JUSTICE is one of the premier cruiserweights on the independent scene and is a former Florida Unified Cruiserweight Champion (NWA Florida X title & IPW Cruiserweight title.) In 2002, Justice pretty much owned the cruiserweight scene in Florida, as he defeated JET JAGUAR for titles on January 28, 2002 in a three way that also included JIMMY RAVE. He held the belts until August 2, when he was defeated by NAPHTALI. That match, and the subsequent rematches are considered classics by IPW fans. Throughout his title run, he defeated an impressive array of competitors including LOW-KI, JERELLE CLARK and SEIJIN AKKI. He also competed against AMERICAN DRAGON at the 'Independent Armageddon' event on November 30. Hailing from the Graveyards of New Orleans made this interview interesting, as the character of Justice does not speak. However the person behind the gothic face paint is very intelligent. This took place hours before another battle with Naphtali for the Florida Unified Cruiserweight Title at IPWs Rage In the Cage 5 which took place on April 16, 2003.
Alan Wojcik: Was wrestling part of your childhood?
Justice: Not at all. I didnt watch wrestling until about six months before I began wrestling school. It was only then that I saw some Mexican luchador style workers and thought it was crazy but also thought I could do that.
AW: Where did you train and what was the atmosphere in the class?
Justice: I was trained by Gino Caruso and Bam Bam Mancuso in FEW (Florida Extreme Wrestling) country, which is Melbourne, Florida. Training was like other schools. Learning to take bumps and do moves properly. After a while you create you own style.
AW: Did you have any prior fighting or martial arts training?
Justice: I studied Capoiera for two years and Che-Wed Kung-fu for six.
AW: When did you create the character of Justice?
Justice: It was during training. My martial arts background had something to do with it. At the same time I wanted the character to be gothic. I came up with wrestling gear from the Shaolin monks uniforms. So he is a hybrid if you want to call him that.
AW: Who was your first match against and how nervous were you going into it?
Justice: It was against a fellow student who called himself Ivy Leaguer in January 6, 2000. The only thing Im ever nervous about is forgetting something, but we went over it many times and I think it went well.
AW: How long did you work for FEW and where did you go from there?
Justice: I was there until the company folded about three months after my debut. Then I went wherever I could find work and improve my abilities. From SEW in the Sanford/Altamonte area and in the Gainesville area for SWA and then here to IPW Hardcore.
AW: What were your first impressions of IPW Hardcore?
Justice: Initially I met Ron Niemi real briefly. The company was doing the hardcore thing but they also had great cruiserweights like Naphtali, Jeff Peterson and Jet Jaguar. I couldnt wait to work with those guys. My first match with IPW was at Jannus Landing in St. Petersburg with Von Tankard as my partner against the Shane Brothers.
AW: What was it like to be in the ring with those two VERY big men?
Justice: It was fun. I took a whole lot of stiff bumps (laughs.) They are very safe and they know what theyre doing in the ring.
AW: How did the team of Halo 13 with Livewire form?
Justice: Livewire and I went to the school together. We would get there three and four hours before class and work on stuff. We would watch tapes and even after two hours of training, we would work out another couple of hours. He had his own gimmick and since we were so similar in styles we decided to tag and it was a great time.
AW: When did your feud of Naphtali begin?
Justice: We began working together in SEW then here in IPW. I enjoy working with him because he can do anything. He can keep up, hes very safe and excellent timing.
AW: How did you end up working in England?
Justice: The first time I went there to work for All-Star it was courtesy of the Bug. He had a contact there. We went all over England for a week. We did our normal characters and didnt in-ring style. Most of their guys wear typical wrestling outfits and dont have gimmicks like the two of us. Our characters got over well with the fans, sometimes working in front of 3,500 people.
AW: How did you come to work for WWC in Puerto Rico?
Justice: Rico Casanova and Ron Niemi got me booked there for one show. I worked the opening match. It was crazy. My opponent and I had to leave in separate cars and leave at separate times. They are real big into the heel-baby storylines.
AW: Your 2002 started by winning the Florida Unified Cruiserweight title in a three way with the champion Jet Jaguar and Jimmy Rave. Any memories from that match?
Justice: It was great. I loved working with Jet. That was my first time working with Jimmy and he was very good. I worked with him again during my title reign and he was great. I was real surprised with the crowd response when I went over. I dont think they expected me to win.
AW: During your title reign you had a vast array of opponents. First, any comments on Seijin AKKI?
Justice: He is one of my favorite people to work. He is the stiffest person Ive ever been in the ring with but he makes you want to give it back to him. I hope to work with him again soon. You need to step your game up to keep up with him. He has great psychology and is a great competitor.
AW: At last years Rage In the Cage, you worked Jeremy Lopez of NWA Wildside.
Justice: Jeremy is a very solid mat wrestler. He doesnt do any real high flying moves, but hes got great suplexes and great wrestling knowledge. More than Ill ever have. The crowd wasnt too happy because we went to a time-limit draw. We got the bulls#@$ chant rained on us.
AW: Your former partner Livewire and the Bug were also challengers to the title.
Justice: I worked against them in a three-way in Deltona. Both of them are real fun to be in the ring with. Both are very knowledgeable and you have to step up to keep with their speed.
AW: Speaking of keeping up with someone, what was your match with Low Ki like?
Justice: He was very stiff. But besides that, our match did not go as we expected. In a three-way match like we had, you only get a few moves here and there. I dont think we got to fulfill what we could have done. We could have done more one on one.
AW: One other opponent was Jerelle Clark, the man you defeated to get tonights title shot. What is Mr. 630 like in the ring?
Justice: Ive known him since he debuted. He has improved about 600%. He can keep up with anyone and can do whatever you ask him to do. He is very creative and has no limitations on where he can go in this business.
AW: Most of the matches we touched on were three-way dances. Do you prefer that style or a regular one-on-one match?
Justice: I prefer the three-way format. Mostly because of my martial arts background. I love to watch martial arts/fighting movies and have always seen myself as a fight choreographer. I can create three way fight scenes. Theyre hard to remember but you get real creative.
AW: Your reign came to an end at the hands of the current champion Naphtali. Since then you have been chasing him. Any memories from that August loss to this match tonight?
Justice: It was smart the way he won the belt. I remember he got me with the BinoDriver 98 (I believe it is a small package.) He can do anything and has a whole ass load of skill. I dont want to talk about him anymore.
AW: At Independent Armageddon you stepped into a match with one of Shawn Michaels protégés, American Dragon. How did that match come to being?
Justice: I was supposed to be in the cruiserweight battle royal. I was to be co-winner with David Babylon and wrestle with Naphtali for the belts. AJ Styles was supposed to work Dragon but he injured his ankle playing basketball. All the crazy S$#@ he does in the ring and he gets hurt playing basketball. So Ron and the staff asked me to step in. I had only seen Dragon work on a Ring of Honor tape. I thought we came up with a great match. His style reminds me of Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko, everything he did was picture perfect.
AW: In March you traveled to Combat Zone Wrestling to compete in the Zandig Trifecta along with Jerelle and Steve Madison. In my interview with Steve he said the crowd popped big time for you guys.
Justice: We didnt expect to be over for us. I expected they would s#$% on everything we did. We came out to the ring and it was the total opposite. The fans knew who we were. Maybe they bought some IPW tapes. They bowed to me when I came out of the entrance. The fans were very smart. They knew their stuff. It was the greatest feeling in my career. We were the first match on the show. The crowd was only 700 but they sounded like 10,000.
AW: Do you prefer to be in a high speed match or have one where you use lots of psychology?
Justice: I like to work my psychology in with my high speed stuff. I love to make my spots mean something and get to one big move that means a lot.
AW: Any comments on the demise of FOW (Future of Wrestling?)
Justice: I only worked for him one time. Bobby Rogers had a good crowd there about 500 people. But I cant say anymore on it because I dont know the man well enough.
AW: Do you have any desires to work for NWA: TNA, Ring of Honor or WWE? Do you think your character would work well with their rosters?
Justice: I think it depends on the promoter whether I would fit in. Some people dont like my style or gimmick. I dont have any deep desire to work for TNA. If they called and asked for me I would go, but Im not busting my ass to get noticed by them.
AW: We sit here a few hours from another shot at the Unified Florida Cruiserweight title and Naphtali. Any last words for the fans and Naphtali on the match?
Justice: As always I will give 200% ad make it the best match I can have.
AW: I know you need to begin preparation for the match, so we will do a short word association list. First on the list, Seijin AKKI.
Justice: Very stiff, great psychology and he pours his heart in to every match.
AW: Jet Jaguar.
Justice: Not as stiff but being trained by Dean Malenko made him a great worker. He can keep up with the best in the business.
AW: Any comments on the fans of IPW Hardcore?
Justice: I love the fans here. They have gotten to see many different styles and have learned about mat wrestling, submissions and the use of psychology. So when we do something great, the pop and appreciation is there for us.
AW: Where do you hope to see Justice at the end of 2003?
Justice: I dont really know. I dont have any aspirations to leave IPW or travel around the world. I do this for the love of it not for the money.
Interviewers note: At Rage In the Cage 5, Justice won the titles from Naphtali. But in a post match fight, Naphtali and his manager Abudadein stole the belts.
Much thanks to Justice for his time. For information on where you can see Justice in person or how to buy IPW tapes/DVDs of the matches mentioned, log onto www.ipw-hardcore.com or www.ipwhardcore.tv.