Welcome to Starter For 10. We ask professional wrestlers 10 questions so that you can find out a bit more about your favourite real life superheroes.
On this edition, we pose our 10 questions to the Source Wrestling’s hero killer, Shaun Walker.
What drew you into professional wrestling?
The answer is a tale in three acts.
I first got interested in wrestling in the early nineties. It was right around when people first started getting Sky TV, and obviously wrestling was one of the big selling points to having a Sky dish alongside the Simpsons and presumably some kind of football.
Sadly my parents never actually got Sky TV, so I had to make do with collecting wrestling cards and watching bits and pieces of wrestling at friends’ houses. The names that stick out from that period include Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior, Big Boss Man, Bret Hart, The Undertaker, and I also remember having a wrestling card of Koko B. Ware.
Anyway, after a few years we moved house and I sat about playing Sega Master System and Commodore 64 games instead of watching wrestling. I still do this. I regret nothing.
Fast forward to round about 1997/98, and my parents finally got NTL cable TV as part of a phone package. Sky 1 was one of the channels we got, and so alongside the Simpsons and Star Trek: Voyager I got right back into watching Sunday Night Heat and the other highlight shows just as the Attitude Era got into full swing.
Obviously this means that for me, the ‘Tsunkatse’ episode of Star Trek: Voyager which features The Rock is the absolute pinnacle of high school pop culture. Fight me.
Anyway, roundabout 2002 I went off to uni and got a Saturday job in Primark which saw me fall away from wrestling. I should also mention that the horrific experience of working in what was at the time one of the only Primarks in Scotland, is what drives the sardonic nihilism that you can see on various Source Wrestling shows. Tickets available online.
Fast forward again to 2013, and I’m a big fan of Robert Florence due to his work on Consolevania when he announces the now famous ‘Kelvin Brawl’. It became the first live wrestling show I’d ever seen, and the catalyst for getting back into wrestling.
I started watching what I could online, found the Source Wrestling School not long after and started training, and here we are now in 2018 with me typing stupidly long answers to your questions with random tangents about Star Trek: Voyager.
Who were your favourite wrestlers growing up and who are your favourites now?
… I should elaborate.
Like most people, I loved the big stars of the Attitude Era. Stone Cold, The Rock, HHH etc. We all did, don’t lie and tell me that you were trading tapes of ECW and NJPW when you were six and a half.
Apart from that however, the people that really caught my eye were the people who I could identify with, physically or otherwise.
The first wrestler I became a fan of in that way was Taka Michinoku, when he was first brought into WWE and the Light Heavyweight Championship was still a thing.
I’ve always been a bit on the smaller side, and I’ve done martial arts for years, so when Taka came along I thought to myself ‘he’s a bit smaller than the other people, but he does cool kicks. He’s like me’.
Later on I started getting into metal, rock, punk and the like, and wouldn’t you know it, the Hardyz had just teamed up with Michael Hayes. They had that iconic theme music, long hair, baggy jeans, and wallet chains. It was basically your standard GOMA mosher uniform from the time.
Just like when I first saw Taka Michinoku, I saw a couple of guys and thought ‘they’re like me’.
Then of course, there’s Steve Blackman.
Like I said, I’ve done martial arts for years, so when this guy comes along in the same kind of gi trousers that I have, literally kicks people senseless, smacks them with a kendo stick and then kicks them again, you had best believe he became my new favourite.
Why? Because I thought ‘he does martial arts and he actively despises people. He’s like me’.
(At this point, I should point out that all these wrestlers are in fact nothing like me due to the fact that they’re all incredibly talented and successful, whereas my special skills involve referencing Star Trek: Voyager and Steve Blackman.)
These days, there are a lot of people I love watching, but if I had to name five, I’d say:
• Kevin Owens
• Chris Jericho
• Finn Balor
• Velveteen Dream
• The Miz
I should however point out that this list changes daily depending on what mood I’m in. Kenny Omega and Daniel Bryan would also definitely be on the list. There, that’s seven of nine of my favourite wrestlers at the moment.
What made you decide to start training to be a wrestler and where did you start?
I blame Stephen Hughes. Entirely.
I’ve been mates with him for years now, we were in a band for ages and he was one of the groomsmen at my wedding.
Anyway, he got back into wrestling at the same time I did, so we went to shows together, mainly ICW in the Garage.
After a few months of going to shows, he messages me to say that he’s found the Source Wrestling School, and that he’s going to sign up.
I casually say ‘well if you do it, I’ll do it’, not expecting him to actually do it.
Sure enough, he signs up for the beginner class, and so being a man of my word I sign up also.
One class later, I was hooked, and years later here we are, with me typing answers to these questions while wondering how many times I can reference Star Trek: Voyager in one article.
So the next time I make a child cry because I’ve stolen their popcorn, kerb stomped their favourite wrestler and pimp-slapped their uncle, you can blame Stephen Hughes.
Who are your biggest influences in professional wrestling, as a fan and as a wrestler?
I’d be remiss not to mention the people that trained me, and still do. Mikey Whiplash, Glen Dunbar, Lewis Girvan, and in the beginning Big Damo (known to most these days as Killian Dain), Nikki Storm, and Jam O’Malley are and always will be the biggest influences on what I do, because they’ve all played a part in teaching me how to do it.
Also, and she’ll kill me for saying this but Jayla Dark has been amazingly patient with me over the years, whether it’s running ideas past her or providing much needed reality checks to keep me on the straight and narrow. She’s a massive influence on what I do. I can’t emphasise enough how much she’s helped me.
Apart from that, a lot of what I do is influenced by stand-up comedy, particularly Eddie Murphy, Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock, Stewart Lee, and Eddie Izzard. How they phrase things, they rhythm of their speech, and how they carry themselves and create instantly recognisable personas all goes into what I do.
When someone told me ‘watching you wrestle is like watching ‘Raw’ by Eddie Murphy’ I took that as a massive compliment, and immediately contemplated using ‘Party all the Time’ as entrance music.
Also, Steve Blackman.
Who has been your favourite opponent(s) and do you have a favourite match?
It’s really hard to pick people out from the folk at Source. It’s like trying to pick an antisocial and protein fuelled Pokemon team.
Even though I’ve not got to wrestle him often in front of a crowd, I always have a ton of fun wrestling Scott McManus, even in training. We’ve both got martial arts backgrounds, but more importantly I feel like he’s got the same stupid sense of humour I have when it comes to wrestling, which makes everything enjoyably daft.
Much as I hate his pretty face and salon quality hair, I really enjoy wrestling Craig Anthony as well. He’s called ‘The Natural’ for a good reason, and he’s also incredibly nice which gives me no good reason to hate him whatsoever. This is why I hate him.
As for a favourite match? Anything I can make a GIF out of. The video of me pimp-slapping Mark J Wilson in Lennoxtown gave me a warm fuzzy feeling inside, the kind I used to have before I got that job in Primark in 2002.
On that note, Mark J Wilson is also ridiculously talented and super nice as well.
What has been your career highlight(s) so far?
Pimp-slapping Mark J Wilson.
In all seriousness, I’m not sure if they count as highlights as such, but the last two Source shows in Lennoxtown and Govan stand out as shows where the year really got started for me.
New music, new gear by the fantastic JJ Creations, new moves that I’d been working on for the past few months. It was nice to feel like things were coming together, and it gave me a whole load of child like excitement for what I can get up to for the rest of 2018.
I also enjoyed kerb-stomping Cody Crawford in Govan. He had it coming.
Hitting Stephen Hughes with a chair was also quite enjoyable. He also had it coming.
Who would be your dream opponent, past or present?
Steve. God. Damn. Blackman.
Honestly though, I’ll wrestle anyone. One aim I’ve got is to wrestle a variety of people who’ve trained in different places, just to get as many different perspectives on wrestling as possible.
My inner 16 year old goth would have loved to be part of The Brood as well, that entrance was spectacular. It was and still is my spirit animal.
Ken Shamrock would be another one. I’m automatically drawn to anyone with a martial arts background or who uses martial arts in their wrestling, so let’s add Bobby Fish, Kyle O’Reilly, and Aleister Black to the list of people I’d love to wrestle.
Also, Seven of Nine in the Tsukantse episode of Star Trek: Voyager after she’s learned all the martial arts. That’s a match I’d pay money to see, and so would most of the Delta Quadrant.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
In five years’ time I’ll be 38, and hopefully some kind of astronaut.
Given that I currently work in marketing outside of wrestling I’m not sure how I’m going to achieve this particular aim, but I’ve got five years to figure that out.
Failing that, I’d hope to be a new cast member in some kind of Star Trek: Voyager revival series on Netflix, hopefully as a replacement for Neelix because who would want him back? Seriously, who in their right mind would want more Neelix?
In wrestling terms, all I’m looking to do is keep going, keep learning, and keep finding new places and new people to wrestle. In my head, wrestling is like a massive map filled with things I’ve never seen or even thought of before, and the more of that I can explore the happier I’ll be.
It’s kind of like when the USS Voyager had to make its way through the largely unexplored Delta Quadrant on its way back to Earth.
Where can we find you on social media?
And finally, why do you do what you do?
Because nothing else quite measured up after that first training session. It’s the best idea that Stephen Hughes ever had.
Thank you to Shaun for answering our ‘Starter For 10’.
Photo by David J Wilson