He’s billed from “The Deep Blue Sea” and, from 2002 to this very date, is one of the most beloved masked wrestlers in all of TNA’s soon-to-be 11 year history. I’m talking, of course, about Shark Boy.
This past week, I had the honor and privilege to get an interview with the masked man himself. He answered a variety of questions about his start in the wrestling business, the idea behind his character, the evolution of TNA Wrestling, his favorite TNA memories, Shark Boy 24/7, and much, much more.
1.) Who, or what, inspired you to become a professional wrestler? When did you decide that wrestling was something that you wanted to do for a living?
I became hooked on wrestling when I saw “Rowdy” Roddy Piper hit Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka over the head with a coconut. I had never seen anything like that in my life and started tuning in every week to see what would happen next. It wasn’t long before I started telling everyone I met that I wanted to be a professional wrestler.
2.) How did you come up with the Shark Boy character, and what was the initial reaction of those in the locker room when they saw it come to fruition?
The character was originally inspired by a song, “I Come from the Water”, by a band called the Toadies. It inspired me to create an underwater superhero character who would rise from the water to fight the wrestling bad guys. Some of my fellow wrestlers understood what I was doing with it right away, while others weren’t too sure. But the fans seemed to get with it right from the start.
3.) You’ve worked with TNA in its early days of 2002 and also worked with TNA as late as 2011. How would you say TNA has evolved since their early days in the Asylum?
The company has grown in leaps and bounds over the past decade. The quality of the TV show is as strong now as it’s ever been, and they’re reaching more fans now than ever before. It’s been exciting and fun to watch TNA evolve into the product that it is today.
4.) How did you enjoy your time in TNA? What would you say was your favorite moment or match from your time with TNA?
I enjoyed the opportunity I received from TNA a whole lot. Because of TNA, Shark Boy became an action figure and a character on a video game. My favorite moment was probably when my character awoke from a coma and spoke for the first time. It was a moment that got everybody in the wrestling world talking, that’s for sure.
5.) At one point during your TNA tenure, around 2008, you took on a ‘Stone Cold‘ like gimmick. Who’s idea was it for you to take the character onto television? What kind of feedback did you receive from other wrestlers?
Because of my admiration for “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, one of the greatest performers of all time, I had devoloped an impression of the Texas Rattlesnake that entertained several of the boys in the back. When Jeff Jarrett heard it, he looked at me and said, “You’re going to do that on TV.” It was my idea to wake up from the coma with a case of identity confusion. Like I said before, it was a moment that got everyone talking.
6.) The last time fans had the pleasure of watching you perform inside a TNA ring was July 2011, at the Destination X pay-per-view. Is there any chance we could see Shark Boy return to TNA in 2013 or beyond?
I am happy to say that I returned to the TNA ring for two pay-per-view tapings recently and had an absolute blast. It was great to see so many old friends and to have a chance to say goodbye to the fans in Orlando. So many great memories.
7.) Just last Summer, TNA Wrestling celebrated their 10-year anniversary. How did you feel, and what were your thoughts, as TNA celebrated such a monumental accomplishment?
I’m just happy to have played a small role in the history of TNA and hope to be involved in the next ten years.
8.) Part of TNA’s 10-year celebration was the creation of the TNA Wrestling Hall of Fame. Sting, of course, was the inaugural inductee into the Hall of Fame. Was there a person more deserving of such an honor than “The Icon” Sting? During your time in TNA, did you ever have the chance to really build a relationship with Sting?
Sting is a great guy and deserves every accolade he receives in professional wrestling. I’ve had the opportunity to spend time with him here and there over the years and he is a true class act. I’m not sure anyone is “more deserving” of being in the HOF than Sting, but it’s hard to argue against Jeff Jarrett. Double J is not only a founder of TNA, but a multiple time world champion and a guy who carried the company on his shoulders during certain periods. I don’t see how there can be a TNA HOF without him in it.
9.) Sticking with the Hall of Fame question, who would you like to see inducted into the TNA Hall of Fame this year?
10.) What are your thoughts on the current IMPACT Wrestling product? Do you have any personal favorites on IMPACT right now? Do you keep in contact with some of the guys backstage?
I think the current product is as strong as it’s ever been. The current champion Bully Ray, for example, is one of the top heels in the business right now and is going to do very well for as long as he holds the title. It was great seeing him recently along with so many of the friends I have made in TNA throughout the years. We do our best to keep in touch, but it’s pretty easy to go “off the grid” when you’re not being used for a while. That’s just the nature of things in the business.
11.) TNA recently made two huge announcements. The first would be that they’re cutting down the amount of pay-per-views from 12 to only 4. What are your thoughts on such a shake up to the TNA calendar? Will TNA benefit from the change?
I think it’s a great idea from a financial standpoint and looking at things long-term for the company. With only 4 pay-per-views, each one will mean so much more. Numbers will go up and they have a shot at turning a profit on every show instead of losing money 8 or 9 times a year.
12.) TNA’s second big announcement was that they will be leaving the IMPACT Zone for good, and start taking their shows on the road. As someone who has wrestled in the IMPACT Zone countless times, what’s the atmosphere like? What do you think about TNA going live from a different city every week?
Fans in the IMPACT Zone supported me from the very beginning to the very end. I have nothing but love for the fans in Orlando. But TNA believes that taking the show on the road is the next step in their evolution and it’s hard to argue against that.
13.) The IOC recently made a very controversial decision by removing wrestling from the 2020 Olympic Games. This decision has caused quite a stir in the wrestling world, and I’m interested in hearing what you have to say on the subject.
I wrestled amateur in junior high and high school and the sport holds a special place in my heart. As one of the oldest true sports in the world and an event at the original Olympic Games, it makes absolutely no sense to me why the sport would be removed. I truly hope both freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling are reinstated in time for the 2020 games.
14.) Do you have any words of advice for aspiring professional wrestlers out there?
Buyer Beware… Before you spend your money on a “trainer”, do your homework. If somebody you have never heard promises you things that seem too good to be true, they probably are. Receiving good training is essential to acheiving a long and successful career in professional wrestling.
15.) What have you been up to lately? What’s going on in the life of Shark Boy right about now? Do you have any outside projects you’d like to promote here?
For all things Shark Boy related, fans can visit my website www.SharkBoy.net. There you find the answers to all of those questions and more.
16.) And finally, before we let you go, do you have any closing words for the fans who have followed and supported you throughout your career?
I just want to say “thank you so much” to all of you who have supported me for all this time. Without you, I would never have acheived my dream. Shell Yeah!