The Wrestle News Hub Magazine

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Ring of Honor Top Prospect tournament entrant Curt Stallion reflects on wrestling, his aspirations and growth in the business




Stallion's hunger to succeed continues to grow.
Curt Stallion has continued to develop and progress since beginning his training in West Texas. He recently took some time out of his busy schedule to participate in an interview with me. Stallion's career only started a few years ago, but his passion for the sport has spanned nearly his entire life. In his career, he has unquestionably made a name for himself competing for several independent promotions throughout the United States. His growth as a performer in the ring has been remarkable.

In the interview, Stallion shares his thoughts about work outside the ring and what he does inside it. Stallion also discusses how one key relationship has helped him in the business, even more than his training in his hometown in Texas. He discusses his early training and development near home, and his current training in St. Louis. Prior to this interview, Stallion spoke of how in this business you can't rest on your laurels, and that you need to push forward in order to succeed.

Fans can communicate with him on various social media, such as Twitter, where he can be reached @CurtStallion and instagram at curt_stallion.  

Where and when did your passion for wrestling first begin?

As a child, I wasn't allowed to watch wrestling. I had a friend that, any Monday from 2nd grade until we graduated high school, any Monday he was just nowhere to be found because he was at his house watching wrestling. It wasn't until I was in fifth grade that I started asking him, ‘Why don't you ever hang out on Mondays?' and he's like, ‘I'm watching wrestling' and I'm like ‘I'm not allowed to watch that'.

I ended up watching that day with him at his house, and I was super attention deficit disorder, hardcore, needed all eyes on me at all times at school. I was the class clown, all sorts of stuff. So that these guys were walking through a curtain and had thousands of people staring at them, and they had millions at home watching. They had their own music and their own lighting. A stage to walk down, and they had a ring that they have got to perform in, where they were pretty much beating the piss out of each other. I was infatuated immediately. I wanted that attention. Ever since that point on, it has been a battle of how. All I thought about was, how am I going to do this and how am I going to get there?

One day, probably about four years ago, this was just after high school, I dated a girl for about seven years after high school, and it was just one of those things where I followed her around like a helpless dog and I found that wasn't working for my life. So, I finally found the gall to kick her to the curb, and my buddy calls me a couple of months later, the one that would disappear on Mondays and he was like ‘Dude, you need to come home. I live in San Antonio and there is wrestling here and there is a school here. A legitimate school with a ring and everything.' I didn't ask who the trainers were, I didn't ask anything. That was it, I didn't need to hear anything else from my best friend. I packed up everything and I went back home. I started training. It wasn't until I met (Michael) Elgin that I can really say that I was engulfed in professional wrestling, with my life, the way he teaches us. It's not a hobby.



Elaborate more about how you were introduced to Michael Elgin and how that all came about

The way I found Elgin was watching Ring of Honor. The place that I live, Odessa, Texas, it's in West Texas, an oil filled area. We weren't allowed to wrestle anywhere else. We got to wrestle once every two or three months and that was supposed to be it for us. We weren't allowed to go to other towns because it was competition. And it was stupid. Anyways, one day I see on Facebook while I'm scrolling through at night, it says there is a five-day Ring of Honor camp held by current Ring of Honor World Champion Michael Elgin. This is July 14'. I go to training the next day and all I can do is think about this camp that I saw. I said ‘Guys, it is $300, its five days, it's pretty much 12 hours a day of just wrestling.' And everybody there said I shouldn't do it, that it was a waste of time and it was probably going to be a money grab. It says all experience welcome. Anybody could go, and they said I wasn't ready, and I had already had matches and that. It was just them not wanting anyone to go anywhere.

From there I said, whatever guys. I did it. I drove 1000 miles up, West Texas to St. Louis, by myself and it was the first time I had done anything like that before. And I met Elgin, I met The Fraternity, I met Alexia Nicole, Psycho Mike, (John) Greed. (Shane) Sabre was there. It was then that I realized that the wrestling teaching that I was receiving in West Texas was just not going to cut it. I needed to be there. I realized that after that week, I learned more there than the entire year and a half that I was in West Texas. I was just like, that's it. So I moved up to St. Louis since January 2015.

Ever since then it has just been a grind, grind, grind, grind, because that's what Elgin tells us to do, and it's not just because he tells us to do it, but because that's the way it needs to be done. Especially for a guy like me, I don't have a wrestling lineage or history or family of wrestlers helping me, I had nobody and nobody knew me in the business. It's all me, I don't have help, Elgin's my help now. It's because I decided to come here and link up with him, and I told him that when I got here. The first month in St. Louis, he got me a dark match in Ring of Honor, and I thought that he was Jesus Christ because I didn't understand how a guy like me from Texas was going to wrestle for Ring of Honor. From that point on, I remember telling him my goal was to be in the top prospect tournament. I knew it wouldn't happen the following year because at this point it was the end of 2015, but when I was telling him all this. (I said) 2017 I'm going to be in the top prospect tournament. He was like, ‘Okay, we'll see'. I did three Ring of Honor camps.

The funny thing is, the booker for Ring of Honor, not everyone knows who it is and I'm not going to say the name, he has a special file in his emails called ‘Curt Stallion' because when I email him they are the favorite emails he has ever gotten. I'm just me. I just talk like I'm talking to one of my friends. I'm just like, ‘Dude, what's the deal? What do I have to do to be in the top prospect tournament? Because I'm out here busting my ass all over the country. I'm in Canada. What do I need to do?'I never got a message back and I'm like, what the hell?

I'll never forget in December 2016, I'm at Ring of Honor in Arlington, Texas and I was sitting outside with Silas Young, and we were just chit-chatting and Mark Briscoe walks up and then walks off. As soon as he walks off, the guy that I sent the emails to walks up, he is sitting there, and he completely disregards my existence, and he's there talking to Silas and he's okay. They exchanged pleasantries, and right when he was about to walk off, just as he turned around, he says ‘Oh, yeah Curt, don't think I forgot about you…ah…top prospect tournament…you're the first name we wrote down…congratulations'. And he walked off, and I legit will never forget the feeling I had. I was shaking. I was smiling, I couldn't talk. I couldn't stand up. Oh, my God. Did that really just happen? Silas looks at me and says, ‘Hell yeah man, congrats'. He walked off and I was just left there on my own. (gasps). That was it. I did the top prospect tournament from there, and I wasn't supposed to win in the first round, but Twitter was crazy about me for some reason, and they were blowing ROH up, so the night of the first round of the tournament, they changed the card up so I was able to move on to the semi-finals at Hammerstein in New York, which was one of the biggest moments of my career still to this day.




What did you learn specifically from Michael Elgin's training that stands out?

It was definitely psychology, 100%. The way I look at it, Texas is like old school NWA wrestling and that's just not for me. That's not what I enjoy watching, that's not my style and a lot of those guys, that's what they stick to and they don't watch anything else and I like to watch EVERYTHING. Even if I'm not into to it, I still like to pick stuff apart and be asking myself ‘Why did they do this'? ‘Why do they wrestle like this?' And a lot of guys back home aren't into that. Texas is a black hole, essentially. There is probably like 10 of us in the entire state that gets out and goes around and gets our names out there if that.

If he's talking about wrestling, you listen. He was made for it. That's what his brain was constructed around. That's his thought process. He's a mad scientist of professional wrestling, is how I've described him to somebody. He gets it, and how to teach it. He doesn't just teach you one style. I put that in quotes with my fingers, "style." He shows you every aspect, to help you find who you are, and what you're good at and what you're not good at, and how to work around those things and how to work with those things that you are good at. It's just ridiculous. If you were a professional wrestler, I'd be like, ‘You need to come do an Elgin seminar and tell me you don't walk with more information that is beneficial than you did beforehand.' I could honestly talk in circles around this.



Was there anyone else you would say that you were trained by during your career?

I did a lot of seminars. I lived with ACH for six months, but he wasn't necessarily in ring guidance. We would be in the car together and he would just tell me what I am doing that is beneficial, and what I am doing that needs to change. I would watch him live as well, to learn what I need to not do and what I need to do, and he would help me out a lot more than he would take credit for, I am sure. Kyle O'Reilly is hands-on in the ring, and he would show up because he lives here in St. Louis, or he would text me at an obscure time like 11 in the morning and be like ‘Hey, do you want to train today?' I would say ‘Yeah let's do it.' His training is definitely hands on.

Elgin's not so many hands on as he was when I first started because he has his own career to protect. He's training every single time we have training, we're there, and Kyle is they're not so often. Others might hit us up out of the blue and want to get in there and bump and do this and that, all this crazy stuff. Where Elgin is, you need to do this and you need to do that. So, it's a different aspect of learning, but it's definitely helped me out a lot. Then, when I got to wrestle Kyle it was like, we were at training together, and I had a feel for him, you know what I mean?


You've used different music on the way to the ring, which would be a reflection of different tastes. What music did you think would stand out?

My first ever entrance song was a song called ‘No Brains' by Sum 41 because that was my backyard wrestling music with me and my friends. It always fit what I wanted. When I started discovering exactly who I was, and my character, and who Curt Stallion is, Eminem's song ‘Role Models' from his first CD back in the 1990s, that's exactly what I want and how I describe Curt Stallion, that song. It's a perfect fit. Curt is no-nonsense, doesn't give a damn about anyone and Ima do what I want. Test me (laughs) I dare you. Now, Elgin won't let me use Eminem at his Glory Pro shows, so I use ‘Tiger Army,' it's western rockabilly punk that fits Curt Stallion, and it's pretty cool as well because it's talking about an outlaw on the run. I enjoy it.

What aspirations do you have for competing in Mexico, the United Kingdom, and Japan?

I drove all the down to Taumaulipas, Mexico for a booking and right when I got down to the border and I'm in line they canceled the show. I had to turn around and drive back. I'll never forget that. It really soured me on Mexico for a while. Which isn't the country's fault, but I don't want something like that to happen again because that was sh***y, dude. I thought I was going to get paid to go down there, I didn't expect to be spending money to drive 15 hours and then to turn around and drive 15 hours back. That was terrible.

The UK is one of my big goals for this year. I thought top prospect could help me potentially get that, it could help get my name out there. So hopefully those guys overseas will see me and want to bring me in. My dream is Wrestlemania, but my goal is Japan. To get to my dream, I have to achieve my goal. That's where I want to be. That's where I've wanted to be since I started training. If I never make it to Wrestlemania, sure that would bum me out, but if I make it to Japan and I was doing well over there I wouldn't complain one bit.

Stallion has always been one to take Elgin's advice to heart
What has Elgin shared with you to help you reach that goal of going to Japan and being successful there?

'Get bigger' (laughs.) It is easier said than done, because my metabolism is ridiculous, and it costs so much money to eat as much as I need to eat to gain weight. I'm a wrestler. I just started working overnights at a Holiday Inn for extra money, and I work from 7 in the morning until 11 at night. Elgin was the one that helped me get that job because a fan that goes to the shows is my boss. He was looking for people.

This extra money I get here is what I put back into myself. Get new gear, get food, get the essentials. There will be a lot of times when I'm out there on the road that I just don't have money at all to get home. I can't eat, and I'm tired of that.

During your experience with ROH, you've crossed paths with the likes of Marty Scurll and Will Ospreay. Have you ever picked their brains about how to get noticed by promotions in the UK?

I haven't necessarily picked their brains on it because I'm not personally close enough to guys like Ospreay and them. I've had chit-chats and dinner, but whenever I do ROH stuff I hang out with the Briscoes and Silas and Beer City, Dalton Castle and (Matt) Taven, guys like that. I don't know any of the UK guys at all now that I think about it. I just thought about it and I never hung out with them, one-on-one, so I've never had that chance to ask them ‘So how do I go about this?'

I could just walk up to them and ask them, ‘hey, how do I do that?' but I'm not that type of guy because if someone did that to me, I'd be like ‘Who the hell is this, dude?' I need to do that. I'm kicking myself for not doing it. I like to sit there and listen to guys call their matches, but that doesn't do anything to help me get booked places. But I don't bug people I don't really know unless

In preparation for a match against Martin Stone, Stallion anticipated that it would be a hard hitting affair.



You mentioned your Wrestlemania moment being a dream, but someone you are going to face who has had ties to WWE is Martin Stone. What can you anticipate will happen in this match?

I think it's going to be a fight, it's going to be a Texan against a British dude, two guys with lots of pride against one another, to see who is tougher pretty much. I'm not going to sit here and say that I'm tougher than Martin Stone because I'm going to find that out. Yeah, it's pro wrestling, but we're going to go in there, and he is going to test me and I'm going to pass his test (laughs.) I'm not going to give myself any other option.

Failure is not an option. You can fall flat on your face and everybody in the crowd will see it, and that's not what I plan to do. So when I and Martin Stone get into the ring, I expect to get the hell kicked out of me, yeah. It happens a lot. But I'd rather be hit by a guy who knows where to hit me hard as hell than some guy that doesn't know what he's doing and is elbowing me in the temple. I'm looking forward to it 100%, and I am going to go out on a limb and say that he is too because he seems like he is pretty into it on Twitter.

What does the balance of 2017 and beyond have in store for the lone star, Curt Stallion?

I want to do more Ring of Honor stuff, and of course overseas. I have Canada bookings lined up, so hopefully, I can get down to Mexico so I can cover North America and stuff. There was a big goal that I had in mind for this year, I just want to get my name out there. People need to just get out there and stop sitting back.

(images above courtesy of TopeRopePress.com, Wrestling-News.net, Twitter, Instagram, Marvelous Production Photography and Glory Pro Wrestling).




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