DANNY DORING currently holds the MCW, MEWF and FTW heavyweight championships.He is a former two-time NWA Florida Heavyweight champion. Doring and his former, Amish Roadkill, were the last team to hold the ECW World tag team championship.Currently, Mr. Doring works IPW Hardcore/NWA Florida, MCW/MEWF and Ring of Honor. This is a full shoot covering Mr. Dorings beginnings in the business to his debut on NWA: Total Non-stop Action. It was conducted on Saturday August 16, 2003 before the IPW/NWA Florida Reign In Blood II show.
Alan Wojcik: Where did you grow up and was wrestling apart of your childhood?
Danny Doring: I grew up in a small town in New Jersey and pretty much wrestling was apart of my childhood right from the get go. I had a great aunt who was my babysitter. She watched wrestling with me on her 13 inch black and white television while my mom worked.
AW: I read somewhere in my research you were attending college and studying to be an architect when you decided to attend wrestling school.
DD:That is absolutely 100% true. I was in college I was working in a lumber yard paying off college and also working part time as a physical education teacher for a private school. I never thought wrestling was an option because I never knew how to get into training. A friend found a website for the ECW House of Hardcore. I went and checked it out and knew right away that is was something I wanted to do.
AW: What was it like being trained by Taz, the Dudley Boys and Perry Saturn?
DD: It was awesome we had lots of field trips to the park and finger sandwiches, Im kidding. It was pretty much the hardest thing Ive ever done. We were abused physically and mentally. We would do an hour and a half of training and having people verbally put down. Then we did an hour of cardio. Then came an hour of shark bait, which was basically shooting with the trainers. It was 5-10 minutes with anyone from Taz to Kronus to Mikey Whipwreck where you couldnt tag out. Then there were fun days where they would call you to the school and tell you drive to Pittsburgh and pick up guard rails. One day Chris Chetti and I had to check the hole used for a PPV. Other times we had to build a steel cage, one day we put up drywall in Tazs office or we were sent to New Orleans and pick up something. It was a fun year of training.
AW: Did you have any sympathy for the kids of WWE Tough Enough 1 who were trained by Taz?
DD:I have no sympathy for anything that they went through. I am not bitter about the shot they got. I watched the first episode watching them complain and I couldnt care less. They had a beautiful mansion and were in the hot tub a week after beginning popping percosets. They were pill heads a week into the business. They had state of the art facilities and got TV exposure.
AW: Who gave you the name Danny Doring and some of your nicknames like the Danaconda and Dastardly?
DD: Originally I was teaming with Roadkill before he got the gimmick. We were put together to go out there and get our asses kicked. Al Snow thought Roadkill looked like an Amish person. Once they made him Amish Roadkill they were going to make me into a porn star. They wanted to call me Dirk Doring after the character from Boogie Nights Dirk Diggler which just came out at the time. Two weeks later the WWF debuted Val Venis so that killed that idea. They still wanted me to be a perverted, playboy-type. They decided to call me Danny Doring and the Dastardly was added by Paul Heyman.
AW: How much of Danny (real last name deleted) is part of Danny Doring, then and now?
DD: I think there is more of me in the character now then when I was starting out in ECW. In ECW he was more of what I wanted to be. I wasnt real popular in school with the ladies and other people. He was an escape and people thought that is what I was really like. You know theres Danny Doring, hide the women (laughs.) I stayed to myself back then. Today he is a supped-up version of who I am today. Im a very confident person but Im not too out spoken.
AW: Who came up with your finisher the bareback and for those that have never seen you wrestle, describe the move?
DD: I came up with it. It is a version of the acecrusher or stone cold stunner. I wanted a finisher I could hit from anytime and anywhere, no matter how badly Ive been beaten. Kind of like the Jake Roberts DDT. Lots of people have mimicked it and its flattering.
AW: When you first started traveling and working for ECW what was your initial impressions of Paul Heyman?
DD: My first backstage experience was when I was still in training, part of Team Taz. It was at the ECW PPV, Barely Legal. Paul gave the most inspirational speeches Ive ever heard. I was so hyped up and I wasnt even close to wrestling a match. That was my introduction to Paul. Even as the years went by, even if you felt Paul was lying to you but you didnt care. You wanted to kill yourself for him. Some people call it drinking the kool aid. For all the bad things people bring up, Paul was a great motivator.
AW: During your early matches you worked Taz and Al Snow. What are your memories of your first time ever wrestling in front of a crowd and then wrestling two veterans like Taz and Al Snow?
DD: It was different since all of us in training feared Taz for a year, hoping he wouldnt come to school pissed off and then being in your first match with him was weird. I messed up in the match and then I got killed. Wrestling Al was different; he made me feel more comfortable. He was less intense than Taz. I felt very comfortable with Al but had to work into being comfortable with Taz, since I wanted to earn my trainers trust and respect.
AW: One of your first ECW PPVs was Cyberslam 98 with the Evil Fn Show Jerry Lynn. What was it like working Jerry?
DD: Roadkill and I had worked with Jerry in some house shows in tag matches with Tommy Rogers. That Cyberslam show was my first ECW arena match ever and Jerry made me look like a million bucks. I have an infinite amount of respect for Jerry. I often kid him about his age but he knows its a rib. I know he carried me that night and I respect him for that. I was scared as hell and he could have killed me but he made me look real good. Jerry is one of the best workers Ive ever seen.
AW: Speaking of being scared, what was it like to wrestle Sabu?
DD: Very nerve wracking the first couple times. Being a student of Taz and it was well documented that Taz and Sabu werent the best of pals. But Sabu was not as extreme as you would think. He never really cared and he was cool going over things. The many times we worked he made me feel comfortable as you could be.
AW: Were you a fan of being teamed with Roadkill?
DD: At the time I was part of the ring crew and happy to even get in the ring. I dont think either of us was happy with the pairing since we came from diverse backgrounds. Roadkill hated everyone from the ECW training school, Chris Chetti hated me and I hated him and Roadkill. So when we teamed up we didnt get along, then we had to travel and room together. All of us kind of got big brother syndromes. Chetti and I are real great friends today. Roadkill and I became tight. When we would room together, Roadkill would fall asleep around and wake around . I would stay out till and sleep until who knows when. Eventually it became like a marriage to the point that at a show I think in New Orleans I said, Kill I need some space. He agreed. We were getting on each others nerves. In ring we were fine but out of the ring it was different. After a short spilt we got back together again and had that run with the titles during the end of ECW.
AW: What was the ECW locker room like at the Arena and then doing house shows?
DD: It is hard to describe if youve never been in it. We had Taz, Saturn and the Dudleys. They were the locker room guys that you didnt want to do anything bad around. When they and Shane Douglas left, it became a party-type locker room. Around them you would never bring ladies in the locker room. When they were around I walked on egg shells and couldnt even look the valets in the eye. It was different in ECW because there were cliques but there wasnt the politics you here about in other locker rooms. It was a big family. Taz told me that it was different in the indy-type locker rooms and when I left ECW I realized how right he was. Ive never seen anything like the ECW locker room.
AW: What was it like to wrestle the Dudley Boys on ECW house shows?
DD: Ever been hit by a Mack truck (laughs??) We worked with them a handful of times. Their style was extreme and snug which was the ECW training style. I was cool with the idea Youre gonna get hit and everyone in the crowd is going to know it. Lots of the other teams were fan friendly and didnt like the Dudley style. Bubba Ray would go out of his way to take care of us when we worked the South Florida house shows. He would bring us down a week early and take us to the beach and nightclubs. Bubba looked out for us in and out of the ring. We need someone to show us the way and they gave us tough love.
AW: Speaking of tough love, what was it like being in a street fight with New Jack?
DD: (After a pause) Oh, I thought you meant an actual street fight. Ive been in and out of the ring with New Jack. He was really cool about things. He works the same extreme style. I was nervous and didnt do something right in the ring. He was cool and spoke to me about it after the match in a professional manner. It doesnt tickle getting hit with a metal crutch or a chair or a cookie sheet or stapled in the ass. You knew what was coming and he didnt try to kill me. I enjoyed getting in there and wrestle and also get hit with a cookie sheet, it helps round you off. (Without Dannys knowledge, New Jack was watching parts of this interview.)
AW: During most of 1999 and 2000, you and Roadkill feuded with the team of Nova and Chris Chetti.
DD: Bittersweet. Roadkill and Nova didnt get along. Roadkill and Chetti didnt get along and I didnt see eye to eye with Nova on certain things. So it was fun when youre trying to work out a match and everyone wants it to go a certain way. We had undeniable in-ring chemistry that Paul saw and thats why he let us work so many matches. This was around the time the Hardys were wrestling with Edge and Christian. We used that as inspiration. We wanted to have really good solid matches and I think we did.
AW: During the feud there were six person matches where Jazz teamed with Chetti and Nova. When I interviewed Steve Corino he gave some interesting memories of wrestling with Jazz. Do you have any stiff match memories?
DD: I had traveled with Jazz and she is tremendous. I wasnt intimidated even though the boys put her over as being stiff. She was a lady in the mans world so you knew she was going to bring it. What was I going to do run to Paul and say Jazz kicked me real hard. We were in the ECW arena with Lita (ECWs Miss Congeniality) as our partner. We used to slapping drills in training. Jazz made the save and she slapped me so hard that she came close to rivaling Taz in hardness. Roadkill used to tell her it was going to be snug. She never complained to anyone.
AW: You brought up Lita. Did you ever expect the success she got when she joined WWE?
DD: I dont think anyone saw that coming, even Lita. She Blew up. She went from being our valet and doing very little wrestling to being the WWE womens champion and all over the magazines. The night she got the offer we were working on our ECW contracts. I was stunned since we had great chemistry even though she didnt get along with Roadkill. Notice a pattern here (laughs??) Roadkill either liked you or hated you but Roadkill would ever sugarcoat things.I was sad because a friend was leaving. I talk to her often even to this day. She went from Essa Rioss sidekick to WWE diva. I hope someday I can have the success she has.
AW: When you finished your feud with Chetti and Nova, you went onto wrestle many different teams. First up was the Impact Players of Justin Credible and Lance Storm.
DD: Far different than the Dudleys. Lance is a perfectionist. He liked it his way and was very anal. Justin is the mellowest guys Ive ever met. When you would work out your match he would be, Its cool with me. Then hed get in the ring and be a totally different person. It was cool to work with a different style. They were very character driven. It was like a night off when we wrestled them, very little soreness and bruising. I was also able to wrestle Justin in some singles matches and he was a guy to bring everything out of you.
AW: You then moved onto a feud with current TNA workers Simon Diamond and Johnny Swinger.
DD: They had the Circus (Sideshow Freaks) behind them so that was different. Even though Simon was around the business longer then Roadkill and I, we were somehow considered the senior team in ECW. We were more relaxed and in the drive seat with more control than other teams in ECW. Simon lives in the neighborhood as I do and we are great friends, even going to the same gym with of all people Pedro Morales. I felt the matches were a step off but could never figure out why. It wasnt one of my favorite feuds but it was good solid wrestling. Beating on the Circus was fun.
AW: After Diamond and Swinger you wrestled Backstreet Boys members Joey Matthews and Christian York.
DD: I think we wrestled them at Anarchy Rulz and on some house shows. I loved them. They would bump all day for me. I will never forget Joeys face when he got told the match was on the PPV, he went ghost white. I never had a bad match with the two of them they are really professional. Joeys at the top of his game right now working singles matches.
AW: After the young guys you got involved with two ECW veterans named Tommy Dreamer and Raven.
DD: We got to go on the house shows with them. It was awesome to wrestle and travel with them. I was a sponge of knowledge whenever they were around They could get you over without doing anything. They had tremendous timing and mechanics in the ring. I would be punching Tommy and looking at Raven going wow look at that (laughs.) They really know what they are doing. Tommy is a good friend to this day.
AW: You and Roadkill were the last ECW World tag team champions by defeating the FBI (Tommy Mamaluke and Little Guido AKA Nunzio) at Massacre on 34th Street. Any memories of that show you wish to share?
DD: Yeah Guidos size 8 ½ going through my skull. It was the sweetest moment to hold the title in your hands. We put tons of work into getting there.Mamaluke took a tremendous bump for me. I kicked him in the head and he went into the guard rail, I did a double take going he really hit. Guido is one of the most underrated guys in the business. His work with Tajiri and Super Crazy was amazing. Holding those belts in the ManhattanCenter in front of my family and friends was a thrill.
AW: Speaking of big thrills, what is it like to be immortalized in the ECW Hardcore Revolution video game?
DD: I didnt fully appreciate until about three weeks ago when I visited my brother in college and they were playing the game. I forgot about it. Spike Dudley and I went to Acclaim and did the moves for the second game, wearing the white balls and body-tight black suit I think all of my past is hitting me now, how cool that stuff was.
AW: Im sure in other interviews this was a popular question but I will ask it anyway. Were there any hints that ECW would be going under?
DD: Yeah the checks started bouncing. There were some good times like after the TNN-TV deal went through. Then everything came full circle. After Massacre on 34th, there was a Queens show then a Philly show and another PPV. We used to work 4 weekends before a PPV, now were working two shows overall and we thought there was something wrong here. The last overall show in Pine BluffArkansas was supposed to lead to the PPV that never happened.We were driving there and there was a town called Baldknob and we couldnt stop laughing. On the last show Sandman brought everyone to the ring for a curtain call, like it was the last day of school. I said f#$k that Ill see everyone at the PPV, which of course never happened. It was weird because we always so close to going bankrupt and then we would pull out of trouble. When we stopped doing multiple weekend shows is when I knew the end was coming.
AW: Looking back on things, do you hold any ill will towards Paul Heyman?
DD: Nope. Everyone says Paul owes me money or Paul is a scumbag. I say if there wasnt a Paul Heyman there wouldnt be a Danny Doring. I wouldnt be able to wrestle on the indys today. Paul was responsible for putting me on DVDs which I got no money for (laughs,) 20 PPVs and national TV exposure. I wish he had called and told us ECW was going under. But I dont hold any ill will towards him for the way my career is currently.
AW: How long after ECW went under did you get a call to work a dark match for the WWE in MadisonSquareGarden?
DD: I was driving back from the Jersey shore and I got the call. I almost crapped myself in my car. I called Roadkill and we met to take the train into Penn Station (which for those never been there is under MadisonSquareGarden.) I had been in the WWE locker room before but never when I was competing for a job, so I was a bundle of nerves. If you grew up like you and I did, MadisonSquareGarden was the place for wrestling. It is the holy shrine of wrestling and when I came through the curtain 20,000 people were waiting for me. My heart almost went through my chest.We got a huge ECW chant. We did the first couple of spots and the NYC fans went nuts. It was the sweetest moment even though no one saw it.
AW: During your ECW run did WWE ever offer you any deals?
DD: I was contacted a few times and a couple of times I worked for WWE without Roadkill after ECW went under. If they offered me something I would have jumped in a second. From then to now has been a proving time to show I can work as a single performer.
AW: What led you from teaming with Roadkill to going solo in XPW?
DD: There wasnt a split but Roadkill has toned down his schedule due to personal reasons. After ECW folded, some promoters didnt like our asking price and we didnt want to split up. XPW called both of us to come in. Roadkill made a separate deal that went sour with (XPW owner) Rob Black. Roadkill felt different and I felt it was where I needed to go. So I went from going for the XPW tag titles to going for the XPW TV title.
AW: What were your first impressions of Rob Black AKA Rob Zicari?
DD: I had met him years ago through ECW. My first impressions of working for him was being shocked how much he knew about the business. However I didnt agree with several parts of his philosophies on the business. I was used to having lots of input in my matches, with Rob I had little input. It was difficult but he was paying the money even thought I didnt disagree. I expected to get bad treatment due to the ECW/XPW heat, but there was none.
AW: What were your feelings on XPW running in ECWs home base?
DD: I thought it was cool because Philly is a cool party town and I had lots of friends there.I didnt think we were building on hallowed ground, its a bingo hall. They went in and ran there but it will never be the ECW Arena.
AW: Did you feel when ECW went under there were companies trying to emulate ECW and were you a fan of the extreme violence?
DD: Every promotion was under the impression Roadkill and I wanted to do a TLC match. We did like 4 street fights in our entire ECW stay. We tended to do high-energy matches with little hardcore. On the indies everyone wanted us to turn up the violence. We did more on the indies then we did in ECW. Something like the King of the Death matches, I believe there is place for it but not every match. Some companies do that stuff for 10 matches straight and its boring. ECW was like buffet of styles.
AW: Being you worked for Rob Black and Lizzy Boren AKA Janet Romano, what do you think of their current legal troubles?
DD: I dont really care, since they bounced a check on me. As well as they treated me THEY BOUNCED A CHECK ON ME without re-paying me and that doesnt sit well. I hope they either settle their troubles or go to jail and serve their time. Danny Doring will wake up tomorrow and deal with Danny Dorings problems.
AW:We are sitting backstage at a IPW/NWA Florida show. How did you come to work for these two companies?
DD: NWA Florida and IPW are co-promoted by Joe Price and Ron Niemi. Joe brought me in for the NWA Florida title tournament last year. Roadkill was going to come down but something happened once again. I had met Joe when I was in ECW. Everyone accepted me with open arms and its great to come back here every few weeks.
AW: When you came in for the NWA Florida title tournament you worked former IPW World champion Agent Steele. Do you remember working him and how different is he from that match until today?
DD: I think he has improved. We did a basic second round match. It was clear cut. I have seen some of his recent stuff and but I can only say his intensity level has gone way up.
AW: In the finals you lost and won the title from Steve Corino. How did you lose and win the title in the same match?
DD: I stole a trick from Justin Credible. The night Tommy Dreamer won the ECW World title from Taz; Justin goaded Dreamer into a title shot by badmouthing Dreamers family.So I lost the match to Corino in around 15-20 minutes which was fun since I never wrestled Steve in a singles match. We had only been in tag matches in ECW. He beat me with a cheesy small package where he held my tights and pulled my hair. I goaded him into a rematch and he gave it to me. Take your hats off to me as I outsmarted the lad that night. Granted I hit him with my finish five times to get the belt and not allow him to try and insult my family. I had taken a year or two off of ECW and it was great to work someone that you shared a locker room with but never a ring.
AW: Your first title reign ended at the IPW/NWA Florida show called Declaration of Independents by losing to the Fallen Angel Christopher Daniels in a match that also included Scoot Andrews and Mike Sullivan.
DD: I didnt know Sullivan all that well but Ive known Christopher for a while. Scoot and I met in Chicago a couple years before that. Losing the title was cool but you really dont want to lose the belt. Scoot put me through a table that night. Daniels title reign only lasted 24 hours. Sullivan was supposed to be part of the match but I think he got sick or something. So it was me, Daniels and Scoot. Later in the night I got revenge on Scoot by putting him and Daniels through a table during a 30 man royal rumble style battle royal where the way to be eliminated was going through a table. Scoot and I were on a turnbuckle fighting while Daniels was lying prone on a table. As Scoot and I fell off, I turned Scoot so he made impact with Daniels while I landed safely. It was real sweet to walk out with the title and no splinters in my backside.
AW: During the second reign you wrestled the current IPW World champion Lex Lovett.
DD: I remember Jimmy Del Ray was involved and Dory Funk Jr. was the referee. Both of us wanted to do a wrestling clinic but we had to cut half of our stuff out do the size of the show we were working on. We thought it could have been better but thats wrestling.
AW: Your second reign ended at the Aftermath when you lost to Billy Fives in a bullrope match where Agent Steele was the guest referee.Did you think that was fair for Steele to be involved and immediately after your match he challenges for and wins the belt?
DD: I remember being hit with the Forces of Nature by Scoot Andrews and getting caught on his belt buckle, so I was busy getting my cut open forehead fixed. However with Steele and Fives inner heat it would work in my way, but it didnt. I should have petitioned the championship committee for another official but cant go backwards.
AW: This past May you were a participant in both nights of the Jeff Peterson Memorial Cup. On night one you teamed with Mikey Tenderfoot to take on Scoot Andrews and Mike Sullivan. What do you think of Mikey and what are your feelings on the Alliance of Defiance?
DD: My feelings on the Alliance of Vaginas feud.
AW: Everyone that hates them calls them that.
DD: I think it was fun. Mikey reminds me of a pinball machine, he bounces all over. He does stuff I could never do in the ring and I consider myself a great athlete. I thought we meshed really well that night. I normally dont feel in-ring chemistry with anyone other than that fast Amish bastard (laughs.) I teamed up with him one more time against Rod Steel and agent Steele. I think Mikey has tremendous potential.
AW: On night two you teamed with Steve Corino to take on the then NWA Florida tag team champions the Shane Brothers.Memories on that match and what is your current medical status from the shoulder injury you received in that match.
DD: That was great week for me. The week before, I tore my MCL hitting a frog splash during a match in Pennsylvania. I also had a disc problem in my back. The night before the show I came down for the two shows I was in Maryland where I had a gauntlet match where I had to go through three other guys with my hurt knee and back. I was in the ring for about thirty minutes totally hurt so that made for a fun plane ride down. I made it through the first night with Mikey. The second night was interesting just because Steve and I teamed up. I wrestled hurt and separated my shoulder. My body told me its time to take a break. I was supposed to fly up to Delaware for a show on Sunday and my shoulder popped out during that nights sleep. Sitting here with you Im not 100% even though Ive been rehabbing. Im about 85%. Those two guys were wrestling like two Volkswagens; you cant pick them up and toss them around. We tried to make it more comedic then hardcore and technical. By that point in the evening the crowd had seen every flip and trick and submission due to the tournament. Steve also got hurt in that match, he twisted his ankle. We were pretty good as a team being black and blue together.
AW: How did you come to be involved with Ring of Honor?
DD: They asked me to come to their show which was held two towns from my house. Everyone was surprised saying thats not your style of work, youre an entertainer. Hell thats not my style. I trained in a dojo with a Judo expert and an Airborne ranger!! Ive been trained in the strong style that Ring of Honor uses. I use a different style these days. If youre paying me to come in and wrestle that style, Ill wrestle that style. I did a run-in and CM Punk insulted me. Later in the night his buddy Colt Cabana ran in on Punks match with Raven. So I got involved and then Tommy Dreamer got involved, making a small ECW reunion. Im going to do some dates for them in the future. I look forward to seeing if I can combine the entertaining Danny Doring with the Strong style/ROH Danny Doring.
AW: A couple of weeks ago you made your debut on NWA: Total Non-stop Action in a match with Michael Shane, Shark Boy and Joey Matthews. Who approached you and what was it like to wrestle in the Tennessee Fairgrounds AKA the TNA Asylum?
DD: I was called with an offer for an Xplosion match. Scott Diamore (sic) called me and told me that I was going to be on the live PPV. They told me the match was an X-Division match. I had never seen their PPV and didnt know the style but being in a match with three guys I know was helpful. We sat down and made the match up.
AW: From your knowledge of the business what did you think of the concept of a weekly two hour PPV and do you think it can survive with Ring of Honor, MLW and IPW Hardcore?
DD: I think the concept is different and most people didnt get the idea when they began. I dont know their buy rates. They either have sponsors or are making money. Either way they are an alternative to other groups like WWE. If you think in a business sense, if I open a restaurant Im probably going to lose money in my first year. But if you bring in the right talent you can make noise and have a shot. Every business is a risk. Maybe the weekly PPV isnt the way to go but its a place for guys to work every week. The building was great. Their backstage area was great and looser than I expected. They take care of their guys even feeding them. The only other thing I can say is they are still around and seem able to handle the backlash from the fans and critics.
AW: One final question. If the WWE called you tomorrow would you take their deal?
DD: I am a free agent and my goal is to be in the WWE, since those days of watching it on black and white TV. I think I belong there. Ive set my goals high and met every goal Ive set. I wanted to play semi-pro football and Ive done it. I wanted to be a professional wrestler, Ive done it. Said I was going to wrestle on PPV, Ive done it. I think I am going to be in the WWE. If I dont I think Ill look back on things and be happy but Im not. Once youre satisfied you are finished, thats in life or in wrestling.