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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Roderick Strong BTR Interview

Courtesy of Adam Wilcox:

Between The Ropes
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
ESPN Florida AM 1080 and AM 1060
Simulcast online at BetweenTheRopes.com

Ring of Honor performer Roderick Strong appeared as a guest on Between The Ropes this past Tuesday night to discuss wrestling in ROH, his departure from TNA, training industry hopefuls, and more.

Strong currently works regularly for independent promotions such as ROH and Pro Wrestling Guerrilla and says he enjoys his schedule as a traveling indy wrestler. “It’s awesome. I’m busy - can always be busier - but I’m lucky to be as busy as I am now. I wrestle pretty much every weekend and that’s all I can ask for.”

Roderick was once considered by many fans as a talented in-ring worker who had yet to completely connect with the audience. Strong admits to this shortcoming, but has since worked on developing more of a character. “Everybody’s opinion is just something that motivated me to try and up my game in every aspect. (If) people thought I was missing that one thing, obviously there was something that wasn’t connecting me to everybody, which is the point in this business - is to connect with everybody, no matter who they are.” Regarding his wrestling style, Strong considers himself a “master of all trades” and decent in all areas, but adds that there is always room for improvement.

Strong speaks highly of the Florida independent scene and the young wrestlers breaking into that market. “Right now, things are going good. There’s a decent amount of young guys that are looking to work hard and earn their stripes and take the next step to become a better performer and a better pro wrestler. So, I think right now all the companies are doing sort of what they need to do to work together and help and keep everyone busy, because that’s the only way you can really learn in this business, is to wrestle as much as you possibly can in front of different people and different crowds.” Strong also likes how some promotions in The Sunshine State are operated, saying, “There are a handful of groups that are doing right for this business in Florida. I’m pretty impressed with it, actually.”

Strong has been a member of the ROH roster since 2003 and considers Ring of Honor to be a career measuring stick of sorts. “Just having the opportunity to do the things I’ve done in Ring of Honor … That’s the first major test - if I can stay there as long as I possibly can and make it there, I can see no reason why I couldn’t go anywhere else and stay for just as long.” Roderick credits his experience wrestling a variety of different opponents and an ability to adapt to the ROH style as reasons for his longevity with the company, but admits to feeling great pressure upon debuting.

Roderick feels his promo skills are the area in which he needs the most improvement. “Sometimes when that camera gets in your face, I just lock up. I’m not going to deny it. It’s truthful, and sometimes things don’t come off the way I really feel about them … It’s like anything anybody does - like an actor. Tom Cruise wasn’t Tom Cruise right off the bat. It’s all a matter of just finding your niche and finding out what’s comfortable to you and what can put you into that character the easies … That’s the only way that you do get better.”

Strong discussed his thoughts on training other wrestlers and considers the field another area of self-improvement. “When you work with people, you teach them the things you know and I try not to teach anything outside of my boundaries, because obviously I don’t know it. (If I don’t) have an understanding of it, I won’t try to teach somebody that. It brings you back to your first day, your second day. So, as you teach the people you kind of go through those steps again and you catch a lot of your flaws that you were making and didn’t realize you were making because you haven’t been critiqued specifically as you are critiquing this person.”

Strong is grateful for his 2005-2006 stint with TNA and appreciates the exposure he received from his tenure with the company. “It was a great opportunity when I was there and my face was on TV a lot in my four or five months that I was actually going on TV, so I appreciated the opportunity there.” Roderick also addressed his subsequent suspension and eventual departure from TNA. “Me and Austin (Aries) got suspended … We were asked to leave a Ring of Honor show early and miss it, and fly into Orlando for the Pay-Per-View. We let them know that we would be making it to the Pay-Per-View, but we had to fulfill our commitment to Ring of Honor as well. We ended up making it to the Pay-Per-View, just late and they suspended us because of that. It was their decision and it was right in their book, so I’m not going to argue with them about that.” Strong stands by his choice to work the ROH event. “It’s just something in this business - if you say you are going to be there, you want to be there, no matter what. That’s the way that people can believe in you and trust you in a business where trust is very important.”

To hear Roderick Strong’s Between The Ropes interview in its entirety - including discussion regarding his involvement on this weekend’s GEAR wrestling show in Orlando, training under Jim Neidhart, his future career goals, and more - visit the show online at http://www.BetweenTheRopes.com, where you can also become a site member and access hundreds of previous BTR broadcasts and interviews. Join Brian Fritz, Vito DeNucci, and Dickerman for Between The Ropes every Tuesday night from 6:00-8:00 PM ET on ESPN Florida AM 1080 and AM 1060 or worldwide on BetweenTheRopes.com.