RUMBLE: How did you first
get started wrestling in Australia and what made you decide that
this was hat you wanted to do for a living?
TNT: I enjoyed watching wrestling from the age of 7. By high school
I was running a wrestling newsletter. As a teen I attended local
shows. When I was old enough I trained with Australian Champion
at the time Shane Fenton. I debuted at 18 years old. The fact
that it was something that I always liked wrestling made it easy
for when it was time, and there was opportunity for wrestling
to be my occupation. Passion for the craft would be the key factor
that keeps me involved to this day.
RUMBLE: How was your time in Mexico training
and studying the Lucha Libre style under Rey Mysterio Sr.?
TNT: Mexico was very cool and the people very nice to me. Lucha
Libre is part of the culture. I learnt a lot of new things as
the training was different. My whole idea was to go there and
pick up a bunch of different ideas and techniques that I could
bring back and teach to my students and wrestlers in Australia,
and use in my matches. I still enjoy incorporating the Lucha style
in my bouts today when with the right opponents.
RUMBLE: You’re currently the head of the
Australasian Wrestling Federation, what made you decide to start
the AWF back in 1999?
TNT: I started the AWF as there was great interest in pro-wrestling
in Australia at the time, and there appeared to be potential growth
for the sport in the region. My goal has always been to bring
a quality wrestling product to the Australasian public which has
a defined style and that is accessible to all.
RUMBLE: Take us back to the Australian
Wrestling Supershows, what was that experience like, who was behind
TNT: The Australian Supershow’s were pretty good shows that included
some of the better wrestlers in the country at the time. Andy
Raymond who works for Fox Sports was the promoter. The first one
was televised, but it wasn’t deemed good enough by the Fox bosses
to continue with it. Overall there were a lot of promises and
politics, and by the fourth event it was discontinued.
RUMBLE: Do you think a yearly wrestling
supershow could work in Australia?
TNT: Depends what your definition of what work is? It would be
a good wrestling card if the best guys could come together. It
is an idea I have toyed with and like, but there are always obstacles
with these things unfortunately. To make it profitable and to
make people care about the event would be the key things, and
without media and sponsorship it is difficult. I hope to be able
to run a Best of The Best card again later in 2011 with a similar
concept in mind.
RUMBLE: Thoughts on the current WWE/TNA
TNT: I don’t get the time to see a lot of either product, but
see it from time to time when I can. It seems to me the WWE’s
popularity in Australia is waning likely due to over exposure
and not having new stars that are as good as the stars of yesteryear.
MMA is also having a negative effect on pro-wrestling. A lot of
young kids will copy adults, and UFC is the current cool thing.
Wrestling I don’t believe was ever really “cool”, but it was very
hot in Australia in the late nineties and early part of 2000’s.
Wrestling is currently losing the battle, and we need to do something
drastically soon or it will continue to get worse. TNA seems to
have an identity and perception problem with the general fan,
in that they come of like a cheesy B Grade WWE and are seen as
very second rate. A few TV shows I watched a few months back didn’t
make booking sense, and it seemed like they were wasting time
trying to get laughs with awful comedy rather than getting wrestlers
over or promoting upcoming major events. TNA have some great talent,
and in my opinion should focus more on wrestling, and try to be
different from WWE. WWE seems to be more interested in trying
to make wrestling stars they can convert to movie stars, more
than “wrestling”. If this makes them more money well great for
them if that’s what they want. I am not the biggest fan of sports
entertainment and to me wrestling isn’t talking and skits every
segment, its actual wrestling. When I watch the short WWE TV matches
they often seem disjointed and contrived and really just advertisements,
which is what they are. I am interested that WWE have signed Mistico
as he is great at what he does. I wonder what Rey Mysterio Jr
really thinks of this?
RUMBLE: Thoughts on the current Australian
TNT: On the positive side there are a core bunch of wrestlers
in Australia who are quite good now. Over the last 15 years I
have been involved in Australian wrestling things have improved
with the quality of in ring performers and some of the athletes
involved. There are probably about 15 guys in Australia who could
get booked in other countries and do well. There are also a small
handful of promotions who run a pretty tight show from time to
time which is good. On the negative side there aren’t enough fans,
and it seems many new fans are not being converted to wrestling,
as nationally numbers for live shows are down. Our population
isn’t huge, we have no mainstream media or major corporate sponsorship
and really no star power. There are a large number of people wrestling
who are not very good. Some of them are kids, some unskilled,
some out of shape. In some places there are whole promotions of
them. There are a bunch of play wrestlers who are just bad copies
of their heroes. These guys should not be involved. They are not
helping anyone, especially the people doing good work. I have
also found some of the people involved now are more childish in
their attitudes than in past years. The internet and the whole
social media networking craze is a perfect place to see these
“wrestlers” in action. Most of the time it’s these self-proclaimed
“wrestlers” bickering with each other, or using aliases to take
cheap shots and making themselves and anyone else that sees this
look foolish. It’s lame. It would be great if the dodge talent
and crap feds could be exterminated, but without regulation and
national licensing that may be difficult. And I guess these guys
will continue to “wrestle” even if no one will book them any longer
as long as they can round up the cash together and buy a ring
right? Maybe the untrained or not very good ones should be forced
to promote under the title of Unprofessional Wrestling?
RUMBLE: AWF has bought over many international
wrestlers throughout the past 15 years. Which companies and talent
does AWF have relationships with overseas currently?
TNT: AWF is often in contact with many of the top independent
wrestlers from around the world. Over December and January I visited
Japan for a month and caught up with DragonGate and Osaka Pro-Wrestling,
plus ran into the likes of Canada’s Kenny Omega and El Generico.
I also wrestled on cards that featured top Japanese wrestlers
such as Cima, Taka Michinoku and Ebessan. Over the last few weeks
I have had contact with US independents such as Colt Cabana, Homicide
and Nick “Ugene” Dinsmore. AWF has good relationships with many
wrestlers and companies internationally, and is probably the most
well know Australian promotion internationally.
RUMBLE: You run one of Australia's top
pro wrestling training schools located in Minto, NSW, for anyone
interested in becoming a pro wrestler what can they expect from
the AWF school and where can people go to find out more info?
TNT: You can expect that you will be taught wrestling professionally
and respectfully, and upon completion of course you will be able
to wrestle bouts. For those interested I run courses for males
and females aged 16 years and above through Autumn, Winter and
Spring. Please visit www.awfwrestling.com.au at the School page
for information and course outlines, and email firstname.lastname@example.org
with any questions and for applications.
RUMBLE: How were the experiences of your
overseas excursions to the USA and Japan in recent years and what
were some of the highlights for you?
TNT: In 2009 I went to Florida and did a WWE Camp, which was a
mixed bag as I got the dreaded “Swine Flu” but was seemingly still
going ok until the last day where my shoulder broke down and tore
out, causing me to have to end a taped bout and the rest of my
planned USA trip abruptly. As a result I returned prematurely
to Australia and couldn’t wrestle for the remainder of 2009. My
shoulder still isn’t 100 percent even now so that didn’t turn
out the best, however the experience of being in the FCW facility
and hanging about Florida was pretty cool. A return to the USA
later this year is on the cards. My most recent Japan adventure
was fun. I wrestled a bout for DragonGate before they started
to wind down for the holidays, then did 2 weeks of matches for
Osaka Pro-Wrestling which was a lot of fun. I was fortunate enough
to spend New Year’s with many of the Osaka Pro crew as we wrestled
an event, did the count down in ring, and then celebrated afterwoods.
The fans in Japan were exceptional, and I got the chance to make
new friends, see old ones, and I even caught up with my Aussie
mate Referee Daniel Beaumont! I will return to Japan in a few
months when my schedule here in Oz clears for another trip. We
will likely see some AWF and Osaka Pro relations in 2011!
RUMBLE: AWF ran the TV show “This Is AWF
Wrestling” on Australian Pay TV with first runs airing August
and September 2010, and with episodes still currently being repeated.
How was the process of making the show and are there plans to
air a new series any time soon?
TNT: Bringing AWF to a national TV audience for “This Is AWF Wrestling”
was a goal of mine achieved. I did a lot of the work on the show
myself, as for it to meet deadlines and get made, that is what
had to be done. I had some people let me down, and sometimes scheduling
conflicts didn’t work out. In the end I was happy for the most
with the way the show came out under the circumstances. It was
a weekly advert for upcoming AWF promotions. Season 1 was a lot
of work and running about for me on top of just having my first
child a few months earlier and still running live events. Sleep
was minimal! Overall it got AWF to be accessible to more people
which is a good thing. Aurora has asked if I will do a second
series, and I will likely dedicate the time when my schedule and
AWF’s live show schedule line up to allow it. In the meantime
we will be airing up to date mini episodes on the AWF Youtube
channel, accessible via www.awfwrestling.com.au. The first season
of “This Is AWF Wrestling” is available to buy on DVD from the
RUMBLE: Any last things you would like
to tell the fans?
TNT: I’d like to thank everyone who has ever bought a ticket to
a wrestling show I have promoted or wrestled on, and or bought
merchandise or attended my wrestling classes. Thank you for allowing
me to make my living and be who I am. It is a great feeling and
I am lucky to be able to do the thing that I enjoyed so much as
a 7 year old boy, and I hope I can continue being part of the
wrestling business for a long time. I urge you to keep on supporting
AWF, TNT, The Detonation Crew and Aussie Ozbone so I can continue
to do so! Anyone that wants to contact me for bookings or private
wrestling sessions can do so at email@example.com and join
me on Facebook at Tnt Greg Bownds for my latest activities. Thanks
for all of your support through the years, it means a lot personally,
and I hope that I have bought some enjoyment in return and my
hard work has helped raise the standard of wrestling in Australia,
and may even inspire others to continue this. Hope to Saaaaa you
all soon! Visit the official website for TNT and AWF www.awfwrestling.com.au.