and tired and incapable in my life and for a moment, I really felt like I couldn’t be arsed getting back into it. But slowly, my strength returned (and my right boob grew back, which was nice) and after one match back I knew I still loved this. I’ve really enjoyed all the matches I’ve had this year and feel I’ve still got a lot to give to wrestling. I believe I’ll be wrestling for the rest of my life, to a greater or lesser degree.
I always see guys doing these retirements. Really? Retiring from Aussie wrestling? You’re not “retiring” you’re taking time off from a hobby you might not come back to. Except you’ll inevitably come back, and look silly for doing a big tear-soaked (albeit utterly genuine) farewell speech in front of everyone in the first place. So why say “retire?”
Wise man Mad Dog McCrea once said: “Retirement is for pussies with no dick or balls,” which isn’t the most eloquent statement but seems pretty apt.
I’ll never voluntarily walk away from this magnificent craft. Bollocks to that!
Of course, I may be kicked out of it when I suck and no one wants to watch or carry me anymore, but that’s totally different.