|"Egomaniac" Johnny Idol|
Q&A with "Egomaniac" Johnny Idol
NEI: When did you first get into Wrestling and with what company?
Idol: In 1995, Kevin Landry was working for Y.P.W. and he asked me to come in as his manager. I think that some managers are limited with what they can do so I told him that I would do it, but I wanted to learn how to wrestle so we could do more (I could bump and run spots for the finish and stuff). At that time, Paul Roma was coming up and helping out a ton while he was training his new guys so I trained under him and Kevin (mostly Kevin, he's an awesome trainer). This really helped and, sure enough, after a few months we were doing gimmick tag matches with me as Kevin's partner. Around 96', I started wrestling under a mask and then I would manage as myself later on the show. Not too long after that, I stopped managing altogether, lost the mask and started wrestling as Johnny Idol.
NEI: You are most recognized as one half of one of the most successful tag teams in New England History, "The Egomaniacs". How do you reflect on your time as part of this successful duo?
Idol: Well, first off, Mike Steele is a complete bastard. "Egomaniac" doesn't even begin to describe this guy. Just kidding! He's an awesome guy and we had more fun that you can even imagine for something like 5 years. Mike likes people to think he's a prick, but when it gets down to it, he's a great guy and I couldn't have asked for a better tag partner. I'd spent half of the match laughing at how much of a jackass he was and he probably did the same to me. I thought Mike and I worked really well together. We got to work with some great teams over the years but I guess we're going to get into that later.
NEI: When did you and Mike Steele first meet and when did you decide to team together?
Idol: Wow!! No short answers for any of these. Now I know why everybody is always telling me to shut the hell up. After I more or less finished training, I was helping out a little at Kevin's school. Mike came in as a student and that's how we met. Mike completed his training and was working for YPW. I got a call from Bob Evans who we had become good friends with and he asked if Mike and I wanted to tag at a PLW show. Bob then sent that tape to Gary at GMW who brought us in up there. That's where we met Scott Dickinson (hey Scott , hope you're well ) who brought us into NECW. Short answer, it was Bob's idea.
NEI: For those who might not know, where is Mike Steele today and why did the Egomaniacs disband?
Idol: Mike's living and working 3,532 hours a week in New Hampshire. He actually got a pretty serious back/leg injury about 1 1/2 years or so ago. We still keep in touch when we have time. In fact, I just spoke with him yesterday. He keeps telling me that he'd like to wrestle again someday. Long rehab though. He showed up at a recent NECW show. Still a jackass (laughing)!
NEI: The Egomaniacs were often recognized as cornerstones of the NECW and WFA rosters. You are now exclusively a member of NECW, why the transition?
Idol: Like I said before, I'm not exclusively a member of NECW but that is my main promotion. Not too long after Mike got hurt, I was working for NECW, WFA, NRG, EWA, and RW with a 50+ hour a week job, a band and with all of this trying to have a life with my fiancée. I was one busy dude and I just felt that I would have to cut out one of the promotions that run the most (NECW or WFA). I had been working for NECW for much longer so that is where I decided to stay. That, plus WFA shows are all like a 4-hour drive and it was just getting really tough for me with my work schedule. I have no problem with those guys. I've been friends with them forever. I just couldn't work for them anymore.
NEI: Is there a team past or present in New England that you wish you had the opportunity to wrestle?
Idol: Honestly, I would have loved the chance for Mike and I to wrestle any of these guys that are around right now. D-unit, Pride, The Logans, Sabotage, Afterburn, Thrillogy, Rave, there's a bunch of them. I will say this though, the only team that's still around now from when Mike and I were together that we really didn't get a chance to work with much is Pride. They were still kinda' new then but I think that they are really turning into something . I think, if given the chance now, we could really tear it up with those guys!
NEI: Being a veteran in the region, are there any particular matches or moments that standout in your career?
Idol: Oh yeah. I got to work with Maverick Wild a few times. How can you go wrong with Maverick right? He's so great . Alex Arion a bunch of times, always great. I loved the series of matches I just had with Steve King especially the Texas Death Match. I have gotten to wrestle Frankie Arion a few times and I just watched him get better every time. My first match ever was against Aaron Morrison (Aaron is actually one of my oldest friends) and I've wrestled him about 50 times since. Always fun. I got to work with Antonio Thomas a few times before he left and we always had, in my opinion, good matches. He's an awesome guy and a great talent and we are all so proud of him. Antonio, Aaron, Frankie, Mike and I all trained at Kevin's at different times so, with him getting signed (to the WWE) was a great moment. Recently, I got to work with Chris Venom again and it was probably one of my favorite 2 or 3 matches in a year or so. He's so underrated in my opinion. Quick trivia question, who wrestled Venom in his first singles match? Johnny Idol , that's who. Sorry Venom, I couldn't help it. And of course, over the years, I've gotten to work with Kevin, my trainer a ton of times and that is always awesome. Scary as all Hell, but awesome. I shit you not, he has the scariest clothesline I've EVER taken. Ask anybody. As far as tag matches go, we had a ton of fun matches but I think I can narrow it down to a few. For a few months we were working with the Damned just about every weekend and I loved just about all of them. The All Nighters were really cool and we had a great time with them, especially the first match. I remember Mike and I did our entrance and then those bastards came out and went mental, throwing pictures, running through the crowd and the place was going nuts for them. I looked at Mike and said " Dude, what the F#$K are we gonna do now?" Fun match. I could go on like this for a long time so let me just say this, I always wanted to be a wrestler so I have about 100 standout moments because I feel privileged to be able to do this. Just one more thing to add, how about what I think would be a stand out for me? I would love the opportunity to work a program with Bob Evans. I think that he too is very underrated as a wrestler and a trainer and I think it would be a good time had by all.
NEI: On the flipside of the previous questions, what is the most negative thing you have experienced in your career?
Idol: The most negative thing huh? It's a wacky business so there are a few. You know what, I'm not going to name names or go into great detail even though a bunch of people will probably know what I'm talking about. We were working pretty steady for a promotion and there was a communication breakdown. The booker got pissed and trashed the 4 guys in the match on a certain web site (Hmmmm). Now here's my problem, if you have a problem with the way something went down, first find out the facts. Second, come and talk to ME about it, and that is my only problem. It's all water under the bridge now. I'm not angry and I hope the other parties involved aren't either. In fact, one of them and I remain friends to this day. I don't really like to talk about things like that and I'm sure it will piss somebody off but you asked for something negative.
NEI: What remaining goals do you have in Wrestling?
Idol: Interesting question. When I was a kid, I always wanted to be a wrestler, but of course, I never even for a second thought it was possible. Even when I got started, I was lucky because there really weren't as many opportunities as there are now. There were only a few promotions and schools in the area. So, due to that, I have always felt privileged to be involved in this business even at the Indy level. I used to say all the time that if I got to wrestle once on TV for WWE, it would all be worth it, but I don't really feel that way anymore. Don't get me wrong, it would be cool but I think that saying that takes away from the talented people that I have had the honor to share the ring with. In my opinion, it is a virtual laundry list of truly gifted athletes; Maverick, Arion, Evans, Steele, Venom, Thomas, Aaron. I could go on all day without even mentioning all the newer guys like Chece, Frankie, Masters, Bennet and so on and so on. So, as far as remaining goals, I think anything on top of what I've already had the opportunity to do would be a bonus.
NEI: What keeps you motivated from event to event to keep Wrestling?
NEI: This past month the New England Wrestling community lost a young up and coming talent by the name of Spider. How does hearing about the loss of a worker so local and so close to home affect your perspective on Indy Wrestling and your role in it?
Idol: This is a very tough question. I actually never had the opportunity to meet him but from what I understand he was an awesome guy. Even though I never met him, when I heard the news, it felt like someone kicked me in the stomach. I hope nobody misunderstands what I am going to say so I will try my best to explain as I go. In fact, I don't know if I can say anything that hasn't already been said. Guys, protect yourselves and each other. Now, I'm not saying that they didn't do that, I'm just trying to make that point. I feel just horrible thinking about his family and friends. I know that I have made a lot of friends in this business and I can't imagine how I would feel if something like that happened to any of them. The fact of the matter is this, call what we do what you want, but obviously it can be very dangerous. I saw a guy get his foot turned around backward from a clothesline. Yup, you read that right. At my third show ever I saw an 18-year-old kid break his neck. I've seen broken ankles, wrists, noses, fingers, ribs, dislocated shoulders, and all kinds of shit. This can be a very dangerous business. Now I know that these things are nowhere near as bad as what happened to Spider. Guys, please be careful! Honestly, I'm begging you. PROTECT YOURSELVES AND EACHOTHER !! Just about all of us have someone at home that we love and that loves us, so please when you go on the road let them know because you never know. Most likely, god willing, you will come home safe. But, you may not get the chance to tell them again. It could be a car accident, it could happen in the ring. You never know. I don't know if that said anything about my perspective at all. I would like to say to Dan's family, friends, and fans that I am so sorry for their loss.
The Final Word
|As difficult an industry as Wrestling is,
particularly at the Independent level, is gets that much harder when an established and
recognized talent is forced to recreate themselves right before the fans that have come to
expect a certain image of them. Johnny Idol for years established himself as one half of
arguably the most talented tag team in New England, The Egomaniacs. A team that fought
battles with the Damned and Nightbreed amongst others. In the blink of an eye Idol was
faced with the reality that the Egomaniacs were no more as his partner Mike Steele was
sidelined with an injury. Since that time Idol has gone on to reinvent himself as a
singles competitor where he has become a veteran cornerstone in NECW working feuds with
Mike Bennett, Scott Ashworth, Danny "El Boricua" Diaz, and personally grooming
Upcoming Dates: (see the NEI calendar for event information)
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED