by Daniel Johnson
Interviewer’s Note: “Kid Hybrid” Orlando Christopher is only 25 and has already been wrestling for about eight years. Fighting out of Michigan, Christopher has worked for Xtreme Intense Championship Wrestling (XICW) since 2006, beginning shortly after he wrestled his first match ever in front of a crowd for IWA: Mid-South. In XICW, Orlando Christopher has held the XICW Light Heavyweight Championship on three separate occasions. XICW has also allowed him the chance to work with some top world traveled talent including Jimmy Jacobs, Zach Gowen and Takaaki Watanabe. Earlier this year Christopher won the XICW Malcolm Monroe Sr. Memorial Cup 2014. Christopher also has appeared in many other promotions including AAW, Juggalo Championship Wrestling (JCW) and Heartland Wrestling Association. Christopher can be found on Facebook here and on Twitter @kidhybrid. He also has a YouTube channel showcasing some of his matches here. This interview was completed on August 17, 2014. In this interview Christopher and I focus on his work for XICW.
Daniel Johnson: First off for the those unfamiliar with you where and when were you born and how long have you been wrestling?
Kid Hybrid: I’m from Detroit, was raised around here, left a few times, but always find my way back to this area. I was born in the 1980s, which makes me sound older than I am since I’m only 25. And as for wrestling, I made my professional debut in 2006.
Daniel Johnson: When did you first know you wanted to be a wrestler and did any particular performer light a spark that inspired you?
Kid Hybrid: It’s always hard to narrow it down to a certain moment, but I can remember my two earliest interests as a kid being Barney the Dinosaur and pro wrestling, which kind of explains me as a person. Haha. I’m influenced by so many people; guys like Ricky Steamboat, Dynamite Kid, Ric Flair, Ricky Morton, Kurt Angle, Chris Benoit, Roddy Piper, HBK, Terry Funk, [Yoshihiro] Tajiri, X-Pac and so many others. I watch everything so it’s hard to pick just one.
Daniel Johnson: As you mentioned you have been wrestling since 2006 and are now only 25 meaning you started wrestling as a teenager. Is wrestling what you always wanted to do or did you have other plans earlier?
Kid Hybrid: It’s what I always wanted to do. I was always an athletic, but smaller, kind of kid so no one really expected me to ever really make it and one of my goals was to prove those people wrong. I found a school and started pro wrestling before I was even out of high school. Plus, I always skipped class to go to shows, which was an added bonus!
Daniel Johnson: Speaking of going to shows I was curious what were your indie experiences like before actually getting involved as a performer? Did you go to any XICW shows when you were just a fan?
Kid Hybrid: Nope. I had very little knowledge of the indies before I trained. I knew they existed, but had really only heard of Ring of Honor (ROH). then one day I saw a local show advertised at my high school so I went, met Truth Martini, and “the rest is history” as they say.
Daniel Johnson: What was a typical day of training like for you and how long did you train before making your debut?
Kid Hybrid: Well, I trained with Truth Martini at the House of Truth, but American Kickboxer had a deal worked out where they worked together, hence why I’m always announced from the RAAGE Dojo. They are two totally different styles of trainers. Truth is very thorough and runs his class like an actual school. It’s one of the best programs I’ve ever seen in that regard. Kickboxer is more old school so he’s trying to run your ass out of the gym and make you earn your place to get into the business, which I loved, since I was coming from an amateur wrestling background. The combination of the two of them was awesome. It was four nights a week for four hours a day. It lasted three months or so before I was cleared.
Daniel Johnson: I was curious. What is the extent of your amateur wrestling background and how did it help in your transition to pro wrestling?
Kid Hybrid: I wrestled in both junior high and high school. I was undefeated in junior high and made varsity as a freshmen, and even had a winning record. I wrestled one more year, but then it was off to pro wrestling so I never got back into it. Honestly, one of my biggest regrets in life is not wrestling those last two years. I was good, but I could have been great had I stuck with it. That said, I got to do wrestling camps with Olympic gold medalists like Steve Fraser, and train with other Olympians like Rulon Gardner, and now Bellator champion Ben Askren, along with a bunch of other extremely talented collegiate champions. I don’t know how well it translated into pro wrestling, except for the fact that I knew I was tough enough to hang with any type of pain or workout they could put me through. That was my one advantage getting into pro wrestling.
Daniel Johnson: Do you remember your first pro wrestling match in front of a paying crowd? What are your memories from that match?
Kid Hybrid: Yeah it was awesome. I was going to local shows, doing ring crew, security, etc., and couldn’t get on a show for months. Finally, Truth set up a booking for me out in Chicago for AAW, but we had to go a day earlier because we were riding with Jeff Brooks and he wanted to work for IWA: Mid-South the night before. We were at the IWA show and Ian Rotten asked me if I had my gear, which were these terrible baggy pants that looked like shower curtains. I said that I did and I was put into an eight man tag match. It was Shiima Xion (now Zema Ion in TNA), Jeff Brooks, Rex Sterling, and here’s a fun side note, I had just met Rex that night, but he also had those same terrible baggy pants which in turn made us look like a tag team out there, versus The Thomasellis and The Northstar Express. I held my own, shower curtains and all, and I believe we even won if my memory serves me correctly. The next night I worked for AAW, and the following day after that I wrestled a dark match for Shimmer. So it took awhile to get booked, but my entire debut weekend was quite an experience.
Daniel Johnson: Getting into your XICW work what was your first match there like?
Kid Hybrid: I got to work with my trainer, American Kickboxer, and I don’t remember it all too well, but I’m sure he whipped my ass. Haha.
Daniel Johnson: Haha, what stands out to you most from your rookie year in XICW in 2006?
Kid Hybrid: Honestly, probably just getting beat up. Haha. It’s not glamorous by any means, but I definitely had to work my way up the card. Nothing was ever handed to me, that’s for sure. That first year, or even years rather, was more of a learning experience than anything else.
Daniel Johnson: You have worked for XICW off and on for nearly a decade. During that time you have had several title reigns most of which have been with the XICW Light Heavyweight Championship. You first won this championships in 2008 from Gutter. What stands out to you about this match?
Kid Hybrid: Haha, oh man I don’t even remember that match! That said, I always had good matches with Gutter, now known as Caleb Stills, and him and I have a lot of mutual respect for one another. Hopefully that one fell in line with the rest of our matches, but I can’t recall too much from that one.
Daniel Johnson: Was this your first singles title? If so I’m curious is there anything quite like winning a championship in pro wrestling for the first time? If not then what was?
Kid Hybrid: Actually, it wasn’t my first one, but it was still was one of the earliest title wins I had. Now for me, I wasn’t too caught up in the moment of winning a championship so there was never a chance to really celebrate and have that cool moment. Instead, I was always focused on keeping that championship, and more importantly, using that title to elevate my profile and standing on the card.
Daniel Johnson: Your second XICW Light Heavyweight Championship win was against Jimmy Jacobs who held that title a whopping six times. What are your thoughts on that match and ending his final XICW Light Heavyweight Championship run.
Kid Hybrid: Again, I can’t honestly remember that match either! Too many chair shots over the years maybe? Haha. Jacobs and I have great chemistry in the ring, but I don’t know if I was on the same level as him back then, so I may have just got lucky scraping by in that one.
Daniel Johnson: Jacobs has traveled all over, but a lot of fans probably know him best for his ROH work. Is ROH a key place you would like to work for before your career is over? If so why?
Kid Hybrid: I don’t know if I ever think about a set destination per say but I definitely want to make it somewhere. If that’s ROH, and that’s the highest I ever get, I would be happy with that. But I’m never ruling anything out. I just want to do this as long as I can and to be able to pay the bills doing the thing I love the most. That’s really my goal. So whether that’s ROH, TNA, WWE, Japan, Mexico, wherever, I just want to say I lived the dream.
Daniel Johnson: Getting back to your XICW work in 2009 you won the XICW Tag Team Championship with Josh Movado. How did this team come about?
Kid Hybrid: Well that’s one of those mysteries that very few can explain. Is Bigfoot real? Do UFOs exist? Did I really team with Movado? Hey, it’s wrestling. Crazy things happen. In this business expect the unexpected. So without answering the question, I’ll leave it at that.
Daniel Johnson: Correct me if I’m wrong, but you left XICW for a long spell starting in 2009 not wrestling at all for them until this year. What made you leave and what brought you back to the company?
Kid Hybrid: 2009? No, I was still there all the way to 2012. I left for awhile because I had moved far out of state, and came back later that year before getting fired in early 2013. In regards to that, management and I had a rather large and public disagreement, and that led to me being fired. There’s more to it than that, but we’ve all put it behind us, so I won’t bother getting into the details. I returned in January of this year because they had been running shows called “The Best in Detroit.” Well how can you have a show called that and not feature me? Haha. I kid, I kid. But really, the hatchet needed to be buried. On both sides. Walking around with anger in your heart is never a good thing. So I’m glad we put egos aside and was happy they brought me back. 2014 has been an awesome year for XICW thus far and I’m glad I can help contribute.
Daniel Johnson: Haha, you have also had the chance to work with former WWE superstar Zach Gowen in XICW this year. Is this the first time you have worked with Gowen? What was the experience like?
Kid Hybrid: I’ve known Gowen for years and we’ve had a few matches over the years, but this one, well we raised the bar a little bit. My new style has been very dangerous and almost reckless at times, but to his credit, Gowen held his own and was every bit as extreme and crazy as me. And that’s no easy task my friend.
Daniel Johnson: Another name talent you have worked recently in XICW has been Takaaki Watanabe best known for his work in New Japan Pro Wrestling and ROH appearances. How was it working with him and do you think you will work more with him some time in the future?
Kid Hybrid: I did chip his tooth, which I feel terrible about. He’s a nice guy, but because of the language barrier, we didn’t get to talk too much. Other than that, I loved working with him. I’m kind of like the ambassador in Detroit for any Japanese stars. I’ve wrestled with him, KIYOSHI and KUSHIDA in recent years.
Daniel Johnson: Are there any other Japanese stars who have worked the area you have yet to work that you would like to? What about Japanese stars that may soon be coming to work the area?
Kid Hybrid: No one comes to mind, but I’m always ready for a good challenge. I love the Japanese style, so it’s always fun getting in there with those guys.
Daniel Johnson: This year also saw you win the XICW Light Heavyweight Championship for the third time. What are your thoughts on winning this championship from Jaimy Coxxx and what is it like working with Coxxx?
Kid Hybrid: Well, Coxxx is mostly a local guy. Out of state not a lot of people know who he is. But those locally who do, and I think everyone at XICW will agree with me here, will say that he’s the most beloved guy backstage. He gets along with everyone and everyone thinks highly of him. So anytime I wrestle a friend, it’s a good night at the office.
Daniel Johnson: Even more recently you won the Malcolm Monroe Sr. Memorial Cup 2014 in a battle royal featuring former WWE star Rhino along with some talent we have previously discussed and some others. How significant do you think it is to win a battle royal filled with such talent?
Kid Hybrid: I always think of it as more of a tournament than a battle royal. It starts as a battle royal, but turns into a tag match, a four way, and so on until there’s a single match with the last two guys. In recent years, this tournament’s prestige has been raised significantly, and it’s by far the biggest honor in Michigan wrestling. So knowing that I can etch my name as the winner of said tournament is quite an honor, and is my biggest accomplishment to date.
Daniel Johnson: To close out interviews I like to ask five non-wrestling related questions followed by a few more short wrestling ones. First, what do you most like to watch on television these days?
Kid Hybrid: Sitcoms or horror films.
Daniel Johnson: What has been your favorite movie to come out in the last year?
Kid Hybrid: I think it’s slightly older than a year but I’d say Cabin in the Woods is my favorite film in recent memory.
Daniel Johnson: Have you tried any new foods in the last year? If so what would you most recommend?
Kid Hybrid: Nothing exciting. Just adding more veggies to the diet!
Daniel Johnson: What is your favorite song to come out in the last year?
Kid Hybrid: To be honest, I don’t listen to much new music, especially stuff on the radio, but I’m pretty excited by David Bazan’s latest stuff.
Daniel Johnson: What is the last book you read and would you recommend it?
Kid Hybrid: I’m currently reading a biography about Albert Einstein. So if you like those types of reads, then yes I highly recommend it.
Daniel Johnson: Back to wrestling, in 2010 you wrestled two matches for JCW. I’ve heard a lot of good things about that company. Do you plan to work for them again at all in the near future? Also, do you consider yourself a juggalo?
Kid Hybrid: Total different crowd and atmosphere. It’s an entirely different experience than a normal wrestling show. But I’m definitely not a juggalo. I’m just a grunge kid living in the wrong decade, haha.
Daniel Johnson: Cool, what has been the weirdest experience of working for XICW?
Kid Hybrid: The weirdest? Probably the Blue Tarp Water. The fact that any people reading this will actually know what I’m talking about says way too much about it quite frankly.
Daniel Johnson: I’m always interested in ribs and road stories. Do you have any that you could share?
Kid Hybrid: I don’t tend to participate in mean ribs, but I do have some fun stories of stuff we would do on the road to pass the time here and there. Now one of my favorite things to do on the road is to try to get the toll booth people to crack up as we pass. However, it doesn’t always work as planned. For instance, one time I stripped down to my underwear and tied my hands and feet up, and of course gagged myself to make it look like I was a hostage in the passenger seat. We pull all the way up to the booth, Jeff Brooks gives her the money like it’s no big deal, and the lady completely NO SELLS me! She couldn’t have cared less. Now in retrospect, realizing how calm I was during this “hostage situation,” it probably came across as gay bondage more than anything else. So yeah, I can see not wanting to acknowledge that. Haha.
Daniel Johnson: Haha, my penultimate question is who is one wrestler 25 or under you think everyone should know about?
Kid Hybrid: That’s easy, me! Then again, I might be a bit biased here.
Daniel Johnson: Haha, is there anything you would like to add?
Kid Hybrid: Yeah, make sure any of you reading this go add me on Facebook, if you haven’t already, at Orlando Christopher. All of my dates and all kinds of other info can be found there! Or go add my Twitter feed @kidhybrid. In fact, go add both!
Check out Orlando Christopher in action! Some of his work for XICW can be found on his YouTube channel here. In this match for All World Wrestling League (AWWL) Big Tim Wrestling, Christopher takes on AWWL wrestlers Chaz Montana and Austin Manix:
Categories: Wrestling Interviews