ROD STEEL is one of the most outspoken independent wrestlers I have ever met. He is a former IPW World champion, having lost the title to a former member of the Alliance of Defiance Billy Fives at UnchartedTerritory. He recently saw the ending of a bloody and brutal feud with former AOD referee turned wrestler Mikey Tenderfoot at the IPW 5th Anniversary show in an I Quit match, which he lost. On September 6th at Unholy War, Mr. Steel came to the ring apparently to help his fellow AOD members beat on Tenderfoot and Justice after an elimination tag team match. Instead Steel turned his back on the AOD and joined up with his friend Tenderfoot. This interview will carry us from the last time I talked to Steel, which was in January, up to the current day. Besides wrestling, steel is the producer of IPW Hardcores TV show, which he will mention a few hundred times.This interview was conducted in the plush offices of Tenderfoot, Tenderfoot and Steel. I apologize beforehand, Steel can talk anyone under the table and I did not attempt to edit any of his comments or ramblings. You have been warned. To see the previous interview click on the archives section and Rod's photo.
AW: When we talked in January you were days away from a title versus title match with then NWA World champion Jeff Jarrett. What was it like to wrestle Jarrett and see Mikey Tenderfoot get blasted with a guitar?
Rod Steel: I got to tell you watching Mikey take the shot, I thought damn that hurt. All things considered it was a great match. People will look in the record book and ignore the DQ and see it was a win for Rod Steel. Jarrett was the ultimate professional. He is the most known person Ive been in the ring with besides Spike Dudley. There was no Im a f$%king star stuff. They were cool. Of course if you want to look at the grand scheme things, Rod Steel as the up and coming third going into my fourth year star and I have held the holy quinella (Is that a word??) The IPW light heavyweight championship, IPW World tag team champion, TV champion despite what Frankie Capone, CBG Anderson and the others say I was the best TV champion ever. More importantly the last piece of the puzzle was the IPW World title. Being a world champion, Jeff Jarrett let emotion get the best of him that night. He was too busy thinking about hitting Mikey Tenderfoot and getting that guitar of his to use on me or Mikey. Truth be told we came home to the office of Tenderfoot, Tenderfoot and Steel and talked about how clubbered Mikey got, even though we got him some female companionship to help heal his wounds.It was a great time even though I should have walked way with the NWA world title. I may not be the biggest, strongest or fastest guy out there but I am one of the smartest.
AW: Not long after that match you made a trip to Nashville for an NWA: TNA dark match with Lex Lovett as your partner.
RS: TNA was great; I got to see how an organization is run. Their TV is second to none; they have great guys running things in the back. This time here and now the WWE is the only real game in town, TNA is a great alternative. Its not as good as IPW television which is on UPN-44 Friday nights at . Seriously its a great program and has great wrestlers like former IPW World champion AJ Styles, Jimmy Rave, Sonny Siaki and Raven. Siaki was one of the nicest guys to meet. I also got to meet Dusty Rhodes which was for a Ric Flair mark like I am was great. I always wondered why Flair called him Larry Bird sometimes in interviews. Dusty had a Boston Celtics basketball with him and it all made sense to Mikey and I. We did the typical indy-style trip with Lex Lovett, sandwiches and drinks in the cooler. Lex is great and he has so much personality. Lex is the closest thing on the IPW roster to a prototypical wrestler we have. He fits the Japanese mold. Here is a guy that is a great wrestler even though the fed probably wont take him due to his stature. I did learn a secret that Lex has been to every zoo in the world. He has been there with the cheerleading stuff in his youth and college. Mikey and I were speechless.
AW: Wish I had footage of that. After your return to IPW, you defended the title against Lovett at Valentines Vengeance. What is it like to wrestle him?
RS:Lex is really good. Back in the NWA Florida/Rod Steel turncoat days we knew each other. Its a shame that the fans dont understand what he is doing. He is a wrestler not an entertainer. In that match many say I had the X factor in Mikey Tenderfoot. But actually a show before that match I beat Antonio Banks without Mikey. Lex is now the IPW World champion and the reason is that after I lost the title I never got my rightful rematch at the title, (sorry little foreshadowing on the part of Rod.) Lex will so succeed in Japan. Here in the US, his style is not gotten by the people; he is a throwback to the days of Verne Gagne and Lou Thesz.
AW: That same night the AOD machine had a small break down as the Shane Brothers won the Florida Unified (IPW World/NWA Florida) tag team titles from Scoot Andrews and Mikey Tenderfoot, who substituted for Mike Sullivan. After that match you guys kicked out Billy Fives.
RS: Hold it right there. Lets clear the air on that. It was never my call to boot out Billy Fives. That was Scoot Andrews. He was never comfortable with Billy or me. He likes guys like Mike Sullivan. He likes Mike because he is complacent (get out your dictionary gang.)Scoot doesnt like the young lions like Rod Steel.He is too busy over who is leading who. He tells me we need to get rid of Billy. I told him Billy is an integral part of the AOD. He is mean and gets the job done. Scoot said no, Billy isnt a team player and is all about himself. So he was gone. I listened to a guy like Scoot who has been all over the world. But his allegiance was never clear to me. Mike Sullivan wanted to cater to the fans as the Freedom Ryder. What the fans didnt know is once he was in the back; Mike would take off the paint and laugh at them. There is no doubt that the fans and I dont see eye to eye. Scoot always told me my rematch will be coming and he would take care of me. When Scoot won the unified titles from Billy Fives (foreshadowing again) where was my rematch?? Scoot brought up Mikey Tenderfoot and told me he was the problem. I listened to everyone else like Howard Brodie and Mike Peskin. Kicking Billy out showed me things.I now see what these guys for what they are. Scoot Andrews, Mike Sullivan, and Bruce Steele or lets just call him Ike Turner, beating on Tiffany. I beat on women but I cant tell you how since this is g-rated. Lets just say there is a reason why they call me the Miami Pound Machine. I know we are jumping around but lets keep going. Roderick Strong here is another knucklehead we brought into the group. Im foreshadowing again but you might hint to all of this in your pre-hype piece but Im gonna break down the AOD for you. Last week you saw Rod Steel return to his roots with Mikey Tenderfoot. Mikey and I have been together since training. Scoot only took notice of me after I won the all the IPW titles. I brought prestige to those titles. Scoot is going around with a broken hand. He isnt fooling anyone. He will go off that I was unappreciative. Guys like Mikey Tenderfoot and I are whats happening here in IPW. Not the AOD, not Ron Niemi and his gorillas the Shane Twins. Let me get a sip of some cool and refreshing Sparks.
AW: You defended the title impromptu style against a former student, Comic Book Guy Anderson, now wishing to be called Brian the Stretcher Anderson at the Leland school show.
RS: Brian is from the long line of the Anderson family mind you. In all seriousness he came down to the school and he had a good base when I began training the students. His psychology is beyond many of the other students at the Wrestleplex. Im not dissing Pretty Fly and Boules Azoules but they see the new school wrestling spotfests like the SAT or the Hardys. Brian came into training and got the psychology of the bumping and moves. He has the intangibles to go further in this business. He truly is an Anderson. He isnt CW Anderson who s a pale comparison to the Andersons. I dont know why he is aligning with Double Douche I mean Double Deuce.
AW: Before the Billy Fives title versus title match, you had one with his protégé David Babylon at March Badness.
RS: David Babylon got the chance of a lifetime to wrestle me that night. On March 1st one of my students dropped me on my shoulder doing my old finisher the F5, which was before Brock Lesnar, look at the tapes from Future Is Now TV taping at the VWF hall and there I am doing it in September of 2001. Anyways Pretty Fly dropped me and dislocated my collar bone which is still dislocated today. Being the world champion you dont take the night off no matter what happens. Every night you walk the aisle. Babylon got lucky by getting match with me, the booking gods blessed him. He was good. I really have a hard time saying anything bad about him. He has a bad attitude, maybe Billy didnt beat on him enough.Or he did and David doesnt care. Truth he is never had a chance with me. World champion versus a cruiserweight, he didnt have a moment of hope.
AW: Now we come to the sensitive topic of the UnchartedTerritory show where you lost the IPW World title to Billy Fives. Mikey Tenderfoot gave his version of what happened (see Mikey's interview page) what are you feelings on what went down in that match?
RS: Thats a match I have watched over and over and over. This all in a way goes back to Scoot. I wont make excuses about my injury but watching that tape, you can see my shoulder bulging out of place. True champion I am I went and busted my ass in there. Mikey got knocked out during the match and Star Stevens made the three count. I listened to Scoot who talked in my ear. He told me it was Mikey who screwed me out of the title. I should have known my friend wouldnt screw me but I was blinded. But I listened to someone else and I wont let that happen again. I wasnt 100 percent for that match. Even with me at 100 percent, Billy was going to be challenge. He has been everywhere in the world. I think if you look forward to the matches I had with Mikey, the AOD was out there to tell me I wasnt beating on Mikey enough. They werent there to help me hold onto the title. They were worried about their matches. They werent out there for the I Quit match (Rod will stop foreshadowing any moment now.) Scoot was my Costello to my Abbott. I was the straw that stirred the drink known as the AOD.
AW: At Rage in the Cage 5, it seemed Mikey had enough of Bruce (then Agent) Steele and the AOD and counted his shoulders down in his title match with Billy Fives. What was your reaction when Mikey screwed Bruce and then began to fight with you?
RS: The problem was I listened to the rest of the AOD. I believed them and not my friend. Scoot told me we couldnt let Mikey get away with it. Looking back the AOD meant nothing to me; it was just a vehicle to get Scoot and Mike over. All the AODs popularity, toughness and skill were in Rod Steel. We werent a conformist group like the nWo or some of the other groups out there. We wanted to give the best wrestling product to the fans. Im cocky but not as bad as those guys.
AW: From Rage in the Cage 5 until the IPW 5th Anniversary show, you and Mikey beat the living hell out of each other. Was there ever a concern from your family or the IPW office that you guys might be going too far with some of the stuff you did including the I Quit match?
RS: To step put of character Mikey and I talked about it and we decided to put on the most brutal feud ever. Its no secret we are roommates and are best friends. We talked about making each match better than the last one. Its about the show and the fans liking it. We have fans say how did you do what we did. We want to be the best wrestling product. We went to doing spots on the ramp. In thee I quit match we paid homage to Mosawa and Kowada I think thats there names, they did the double underhook suplex onto the floor. Then we did a Terry Funk-Ric Flair spot, which was the plastic bag on the head. Then we did the Magnum TA-Tully Blanchard I quit match from Starrcade 1985, where Mikey dug part of the broken table into my forehead. It was a match for the fans. We wanted them to say thats a fantastic match.The people who commentated on it on our UPN-44 show Friday nights at watch it better than the fed. I should know I produce it. During the match you could hear the sounds of disgust and awe from the crowd. Ron Niemi was in shock. He said it was one of the most hardcore matches ever done. Ron is like father to me in this business. He put Mikey and I on the map. I knew Mike was going to win the match. I know he wouldnt give up. We killed each other our goal was to make people like Ron, who is an encyclopedia of wrestling, go wow thats a great match.
AW: As we sit here you are a fan favorite once again, after being a heel for so long.You brought it up in spurts, so tell me why did you walk away from the AOD and go back to your friend Mikey Tenderfoot?
RS: Its been a running joke that I am the clique killer. The Professionals (a group that included Jeff Bradley, Pat Powers and Pat McGroin) the Curtainjerkers (a tag team with Mark Zout.) I left the AOD because there was nothing in it for me. As long we were his boys it was fine. Ill never get a shot at the NWA Florida title due to the booking committee. I will bide my time. I dont wish to be part of a four horseman knock off. We brought in Bruce Steele and Roderick Strong because Scoot saw them as potential. No one asked me about them. Whatever opponents they would wrestle, I can take. I have always been about being with the ladies not doing politics. Scoot has no choice; I am able to control my destiny. Mike, Scoot, Bruce and Roderick are great athletes but they cant hold a candle to me. Scoot and Sullivan have been wrestling for 100s of years and Ive held more titles then them. The fans might be behind me, all I want to do is win. I am going to be with Mikey and Justice. Justice has the most amazing martial arts background. The AOD is nothing without me.
AW: As you have mentioned a few times, UPN-44 is where the IPW Hardcore TV show is aired. You are the producer of the show along with Mikey Tenderfoot.How has it changed from when you took over?
RS: Friday nights at , watch it. IPW has been on for over one hundred weeks. I took over about thirty weeks ago from Eddie Emlett who was doing everything, who is a daddy now congrats on Julia. He has been bleeding IPW since day one. He was working with some unfortunate issues like bad sound and it had nothing to do with Eddie. He did the TV and the IPW website plus helping manage a household and a job that was thankless to him. When he found out they were expecting he approached me to take over the show.I watched how he did the show and our first couple of weeks were shaky. Eddie lost his excitement because it was so hard to get things like voiceovers done. Now we do voiceovers on Sunday and Monday nights. We put TV together on Tuesday and UPN has it on Thursday and it airs on UPN-44 on Friday at . Mikey and I are a well oiled machine. We do the commercials and video packages. Eddie was fighting tooth and nail to get by on his own. I am lucky to have Eric Lloyd and Head doing camera and Mikey as well. Right now TV is at the level where if we had the money, manpower and time we could rival WWE or NWA: TNA or MLW. Matter of fact Ill put my worst show against MLWs best show. I will say it now MLWs TV show sucks. Thats right ROD STEEL SAYS MLW SHOW BLOWS GOAT. Their dubbing is off, the camera work is awful and it is a commercial fest. Our show is 58 minute and 30 seconds and maybe four minutes is commercials. We pay for our time. When we air three wrestling matches in a show, I feel bad for the fans because they deserve more. WWE puts seven minutes of wrestling in an hour. MLW puts a match with Christopher Daniels and Sabu and you get it interrupted with their website or t-shirt plugs. Court Bauer talked about his TV product in his interview. Hes got his daddys money and that the best product you can put on TV?? Spend some money my way and Ill beat it. Wrestling fans should be pissing on his show. Then he went off that you cant let the IPW guys into my show as they will cause havoc. We were civilized and watched Terry Funk and Jerry Lawler who isnt even on their next show due to some crazy stuff.I piss the whole stinking lot of them Guys like Sonjay Dutt or B-Boy got to your show because Mikey and I picked them up at the airport and drove them to it. That really pissed me off. Back to your initial question sorry I tend to vent. Honestly we make some mistakes on our TV show but we can only get better. With a talent roster that has just to name a few Frankie Capone, Pat Powers, Pat McGroin, Pretty Fly, Boules Azoules, Antonio Banks, David Babylon and the Vandalz. That is part of a roster not one or two stars and some no bodies. Guys on our shows would main event anywhere else in the country. Working with we have in my humble opinion the best show on the air.
AW: As my tape begins to end we shall close with a final question. This year you made the PWI 500 at number 370. What are your thoughts on it?
RS: I would look at past PWI 500s and not see my name. I thought it happens with 1000s of guys out there. But I think it was (PWI Managing Editor) Brandi Mankiewicz who deserves many thanks as well as the IPW office including Ron Niemi and Aaron Royal. To go from not being in it to debuting at 370 ahead of Bruce Steele, Roderick Strong, Frankie Capone and Chasyn Rance was amazing. It is an honor to be on it.
Thanks to Rod Steel for taking time out of his busy day. As Rod might have mentioned IPW Hardcore can be seen on WTOG UPN-44 Friday nights at .