STEVE MADISON is a member of 911 Incorporated, which includes THE SHANE BROTHERS and 'Hardcore Giant' RON NEIMI.
'The Modern Miracle' is currently feuding with former partner LEX LOVETT,
who betrayed him at the IPW/NWA Florida Independent Armageddon event. The Shane Brothers and Neimi came out to make the save,
thus inducting Madison into 911 Inc., taking the place of the injured JET JAGUAR.
Mr. Madison is a Tampa native and has had extensive training with wrestling legends JIMMY DEL RAY, STEVE KEIRN,
EDDIE GUERRERO, as well as current IPW stars DENNIS KNIGHT and BUCK QUARTERMAINE. Mr.
Madison made his NWA: TNA dark match debut in January and most recently wrestled in Combat Zone Wrestlings Zandig Trifecta
tournament. Mr. Madison sat down for this interview a few days after returning from a successful tour with Riki Choshus World
Japan promotion, where he worked the likes of KENSUKE SASAKI and TOMOAKI HONMA.
Alan Wojcik: What got
you into hooked on professional wrestling?
Steve Madison: It was
something I watched throughout my childhood. I went through a big spurt in high school while I was playing baseball. I started
going to the Tampa Armory to see NWA Florida shows when Howard Brodie was running it. I figured the easiest way to get in
the business was to talk to Brodie and run a fundraiser for my high school, Chamberlain High in Tampa. I did all the leg work including making up promotional fliers. I got the school to back me and pay for everything.
Thats what got my interest peaked.
Antonio Bank$ stops by
Antonio Bank$: What were
you like 14?
SM: I was 17 thank you.
I started wrestling in June of 2001.
AW: You were trained by
Steve Keirn and Jimmy Del Ray. What was the school like?
SM: Steve and Jimmy are
the best trainers. Theyve trained a whole list of guys. Steve has 30 years in the business and Jimmy was one of the first
high-fliers, so you get the best of both of world from them. Its unreal the knowledge they have to offer someone. Steve Keirn
is one phone call away from Vince McMahon and Jerry Brisco. I called Jimmy and Steve non-stop during my Japanese tour. I have
too much respect for them.
AW: How did Eddie Guerrero
come into your training group?
SM: When Eddie got suspended
from the WWE for drinking problems, he came to Keirns school to work out and get ready to go back to the WWE and trained for
six months. He got into trouble again and was told they wouldnt hire him back. So he came back to the school again, but this
time he didnt remember my name. But we got reacquainted and moved on. I learned everything I could from him. He would bring
guys to workout with. He can teach you the Japanese style, technical things and he was a super nice guy to be around.
AW: What did you take
from Dennis Knight?
SM: He had just come off
working for the WWE and he had a load of stories and experience. I had never worked with such a big guy as he is. Thats what
I learned from him, how to work a big guy as opposed to smaller guys like Eddie or Steve and Jimmy.
AW: Who was your first
match against and any memories of it?
SM: It was against the
Lebanese Assassin for SPWF at Kahunas Bar & Grill in September of 2001. I dont remember much of it except this little
bit. I had seen Buck Quartermain wrestle at the Armory and he was the first indy guy I took a liking to me and he became a
mentor. He used to a top rope leg drop. I thought I could do that in a match. Well I got the Assassin down and went to do
it but he was too far away. So I got down, rolled him closer, went back up, came off and sat right on his head, ouch. But
I won the match even though no one counts wins and losses in this business.
AW: How did you get the
Big Man on Campus nickname?
SM: Howard Brodie gave
it to m, as well as the last name of Madison. I couldnt use my real last name even though my real first name is Steven.
So we went through the US Presidents last names and Madison stuck.
He then said to me, You know Steven when I get you in the Armory I want to have a Varsity guy. I want to call you the BMOC.
I was so happy to be in the business that I ran with it and ran it into the ground. I still get ribbed about it.
AW: How did you get involved
in Dusty Rhodes promotion Turnbuckle Championship Wrestling?
SM: All the footwork I
did for Howard Brodie. Anytime he could get me on a show he could. I worked for them in December 2001 working matches against
Lex Lovett and Lethal Luther Biggs, who is a Disco Inferno type of guy. I stunk the place up, but thats ok. I got to go back
recently to work Cohagus, (sic) which I did better on.
AW: How did you get the
shot to join IPW Hardcore?
SM: I came to a tryout
and they took a liking to me. But then I did a cruiserweight battle royal and stunk the place up. I didnt get called back
for a long while. I had no shame for working for anyone on a beg, borrow and steal basis. Ron Niemi still hadnt heard of me.
He calls it not being on his radar. I didnt go back for along time because I made myself work every Friday and Saturday night
to get ready for another shot. When I felt ready I begged Jimmy to call Ron and get me another shot. I worked Havoc and then
got my ass beat on by the Shane Twins. They thought I did a good job and Ive been coming back ever since.
AW: Not long after you
joined you were partnered with Lex Lovett. What brought that team together?
SM: Shortly after I worked
against Havoc, Lex and I teamed and worked the Shanes for their XWF TV taping match. People began to say how we looked like
brothers and we should team up. We got the same gear and away we went. Im going to shoot about Lex. I enjoyed working with
Lex, he was a super cool guy as a partner. He was another guy when I went to the Armory for matches I liked. To be in the
ring with him was an honor.
AW: Speaking of the Shanes,
what is it like to be in the ring with two very big men?
SM: When it came to Mike
and Todd it was easy. I know my place and Im not going to try and pick those guys up and slam them. I took my beating and
I did the best I could. I too bumps that I know I could take and make them look good. I have nothing but good things to say
about Mike and Todd.
AW: According to some
folks I talked to, you were involved with Summerslam 2002. What was your involvement?
SM: This past July, Steve
Keirn called me and said Rock was making a comeback and needed some guys to workout with. I was sitting on the couch hanging
with Buck Quartermain and Steve Chamberlain when I got the call. I went with the two of them and another guy. We worked out
with him and they filmed a promo to be run for TV. It was really cool experience I will remember for a long time.
AW: You had a one-shot
tag team experience with Jerelle Clark and you turned on him. Why would you do such a thing?
SM: Basically I considered
myself a blah wrestler at that time, not the Modern Miracle that I am now. When I say a blah wrestler I mean without a gimmick
like Rastaman or Kubiak. I just walked out there as myself and worked and the fans didnt take to me. I needed to do something
unusual and beating up Jerelle Clark was the thing that did it.
AW: During a three way
dance at Independent Armageddon with David Babylon and the Florida Unified Cruiserweight Champion Naphtali, your partnership
with Lex Lovett ended when he turned on you.
SM: I had David Babylon
beat to become the champion, when out came Lex and Jimmy Del Ray. They pulled me from the ring and beat me up. Ron Niemi and
the Shanes came out to save me. Ron had talked to me about join 911 Incorporated since Jet Jaguar was retiring. I think he
said he needed another pasty skinned cruiserweight for the group. I fit the bill but I went and got a tan (laughs.) No hard
feelings though to Lex and Jimmy.
AW: Do you prefer singles
to tag and why?
SM: I prefer singles.
Its kind of like playing golf. If you mess up, you mess up on your own. In tag work its harder to get things in you would
like to with three other opinions. But I prefer to put the match over not just me.
AW: In January you got
a NWA:TNA dark match. What are your memories of that night in Nashville?
SM: Getting the call for
TNA was very cool, my first PPV-type atmosphere. I went with the Strongs (Roderick & Sedrick) and Agent Steele. The drive
up was lots of fun. As for the way we were treated by TNA, we only got to do a 3-4 minute match. It wasnt what I would have
liked to have had. I thought more like 6 or 7 minutes to get stuff in. They sh#$ on the match, called it the worst match they
had ever had there. Im going back in April to get another shot though.
AW: After your return
from TNA you worked with cruiserweights like David Babylon, Justice and the champion Naphtali. Do you prefer that style or
do you like to work with heavyweights?
SM: When I worked the
cruiserweights, I wanted to work heavyweights. Now that Im working heavyweights, I want to work cruiserweights (laughs.) Naphtali
and those guys can dance and wrestle. I can wrestle but I cant dance. I cant do the flip floppy stuff they can do. They are
very acrobatic and athletic. Ron saw that and took me away from the division. Tonight I worked Frankie Capone and thought
it was a great match. I like to think I can work either style.
AW: On March 8th
you went to Combat Zone Wrestling for the Zandig Trifecta. What was that experience like?
SM: I had a great time.
I went there with Justice, Jerelle Clark and Ron Niemi. Rons my manager but I never got to sit down and talk to him outside
the locker room. That trip Ron was in my face for 48 hours and we talked a lot. Justice and Jerelle worked a three way with
me and we had what I thought was a hell of a cruiserweight match. I cant do the 5-miunte high spots they do but I went out
and held my own. I got to work in the ECW Arena in front of 800 people. They appreciated that I couldnt do the flip-floppy
stuff but tried to keep up with Justice and Jerelle. I envy them and Babylon and Naphtali
for those moves they do.
AW: What was your initial
response to the call from Riki Choshus World Japan promotion, inviting you to be on their first tour?
SM: I went and talked
to everyone I could about Japan. From Christopher Daniels went I went to TNA to Rastaman, Steve Keirn and
Jimmy Del Ray. I wanted to be so prepared and professional when I got there. I had a hell of a time. When I got there it was
AW: How does the Japanese
ring-style differ from the American ring-style?
SM: I got in good with
the Japanese. No one tried to beat the crap out of me. I work Kenso Suzuki the first night. He was what they call a young
lion, he was a former rugby player. Next night was with Yatsu, an older wrestler. I worked with Big Vito against the Shanes
and had a typical Shanes style match. Fourth night, I worked former NOAH champion Tomoaki Honma. NOAH is a very physical style
of promotion. The last night I worked Kensuke Sasaki, who was just a big Samoan type of guy. None of the guys were real stiff,
they are just big guys. I went about 12 minutes every night. The crowd really liked me for my effort and I had a great time
AW: Did the way the Japanese
fans view a match, in almost total silence, throw you off at all?
SM: Not at all. It was
easier for me to concentrate on what I was doing. The fans over there will pop for what they like. They pop for the false
finishes unlike some of the fans in America do. Its hard to compare because they are different cultures.
AW: Word association.
Your manager Ron Niemi.
SM: Rons a killer guy
who cant be summed up in three words. Hes helped my career so much.
AW: Antonio Bank$.
SM: Antonio Banks is a
killer worker. He does things that Ive never seen a big guy do in the ring. He has a great look and a great future ahead of
AW: Lex Lovett.
SM: Lex is great. A former
cheerleader that can do stuff in the ring I can never dream of doing. Hes a great guy to know in this business. A little strange
but once you get passed that side and you get his respect, there is no kinder soul in this business.
AW: The Shane Brothers.
SM: Mike and Todd are
two big goofballs but you got to like them. They are so into what they do.
AW: The Alliance of Defiance.
SM: I respect all those
guys. I cant say one bad thing about any of them.
AW: The Fans of IPW.
SM: Theyre just getting
to know me. Seems like when I go out there its Here comes Steve and the crowd goes mild. Things are happening to change that.
I think they are buying into the Chris Benoit type gimmick that Ron and I are using. Not to steal someones deal.
AW: Where do you look
to be by the end of 2003?
SM: Hopefully still in
Japan and IPW. Bigger and better than before.
STEVE MADISON is known as the Modern Miracle. This interview will chronicle
his trips to wrestle in Japan for Riki Choshus World Japan
Pro Wrestling group. Please forgive if any of the names are misspelled, I got them off of www.puroresufan.com and their result archive.
Alan Wojcik: How were you contacted to work for World Japan and what was your
Steve Madison: It was in mid February. I was at home when Steve Keirn called
me. He told me that Tiger Hattori had left New Japan and he was now the American booker for World Japan Pro Wrestling, which
was being started by Riki Choshu. He wanted Americans the fans hadnt seen before. Hattori came to Steves school looking for
guys. It was me and the Shane Twins on the first tour and Lex Lovett joined us on the second one. The funny part is Billy
Fives was selected for the first tour but he declined the offer, which led to Big Vito being signed.
AW: When you first went to work for them, what were your impressions of Choshu
SM: Riki is big time kayfabe so he didnt talk to the Americans. I didnt speak
to him until later tours. Riki was so busy with the big time guys like Tenryu, Onita, Koshinaka and Omori. He did talk to
me after my first match with Kenzo Suzuki and told me I had a good match. I felt that match was my best against their high
AW: After you wrestled Suzuki on the Magna01 series you met up with Mike and
Todd Shane with Big Vito as your partner. How did Vito compare to other partners you have had in your career?
SM: It was different facing Mike and Todd but it was easier. Vito is a good,
old school guy. He is hard to get along with at first. Hes been around the business for so long. When he sees a younger guy
come to Japan he felt he had to set me in my place. He vetoed
some of the things I wanted to do, but I understand that with me being the younger guy. The match was decent, could have been
better. We were still trying to transfer to the Japanese style and the fans didnt get some of the stuff we were doing.
AW: Many wrestlers say when they go to Japan the ring atmosphere and the audience
is different than in America. For those that havent seen any
tapes of Japanese matches, describe what it is like?
SM: No one is making any noise. You cant talk to the guy in the ring, so if
you f#$k up you f#$k up. Youre exposed out there. The fans sit on their hands, but they sit like that because they are watching
the match. The American fans are too busy showing their signs to the TV cameras and not watching the match. If the fans would
sit on their hands they would enjoy the show. The Japanese will make noise for the big moves and they will get hot when they
sense the finish. They will get excited and talk to the wrestlers.
AW: How different is the Japanese wrestling rings as opposed to the American
SM: Japanese rings are average. They are 22x22, its an extra two steps. Its
a good bumping ring but stiff.
AW: You mentioned Takao Omori, what was it like to be in the ring against him?
SM: Omori is one of the best wrestlers in Japan.
He didnt blossom until later in his career. He began in the early 90s and didnt break out until 99 with Takiama in No Fear.
When Omori left NOAH and came to America he came back to WJ.
He has tremendous skills in the ring. He has the best facial expressions. He will step in there with the best of the best.
Super nice guy, people attract to his charisma.
AW: On the last show of the tour you got to go one on one with Kensuke Sasaki.
SM: In that match I was the youngest American to main event a singles match.
That changed a bit when the Maximos wrestled Sasaki and me in a tag match on the G-Force tour, Jose was 19. Working Kensuke
was unreal. The main event was supposed to be Tenryu and Choshu but both of them got hurt, we were supposed to be semi-main
event. Here I am a 19 year old kid wrestling a former multi-time New Japan heavyweight champion. The Road Warriors came out
and watched our match. Everyone popped for it. It was solid, not great but solid. Kensuke is a great worker, brutal and unbelievable
to work with.
AW: On the second tour, the Prologue of the Magna02 Series, you got to be tag
partner to Big Van Vader.
SM: Vader was good. It was intimidating when we tagged against Omori and Koichi
Kimura. Vader and I clicked. We had a great match. We came out to his music and he had me go out first. When you go out to
the ring you have to walk to the side and the then to entrance way. Well I got to the entry way and I thought where is Vader?
The people are popping and there is Vader walking through the crowd. He picks up a guardrail and tosses it over his head and
in my mind I thought oh sh#$ thats going to land on my head. He is so confident in the ring. Hell talk to you but you cant
tell if it is a work or if he is serious. He said bring him over here NOW!! He is so serious all the time. He and Omori beat
the dogsh#$ out of each other, they laid into each other with hard shots to the face. He also beat on Kimura. It was good
for me to watch from the apron to learn about ring presence.
AW: Most people might not remember
you were booked for the Magna03 series but fate had different plans for you.
SM: I did a double shot in Florida.
I wrestled Mike Graham for one group then wrestled David Babylon for another. The next morning I had a pain in my side and
it turned out to be my appendix. So I had emergency surgery to have it removed. Turns out I was about 24 hours from it rupturing.
AW: Did you fear the appendix removal would keep you from being booked by World
Japan on future tours?
SM: I was booked for Manga03 when it happened. I called Hattori and was apprehensive
as to if he would return my call. I thought they would forget me. It was hard to do cancel out. But what killed me I was back
in the gym three weeks later. I healed quickly and I was cleared by my doctors to wrestle the day the tour began. It was better
for me to stay here and get back in shape.
AW: Before the G-Force Series tour you and Lex Lovett received heat from the
internet board crowd for being two unknown Americans main eventing on the tour. Here is your chance to vent your feelings.
SM: At the time it bothered me. I really dont pay much attention to the internet
but to get the lashing we got was not really uncalled for because they were judging us without seeing our in ring work. Granted we shouldnt have been in the main event, but we were there for a reason. Either
it was to see if we could handle the pressure or to see if we could draw people or it was to see if we could work with their
guys. Sasakis hand was hurt and Lex stepped in to be his tag partner. Lex and I tagged with Sasaki and we took the brunt of
the action. The tour was running low on guys so we helped out the company. They knew we could go and not miss a beat. Everyone
is down on WJ on the net. Did we deserve it, no. Im not going to base my career on what the internet says. When you buy the
videos or tickets to a show you are paying to see me no matter if I am good or bad. Hopefully I leave an impression on you.
If I dont I am sorry but everyone has their opinion. For a handful of people to say they dont like me, it gets balanced out
when I impress Choshu, Hattori and the Japanese fans who respond to me when I go out and wrestle.
AW: You mentioned the Maximos, what is it like to wrestle them in a tag match
with Sasaki as your partner?
SM: Joel and Jose were great, super nice to be with on the road. They are smaller
guys but fun to work in the ring with. Having Kensuke as my partner is like a dream come true. That was one of my better matches
on the tours. I did all their stuff even though some of the Japanese didnt understand some of their high spots.
AW: You mention not having much interaction with Choshu. But on September 25,
you teamed with Ichiro Yaguchi to take on Choshu and Shiro Koshinaka.
SM: Choshu is a legend and one of my favorites. He is like Ric Flair; hes been
having the same match for 20 years. He gets over by not doing much more than a lariat, an elbow, a scorpion deathlock and
sh#$ like that to get over. He is one the three most famous Japanese wrestlers. He is a Hogan and Flair over there. Koshinaka
was the booker of the matches at the time. To be in with him you needed to bring youre A game. So you needed to impress him.
He would test you. You would hit him and he would no sell your sh#$. You would have to keep coming to earn his respect and
when you did then he would give something back. It was more of a shock being in there with two legends of wrestling. I have
nothing but great things to say about them.
AW: Speaking of Japanese legends, on the last day of the tour you had Genichiro
Tenryu as your partner against Choshu and Koshinaka.
SM: When we were in the back I sat next to Tenryu. Next thing I know Choshu
and Koshinaka are pulling up chairs. Now Tenryu is 53, Koshinaka is 48, Choshu is 51 and I am 20. I am sitting there thinking
this is magic. For them to include me in that match gave me the biggest mark out moment of my life. Tenryu is one of the best
in the world with his movements and facial expressions. We had a tremendous match. To stand in the ring with Tenryu as my
partner and see Choshu and Koshinakas entrance. It was the highlight of my career so far.
AW: The last tour you worked on was the Burning Autumn tour. On September 19
and 20 you got into the ring with Lex Lovett, who was called Lex Mayer in Japan.
You have worked against each other in America for NWA
FL and IPW Hardcore. How different did you have to make your matches for the Japanese fans?
SM: After the matches Lex and I were approached by the owner Fukuta (sic) and
the boss Nakashima (sic) and they told us they were probably two of the best matches in the history of the company. Lots of
people bashed the group because it was made of older talent. But our matches were hard hitting, high impact stuff that the
American crowd pops for. We brought it over and turned up the volume 10 times higher and got standing ovations both nights.
I have those matches in my private collection. Lex is a tremendous guy to work with. The movement and crowd reaction were
on that night.
AW: You wrestled some guys the American fans might have not seen to this date
unless they have bought WJ Pro videos. What was it like to be in with Shunme Matsuzaki?
(Steve peeks at my interview notes)
SM: Actually I can cover the last three names you have there. Shunme was a
guy from Big Japan. He was one of the guys brought over to fill in, since the company was too small. Big Japan
is more of a hardcore promotion and Shunme was one of their traditional wrestlers. He was great to be with. He had his kicks
but he wasnt hard to work with at all. I also worked Takashi Uwano. Hes a young guy out of their dojo who I had a good match
with. The internet crowd put him over. I have become friends with him and another dojo graduate Masamitsu Kochi. Each time
I go over I bring them something and we exchange gifts. When you become friends with them they want to help you out. Those
young guys today will be bosses in 10-20 years and they will remember how you treated them. Katsumi Usuda was from Battle
Arts and with him the only thing we did was the finish. I liked his style, we did it all off the cuff. That style proves you
are a great wrestler, to get in there with a guy that doesnt speak English. He was a shooter that could probably have knocked
my fu#$in head off. Hes a legitimate bad ass. It was hard but it made me appreciate how good I can be, that I can go without
calling the match ahead of time.
AW: When we spoke earlier this year you made mention you were going to be trained
in the WJ Dojo. What was it like to be one of the first foreigners to be trained there?
SM: Actually they want me to finish my college degree then finish off my training
in the dojo if its still running this summer. Last time I was there we went to
dinner with Choshu and he asked me to stay in the dojo and work. I told him once the summer comes I will train there for six
months. You work in their dojo and its a job for life. Chris Benoit worked there for year in the New Japan dojo and it changed
his career. Its an honor to be asked to train there.
AW: With World Japan restructuring, have you been contacted by any other companies
like Zero-One or New Japan?
SM: Nothing from them directly. I am loyal to WJ. When they are done re-structuring
hopefully they can run again. Theyre working with Zero-One right now. Hattori likes us and it looks like February will be
when they bring in American talent. If WJ folds then Ill look for Hattori to take us to another group be it New Japan, All
Japan or Zero-One. I like Riki, Hattori and Shiro. Until they close their doors or say Steve you arent need anymore, I wont
look around for another promotion.
AW: I will ask one NWA Florida question. Being you grew up in Tampa
Bay what does it mean to you to hold the NWA Florida heavyweight championship belt
with the lineage behind it?
SM: It is a special thing to me. I can relate to the people in the crowd when
they saw me win the title. It may be a small group and not the WWE, but it is NWA Florida. When you can get the DVD, buy it.
I did a promo after the match and I said everyone knows the NWA Florida territory is the one with the most history out of
all the NWA groups. It is the most respected belt other than the NWA World Heavyweight title and the World Tag titles. Go
to other NWA territories, the NWA FL belt has been held by Steve Keirn, Jack Brisco, Jerry Brisco, Al Perez, Dory Funk Jr.,
Terry Funk and more recently Buck Quartermain, Billy Fives and Scoot Andrews. Those are guys with credible names and they
are great wrestlers. No sh#$bags have ever held the title, none that I would mention. It is a history filled title and for
them to say Steven at your age you can hold the title and lead this company to bigger and better things. We are running a
hot angle there at the Arena. It is cool even though I not a mark for belts. Not many guys at my age of 20 have accomplished
Thanks to Steve for taking time to sit for this interview. For more on WJ Pro
log onto their site, www.wj-pro.com. For more on other Japanese promotions log onto www.puroresufan.com. For more on NWA Florida log onto www.nwaflorida.com