We’ve teamed up with Scottish Wrestling Discussion to share their interviews with the wrestlers in this wild world of Scottish wrestling.
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We got the chance to chat with BIG Bennie and ask him a few questions. We hope you all enjoy!
Starting with the obvious question. What made you want to get into wrestling?
I’ve been a fan since I was about 5. I don’t really remember my first couple of years of watching too vividly beyond the odd individual match or PPV, but the first event that really stuck in my mind was SummerSlam 2000. The first ever TLC match, Steve Blackman battering Shane-O-Mac off the titantron, The Rock winning in the main event, it remains to this day one of my favourite ever WWE PPVs, only the 2001 Rumble and WrestleMania X7 have it beat. Back in those days my cousins and I would always play wrestling in the back room at our Gran’s house, I took my first bumps getting Pedigree’d onto the laminate floor and flying off the couch to flatten them with my patented finishing maneuver, the Solar Beam Splash.
I never could have imagined that I could actually do it for real, so years later when my friend Jamie told me that he was training in wrestling I leapt at the opportunity. 5 year old me would never forgive me if I didn’t.
What can you tell is about your early training? Any fun stories?
I’ve always loved promo class. Quite possibly my favourite part of what we do is when I get to talk, whether that be in front of a camera or with a microphone in my hand in the middle of the ring surrounded by a crowd.
The promo classes at Source were always a laugh riot, especially when we would go off the rails to test our improv skills. My personal favourite was playing a typical Glasgow wifey talking to her pals about their husbands, who were naturally a variety of WWE wrestlers. I hit out with a line about how Cesaro could swing me about any day of the week and Damo (Killian Dain) fell off an exercise ball laughing, and there is nothing on this planet that makes me feel better than getting a proper good laugh out of someone.
My good friend The Artist Formerly Known as Shaun Walker recently called me the “only Indy wrestler in Scotland that’s ACTUALLY funny and doesn’t just think they are” – I almost cried.
What memories do you have of your first match? What advice were you given before you went through the curtain?
Technically speaking my first match was the SWA Battlezone in 2014, and I was an absolute wreck with nerves. Hometown crowd, all my friends had come through from Glasgow and further afield to watch, and here’s little baby Bennie in such a state of anxiety that if anyone did offer any advice to me that night, I couldn’t hear it for the sound of my own heart pumping in my ears. My music played, I burst through that curtain like a bat out of hell, I hit the ring and 12 seconds later my feet hit the floor. My pals were ragin’. It was hilarious.
With wrestling on hold in Scotland right now. Have your goals changed for when we return?
My primary goal before I even think about returning to the ring is to get rid of this lockdown chub I’ve developed, because the last time I tried on my ring gear I looked like Mr Incredible, and I mean before the big comeback. Beyond that my goals remain much the same, I want to expand my resumé by working with as many companies as possible both in Scotland and abroad, I want to win titles and I want every wrestling fan out there to know my name.
You’ve appeared in a few companies before the lockdown. Any fun road stories or memories to share?
UNITYYYYYYYYYYYY. Travelling down to Newcastle has always been a laugh riot, whether it’s impromptu car pool karaoke to Adam Sandler’s At a Medium Pace, bursting a tire 5 minutes into the journey back home or just chatting absolute bollocks to pass a few hours on the motorway.
My all-time favourite road story though wasn’t on the way to or from a show, but on the way home from training one night. I was giving my homeslice Emily Hayden a lift back from training at Respect, when I take a wrong turn at Albuquerque and find myself barreling the wrong way down a one way street. There’s a lorry coming towards us. I try to three-point turn and in a blind panic manage to stall the car. I scream “NOT LIKE THIS!”, Emily can’t breathe for laughing, I’m shouting at the top of my lungs at the lorry driver “PLEASE DON’T JUDGE ME TOO HARSHLY FOR THIS”. I finally get the car re-started and pointed in the right direction, at this point I decide to quote Lost and yell “WE HAVE TO GO BACK”, causing further hilarity on Emily’s part. When I pulled the car over in the Tesco car park I had to take several minutes to calm down, and I learned that night that the best way to recover from a near-death experience is a Nutella Krispy Kreme.
Do you have any advice for anyone thinking of becoming a wrestler once they are allowed?
Be respectful to EVERYONE you meet. Trainer, fellow trainee, staff at a show, it doesn’t matter. The first impression is always the most important, so make sure that you present the best version of yourself at all times because all it takes is one errant comment or perceived slight and you’ve potentially lost future bookings. Be sure that you can dedicate enough of your time to training to achieve what you want from wrestling, and be smart when it comes to your money. Don’t spend all your time skint because you’re pouring more than you can afford into training, you can always talk to your trainer to explain your situation and ask if they can offer any alternatives that work better for you.
We love a bit of fantasy booking here at SWD. So firstly can you tell us your top 5 non UK wrestlers?
Chuck Taylor, Jon Moxley, Keith Lee, Bray Wyatt and Daniel Bryan. That was actually a lot harder than I was expecting it to be, the only immediate lock I had was Chuckie T.
Now who from the UK would you put each of those wrestlers against?
This is definitely cheating because he’s not from the UK but he’s on NXT UK so I’ve decided I’m allowed to get away with it, I think Ilja Dragunov versus Jon Moxley would be an absolute slobber knocker to quote good ol’ JR, they would beat seven shades out of each other and I think it would come down to who can endure the most punishment before the other falls, much like Mox’s first match against Eddie Kingston in AEW.
Keith Lee I would put up against my old pal Bobby Roberts, purely because I’ve seen Bobby’s attempt at a moonsault and I feel he’d be forced to pull it out of the bag to match big Keith. Plus, who doesn’t love a big dirty hoss fight?
Bray Wyatt I’d stick in with Sean Martin, because The Fiend might be terrifying but nothing does creepy better than a 16 year old sadboi.
Daniel Bryan versus Pete Dunne NEEDS to happen at some point. It just has to. Both men wear William Regal’s influence on their sleeve with pride, and you know they could easily go an hour and hold the audience’s attention the entire time. Guaranteed 10 WARGAMES out of 10.
I saved Chuck Taylor for last because much like the secret consortium that bought Shane and Stephanie McMahon’s WWE shares back in the day, Chuckie T’s opponent WOOOOOOOOO is ME! I’ve loved Chuck for years, he was a massive influence on the style of wrestling I aspired to and watching his indie stuff on YouTube years ago was what first made me realise that a skinny guy is under no limitations in this business beyond the ones he imposed upon himself. I think we’d make beautiful music together.
Do you have anyone in mind that you would want to face once the lockdown is over?
There are a few people I’ve got my eye on for once we’re all back in action. If it gets John Fleming to shut up about it I’ll face Rubi Roberts, if only for the peace of mind. I was mighty impressed with Ian Skinner’s appearances in ICW and when he wrestled on a Respect show that I was the MC for, I feel like we could make for a very intriguing matchup and I would like to see how our respective styles gel. Ryan Richards has been making a lot of noise on Twitter over lockdown, and recently posted a video declaring his intentions for Respect Pro Wrestling. He wants to stroll on in and take a seat at the table as the self-proclaimed “biggest loudmouth”. Only problem with that is, the position has long been filled by the North Lanarkshire Loudmouth, yours truly. If he wants in, he has to go through me first.
Outside of wrestling what can you tell us about yourself?
I consider myself somewhat unique in that I can honestly say that 2020 was actually one of the best years of my life. My daughter was born, I got engaged, everything was coming up Milhouse. Y’know, aside from the global pandemic and months spent in varying degrees of lockdown. I’m also a full-time student of English Literature and Celtic Civilisation, so when I’m not battering through opponents I’m battering through the books instead, though I am aiming to make more of an effort to reconnect with my childhood and read for enjoyment, not just for study. I’m also a fairly solid guitar player with 15 years of experience and, as all of us wrestling types seem to be this weather, an avid gamer currently splitting my hours between Cyberpunk 2077, FIFA 21, Doom Eternal and UFC 4.
Where can we find you on social media?
Thank you so much to BIG Bennie for taking to time to chat to us. We hope you all enjoyed the interview.