OSWtv Meets…Bingo Ballance

When did you start watching wrestling and was there a moment that got you hooked?

I started watching around 1992, I think. I’m not sure if there was a specific moment that got me hooked, but I really liked guys like The Ultimate Warrior and Bret Hart at the time, and they kept me watching. I remember WrestleMania VIII was my first WrestleMania and, after that, I watched as many as I could get my hands on, renting previous ones on video and so forth. Once I was hooked, I was really hooked! A lot of people my age reminisce about cartoons they used to watch, but I never got into them- wrestling was always my thing, and a lot of my better memories from childhood are wrestling-related.

What made you decide to start training to be a wrestler and where did you start?

Around 2003 or so, I’d kinda gone off WWE a little bit- I’d still watch it, but I’d grown weary of seeing a litany of big guys come through, whose style wasn’t really to my taste. I liked the smaller, more athletic guys. I began checking out more independent stuff as a result, like old ECW PPVs and particularly Ring of Honor. Broadening my horizons to indy wrestling put me on to a promotion in Ireland called Irish Whip Wrestling. A friend of mine had given me the heads-up on a supershow they had coming up, in 2005, featuring AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels and Chris Sabin; three guys I enjoyed watching. I headed along, enjoyed the event, and learned that IWW had a training school in Baldoyle, in Dublin, not terribly far from where I lived. Prior to that, I’d had no idea there was a chance to learn how to wrestle in Ireland, so I had to give it a shot! I held off for about three months, so I could finish my college exams and get myself as fit as I could, then joined the IWW school in June, 2005, and things took off from there. Things clicked quite quickly, luckily, and I débuted three weeks to the day from when I started.

Who are your biggest influences in professional wrestling?

I try my best not to pattern myself after anyone in particular, if I’m honest. I’d rather try to hone my own style, and come up with my own moves, spots and so forth. That said, there are definitely some guys whose matches I’d watch more often than others, in order to get a few ideas for inspiration or what have you; they’d be guys like Evan Bourne, Eddy Guerrero, Chris Jericho, Chris Benoit, Paul London, Brian Kendrick, and Austin Aries.

Do you have any favourite matches or opponents that you have worked with?

Honestly, too many to name, and if I were to list all the great talent I’ve been fortunate enough to work with, we’d be here all day and inevitably I’d leave someone out and feel bad! My match with Stevie Xavier at last year’s Aberdeen Anarchy (watch it HERE), though, for Wrestlezone, is a match that I’m really proud of and definitely stands up as one of my favourites. I’m hyper-critical of my work, and rarely 100% happy, but I was delighted with that match, and particularly happy that I got to have it in front of such a big crowd. Another favourite was with Pac (NXT’s Adrian Neville) from much earlier in my career – it was a short TV match for IWW, but it was a big turning point for me and helped put me on the map, as it were. People took a bit more notice of me after that match and it kick-started my run in the ‘Zero Gravity’ Division in IWW.

Next year will be 10 years since you made your debut, what have your highlights been so far in your career?

The few championship wins I’ve had have been definite highlights- the Wrestlezone Undisputed Championship, along with becoming the first IWW Zero Gravity Champion and CCW Heavyweight Champion. Anytime someone trusts you enough to give you the belt and represent their promotion, it’s a good vote of confidence, and quite a compliment.

The opportunity to train other guys, help them along, and watch them develop and improve has been fantastic, too. Ultimately, it’s absolutely down to them, but it’s cool to help someone with an aspect they might be struggling with, and to see that light go on, as it were, when they’ve got it.

Another highlight, strange as it sounds, was leaving IWW in 2009. I had an enjoyable time there and gained a lot of experience through my work there, but it was quite rewarding to step outside the comfort zone and get the chance to work with some of the other great talent in Ireland. Had I stayed, I wouldn’t have had a chance to work with some of the guys I’ve worked with over the last five years or so- guys like Bonesaw, Dunkan Disorderly, Paul Tracey, Corvin, Seán Maxer, Insano, Jordan Devlin and Joe Cabray, for example. I’m someone who gets bored very easily doing the same thing over and over, and definitely enjoy any chance I get to work with someone I haven’t before, so it was a move I’m glad I made.

In a way, it’s been nine years of highlights. I’ve been watching wrestling since I was eight, so to be able to step in the ring and do it, myself, is an incredible feeling, and still surreal sometimes!

And finally, if you could choose anybody to face, past or present, who would it be and why?

I always regretted never having a match with Seán South. He & I were sparring buddies a good few times over the years, and we had pretty good chemistry in training, so I always thought it was unfortunate that we never got a match together on a show, as I think it would’ve been pretty good. There are a few guys in WrestleZone that I’d like to work with – Zach Dynamite, for one. I’ve trained with him a good bit over the years and think very highly of him. The same for Chris Archer and Damien – I worked with both of them in a six-man tag about a month ago but would definitely like the chance to face them in singles competition. If we’re talking purely hypothetical matches, though, I’d have five guys I’d love to work with, off-hand: Evan Bourne, Austin Aries, Triple H, Paul London and CM Punk. I admire and enjoy their work for various reasons, so it would be cool to work with any or all of them.

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Credit Baba

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