by Daniel Johnson
Interviewer’s Note: The Tower stands above much of his contemporaries at an enormous 6’10″. His influences include fellow big men like The Big Show and Vader, but also smaller wrestlers such as Jeff Hardy. He knew he wanted to be a professional wrestler before he turned 10. His home is Oregon where he ideally likes to take on smaller opponents, but isn’t opposed to some giant versus giant action. He first wrestled for the Northwest Wrestling Alliance (NWWA), but has since branched out to work for other promotions. This interview was completed on December 29, 2012. He can be followed on Twitter @thetower51. In this interview The Tower and I focus on the topic of being a young big man on today’s wrestling scene.
Daniel Johnson: For those unfamiliar with your work how would you describe yourself as a performer in a nutshell?
The Tower: With my size I use my power to take advantage of whoever I’m against. I haven’t had anyone near my size challenge me.
Daniel Johnson: The last time you checked how tall were you and how much did you weigh?
The Tower: 6’10″, 292 lbs.
Daniel Johnson: Who was your favorite wrestler growing up and what made that wrestler stick out for you?
The Tower: That would be Jeff hardy. He just had the it factor to connect with the crowd. The fact that he was batshit crazy in the ring helped as well. I loved all his ladder and TLC matches. I always cared more about the Hardys and Edge and Christian then The Rock and Steve Austin.
Daniel Johnson: When did you make the leap from being a fan to knowing that you wanted to actually wrestle?
The Tower: I’d say when I was eight or nine when I saw the Hardys against the Dudley’s in the tag team table match and the 2000 Royal Rumble.
Daniel Johnson: How did you break into wrestling? Who trained you and what was the process like?
The Tower: When I was about fifteen-ish I bought a full sized 18 by 18 foot ring and set it up in my barn. A former friend of mine knew a local wrestler named Psymon who needed to work off some ring rust so he agreed to train me and my friends. So for about two years I did that every weekend. I also attended a local indie company called the NWWA and one of the wrestlers named Demarcus James would always talk to me during intermission and kept telling me to come train with them at the school they had. At some point I finally caved and checked it out. The head trainer went by the name Lonestar and Demarcus James and CJ Edwards also helped train us at the school. I trained for two sessions before I was put on a show to replace a jury guy. At the school we would start with rope running and then bumps then new moves and we would end with matches and a run to the gas station and back.
Daniel Johnson: Have your friends that you first started training with kept up with wrestling or are you the only one who stuck with it?
The Tower: One friend nearly broke his neck training after a student thought he was ready for more than he could handle. He picked my friend up for a suplex and only got him up half way before spiking him head first. The former friend never did anything either.
Daniel Johnson: Ouch, have you been in any similar situations? Face any injuries? Or have you been able to avoid them?
The Tower: I have had some knee issues in my left knee. No breaks or torn stuff, but high grade sprains and a bone marrow bruise.
Daniel Johnson: Getting into your in-ring career when and where was your first match? Also, can you describe the atmosphere of your first match?
The Tower: My first match was April 26, I think either 2007 or 2008. I have the show poster on my on my wall it just doesn’t say the year. It was MEAT and Hoss Toll versus “The Governor” Wilson Cain and myself, third match on the card. It was in Portland, Oregon at the NWWA fight factory. Very small crowd, maybe 20 people. The music guy managed to fuck up my music so I ended up going out to the ring with The Governor.I got my ass handed to me for the match, but we got the win by count out. I remember the crowd really got behind me for some reason and at the end of the night I got called out to the ring after the main event and was put in next week’s main event for the NWWA Championship. The thing is I had no idea they were going to do that. I was halfway into my normal clothes when I got called out there.
Daniel Johnson: How did that match work out? How much pressure was it to have your second match be in the main event?
The Tower: I was a nervous wreck for the whole week leading up to it. The match itself from what I was told was pretty good. I have never seen it, the only tape of it is dark and hard to see anything. I know I blew up midway through since we went 20-25 minutes. My opponent “Heartthrob” Erik Hanson made me look like a million bucks. I got the win by DQ. It was a rush to main event in my second match ever.
Daniel Johnson: What opponents have you learned the most from that you have wrestled? What have you learned from them and have any of them been fellow big men?
The Tower: Erik Hanson taught me a good amount of psychology. He’s an old school type guy so I learned a lot from his style. Demarcus James has always been trying to teach me things and get the anger to show in the ring. No real big man has taught me anything since there aren’t many in this territory.
Daniel Johnson: Have you learned anything from watching footage of other big men? If so which big men wrestlers influenced you the most?
The Tower: I try to watch as much Vader and Big Show footage as possible. I try to follow in Vader’s power and I’m working on getting the Vader bomb in to my move set. I look to The Big Show for his acting ability, he can play many type of characters.
Daniel Johnson: What kind of character are you most comfortable playing? Also, do you hope to be like Big Show and pull off the gentle giant character one month and be an unstoppable monster the next?
The Tower: I really haven’t had the chance to have a real gimmick. I have just been the really big guy. I really want to try a character like Raven, a dark psychological nut job. Not so much the gentle giant though it fits closest to my real life personality, but I would like to do stuff like Big Show’s type of comedy in the ring.
Daniel Johnson: You mentioned the Vader bomb earlier. Right now what are your favorite “big man” moves to perform?
The Tower: I love to chop people mostly and anything I can do to chuck people all over the ring. I do try to avoid chokeslams and other big guy moves that are used too much. My finishers are the dragon sleeper and Michinoku driver.
Daniel Johnson: Are there any big man moves you would like to use, but are difficult to pull off?
The Tower: Most moves I want to do are high flyer moves. Like the swanton.
Daniel Johnson: Given your size how tricky are those to pull off? Also, what was it like coming off the ropes for a high risk move for the first time?
The Tower: No one will take those moves from me so I haven’t had the chance to really use them in a match. I have only come off the top in my own ring. But the first time was rather scary since my head was almost twenty-ish feet off the concrete ground. Landing on my back didn’t hurt as much though. It’s just when I land on my feet it kills my knees.
Daniel Johnson: Changing topics a bit which do you prefer a big man/little man match or a battle of the giants? Why do you prefer the one you chose?
The Tower: I like to work with the small guys more. I feel both of us can end up looking good that way. I can beat the ever loving shit out of him and show my power or we can build the small guy up by having him take me down and take it to me. As for watching I enjoy both. It just depends on who I’m watching.
Daniel Johnson: Who has been your favorite small opponent to work with so far?
The Tower: Demarcus James and El Sonico.
Daniel Johnson: Who would be your dream opponent for a big man/little man match? What about a battle of the giants match?
The Tower: I’d love to work Jeff hardy and CM Punk, but they might qualify as normal sized guys. I think Sin Cara would be fun to work with. Maybe the original La Parka, El Santo and Crash Holly. As for big men: Abyss, The Undertaker and Kane. The Big Show as well.
Daniel Johnson: Do you think big men in wrestling will continue to stay popular or do you think wrestling in general promoters will begin to focus more and more on smaller talent?
The Tower: I think there’s room for both. The Internet seems to crap all over the big guys because they are slow. I have issues with that because the big guys aren’t suppose to be fast paced. There psychology is to be big and take their time kicking someone’s ass and if you pay attention to the crowds they still love watching big guys beat each other senseless. They know they will see a legit hard hitting match when a big guy is out there.
Daniel Johnson: What has been your favorite part of 2012 in terms of your career?
The Tower: Honestly, 2012 sucked for my career.
Daniel Johnson: How so?
The Tower: The pacific northwest is filled with an insane amount of drama. It’s worse than a high school. I’m having major soon to be legal issues with a promotion in Washington.
Daniel Johnson: Can you go into any depth about that?
The Tower: I’m not sure how much I can say if we have to go to court but it’s over the lease of my ring.
Daniel Johnson: On a brighter topic what would you say is your biggest accomplishment to date is in wrestling?
The Tower: I’d say just getting into wrestling to begin with. It was my dream since I was eight and I managed to do it. No matter how far I go I still accomplished a dream.
Daniel Johnson: Any plans for 2013?
The Tower: I may get a chance to work for Championship Wrestling from Hollywood as well as start a promotion in Los Angeles.
Daniel Johnson: Sounds awesome, what it the deal with the promotion in Los Angeles?
The Tower: It all hinges on getting my ring back. Once that’s taken care of I’d be moving down there with another wrestler named Ian Wyze who has worked with CWF here and there and we would open up our own company. Our goal is to have stuff for every fan. Big men, luchas, women wrestlers, sexy women valets, midgets, monsters and everything in between.
Daniel Johnson: Cool man, I also had some more general questions. I always like to hear ribs and road stories. Do you have any that you would be able to share?
The Tower: Nothing that’s really funny. I’m straight edge so I don’t tend to go party with the guys. The best one I can think of is one shit hole building we went to was an old mall with most stores empty. We walked around and found a picture of The Ultimate Warrior on the wall since he visited the places in the early 1990s. It just made us laugh. And on our way to Washington we stopped at the same subway and just annoyed the crap out of them since they gave us an attitude for being from Oregon. Nothing exciting sadly lol.
Daniel Johnson: Do you have anything that you would like to promote?
The Tower: Twitter, you can follow me at @thetower51. Fair warning 18 plus only please. I’m far from a PG friendly type. And Go Oregon State Beavers!
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?
The Tower: The Walking Dead is what I watch currently. But on DVD I have been watching the complete series of The West Wing with Martin Sheen. As well as lost and The O.C.
Daniel Johnson: What was your favorite movie that came out this year?
The Tower: I only saw The Amazing Spider-Man and The Dark Knight Rises in theaters and I was distracted during Spider-Man lol so let’s go with Batman.
Daniel Johnson: What is your favorite food that you tried for the first time this year?
The Tower: Almond milk.
Daniel Johnson: What is your favorite song to come out this year?
The Tower: “I Knew You Were Trouble” by Taylor Swift.
Daniel Johnson: Did you vote in your last local election? If so would you be willing to say for who?
The Tower: I’m not a registered voter, but I support Barack Obama.
Daniel Johnson: Then I just had two more questions. What is the weirdest part about being a professional wrestler?
The Tower: The fact that we are all insane in our own way. I have seen many a naked man dancing and give lap dances to rookies.
Daniel Johnson: Haha. And lastly is there anything you would like to add?
The Tower: Uh don’t do drug, stay in school and all that crap? Lol. And look up some matches from the guys I have mentioned. They are good wrestlers who don’t get enough credit because of working so far out in the west.
Check out big man, The Tower in action! Wrestling alongside partner, Psymon he takes on Chuck Payne and Bully Jerk. This tag team affair was presented by the folks at North West Pro Wrestling (NWP) and United Independent Wrestling Affiliates (UIWA):