UPPER MIDWEST NEWSLETTER
Editors note: The following interview with Red Lightning was conducted by
Tim Larson via e-mail and completed February 21, 2000.
February 21, 2000
1. How and when did you get into the wrestling business?
I got into professional wrestling in January of 1998 in Minneapolis. I
started with Ken Patera and Billy Blaze. There were 5 of us that started at
the same time. Myself, Mad Wolverine, The Annihilator Tom Novak, The Farmer,
and a guy named Mike Amick. A few months later Shifty, the Sheriff, and Mike
"the bull" Gueke started. I debuted April 4th.
2. Describe Red Lightning the wrestler to us.
An energetic babyface, but much more over as a heel. I have an extremely
crazy, hideous, annoying laugh that isn't a gimmick. It's real. It was
actually Travis Lee that told me I should use that in my character. (See
Travis, I told you I'd give you credit!)
3. What are your strengths as a wrestler?
I'm easy to work with. I can work big guys, small guys, anybody. I think
another strength is that I'm willing to learn. I know I don't know it all,
and really want to learn as much as I can.
4. Other than professional wrestling, what are your other top athletic
I went to a private high school. I made all state 3 times in basketball, and
once in soccer. I was the first guy from my high school to be recruited by
colleges for basketball. I played one year of college basketball then
5. Who is your favorite all time wrestler?
Ric Flair! I still mark out for his matches.
6. What is the best match you've ever had so far in wrestling?
I've had two really good matches with Killer Claw, I had a really good match
with Travis Lee at Country Jam, and I always worked well with Leland Cross. I
don't know that I could pick out one as the best.
7. What is the first card you ever saw live?
My parents never really wanted my brother and I to watch wrestling growing up
because we would try all the moves on each other so they never took us to any
cards. The first one I saw was in 96' in Menomonee. It was Ken Patera's
promotion. Wayne Bloom and Jim Brunzell were there.
8. What is the best match you ever saw live?
Probably the Adam Pearce and Hellraiser Gutts match at the last SPCW show.
That was great.
9. Quick comments ...
a) Jim Gagnon: Really good marketer. Knows how to put butts in the seats. I
wish him luck.
b) Angel Armoni: Excellent heel. Gets tons of heat. I learned a lot from
c) Sabot: Good babyface. Has a lot of charisma. Needs to find his own
d) T-Bone Roads: Really loves the biz. Always ready to learn. Once he
decides on a character he could be something.
e) Travis Lee: Good friend of mine. Great build. Wears too much pink
though. I work well with him.
f) Sheriff Johnny Emerald: Great guy. I hope to work for him more. Really
knows the business.
g) Shifty: Great worker! I like to watch him. I'd like to work with him
h) WCW: Needs a facelift.
i) WWF: The leader in sports entertainment!
j) ECW: Could be number 2 sooner than later
k) Chris Benoit: Awesome worker! Would love to learn from him!
l) The Hardy Boys: Unbelievable! I wish I could do half the stuff they do.
m) The Rock: He has the crowd in the palm of his hand. Charisma, charisma,
n) Shootfighting: What's the point? I'm not a big fan.
o) Mick Foley: Incredible bump machine. Unbelievable pain tolerance.
p) Jerry Lynn: Would have loved to seen him live when he worked the Minnesota
indies. I still remember his matches with Lightning Kid in Global! One of
q) Ric Flair: My favorite! I'm such a mark for him. Can still work a great
match at 50! Great interviews as a face or heel.
r) Edge: Great talent. Would love to work with him someday!
s) Sean Waltman: One of my favorites. Great worker. Am looking forward
to seeing him work with Benoit, Jericho, Malenko, and Guererro.
t) Jushin Liger: I remember watching his matches with Brian Pillman and
thinking "wow, I'd love to be able to do that!"
u) Matt Burns: Haven't seen him in over a year. Heard he's improved. We
worked a 25 min. time limit draw match in Stillwater. It was my third match
and his second. That was not easy. Would like to work with him again someday.
v) Master Quinn: Great knowledge of the business. Awesome mic skills.
w) Tommy Roxx: Great guy. Great heel manager. Gets good heat.
x) Scotty Zappa: One of the best in the area. Would love to work with him
y) Eric Hammers: Knows the psychology of the sport in and out. I've learned
a lot from him.
10. What has been the highlight of your career so far?
I would have to say being voted most improved wrestler of the year by this
newsletter would have to be the highlight so far. It's nice to be recognized
for something you work really hard at. Thanks!
11. What has been the lowlight of your career so far?
I don't know if there's really been any low points. I guess sometimes the
politics of the biz are a little depressing at times, but other than that
everything has been great!
12. Who would you really like to wrestle in the Upper Midwest and nationally?
In the Upper Midwest I would really like to wrestle Scotty Zappa, Adam
Pearce, Dino Bambino, Hellraiser Gutts, Dominion, Steel, anybody that I could
learn from. Nationally, I would love to wrestle Flair (of course), Benoit,
Jericho, Xpac, Lenny Lane, Jerry Lynn, any of them really!
13. Who are the top up-and-comers in the upper midwest?
There's a lot of great workers! I would say Zappa, Pearce, Bambino, Gutts,
Danny Dominion, Ace Steel, Travis Lee, Shifty, Mike Mercury, Leland Cross,
the list goes on.
14. What is the one move that you haven't mastered that you would like to
add to your matches?
I would like to add a lot more top-rope moves. A lot more high risk stuff.
15. What is your goal in the wrestling business?
I just want to be the best I can be. I would really love to do this full
16. What do you need to work on the most?
I don't know if there is one thing in particular? I know I need to improve
17. How much time a week do you spend on wrestling-related business?
It varies from week to week. It's pretty much like a part time job right
now. I'd like it to be full time someday.
18. Who has been your biggest influence in the business?
I guess it would have to be my friends in the business. I couldn't say just
19. What is your goal in wrestling for 2000?
To improve as much or more than I did in 1999. To have a full schedule of
RAW WRESTLING NEWSLETTER
Editors Note: This interview was conducted via email on April 12th,
Jim Nelson: How did you get into the wrestling business, and was it
something you had always wanted to do?
Red Lightning: No. It wasn't something I always wanted to do. It's
watched alot as a kid. I had no idea that a "normal" person like myself
could get into it? I wasn't from "parts unknown", I knew where I was from!
I was 9 years old or so, when I started watching wrestling and was hooked
right away. In High School and my first run of college I was into
basketball. I played basketball for the high schools varsity team since
8th grade. I also played one year of college ball. I was the big star of
the high school team and didn't think anything would change in college.
Man, was I wrong. It was a completely different game. It was alot more
physical than what I was used to. I was only 150 lbs then! The coach of
the college team I was on wanted everyone to be real physical. The
practices sort of got me ready for wrestling. There were 2 or 3 fights
every practice. The practices were real aggresive and physical. At first
I didn't like the physicality, but after the season ended, I really missed
it! Anyway, I lost interest in basketball and college for that matter, and
was looking for something else to do. I saw an ad in the paper for a
wrestling camp being run by Ken Patera in Minnesota. I called them up on a
friday, and started camp the next day!
JN: Many people have considered you to be one of the most improved wrestlers
over the past couple of years, what do you do to better yourself?
RL: One thing is to not think you know it all. Keep learning. I wrestle
every weekend. I try to work as often as I can. I like to work with guys I
can learn from. Also, i've been working out religiously for the past couple
years, and have been able to put on some size, so that helps too!
JN: Some of the places you've worked have been SDW, MPW, AAW, ACW, NFW, MIW,
and many others. What have been your favorite places to work?
RL: It's hard to say which promotion is my favorite? It's not so much the
promotion as it is the locker room environment. It also depends on the
crowds. It depends on alot of things. Every promotion is different in
their own way. For the most part i've enjoyed working for every promotion
I've worked for.
JN: Who have been some of your biggest influences in wrestling?
RL: As far as watching tapes go, I love watching Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels,
Chris Jericho, Curt Hennig, guys like that. As far as people I know in the
biz, I don't know? Travis Lee has always been a big influence. We traveled
alot together and I know I learned alot from him. I've also learned alot
from all my other friends in the biz. Too many people to name on this
JN: What style of wrestling do you consider yourself to be?
RL: I would say it depends on the guy i'm working with. I can pretty much
adapt to any style.
JN: Is there one match you've been in that sticks out as
RL: There isn't just one match. There are several that stick out. My two
matches with Lenny Lane, most of the matches i've had with Travis Lee, and I
think one of the most fun i've had in a match was doing the Malibu Sun King
gimmick with Travis Sharpe against the Dixon-Sexon connection.
JN: Who have been some of your other favorite opponents?
RL: Travis Lee, Lenny Lane, Logan Lasher, Scotty Zappa, J.B. Trask, Travis
Sharpe, Darkchild, Steve Stardom, K.C. Styles, Genuine Article, Big Daddy
Loker, Big Daddy Hoofer, Mitch Paradise, Adrian Serrano, Kevin Krueger, Pete
Huge, Tejas, Angel Armoni, Adrian Lynch, and probably more that i'm
forgeting right now.
JN: You've done a lot of singles and tag matches. What are the pros and
RL: Well, in tag matches the pro is that you can rest while your partner
is in the ring! The con to a tag match is that you have to have more
communication. It's not just one guy you're working with, but 3. It can
get chaotic if your not all on the same page.
Singles matches are easier in a sense cause it's just you and your
JN: What is your most memorable moment in wrestling?
RL: I don't know? I have had alot of moments that are memorable and some
not so memorable, but it's all good. I can't say what is most memorable,
but there are several memorable moments. Getting into a wrestling ring for
the first time in early 98' when I started training would be the first one.
The crowds at the first 3 AAW Regis Rumble shows in 98' and 99'. Seeing my
friend, Darkchild start his own wrestling league, literally from the ground
up in 2000. Seeing myself on ACW t.v. in 2001. Getting the opportunity to
work for SDW in 2002. And hopefully many more to come in the future!
JN: What is your opinion on hardcore wrestling?
RL: I think it's ok if done right. To me, the right time to do a hardcore
match is when it's the climax of a long-running feud. I don't see the point
of doing a hardcore match, just for the sake of doing it? I don't know?
It's just not really my thing.
JN: What is the best aspect of pro wrestling?
RL: Being able to live out a dream. The crowd reaction. The athleticism.
The drama. The story you can tell. The charecters. Everything.
JN: To you, what makes a great match?
RL: Having the crowd in the palm of your hands. Proper execution of moves.
Keeping the crowd through out the entire match. Strong finish. There's
alot to make a great match.
JN: What do you think brings fans to wrestling shows?
RL: They want to see it live. Be there in person. It's one thing to watch
it on t.v., but to be part of the crowd is different. It's like any
sporting event or play or concert. It's one thing to see it on t.v., video,
or hear it on cd, but it's totally different being their live. It's much
JN: On the Midwest scene, who do you think deserves to
go work at a National level?
RL: Oh, I don't know? It's hard to say. Who "deserves" it? I'd say
there's probably 20 or 30 guys in the midwest that are good enough. It's
just a matter of timing and being the type of worker they're looking for.
JN: Using local talent, what one match would you book?
RL: Buck Zumhofe vs. anyone that wants to do 1,000 high spots a match
JN: What were your impressions when you first heard about the Malibu Sun
gimmick in SDW, and how have they changed since (if at all)?
RL: When I first heard about the gimmick, I wasn't too sure if it would get
over or not? It's pretty over with the live crowd for the most part, alot
of internet marks hate it, but internet marks hate everything. It's alot of
fun to do. It's so different from everything else I do for other companies,
so it's a nice change of pace. I like it. It's goofy, but that's the
JN: Who do you think is the most underrated worker on
the local scene?
RL: He's a manager actually, but I think Master Quinn is VERY underrated.
He gets a bad rap because he was one of "Gagnon's guys", but he's really
improved. He's great on the mic, get's great heat, and is always on the
money for spots. It's too bad he doesn't get booked more. There aren't
very many managers on the indy scene, and I think Master Quinn could add
alot to a promotion.
Ed Hellier - A real professional. Great promoter. I love working for him
Travis Lee - A great friend in and out of the business. I learned alot
from him. I've stolen alot of ideas from him too! Hopefully his acting
career takes off! We spent alot of time on the road together and have
amassed quite a few stories! He's also helped me tremendously with working
out and giving me tips about weight lifting. By the way, Travis, a couple
of guys were looking for you.
Kujo - Good guy. He's tough too. Really over in ACW.
Travis Sharpe - Another great friend in and out of the business. Always
improving as a worker.
Eddie Sharkey - I'm glad I got to know Eddie. Good trainer. Great guy.
Fun to talk to.
Darkchild - Has come along way from when he first started. Started and
runs NFW by himself. Built the ring himself. Has been a great friend in
and out of the biz for over 4 years. I love working for NFW.
Jim Gagnon - Where do I start? Very unprofessional. Worst promoter I ever
worked for. Everyone he "fires" suddenly becomes a homosexual in his mind.
Made alot of false promises that I believed when I was green, but I
quickly woke up and realized he was full of shit. Most of the guys that
have ever worked for him will say that he's full of shit. Once told me
that he was getting AAW on ESPN2. He used to try to sabotage the rival
NFW. NFW would book a show in a town and he would go in and tell lies and
make NFW out to look bad. He used to tell his guys to tear down NFW
posters. He would go to the town the week before or a couple of days
before a show and tell the people that the wrestling show was cancelled.
Stuff like that. Most people didn't believe a word he said cause he's so
full of shit. He told a casino owner once that AAW draws 20,000 a show.
The casino owner said "oh, well, we don't want you then. We can't handle
20,000 people." He doesn't understand the business at all. He used to
call me and say "Red, you're fighting so and so at the next show"?
Fighting? I thought I was working him? He just didn't get it. Never did.
Never will. Very glad to see he finally got out of the business.
Lenny Lane - Great guy. Learned alot working with him. Very professional.
Hope to see him get another shot at a national level.
Mason Quinn - This guy has a ton of potential. Great guy. Has the right
attitude for the business.
Vegas/T-Bone - I like Vegas. Good worker. His attitude has changed alot
since he started. Is a big Jim Gagnon mark as well.
Angel Armoni - I just worked with Armoni for the first time last weekend.
We had a good match til the ref screwed up the finish! Armoni is a great
worker to learn from. I always listen to him.
Logan Lasher - Some of my better matches were with Logan Lasher. Great
guy. We really work well together. Nice to see he's doing well in Neo
Pro. I'm happy for him.
Logan Lasher or Killer Claw?
Logan Lasher. It's his idea. It's his gimmick.
All American Wrestling or Bull Power Pro Wrestling?
Bull Power Pro Wrestling easily. Gagnon's out of the picture.
Everyone pretty much gets along now.
Garbage cans for pyro or Garbage cans as weapons?
Garbage cans for pyro. That was such an ingenious idea. Kind of like
Gagnon's other brain storms. One time he had Mad Wolverine tear off
Mannibal's arm and beat him with it. The biggest problem was that it was a
rubber arm, so it just made a 'thud' sound. Nobody bought it except Gagnon.
Steve Stardom or Rob Stardom?
I like both guys. I'll go with Steve Stardom cause i've had good
matches with him. I only worked Rob Stardom once in a tag match.
JN: What are your goals for the the future?
RL: Just to continue improving both in the ring and physically. To
graduate from college and get a better job. Keep having fun.
JN: Anything you'd like to plug (Website, shows, etc)
RL: My website address is http://www.redwrestling.cjb.net