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Interview Update: Erick Stevens
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ERICK STEVENS
erick_stevens.jpg
Training at Keirn's School of Hard Knocks

INTERVIEW UPDATE: ERICK STEVENS

When I last spoke to Erick Stevens last January he was part of a rising tag team called Shockwave with “Straight Up” Mikey Batts. Who knew more then a year later the team would dissolve and Stevens would break out of his shell into one of the hardest hitting wrestlers in the southeast. This interview done via email will take you from January 2004 until days after the 2005 Jeff Peterson Memorial Cup.

 

Alan Wojcik: When we spoke in the early part of last year you and your tag team partner, Mikey Batts were hot on the heels of then NWA Florida Tag Team champions Fahrenheit 420 (Stash and David Mercury). What were those matches like and why didn’t the gold come home with Shockwave?


Erick Stevens: I really enjoyed the few chances Mikey and I had to wrestle Fahrenheit 420.  They were young and excited to show what they could do, just like us.  Unfortunately, things fell through and the feud never even got off the ground in my opinion.  Despite how green we were, I think if we were given a few more opportunities I think we could have done some cool things.  But I guess it was never meant to be.

AW: On 3/27/04, it appeared you became a single wrestler again taking on Lex Lovett. What led to the split of Shockwave and your memories of facing the intense Lovett?

Erick Stevens: Ah, Shockwave.  Talk about things that were never meant to be.  Originally I was very excited to be involved in the team, but a few things really lead to it falling apart.  For one, I think the decision to turn us heel was extremely ill advised.  Mikey and I barely knew how to work period, let alone work heel.  It put us in a very uncomfortable position and I think that showed in our matches.  Secondly, Mikey and I got on each other’s nerves more than I would like.  There’s no personal animosity between us but we’re just two starkly different personalities and that doesn’t make for a very good team.  As for Lex, my series of matches with him were the first couple of matches I ever had that I was really proud of.  I was greener than grass at that point and Lex did a great job of carrying me to a couple entertaining contests.  Although I think now we could really have a good match, as I am older and wiser, and our first couple contests were marred by things out of our control (In the first match the ring broke, in the second he had a bruised/swollen eye and I was fighting through some extreme tooth pain.).  Maybe it’ll happen sometime soon, who knows.  Lex is a great talent and heavily underutilized on the national scene.

AW: On 4/17/04 you took on then NWA FL Heavyweight champion Todd Shane with his ever quiet manager Ron Niemi. Was there any intimidation on your part facing an over three hundred pound man who can fly like a cruiserweight?

Erick Stevens: Of course, there’s always a certain level of intimidation when you step in the ring with either of The Twins.  If you let that intimidation get to you though, you’re dead.  Knowing that when I stepped in the ring I did my best to keep up with him and stay alive for as long as I could.  Many people regarded that match as my “coming out match” but I don’t think that came until much letter.

AW: In last year’s 2004 Jeff Peterson Memorial Cup weekend you were in a match with OG Scarface and Bug vs. Zach Gowen, Chi-Chi Cruz and Jerrelle Clark. Please talk about it and how do you prepare for a six man with unfamiliar partners?


Erick Stevens: I think that the teams that were assembled were eclectic to say the least, but it was very interesting watching six very different wrestlers interact.  Working with Zach was very easy and of course the crowd loved him, so it was fun beating him up.

AW: Now for the real hard question. Did you ever get the photo with your “brother” Colt Cabana? (See Shockwave interview for more info)

Erick Stevens: No, I still don’t see the resemblance.  He did backchop me at JPC04 pretty darned good, twice.


AW: Not long after the Peterson you began teaming with Luther “Bodybag”
Jackson to be the MVP’s. How did that team happen and why did you become “E Stizzle”?

Erick Stevens: I was approached with this idea and I am gonna’ be honest.  I hated it.  I was very upset and disenchanted because I believed this gimmick was ridiculous, no one would take me seriously, and I would never get a chance to wrestle the kind of matches I wanted to.  My time in the MVP’s was very frustrating, but I knew I had to do the best with I had.  So I did.  I became E-Stizzle, basically a guy who couldn’t be more different than Erick Stevens.  But I entertained people and I had fun with it every time I walked out there, but I am glad E-Stizzle is dead and buried.  Good riddance.


AW: On
9/18/04 you got back in the ring with Todd Shane but this time his brother Mike was there too. What’s it like wrestling the former NWA World Tag Team champions, Shane Twins?


Erick Stevens: What’s it like?  I don’t know, getting run over by a truck?  I can’t really compare it to anything else because I’ve never been thrown around or beat up like I was in those matches.  It’s truly a sobering experience when someone makes you feel like you weigh 120lbs and tosses you around.  It makes you realize that even though you’re big, those dudes are larger than life.  Not only are they large, they’re also immensely talented.  You can’t beat that combination.

AW: During the last part of 2004 the MVP’s challenged Double Deuce (“Uptown” Frankie Capone and Marcus Dillon) for the NWA Florida tag team titles. But somehow gold eluded you again. How does Double Deuce differ from other teams you have faced in your brief career?


Erick Stevens: Frankie and Marcus wrestle a different style than I am accustomed to, that being the sports-entertainment like style.  I am used to hitting hard and throwing people around, so their way of doing things is a bit different, but they get over so I guess they are doing something right.

AW: Recently the MVP’s dissolved and
E Stizzle became a singles wrestler again. Why did the team dissolve and why the new hairdo and seemingly killer attitude?

Erick Stevens: The MVP’s dissolved mostly because Luther had a nagging injury that needed some time to heal.  I was left alone, so it was decided that I would shed the BS and become my old self.  My attitude has always been the same, but I now have more confidence and I feel like I’ve truly come out of my shell.  Plus Mohawks rule.

AW: For fans that might have missed it in their haste to leave, you won the 2005 Rage in the Cage (come as you are weapons battle royal in a cage). However I think more people will remember your post show promo ripping the fans. Please talk about surviving the match and why you snapped afterwards?


Erick Stevens: I really wish that promo would have been kept on the DVD, because it was a great example of someone losing their cool.  Winning Rage was easily the biggest accomplishment in my short career, and I had worked very hard to get to that point.  I had a promo planned, but once I saw the backs of all those people something in me snapped and I basically let them know they were nothing to me and they weren’t the reason I do what I do.  The reason I wrestle is for the people who appreciate it, so as far as I was concerned they could have all crashed and burned.

AW: On the heels of your Rage victory was the 4/9/05 Royal Beatdown event after a Tampa Bay Storm game. What as it like wrestling Mikey Tenderfoot in front of 3,000 plus people?

Erick Stevens: That was crazy.  Before I got to the ring I didn’t really realize how many people were out there.  Once I finally emerged from the sea of fans and got in the ring, there were people as far as I could see.  They were loud too it was an absolutely surreal experience.  Mikey and I really took it to each other as well, but he tried one too many high flying maneuvers and he went down to the Folding Powerbomb just like all the rest.


AW: Last weekend WWN and NWA Florida hosted the 2005 Peterson Cup. In a special night one match you teamed with Steve Madison to take on the Strong Brothers in their one time reunion. But many people don’t know there was tremendous heat in the ring that night. Talk about the match and if you can the factors of the heat.


Erick Stevens: I’d like to take the time to shill a bit: If you don’t buy the DVD of JPC05 for any other reasons, do it for this match and the tournament finals.  I was so proud of what we did in the ring and how the fans and the boys reacted, it was great.  I hesitate to call it one of my best until I see it on film, but it sure felt great.  It was intense, emotional, and most importantly very physical.  Yes, there was tremendous heat between everybody, but that is the kind of stuff that should remain off the internet and in the locker room.  I’ll just say that there was no love lost between anybody that night.

AW: Let’s move away from NWA Florida for a moment. In the past few months you made some appearances on TNA Impact. What was it like to be in the six sided ring and please talk about your feelings on the TNA product.


Erick Stevens: That’s a mixed bag, really.  TNA was great because it gave me experience wrestling in a television environment, so that was very valuable.  However, the locker room reminded me of high school as it was very unreceptive to outsiders.  Not everybody was an ass, as Monty Brown and Abyss were both really nice guys, but for the most part I hated being there.  Easy money, but not worth the emotional stress or the time.  I don’t really enjoy the TNA product, but it seems they’re trying to improve their stuff with the recent re-signings of Shelley and Joe.  Definitely a step in the right direction.


AW: You have begun to branch out and work for several other indy promotions. Let’s start with you working for JAPW on the same night you got to meet one of your idols Big Van Vader.

Erick Stevens: That was one of the greatest nights of my career.  Even though my match that night wasn’t too great, meeting Vader and Mike Awesome that night plus all the members of the JAPW locker room was really cool.  Vader was a great dude, and Mike Awesome even bought my dinner.  Along with Dean Malenko, I can say I’ve met two of my biggest idols already.  How many people can say that?
AW: At the Combat Zone Wrestling’s “Cage of Death 6” event you teamed with Roderick Strong to defeat Alex Shelley and Johnny Storm. What was that match like and did you ever think you wanted to be in the Cage of Death?


Erick Stevens: Looking back on it, I was extremely nervous and not my usual aggressive self.  But all harsh critiques aside, I thought the match was extremely solid but not well received by the mutant-like CZW fans.  I don’t want to generalize, but CZW’s core fanbase are guys who want to see crazy spot fests with little to no pacing or psychology. They basically want to see people get dropped on their heads a bunch.  If you could have seen the things they went crazy for in the matches before us you’d understand why they didn’t go wild for our match.

AW: You have had several matches working for FIP. Talk about them and working with Gabe Sapolsky and Sal Hamaoui.


Erick Stevens: I love working for FIP.  The locker room is cool, the atmosphere is relaxed, and I always have fun.  Despite having a little bad match streak near the beginning of my FIP career, I’ve always loved working for them.  Gabe is a great guy and Sal always takes care of me, so I have no complaints.  I hope to work for FIP more in the future.

AW: You have worked for two different mid-Florida based promotions. No Name Wrestling and Southern Championship Wrestling. Both promotions brought your NWA Florida feud with Sedrick Strong to their venues. Is there some sort of chemistry between you and Sedrick that makes a good match?

Erick Stevens: I don’t know if it’s chemistry as much as it’s animosity.  We have always got on each other’s nerves, so we end up taking it out on each other.  Plus it’s so fun to beat him up and people love cheering him on when he tries to comeback.  So yeah, I guess you could say we have good chemistry.

AW: On a trip to SCW I got to see a DVD of a match between you Vordell Walker on a from a recent SCW event. Talk about facing “the Shooter”.


Erick Stevens: I think my matches with Vordell have cut my career short by a few years.  I think we have good chemistry, but it seems like whenever we get in the same ring we can’t help but beat the crap out of each other.  I guess that’s the appeal of our matches, they may not be the most technical, but they are always physical.

AW: I know this was the most asked question by people when I announced a follow up interview with you. You were Rick Steiner’s partner during the match where he and Vordell Walker had their now famous shoot. If you wish to, please walk the reader’s through your view of the incident.

Erick Stevens: No comment, not on the internet anyways.  If you really want to know the story, just ask me sometime.  It’s an ugly situation I’d rather not give any more internet press to.

AW: A few times I have visited Steve Keirn’s School of Hard Knocks and have seen you working out with some famous talent. What makes Keirn’s facility (currently run by Steve Madison and Buck Quartermain) different from other training facilities you could use?


Erick Stevens: Well, for one you have Buck and Steve running the school, so that’s a distinct advantage over other schools.  Then you have Steve Keirn coming in and endowing us with great advice, and that’s always awesome.  Thirdly, WWE guys are always coming in and training with us, so you get a chance to work with guys you wouldn’t have a chance to work with anywhere else.  Overall it’s a great place and I recommend it to anybody in the area looking for a place to learn the craft of professional wrestling.

AW: You have been designing websites for several wrestlers. Please talk about your work and any possible growth for you into doing it as a profession.

Erick Stevens: Any aspiring indy wrestlers out there need a website, shoot me an e-mail.  Thanks for the plug Alan.


AW: We need to address the apparent shut down of NWA Florida and the rumors of you working with the new EWE promotion. Can you talk about any of it?

Erick Stevens: As much as I loved NWAFL, the emergence of EWE and now PWW is very exciting.  Everybody knows this is a cyclical business, so I can’t get too down about NWAFL closing down.  For every door that closes…

AW: Is it true your girlfriend makes the best chocolate chip cookies in the world?

Erick Stevens: She is the best at pretty much everything.  Gotta’ put her over as she is the most supportive girlfriend any struggling indy wrestler could have.


AW: What do you hope the future hold for Erick Stevens?

Erick Stevens: I hate to sound unoriginal, but I would love to work for ROH.  Hopefully I have a future there.  Besides that, I hope to continue to entertain wrestling fans in Florida and beyond.  Thanks for your time Alan.

 

Thanks to Erick Stevens for his time. For everything Erick log onto www.livejournal.com/usersxerickstevensx, for information on EWE check out www.EWEFLorida.com and for information on Steve Keirn’s School of Hard Knocks contact Steve Madison through the EWE website.