by Daniel Johnson
Interviewer’s Note: Bryan Skyline is an independent pro wrestler based in Michigan. Skyline began his career in 2007 after having trained at Dan Severn’s Michigan Sports Camps in Coldwater. Skyline has wrested for IWA: Mid-South, JAPW and HWA among a slew of others. Skyline is a versatile performer having worked with a variety of internationally known talent including Sabu, X-Pac and Petey Williams. His current home promotion is Upper Peninsula Wrestling (UPW). Skyline can be found on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. This interview was completed on September 20, 2013. In this interview Skyline and I focus on the topic of wrestling on the independent scene in Michigan.
Daniel Johnson: In a nutshell how would you describe yourself as a performer?
Bryan Skyline: I am an all around pro wrestler. Whatever needs to be done to make a match good, if its technical wrestling, high flying or brawling I am apt and capable of doing it and doing effectively.
Daniel Johnson: For those unfamiliar with you where and when were you born and how long have you been wrestling?
Bryan Skyline: I was born in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan about 30 or so years ago, my debut match was July 13, 2007 so I have been wrestling for a little over 6 years now.
Daniel Johnson: What is your earliest memory of watching wrestling? Also, who were some of your favorite wrestlers growing up and have any of those wrestlers influenced you as a performer?
Bryan Skyline: I vaguely remember seeing wrestling as a real little kid,probably about five or six on Saturday mornings, but I really became a fan at about nine when my friend would rent Coliseum Home Videos and we would watch them on the weekends. The Rockers and Bret Hart were the guys that captivated me the most since they were so athletic and did so many more cool things compared to the big muscle men of that day, and as I got older they were much more relatable because I kind of figured I wasn’t going to be 6’6″, 300lbs. I definitely had an influence from Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels. Clearly two of the all time best in-ring performers ever.
Daniel Johnson: Before becoming a wrestler did you go to any wrestling shows in Michigan either independent or major ones. Also, if you went to any independent wrestling shows what were they and who were some performers who stuck out to you?
Bryan Skyline: There wasn’t a whole lot of wrestling from where I was from. I only went to two or the indie shows before I started to try to make my way into pro wrestling. what stood out to me the most was the atmosphere of the shows and being able to see the performances up close. It really started putting the bug in me that I could do it myself someday.
Daniel Johnson: When you knew you wanted to become a wrestler how did you go about getting trained? Was there any place in your area or did you have to go to a different part of Michigan for it?
Bryan Skyline: Well, I met a couple guys in Marquette, Michigan who trained at Bastion Booger’s school there, we went to a couple of shows and I learned just a few of the basics, then they just kind of disappeared for whatever circumstances, so I did my research and found Dan Severn’s Michigan Sports Camps in Coldwater, Michigan, which is roughly nine to ten hours from where I lived. I contacted them and they had dorms at the facility so off I went.
Daniel Johnson: What did a typical day of training look like? Also, was Severn your primary trainer?
Bryan Skyline: Severn wasn’t my primary trainer, the head trainer was Josh “Abercrombie” Raymond, but we followed Severn’s protocol, which meant we weren’t even allowed in the ring. until we learned how to fall, grapple, and condition on amateur wrestling mats and then we had to pass five “blue mat” matches which were held on a 16 x 16 blue tumbling mat that layed on concrete. which turned out to be pretty brutal but were very beneficial in learning basic psychology and ring positioning, then after that we got to be in the ring and learn the craft in between the ropes.
Daniel Johnson: For those unfamiliar with independent wrestling in Michigan how would you describe it in a broad sense? How many promotions are there and where are the hot spots to work?
Bryan Skyline: Michigan is a very good state to work in and learn the game, though it wasn’t always that way. But guys like Jimmy Jacobs, Truth Martini, N8 Mattson, Josh Abercrombie and Frankie the Face were instrumental in helping turn that around. I would have to say Detroit is the hot spot to be since they have a lot of shows in the area also ROH, TNA, JCW [Juggalo Championship Wrestling] and WWE run shows there and there is Truth Martini’s House of Truth wrestling school. Also though what was a great perk of Severn’s place was its location, because it was only two hours from Detroit, two hours from Chicago and was on the border of Indiana and Ohio. So there wasn’t those insanly long road trips to go to other places and wrestle different promotions and different styles of wrestlers.
Daniel Johnson: What do you consider to be your current home promotion in Michigan and how did you first get involved with them?
Bryan Skyline: UPW pro wrestling in Escanaba, Michigan. Its booked by Peter B. Beautiful he was from the Upper Peninsula like me and he was trained by Bastion Booger, so we kind of knew each other already, then he saw me perform on a show in Wisconsin and liked my work, then one day he was like, “Hey we got a show on this date in Escanaba do you want to do it?” and I said, “Yes.”
Daniel Johnson: What has been your most memorable match from this promotion to date and what makes this match stand out for you?
Bryan Skyline: There have been a few actually, the very first show I got to work with X-Pac in a tag team match, so that was surreal and a great learning expierence, I got to wrestle Rhyno and Sabu on a number of occasions which were fantastic as well, its hard to pin point just one moment because we were able to get the fans just rocking in just about every encounter.
Daniel Johnson: Getting into the atmosphere of the wrestling scene in Michigan, what are wrestling fans like in Michigan? Are they unique at all from wrestling fans elsewhere?
Bryan Skyline: Hmm,depends on where they are from. Detroit fans can be weird because sometimes no matter what you do they will just sit on their hands, the small towns of Michigan can be just awesome because they love good guys and bad guys. they also appreciate the effort and are very generous. They are like any other wrestling fans across the country some give you an energy and adrenaline that can’t be matched by anything in the world. Other times you wonder why they even bought a ticket. You’re glad they did, but its like they bought one to not have fun which is weird because at its core that is what pro wrestling is all about, having fun.
Daniel Johnson: What has been the hottest crowd you have ever worked in front of in Michigan? Also, what did you do to get the biggest reaction possible out of them?
Bryan Skyline: I would say Kalkaska or Escanaba. Kalkaska fans were there to just have fun so they were great all the time, the biggest reaction I ever heard in a match of mine was probably a two out of three falls match where the ref was down, I hit myy opponent with a chain and as I go to revive the ref, Rhyno made a surprise run-in and gored me out my boots. Those 200 fans sounded like 20,000. It was incredible.
Daniel Johnson: On the flip side what has been the worst crowd you have worked in front of and how did you handle the experience?
Bryan Skyline: Like I said some crowds just sit there on their hands and the best you can do is just do the best you can do.
Daniel Johnson: For readers unfamiliar with the independent wrestling scene in Michigan, who are some wrestlers you would recommend they check out?
Bryan Skyline: Jack Thriller, Joseph Schwartz, Kid Hybrid, Chazz Montana, TD Thomas, Louis Lyndon and Hakim Zane.
Daniel Johnson: I also had some broader questions about your wrestling career. What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment in wrestling to be to date?
Bryan Skyline: Getting to wrestle Sabu, Rhyno, Zach Gowen and Petey Williams were great and even though it was cancelled being invited to the IWA: Mid-South Ted Petty Invitational.
Daniel Johnson: Outside of Michigan what is the furthest you have ever wrestled from home?
Bryan Skyline: North Dakota and New Jersey, my most insane trip however was Thursday in Cleveland, Ohio, Friday in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Saturday in Jersey City, New Jersey and Sunday in Coldwater, Michigan.
Daniel Johnson: That is a lot of ground to cover haha. Are there any promotion you have yet to work for that you would like to? If so then where?
Bryan Skyline: Anywhere and everywhere. I would love to work for PWG and CZW. I would love to take part in Brian Dixon’s All Star Wrestling [ASW] Tours in the UK. Japan, Mexico Canada east, west, north and south, any place that will take me.
Daniel Johnson: You mentioned some of your far away trips. I always like to hear ribs and road stores. Do you have any that you would be able to share?
Bryan Skyline: Man to be honest nothing too crazy other than the conversations that happen when you are in a van for twelve hours with your friends and you get slap happy. Little pranks on locals, stuff that is only funny if you were there.
Daniel Johnson: Is there anything you hope to accomplish in the short term over the next year or so in wrestling?
Bryan Skyline: To stay healthy, try to get my name out there, looking to try out for a company or two out on the east coast before the year is out and just keep having fun doing something that makes me happy.
Daniel Johnson: Looking more long term where would you like to be in wrestling in five years?
Bryan Skyline: Making a full time living at wrestling or running my own school.
Daniel Johnson: A lot of wrestlers have the end goal of eventually working for WWE or to a lesser extent TNA. Is this a priority for you at all? Also, which company do you think you would fit in better?
Bryan Skyline: Whichever one signs me! I think WWE is everyone’s final destination for the most part, Slammiversary is cool but its not Wrestlemania, Bound for Glory is cool but its no Summerslam, but having the opportunity to wrestle and learn from either one is okay by me.
Daniel Johnson: Winding down I also like to ask five non-wrestling related questions just to bring a little uniqueness to the interview. Outside of wrestling, what television shows do you enjoy watching these days?
Bryan Skyline: I’m a big fan of The League and Walking Dead, How I Met Your Mother is top notch as well.
Daniel Johnson: What was your favorite movie that came out this year?
Bryan Skyline: What came out this year? GI Joe:Retaliation was cool. The new Star Trek [Star Trek Into the Darkness] was awesome as well. I’m a big fan of the new Star Trek movies.
Daniel Johnson: What is your favorite food that you tried for the first time this year?
Bryan Skyline: I’m not really sure what I had that was new actually, nothing pops out. I am very opened minded about tying new things. I’m a big fan of all kinds of seafood.
Daniel Johnson: What is your favorite song to come out this year?
Bryan Skyline: I am waitng to get my hands on the new Jack Johnson album, but probably Mackelmore’s “Thrift Shop.” It was catchy as hell and funny to boot.
Daniel Johnson: What is the last book you read and would you recommend it?
Bryan Skyline: I don’t really read books much anymore, I like a good rock star or pro wrestling biography and anything by Stephen King or Hunter S. Thompson.
Daniel Johnson: Cool, I wanted to close with just a few more brief wrestling questions. What is the weirdest part of being a pro wrestler?
Bryan Skyline: What isn’t weird about it! Probably the use of baby oil. I get that it is used to help with muscle definition under the lights but water seems to work just fine.
Daniel Johnson: Who is one wrestler 25 or under that you think readers should know about?
Bryan Skyline: Jack Verville. Great utility player that can benefit any show.
Daniel Johnson: Is there anything you would like to add?
Bryan Skyline: Thank you for the opportunity to do this, and to the people that read this I hope you enjoy and to all the wrestling fans thank you for supporting pro wrestling as a whole. We wouldn’t love doing this so much if you guys didn’t love it so much.
Witness Bryan Skyline in action! In this match he wrestles Sabu for the UPW American Championship in an extreme encounter:
Categories: Wrestling Interviews