While at Glasgow Film and Comic Con we got the chance to catch up with former ICW World Champion, TNA regular and River City star Grado.
Has becoming a US star changed how you are treated in the UK?
People hate me now because I’m such a big star in America. They’re out to get me, they’re out to stab me in the back. Nah, everything’s all right. I wouldn’t say I’m a big star in the US, I’ve only been recognised once in an airport which was quite funny, when I was in Orlando. (puts on an American accent) ‘Hey Grado!’. I suppose a lot of fans are excited to see you as I get to wrestle with the likes of Al Snow and the Hardy Brothers, so aye it’s pretty cool.
What were your goals when you started in wrestling?
What were my goals? Just to have a match, that was my goal. It didn’t matter who I wrestled or where I wrestled, it was just to have a match. As soon as I had a match that was one of my goals completed.
How you found that having the success in the US has opened up more doors for you in the UK?
100%, obviously because the stuff in America gets put on TV there’s more companies that see me and want to book me for their company.
You’re now in companies like WCPW
Yeah the What Culture Pro Wrestling, which is good. I’ll be there Wednesday and Thursday, they film their shows then. It’s been good to go there and it’s got a brilliant big fan base, great crowd and it’s got all the viewers so all the British wrestlers have got good exposure because they’ve got so many subscribers to their YouTube channel.
How did WCPW come about?
They just emailed me and booked me (laughs). It’s a good company and I’m glad it’s getting exposure on You Tube.
Did they ever sort out the issue with the Madonna Song? (Ed: Grado uses a cover of Like a prayer as his entrance theme but Madonna blocked it’s use in America)
Naw, my only last remaining hope is that Billy Corgan, the new TNA President, he might help me try and get it because he knows Madonna. That’s about the only chance I’ve got.
When you were in ICW’s Fear and Loathing and you beat Drew McIntyre what was it like being in the ring with Mick Foley?
It was really cool. I love wrestling Drew for a start because he’s one of my favorite opponents, I’ve wrestled him four or five times now and every time he just brings the best out of me. And then obviously for a childhood hero like Mick Foley to come in and help me. Then he gave me his flannel, it was a cool experience I’ll never forget!
Do you still have the Flannel?
Still got the flannel, it’s in the office in ma house. Along with his sock. (laughs)
Am I right in saying you were in a documentary called The British Wrestler?
Aye I was in The British Wrestler, a Vice documentary which is online. That was the first one then I did Insane Fight Club in 2014 and Insane Fight Club 2 in January 2015. So I’ve been in three documentaries then I did TNA British Boot Camp which is a reality show sorta documentary style.
How much of that was reality and how much of that was staged?
It did look like there was a fair bit of reality in terms of what people were doing to prove themselves.
I never did anything to prove myself (laughs). Auch maybe here and there stuff was improvised but quite a lot of it was real. Stuff with him (nods at Al Snow seated in the next stall) was, he hated me (laughs).
How did having the headline TNA match with Al Snow in the Hydro come about?
Well basically I got chucked out of British Boot Camp and I challenged him to a match and he accepted. Then we had a match in the Hydro in front of a few thousand people which was a good crowd.
I remember your mum was there?
Aye my mum was there, she was front row, she was front row! She’s here the day as well.
The crowd was chanting ‘Grado’s Mum!’
Grado’s Mum! Grado’s Maw! She was actually at What Culture Pro Wrestling (WCPW) last week as well.
I remember that
Did you see it on the episode?
Aye I watch it.
Did you like the match with Kirby? Did you like it? Funny?
That’s alright then (smiles)
In terms of wrestling matches which is your preference, the more extreme style or the ones where you can get a bit of humour in?
Humour! I think that’s probably my strong point, my timing of comedy and stuff like that. Taking the pee out myself. Trying to trip other people up, trying to beat people but at the same time make them look a wee bit daft. And myself if I need to, to try and beat them.
Do you think that is one of the qualities that’s not only endeared you to the UK audience but to the American’s as well?
Aye, I hope, well I think it’s just people see me as a guy who’s had a dream of being a professional wrestler and who’s living the dream. Basically never give up, you’ve got all these guys who’re six foot five, two hundred and fifty pounds and I’m just a chubby guy from the tap end of Stevenston but it doesn’t bother me, when I get in the ring I’ve got the heart and determination to prove them wrong.
The fans absolutely love you
Well I hope they do. I hope they continue to do so.
You’ve got the Glasgow gift of the gab. Do you have any plans to get into commentating later on?
I’ve never really thought about it. It’s probably something I’d like to try.
It’s worked well for people like Jerry Lawler.
Me and Al Snow would make a good commentary team!
You know that would actually be a really good team.
Well there you go. Thanks for planting the seed. (laughs)
How did you tag team with Colt Cabana come around?
Well, the British Wrestler documentary we were talking about, he seen that and he loved it, then he followed me on twitter. And I’ve loved Cabana since I was a young wrestling fan. Then we brought him over to ICW and I wrestled him and we became pals and it organically turned into a tag team: Irn Jew.
What’s the most surreal experience you’ve had since you’ve had this run?
There’s been loads, there’s been loads. Wrestling live on TV, wrestling on a Pay Per View, loads. To be honest with you everything’s quite surreal, even just this today, doing an interview. It’s still surreal to me.
We’re mainly a Doctor Who and Cult website but it’s amazing the overlap [with those fans and pro wrestling fans].
There’s so many wrestling fans here [Film and Comic Con]. What’s funny as well is seeing the wrestling fans I’m used to seeing at wrestling shows coming here and being [surprised] oh there’s wrestling. It’s funny how much it does overlap. I’ve never seen Doctor Who, I know that’ll probably offend you.
Nah, most of the time we get more hassle from the people who have seen Doctor Who, they just argue. Any fandom just the same.
Ah It’s like wrestling fans. Full of moaners. Just enjoy it!
How did you manage to get signed with ICW, did you know Mark Dallas?
Well I’m not signed to ICW, there is no contracts there it’s just turn up. He saw me do a video a couple of years ago on You Tube and he contacted [me]. I’ve known him for years but I never ever worked for him at this point but he saw one of my You Tube videos.
Are you pals with him?
Aye I’m really good pals with Mark.
You’re one of the wrestlers who makes really good use of You Tube and social media. Is that something you find is a good way to engage with people?
What’s your plans for the immediate future?
Probably just to… I don’t know. British Wrestling is big and I’d like British Wrestlers to get the exposure they deserve. I don’t know, just keep wrestling, I know it sounds daft but just keep doing what I’m doing. I love wrestling, I love performing in front of a live crowd. I love going to America, I love coming to Scotland, I love performing at the Hydro. I just want to keep doing that.
Have you got any more goals or have you achieved everything?
Naw I’ve not achieved everything but I don’t know really. I just take every day as it comes, stay injury free. Obviously I’d like to wrestle guys I’ve never wrestled before. I’d love to wrestle Matt Hardy, I’d love to wrestle Broken Matt.
What’s your opinion of Final Deletion?
I love it, I love final deletion. I thought it was original and a wee bit different.
A lot of people online thought that.
It definitely is, even non wrestling fans have actually enjoyed it so they have. It’s good… different from a normal promo.
Finally, if you were going to have a tag team partner and it could be anyone, who would it be?
Al Snow (laughs while looking at the next table)
Thanks for you time today
Any time big man!