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Exclusive interview with Robert Thompson (english)
CAGEMATCH: If one is looking on APW's history, there is one guy you will always find. His name is Robert Thompson. What does All Pro Wrestling and the Boot Camp mean to you? What do you think of Roland Alexander?
Robert Thompson: Honestly, I could tell you I really wasn't a big part of the Boot Camp until Mike (editor's note: Mike Modest) and Donovan (editor's note: Donovan Morgan) left. I was wrestling for the promotion, but never really involved with the training. I was doing Roland a favor by holding up fort until we got another trainer to train the class but as I was doing this I fell in love with the aspect of training and told Roland I would love to do this full-time. I do not see myself doing anything else, the Boot Camp has put another level of enjoyment into my life.
Roland Alexander is a hard working guy who could close shop at anytime, but chooses not to because of his love for the business and his love for APW. I think his dedication to the business rubs off on all of us.
You're working as head trainer in the APW Boot Camp with American Dragon and Jardi Frantz. What do you think of them as both, wrestler and personalities?
Cant say enough about the both of them, Dragon is the man. In the short time he has been here, he has made a big impact on a lot of people. I have been in the business for 11 years and I have been learning things from this guy I never thought about. He brings a different style to APW that many of us are not accustomed to and I enjoy training with him.
Jardi, What can I say about Jardi? He is probably one of the hardest working guys in the business. He is what we call a "gym rat". He loves to be in the gym working out in the ring and loves to help our cruiser weights work on their high flying techniques. I don't think I would be having so much fun and enjoy doing what I'm doing if I didn't have two of the most talented guys working with me.
You've wrestled nearly exclusively for All Pro Wrestling. In 1997 you had a chance to go to ECW and you didn't. Even when APW had no shows at the end of 2001 you haven't wrestled for another promotion. What is the reason for that? Is its because you don't like traveling or is it your loyalty to All Pro Wrestling?
The reason I didn't take the ECW job was because of family. My daughter was just born and I knew I had the opportunity to step up to a different level of my career, but decided that my daughter needed the attention from her father more than her father needed the attention from thousands of fans. The second time I was invited to join ECW I didn't take it because I felt APW was one of the top Indy groups in the business and would overtake the number three spot from ECW. That is how much talent and dedication we had in our promotion. If I was to quit wrestling right now I could honestly say my career couldn't of ended any happier than wrestling solely for APW.
What do you think about APW losing Michael Modest, Tony Jones and Donovan Morgan in just a few months? Was it a chance to bring some new faces to APW or is it a hard (maybe too hard) sacrifice for All Pro Wrestling?
The whole thing with Modest and Donovan came down pretty hard at first. I mean Modest was the APW franchise player. Donovan was a good guy and did a lot for the company. Things change, people change, situations change and sometimes not for the worst but for the best. I hated losing the guys we did but honestly the morale is better now than it ever has been in the camp and I firmly believe with Dragon, Jardi and myself conducting the training, our training camp is as good as it has ever been.
You've seen many guys come to APW, you've seen many guys leave APW. Do you miss one of these guys or is it "just a job" for you? Are there friendships that you still cultivate?
Wrestling can not be just a job, there is too much at stake and a lot of pain throughout the years to think of this as a job. I am 30 years old, been wrestling for 11 years now and probably had every injury known to man but I keep doing it because I love it. Friendships come quick in a promotion because you are with someone for years on end and you develop sort of a bond with people. You always know who your true friends are after something huge happens in your company and instead of trying to work things out they walk out on you and the promotion. The one person that I have always kept in touch with and call frequently and who I consider a true friend of mine is Matt Hyson (aka Spike Dudley). We have been friends for years now and will be for a very long time.
If you remember it: What was your first match in front of a crowd? What did you feel?
My first match was with Super Diablo at the San Jose Convention center in front of 30 of my family members and around 200 fans in 1994. We had a great technical match that got better as we went on but I was so nervous I started hyperventillating and stopped breathing. I think I mastered the art of wrestling for 20 minutes without breathing in my pro debut.
You've had a lot of matches in APW. You've had some matches in WCW and WWF. What your best match, most memorable match and worst match?
I think I have had some very good matches in the WWE. I think the tag team with myself and Donovan against Kai En Tai was good, but I loved the match with Dan Severn because I called the whole match and he let me lead him during the match. I have always been lucky and had good television matches with them. I remember my Tatanka match being a good match and he was funny backstage telling everyone to pick me for an opponent. That was a proud moment for me. WWE management has always had confidence in me and usually put me with wrestlers they want me to get over.
In your career you've wrestled a lot of guys. Is there anyone you had fun to work with and is there somebody you don't like to work with?
I have had a lot of fun wrestling Modest and Justice (editor's note: Maxx Justice) we just went out there and had a blast. Daniels (editor's note: Christopher Daniels) has been a lot of fun also. There haven't been too many guys I don't like to work with. If I had to choose not working with someone it wouldn't be because of their wrestling abilities or if they're stiff in the ring it would be probably because of the way they conduct themselves outside of the ring.
You've been part of the most dominating tag team in All Pro Wrestling's history, the West Side Playaz. Who created the gimmick? Did you like it?
I honestly love this gimmick. I don't know who came up with it, I think Modest. It started off with Kuame Kamoze and Jay Smooth and they were running wild on APW tag teams and going through everyone in their path including myself and a number of partners I had. I have always wanted to be a part of the playaz back when they were heels so when Roland came up with the decision to make the playaz 2000 I was all for it, and it was even better having a partner like Boyce (editor's note: Boyce LeGrande by my side. The fans loved us we loved them and they are who made us who we are.
What do you think about the fans? Do you feel fans today are too demanding? Is it to much "we want more high spots and bumps"?
Without the fans what do you have? The fans know what they want and they want to be entertained, I don't know about anyone else but when I end a match I personally hope I gave the fans what they expected out of me regardless if it is in front of a large WWE audience or a small APW audience.
If you had the chance to wrestle any wrestler in the world at the top of their career, who would you like to wrestle with the most and why?
I would like to have wrestled Ricky Steamboat. Steamboat has always been my favorite wrestler. He was a pure technical wrestler and I think I would absolutely learn a lot from a true professional like him.
What was the funniest story you've experienced inside a wrestling ring/locker room?
One of the funniest stories I have encountered was back when I wrestled on a gym wars I was wrestling "Slick" Rick Turner in a tournament for the #1 contendership spot for the belt. Rick hit me with a chair on the wrong side and split me wide open, I was bleeding like a stuffed pig. It was the first time I was ever busted open and I was getting pretty fired up and the crowd was in awe of the way I was bleeding and the fire that I had. Rick was pretty emotional about the whole situation and during the match was very nervous about what I might do to him because of what he did. I knew it was an accident and I knew that things happen when your in a profession like wrestling (sports entertainment). Just like King Of Indies, Roland has a habit of changing booking in mid-stream and he had no intention of getting me to the finals but when the cut came he worked it into a sympathy storyline and had me meet Jones in the finals. When I reopened the cut, I went nuts and made a comeback full of fire that had the fans standing. The ref kept wanting to check the cut to stop the match but I avoided him and continued my comeback. I had won a previous match with the Boston Crab cause Roland wanted to get the submission over. When I made my comeback, I put the Boston Crab on and the ref rung the bell, the fans went crazy thinking I won the belt, I thought I had won the title but the ref had finally had a chance to get a clean look at the cut when I had the Boston Crab on and he stopped the match and awarded the bout to Jones. The fans were mad as can be and our ring announcer, Ron Hed, apologized to the fans for the screwjob booking and Roland fired him. So at the end of the night, I worked Rick Turner into thinking I was mad, I was being rushed to the hospital and Roland was firing Ron Hed.
That was a very strange night but I thought the booking was great and I can't remember being more jacked up other than the night I ran up the bleachers in Pacifica after a victory against Vic Grimes and the entire building surrounded me and helped me celebrate, that was also a special night. I went to the emergency room after I wrestled another two matches, the cut started about half an inch, ended up being three inches after the night was over. s I sat in the emergency room looking like a victim of a savage animal attack, I came up with some story about a lamp falling on my head in my garage as the doctor looked at me in disbelief and my then girlfriend was looking at me like I was a complete idiot for going on with the matches after the initial cut started. I was looking at myself in the mirror as the doctor was on stitch number 13 and thinking to myself what a great night it was and cant wait until the next gym wars so we could do it all over again. This story might not be so funny when you read this but looking back on it today I laugh every time.
You've been and currently are the APW Universal Heavyweight Champion. Does "wearing a championship belt" mean anything to you?
I absolutely love it. The whole thing about being champion is like being on top of the world. Your walking around with something that people want that some people will never hold. I feel honored being the champion. I also feel it is a vote of confidence from the promoter.
Is there anything you want to say to your German fans?
I want to thank my German fans if it wasn't for the fans wrestling would be dead. Thanks for all of your support and for all you fans out there who want to fulfill your dreams come to the All Pro Wrestling boot camp and be apart of our family. Thanks again...
Thanks a lot for answering our questions. We wish you and All Pro Wrestling the very best for the future!
Sports Entertainment: love the sport, big part of my life
All Pro Wrestling: #1 Indy promotion, proud to be a part of the family
Michael Modest: couldn't have done it without his help; very talented
Vince McMahon: sports entertainment phenom
US Independent Wrestling: talent busting their asses
"Wrestling is fake!": Life is Fake, Wrestling is Real, that is the APW motto.
Boyce LeGrande: my partner, my brother Playaz for Life
Gym Wars: APW couldn't have done it without gym wars, a lot of talent was developed and showcased at gym wars in that tiny garage in Hayward, California
Christopher Daniels: one of the best Indy wrestlers out there today, consider him a brother and true friend
Germany: Would love to wrestle in front of my German fans, hope I have the opportunity soon.
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