December 4, 2011
Gary Mehaffy
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An interview with Kizarny

Interview conducted Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

What originally drew you to the weird and wonderful world of pro wrestling? I assume you were you a fan growing up?

Yea, absolutely. Wrestling and comic books.

How did you get into the business?

When I watched it as a kid I never thought I would be able to be in the business, because I just always saw WWF (on) Saturday mornings, and I thought you had to be at least 7 feet tall to even be a referee! In High School, my friend Edge won a contest to train for free and soon after Christian and I decided to follow suit. He didn’t get accepted (for college) and I did, so I went to college for a year and hated it and went to wrestling school after that.

You floated around the indy scene, even wrestling here in the UK, for a few years before you landed in TNA in 2003/4. What were your hopes when you signed with them?

With TNA?

Yea.

I was hoping to dominate the tag division with the New Church. We were getting a really, really good response – even though we were ‘bad guys’ – people were cheering for us, which I think infuriated the top ‘good guys’, and hence we were soon dismantled, politically. It’s sort of like The Brood in WWF – they started selling t-shirts too well for some of the other guys liking, so no more Brood! It kind of went like that. I was looking forward to the creativity of TNA, because it seemed more of an old school wrasslin’ company as opposed to all the sports entertainment, boring crap.

In between you leaving TNA and signing for WWE in 2007, had Edge/Christian had been suggesting you to management before you signed?

Edge was very pivotal in me getting hired by WWE. He and Jake ‘The Snake’ were my big character references.

I have to say from a personal point of view that the Kizarny character really had a chance – it wasn’t like anything else on TV, with the carny talk and the ring style, you really stood out. Did you hope that this would be your big break, or were you given any assurances that they would really try something with you?

Yea, I was met with excitement and they were me I would be pushed to the moon and all that kind of stuff. They really liked that I was different. Vince McMahon called me his ‘Undertaker with a smile’. That’s what he wanted me to be. He was like “Man, you’ve got crazy eyes and a crazy smile, we’re gonna make money with this! This is all nuts!” I’m a legit carnival, freakshow performer – I just wasn’t happy with the way they packaged up Kizarny, I had no input in it. Talking carny and doing it the way they wanted me to do was really out of my hands. I think it could have been, to answer your question, cool if they had just let me do what I know how to do.

What, then, in turn led to your release? Was it the dreaded “creative has nothing for you” or do you think it was because it (Kizarny) was so out of your hands as a character?

I think that I was already savvy when I got there, so they didn’t have to reinvent the wheel, but they did try to reinvent the wheel, just so that they could say that they created it – and that’s what turned round and bit us all in the ass, so to speak.

You’ve had, as you said, a long association with carnivals shows and freakshows. Where did this all come from and how did you get involved in that?

I originally started in a sideshow at Carnival Diablo where I was the classical strongman. They hired me on because they really liked the idea of the crazy pro wrestler, which really fit the bill given that pro wrestling and carnivals were one and the same once upon a time. I really liked the idea because I was always fascinated with that, but my main priority was thinking that this should pique Vince McMahon’s curiosity. I’ve been doing sideshow ever since. I’ve worked for major sideshow companies; I’ve worked for Jim Rose Circus where I’ve opened for Guns ‘n Roses, Stone Temple Pilots, Godsmack…..all sorts of crazy stuff! I’ve been all around the world doing all sorts of sideshows: World Of Wonders, Ward Hall – that’s where we filmed the Kizarny stuff – I worked with them for quite a while, but as Sinn Bodhi. That’s where I really got to do what I wanted to do. A lot of the stuff that they (WWE) asked me to do I did, for those vignettes, but they didn’t air about 90% of it. All the cool stuff never made it to air because they said it wasn’t PG enough! So what you ended up seeing was a lot of other performers doing the more, kind of, wimpier things, for lack of a better term. I was way more of an aggressive performer, I did a lot of masochistic, outrageous things, and Vince was like “This is all cool, we just can’t air any of this stuff.”

If I can digress briefly and ask about two people that have been involved in varying ways in your life – Jake ‘The Snake’ & Stacy. In relation to Jake, I’ve seen you called his protégé of sorts. How did you come to be involved with him over the years?

We actually met in England, and wrestled in England for the first time. We wrestled for All Star Wrestling, that’s where we met and about maybe a year later we met in Canada wrestling each other and we just got along. He invited me to come on the road with him and we’ve been friends and protégé/teacher ever since.

You had what was labelled as his retirement match at WrestleReunion 5, if I remember.

Yea, in Los Angeles.

And secondly, how did you and Stacy meet?

We met at a comic convention in Orlando, called MegaCon. There were, like, 30,000 people there and as soon as we met and locked eyes I saw little cartoon hearts and we’ve been together ever since!

I’ve seen some of your stuff in relation to the Freakshow Wrestling that you’ve been involved with. Can you tell us a little about that?

It’s sort of a glimpse inside my brain. It’s not necessarily for wrestling fans – I think wrestling fans would enjoy it but it’s more along the lines of Adult Swim. It’s more Saturday Night Live meets Pee Wee’s Playhouse meets a Rob Zombie concert, in a wrestling ring! You don’t have to be a wrestling fan to enjoy it. There’s magic, burlesque, sideshow, wrestling and music all wrapped up into one crazy rollercoaster!

Would you like to go back fulltime to WWE or TNA? Although do you think you would fit into WWE given their PG push even more so these days?

I really don’t want to go back, as much as I love it. It’s awful backstage, what with politics and all that stuff. If I was to go back, I would do it very, very differently. I wouldn’t go back, and even if I would I just don’t see me fitting in there, because they want a bunch of boring Ken dolls that are PG. I don’t even care about PG, I care about interesting. I’d be happy to perform PG or otherwise, let’s just make it interesting. I don’t want to dumb myself down to fit into their cookie cutter mould. The only reason I would, if all the stars aligned and what have you, would really be to entertain the fans. WWE really likes to wreck the dreams and aspirations of their performers. They really like to make you hate the thing you love and I don’t wanna fill my heart or my mind with anything but positivity. So, as much as I love wrestling, WWE is not where I need to be.

They seem to be doing enough at the minute to build guys up and knock them down unnecessarily which seems be ruining both their viewing figures and their standing in the industry at the minute.

I think they like to do it just to play God with people. They can make or break whoever they want. It’s not about money anymore for WWE because they’re such a giant machine. It’s more about Vince playing with his new, fun currency that is human souls. When you can lose $50 million dollars on Linda’s campaign and not bat an eye over it – he doesn’t care about money. He’s got more money that God, what does he care? What’s fun and amusing to him is how can he manipulate lives and enjoy other peoples’ follies and blessings. How can he be the creator of all that.

Do you have any words for your fans?

Yea, if you wanna see something crazy and fun, if you wanna see me do what I was meant to do then definitely check out Freakshow Wrestling. I also take bookings, which then can get me on both Facebook and Twitter, both Sinn Bodhi, and as far as people that liked Kizarny, I’m very happy for that. I was very thankful for the opportunity to wrestler in front of so many people, I just wish it wasn’t under the conundrum that was Kizarny. For people that did not like Kizarny, then I suggest they watch me wrestle as Sinn Bodhi and then make their decision. Some of the other shows besides Freakshow Wrestling that I frequent are Territory League and Chikara.

Although I was reading recently that, randomly, Chikara had taken you off their roster page. I don’t know if something happened, but….

I really don’t know anything about that. I’m sure I will return to Chikara at some point. I think they also kicked off Mike Quackenbush, if I’m incorrect.

I think you could be right. Genuinely, thank you very much. I appreciate you giving me some of your time.

Thank you. And always if people get to see me at a show, come up and say hello to me. I love talking to the fans, I love talking about wrestling and talking about wrestling – just chatting to people in general. I used to get in trouble on the WWE SmackDown house shows all the time, because when we’d get to the building and get out of the rental cars there’d be piles and piles of people waiting for autographs and photos and stuff. A lot of the wrestlers would be more holier than thou and they would just walk from the rental cars right to the back of the building, they wouldn’t even look over, they’d just ignore them. I would go over and I would just run out of markers, literally, signing until one of the agents would yell at me to come inside and start getting the stuff or whatever. I’d stay out there for as long as possible.

That’s the sort of things that the fans enjoy. I remember years ago at the first house show that I ever went to here in Northern Ireland, there were some of the guys at the end who were posing for photographs outside and signing away, and that was fine, but there were one or two who were straight onto the bus and giving fans the bird out the window.

That’s just a dumb thing to do! As I grew up my mom taught me that any idiot can be mean, but it takes creativity and positivity to build. With minimal effort you can flip the bird to perfect strangers for no reason, except that they’re there to see you, which makes no sense, or you can be nice and get along with the fans, and enjoy it and let them enjoy it and then everybody’s happy! Just out of good karma be nice to people, but also if I was going to be a douchey wrestler why bite the hand that feeds? Without the fans, there are no wrestlers.

garymehaffy@hotmail.co.uk

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