|"Brutal" Bob Evans|
Q&A with "Brutal" Bob Evans
NEI: How long have you been wrestling and what was your first step towards entering the business?
Evans: My first step was myself and a friend of mine, Mark Amaral, decided to start our own "amateur" wrestling league based on a pro wrestling style. We had wrestled some in the backyard and such so my Dad and I built a small 12 x 12 ring and we started doing TV Tapings out of a Swansea elementary school. This was Fall of 1991. One of the wrestlers from New England Wrestling (now Yankee Pro Wrestling) saw me and friends on TV and asked us if we wanted to train to become pros. Myself and another friend jumped at it. He got hurt on his second day and I got hurt every day since then.
NEI: Who did you train with initially and what tools (physical or mental) taught to you do you think were the most valuable?
Evans: The gentleman who called us was Brian Brieger, one of my earliest influences in wrestling. He was an accomplished amateur wrestler and a good pro. He's probably best known for being the man who got his boots burned by Papa Shango in a TV angle in 1992 for WWF. I also trained with another very talented guy named Gino Caruso. Not the one in New York, but another man by the same name who had wrestled all over the world, very good teacher. I owe a lot to these two men. Of course, learning how to fall, or "bump" is very important, ring psychology is THE most important thing they started to teach me.
NEI: What else have you learned from in the business over the years?
Evans: That we don't know shit about shit and should keep training, keep learning, keep watching matches. Keep wrestling. No matter what you do, you'll always get heat in this business. You can't please everybody, so don't even try. Do business the right way. Stay in shape. At least wrestling shape and cardiovascular if not muscularly. Never give up because you'll regret it later.
NEI: Who were your early role models regionally? Is there anyone in particular you look up to today in New England today?
Evans: Early role models were Chris Duffy, who was fantastic. Bill Wilcox, Freight Train Fulton, Scott Taylor, Steve Ramsey, Phil Apollo, Ray Odyssey who I had the pleasure to work with in NWA New England. Lords of Pain. Today, I don't look up to as much as look across. Maverick Wild is the best all around performer in New England. Happy Birthday, Mav. (His birthday is on 9/4) There are a lot of guys I have a lot of respect for. Steve Bradley, even though he's younger than I am, taught me to "take it to the next level" and I'm forever grateful. Alex Arion is the best good guy wrestler on the East Coast. John Walters is very good. Slyk Wagner Brown is an incredible athlete. There are also the next wave of guys like Chris Venom, Mike Sain/Psycho Mike, Ru Starr, Frankie Fingers/Arion, Eddie Edwards, DC Dillinger, PRIDE, The Logans, Arch Kinkaid, Luis Ortiz, Mike Bennett, Pat Masters, Andre Lyonz, Johnny Curtis, Brian Black. And I'm sure I forgot a few. Shit man, there's a lot of talent around here.
NEI: Being in the business as long as you have, it is inevitable for someone to become frustrated or burnt out. What have been your biggest frustrations or pet peeves over the years in wrestling at the independent level?
Evans: Great question. I'm actually happy that things are much improved than they were even 2 or 3 years ago. However, there are still some things that bother me. The attendance. The lack of effort by various promoters to promote their show. The WWF/WWE'izing of independent shows. By this, I don't mean production values. I mean trying to stretch 6 minutes of stuff into a 10-15 minute match. The arrogance of youth. My inability to reach certain people when you're trying to help them. The guys who brag how they've been around for X years when they are counting backyard time and the first 2 years when they were the referee. I hate name-dropping as well. The ignorance of certain wrestling promoters to not let their guys work other shows on their off weeks.
NEI: What has kept you motivated to keep going after so much time?
Evans: I'm motivated by my teaching and the fact there is still much to do around here. I'm motivated that the guys I look after still have a bright future and I want to help them achieve their goals.
NEI: Do you continue to have goals of your own you work towards as a wrestler, anything you have yet to accomplish that you would like too?
Evans: Maybe England, or Japan. Maybe TNA. My goals are more centered toward teaching and wrestling around here. I'd like to go to WWE one or two more times as an extra. Maybe wrestle for Cornette.
NEI: As one of the main eventers for NECW (New England Championship Wrestling), you were on the ground floor and one of the top heels in the upstart of WFA (Wrestling Federation of America). How was the transition back and forth between the two companies and how has it changed over the last year and a half?
Evans: I have enjoyed wrestling for both companies very much. They are different in philosophy but they want to do things the right way and give the fans their money's worth. They also both have goals of getting bigger and developing new stars. If I can be a part of that, I'm thrilled.
NEI: Many fans refer to your style of wrestling as, "Older than Old School", a throw back to the days of Harley Race, Buddy Rogers, and other greats. In a period praised for death defying high spots and fast paced action do you take comments like this as a compliment or as a shot? What is your personal preference and in ring philosophy?
Evans: See, I think this is where there is a misconception as to what I'm all about. I am all for guys doing high-flying moves and fast-paced action. But if they do it in the wrong places, why do it? Hey, I'm in no way the fastest guy and quickest guy on the show, most of the time not even in the ring during my match. However, I can do a moonsault (did one on national television), a leg drop off the top, a flying head butt, a Frankensteiner off the top rope, and never once did these things contribute to me having a better match. Video documentation is available. The guy doing the high-flying will always do more impressive stuff than I do, but I'm not there to physically impress or 'wow' people. I'm there to have good matches and make my opponent look as good as I do. I'm also there to support the show and not steal moves and spots from the other guys. I'm also there to be something different. There is no "old school" by the way. I don't really know what that means. If you're referring to me not taking as many bumps as some of the other guys, okay. That's because I'm usually in the ring with guys smaller than I am. If you're referring to the fact I like good guys and bad guys on a show, you're right. I dare anyone to find a show in the states that doesn't have babyfaces & heels that draws money. ROH has babyfaces & heels, as does WWE. TNA does as well. They may not be as cookie-cutter, black & while babyfaces & heels as they used to be, but they're still there. If you're referring to the fact I don't do a lot of mindless action, well that's an act of self-preservation and I'm a little wiser than I used to be. Less is more on many occasions.
NEI: For those who don't know, what is Slamtech and how has it developed since its origin?
Evans: Slamtech and Ringside Wrestling run free shows (right now anyway) to get Slamtech students and associates ringtime and matches. They are basically a feeder system for NECW, if there is such a thing. I think the guys around here don't make mistakes because they're unwilling to learn. I think they make mistakes due to a lack of inexperience. We do TV Tapings in the gym that will probably go up on the internet one of these days and Ringside runs shows at the Loomis Arena in Plainfield, CT and they draw about 50-75 people for free shows. But a great learning experience is had anytime you can wrestle in the ring in front of a crowd. Slamtech's goals are to become the number-one wrestling school in the world. Ringside's goals are to develop talent and give guys a good environment in which to work. As for NECW's goals: In my opinion, we've only scratched the surface of what we can do. Putting video on the internet, trying to become a part of the business community in Framingham, and putting on kickass shows where the fans care about the guys. The most important goal is to develop the talent and get them working for bigger promotions.
NEI: What are your proudest accomplishments as a wrestler? As a trainer?
Evans: Proudest accomplishment as a wrestler would probably be wrestling at the Providence Civic Center before RAW on February 2002. It was myself and Aaron Stevens and I was finally able to just have fun in the ring working for WWE. That day, I didn't know I was wrestling until late so I didn't have time to be nervous. We just went out and had a good match. But the "proud moment" didn't happen until 2003. I went on vacation to Ohio Valley Wrestling and saw Aaron and he said his match with me was one of the factors that might have gotten him signed. He was sure to say it in front of everybody too. I'll always be an Aaron Stevens fan after that. As a trainer, my proudest accomplishment is realizing all of the goals we have so far. We still have a long way to go, but I'm gratified to everyone who has helped Slamtech become what it is today.
NEI: Many New England fans continue to recall a classic pair of matches you had in NECW with Doug Williams, how do you reflect on these matches and do you feel they are indicative of some of your best matches?
Evans: Actually, I only had one match with Doug. We were supposed to have another one, but the show was postponed and I can't remember why. This year's Iron 8 Finals where there were 4 guys going all out for almost an hour was one of my favorites. Last year's was fun, too. But I think I personally performed better this year. Also, my match with Alex Arion in March 2003 for WFA just because of the environment and the angle afterwards. I always seem to have good matches with Alex and Maverick, but very different matches.
NEI: How have you seen New England Indy Wrestling change in the last 10+ years, both good and bad?
Evans: Believe it or not coming from an semi-old fart like myself, I believe it's gotten a hell of a lot better. I still think there are guys who would be better served not doing wrestling shows, but they're harmless. There are those, including myself, that say, "They'll kill the business!" or "They aren't wrestlers!" This stuff is all true, to an extent. But I've learned that you have to live and let live. Let everyone compete on an even playing field and quality will win out every time.
NEI: You had the opportunity to work several matches for the WWF(E). How were those experiences and who did you get to work matches with?
Evans: Probably the Iron 8 Finals this year, as stated previously. I thought everybody did really well and I was especially proud of Chris Venom who shined brightly in that match and won the whole f'n thing. Deserved it, too.
NEI: Everyone's favorite part of interviews is the name game, being a senior statesman of New England Indy Wrestling you must certainly have thoughts on many of the names from the region.
"Sky" (Scott) King: A great guy. Very sound in the ring and a great talent to carry the young guys. I just wish he was still interested and enthusiastic in working. The business around here needs more guys to work like him.
Rick Fuller: One of my first matches was with Rick. A good person and I'm glad he had success with WCW and wish him the best. I haven't seen him in a few years.
Tim McNeeny: Very talented guy and I'm happy for his success in WFA and the other places he's worked. Very sound wrestler. Another guy I wish worked more shows and showed the younger talent more of what he knows.
Mike Hollow: Mike is dedicated to a lot of the things that I am. He's a family man and strives to teach young people the wrestling business.
Steve Bradley: Is this a trap? (laughing) Just kidding. One of my teachers in this business. Even though Steve and I have different opinions from time to time, I know he's doing a great job up there in WFA and Top Rope Wrestling Academy. Who knows what this driven individual's future holds? I'm wishing him continued great success and a long vacation so he can rest his mind!
Albert (formerly The Mongolian in NE): Very nice to me at a Mike Sparta show one day when he complimented my match. I've been an Albert fan ever since. He gets a bad rap, but he's huge and moves pretty well for his size. Plus, he's a quick learner. Another guy who's future is still in front of him (God, this reads like the Ross Report)
Dave Vicious: Dave was a good guy. A hard worker. I was scared to death of him because he was so stiff. But always a gentleman with me and I Remember we had a good match about a year before his death.
Scott Taylor: A great guy and it speaks volumes that the WWE has had him on their roster for so long. He's a phenomenal talent and deserves every success he gets. Young wrestlers should take from his example of what sacrifice is. Every week, he and Steve Ramsey would drive 3-4 hours from Maine to practice. EVERY WEEK. Now he's a TV Star and still is humble and down-to-earth.
Some more contemporary names
Alex Arion: The most naturally charismatic babyface in New England. We had him down at the school a few weeks ago and he was great with my guys. Super talented. Doesn't come across as the most technically sound wrestler, but does it when it's needed. When he's coming back, the crowd will be with him. He still could make it somewhere if he wants to.
Kevin Landry: Very underrated talent in the ring and as far as training goes. He's worked with several young wrestlers now competing in New England and has done a great job. He's a breath a fresh air when critiquing matches and always has something to add. I think he would have made it if he was born a few years earlier.
Chris Venom: My main man. The MVP of Slamtech by far. He's not only learning how to be one of the best in New England, he's learning to be a quality trainer at the same time. He's had as much if not more to do with Slamtech's success as I have and for that I'm eternally grateful. He's also going to surprise people over the next few months in NECW and other promotions. I believe this next year (2005) will be Venom's.
Maverick Wild: One of my best friends and friendly competitors I've ever had. This guy is an inspiration to being a family man as well as running a successful business and oh, by the way, becoming a top local wrestling star. We were all very upset by Mav leaving NECW, but we know he did what was best for him. He's taught me a lot and we've knocked the shit out of each other for years and had a some great matches in the process. He's not anyone else, he's not an imitator, he's Maverick. He's the best all-around, I would say.
John Walters: John's a very good technical wrestler and while I haven't seen much of him lately, I'd love to work with him sometime and congratulations on winning the ROH Pure Wrestling Title. I'm sure we'll read & hear a lot about John In the upcoming months and years.
Dr. Heresy: Very charismatic heel. Very driven guy and wants to get better, which I respect. He's a real go - getter.
The NEI: I think the NEI is a great tool. The message board is great, unless it's gets personal. I don't mean "Bob Evans sucks ass and why is this guy even in the building never mind wrestling on the show." I mean "Bob Evans kicks the homeless and yells fire in church." That kind of stuff. And like I said before, wrestlers and fans are always going to have differences of opinion and like different things. We come from two different worlds.
Sheldon Goldberg: A great friend and the classiest promoter I've ever dealt with. It hurt me what some people were saying about him because if you even got to know him you know that he puts everything he has into NECW. Look forward to working with him for a long time.
Check Out: http://www.slamtechwrestling.com
The Final Word
|Longevity is a luxury few athletes are granted
in any sport let alone one as high risk and physically demanding as Professional
Wrestling. Bob Evans is one of the few wrestlers in New England to have a career extending
over a decade, a decade decorated with regional titles, heated feuds, matches with the
WWE, and the opportunity to teach a new generation of talent. Evans has established
himself as one of the most established and most hated heels in the New England region and
has been a cornerstone for several promotions including New England Championship Wrestling
(NECW) and Wrestling Federation of America (WFA). Now the head instructor for Slamtech
Wrestling University Evans continues to wrestle full time regionally while training the
rising stars of tomorrow.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED