by Daniel Johnson
Interviewer’s Note: Tommy End is a wrestler perhaps best known for wrestling as one half of the Sumerian Death Squad along with partner Michael Dante. The team held the tag straps in Germany’s Westside Xtreme Wrestling (WXW) promotion until this past August. A native of Holland aside from Germany, End has toured all over Europe and overseas in the United States and Japan. In addition to being a tag team specialist, End has made his mark as a singles competitor. This year he wrestled in the finals of wXw’s 16 Carat Gold Tournament with El Generico. This interview wrapped up on December 13, 2012 so any references to time should be taken from that perspective. He can be followed on Twitter @tommyend. In this interview End and I focus on the topic of tag team wrestling in Europe.
Daniel Johnson: For those unfamiliar with you as a performer how would you describe yourself?
Tommy End: Dedicated to my craft. An anti-hero in many ways, but definitely not the standard measure of which an anti-hero would be classified. Most people think that I have a lot of things against me, and I fight that cliche with other cliches.
Daniel Johnson: Do you consider yourself to be strictly a tag team wrestler? Why or why not?
Tommy End: Well no, I still get booked in a lot of singles. However due to the success me and Dante are having as a tag team I definitely enjoy being a tag wrestler a lot more.
Daniel Johnson: Did you always plan to be a tag team wrestler or did you originally want to be a singles competitor?
Tommy End: Originally I would only do singles, but my good friend and student Michael Dante had this thing that would happen one day or the other. It just felt like the time was right to make it happen. Luckily WXW thought the same and the rest is history.
Daniel Johnson: What were some of your favorite tag teams growing up? Why did you like the ones that you did?
Tommy End: To be honest, none. I never really got into tag wrestling since I didn’t specify wrestling that way when I was younger. A match was a match to my standards. We never really had that much wrestling in Holland to begin with. I grew up watching a lot of NJPW on Eurosports, then WCW and then I didn’t get into WWE wrestling until I was 15 or 16 years old.
Daniel Johnson: Do you remember your very first tag match in front of an audience? If so what was that experience like?
Tommy End: I think it was already with Dante, but in 2004 in Belgium. We wrestled on this game convention which was a blast. I can’t really remember much about the match itself, but I’m sure it was horrific haha.
Daniel Johnson: Have you ever been in a tag team with a wrestler that you just didn’t click with?
Tommy End: Nope.
Daniel Johnson: When did you know that the Sumerian Death Squad had a future as a tag team?
Tommy End: The moment Japan came knocking.
Daniel Johnson: How important do you think gimmicks are in wrestling? How much effort did you put into designing a gimmick for the Sumerian Death Squad?
Tommy End: I think they are the most important thing to have. Wrestling is not about moves, nor is it about popping a crowd. I enjoy getting people on an emotional level and you can’t do that if you don’t have a character. If you don’t have that charisma, that X factor that makes people follow you, care about you or hate you, you are just cannon fodder. Excelling who you are as a person, as a wrestler, into something that defines you as that person is what makes wrestling great: the story of you. In regard to the SDS, our gimmick was created out of our mutual love for conspiracies and things that make no natural sense in this world. Most of what we do is based on it, and we gently put small references of that into our promos, merchandise and our personalities. I think right now we have a very unique approach, unique move set and unique presence in the ring.
Daniel Johnson: Are there any tag team gimmicks that don’t currently exist, but that you would like to see?
Tommy End: Not that I can think of.
Daniel Johnson: I read that you actually trained your partner in the Sumerian Death Squad. What are the advantages to teaming with someone you have trained?
Tommy End: Yes, definitely. I know him inside and outside the ring, and have done so for 17 years. I know what he is capable of, and he knows what I can do. So combine the two and you get what we do right now.
Daniel Johnson: I became aware of your work mostly by seeing your matches in Germany and in WXW in particular. For a complete outsider to the German wrestling scene who are some of the bigger tag teams currently out there?
Tommy End: RockSkillet, a team consisting of my student Jay Skillet and the ever so talented Jonathan Gresham. The Leaders of the New School, consisting of TNA’s British Bootcamp Marty Scurll and Zack Sabre Jr. Both guys alone are insanely talented, good friends and even better opponents. Big Van Walter and Robert Dreissker. Big Van Walter doesn’t need any introduction. As far as I am concerned BVW is the best heavyweight in Europe at this moment, and teaming it with one of the most talented youngsters I have seen in a long time, Robert Dreissker, I hope to see a lot more of this team.
Daniel Johnson: Who should those interested in getting into German tag team wrestling check out?
Tommy End: All of the mentioned above including me and Dante as the Sumerian Death Squad.
Daniel Johnson: Is there any one tag team that you have faced as a member of the Sumerian Death Squad that you think you worked best with? If so why do you think you had the best chemistry with that team?
Tommy End: Never really tagged that much with different people.
Daniel Johnson: Are there any current European tag teams that you have yet to face that you would like to face?
Tommy End: Wade Fitzgerald and Mark Haskins, The Dunne Brother, Fabulous Bakewells (Lucha Britannia), The Bhangra Knights and The Bucky Boys.
Daniel Johnson: How many tag team championships have you had and which title win was most important to you?
Tommy End: The WXW World Tag Team Championship and the ICWA-NWA France World Tag Team Championship. Both mean the world to me and are not the smallest titles in Europe. They are both just the beginning. The thing is that there aren’t many promotions that have tag team divisions so we’re happy that we’ve been/are champions in two of the biggest in Europe that do.
Daniel Johnson: In August the Sumerian Death Squad lost the WXW World Tag Team Championship to RockSkillet a tag team consisting of Jay Skillet and Jonathan Gresham. Do you have any memories of working with these two wrestlers and did anything stand out about either of them?
Tommy End: That match is still pretty fresh in my memory. Despite of coming short in the end I don’t think we have ever had a bad match with them and I think that says a lot. Jay is my own student who I just this weekend had an outstanding match with in single competition, and John is a great guy and an incredible talent. I hope our paths will cross again many times.
Daniel Johnson: Who are some of the younger tag teams just starting to come out of the European wrestling scene? Who should fans keep an eye on?
Tommy End: RockSkillet.
Daniel Johnson: You have also done some shows for CZW while they were on tour in Germany. What are some of your fonder memories of working CZW?
Tommy End: Making great friends, being in a great lockerroom and just being a part of a good product.
Daniel Johnson: Do you ever plan on working on any of CZW’s shows in the United States. Why or why not?
Tommy End: I can’t shed too much light on that for now, but that might say enough. Wink.
Daniel Johnson: You have also wrestled in your native Netherlands and Japan. Are there any other countries you have wrestled in or that you plan to wrestle in, in the near future?
Tommy End: Apart from Japan and Holland I have wrestled in America, Spain, Germany, France, Poland, Norway, England, Belgium and more. I have pretty much seen all of Europe.
Daniel Johnson: Did you wrestle any differently in Japan than you typically do? If so how?
Tommy End: Wrestling not so much, more the way our characters are portrayed changed. In terms of ring presence and interviews post match.
Daniel Johnson: Readers of this website may not be as familiar with wrestling in the Netherlands as they are with some of the other places you have wrestled. What is the scene like there. For example, how many promotions are there and what does a typical crowd look like?
Tommy End: To be honest there isn’t a lot of wrestling in Holland. The biggest is by far Dutch Pro Wrestling (DPW), than we have the always traditional Pro Wrestling Holland (PWH) and the more wrestling orientated Pro Wrestling Showdown (PWS). I work for PWS at the moment and have worked for PWH in the past. The Dutch crowd can be tricky. For the most part I have never heard a dead crowd in Holland, but I have heard them dying in the end. Wrestling in Holland is taking baby steps and unfortunately sometimes people in companies make sure we take more steps back than more steps forward. I hope that eventually everyone will realize that it takes everyone to get where we want to be and that is promoting professional wrestling in the right way.
Daniel Johnson: I also read in an interview you did with WrestlingFever that you have been on TNA’s radar. If the Sumerien Death Squad were signed to TNA what teams do you think you would work best with?
Tommy End: I’m pretty sure we could work with any team out there.
Daniel Johnson: Which company do you think you would fit better in WWE or TNA?
Tommy End: That is a really hard question. I think both promotion would benefit from having more real tag teams, and I mean that in such manner that I feel that there are too many teams out there that are just created by the creative team instead of being an actual tag team. I see in a lot of promotions that tag team wrestling is almost completely gone, so I think it needs a boost, and not just in the bigger companies, but just in wrestling in general. So again, it’s a hard question but I’d have to say from a wrestler’s point of view the WWE.
Daniel Johnson: You previously teamed with Zach Sabre Jr. in a team known as Crimson City Saga. How did that team come about and also how did you pick that name out?
Tommy End: We tagged once, liked it and asked WXW to make us tag more often. Our name came from our favorite comics. His being Sin City, mine being Crimson.
Daniel Johnson: I also had some questions outside of those about European wrestling. Back in March you wrestled El Generico in the finals of WXW’s 16 Carat Gold Tournament. What was it like working in that tournament and how do you prepare psychologically to main event a show that big?
Tommy End: I have been in all 16 Carats, and all of them where important to me. I never got further than the quater finals and this year I stepped up my game a lot and ended up in the finals with who I consider one of the best on the independent scene: El Generico. To be honest I wasn’t well psychologically, I was in a rough spot. Like always I turn all my grief, problems and heartache into my wrestling. I think this is one of my biggest assets as a human being, that I am able to turn negativity into fuel to be used for something positive. I remember me and Dante training hard for 16 Carat. I have a strict way of training, but I remember we cranked it up a notch in that period, good times!
Daniel Johnson: In a similar vein what was the best and worst crowd reaction you ever got and what, if anything did you do to try to make the best crowd better and the worst crowd less bad?
Tommy End: No idea, really. I hope that doesn’t sound arrogant, but I cannot recall ever having that. I might have just forgot because I don’t dwell too long on those matters, but apart from remembering crowds sometimes being silent I don’t really have a certain event happening with a crowd I remember. I’m usually pretty good at pissing them off, if I wasn’t it would’ve been my own fault for not having a strong enough personality. The best crowd reaction has always been at the end of a giant pay off, best feeling in the world when a crowd responds to you and the other wrestler’s hard work. Wrestling is very psychological so if the cards are played right the fans will give you the biggest applause or the biggest mouths, and that is what makes wrestling for me.
Daniel Johnson: I always like to hear about road stories and ribs. Do you have any that you would be willing to share?
Tommy End: Haha, to be honest I am actually one of the more silent guys backstage or during road trips. There have been many road trips and there have been many stories and many ribs, but none stick out. I’m usually there for guidance for a lot of the guys, so I am the last one to actually get involved in any of it.
Daniel Johnson: As part of my last few questions I like to ask five non-wrestling related questions just to bring a little uniqueness to the interview. If you don’t have an answer or don’t want to answer one of them just feel free to say, “skip.” Outside of wrestling, what television shows do you enjoy watching these days?
Tommy End: The Walking Dead, Game Of Thrones!
Daniel Johnson: What was your favorite movie that came out this year?
Tommy End: Prometheus/The Dark Knight Rises ( I am a huge nerd!).
Daniel Johnson: What is your favorite food that you tried for the first time this year?
Tommy End: I can’t recall trying something for the first time this year. That might be from being dropped on my head every weekend or just not really having tried anything new.
Daniel Johnson: What is your favorite song to come out this year?
Tommy End: Oh man, you can’t ask me that question! I listen to so much music! I honestly couldn’t tell you. There is too much for me to put down here! At the moment I’m destroying the Cancer Bats’ album on my MP4 player.
Daniel Johnson: Did you vote in your last local election? If so would you be willing to say for who?
Tommy End: Well, my interest in conspiracies goes deep, so you decide with that knowledge if I voted or not.
Daniel Johnson: What is the weirdest part about being a professional wrestler?
Tommy End: Explaining to people what it is that you actually do. Wink.
Daniel Johnson: Is there anything you would like to add?
Tommy End: Search for the Sumerian Death Squad on Facebook and keep up to date with where we are going and where you can catch us!
Watch Tommy End in battle! A little bit of Europe comes to Japan when the Sumerian Death Squad take on Yuko Myamoto and Isami Kodaka (then BJW Tag Team Champions) at the Sapporo Wrestling Festival: