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Sunday, August 24, 2008

My Interview With 'Hurricane' John Walters

Courtesy of Oliver Newman:

Oliver Newman: Hey John thanks for taking the time out to do this interview,

John Walters: My pleasure, I hope I can answer everything as thoroughly as possible.

ON: Can you give the readers who a little unfamiliar with John Walters, a little background information on yourself?

JW: I was born and raised in Massachusetts and had a pretty normal childhood. I played football in high school and college and always remained a professional wrestling fan throughout my other phases. Once I got into college, I became serious about pursuing a career in pro wrestling. However, with a very busy academic schedule as well as playing college football, my plan was to wait until I graduated. During my junior year in college, I had a cyst removed from my throat which sidelined me from football for several weeks to the point where I missed half the season. It was then that the wrestling bug really took over and I started to look at pro wrestling schools. I finally decided on Killer Kowalski's wrestling school in MA and made the 2 hour commute to wrestling school 4 days a week. Then I started doing matches and John Walters the pro wrestler was born.

ON: Why did you chose Killer Kowalski's school as your place to train and what were your thoughts on day one's training?

JW: Well of course, being one of the most reputable and closest wrestling schools aided in my decision in choosing Kowalski's. He was the first person to reply, and compared to the other wrestling schools within driving distance, his school's reputation was worlds above the rest. To me it was a no brainer. The first day of training was something I will never forget. Walter's school was a really old building that you would see in an old boxing movie. You knew you were there for one thing and one thing only, to train hard. The first few months were tough, but things started to fall into place.

ON: Who were some of your favourite Wrestlers growing up?

JW: When I was a casual wrestling fan with no interest in doing it, I really liked Ricky Steamboat, Ted Dibiase, Jake 'The Snake' Roberts, etc. Once I wanted to become a wrestler, I started studying smaller guys such as Dynamite Kid, Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit, Owen Hart, etc.

ON: How long were you training before your first match?

JW: I trained about 4 months before I did a battle royal featuring many of the students from my school. I did several battle royals for the next few months and about 6 months of training, I had my first singles match.

ON: Thoughts on your first match?

JW: For a first match, it wasn't that bad. I mean the guy I wrestled and I had started training together around the same time, so we knew each other fairly well. Looking back at it, there is so much you learn in the first few years of wrestling. There is so much I would do different now, but it was a learning experience and a night I will never forget

ON: You talked about the students, as the readers know there have been some pretty famous Kowalski graduates, did you train with any wrestlers that the readers would know of?

JW: The guys I started to train with do shows with and consider the guys from my class are: Arch Kincaid, Slyk Wagner Brown, Luis Ortiz, Jimmy Cash and Aron Stevens

ON: Thoughts on the Kowalski Graduates listed above?

JW: Each and every one of these guys had a strong point that I learned from. Arch Kincaid is an amazing talker with a very unique character. Slyk Wagner Brown was always very creative and embraced the same in me when we worked against each other. Luis Ortiz is a guy that I have wrestled probably more than any of the above and with each match seems to get better. Jimmy Cash doesn't wrestle in this area anymore but he was always a hard worker in the ring. Aron Stevens always did the right things to make it to the next level

ON: How long were you wrestling before Ring Of Honor approached you to work the Do or Die match vs. Andy Anderson?

JW: I had been wrestling about 3 years before I got my match in ROH. I had wanted to work for them for a while, and one night, Gabe Sapolsky called me and said they had a spot on a show in Philly.

ON: Thoughts on ROH debut match v Andy Anderson?

JW: I thought it was an average match that served its purpose. I don't think it stood out as bad or good, but it was there to introduce both of us to the ROH fans.

ON: Thoughts on working with Paul London and Spanky on WWE Velocity, teaming alongside Bryan Danielson?

JW: WWE matches were always fun. Being in the ring with 3 guys I was comfortable and familiar with made it easier. WWE crowds are typically easier than Indy crowds, so that aspect was never too nerve racking. I can't remember too much about the match but I do recall that it was watch able.

ON: Thoughts on your match vs. Homicide at ROH Conclusion in 2003?

JW: Homicide always works his ass off in the ring, and this match was no different. We probably wrestled each other about 5-6 times throughout my career, but this may have been one of my favourites as well. There was emotion and it was very hard hitting. It was also during my first stint in ROH so I was definitely working hard to climb the ladder.

ON: Thoughts on your 30 minute time limit draw vs. Luis Ortiz for Chaotic Wrestling?

JW: Again, this was only one of my matches I had with Ortiz. He was a guy that I hated for the longest time, and our matches showed that hatred. This was during our huge rivalry in Chaotic that lasted over a year. 30 minutes is tough to do, especially when you are going all out to destroy the guy you are wrestling.

ON: Thoughts on your feud with Xavier, including the Street Fight you had with him at Final Battle 2003?

JW: I still get emails and messages about this match. Once again, it goes to show you what length a person will go to in order to hurt somebody they don't like. Our feud was very personal and all the matches that lead up to this fight without honor contributed to the beatings we gave each other that night. That match will definitely stay in my mind for a long time.

ON: Thoughts on participating in the first ever shoots and ladders match vs. Luis Ortiz?

JW: Ortiz and I were involved in a year long feud that culminated in the shoots and ladders match. It was a submission match with ladders in play. The match was about 35 minutes and it was absolutely brutal. It is a match that many people still talk about today and one that I will never forget. Ortiz was one of my favourite guys to wrestle and this match was truly the pinnacle of everything we went through.

ON: Thoughts following your 'Loser leaves town' Chaotic Heavyweight Title triumph against Billy Kryptonite?

JW: This was your basic title match in Chaotic Wrestling but with a little twist, the loser leaves CW. A lot of people thought that I would be leaving Chaotic because of my ties to ROH and other promotions at the time. However, in the end, I defeated Billy Kryptonite and he left CW. This opened the door for him to travel to California and train at the New Japan Dojo and eventually he got himself over to Japan and then the WWE. It was my second CW title reign and it was back to business defending my title.

ON: Thoughts on the ROH Pure Title Tournament and your match vs. CM Punk?

JW: I wrestled CM Punk in the first round of the Pure Title tourney. The match was in Boston so I had the hometown crowd in my corner. Punk beat me clean in the middle of the ring, so I have no excuses. AJ Styles would go on to win that tournament and establish the Pure Title in ROH. I would eventually win it about a year later.

ON: Thoughts on the ROH series vs. Chad Collyer?

JW: I really enjoyed working with Chad Collyer. He is a great technical wrestler and our matches together were really fun. I think we wrestled each other 4 or 5 times throughout ROH and the ECWA. He is a great guy who is doing well for himself in England right now. I always knew wrestling him would be a challenge and I had to come prepared because he was very quick on his feet and knew a ton of moves. I liked our series.

ON: Experience of being one of the druids during the Undertaker's entrance at Wrestlemania 20?

JW: Being a part of Wrestlemania 20 was really cool. When you are there, you know it's the real deal. I had been to a lot of TV tapings, RAW, Smackdown, etc, but never a WrestleMania. You can see that people backstage are getting ready for something big on a stage like this. I had a lot of fun and being a druid was certainly interesting.

ON: Thoughts on your WWE matches vs. Hardcore Holly?

JW: I wrestled Hardcore Holly twice during my jobs for WWE. Both matches were very hard hitting. He is one of the hardest hitters and more experienced guys in WWE. They were your basic Velocity matches but for sure a good opportunity for me to wrestle someone who has been around for a while. He treated me with respect and told me after that he really enjoyed our matches.

ON: Thoughts on winning the ROH Pure Title against Doug Williams?

JW: Winning the ROH Pure Title in Boston was really cool. First off, Doug Williams is fantastic so beating him and taking the title was an honour. Second, it was in my hometown where people thought I was going to win the title a year earlier in the ROH Pure Title tournament. I felt the match was good and we told a good story. However, I think the timing of me getting the Pure Title was off and lead to some backlash.

ON: Thoughts on retaining the ROH Pure Title vs. Nigel McGuiness?

JW: Nigel is another guy who brings something a little different to the table. He has a very unique British Style mixed with some hard hitting wrestling. I liked this match a lot and it was my first ROH Pure Title defence. I was still a bit new to the rules so we tried to get the rules across while still maintaining a solid match. I think we did that and then some. I still get emails today from people who enjoyed that match.

ON: Thoughts on joining the Embassy?

JW: Prince Nana is probably the best manager on the Indies so joining him and the Embassy was really neat. I felt becoming a villain was necessary but may have been a little too late. The short time I had with the Embassy was lots of fun and I would certainly do it again. In fact, I did an Indy show about a year ago where the Embassy rejoined. I would say you probably haven't seen the end of the Embassy.

ON: Thoughts on your Raw match vs. Chris Masters?

JW: It was about 2 minutes long. That's pretty much all I remember. I was hired to do something and I did it. It's never a bad thing when you get to be on national TV.

ON: Thoughts on ROH Pure Title loss to Jay Lethal?

JW: Jay Lethal is a class act all the way so I had no problem losing the title to him. I knew going in that this would be my last match for a while because I was taking a break from wrestling. The break lasted about 5 months and it was a nice, well needed break. I was building a house and my body was aching so I decided to step away for a bit. The match with Lethal probably wasn't one of our better ones.

ON: What made you quit Chaotic Wrestling?

JW: I had done everything I needed to do in Chaotic Wrestling. I felt like I wasn't progressing much there and needed to step away. Since that, I have made a few appearances for them and still train at the school on occasion. CW will always be a New England Indy who draws the same amount no matter what. Sometimes, growing is not on their agenda. So, I decided to walk away from being a full time wrestler for them and try new things.

ON: Thoughts on working for PW Elite?

JW: PW Elite had the right idea. They booked some real solid talent and had guys that really cared about the business running it. Doug Gentry was the one who booked me and he was a great guy, God Bless him. I had a few matches for PW Elite and from what I remember, they were solid.

ON: Thoughts on your return match in ROH vs. Nigel McGuiness?

JW: Gabe emailed me and asked me to come and work a match in Boston vs. Nigel. I hadn't been in ROH for sometime so I decided to do it. I always enjoyed wrestling Nigel so I agreed to go wrestle him. The match was the opener and I felt that it was really good. I was shocked at the positive response that I got when my music hit.

ON: Thoughts on working for Muga World Pro Wrestling?

JW: I had wanted to wrestle in Japan as far back as I can remember so this tour was simply amazing. Tatsumi Fujinami was really good to me and I was treated great. I got to wrestle in 7 cities in Japan in a 2 week span. The Muga style was very good for my type of wrestling and the whole tour and sightseeing I got to do in between was awesome. I would love to go back to Japan at some point.

ON: Do you have a favourite Wrestling promotion/s to watch in 2008?

JW: I wish I could say that I have watched more wrestling than I have in 08, but I haven't really had a chance to. I have actually been watching quite a bit of AWA on EPSN Classic, but other than that, I haven't kept up too much on the wrestling atmosphere on TV.

ON: Favourite Wrestler/Wrestlers now you're in the Industry?

JW: I don't have a favourite wrestler. I respect anybody who has the guts, drive and determination to get in the ring. I think everybody brings something to the ring with them and it is our job as performers and wrestlers to learn from everybody we have the chance to wrestle.

ON: Favourite match as a fan in 2008?

JW: Again, I haven't watched too much wrestling recently, so I can not comment on my favourite match in '08. The last match I watched that I really enjoyed was Shawn Michaels vs. Kurt Angle from WrestleMania 21. That match was tremendous and one of my favourites.

ON: When you started out in 2000, what was your 'goal' to achieve in the Wrestling business?

JW: My goal was to give my all, make a little money, and wrestle as much as I could. Of course, when I first started, I wanted to do this for a living. It was as simple as that. I wanted pro wrestling to be my primary and only source of income. Since then, I have branched of into doing other things, but I still thrive to get better and continue to entertain the people I am wrestling in front of.

ON: If the fans could watch one 'Hurricane' John Walters match to see you at your best, which one would you recommend?

JW: There are a lot I could name, but one that comes to mind would be my 30 minute match vs. Luis Ortiz in Chaotic Wrestling at their Breaking Point event. I was in the best shape of my life against one of my favourite opponents. We took each other to the limit and it was the first big match in our feud of many.

ON: 'Hurricane' John Walters v Who in a Dream Match?

JW: I would have loved to wrestle Eddie Guerrero. He was so good in so many different ways.

ON: Are there any websites you would like to mention?

JW: www.johnwaltersonline.com and http://www.myspace.com/hurricanewalters

ON: Any final words for the readers?

JW: I always want to thank the fans for all their support throughout the years. No matter where I end up, wrestling was a huge part of my life and without a crowd watching, talking about, or criticizing, nobody would have a job. Keep Walter "Killer" Kowalski in your prayers. Thank You!