Hey wrestling fans, welcome to the first edition of the “Future of Wrestling” showcase series. This column is going to have interviews with up and coming wrestlers you probably haven’t heard of, but absolutely should. Each edition will also include a short video showcasing the worker’s abilities in the ring.
The first wrestler we’re going to take a look at is Shawn Phoenix out of of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Phoenix debuted in January of this year for Pro Wrestling Express and in just six months has become one of their most over talents, even winning his first PWX tag team championship with Rev. Ron Hunt just a few weeks ago. He’s an undersized underdog who shows a lot of heart, and takes advantage of the veterans who underestimate him for his size. He’s not as quick as a guy like Kalisto, nor does he flip as well as a Ricochet, but he doesn’t need to. Phoenix has a well balanced move-set that fits his underdog character perfectly, and as the months go on, he continues to show signs of such vast improvement, that I believe 2017 could be a big breakout year for him. He’s quickly becoming one of my favorite workers in the Northeastern United States, so I asked him to sit down with me to discuss his career thus far.
How did you get started in wrestling?
Well, I was never allowed to watch wrestling growing up, so naturally, it’s all I wanted to watch. I stumbled onto a match between Stone Cold Steve Austin and Kurt Angle and begged my parents to let me watch it. I remember being in fifth grade and wrestling with my friends during recess, and by wrestling, I mean I was constantly getting chokeslammed by the bigger kids. The lunch ladies would go crazy every time, it was great. I discovered independent wrestling soon after this and realized it was possible for me to be a wrestler. I was still young, maybe thirteen or so, so I couldn’t train. My friends and I started wrestling on this kid’s trampoline and we’d record our own shows, with storylines and everything. We made what we called a ring base out of some tires, old mattresses, wood and carpet padding and started trying to have legitimately good matches. We posted the matches online on some backyard wrestling message boards and other “wrestlers” would critique it and give us some advice, it was so much fun. Eventually those message boards started doing what we called “super shows” where we traveled across the country to wrestle in these inter-promotional shows with some of the best guys on the board. Most of these guys were trained, so it was a much safer environment than your typical backyard wrestling show. It was a good way to learn some of the ropes before I could legally begin training. As soon as I could afford it, a few years later, I started training with Pro Wrestling Express here in Pittsburgh, and I’m loving it.
There’s a lot of guys who have come up that started the same way as you. What makes you different?
I think I’m different because of my persona. No disrespect to anyone else, but I’ve been complimented on really focusing on my character. Anybody can have the last name “Phoenix” but I use it as an inspiration. I feel like more people should. Whenever you’re down and out, all you have to do is rise up and lift yourself back up. Lick your wounds and learn from your mistakes. Also, my fire-red hair, fire breathing and high flying style make the personification of the Phoenix easier to picture, I think.
What has training with PWX been like?
It has it’s ups and downs. Every time I step in those ropes, it’s a privilege, a dream, but my trainers Brandon K and Crusher Hansen have gone a little power crazy. They constructed a faction of wrestlers from years ago, and are trying to brainwash my fellow trainees to take over PWX. I’m not with that. I came to PWX to live my dream and wrestle, not start a gang war. I was the first student to “disobey” them, which they didn’t like. From calling me in the ring to attack me, to forcing me to wrestle before I was even ready, jumping me from behind and flat out refusing to train me. I’m being thrown to the wolves, trial by fire so to speak. They’re gonna learn when they play with fire, they’re gonna get burned.
How do you handle something like that, being so young in the business?
At first, I thought it blow over. Kind of like an initiation, and I didn’t fight back out of respect for the veterans that I watched as a kid. Thankfully, I’m not alone and other wrestlers have come to my aid when I needed a tag partner, like Cassidy Stone and Ron Hunt. I’ve learned to roll with the punches and learn who to trust, or so I thought. Ron and I won the tag team titles, and held them for nearly a month until he stabbed me in the back and joined on “The Order,” the faction created by my former trainers. So I guess you could say I’m still learning.
How has your partner’s betrayal motivated you?
I don’t know when, but I’m going to beat him. I’m gonna raise hell until it’s high enough to be heaven when I do. He was like me, a whipping boy for The Order. We banded together to unite for a common goal, fight back, or so I thought. He motivated me in such a way I haven’t felt before. He will feel the embarrassment and betrayal that he put me through. He ruined my first title win, but more importantly, a better friendship.
What’s next for Shawn Phoenix?
I want to avenge my loss to Mr. Hunt and make him realize what a mistake he made. Then I’m going to be the match that starts the fire to send The Order up in smoke. When I do, I want to become the best, so all of this torment they put me through will be worth it. So I can look back and say they were scared of me the entire time, because they knew they would burn. I try to look for a positive in every situation.
What are your ultimate goals in wrestling?
I want to wrestle everywhere. I want to be someone that other workers want to wrestle. I want to be the wrestler that inspires young kids to follow their dreams. I want to have as much fun as I can and travel the world. I want to be the best.
What sets Pro Wrestling Express apart from other promotions?
PWX has been running for twenty years and we have shows every saturday. We’re on Comcast, we’re on Roku and we’re still growing. PWX is where Kurt Angle trained before OVW, it’s where Corey Graves got his start as well. We produce top notch talents that will take the wrestling world by storm. Lee Moriarty, David Lawless, Duke Davis, Christian Black, Regina “Honey” Badger, Shawn Phoenix, among others are all coming to take over wrestling.
Thanks again for joining me today, Shawn. I look forward to seeing what you can do to finish 2016.
Thank YOU for the interview. If any fans want to chat, please send me a friend request on Facebook and follow me on all of the social medias @xShawnxPhoenix. I love talking to fans. Most importantly, make sure to defend Indy Wrestling!
Please watch the Shawn Phoenix showcase video: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x4lccms_future-of-wrestling-shawn-phoenix_sport
Thanks for joining me for the inaugural edition of “Future of Wrestling.” If you know somebody who you think should be in a future edition, please let me know @Palmer2189 on Twitter!
Check out Pro Wrestling Express at PWXtv.com!