Question & Answer Interview: Knight is Right
by Ashvin Kumar

Kevin Knight 

Posted: November 1, 2011 

I interviewed Kevin Knight at the IWF Centre for my High School project.  Kevin is a wrestler and trainer at IWF (Independent Wrestling Federation). 

When did you start training to wrestle?

It was in 1996, I was working as a radio station sportscaster and the NWA (National Wrestling Alliance) came to town and had an angle with The Iron Sheik and myself as the radio host where I was trying to swing his Persian Clubs.  So I trained from that point on.   After that, I opened the IWF to continue my training.

When did you open the IWF?

We started doing town to town live events in March of 1998, and then we opened the IWF Centre in 1999, and we've stayed here ever since.

When did you start training other wrestlers?

I opened the school in 1999 because wrestling was at an all-time high, and WrestleMania was as big as the The Super Bowl.  So I figured this could help kids with their dreams.

I know that there have been a lot of famous wrestlers who taught classes here, can you name a few?

We had Ricky Steamboat, The Honky Tonk Man, JBL, Dr. Tom Prichard and Tito Santana.  JBL and The Honky Tonk Man were amazing.

Backyard wrestling was becoming more and more popular, what did you think about it?

Kids are going to do that kind of stuff, as long as it isn't that extreme stuff, then it isn't that bad.  But a lot of it is pretty bad.

Who were your most successful students?

Darren Young who is in WWE and was in the original Nexus, Robbie E who was a TNA X-Division Champ (TNA is the second biggest wrestling company), and Flex Freeman who recently signed with the WWE.

Is there a reason the IWF Centre is in New Jersey?

Its where I live, its just easier for me.

Who were your inspirations to wrestle?

I liked Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, Rowdy Roddy Piper, and Barry Windham.

What do you think of today’s wrestling?  Who do you think is the best wrestler today?

Its all talk and I don't watch it much because if I want to see people talk then I'll watch Jerry Springer.  I'm not really a big fan of it anymore, and when I get home the last thing I want to think about is wrestling.  But, Randy Orton is the best and I keep up with Darren Young.  I think UFC is going to replace wrestling, just like wrestling beat boxing.

So would you want to work for the WWE?

Only behind the scenes.  I don't like how it’s so scripted.  I prefer calling it in the ring and playing off the crowd’s reaction.

So what else do you think makes you successful?

You need a good look, natural talent, a good gimmick won't hurt either, and you have to have mic skills to make it today.

What are the chances of making it in the business?

I've had five hundred students and five made it big, so there is a 1 percent chance you will make it.  It took Darren Young 6 years, Rob 10 years, and Flex 11 months.

Who was your best student?

Darren Young, he was the most talented and the most dedicated.

    


In celebration of IWF 14th Annual Reckless Abandon Anniversary Events, here's the Top 14 Singles Wrestlers in IWF History, as voted by the Championship Committee (listed in alphabetical order):

Robbie E Travis Blake Roman Franciz / Doctor Hurtz Darren Young (Fred Sampson)

Posted: March 31, 2011

Aaron Stride  (2003 - present)
Chris Steeler  (2003 - present)
Damian Adams  (2000 - present)
Danny E  (2002 - present)
Darren Young  (2002 - 2009)
Doctor Hurtz  (1998 - 2003, 2010 - present)
Franciz  (2005 - present)
Hadrian  (2000 - 2004)
Josh Daniels  (2000 - 2002, 2005)
Kevin Knight  (1998 - present)
Rik Ratchet  (1998 - 2000)
Robbie E  (2000 - 2002, 2010 - present)
Roman  (2000 - 2005)
Travis Blake  (2001 - 2010)

Honorable Mention:

Biggie Biggs
Chachi
Flex Freeman
Shawn Donavan
Tommy Trouble
Tony Torres 


 

In celebration of IWF 14th Annual Reckless Abandon Anniversary Events, here's the Top 14 Tag Teams in IWF History, as voted by the Championship Committee (listed in alphabetical order):

Kraig Stagg / Frank Scoleri Chris Steeler / Franciz Marc Corino / Austin Williams Justin Corino / Travis Blake 

Posted: March 31, 2011

Aaron Stride & Shane O'Brien  "The Ross Family"
Antonio Rivera & Tony Torres  "Latin Revolution"
Austin Williams & Marc Corino  "The First Team"
Biggie Biggs & Mad Dawg Jenkins  "Bigg Nutz"
Chris Steeler & Franciz  "The Ross Family"
Damian Adams & Hadrian  "The Winner's Circle"
Danny E & Kevin Knight
Darren Young
(Fred Sampson) & Kevin Knight "Lethal Injection"
Doctor Hurtz & Marc Verow  "Condition; Critical"
Franciz & Travis Blake  "The Ross Family"
Frank Scoleri & Justin Corino  "Pretty Smart"
Frank Scoleri & Kraig Stagg  "Imperial Dictatorship"
Justin Corino & Travis Blake  "Center Stage"
Shawn Donavan & Travis Blake  "Simply Stellar"

Honorable Mention:

Aaron Stride & Biggie Biggs  "Hott n' Heavy"
Aaron Stride & Damian Adams  "Illusion & Allure"
Allison Danger & Rapid-Fire Maldonado
Axis & Dante
Biggie Biggs & Kevin Knight  "Team Elite"
Hadrian & Roman  "The Winner's Circle"


In celebration of IWF 14th Annual Reckless Abandon Anniversary Events, here's the Top 14 Managers in IWF History, as voted by the Championship Committee (listed in alphabetical order):

Richard Ross Mr. Casino Dawn Marie IWF 2001 Rik Ratchet / BobCat Kevin Knight / United Way / Richard Ross / AJ Sparxx

Posted: March 31, 2011 

AJ Sparxx  (1998 - 2004, 2006, 2009)
Alissa  (2009 - present)
BobCat  (1998 - 2000)
Dawn Marie  (1999 - 2001)
Dr. Tom Prichard  (2002 - present)
Eloy Fiesta  (2002 - 2008)
Jana  (2004 - present)
Jennifer  (2008 - 2010)
Joshua Maddox  (2007 - present)
Kev Kage  (2000 - 2004)
Larry Lawson  (2010 - present)
Mike Winner  (2000 - 2003, 2009 - present)
Mr. Casino  (2009 - present)
Richard Ross  (1998 - present)
  
Honorable Mention:
  
Alicia
Allison Danger 
Donnie B.
Evan Schwartz
Shayla
Tyler Andrews III
       
    


Kevin Knight Interview About IWF Wrestling School Grad The Shore Robbie E
Kevin Knight

by Luke Dormehl
Fighting Spirit Magazine
www.fightingspiritmagazine.co.uk

Posted: December 19, 2010

          

When did you start working as a trainer?

I started as a trainer when the doors to IWF Wrestling Training School | Nutley, NJ opened 11 years ago in December 1999.  I really wanted to learn as much as possible about the business, inside and outside of the ring.  Even though I was the trainer, I always considered myself a student.  My training I received stunk, as the "schools" that were around then in the late 1990's were a disaster.  I dreamed of opening a school to learn, more so than teach.  I brought in WWE superstars and legends like Honky Tonk Man, Tom Prichard, Tito Santana from day one to help teach me and the students.  Since then, we've also had John Bradshaw Layfield, Young Stallion Jimmy Powers, Ken Shamrock and Ricky Steamboat.  I knew with the knowledge I received from these legends would provide a recipe for success for those who wanted to achieve greatness.

Who else have you trained?

Over the past 11 years, IWF Wrestling School has seen a few top graduates sign with major professional wrestling organizations.  In addition to Robbie E, I have trained WWE Raw Superstar Darren Young.  Also Fady The Arabian Bull, known as Fahd Rakman in FCW.  And former WWE diva Dawn Marie.  Dawn trained to learn wrestling skills after she was a valet in the original ECW.

What are the things you emphasize as a teacher?

Be on time, stay in shape, work hard, and if you don't have a passion for professional wrestling then you need to find something else to do with your spare time.  It's all about desire, dedication, and hard work.  If you don't have a true passion for this, you will fail.

When did you first meet Rob?

I believe I first met Rob in early 1999, as he used to attend IWF Live Events that were held in Central New Jersey at the time.   When IWF Wrestling School opened in December 1999 in Northern New Jersey, he was one of the first people to inquire about the school.  I think he was our first email.  He was only 16 at the time, and began training in June 2000 at the conclusion of his junior year in high school. 

What were your first impressions of him?

Rob was determined from day one to achieve success.  That's what I remember most vividly.  From finding a way to attend IWF Live Events at the age of 15, to being one of the first people to call the wrestling school, to finding a way to car-pool to the school three to four days a week when he was only 16.  

Did he pick things up quickly in training?

Yes he did, he was a natural from day one.  In his class were fellow stand-outs Damian Adams and Josh Daniels.  They all started at the same time in June 2000.  He was in good company.  They all graduated IWF Wrestling School together and have held many IWF championship titles. 

He’s a charismatic guy. Was that always evident?

Yes.  In wrestling, you either have it, or you don't.  He had it.  In-ring skills, speaking skills, a good look.  Our fans loved him from day one.   

Did you help him develop his character (what was his initial gimmick?)

The students and graduates at IWF Wrestling School basically come up with everything themselves.  It's our own personalities turned up on full blast. You have to be comfortable as yourself first.    

Can you talk about (err, write about) your first match with Rob in IWF?

Well, I wrestled against Rob many, many times in class at IWF Wrestling School.  I think I wrestled Rob for the first time on an IWF Live Event in 2001.  We did a few singles matches and a few tag team matches.  I don't remember specifics, but he was always very easy to wrestle, a pleasure to work with, and always made me look good haha.   

What do you think his main talents are?

Rob can do it all.  Mat wrestling, technical wrestling, aerial wrestling, speaking skills.  He is the complete package. 

Have you worked much with Becky Bayless?

No I have not. 

Were you familiar with the Jersey Shore program that Rob’s gimmick is based on?

Yes, I saw all the highlights and heard about all the hype.  But I never watched a full episode, I couldn't take it any longer after 5 minutes.  Rob does look like he would fit right in, but he is far more intelligent than all of those "actors" combined, which is why when the Jersey Shore TV program ends, Rob will continue to succeed for years to come.    

How do you feel his TNA run is going?

I finally had a chance to catch up and watch most of his matches and interviews on the Internet.  He is getting quality TV time for interviews and for his matches.  You can't ask for much more than that.   I'd say so far, so good.

Do you think TNA will use the character to its full potential?

So far they have.  He is the X-Division Champion already.  A great honor after only a few months after his debut.  They are giving him a chance to shine.  He will take the ball and run with it. 

Do you have any predictions for Rob’s future career?

Rob will go as far as he wants.  He works hard, studies his craft, knows the business inside and out, and he will make some noise for a long time to come.  I am very proud of him and wish him continued success.
   
 

Kevin Knight

Kevin Knight - Squashberry Interview

by Anthony Lora

Produced: November 18, 2010 

It is often said that the wrestling business is perhaps the hardest profession to find substantial success particularly when it relates to operating a respectable training facility where most fall victim to the phrase: "Here today and gone tomorrow."  However, joining me at this moment is Kevin Knight, founder of Camp IWF to briefly discuss his involvement  with one of northern New Jersey’s best training ground on Spotlight 7!

1) 11 years ago the birth of Camp IWF came to fruition. What were your initial thoughts the minute you decided to open the doors of this school of hard drops? (to sort of innovate a phrase)

The doors opened in December 1999, and my original thoughts were for me to learn as much as possible and make the school the best it would be.  My training I received stunk, as the "schools" that were around then in the late 1990's were inept, dirty, unprofessional, and run by "used car salesman" type people.  I dreamed of opening a school to learn, not to teach.  I brought in WWE superstars and legends like Honky Tonk Man, Dr. Tom Prichard, Tito Santana from day one to help teach me and the students.  Since then, we've also had John Bradshaw Layfield, Young Stallion Jim Powers, Ken Shamrock and Ricky Steamboat.  I knew with the knowledge I received from these legends that I could run a better school than anyone else, provide a recipe for success for those who wanted to achieve greatness.

2) On that note, given the school’s geographical location, do you feel you are at an advantage or disadvantage?

I'd say we are at an advantage.  Being in Northern New Jersey, we are close to all the major highways that link us to NYC, Eastern PA, Southern CT.   And just 30 minutes from Newark Airport.  Overall, we have had students from 20 states including Alabama, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. 

3) What are the benefits of being a wrestling school that also runs monthly functions including the yearly teen camp and as opposed to just strictly running a school?

We are all things wrestling. Our Youth Clinics, which we do every July, August, October, November and December are a great two-day session where kids between the ages of 12 to 17 can live out their dream and have an opportunity to step inside a ring and have some fun.  I began IWF Youth Wrestling Clinics in 2001 to safely show kids some moves and holds in a friendly-environment.  IWF Monthly Live Events have six or seven matches, two hours of non-stop wrestling action, and we blind you with our light and laser display to help enhance the persona's of the wrestlers.  We use more fog than a cemetery on Halloween, and we will dazzle you with our video screen.  Myself and the IWF try to give our students and fans an "experience" they will never forget.  We also host kids Birthday Parties as well.

4) Camp IWF is the institute responsible for furthering the careers of former independent wrestling stars such as Fred Sampson who now wrestles as Darren Young in the WWE. Two other IWF regulars who are also experiencing significant transitions in their careers, I am referring to both Rob Eckos (see: TNA’s Robbie E) and Fady The “Arabian Bull” (currently signed to a WWE developmental deal).  Would you say that the “winners train and losers explain” mentality played a major role in their success ? Or was it the effective combination of talent and timing?

It's a combination of both. Most people make excuses, and that's not just in wrestling.  In the end, you either have what you want, or the excuses as to why you don't.  Over the past 11 years, IWF Wrestling School has seen 5 of our top graduates sign with major professional wrestling organizations.  When Darren Young entered the School in 2002, I pretty much knew that if he worked hard and stuck with it, that he would make it to the top.  He was a fast learner and just had "it" which is one-in-a-million.  With Fady The Arabian Bull, now known as Fahd Rakman in FCW, it took him a little longer to pick things.  He started in 2007, but things clicked at the beginning of 2010.  The Shore Robbie E in TNA also graduated from IWF School, as did former WWE diva Dawn Marie.  Robbie has tremendous skills, and Dawn trained to learn wrestling skills after she was a valet in the original ECW.

5) I may be wandering off a bit into politics and with good reason. The very same town in which you operate your training facility has received a gimmick change not too long ago from being known as West Paterson to Woodland Park. (sounds like a heel turn to me-lol ) How did this change of name effect you in any way?

They wanted to change the name of the town from West Paterson to Woodland Park for at least the past 20 years.  They finally changed it to Woodland Park at the November 2008 election, and then they had a vote to change it back to West Paterson in November 2009, but it lost by only a few votes.  So its now officially Woodland Park, but everyone still calls it West Paterson.  It makes no difference to IWF.

6) One interesting fact that sets Camp IWF apart from other pro-wrestling schools is the fact that you have yearly wrestling clinics conducted by well- established veteran wrestlers. Do they sometimes serve as talent scouts for the day?

Yes, IWF hosts Seminars and Clinics with stars and legends.  John Bradshaw Layfield, Hall of Famer Tito Santana, former Intercontinental Champion Honky Tonk Man, WWE developmental coach Dr. Tom Prichard, Young Stallion Jim Powers, Hall of Famer Ricky Steamboat, former UFC Champion Ken Shamrock, Stevie Richards, Nunzio, and Dawn Marie hosted clinics.  Some have made recommendations.  22 home-grown talents worked with WWE, including Darren Young, Fady the Bull, Dawn Marie, Vladimir Kozlov, Rich Ross, Damian Adams, Robbie E, Travis Blake, Chris Steeler, Justin Corino, Aaron Stride and others. 

7) I am aware that you will be hosting a diva/manager/referee contest this coming Sunday November 21, 2010. Details please?
 
It's a once-in-a-lifetime chance for fans and aspiring superstars to enter a ring and win 6-weeks of FREE Pro Wrestling Training at IWF School!  Its a one-day instructional class that provides adults an exciting opportunity to enter the ring and experience the training methods of a manager, diva, and referee.  The participants will have fun and learn basic skills and speaking techniques.  Wrestling needs the next Bobby the Brain Heenan, Paul Bearer and Sensational Sherri!

      


 

Kevin Knight

Interview with Kevin Knight - courtesy www.FromTheRing.com

Posted: October 22, 2010 

Kevin Knight knows the wrestling business. Almost a 15 year veteran in the business, Kevin Knight owns the Independent Wrestling Federation in New Jersey. Since its inception, the IWF has proven to be one of the premier training facilities and live event spectacles on the east coast. Luckily, From The Ring was able to catch up with Kevin.

 1.) Since 1999, IWF has built itself from the ground up to become one of the most reputable professional wrestling schools in the northeast.  From talent like Fady The Arabian Bull to WWE Superstar Darren Young, you've had a lot of talent emerge as of late.  As the head trainer, how do you view the success of these wrestlers?
  
Yes, over the past 11 years, IWF Wrestling School has seen 5 of our top graduates sign with major professional wrestling organizations.  When Darren Young entered the School in 2002, I pretty much knew that if he worked hard and stuck with it, that he would make it to the top.  He was a fast learner and just had "it" which is one-in-a-million.  With Fady The Arabian Bull, now known as Fahd Rakman in FCW, it took him a little longer to pick things.  He started in 2007, but things clicked at the beginning of 2010 and overnight, he developed "it" which is now two-in-a-million haha.  I have no doubt that someday they will both participate at a WrestleMania very soon.  The Shore Robbie E in TNA also graduated from IWF School, as did former WWE diva Dawn Marie.  Robbie has tremendous skills, and Dawn trained to learn wrestling skills after she was a valet in the original ECW.


2.) IWF runs every month in West Paterson, New Jersey with exciting live events.  What do you consider unique about the IWF experience and what has been a key to the promotions longevity?
  
IWF presents wrestling different than on today's "TV" wrestling shows.  We actually wrestle.  Less talking.  That's unique now-a-days.  We have guys and gals with compelling, well-defined persona's.  We don't insult the intelligence of our fans by calling our wrestlers and athletes "entertainers."  I remember what I liked as a kid and young adult watching wrestling and going to local live events, so I now try to give those feelings I got as a fan to the people who now attend IWF events.  


3.) You're almost a 15 year veteran in the world of professional wrestling.  Are you pleased with what you've been able to accomplish so far?
  
Yes, I am pleased.  I have nothing left to accomplish, and I have nothing left to prove.  About 15 to 20 other wrestling "schools" in the Northeast have closed their doors during the time we have been open.  They were a joke.  There was one "school" that opened in 2001 right down the street from us that literally was open for 2 months, and was a disaster.  They had so-called "big names" as "trainers" haha.  They were out of business quicker than a John Cena movie out of theatres. Why?  They were unintelligent, disorganized, couldn't promote, had a dirty facility.  It's not who you are, it's how hard you work and how you present yourself. 

4.) What are some of your future goals that you've set for yourself and IWF?
  
To keep doing what we are doing as long as I have a passion for it.  Change and adapt with the times.  Keep on improving myself and the IWF day by day.

5.) Having visited IWF and having partaken in one of the youth training clinics, I'd have to say that it’s one of the greatest experiences for teens looking to experience a taste of what professional wrestling is all about.  What do you think makes these programs special and how important is it to teach teens both the dangers and wonders of professional wrestling?
  
Our Youth Clinics, which we do every July, August, October and December are a great two-day session where kids between the ages of 12 to 17 can live out their dream and have an opportunity to step inside a ring and have some fun.  I remember when I was 12 years-old, a washed-up has-been wrestler named Larry Sharpe wouldn't let me get into the ring he was taking down at the Meadowlands NJ Arena after a NWA-AWA card.  He was rude to children.  Funny, here we are in 2010 and his "school" has been long sent out to pasture, and I began IWF Youth Wrestling Clinics in 2001 to safely show kids some moves and holds in a friendly-environment, and I also allow any kid that comes to an IWF Live Event to come into the ring after my matches.  Myself and the IWF try to give our students and fans an "experience" they will never forget.  We get it.  Other's don't.

6.) When you first broke into the business, what were some of your original aspirations?  Did you ever dream about opening your own wrestling school and promotion?
  
My original aspirations were to learn as much as possible and be the best I could be.  Not to compare myself to others, or try to reach levels of others.  My training stunk, the "schools" that were around then in 1996-97 were inept, dirty, unprofessional, and run by used car salesman.  I dreamed of opening a school to learn, not to teach.  I brought in WWE superstars and legends like Honky Tonk Man, Dr. Tom Prichard, Tito Santana from day one to help teach me and the students.  I knew with the knowledge I received from these legends that I could run a better school than anyone else, provide a recipe for success for those who wanted to achieve greatness, and run better events than anyone else.  I knew I could do it, but it took time.

7.) Do you believe that MMA is competition for professional wrestling? How much of the professional wrestling market do you believe are also MMA fans?
  
Yes, it sure is competition.  But it's a different fan base.  Adult men in the key demographic between the ages of 18 to 34 are watching MMA and UFC, and not WWE or TNA.  They wouldn't be caught dead watching 63 year-old Ric Flair, or crippled Hulk Hogan, or a ridiculous midget like Hornswaggle.  WWE and TNA refuse to admit UFC is competition.  Now, it's not competition per-say like Coke is to Pepsi as a product, but they are competition as far as vying for the same audience.  I see TapouT and Affliction shirts EVERYWHERE I go.  I do not see anyone over the age of 12 or 13 wearing a wrestling shirt anymore, anywhere.  Its not cool.

8.) What are your views on the current state of professional wrestling? With IWF having a family friendly product, do you believe that more professional wrestling companies should try to tone it down or do you think there’s room for everything in professional wrestling?
  
WWE and TNA product is sub-par.  Its not cool.  Its not hip.  Its not happening.  Its not today.  Why?  They don't K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Stupid.  Wrestling is good against evil, fighting over dollars and championships.  Funny, that's what UFC is.  That's what IWF is.  What WWE and TNA needs to tone down is the lunacy and ridiculousness of their product.  TNA should be called TNT, total non-stop talking!  In 1984-85 when Hulkamania and WWF were hotter than hell, it was PG.  It should be PG.  Fathers should be able to watch wrestling with their sons.  From 1998 to 2008, they couldn't.  That generation of youngsters who are now young adults have discovered MMA and UFC.  WWE missed out on a generation of fans, as proved by the fact that TV ratings and PPV numbers and Event attendance are horribly at record lows. 

9.) Whether it be shooting a commercial for Survivor Series in 2003 to being a druid for the Undertaker, you've done a lot in your career. What would you say is the most memorable moment in your career on a personal level?
  
Wrestling at a WWE SmackDown TV event in June 2003 against A-Train in Madison Square Garden in NYC.  The match was televised.  I worked hard to get that match, I worked hard to prepare.  I got many more WWE opportunities after that match, and it kicked open a lot of doors for the IWF.

10.) Having seen the impact that concussions have on athletes, especially professional wrestlers, how important is safety to you and the IWF? Have you taken more precautions as more information about the effects of concussions has come out?
  
Safety is number one.  At this level, the wrestlers have jobs, or go to school, or have families.  We do not do any wacky flips or nonsensical dives.  They belong at a high-wire circus.  Wrestling is about the story of good against evil, two men settling their differences on the mat, or in a good old-fashioned brawl.  All these concussions, and injuries, and premature deaths mostly come as a result of the human body taking too much unnecessary punishment from flips, dives, chairs, etc.  Now, freak injuries will happen here and there, but no reason to risk your health and well-being with dangerous risk-taking.  For what?  For cheers?  Stupid. 

11.) Lastly, what can a fan going to an IWF show for the first time expect?
  
Six or seven matches, two hours of non-stop wrestling action, and we blind you with our light and laser display to help enhance the persona's of the wrestlers.  We use more fog than a cemetery on Halloween, and we will dazzle you with our video screen. 
  

   

Kevin Knight Interview from "Hit the Ropes" Radio Show

Posted: October 20, 2010

       

Listen to the Hit the Ropes Radio podcast interview as Kevin Kngiht talks Evil Intentions, IWF Wrestling School, IWF Grads Darren Young, Fady The Arabian Bull, The Shore Robbie E. and more!

    


 

IWF Wrestling "Behind the Scenes" with Chiropractor Dr. Steven Clarke

 

Posted: July 27, 2010
  
Direct from IWF Centre in West Paterson, NJ, welcome to IWF Wrestling "Behind the Scenes" with Chiropractor Dr. Steven Clarke of High Street Rehab of Nutley, NJ.
  
Dr. Steven Clarke, President of the Association of New Jersey Chiropractors (ANJC), gives chiropractic adjustments and provides treatment to several wrestlers from the Independent Wrestling Federation (IWF) prior to a recent wrestling card at the IWF Wrestling Centre in West Paterson, NJ.
  

 

Kevin Knight

Interview with Kevin Knight (January 2010)
by: Jerry Wiseman

Columbus Pro Wrestling Examiner


1. Your dream opponent would be?

There are two, and I've been lucky enough to wrestle them many times before, and that's WWE Hall of Famer Tito Santana and WWE Legend Honky Tonk Man. They both serve as guest instructors at IWF Pro Wrestling School in West Paterson, NJ, and have wrestled on many Independent Wrestling Federation live events.

2. What is your best road story?

Anytime traveling with WWE Legend Honky Tonk Man. Just listening to his stories hours on-end are priceless.

3. Who is someone you always like to watch wrestle?

Currently its Randy Orton, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Undertaker, Chris Jericho, Big Show, and Edge. In days gone by, Ted DiBiase, Jake Roberts, Ric Flair, The Horsemen, Roddy Piper, Hulk Hogan.

4. As a promoter who would be in your money match?

Hulk Hogan versus Stone Cold Steve Austin.

5. Do you think tag team wrestling is a lost art?

Yes. It's not easy to do and you have guys in wrestling who don't belong and who don't understand how to do it. As a kid, I loved tag team matches. It was the best part of the show usually. Now, when there are tag team matches on TV, it's usually with main event singles wrestlers teaming up, and not permanent teams.

6. If you got the call from New York, would you change your gimmick and to what?

Haha they would change it for me, and tell me what to do and tell me what to say. But that's not for me.

7. Do you think titles need to mean something again?

Yes, I couldn't even tell you who any of the current champions are in WWE, how does one organization have two separate heavyweight champions? There's a Monday night champion, a Tuesday night champion, a Friday night champion. It's like boxing, too many titles, too many initials, too much confusion. And I don't watch TNA. Do they even have titles there?

8. You own a promotion, who are the first five workers you hire?

Well, I would start from within with guys we already have or who have graduated from IWF Wrestling School. That would be Fred Sampson who is now in FCW, Damian Adams, Chris Steeler, and myself (and since you said hire, does that mean I finally get paid?). The fifth would be WWE Legend Young Stallion Jim Powers, who now serves as guest instructor at IWF Wrestling School and who wrestles on IWF Live Events. You need a mentor like him who is a solid veteran to help with the foundation.

9. What is the craziest match you have done?

A Ladder Match with Eliminator John Kronus of ECW fame back in 1999. I escaped alive, that's all I remember.

10. Do you prefer hardcore, traditional or a mix of the two for your own matches?

Traditional, as it is the only style that holds up over time.

11. Besides yourself, who is the best to ever step into the ring?

Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan. In my eyes, its a tie.

12. Who is your favorite opponent?

IWF Heavyweight Champion Hi-Definition Chris Steeler.

13. If you could change one thing about the business, what would it be?

I would not allow a microphone near the ring. Less talking.

14. Does wrestling need a union?

Yes, at the major league level, WWE and TNA. The guy who sweeps up Madison Square Garden after the wrestling show has more benefits and gets more rights than the guys who actually wrestled that night in front of 20,000 people.

15. What drew you into the business?

Watching guys like Hulk Hogan, Roddy Piper and Ric Flair do their thing in the 1980's.

16. Do you think good and evil characters need to be clearly defined again?

Yes, they are in WWE. Can't speak for TNA. I watched them once, couldn't follow it, and won't watch it again.

17. In the annals of wrestling, what do you want to be said about you?

I was a complete pain in the ass. And because of that, IWF Pro Wrestling School is one of the best training facilities in the Country.

18. What decade, the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s or 00s do you think best defined wrestling?

1980's.

19. Do you think Internet PPVs would help indie promotions?

Enough PPV's already. Indies should showcase their stuff free online and get themselves "out there".

20. What is one thing you want fans to know about.

You can check out the Independent Wrestling Federation by visiting our web site at www.WrestlingIWF.com.

      


Kevin Knight

Kevin Knight Interview (Dec 2009):
by Derek Pivko

Staff Writer, WrestlingIWF.com
Contributor, NHL.com

Posted: December 15, 2009

1) How was IWF formed? How did you become involved in IWF?

IWF was formed in early 1998, and the first live event was held March 14, 1998 in Nutley, NJ. I had been wrestling for two years prior, and was amazed at how inept most of the organizations were that I wrestled for. I sat back at watched everything they did wrong, and learned from their mistakes. At the same time, I learned from the mistakes I made in the ring. With the IWF, we wanted to take wrestling back to the old-school, family-friendly style, and we now begin our 13th year of producing live events. IWF Wrestling School began in December 1999, so this month of December 2009 marks our 10th Anniversary.


2) How do you compare IWF amongst other independent promotions in the state of New Jersey?

Easy comparison. We are professional. The others are not. They are not operated by qualified individuals. Just because you can rent a building and rent a ring does not make you qualified to produce a live professional wrestling event. I have had top-notch experience in sports, entertainment, media, and marketing for 15 years. We are full-time, every week, every month, year-round. And these other groups have "wrestlers" in the ring who are not qualified. Just because you slip a promoter $50 and put on a pair of jeans and a sweatshirt and work-boots and you hop in the ring and play around for 10 minutes does not make you a professional wrestler. Our wrestlers are highly trained, in shape, have great personas, look the part, and are professionals. Once an IWF student or graduate does not live up to those standards, they are out the door. We want professionals, not weekend warriors.


3) You have had several wrestling clinics involving past WWE superstars. Which wrestler was the most influential during the clinic and why?

I'll narrow it down to four because I can't just pick one. The clinics we have had with WWE Legend Honky Tonk Man, WWE Developmental Talent Trainer Dr. Tom Prichard, WWE Hall of Famer Tito Santana, and former WWE Champion John Bradshaw Layfield were the most influential. From them, I learned how to teach, and the IWF students and graduates learned how to be better wrestlers and performers. They showed us how to act inside and outside of the ring. We follow their game-plan for our live events and the school. The learning never ends.


4) What would you be doing if you weren't involved in IWF?

Probably play-by-play sports announcing for a professional team, or radio broadcasting. I went to college for radio and television. But I can still do that when wrestling ends. There really was no second option besides IWF. I wasn't going to fail. That's all I ever wanted to do. And here we are 13 years later.


5) What are your goals for the next 10 years?

To keep improving IWF Live Events, keep improving IWF Wrestling School, keep improving the skills of our students and graduates, and keep improving my wrestling and teaching abilities. With hard work, desire, and dedication, the sky is the limit, and all goals will be reached.


6) Which wrestlers did you admire growing up?

I loved watching Rowdy Roddy Piper, Ric Flair, Bobby Heenan, Jake Roberts, Ted DiBiase, Honky Tonk Man, and The Four Horseman. I just loved the way they got under the skin of the fans.


7) How did IWF become known through the media. Your promotion has appeared on several news networks, newspapers, etc.

When you are the best at what you do, people take notice. We have the best Wrestling School in the Northeast, and we produce the best family-friendly Live Events in the Northeast. We have been featured on every local TV outlet and national cable channel. Our wrestlers have been featured in almost every daily and weekly newspaper in the state.


8) How many hours a week are you at IWF?

Honestly, I never count. If you enjoy what you do, you will never work a day in your life. So I don't log the hours. In addition to our 2 monthly live events, we host children’s birthday parties and provide them with a live event, so we run about 8-10 live events per month, and we have wrestling school class 3 days a week.


9) How has wrestling changed due to the internet?

I honesty don't follow wrestling on the internet. I have a life haha. My existence does not revolve around backstage wrestling news. I barely watch wrestling on TV. I don't want to follow any internet trends or copy anything else. The internet is so over-rated as far as wrestling is concerned. The same people who claim to "be in the know" because they read internet wrestling rumors are the same people who yell and scream when Hulk Hogan puts his hand up to his ear.

        


Kevin Knight on Sirius XMKevin Knight on Sirius XMKevin Knight on Sirius XM
SIRIUS XM Satellite Radio 
Interview from "Busted Open" Radio Show held November 20, 2009 in NYC
     
 

JBL

IWF Interview with WWE Superstar John Layfield:
 
Posted: April 2008

(WEST PATERSON, NJ)- Mamajuana presents John Layfield…Raw Superstar and former WWE Heavyweight Champion…as Guest Instructor at the Independent Wrestling Federation Training School, West Paterson, NJ.  Mr. Layfield hosts a Wrestling Seminar for IWF students, graduates and indy wrestlers on April 30.  WrestlingIWF.com had a chance to talk with John Layfield to get his thoughts on his new Energy products, his personal pro wrestling training experiences, as well as what participants can expect at his seminar at IWF Wrestling School:
 
IWF: Mamajuana and 418 Energy present a Pro Wrestling Seminar with John Layfield at IWF School in West Paterson, NJ.  First, please tell us how your involvement with these energy products came about?
  
JOHN: I WAS WORKING ON WALL STREET AND HELPED A NUTRITIONAL COMPANY BUY ANOTHER ONE (COMPANY).  IN DOING SO, I REALIZED AN OPPORTUNITY TO PARTNER WITH THE BUYER AND FORM A JOINT VENTURE TO DEVELOP TARGETED NUTRITION...THAT'S HOW LAYFIELD ENERGY WAS FORMED.
  
IWF: How do Mamajuana and 418 Energy differ from similar products on the market?
  
JOHN: MAMAJUANA IS A VIRILITY PRODUCT.  "LIQUID VIAGRA" I HAVE HEARD THE ORIGINAL MAMAJUANA CALLED, WE HAVE CREATED SEX IN A BOTTLE.  WE HAVE ALREADY AGREED TO NATIONAL DISTRIBUTION WE JUST HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL PRODUCT IS ON SHELVES IN STORES TO ANNOUNCE IT.  YOU CAN BUY IT AT MAMAJUANAENERGY.COM.  IT IS GETTING UNBELIEVABLE TESTIMONIALS.  WE WORKED FOR OVER A YEAR DEVELOPING THIS.  NO YOHIMBE AND NO GINGKO SO THERE WOULDN'T BE ANY PROBLEM GETTING PRODUCT LIABILITY INSURANCE, MADE IN AN FDA APPROVED LAB.  418 ENERGY IS MADE FOR GOLFERS, IT HAS A NATURAL ANTI-INFLAMMATORY BUILT INTO IT AND COGNITIVE INGREDIENTS...ALLWHAT GOLFERS NEED.  THERE IS NOTHING LIKE 418 ENERGY, WE MADE IT SPECIFICALLY FOR GOLFERS.  
  
IWF: Looking back, tell us about the early stages of your wrestling career and about your road to the WWE?
  
JOHN: I WAS BROKEN IN BY BRAD RHEINGANS...1980 GRECO ROMAN WORLD CHAMPION.  I WRESTLED IN TEXAS, JAPAN, MEXICO, AND LIVED IN EUROPE FOR TWO YEARS WRESTLING THERE.  I FINALLY MADE IT INTO WWE IN DECEMBER 1995.

IWF: During your training, who was most instrumental in your development and what was the most important advice you received?
  
JOHN: DICK MURDOCH ONCE TOLD ME WHEN I WAS ON MY WAY TO AN INTERVIEW "MAKE SOMETHING HAPPEN" AND THAT HAS BECOME MY PHILOSOPHY IN LIFE.

IWF: How long did it take you to "get it" and were there any defining moments that stand out when you truly understood what performing and the business were all about?
  
JOHN: I DON'T THINK I HAVE IT NOW.  I WENT OUT THE OTHER DAY AND GOT LOST.  I AM STILL WORKING ON GETTING IT.  I HOPE TO GET CLOSE ONE DAY.  SKANDOR AKBAR INGRAINED IN ME THAT THE MAIN EVENT HAD TO BE SPECIAL...IN EVERYTHING FROM DRESS, TO APPEARANCE, TO STYLE.  JIMMY CROCKETT TOLD ME THE SAME THING OVER AND OVER...IT MADE AN IMPACT. 

IWF: At IWF Wrestling School in addition to yourself, WWE Hall of Famer Tito Santana, WWE Trainer Tom Prichard, WWE Legend Honky Tonk Man, WWE's Steven Richards, WWE's Nunzio, WWE legend Ricky Steamboat, former UFC and WWE Champion Ken Shamrock, and former WWE Diva Dawn Marie have hosted clinics.  How valuable are these sessions for trainees?
  
JOHN: IT'S THE ONLY WAY TO MAKE IT, THERE IS NO EASY ROUTE.  I WISH THERE WAS.

IWF: This Seminar at IWF Wrestling School marks your first-ever lecture at a training facility for young hopefuls.  What qualities and attributes separate an ordinary "independent" wrestler from a first-class "professional" wrestler? 
  
JOHN: IF I KNEW THAT, I WOULD MAKE MILLIONS.  GUYS WHO MAKE IT HAVE A PASSION FOR THE BUSINESS.  THERE ARE A FEW EXCEPTIONS, BUT FOR THE MOST PART GUYS WHO MAKE IT LOVE IT.  YOU HAVE TO LOVE WHAT YOU DO OR YOU WON'T BE GOOD AT IT.  THIS BUSINESS IS NO DIFFERENT.
 
IWF: Many trainees and young wrestlers expect to make it to WWE after just a few months or few years of training.  What are some things that young wrestlers need to keep in mind during the early years of their career?
  
JOHN: YOU HAVE TO LEARN EVERYTHING...EVERYTHING!  TOO MANY THINK WRESTLING IS JUST ABOUT HIGH SPOTS AND PHYSIQUES.  I HAVE CERTAINLY PROVED THAT WRONG AND I'VE DONE FAIRLY WELL IN MY CAREER.

IWF: With about 20 years of experience as a wrestler, you have seen countless wrestlers come and go.  What are the keys to a prosperous wrestling career?
  
JOHN: STAY HEALTHY AND STAY OUT OF TROUBLE.  I DID NEITHER, SO I GUESS BEING LUCKY HELPS OUT TOO.  CONSTANTLY EVOLVE.  THE BUSINESS IS DIFFERENT FROM WHEN I BROKE IN.  THOSE WHO CHANGED WITH IT ARE STILL HERE, THOSE THAT DIDN'T AREN'T HERE.
  

Honky Tonk Man

IWF Interview with WWE Legend Honky Tonk Man:
 
Posted: April 2008

(WEST PATERSON, NJ)- WWE Legend Honky Tonk Man…the Greatest Intercontinental Champion of All-time…returns as Guest Instructor at the Independent Wrestling Federation Training School, West Paterson, NJ.  Honky Tonk Man hosts a Wrestling Clinic and Seminar for IWF students, graduates and indy wrestlers on April 16 and April 17.  WrestlingIWF.com had a chance to sit down with Honky Tonk Man to get his thoughts on his personal pro wrestling training experiences, as well as what participants can expect at his upcoming classes at IWF Wrestling School:
 
IWF: Take us back to the early stages of your wrestling career and tell us about your training experience?

HTM: I trained 2 nights a week, 3 hours each session.  My training partner was Koko B. Ware.  Our trainer was Herb Welch of the famous Welch-Fuller family of the south.  We trained countless hours on holds, and reversal of the holds, takedowns and escapes.  I was 9 months into training before Herb released me for a match.  After that match, I realized I knew nothing.  I went back to training for another 3-4 months having matches off and on.

IWF: During your training, who was most instrumental in your development and what were some of the most important tips you received?

HTM: My trainer, Herb Welch was the most instrumental.  He had wrestled all over the states and was very well respected by all the wrestlers.  He drilled me on fundamentals and taking the business seriously.  He hated lazy work!

IWF: How long did it take you to "get it" and were there any defining moments that stand out when you truly understood what performing in the ring was all about?

HTM: I took about 4-5 years…somewhere in that time frame to stand back and say, "I have been doing this all wrong!"  Fundamentally I was very good, but the mental part was way behind the fundamentals.  It takes awhile for the mental part to catch up to the physical part.

IWF: At IWF Wrestling School in addition to yourself,  WWE Hall of Famer Tito Santana, WWE Trainer Tom Prichard, WWE's Steven Richards, WWE's Nunzio, WWE legend Ricky Steamboat, former UFC and WWE Champion Ken Shamrock, and former WWE Diva Dawn Marie have hosted clinics.  How valuable are these sessions for trainees?

HTM: It is very important for the students to get a chance to listen to and to ask questions of these veterans of the business.  The trainees get a better insight into the big picture.  Sometimes the trainees think the teacher is full of nonsense when he tells them how things really work and the need for doing certain things the trainees might think are boring and mean nothing.  The outside veterans can help shore up the trainees' confidence in the trainer.

IWF: You conducted many clinics at IWF Wrestling School since 2002.  Since that time, 17 different IWF graduates performed with WWE.  What qualities and attributes separate an ordinary "independent" wrestler from a first-class "professional" wrestler?

HTM: It all goes back to the training, the trainer, and the atmosphere of the wrestling school itself.  If the training is professional, the trainer is professional, and the school is run professionally, then the students who graduate and move on will in turn be more professional.  The IWF does all of the above and each of the graduates are professionals when they go on to the next level.  The groundwork that is laid at the IWF camp is one of the best I have ever seen.  Some of the "run of the mill ordinaries" are just that,"ordinary."  They will never move to the higher level simply because they do not know how to take it to that level.

IWF: Yourself, Tito Santana and Tom Prichard among others, have been credited for the success of IWF Wrestling School as a result of your roles as guest instructors.  The common theme is basics, fundamentals and storytelling.  To some young wrestlers, this seems boring when compared to stunts, dives and barbed wire.  Any idiot can do a stunt, a dive or fall into barbed wire, but it takes a skilled professional athlete to master the basics and tell a logical story.  Why are these the most important elements for a wrestler to learn?

HTM: As you stated, anyone at any given time can do a stunt move.  Guys and girls do them during Spring Break all the time, whether they are sober or drunken to the gills.  Being able to put it all together to captivate and audience is a different kind of skill. It is a skill, as I said before, that is not just physical, but it is a mental thing.  You have to be able to control the audience's emotions.  High-flying stunts, barbed wire, fire, blood, and dives off the rafters are exciting to watch, but they have to be put into a storyline that will control emotions.

IWF: Today, with the short attention span of society in general and instant gratification expected, many trainees and young wrestlers expect to make it to WWE after just a few months or few years of training.  What are some things that young wrestlers need to keep in mind during the early years of their career?

HTM: Fundamentals, fundamentals, fundamentals!  Without these elements you are a lost ship on the ocean.  When all else fails, the fundamentals you have learned will always bail you out of trouble.  Short attention span is something we have "given in to."  I think given the right circumstances on any given day, we can, if we are fundamentally sound and have a good understanding of the mental aspects of a good versus evil storyline, any of us can control the audience's emotions for any given amount of time.  Top rated movies go for over 2 hours.  Where is the short attention span there?

IWF: With almost 30 years of experience as a wrestler and having performed in four WrestleMania's, what are the keys to longevity?

HTM: Staying healthy.  Doing those things in the ring that you are comfortable doing.  Never push the limits the body has set forth.  The mind might say go for it, the body says I can't do that.  Listen to the body.  The longer you stay around, the more chances you have to be prosperous.
  

Dr. Tom Prichard

Exclusive IWF Interview with WWE Trainer Dr. Tom Prichard:
    
Posted: August 1, 2007

(WEST PATERSON, NJ)- Independent Wrestling Federation sat down with WWE Developmental Talent Trainer Tom Prichard of Florida Championship Wrestling prior to his WWE Seminar, Clinic and Tryout in 2007 at IWF Wrestling School.  Prichard, a former Tag Team Champion with The Heavenly Bodies and The Bodydonnas, spoke about his role as a coach, and what it takes to make it as a successful wrestler...

IWF: First, tell us about the early stages of your wrestling career and about your training?

TOM: I am a lifelong wrestling fan and have watched my whole life.  From the time I was 4 years old I knew I wanted to be a professional wrestler.  I started watching on TV in El Paso, TX and there were great workers like The Funks, Harley Race, The Infernos, The Von Brauners, Nick and Jerry Kozak, Grizzly Smith, Rickey Romero, Gory Guerrero, El Santo and many other top names who I didn't know at the time were top names pretty much everywhere they went.  Or, they were being groomed for a top spot.  West Texas was run by the Funk family and they were very smart in how they did business.  When I was 10, we moved to Houston and got acquainted with a whole new crew of wrestlers; Wahoo McDaniel, Johnny Valentine, The Spoiler, Gary Hart, The Great Malenko, Fritz Von Erich, Jose Lothario, and Dory Funk Jr. just won the NWA World championship before we moved so he was now a touring champion, going from territory to territory so I was able to still see some of my favorites from West Texas.  Paul Boesch was the promoter and we were able to go to the matches every Friday night at the Sam Houston Coliseum in the 70's. I made it a point to be around the entrance the guys arrived at in the coliseum and would try to talk to some while other times I just watched.  I finally introduced myself to Paul and told him I wanted to wrestle.  Of course at 11 years old I was told there’s no way but I was persistent and never gave up.  From the time I was 10 up until I was 20 years old I was at the matches every week and in between those years I managed to work in the Houston office during summers, referee, second and set up rings.  I was a gofer and did anything I could to be a part of the business.  I never gave up my hopes and dreams.  There wasn't a lot of encouragement to go around either but I wasn't going to let that stop me.

IWF: During your wrestling training, who was most instrumental in your development and what were some of the most important tips and advice you received?

TOM: The most influential person in my early training and development was my karate instructor, Bill Gray.  About the same time we moved to Houston, my brother and I took karate classes and that’s where I met Bill.  Bill brought a speaker to class one night who said, “There are 3 kinds of people in the world: Those who ‘try’.  They'll never make it because when they don't they say “Well, at least I tried.”  Those who ‘give it their best shot’.  They'll never make it because when they don't they say “Well, at least I gave it my best shot.”  Then there’s that third kind of person who says ‘Whatever It Takes.’  There is no denying these people because they will not stop until they accomplish their goal.  There is no ‘try’ or ‘best shot.’  I thought that was the most profound thing I ever heard.  What’s possible is done, what’s impossible will be done.  How true!  I was told I was too small, couldn't wrestle, didn't have ‘it’, blah, blah, blah.  I knew what I wanted to do and while I wasn't sure exactly how I would get there I was going to get there!  I took a lot of risks and made a lot of mistakes but that’s life.  I just couldn't see myself doing anything else.  Paul Boesch letting me work in the office and train with The Iron Sheik on Friday afternoons in an empty coliseum was a big help as well.  Paul was a great influence and inspiration to me too.

IWF: How long did it take you to "get it" and were there any defining moments that stand out when you truly understood what performing and the business were all about?

TOM: The rule of thumb when I had my first match (1979) was you had to be working for at least 5 years before you would be allowed to call a spot or anything in the match.  Back then you were put with a veteran every night and you listened to him.  That’s how you really learn this business is on the job training and experienced veterans pass down their knowledge.  I think I finally ‘got it’ when I turned heel in Louisiana.  Then I was able to try things and try my hand at calling a match.  It was right around my 5 year mark after working 5-7 nights a week for 5 years!  It’s next to impossible to fathom that today.  There’s just no where to go and do something like that.  Going to the Pensacola/Alabama territory really gave me the freedom to try my hand at some ideas and get comfortable about who I was as a performer.  But then again, going to WWE it was like starting all over again!  The great thing about this business is it’s constantly changing.  And the bad thing about this business is it’s constantly changing!

IWF: In 1996, you began a new career as a trainer and coach for WWE.  It is well known you had a hand in preparing The Rock, Kurt Angle and Ken Shamrock among others for their careers  What were the qualities and attributes that separated those that made it to the big dance from those who didn't make it?

TOM: The biggest qualities these guys all have is they are students of the game.  They kept looking for improvement and new ways to do things.  It wasn't “just doing moves for the sake of doing moves.”  In the case of Rock and Angle they both became extremely entertaining on the mic and in the ring.  Shamrock had a lot of talent as well.  They all had the “Whatever It Takes” attitude!

IWF: Kevin Knight opened IWF Wrestling School in 1999 because there weren't any quality schools in the area.  His role was also that of a student as he began brining in countless stars and legends to conduct clinics.  In addition to yourself, WWE's Steven Richards, WWE's Nunzio, WWE Hall of Famer Tito Santana, former WWE Intercontinental Champion Honky Tonk Man, WWE legend Ricky Steamboat, former UFC and WWE Champion Ken Shamrock, former WWE Diva Dawn Marie, former WWE star Tom Brandi, former ECW Champion Steve Corino, and TNA's Simon Diamond have hosted clinics.  How valuable are these sessions for trainees?

TOM: The hardest part starting out today is finding a reputable school and coach who knows what he’s doing.  To be able to hear it from the people who have “been there, done that” is immeasurable.  No two people have broke into the business the same way but the successful ones with longevity know and understand what someone must do in order to follow some direction.  No one knows everything, therefore it is good to hear a different point of view as long as the information is constructive and helping the students attain their goals.  You never know when you might see or hear that ‘one thing’ that inspires you or answers that burning question nobody else seemed to have the answer to.  Too many times trainers give answers they “think” is right because they read it in a book or magazine. 

IWF: Kevin Knight formulated his coaching style for IWF Wrestling School by combining all the valuable knowledge gained during these superstar clinics.  Who was influential in helping you to develop your coaching style?

TOM: Once again, Bill Gray.  His method of teaching kept things fun, interesting and informative.  I actually learned and wanted to learn more.  You must have a passion to learn the business but I also feel a good coach must have a passion for coaching.  A good coach must also be willing to change and adapt as things change.
IWF: You conducted many clinics throughout the country, including developing a relationship with IWF Wrestling School in 2002.  Since that time, 16 different IWF graduates performed with WWE.  Now, there are thousands of independent wrestlers in the country.  What qualities and attributes separate an ordinary "independent" wrestler from a first-class "professional" wrestler?

TOM:
Attitude.  Too many guys think it’s all about how many moonsaults or huracanranas they can do.  Stone Cold Steve Austin has NEVER done a moonsault!  Less is more!  The real pros understand it is about quality, NOT quantity.  This is a business and it should be enjoyed.  The object is not to kick each other as hard as you can.  It’s to give the impression you are beating the hell out of each other!  Pros understand this.  Indie/Outlaws don't!

IWF: Yourself, Honky Tonk Man and Tito Santana among others, have been credited for the success of IWF Wrestling School as a result of your roles as guest instructors.  The common theme is basics, fundamentals and storytelling.  To some young wrestlers, this seems boring when compared to stunts, dives and barbed wire.  Any idiot can do a stunt, a dive or fall into barbed wire, but it takes a skilled professional athlete to master the basics and tell a logical story.  Why are these the most important elements for a wrestler to learn? 

TOM: We can teach moves.  We can't teach charisma or passion.  How much talent does it take to do 15 huracarranas, 12 moonsaults, go thru 20 tables and still get up and do a flying dive off the cage?  I'm sure it takes something but the object again, is to tell a story  and entertain people.  The Rock will still get more of a reaction by raising his eyebrow than some 165 pound guy stapling a dollar to his tongue.
 
IWF: Today, with the short attention span of society in general and instant gratification expected, many trainees and young wrestlers expect to make it to WWE after just a few months or few years of training.  What are some things that young wrestlers need to keep in mind during the early years of their career?

TOM: Worry about having a solid foundation before worrying about “getting my tattoo on my trunks and ring jacket!”  Without knowing the BASICS and having a solid foundation you will go nowhere fast! Ask veterans who have been where you want to be for advice!  Become a student of the game and live this business 24/7.  Don't live your gimmick…live and understand the demands and sacrifices required of this business.

IWF: With almost 30 years of experience as a wrestler, trainer and coach, you have seen countless wrestlers come and go.  What are the keys to longevity and a prosperous wrestling career?

TOM: Attitude.  Understanding ones strengths and weaknesses.  Learn everything you can about everything connected to the business.  It won't last forever.  Are you thought of or capable enough to pass down what you learned?  Longevity means WORKING SMART!  That doesn't mean be lazy, it means work smart so you don't get a serious injury and aren't able to make a living any more.