by Daniel Johnson
Interviewer’s Note: Chris Jones (shown above performing a double arm suplex) debuted just last year and since then has become increasingly well traveled on the independent wrestling scene in Tennessee. Although originally from Missouri he has crossed state lines to showcase his talent and hopes to make it one day to wrestling regularly in Japan. His home promotion is the Tennessee Independent Wrestling Federation (TIWF). The company will be taping an iPPV on November 15 that is scheduled to be available online the next day. This interview was completed on October 31, 2013. In this interview Jones and I focus on the topic being a young wrestler on Tennessee’s independent wrestling scene.
Daniel Johnson: If you could how would you describe yourself as a performer in a nutshell?
Chris Jones: I love working the mat, and using various submissions and strikes.
Daniel Johnson: As far as your background goes when and where were you born and how long have you been wrestling?
Chris Jones: I was born in Hayti, Missouri on July 6, 1989, and had my debut match on July 28, 2012.
Daniel Johnson: Cool, have you wrestled in Missouri at all or have you just stuck to Tennessee so far?
Chris Jones: So far, only Tennessee, but I have ventured out as far as training in different places go.
Daniel Johnson: Speaking of training when did you know you wanted to become a pro wrestler and how did you go about getting trained as a wrestler?
Chris Jones: This is an interesting topic to me. Growing up, I always thought it would be cool to become a professional wrestler, but I never seriously thought about it until I watched the legendary and world-renowned Mitsuharu Misawa vs. Toshiaki Kawada match from All Japan June 3, 1994. It wasn’t the match itself that did it, it was the post-match slow motion highlights that All Japan was known for in the 1990s. It made the match look like an absolute masterpiece (which it already was), and everything just looked like poetry in motion. It also made me fall in love with Japanese wrestling. The minute I saw that match, I knew that is what I wanted my career to be. I waited longer after watching it, but I eventually received my initial training from Sarge O’Reilly in Newbern, Tennessee, between that time, rotated between different trainers in the Tennessee area, then went on to train with the legendary Billy Robinson in Little Rock, Arkansas. The weeks that I trained with coach Billy in catch-as-catch-can wrestling, I was corrected on many things, improved on many things, and learned so many things. He is truly the best teacher in the world when it comes to catch wrestling. He is an encyclopedia of wrestling.
Daniel Johnson: You mentioned earlier the first match you ever had. What was the experience like and what do you remember most about it? Also, do you feel you have grown at all since it as a performer?
Chris Jones: I was more excited than nervous. The minute I stepped into the ring, my nervousness just went away, and I was looking more forward to the reaction that my match would hopefully get. I remember it going by extremely quickly. It felt only a few minutes long, but it was closer to 10 minutes. I believe I have grown since then, between gaining annual experience and training with coach Billy, I believe I have noticed a difference in the way I did things then, compared to now. How much I’ve grown, I really don’t know. I’ll leave that for others to judge.
Daniel Johnson: If you had to describe the independent wrestling scene in Tennessee in just a few words what would they be?
Chris Jones: A lot of great talent not yet exposed to most of the world.
Daniel Johnson: How many independent promotions do you know of in Tennessee currently and how many have you worked for? Also, are there any you have yet to work for that you would like to?
Chris Jones: Well, in West Tennessee, there is Tennessee Independent Wrestling Federation (TIWF), Warriors of Wrestling Federation (WOWF), Ultimate Combat Wrestling (UCW), All American Wrestling (AAW), Pro Wrestling Elite (PWE), Southern Premier Wrestling (SPW), Southeast Pro Wrestling Alliance (SPWA) and some others. I’m not overly familiar with the scene. I have worked for the first four listed, and another that is now defunct. My next venture is to go to a different region in the United States and get my name out there, ultimately ending up in Japan.
Daniel Johnson: A little off topic, but what Japanese promotion would you like to ideally work for? NJPW certainly has it’s fans. Also, any Japanese wrestlers around currently you would like to work?
Chris Jones: New Japan Pro Wrestling, All Japan Pro Wrestling or NOAH. I know New Japan definitely likes their guys to have charisma, which I lack right now. Basically any of those three would be my ideal choices. I would love to go anywhere in Japan. Just being in the country and competing is enough for me. I was there for three months and would love to go back, hopefully for even longer. As far as Japanese wrestlers I’d love to be in the ring with, Osamu Nishimura is the first to come to mind. I absolutely love his old school/European hybrid style. There is no one else in the world like him anymore, and he is one of the guys who I look up to and model myself after in the ring, and if I can venture off into the gaijin territory, Zack Sabre Jr.
Daniel Johnson: Getting back the Tennessee scene who are some independent wrestlers in Tennessee you would suggest readers check out?
Chris Jones: Derrick King is an obvious one. I know many around the world are familiar with him, but got to throw his name out there. He can go out there and do basically anything. Others include Stan Lee, Jon Michael, Tatt2, Void, Eric Wayne, Anton LeVeigh, Miracle Matt, Dell Tucker, and in my home promotion in TIWF, there are many young talents who will go somewhere. There’s Todd Currie, Jody Day, Austin Steele, Skyler Devins, John Arlen, Quiksilver, Osby Tomlin, Pretty Boy Kelz, JRage, and for women, we have Black Widow, Million Dollar Baby and Living Dead Girl. There are just several who are overlooked because no one really ventures out to look in the Tennessee indie scene. I had some of my favorite matches with some of these guys listed. Many of today’s stars were spawned in Memphis, including Kurt Angle, Bryan Danielson (Daniel Bryan), Brian Kendrick and many others.
Daniel Johnson: Is there anywhere online you would suggest readers go to for more about wrestling in Tennessee?
Chris Jones: Wrestling News Center.
Daniel Johnson: What is your favorite venue to work in Tennessee? Are there any venues you have yet to work in, but would like to?
Chris Jones: The Giant Flea Market in Union City. The venue I would like most to compete in is Korakuen Hall in Tokyo. I attended many shows there, and watched hundreds of matches from there, and it is just an amazing atmosphere. There is nothing like Korakuen Hall.
Daniel Johnson: This is kind of a broad question, but do you think there is anything particularly unique about Tennessee wrestling fans that distinguishes them from fans elsewhere?
Chris Jones: They are the most different in the world, I would say. They like simple things. They will pop more for a hip toss or arm drag than a Tiger Suplex or brainbuster, which is the total opposite for east coast fans, whom love big and crazy spots. It can be frustrating at times when I take a huge bump and it gets little reaction, but eh, what can you do.
Daniel Johnson: I also had a few questions related to wrestling in Tennessee outside of the current independent wrestling scene. Jerry Lawler is a name synonymous with wrestling in Tennessee. Are you a big Lawler fan and if so how much of an impact did he have on inspiring you as a performer?
Chris Jones: I am indeed a big Lawler fan, since attending USWA shows in the early and mid 1990s. Honestly, I love watching Memphis stuff, and pick things up from it. Loved Lawler and Bill Dundee’s matches, and Billy and Tony Charles’ stint. Great stuff. Lawler throws the best punches ever, in my opinion. I’d eventually love to get those punches down, but until then, I’ll just throw forearms and European uppercuts, as I can do them better. Lawler didn’t exactly have a big impact on inspiring me as a performer. There were some others who inspired me the most, but Lawler was indeed fantastic.
Daniel Johnson: Do you have any one favorite old school USWA or just old school Memphis in general memory that stands out for you?
Chris Jones: Seeing Jerry Lawler vs. Mr. Perfect in the Mid-South Coliseum in 1993. Old school Memphis would have to be Lawler piledriving Andy Kaufman.
Daniel Johnson: This question is a bit more current. Although a lot of people still associate TNA with Florida, the company is actually based in Tennessee. Does this connection help at all in terms of getting on their radar or not so much?
Chris Jones: Honestly, I have no idea.
Daniel Johnson: No problem. Before I get into some more general questions I had just one more Tennessee one. Whether it has to do with wrestling or not, what is one thing you know about Tennessee from having been there that would surprise someone who has never been?
Chris Jones: Tennessee has a bad reputation, when talking to guys in the midwest or east coast. There is a lot of good talent here that is severely overlooked, and are honestly just as good as many of those making a name in a top indie promotion.
Daniel Johnson: Getting to some more general questions, What has been your most memorable match to date and what made that memorable?
Chris Jones: The most memorable would have to be my match against Osby Tomlin from AAW on March 29. He hit me with a half nelson suplex, and the crowd thought I was dead. You could hear a pin drop.
Daniel Johnson: What are some short term goals you would like to accomplish over the next year or so?
Chris Jones: Venture into the east or west coast, maybe go international.
Daniel Johnson: I always like to hear about ribs and road stories. Do you have any you could share? Also, since you are relatively new to the industry ever been a victim of a rib?
Chris Jones: No good stories yet. As far as ribs go, minor ones, such as hiding things and the old Icy Hot rib.
Daniel Johnson: 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?
Chris Jones: Reruns of Seinfeld, Beavis and Butt-Head and The Simpsons. Currently, I really enjoy The Big Bang Theory and Parks and Recreation.
Daniel Johnson: What was your favorite movie that came out this year?
Chris Jones: Kick-Ass 2.
Daniel Johnson: What is your favorite food that you tried for the first time this year?
Chris Jones: I didn’t try any new foods, I don’t believe.
Daniel Johnson: What is your favorite song to come out this year?
Chris Jones: I don’t have one.
Daniel Johnson: No problem, what is the last book you read and would you recommend it?
Chris Jones: Shooters: The Toughest Men in Professional Wrestling [by Jonathan Snowden].
Daniel Johnson: Recommended?
Chris Jones: Yes. Recommended.
Daniel Johnson: Cool, I wanted to close with just a few more brief wrestling questions. What is the weirdest part of working as a pro wrestler?
Chris Jones: Having to explain it if someone brings it up. I tend to never bring it up, because it’s rather pointless to. I publicize it on social media, but it’s never necessary to bring it up to people in real life.
Daniel Johnson: Other than yourself, who is one wrestler 25 or under that you think readers should know about?
Chris Jones: Chris Brookes. He is a friend of mine on the indie scene in the United Kingdom who is tearing it up, and did a US tour working for CZW and some other companies in January. Definitely check out his matches with Jonathan Gresham on YouTube.
Daniel Johnson: Is there anything you would like to promote?
Chris Jones: My home promotion, TIWF, will be taping an iPPV on November 15, which will air the next day. I don’t have all the info right now, but you can visit www.facebook.com/officialtiwf or www.tiwf.org, and I’m sure the info will eventually be posted.
Daniel Johnson: Is there anything you would like to add?
Chris Jones: It’s been a blast. Looking forward to the years to come.
Check out Chris Jones in action! In this match from back in September he takes on Todd Currie in TIWF:
Categories: Wrestling Interviews