On February 8, 2003 I interviewed RODERICK STRONG along with his brother Sedrick. What Sedrick or I didnt know, was a little over three hours later the lives of the Strong Brothers would change forever. He went to the ring with Sedrick and Agent Steele to aid the Shane Brothers as they were being attacked by the Alliance of Defiance. In one second he chairshotted Sedrick, then he and Steele turned on Sedrick and joined the AOD. This interview took place on June 14, 2003 at the Pinellas Expo Hall in Pinellas Park, Florida. Hours before Roderick would challenge for the Florida Unified Cruiserweight title held by Justice. We discussed his singles career, his participation in the 1st ever Jeff Peterson Memorial Cup and also his relationship now with Sedrick in and out of the ring. To read the initial Strong Brothers interview, go to http://alanwojcik.tripod.com/archives/ and then the strong brothers icon.
Alan Wojcik: Lets get right to it. On February 8, 2003, the tag team of the Strong Brothers ended when you turned your back on Sedrick and joined the AOD. Explain to the fans of IPW would you turned on Sedrick?
Roderick Strong: Well Alan, there comes a point where you become tired of carrying somebody. I took Sedrick from the flea markets shows and crappy-ass wrestling to the best place in Florida in IPW Hardcore. I stayed in the promoters ear and got Sedrick in. After we lost the tag titles to Naturally Marvelous, (Interviewers note: see first interview for stories on the match that gave Roderick a grade 3 concussion,) we were going nowhere and Sedrick was getting pinned in our losses and I could only do so much to carry the team. I sensed Sedricks work ethic and training was slipping. The opportunity came to join the elite group in the wrestling, the AOD. Why would I turn that down?
AW: Why do you feel the AOD chose you?
RS: Work ethic and determination, I bust my ass for everything. I also have a mean side to me that needed to be unleashed. There are no guys in the business better to study under then Scoot Andrews, Mike Sullivan, Rod Steel and Agent Steele. I think they see things in me that can lead to titles and money for the AOD.
AW: At the February 28th IPW show dubbed Never say NEVER, you were a participant in an eight-man tag where your brother was on the opposing team. What were your emotions arriving at the building that day and in the locker room before the match?
RS: I was trying to avoid him. I made it clear that if he wanted my respect and to get me back tagging with him he would have to earn my respect. Instead he did a lot of talking and I got tired of waiting for him to make a move. We got our hands on each other and I dont want to talk anymore about that match. Next question.
AW: In that match a rivalry started between you and the man known as the Iceman Buck Quartermain. It came to a one-on-one match between the two of you at March Badness. What are your thoughts on wrestling Buck Q?
RS: I had heard lots of Buck Q. Hes an elder that I had looked up to; you know he is OLDER than me. His reputation of working for the Fed and the indys. He turned out to be no better than me as I came out on top. That tells you about that.
AW: Unfortunately the ECWA didnt think you were the better Strong Brother as they chose Sedrick to be in the 2003 Super 8. What did you think when you heard about it?
RS: It was his time I guess. Mine is coming. If they wanted a pure wrestler they would have chosen me, it was obvious they wanted a spot wrestler and chose Sedrick. I have no hard feelings towards (ECWA promoter Jim) Ketner because he is my brother and I back him 100% but there is nothing I can but wait until next year.
AW: On April 5th, as Sedrick was in Delaware at the Super 8, you were in Davie, Florida, teaming with Scoot Andrews to take on Animal House (IPW World/NWA Florida champion Billy Fives and David Babylon.) What did you think of the match and the crowd in Davie?
RS: I thought the match was awesome; we got the story across to the crowd. The crowd was really into it. I hate Billy and David but they are good people. They work hard and everyone down there backs them because they see their determination when they get in the ring. Thats all I can say on it.
AW: At this years Rage in the Cage, you were a participant in a six man TLC match (with Scoot Andrews, Mike Sullivan vs David Babylon, Steve Madison & Sedrick Strong) that many consider to be one of the finalists in this years match of the year polling. What went through your mind when you were told about the match?
RS: About the same thing that went through my mind in the cage match and the double tables match. Its time to step up my game. Thats what Im here for. When the big matches come up, I step up my game. I show the fans what Im here to do and why I deserve to be respected.
AW: Did you feel (IPW owner) Ron Niemi had it in for you by booking you opposite Sedrick in a match that can be very violent?
RS: I think he had it in for me and the AOD. The TLC match is the biggest risk match in wrestling besides a Hell in a Cell and IPW doesnt have one of those, yet. It was the biggest match of my career and maybe the other guys as well. I think Ron had something up his sleeve in booking the match.
AW: Did you get any family and friend reaction after watching you and Sedrick destroy each other?
RS: No one in the family approves of the two of us fighting and they want us back together. Sedrick has to earn my respect before that happens and that hasnt happened yet.
AW: The respect factor came into play during Sedricks match with the Florida Unified Cruiserweight champion Justice at Deadly Intentions on May 3rd. Why did you interfere in Sedricks match?
RS: He didnt deserve that title shot. He hasnt done anything. He went to a tournament and he automatically gets a title shot. I felt I deserved it and I showed him why I deserved it.
AW: Later that night you fought Jerelle Clark and Naphtali in a number 1 contenders match for that title. In an IPW TV interview you made mention to the fact you had been wrestling in the heavyweight division. What was it like to get in the ring with two hard-hitting cruiserweights?
RS: It was a lot different. Its been a long time since I wrestled cruiserweights. Its not that they are quicker than me, because I am at their speed level. Ive been getting beaten on by and given beatings to heavyweights so I am tougher than them. It was a new world because they are world class athletes. They deserve the props they have gotten from the fans. At this point and time, I dont think there is any cruiserweight in IPW that can hang with me.
AW: Speaking of cruiserweights, you were one of 16 men to be chosen to participate in the 1st ever Jeff Peterson Memorial Cup (held may 16-17, 2003.) What are your feelings on your match with CZWs Ruckus?
RS: I thought it was really good. Many people said it was the best of the 1st night matches. I usually cant judge my own matches but it felt good to me. The crowd seemed to think it was good. Ruckus is a hell of an athlete. I cant describe how great an athlete that he is. It was good experience to be in there with him.
AW: On the second night of the tournament you teamed with Jerelle Clark to take on Steve Madison and Sonjay Dutt of CZW. Any memories of that match?
RS: At first I thought the four of us had never wrestled against each other before so I didnt know what to expect. The match just got a flow going and it came out great. Sonjay is amazing and Steve is a newcomer to cruiserweight matches like me. Hes doing his thing in Japan. I always learn something in every match and I took stuff away from that one. It was an honor to be in the ring with those guys.
AW: Your feud with Sedrick seems to take many twists and turns over the months. What was it like to team with Mike Sullivan against Sedrick and former AOD member Mikey Tenderfoot at May Massacre?
RS: That match was an experience because it was the first time Mike and I teamed together. It was supposed to have been a singles match but Mike and I decided to turn it into a handicap match until Tenderfoot stuck his nose where it didnt belong. They got what they deserved in the end.
AW: At Gratuitous Violence you teamed with Rod Steel to take on Sedrick and Tenderfoot in a St. Pete street fight. Has your body healed yet and do you remember any of it?
RS: I remember everything. My body is healed, I dont know about Sedricks. When we get into a position where its a street fight, Sedrick has no chance. With every beating I give, he will learn to respect me. Before this is all said and done, I dont think he will wrestle again.
AW: As we sit here we are a couple of hours away from your first shot at the Florida Unified Cruiserweight tile currently held by Justice. Anything you want to say on the match?
RS: Ive seen the guy wrestle and I am a big fan of his work. Hes done lots of things in his career like the CZW Best of the Best. But he needs to know that Im not a cruiserweight and I dont wrestle the cruiserweight style. I can hang with cruiserweights. I think he and all of the locker room will realize that Roderick Strong is the master of the backbreaker. Interviewers note: Roderick lost his match to Justice.)
AW: Just a word or two on the backbreaker. How many variations do you have in your arsenal and can you describe some of them?
RS: At last count 17. Theres the F-Bomb which is a blue thunder backbreaker. Theres a flipping Canadian backbreaker, a belly to back backbreaker and a hip-toss backbreaker. You will see some new ones revealed to Justice tonight.
AW: Two final questions. If Sedrick read this interview, what do you want to say to him? Lastly, what do you hope the future holds for Roderick Strong as a singles competitor?
RS: The only thing to say to Sedrick is work strong, become a little more determined and well see what happens in the future. As far as the future for Roderick Strong I hope to accomplish as much as the fans will allow me to. I dont care about titles I only care about respect. In the end thats what I want, everyone to respect me.
Thanks to Roderick Strong for his time. For more on Roderick, log onto the Strong family website, www.strongbrothers.com . For more on upcoming IPW events log onto www.ipw-hardcore.com or www.ipwhardcore.tv