Q&A with John Walters
NEI: Where did you first begin training
and when did you get started?
Walters: I started training 3 years ago
at Killer Kowalski's school and stayed there for about 2 years until Mike Hollow went to
the Chaotic school. Now I train at the CTC. Like everybody else, my first match was a
battle royal. I started working regularly about a year into my training.
NEI: Who has been the most instrumental
in you being the worker you are today?
Walters: Killer Kowalski has showed me
more in one day than most people learn in a lifetime. Mike Hollow has always been by my
side since day one and is probably the most honest man I have ever met in the business.
Guys like Vince Vicallo, Aaron Stevens, Arch Kincaid and SWB for always training with me
and trusting me with their bodies and the Dynamite Kid and Chris Benoit for being the most
realistic and intense wrestlers ever. Basically everyone who I have come in contact with
has done something for me.
NEI: It's funny that you mention Benoit
and Dynamite who are 2 of my all time favorites. In criticisms of your wrestling, some
people have said you are too much of a Benoit clone and need to break out into an
individualized style. What would you comment on this?
Walters: First off, the Rock uses the
Sharpshooter, would you call him a clone of Bret Hart? Angle uses the Ankle lock, I would
hardly say he is copying Ken Shamrock. I take and use moves from a lot of different
workers to fit into the story of each one of my matches. I don't think trying to be
realistic and intense would be copying anybody. The Japanese, mat style of wrestling is
the kind of style I have fallen in love with. I would not say that being influenced by
some of the better workers in this style would consider me a clone but hey, dumb ass
Internet marks wouldn't comprehend something like this. I am John Walters and that's who I
NEI: Your in ring work carries a respect
above almost anyone else in the region, however there are still critics of your work who
say there is more to Wrestling then in ring skills. An example of this came from a fan on
our forum who said, "As far as Walters goes, he's jacked, he's a descent tech
wrestler, can he fly? How is he on the Stick? How is his crowd work? And can he play
anything but a badass? But he's not overrated right, he's awesome at being a one
dimensional wrestler with no weaknesses." How would you respond to such critics?
Walters: Yes I can fly, but I am a heel
and prefer not to. I can talk on the stick and the several times I have had the
opportunity to do so, I've shown it. No matter how good I get or how good people think I
am, there is always room for improvement. I take too much pride in my body and in ring
work to worry about what people on the Internet have to say about me. Also, most of the
time, people posting on message boards have an agenda, and that's too put themselves over.
All I have to say is that if someone has a problem with me, that's cool. I could give two
shits. I base myself on crowd reaction and I don't seem to have a problem getting the
crowd to react no matter what role I am in. It's part of the business. I have no problem
with constructive criticism. Anybody can go out there and remember spots, but how many
guys can go out and work for 10-15 minutes on the mat without calling a thing? That's
where I base a good technical wrestler, not somebody who goes through the motions without
it looking real just to get to the next spot.
NEI: Is there anything you can't do in
the ring, anything that your just a clumsy goof trying to pull off? What was the hardest
maneuver for you to learn?
Walters: A headlock takeover. It took me
about a year before I could pull that off. I have no problem doing it now, but for some
odd reason, that move baffled me in my early training. I could do everything, but for some
reason, the headlock takeover was like a bad dream. As for in the ring, as long as I try
something, I'm sure I can pull it off, but there are a lot of moves I chose not to do.
NEI: You recently worked TNA. How did
that come about and what kind of experience was it?
Walters: Actually SWB got booked on the
dark match and was allowed to choose his opponent so he called me. It was a great
experience and we put on a pretty respectable 5-6 minute match. The crowd definitely
enjoyed it and the atmosphere was definitely different from your ordinary independent.
NEI: Any plans to return?
Walters: From what I hear, they don't fly
too many people in, but I would certainly go back.
NEI: Ring of Honor draws some of the
largest crowds in the region when it comes to the Boston area. My one criticism of their
product is that, as they travel the East Coast, I think more local workers should see
action. Any thoughts on working ROH in Boston?
Walters: I would definitely work for ROH.
I think their product is definitely appealing and probably is the reason they draw large
crowds. At the same time, a lot of dangerous stunts are performed, and I think the risk of
injury is high. However, the ROH fans have proven that they appreciate athleticism and
pure wrestling. I would love to have the opportunity to work for them.
comfortable are you with people calling you "The best Wrestler in New England"?
Walters: When you work as hard as I do and give
your all every time you step into the ring, being called the best in New England
definitely seems rewarding, although I wouldn't necessarily agree with the label. It takes
two plus a good referee to make a match good, so whatever I have accomplished I have
accomplished with my opponents.
NEI: Humility is always an admirable
trait but whom would you name as a top New England worker?
Walters: I think Louis Ortiz, Adam
Booker, Vince Vicallo, Chi Chi Cruz, Slyk Wagner Brown, Maverick Wild are all pretty damn
good, also Antonio Thomas is getting better every time I see him work. Aaron Stevens is
also one of my favorites to work with.
- Current Triple-Title Holder
NEI: Like you said, its takes 2 and a
capable Ref'. Often times, it is apparent that one guy has to carry his opponent. Who are
some of the guys that have made you look good?
Walters: Just recently, Antonio Thomas
did some of the best selling I have seen in one of my matches, he opened up at the right
times and fought back when he was supposed to. Vince Vicallo, Aaron Stevens, SWB and Adam
Booker are some of the most consistent workers that have made me look that much better
Vince Vicallo probably sold the best for me in our recent 3-way in Methuen.
NEI: What are your professional ambitions
and long term goals?
Walters: My goal right now is to wrestle
in Japan and I am getting closer and closer to reaching that goal. Overall, I would like
to do a lot of traveling and wrestling at the same time. There are a lot of things to see
in the world and I have no limits. I guess I have the all American dream like most people,
own a house, be married with kids, and just enjoy good health and happiness, wherever that
NEI: What are the next steps for you to
get to Japan?
Walters: Bobby Cruise is returning to
Japan in June or August for Zero-One. Hopefully, I can get on one of those tours. Right
now, it's just a matter of getting in touch with Steve Corino and showing him what I can
bring to the table in Japan.
NEI: With so many Chaotic workers getting
WWE dark matches and some TV spots, how close have you come to that work?
Walters: I had a whole match planned with
D'lo Brown for Sunday night heat last time they were in Boston, but that match got
scratched at the last minute. I have been backstage 5 times and haven't had the
opportunity to work yet.
NEI: do you feel over looked?
Walters: Yes I do, but it doesn't bother
me. I know what I have to offer and I let crowd response be the factor in who is a
"good worker". That's the business though, you can never be sure of anything. I
am sure I will get an opportunity to perform there and I look forward to it.
NEI: I have often dogged Chaotic
Wrestling for having one of the most athletic rosters yet less then impressive creative
angles at times. As an obvious fan favorite, what are your opinions of Chaotic's
presentation to fans?
Walters: I agree that not many rosters
are as conditioned and polished as the CW one. I think that CW gives fans what they want
and are always ready to listen to other options. One show, the crowd will be dead, the
next they are extremely loud. This could be based on inconsistency or not being able to
draw the same fans back to a show. I really don't know the reason, but I feel as though
Chaotic definitely has a good variety of athleticism and entertainment.
NEI: Is John Walters Tough Enough?
Walters: Well, this could take a while.
My thoughts are that there are too many people (Indy workers) who bust their ass every
weekend and travel miles upon miles for little to no pay to get noticed and get exposure.
Then you get a bunch of marks that send a tape into MTV and they get a chance of winning a
WWE contract! Whatever happened to paying dues, tasting shit, and eating dirt. I find it
rather offensive when I am changing in a boiler room to perform in front of 50 people, and
you have a 27 year old, who's life long dream was to be a wrestler, gets put in a house
with all the luxuries. To me, Tough Enough sends out the wrong message about pro
wrestling. I don't blame the kids on the show, because they are taking advantage of an
opportunity. I don't blame the WWE or MTV, because they are doing what they can to improve
ratings, It's just part of life and we all have to deal with it. I just don't think it's
fair, but hey, neither is life.
NEI: Did you send in a video any of the 3
Walters: I actually went down for the
first audition with Chris Nowinksi, but apparently I had to much experience to be on the
NEI: The Independent Wrestling hot beds
in the country right now are NJ and Philly. Do you think New England has something to
offer and do they swing with these other regions?
Walters: Absolutely!! I have seen some of
the guys from the Jersey/Philly area work who were supposedly fantastic workers, and they
didn't show me anything different from what we have in NE. The main difference in my
opinion is the fan base. Down there, they appreciate wrestling more and those fans want to
see independent wrestling. The fans up here seem to force themselves into liking it. As
for workers, I think many of the workers in New England could equally compete with the
workers in the Philly/Jersey area, its just more Internet buzz and coverage down that way.
NEI: I agree with that 100%. The weakest
part of New England is certainly the fan base. What spots in New England have you found
the hottest fans, and where were the coldest?
Walters: The hottest fans I've seen are
down in the Fall River, New Bedford area, and usually up north in Maine and New Hampshire.
Usually fans near the cities are not all that enthusiastic.
NEI: Has the Hurricane ever been a face,
if so what kind?
Walters: Yeah, I have been a face and my
character is the same no matter what. Obviously as a heel, I have a little more of an
edge, but even as a face, my goals are to win the match and beat the hell out of my
opponent. I tended to do some more high-flying moves as a face.
NEI: Your not admitting to being a
one-dimensional character are you?
Walters: Well right now, I am who I am.
If I was asked to do a different gimmick then I would have to change, but why change now?
I think I'm doing just fine where I am. Who's to say that Dr. Heresy can't be an
aggressive heel, who's to say that Vince Vicallo can't be anything but a drunk, until
you've seen someone try to be more than one gimmick, don't call them one-dimensional. Tom
Prichard once told me, "You should never try to be someone in the ring that you
aren't". Therefore, I am not going to try to be someone I am not, I am who I am, and
my character is an extension of who I am.
NEI: What was the bigger feud of 2002.
Booker vs. Walters or Walters vs. Vicallo?
Walters: Definitely Walters vs. Vicallo!
My many matches with Booker were some of my best matches, however the feud between Vicallo
and I was definitely more heated and meaningful. We were tag partners, I busted him open
with a beer can and then we had months and months of matches against each other, which
culminated in a ladder match.
NEI: Have you ever been in a train wreck
(mess of a match)?
Walters: Honestly, I've been in some
matches that haven't been the most fun and were tough to get through, but never a train
NEI: What was your best match and what
made it so?
Walters: I have had a couple of good
matches. I had a match with SWB at my college my senior year that was great because I had
about 200 of my friends there and the psychology in that match was awesome. My first
ladder match against Vince Vicallo this past January was a lot of fun and brutalizing at
the same time. The three way with Aaron Stevens and Vince Vicallo earlier this winter was
definitely the hardest match I've been in, over 25 minutes of non-stop action. Probably my
favorite match of all time was my Singapore cane match with Stevie Richards, a WWE
superstar putting me over and offering to submit to the sharpshooter was an honor and the
match was something I will never forget.
NEI: If you wrestled on a Halloween
Wrestling card who would you be?
Walters: Hurricane John Walters