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Lex Lovett Part 1
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LEX LOVETT is currently making his way up the IPW ladder, after a successful Jr. Heavyweight career. Mr. Lovett is a former NWA World Jr. Heavyweight Champion, which he defended all over the country. He was involved in a bitter, bloody feud with JET JAGUAR and ROD STEEL in 2000, when he was NWA Florida Jr. Heavyweight Champ, a belt he eventually lost to Jaguar. Mr. Lovett won the Super Junior Open in 2000 by defeating CHRISTOPHER DANIELS and SCOOT ANDREWS. Mr. Lovett has worked for Dusty Rhodes Turnbuckle Championship Wrestling, the XWF TV tapings and attended an invitation only OVW/WWE camp along with many current indy stars.  Currently he is advised by former NWA World Tag Team Champion VITO DE NUCCI and is in a very heated feud with ANTONIO BANKS. This interview took place before one of those matches with Banks at IPWs March Badness on March 14th.


Alan Wojcik: What led you to a career in professional wrestling?


Lex Lovett: It started with being a fan at age 5, watching the WWE on Saturday mornings. I really loved Championship Wrestling of Florida hosted by Gordon Solie. I was a fan of Ric Flair, Ricky Steamboat and a real big mark for the Windhams, Barry, Kendall and Blackjack Mulligan. Living in Florida you always saw the wrestlers out in the community. I lost track of the shows when I got involved in High School sports. I got back into it in college when I became roommates with a gentleman whose real name was Alex Lovett. We watched wrestling and upon graduation, Alex began wrestling as Alex Yeull Lovett and another character called Dante. I talked to him about how I could become a wrestler and he introduced me to Steve Keirn at an IPW show. I was scheduled to start training in July of 1999. The week before the first class, Alex died while working in Lima, Peru. So I put off training until November.


AW: What was Steve Keirn like as a trainer?


LL: I would have to say that Steve is the best trainer I have ever seen. He not only gives you the moves, but he gives you the psychology side of the business. Hes a 30-year veteran who was trained in the old-school, where they told stories more than high spots. Todays indy wrestlers are learning how to have spot fests more than tell stories. Also training the students was (Heavenly Body) Jimmy Del Ray, who was one of the first high-fliers. Both of them teaching gives the student an overall education in the business. Something I learned included how to diet, workout programs, how to act in and out of the locker room and how to handle the politics of the business.


AW: Where did the name Lex Lovett come from?


LL: When Alex Lovett passed away, this was supposed to be the two of us. I was looking for a name.  I didnt want to be the Masked Debater or something like that. I wanted something with a ring to it and something that people could remember. Look at the best, like Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes and Steve Austin. They have been people with emotions. I took the A off of Alex Lovett and have dedicated my career to him.


AW: What do you remember of your first match?


LL: It actually is one of my favorite matches I have ever worked. It was me and Venom Tim Keirn against Chris Nelson and Vito DeNucci when that duo was doing their Drunk & Disorderly gimmick. I was ready, plus being in your first match with Chris Nelson is a treat. He is joking with you the whole time and you are at ease. He talks half the match so youre not blowed up. Anytime it gets hairy for him he slides out and talks on the microphone. I had to try and keep my composure because he is so funny.


AW: Not too long after your debut you won the NWA Florida Jr. Heavyweight title. How did that come about?


LL: That was really weird, being I was just a rookie. My first matches were working for Frankie Reyes (sic) in St. Pete. Then I began to be booked by NWA Florida and Howard Brodie. At the time there were so many heels that I was a babyface by default. I worked against a group called the Tampa Clique. The group included Pepi Prado, Buck Q, Scoot Andrews and Mike Sullivan. I wrestled that foursome in no particular order for five months straight. When it was time for a new babyface champion, the belt went to me. I was shocked because I didnt think I deserved it at the time and I got heat in the locker room. The one thing that got me the shot was something Jimmy Del Ray told me, Just shut up and listen.  Thats exactly what I did and Howard Brodie being a business man wanted someone to follow the angles and not try to get themselves over. It paid off having the right attitude.


AW: During that reign you worked Jet Jaguar. What was he like to be in the ring with?


LL: He was fun. At first shows we worked I was nervous because I was very straight laced.  While we were going over the match, Jet drank six beers. I am thinking, Im going to put my life in this guys hands and this guy is drunk. But he has great alcohol control. We ended up being good in the ring and having fun working together.


AW: From there you ended up in the Super Junior Open with some big-named talent. What was it like to be with guys like Christopher Daniels?


LL: I went into that night very apprehensive. I kept thinking, There is no way I shouldnt be winning this tournament. It was a great night. I got to meet and work one of my favorite guys in the business in Jason Rumble. But I was disappointed because in the final match we had to really tear it up or the crowd would be let down from all the other stuff they had seen that night. In the final match I worked with Daniels and Scoot Andrews. In the first spot, Scoot breaks his hand. The whole match was made to have them double teaming me. That one moment made the spot fest go out the door and now we have to work old-school. It was a good thing I was trained to be able to work that way because some guys never learn it. Both of us kept throwing Scoot out and the finish went off without a hitch. Christopher Daniels is the best; you probably hear that all the time. Working him set things up down the road.


AW: Not long after that match, you became the NWA World Jr. Heavyweight Champion.


LL: That was awesome. That was being in the right place at the right time. I wrestled Mike Thunder a month before I won the belt in Texas and we had a great match.  When he came here to Florida, the match was a letdown because he came into it with a torn ligament. He was working in major pain and we had to work around it, but we had a great match. It was great to go out afterwards and talk about all the great NWA World Jr. Heavyweight champions and there I sat with the belt. It remains one of the coolest things to happen in my career.


AW: You lost the belt to Jason Rumble at the NWA 53rd Anniversary show. But there were some other great junior heavyweights in there with the two of you.


LL: That was the match lead to me being seen by the WWE. I was in there with Jet Jaguar, Jason Rumble, Jimmy Rave and Brandon K. It was a great match. Everyone got over and somehow that tape got into the hands of the WWE talent relations people.


AW: What was your reaction to being asked to the invitation only tryout with the WWE?


LL: I didnt think it was real. My wife called me at work and told me Kevin Kelly called. I knew he was working for the WWE. I dropped everything and called them back. They invited me to Cincinnati for a week to be evaluated along with 14 other guys who names he wouldnt tell me. It was my chance to be taught and seen by everyone in the WWE office. I got to meet Al Snow, Jim Cornette, Tom Pritchard, Arn Anderson, Raven, Tommy Dreamer and Bill DeMott.  We worked on matches and promos. The way I looked at it, it was a great experience. They ended up hiring six guys and then firing three of them which was really S#$%^y. How many times do you see workers spend $1,000 to learn from Dory Funk or someone like him? I learned from the best minds in the business and it wasnt just a take situation, they gave us so much. I couldnt put a price tag on what I learned.


AW: What was it like to work in a WWE ring?


LL: I was ready and I was not nervous. I had proved myself to be in that ring. I worked with Crash Holly.  I believe in taking the time to appreciate the moment. I went out on the stage and looked around; spending some seconds thinking this is what it is all about. It was great match. I cant really explain the feeling when 12,000 people react to something you do in the ring. That feeling is something we all chase and will drive hundreds of miles to experience.


AW: Speaking of LONG drives, what was the trip to NWA Wildside in Cornelia, Georgia like?


LL: It was fun. The NCW Arena was an odd place to work in, its an old church. Plus you are in the middle of NOWHERE Georgia. I went up there with Chris and Vito and thought, What the hell are we doing here?  They have some of the best talent in the business and youre seen on 163 channels nationwide. Bill Behrens treated us well and I made some great contacts.


AW: Youve worked for Dusty Rhodes promotion, Turnbuckle Championship Wrestling. What was that like?


LL: I have only marked out twice in my life. I am not one to mark out. I dont have any singed memorabilia in my house. If Derrick Brooks of the (Tampa Bay) Buccaneers came up to me Id shake his hand and know he is no better than me. I did mark out when I met Hulk Hogan at the XWF offices. The other time was the first time I met Dusty. He was another of my favorites growing up. Hes the same on camera as he is in real life. He said to me the first time, Lexy babyee, welcome to the TCWya. Anything I can do forya let me knowa. He made me feel at home. Ive been to many indy shows where the promoter thinks hes too good to talk to anyone and you dont feel too welcomed. It was fun to work for Dusty.


AW: How did you first get involved with IPW Hardcore?


LL: During my run with NWA Florida we had a feud with IPW Hardcore. The old school vs the hardcore wrestling. The fans of IPW hated me because I was the NWA golden boy.  But to me, it was a natural fit when NWA Florida went away for me to join IPW. I took a five month hiatus to do the WWE thing and the XWF TV thing. When I came back to the scene after those deals fell through, NWA Florida was all but gone. I called Ron Neimi up and told him I wanted to be part of the team. I paid my dues by jobbing to his guys. It paid off and I am full fledged IPW worker and this is my home.


AW: You mentioned the XWF. What was it like to be involved in those TV taping sessions?


LL: I could care less about the WWE when I came up in the business, I was a WCW fan and I wanted to be like those guys. This is the WCW during the pre-Russo era I am talking about. At the XWF tapings I was looking left and right, thinking this is where I want to be. I was scheduled to have one match with a guy they called Vapor. I thought I was done after that match. The second day I thought I was going to only watch the show. Mike Graham came to me and said I had impressed them and they wanted to see more from me. So they took the matches they had made for the day and tossed it out and put matches they wanted to see together. So I worked two times the second day. I worked Low Ki in the morning and Jimmy Snuka Jr. in the evening. I thought the group had their act together. I spent almost three months in their camp getting ready being told the TV deal is coming. The weekend before they folded they kept telling us its coming. But it was a learning experience that I will never forget.  This business is high points and letdowns.


AW: During your current run with IPW you were in a tag team with Steve Madison. Do you like tag or do you prefer singles work?


LL: I love to tag. Singles are fun but I love the psychology involved in tag team matches.  You get the false tags and false finishes involved; you can make a great match. The best part is you do half the work and still get the same money (laughs.) You never get blowed up either. I was looking for a tag partner and I was supposed to begin working with Buck Q, but he left the company. So I got paired with Steve. It went well but he lost his focus. He was going elsewhere. It was Jimmy Del Ray and I that gave him a beat down. We had different ideas. I was there to wrestle and Steve was there to play to the fans.


AW: Currently you are advised (quotes were added at the request of Mr. Lovett) by Vito DeNucci. How did that come to being?


LL: Heres some trivia for the readers out there. I was trained by Original Heavenly Body member Jimmy Del Ray. My first match was against the New Heavenly Bodies, Chris Nelson and Vito DeNucci. At The WWE camp, I was taught promos by the original Heavenly Bodies manager Jim Cornette and trained by Original Heavenly Body member Tom Pritchard. When this all started happening for me I didnt want a manager. Vito was looking for someone to be around and advise. Its still not a cohesive bond.  Being buddies from the way back, if he needs a slot to keep himself in the business Ill help him out. Its kind of like when your wife tells you your mother-in-law is coming to stay, you have to accept it and enjoy it


AW: You are currently in a heated feud with Antonio Banks. Any comments on him?


LL: That big jacked up shaved ape. He comes in from FWO and thinks hes going to run the place. Hes a gifted athlete who dared anyone to test him, so I did. He cost me the IPW World title a few weeks back. I should be the IPW World champion. Antonio Banks inserted himself in my feud with Madison, who I will dog until the day I cannot wrestle. I cost Banks the match at Never Say NEVER and I will continue to be on top.


AW: Word Association. Ron Neimi.


LL: Good guy.


AW: Alliance of Defiance member and IPW World Champion Rod Steel.


LL: All talk.


AW: Billy Fives.


LL: Incredible competitor that could use a haircut.


AW: Fallen Angel Christopher Daniels.


LL: The best independent wrestler today.


AW: AOD member, The Black Nature Boy Scoot Andrews.


LL: Good friend, always fun to be around.


AW: Jet Jaguar.


LL: Great guy and I wish he was still wrestling.


AW: Chris Nelson.


LL: A song quote comes to mind, Tears of a clown.


AW: Vito DeNucci.


LL: Good friend, someone I will always remember in this business.


AW: Bill Behrens.


LL: Incredible business man.


AW: The fans of IPW Hardcore.


LL: Ambulance chasers.


AW: Where do you look to be by the end of 2003?


LL: Still married.


Indy star Lex Lovett has wrestled all over America and most recently in Japan working for World Japan Pro. This interview was conducted days before Lovett joined several other wrestlers as part of the NWA Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestlings trip to the Peoples Republic of China which runs from December 27, 2003 to January 4, 2004. Due to time constraints this interview will only consist of Mr. Lovetts trips to work for World Japan. Special thanks upfront to for help in getting the Japanese wrestlers names correct.


Alan Wojcik: How did you find out you were going to work for World Japan?


Lex Lovett: First it was a call from Steve Madison and then I got one from Tiger Hattori. Hattori wanted to book me for their upcoming tour, the paperwork was sent over and I was off to Japan.


AW: What were your initial reactions to meeting Hattori and Riki Choshu?


LL: There was a little stress there. I was meeting two men that were going to give me the chance to make something of myself in wrestling. You always want to make a good impression and show you can be a team player. You dont want to offend people. I was going into an environment and a tradition that cant be fully understood. You have to watch your Ps and Qs. It was one of the biggest experiences of my career.


AW: How did Lex Lovett become Lex Mayer?


LL: I have no idea. I had spoken to Hattori once. The next phone call he said maybe we call you Lex Mayer. I said sure call me what you want. I am guessing Lex Lovett doesnt translate well to Japanese. When you find out it will be when I find out (laughs.)


AW: Before we get into the matches you worked, what is the ring atmosphere like including the audience?


LL: At first it is intimidating to try and figure out what you are going to do for these people. Once you get a handle on it, it is one of the coolest things in wrestling. There is respect from them. You dont hear any kind of noise. No one is talking, getting up and getting food or using the restroom. The place is absolutely silent because all eyes are on you in the ring. There is nothing else but the match and they watch every single move. They respond when they are supposed to. If youre in a predicament and you get to the ropes they cheer as opposed to American rings where it is seen as a heel tactic. You had enough fight to get out of the hold. Over there every hold is a finish hold. The people know what the holds do. Here people just see movement, over there if you put someone in an armbar they know you are working the arm and they appreciate that you have a plan. It is a wonderful experience.


AW: The Magna01 Power Hall Series was your first tour. Many people might not know your previous profession was in teaching, what was it like to wrestle former college professor Hiroshi Hase?


LL: That was the best match they could have given me first one in. I didnt know what to expect and they put me with a wonderful worker. Hase speaks very good English and is one of the most respected wrestlers and teachers in Japan. He was able to get me acclimated to the Japanese Strong style which is a lot different. He was a class act and every time we meet I get a big hug. I think I got some respect from him that night.


AW: On your second night you wrestled Shiro Koshinaka.


LL: He is stiff but not in his kicks like you would think. He is a tough man that has been around forever. He doesnt sell pain very well. He keeps coming back at you instead of selling you kicks and moves. Hes such a tough individual and when youre trying to beat down someone who doesnt feel pain like everyone else, its a tough experience. Hell lighten up but when you think you got him, he hits you with that big ass right in the face. Hes cool to work with.


AW: On your last night you were in a tag match against Choshu and Kensuke Sasaki. Was there any intimidation on your part?


LL: A little bit and actually it shows in the beginning of the match but I smartened up throughout. They were giving me my chances and I wasnt taking them. I tried to do the respect thing. You dont want to shine on a legend. However they want you to give your all. If they think you are holding back theyll let you know and it was cool. They brought it out of me. Working with guys that are the fathers of the puroresu strong style was the best educations I could have gotten on my tours.


AW: On the Prologue of the Magna02 Series you were in the ring against Koshinaka and Choshu with Kenzo Suzuki as your partner.


LL: As a partner Suzuki wasnt so good. Not because hes a bad guy, hes just not a tag team worker. He is a big man that I think will be a moneymaker in this business. I havent seen someone that talented with that different a look. He is the first big Japanese guy with definition and a marketable look. He is a badass that can go in the ring.


AW: On the 3rd tour, the Magna03 Series II you partnered with Sasaki to take on Choshu and Tomohoro Ishii. Please explain the differences between Sasaki and other partners you have had in your career.


LL: I enjoyed working with Kensuke immensely. I had a tour where every match he was my tag partner. For somebody who has been to the places he has been and wrestled with who he has worked, from the Power Warrior gimmick to all the titles he has held yet he is so humble. He is respectful and a huge professional. He wanted me to do well and he was helping me out. As I said he is a father there and it was awesome.


AW: On the last night of that tour you wrestled Yoji Anjo.


LL: Yoji Anjo is a real interesting guy. He is a college graduate and speaks fluent English. He is a legend of shoot fighting and is a hilarious man. He kept us laughing on the tour. I will work him anytime; he is one of my favorites.


AW: Before you and Steve Madison left for the G-Force tour, you received criticism from WJ internet fans for being placed in main event matches. Do you wish to address this situation?


LL: I never felt any heat and I never really paid attention to what was going on.  I knew what was going on. I was going to Japan with a group that was looking to make stars for its growing promotion and I was being tested, given the ball so to speak. Can you work a main event? Can you handle the pressure and sell a main event? I felt like that what was going on. I believe I passed with flying colors. The disappointing part was WJ was a growing company but the Japanese market is flooded with so many companies along with shoot fighting and MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) which is extremely popular. It wasnt WJ or its product, the interest wasnt there. The company and the atmosphere was second to none.


AW: On that tour you mentioned being partners with Sasaki-san. Talk about a match you fought against Takao Omori and Koichiro Kimura.


LL: Omori is another guy I love to work. He brings it out of you and I learned a lot from him. He has a tremendous wrestling mind and great skill at putting together matches. He is someone who commands respect for his genius. I cant say enough good things about him. Any time you are with Kensuke its a good match. You knew you were in the big time.


AW: On the Burning Autumn tour you wrestled Steve Madison on back-to-back shows. Did you have to change your style for the WJ audience?


LL: Steve and I have been changing our styles for about the last six months. If you watch my matches now they arent American matches, they are jazzed up versions of Japanese matches. We wrestled our matches and did things, took a couple of bumps we wouldnt have normally done in a Japanese match because we have trust in each other we pulled them off on their big stage. They were awesome matches and we were highly praised by the office. Our second night match was called the best ever in WJ. Those are ones I am proud of.


AW: Two nights on the tour you wrestled half of the Spanish Announce Team. How did Lex Mayer fair against Jose Maximo?


LL: I love those guys and cool to be on tour with. They are very positive; sometimes on the road you have negative people that bring the whole group down. That little bastard can go. Hes got good wind, good skills and hes tricky. I like him.


AW: On 10/23 you wrestled Katsumi Usuda.


LL: My first ever pure shooter. This aint wrestling, this is can you get kicked in the left leg 50 times. Its can you get kicked in the head and keep your senses. Its cool, you have to challenge yourself by learning new styles. Its something I am appreciative to have done.


AW: On 10/24 you wrestled Masamitsu Kochi.


LL: Youre good at pronouncing names Alan.(laughs) He was big powerhouse Japanese wrestler. We had a good match where we went out into the crowd and dented some chairs. I pulled it out in the end. He is a man; hes not a young boy coming up. Hes someone you are going into fight and hes had many battles before you got to him.


AW: The last night of the tour you wrestled Shume Matsuzaki.


LL: Hes another tough guy; each one has a different story. At the end of the tour you are exhausted and are thinking dont get hurt. We did and it was fun. Enough said on that one.


AW: With WJ Pro being on a hiatus, have you been contacted by any other Japanese companies to come work for them and would you accept an offer?


LL: No offers have reached me. There are some things in the works and I would go over to Japan with any group. I want to do professional wrestling as a full-time profession. I have respect for all the companies there.


Thanks to Lex Lovett for his time and best wishes on his tour of China.