Photo Credit: (c)Tony Knox
Justin ‘The Hammer’ Sysum is a relative newcomer to the world of pro wrestling but is quickly making a name for himself on the UK scene.
You’re a relative newcomer to the UK scene, for those who don’t know who you are, could you describe yourself?
My name is Justin ‘The Hammer’ Sysum, I was born and raised in Gloucester. I’m 6ft tall and weigh in at 215lbs. In the UK that puts me in the heavyweight category but I pride myself on being able to move better than 95% of the guys wrestling over here. Anything you see that 175lb high flyer do, I can do too.
It’s true, I’m relatively new to sports entertainment in the UK but I have been active in high level sport since I was a schoolboy. I have competed at British Championships in Athletics, American Football and Gymnastics. My background lends itself to the athletic capacity of wrestling and my old sport of Hammer Throwing lends its name! Oh and I may or may not pretend to be Thor sometimes.
Who trained you and was it what you were expecting?
I walked into Pro EVW training academy in Gloucester where Gilligan Gordon, Sam Bronson, Iestyn Rees & Tyson T-Bone all had input into my early training. They are all still involved in one way or another and my progress has been so rapid because of them.
I thought it was going to be one of two things; everyone over 6’5” built like machines kicking hell out of each other or a bunch of wrestling fans playing dress up… Fortunately it wasn’t either of these things!
I was also pushed up to train with Dave Mastiff and at Brookside’s School up in Leicester. Robby Brookside is now a trainer with WWE NXT, I’m desperate to take things to the next level there.
Last year you wrestled against the Usos in a dark match for WWE, how did that come about and what was the experience like?
Unbelievable! Like I said earlier, I have been involved in high level sport for most of my life, I never quite made it right to the top and being there at WWE, gave me a taste for that. There is nothing better in my opinion and I got to experience it for a brief moment. The organisation is truly professional and welcoming.
I was fortunate enough to get a try out in April last year and also do some extra work for them and I was invited back in November again to work as extra talent. We were also given the opportunity to have a try out match during the day, before Smackdown filming. Following from those matches, Nathan Cruz and I got the biggest opportunity of our careers. We went up against the Usos for 6 minutes. It was a real eye opener into what it takes to get to the top and although we came out fighting those boys whooped us! True gentlemen though and it was an absolute pleasure to be in there with them. Let me tell you, from the ring, their entrance really puts a fire under you.
How do you balance your day job and wrestling?
I don’t! Unfortunately, my day job takes priority at the moment because it’s my business. I run a company called Artiscapes (www.artiscapes.net), we supply and install artificial grass and business is booming. However, due to my recent experiences I feel a big shift towards wrestling. I’m currently working on putting the business in a strong enough position that I can leave it in the capable hands of my staff and wrestle more. I have my sights set on Europe and Japan in the near future. I want to raise my profile here in the UK first and then push out globally.
From what I’ve seen of your wrestling, you seem to go from high flying moves to mat based. Are you constantly training to be an all-rounder?
Outside of technical wrestling training, I’m a CrossFit Wanker! Sorry everybody. I hate it too but you just can’t hide from the results. I’m bigger, faster and stronger than ever. This training allows me to keep lean but stay strong so I can mix it with anyone in the ring. As for the high flying, I still go to adult gymnastic classes once a week, so when called for, I can take to the sky’s and drop 15 stone on people who just won’t quit!
Is there anyone on the scene that you’ve been on the same show as that you would like to face?
I’ve been on a WWE show… everyone on that roster! If I had to pick one though, it would be William Regal. Trust me when I say he keeps himself in shape and could go at a moment’s notice. It would be an honour to try and earn his respect.
UK wrestling is on a high at the moment, what’s it like to be a part of it?
I agree, something is bubbling nicely in the UK and if we get the right mix of know-how, passion and money, I don’t think it’s going to be long before we see a lot more British wrestling on TV. As a guy on the way up, it gives me confidence to strive to become a full time pro right here in the UK. How amazing would it be to be a part of a scene that wrestlers from other parts of the world are desperate to be part of? It’s already happening with guys like Chris Masters who makes it a regular trip throughout his year.
I would be very proud to be part of the group that brings UK wrestling back to the forefront of national viewing.
The indies in the States have a wealth of talent, is that somewhere you foresee yourself going in the future?
Carrying on from before, no, the UK indy’s are the place to be. I would love to do a tour out there but the only reason to stay is for one of those big contracts. After all, unless we get a platform over here that can offer a guaranteed contract on which you can support your family, then it’s the WWE for me. Outside of that, the occasional trip over would be fun but then again, Asia and the rest of Europe are equally appetising.
Where can we expect to see you in the future?
I’m regularly around the Midlands/South West and I’m beginning to branch out into other areas in the country through the following promotions regularly: Gloucester Wrestling, Pro EVW, 4FW, 4FW South East, HOPE, Legacy Wrestling, EWA and Velocity Pro. There are also some exciting things in the pipeline with NGW at the moment too, so look out for that in the near future.
Is there anything else you want to add or plug?
Thanks for taking the time to get to know me, if you want to keep updated on my whereabouts and exploits, then add me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter @HammerSysum. I just started on Instagram too-@hammersysum and that’s the place I tend to post mostly from, so that’s your best bet if you don’t want to commit to liking me right away…
Thanks to Justin for taking time out of his busy schedule to take part in the interview.