By Louise Westie
Hello and welcome to my very first one on one interview with Fife Pro Wrestling Aslyum’s resident Devil’s Advocate Johnny Reaves.
Johnny, thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me. How did you get into wrestling?
I got into wrestling watching it on TV from a young age the 1st PPV I can remember watching was on VHS and was WrestleMania 6 and upon seeing guys like Mr Perfect and that who was athletic as hell it wasn’t till a little while later I saw a masked wrestler for the first time and that was me I was hooked I needed to know who this was etc… and that was The Blue Blazer…
But as for me getting into wrestling, it’s a long story it started when I was with my first girlfriend and she worked with a guy in Kirkcaldy that wrestling fans know as Johnny Lyons and he took me and my cousin, who still wrestles to this day not so much in Scotland but he’s doing well, to W3L and this is when it was based in what can only be described as a kids crèche on mats. I saw guys taking bumps etc and for a split second thinking I’m not sure this is for me…. but man, I’m so glad I stuck with it.
You’ve started training at FPWA in Glenrothes, which is Andy Wild’s training school, how is that going?
As mentioned I’ve trained with other schools and this isn’t going to be a mud throwing contest but FPWA is by far the best place I’ve been now that’s not taking away from other places of course not but sometimes things just aren’t meant to be and need to move on so when I heard that FPWA was opening up in Glenrothes that was it I was sold. I had taken time out to focus on family etc. but you know sometimes marriages don’t work out and hey that’s okay too I’m a single dad with an ambition.
You train with a lot of folk, who personally stands out for you?
I’ll be honest everyone at FPWA is talented in their own way some guys can do flips some guys can’t but the one thing I love about FPWA is early on we made our own hashtag #WeAreFPWA and that’s what I love we are a family unit everyone is encouraged to try something but never forced and as for who stands out…
Tallon Jr made his debut for GPWA recently against former W3L guy Umar Mohammed and damn(!) those guys are literally gonna breakthrough in 2021 mark my words.
Also another trainee that I feel has something is Morgan Christie (Harmony Skye) she’s young charismatic and has a great head on her for wrestling she reminds me of a young Paige, born to do this, I believe Morgan is only 16 but I give her till she’s 20 before you all know her name.
You’ve got a wrestling gimmick; can you tell us about your character in more detail?
My gimmick is The Devil’s Advocate, basically have you ever had a discussion with someone and they’ve presented an alternate way of thinking and it’s made you be like “oh I didn’t think of that….” that’s my character that not everything in life is black and white. Also, not many people know this but I took the name Johnny as a tribute to Johnny Lyons because without him I’m not sure I’d be training to do something that I love to do, and because I am following my dreams. I can teach my daughter that no matter how “stupid” your dreams are to other people you don’t want to be 80 and have regrets if you have dreams chase them, wise man once said “if you fight for your dreams your dreams will fight for you!”
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In 5 years I’ll be 42 haha so I’m not under any grand illusions that I’ll be in the WWE UK brand but if I can have just that one taste of it I’ll be happy, but that aside I’d love to be a mainstay in a company like Discovery. I’ve helped out at a few shows refereed there too and the whole Disco Team is amazing not a bad word to say about any of them.
How often do you train?
FPWA trains twice a week on a Tuesday and Thursday but obviously with what’s happening in the world the now it’s all online with the tuition of Andy but the working outside etc. that falls on us I’ve had good days where I’ve blasted out 20,000 steps on a 9 mile walk but then there are days where I only do 7,000 steps but I always try and do SOMETHING if you get me.
Who would you most like to wrestle past or present?
The person I’d love to wrestle that’s a tough one, I’ve got four I can comment on;
- Roy Knight, I’ve known the family for years even back at my time in W3L when the whole family used to come for shows including a very young Paige they were nothing but nice to me I still go down to WAW and train there, did a few shows there too.
- My cousin who goes by the name Irn Dru Marshall, I’ve known Dru since he was like 5 or something and he’s grown up to be a damn good young man with a fabulous head on his shoulders for this business and I feel would bring out the best in me.
- Johnny Lyons, like literally I owe him everything for me being in the situation I’m in yeah we may not have seen eye to eye over the years but I hold Johnny in high regards as one of the best workers in the UK scene to be overlooked.
- Last but no means least, and believe me these aren’t in any order, but I’d love to work with Andy Wild. I sometimes look at him during training in awe and just think if I had stuck it out first time round and not taken that big gap I could be where he is and passing my knowledge on. So being a student of Andy’s and learning that way imagine what I could learn being in the ring with him.
You’ve got a daughter and a job as security guard, what is your average daily routine, i.e gym, train, work etc?
My routine normally was up at 6am have a coffee and breakfast before out the door at 7am for bus to college come home half day on a Tuesday get a gym session in with another FPWA trainee Craig Berry then head to G Town for training that was my routine on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Friday I was at college till 2pm headed home to get daughter do Dad duties at the weekend and if any shows to go to I’d take her along she loves wrestling so here’s hoping future women’s wrestler haha.
If I’m being honest I was just finding my feet with routine as an HNC Events Student it was sometimes all systems go and helping out at any and all events kinda like wrestling always a chance to make contacts.. and because of my time in wrestling I was never shy haha.
Hopefully, in fact I know that, when this lockdown ends not only will FPWA become one of the best places to train in Fife but it will open the doors for so many people. But I’m gonna put in 100% hard work to hopefully step into the ring with one of the four I mentioned up there.
What has been your worst wrestling injury?
I’ve had two that was pretty bad the first one was I was working with Nathan Reynolds (who by the way is another guy that even to this day I still have time for and can be one of the biggest names in Scottish wrestling) but I was working with Nathan and as per the finish I went for a Eddie Guerrero frog splash he was to move and I was to eat a spear but something happened and to this day I’ve not seen the footage I have ZERO clue what went on but I ended up coming down head first (think Mania 19 with Lesnar and the Shooting Star Press haha) I instinctively rolled out told ref I was out of it. I was jelly babied but Nathan took care of me rolled me in the ring told the referee who just happened to be my dad that I was okay and he’d take care of me, which he rolled me in hooked the leg tightly and got the win, totally taking care of me which I can’t say enough about how talented he actually is.
The second one was basically a freak accident in a training match many moons ago against a guy who no longer wrestles. I am a Bret Hart fan so I used to use a lot of his stuff so was going for the finish of course the sharpshooter and as I went to turn my ankle didn’t and bang down I go fractured ankle putting someone in a submission haha I get a bit paranoid about it still so I heavily tape it when training and working.
Can you describe your first day in wrestling training?
My first day in wrestling training back then was surreal there were these guys that shockingly were normal everyday people with jobs it’s madness. I was getting to live my dream and there I am locking up etc. thinking I’m the mutts nuts and the teaching of Mike Musso, you can’t go wrong there he’s been around the business a long time and has wisdom to impart it’s great to see W3L still thriving I’ll always look at W3L as home because Mike gave me the chance to train and live my dream I’ll always be grateful for that.
My first day with FPWA was a completely different animal. I recognised some of the guys from W3L so I knew was in good company but just the way we’ve all bonded and the way we’ve become family it’s remarkable the respect from everyone towards everyone is second to none there are guys at FPWA that’s never stepped foot in a ring before and they’ve not been left behind we’ve ALL stayed together as a team.
When you are a wrestling trainee and you have to help dismantle/set up the ring, unload/load the van etc, what has been your favourite venue to set up in?
I must admit I prefer the small venues like the community centres and it’s mainly because they have a smaller crowd which in turn means the kids there are more than likely gonna get a good experience and get to be close to their favourite wrestlers. Here’s a cool wee quick story, my daughter and I went to a show in Dundee by a company that I’m sure you can figure it out and she got a high five from a wrestler and that was it she was like this is soooo cool instantly she was like I wanna be a wrestler or manager or as she called them the talking guys (announcer!) and that wrestler that gave her the high
five was Ian Ambrose.
When can we expect to see you make your wrestling debut in the future?
I’d have hoped to have said this year, but giving the way this is going I can’t see that happening, but that’s okay we’ve been given the hand we just need to learn to deal with it and that’s why I’m chatting to you to get my name out there we have all this time to spare might as well make the most of it.
But when I do make my in ring debut I’d like it to be against something that maybe isn’t experienced because I feel that I have some knowledge I can pass on and I feel I can help someone through a match it’s all very well doing all the holds etc. but it’s the finer things that I feel makes you a worker. I absolutely love this bit of advice I got from an old friend and veteran “always work a match only wrestle if you have too!”
Finally, where can we find you on social media?
Thanks to Johnny Reaves so much for the one on one interview.