Photo Credit: Ben Thompson Photography
JD Knight has been on the scene for over a decade now, competing against some of the best the scene has to offer.
For those not familiar with you, could you describe yourself?
I would describe myself as a laidback, chilled kind of guy. I’m pretty sarcastic to the point where people are not sure if I’m serious or not. I’m not particularly out going, so if I don’t talk to you, that’s why! And it’s not because I hate you, that is, unless I hate you. I am currently training for the stunt register, so that takes up a lot of my time, last year was a busy year for fighting and dying on two shows I did, called Atlantis and Da Vincis Demons. In my spare time I love movies, music, gym, and drumming.
You started your training at UCW, who was your trainer there and how did you find that experience?
I started my training with UCW, they were a great bunch of guys there and they showed us the basics. But it was doing seminars with the old WWF and British guys that really opened my mind up to how the business worked. Special mention goes to Tracy Smothers, Joe Legend, Johnny Kidd, Dave Finlay and James Mason. And after spending time on the road with DDP, he really gave me an insight to how to work that big main event style.
As far as records state, you made your pro debut for FCW (Future Championship Wrestling) in a tag match, if it was, looking back how was it for your first match?
My actual first match was in late 2001, in a fatal 4-way; me vs The Saint vs Anthrax vs some Canadian called Funky Monkey or something (The Funky Monkey Angel Ortiz). Still bar far the best match of my career……(that’s how I have forced myself to remember it, as I don’t think it was that good, the main thing I remember was being crippled with nerves.)
You had a tryout for WWE in the past, how did that come about and what was the experience like?
When I was working All Star shows, I would bump into the then WWE scout; (the late great) Drew McDonald. He approached me saying I have a good look and liked my style, he organised a trial for me. Talk about crippling nerves…..standing inside a WWE ring inside an empty 02 arena, being watched by the whole WWE locker room gave it a whole new meaning. But I really enjoyed the couple of days, I got some great feedback and I was invited back to the next trial, which unfortunately didn’t happen, for one reason or another. I’m still very appreciative of the opportunity. Seeing Michael Hayes spit his food everywhere because Matt Hardy fell out the ring on his entrance, was worth it on its own!
Has there been one match in your career which in your opinion made you what you are now?
I couldn’t single a match out but I think working with any of the experienced Brit guys made me realise that it’s not about spot after spot, move after move but it’s about planning everything; moment for moment. It’s about going out there with an idea of what story you want to get across and use your skills as a pro wrestler/live performer to get that across, feeling the crowd and responding to them. Not just going out there and pressing play.
I remember when I first started, hardcore was the big thing, each match was more brutal than the last and it got to point where if it went any further, someone would end up dead. That’s how I see the current phase of high flying wrestling going; they can only go so far before the reach the limits of the human body. That’s why great story telling will never disappear because emotional involvement will always draw the crowds.
4FW has been a home for you, a company which regularly brings in the top talent. What is it about that company that attracts some of the best talent?
4FW brings in the top guys as it’s got a great reputation in the British scene. And when the big names come to us, they get treated professionally and get put in matches that get the best out of everyone involved the match.
On the subject of 4FW, how big a coup is it that Rey Mysterio Jr. will be soon making an appearance?
7. Getting Rey was the biggest snatch in recent history for British wrestling and it has shown that by the number of tickets that sold as soon as he was announced. By the sound of it, he will be retiring soon, so this makes it even more special, as its looking like he will not be visiting as an active wrestler again.
Rey was recently involved in the match with Perro Aguayo Jr. where he died. What is your opinion on the situation?
All I can say is, this is wrestling, it’s one of the harshest sports to inflict on your body and I think sometimes we forget that. It’s tragic that it happened and it certainly wasn’t anyone’s fault but it is the risk we take just by stepping in the ring.
You were cast in a movie called RhumbleRhama, how did that opportunity arise?
The first I heard about RhumbleRhama was when the director Andrew Carson phoned me looking to hire a ring, then I agreed to help train the actors and then it took a strange turn. A few weeks after the phone call, I found myself at the audition, not actually auditioning but on the panel with the director, the exec producer and myself. That experience was quite surreal. It wasn’t long after that when Andrew phoned me up saying they have cast all the roles except one. And would I like to accept the role of Bobby Beartrap. Of course, I said yes. As it stands, the film goes into pre-production in a couple of months and hitting cinemas later in the year!
Over your career, you’ve faced many talents. Are there any matches that stick out in your mind?
Early on in my career, I had a TLC match with a guy called Van Wicked ( Matthew Huntley), the match was brutal and bloody and I remember it because it was the first time the guys out the back clapped us coming back through the curtain. It was a very nice moment. My match with Finlay was also great; working with a legend like that is always going to stick in my mind.
Is there anyone coming up through the ranks we should be keeping an eye out for?
Ones to watch I believe are Justin Sysum, Robbie Caine and Charlie Garrett. All of which are getting themselves out there, showing the UK they have the whole package.
What are your plans for the rest of this year?
My plans will be to wrestle as much as possible, continue with my stunt training and hopefully get Rhumblerama in the can.
Is there anything else you’d like to say, add or plug?
Thanks for the opportunity to let me blabber on. If there’s anyone that doesn’t already; find me on Facebook-JD Knight or on Instagram-theejdknight. Remember, opportunities don’t just fall into your lap; you have to make them happen by working hard and respecting others.
Thanks to JD for taking time out to answer the questions.