Welcome to our Q&A series called ‘The 9 Count’ where we pose nine questions to the new faces of Scottish professional wrestling. Whether they are trainees or just making their way out in the big world of professional wrestling, we give you the chance to find out more about the future of Scottish wrestling.
In this edition, Source Wrestling’s Derren J. Blair answers our questions.
What is your first memory of professional wrestling and what got you hooked?
My first memory of wrestling was getting a toy ring with figures when I was like 5 and not having a clue what wrestling was. At this point my cousin was a big wrestling fan and explained it to me so I went away and watched some episodes of Smackdown. Before I knew it I was getting WWE Smackdown vs Raw games and making my own trampoline wrestling federation with my pals, my passion just grew and grew, my passion has never died down for wrestling from that point on it became my obsession I just loved it.
Who were your favourite wrestlers growing up and who are your favourites now?
Growing up Jeff Hardy was definitely my favourite, he was just different from everyone else with the face paint, the way he wrestled and obviously the insane risks he would take. Another favourite growing up was The Undertaker I loved everything about his character. He was just cool from his look, his 10 minute entrance and of course the tombstone piledriver. Nowadays one of my favourites is Will Ospreay from having insane matches with guys like Kota Ibushi, Robbie Eagles, El Phantasmo and many more. Ospreay soon became one of my absolute favourites and has inspired me quite a bit. Another favourite right now is Drew McIntyre, the first Scottish WWE Champion. Drew is a massive inspiration for me and I’m sure many other British wrestlers he’s shown us no matter how low you hit you can do anything, he left WWE and put in the work and is now at the top of the mountain. It just shows if you are truly passionate you would do anything for your dream and I admire to follow that.
What are your top three matches of all time and why?
Johnny Gargano vs Andrade Cien Almas (NXT Takeover: Philadelphia) – This match had such a good story and build up that Gargano had to win. The match undoubtedly added to that story, I was glued to the screen through out the whole match because it just escalated and didn’t miss a beat. This match also surprised everyone with gargano losing after looking so strong coming into the match.
Buddy Murphy vs Mustafa Ali – No DQ Match (205 Live) – This match was just filled with chaos and some crazy moments like when Ali suplexed Murphy off the steel steps, the Spanish fly on the announce table, Murphy catching Ali in the ropes then kneeing him multiple times and many more. Just a really enjoyable match with awesome moments.
Pete Dunne vs Adam Cole (Survivor Series 2019) – This match was just awesome to watch from start to finish. Another great story of them both being battle damaged the night before, Dunne with a bad knee, Cole with bad rips. My favourite point in this match was the Bitter End reversal into the Panama Sunrise was the stand out moment alongside the Panama Sunrise onto the apron.
What made you decide to start training to be a wrestler?
Well I always said growing up that I’d want to be a wrestler with no clue of actual training schools. So when I was just starting high school I realised, if I wanna do this I need to find somewhere to learn how to wrestle so I joined a training school but at that time there where a lot of issues in my personal life so my training was on and off until I decided I needed to take a break from it, gave myself a new start at Source once everything that was going on was cleared up. So last year I joined Source with the mentality of this is a new start, if I want this I’m gonna put in 110%, and soon training was my escape from the real world, my happy place and I’ve met some amazing people through training at source. Wouldn’t change it for anything.
What have you found to be the hardest part about training?
Training is anything but easy, if it was easy it wouldn’t be training but despite all the drills, all the card workouts the hardest part about training for me is promos. It took me a bit of time in training to be comfortable doing promos but I’m definitely getting there now.
What advice would you give yourself if you could go back to your first day of training?
Don’t beat yourself up. I felt that I always had to get everything perfect first and I caught myself into a cycle of beating myself up and overthinking everything causing me to mess things up more. But I was still really young at that point so I didn’t realise it was ok to mess up. It was only after I took the break from wrestling and I was still training in judo that I finally realised that you learn through failure and it’s okay to mess up.
Who would be your dream opponent, past or present?
There’s many dream opponents for me but I’d have to say Will Ospreay, simply because he’s had back to back amazing matches throughout 2019 and is really starting to shine in Japan. He’s definitely inspired me to do some of the things I do in matches no doubt, so it just be really cool to wrestle him.
Do you have any short/long term goals in your wrestling career, be it wrestling for a certain company or at a certain venue?
Once everything goes back to normal and we can have wrestling events again my goal is too get out there, get experience and try to grow my name whilst doing so. In the long term I’d like to wrestle for company’s like ICW, TNT and PROGRESS.
And finally, where can we find you on social media?
Thank you to Derren for taking the time to answer The 9 Count.