by Daniel Johnson
Photo Courtesy of Evan Gelistico.
Interviewer’s Note: Evan Gelistico is a current member of the Submission Squad, a stable which has wrestled across many different promotions including St. Louis Anarchy (SLA), Anarchy Championship Wrestling (ACW) and CHIKARA. The Submission Squad dates back to 2003 when it was launched by Nick Tyson and Dingo. As these two stopped traveling Pierre Abernathy began to team with Gelistico to stand as the cornerstones of the current group. Since then Gary Jay and Davey Vega have joined the Submission Squad and the group even has had an active female wrestler among its ranks in Athena. Although the group fights among themselves from time to time including having a fun tag bout at Old School Pro Wrestling (OSPW) they continue to dominate indie promotions throughout the country. Aside from being in this stable Gelistico has held a number of championships including the ACW Heavyweight Championship on two occasions. Gelistico has also had impressive showings in tournaments including making it to the finals of the ACW Lone Star Classic 2010 and the ACW Lone Star Classic 2012 as well as the SLA Medallion Tournament in 2012. This interview was completed on August 29, 2014. In this interview Gelistico and I focus on his work in the Submission Squad.
Daniel Johnson: How would you describe what the Submission Squad is in just a few words?
Evan Gelistico: Brothers in arms with a common goal.
Daniel Johnson: How did you first come to join the Submission Squad?
Evan Gelistico: Originally it started out as Pierre/Dingo/Tyson. But the former two stopped traveling so on the road I would team with Pierre. From there when the other two retired I would join the Squad in the St. Louis area.
Daniel Johnson: Cool, you still team with Pierre a lot, more than I think you team with any other member of the squad. What do you think about it is teaming with Pierre that makes you guys click and work well as a team?
Evan Gelistico: Honestly? Our friendship and sense of humor make us click a lot. Sure we’re both great wrestlers but it’s our ability to have fun that makes us a great tandem, because people can tell when you’re being fake.
Daniel Johnson: This is a pretty broad question, but what distinguishes the Submission Squad from other stables around?
Evan Gelistico: Well other than in CHIKARA there aren’t too many stables around to begin with. Sure there might be a tag team or trios here or there. But I don’t know of any of them that travel as much or as far as we do. Plus, I think the fact that we can be individuals helps us a lot as well. Vega can go off and do his own thing. Sometimes Gary/I team up and Pierre wrestles a Marshe Rocket.
Daniel Johnson: Like you said one thing that sets the Submission Squad apart from other stables is that they have worked in several promotions. To clarify just how many promotions has the Submission Squad worked.
Evan Gelistico: A lot. Lol.
Daniel Johnson: Lol.
Evan Gelistico: I’ll name five of the bigger ones just for ease. SLA/CHIKARA/ACW/Full Impact Pro (FIP)/Absolute Intense Wrestling (AIW).
Daniel Johnson: Cool, the place I have seen the most Submission Squad matches is ACW in Texas. Would you say this is the home of the Submission Squad? If not then could any other promotion be described as the home of the Submission Squad?
Evan Gelistico: I would say that St. Louis Anarchy is the home of the Squad, with ACW being a close second.
Daniel Johnson: Cool, in regards to St. Louis Anarchy, what has been the most memorable match you have had there as part of the Submission Squad if you just had to pick one?
Evan Gelistico: If I had to pick just one it would be Me/Pierre vs. Johnny Gargano/Chuck Taylor. Mostly because it was one of Pierre’s last SLA shows.
Daniel Johnson: Aside from t being one of Pierre’s last shows at SLA did anything else stand out from that match? Also, how is it generally to work with guys the caliber of Gargano and Taylor?
Evan Gelistico: The match itself was outstanding. Working with them was a great experience and a nice reminder of the quality of talent out there.
Daniel Johnson: Going into ACW in Texas a little bit if you had to pick one match in ACW you have had as part of the Submission Squad that you could suggest to readers to check out what would it be and why?
Evan Gelistico: That is a bit tricky as there have been so many, but the street fight Pierre/Gary/I did would be the one.
Daniel Johnson: Cool, speaking of street fights. the Submission Squad has been in a ton of matches of that sort in addition to standard wrestling matches. What gimmick match do you enjoy working the most and do you enjoy that type of match over a standard wrestling match?
Evan Gelistico: Tables, I enjoy putting people through tables. I prefer a standard match but won’t hesitate to put someone through a table.
Daniel Johnson: Getting into another area, the Submission Squad is unique in that it has had a wrestling female member. What are your thoughts on Athena’s tenure?
Evan Gelistico: I think it was a great combination. Vega certainly enjoyed it for the time she was with us.
Daniel Johnson: In a similar vein do you think more stables should have both male and female wrestlers in them? If so why do you think more have not done so?
Evan Gelistico: I absolutely do. I don’t know, maybe not every stable enjoys being able to dominate every division a promotion might have or maybe they just haven’t found the right woman.
Daniel Johnson: Getting into the dynamics of the group, Depending on the promo it seems like different members are the leader of the group. Would you say any one member is the leader of the Submission Squad or is it more just an equal partners kind of stable?
Evan Gelistico: Equal partners kind of stable. Maybe a few years ago it would have been Pierre, but now we are all equals.
Daniel Johnson: Speaking of promos you have a great range in your delivery. I was just curious who has influenced your promo delivery?
Evan Gelistico: Mick Foley, would be the biggest obviously. Eddie Kingston, is another person, he just has this amazing intensity.
Daniel Johnson: Getting back to the squad, Submission Squad members have also wrestled each other from time to time. Is there any one match you have had with another member of the stable that stands out to you?
Evan Gelistico: There are plenty, but one of my favorite matches is from OSPW 21, which you can find on YouTube. It was just a really, really fun match. There is a four team tag from ACW that is very good too.
Daniel Johnson: Although Squad members have wrestled each others it is a little out of the ordinary. Speaking of out of the ordinary CHIKARA has been a company the Squad has worked. Back in June you wrestled for CHIKARA for the first time since it came back from its hiatus. What was it like being able to work for CHIKARA again and what did you think of the hiatus?
Evan Gelistico: I’m always sad when a company I like goes on hiatus. But it was great to finally be on a CHIKARA show again. The last CHIKARA show we were on was actually the last King of Trios where we were kicked out of the building for being late after our car broke down. I was able to watch the match and it was a a really good match and the crowd really seemed to enjoy it.
Daniel Johnson: Oh yeah I remember that Trios tournament. This is a broad question, but how, if at all do you think the Submission Squad has changed over the years?
Evan Gelistico: I think we have only improved, whether it be inside the ring or outside the ring. We just keep getting better and better.
Daniel Johnson: Looking to the future what plans does the Submission Squad have for the remainder of 2014 and even going into 2015?
Evan Gelistico: We are pretty darn full for the rest of the year. And 2015 doesn’t seem to be any easier, which is a good thing.
Daniel Johnson: I also wanted to ask you some questions not directly about the Submission Squad. First, you have held the ACW Heavyweight Championship technically on two occasions. What stands out to you most about holding this championship?
Evan Gelistico: The fact that it took someone a steel cage and a whole year to beat me. I was unstoppable.
Daniel Johnson: Your first reigned ended shortly after it began when Rachel Summerlyn defeated you for the ACW Heavyweight Championship. I was curious what your thoughts are on that happening? Also, what do you think of a top title having both men and women wrestling for it?
Evan Gelistico: Well it wasn’t supposed to be her. I was ready for Jerry Lynn, and in fact Jerry Lynn helped her win the match. I think it’s great, women can be just as accomplished as their male counterparts. Why shouldn’t they be allowed to compete for the top spot?
Daniel Johnson: You defeated Summerlyn to begin 2013. What are your thoughts on that experience?
Evan Gelistico: When I’m prepared there is almost no one I can’t beat.
Daniel Johnson: You worked with Darin Childs and defended the title against him on a couple of major ACW cards. What are your thoughts on those matches and of working with Childs in general?
Evan Gelistico: They were anarchy, anything could happen. I thrive in that environment.
Daniel Johnson: All good things must come to an end and your ACW Heavyweight title reign ended at the start of 2014 when Shawn Vexx defeated you in a cage match. What are your memories of this match and of working with Vexx?
Evan Gelistico: I remember crying before hand, because I knew it was the beginning of the end for one of us. And as time has proven me right, it was the beginning of the end for Vexx.
Daniel Johnson: I like to end interviews by asking a few brief non-wrestling questions then a few more short wrestling questions. To start this chain of questions what is your favorite thing to watch on TV right now?
Evan Gelistico: Well, Doctor Who just started up again, so I’ll say that.
Daniel Johnson: Similarly, what has been you favorite movie to come out in the last year?
Evan Gelistico: Guardians of the Galaxy.
Daniel Johnson: What is the last book you read and would you recommend it?
Evan Gelistico: Nextwave: Agents of HATE, and yes I would.
Daniel Johnson: Awesome, I actually have read that too haha. What is your favorite song to come out in the last year?
Evan Gelistico: That is a tough one. But I’ll have to say The Band Perry “If I Die Young.”
Daniel Johnson: Have you tried any new foods in the last year? If so what new food did you like the best?
Evan Gelistico: I just recently did an Epic Night, where my friends and I made some food out of the Epic Meal Time Cookbook and it was awesome.
Daniel Johnson: Sounds fun. Any dish in particular from that night you would recommend?
Evan Gelistico: The bacon sushi rolls.
Daniel Johnson: Cool, To get back to wrestling who is one wrestler 25 or under that you think readers should know about?
Evan Gelistico: Thomas Shire.
Daniel Johnson: Do you have any ribs or road stories that you could share?
Evan Gelistico: One time Pierre threw my ICEE out the window, after I just got it and was pumping gas. I just saw it go whizzing by and was there befuddled. I couldn’t process what had just happened.
Daniel Johnson: I always like to find out about what people think are weird in any topic I interview people about. So if anything I was curious what is the weirdest part of being a member of the Submission Squad?
Evan Gelistico: Some of the discussions we have. They are all over the place.
Daniel Johnson: Is there anything you would like to add?
Evan Gelistico: My favorite theme music was “What Would Brian Boitano Do.”
Check out Evan Gelistico in action! In this match from Old School Pro Wrestling (OSPW), Gelistico teams with Pierre Abernathy to take on Gary Jay and Davey Vega as the Submission Squad explodes: