by Daniel Johnson
Interviewer’s Note: Rump Thump is talent who continues to develop and has been doing so most recently with Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW). Thump came to the company in 2012 and has been with the group at some interesting points including when they were a developmental territory for TNA. Thump has a versatile array of talents so it is perhaps fitting he has wrestled under a variety of names. In addition to Rump Thump, the man has worked as Stephon Smith, Stephon J. Baxter III and Hokus. Aside from OVW, Thump has wrestled for NWA Southern All-Star Wrestling (NWA SAW), Fusion Wrestling when it was a part of the NWA known as NWA Fusion and even had a match for Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW). In NWA Fusion, Thump enjoyed a lengthy run with the NWA Fusion Tag Team Championship when he teamed with Larry McHale. Thump can be found on Facebook here. This interview was completed on November 28, 2014. In this interview Thump and I focus on his work in OVW.
Daniel Johnson: My first question is in a nutshell how would you describe yourself as a performer?
Rump Thump: Clarify please. As far as how I judge myself? Or like influences?
Daniel Johnson: How would you judge yourself?
Rump Thump: I’m sure there’s some who would disagree but I’d say I’m pretty good in the ring. Obviously, there’s always room for improvement and to grow but that’s what I came to OVW for.
Daniel Johnson: How did you first meet Danny Davis, the owner of OVW and what was your first impression of him?
Rump Thump: I arrived early for a Wednesday show I believe and he just so happened to be in his office with the door open which didn’t happen often. I said hello and formally introduced myself and that was kind of it for a while. He can be an intimidating guy at first because he’s a guy to be respected but once you get over that he’s very approachable to discuss things.
Daniel Johnson: How has it been working with Davis from a training perspective? How do you think he has helped improve your work?
Rump Thump: Danny Davis doesn’t run a class at this time but if you need advice you can ask him. I train with Rip Rogers in the advanced class and he’s helped me tons as far as understanding wrestling. By working with him on a consistent basis your confidence level just grows constantly.
Daniel Johnson: 2012 was the first year you worked for OVW, I believe going into company in October wrestling under the name Stephon J. Baxter III. What are your overall thoughts on that first year?
Rump Thump: Rough at times but ultimately necessary. With TNA being here and us working closely with them the level of competition was really high amongst everybody. Every chance you had you really wanted to do your best and that hasn’t really disappeared even now that they’re gone. There’s a lot of hungry talent here but being here during that time shined some light on how it is to be so close to a bigger company.
Daniel Johnson: In 2013 you wrestled a lot more matches for OVW than the previous year. In one match in particular you had the chance to wrestle international star Doug Williams? What was that experience like and how do you think the match turned out?
Rump Thump: Nerve racking for sure since I’d admired Doug’s talent even before I came. So the chance to get in there with him was really exciting. I think the match turned out perfectly fine. There’s a big difference in my experience level now than it was then. So once again, rough but necessary.
Daniel Johnson: You also formed the team Lambda Lambda Lambda with Albert Einstein Baxter II. How did this team come about and what are your reflections on it?
Rump Thump: Albert had been training in Trailer Park Trash’s class since his [OVW] Homecoming match. Frank [Miller] approached me with the idea and we started teaming on live events. It took some getting used to but once we found our groove we had some really good matches with The Bodyguy and Paredyse on live events along with a fun little run against Jay Bradley.
Daniel Johnson: You talked about this a little bit earlier, but you were with OVW when they had an agreement with TNA to be their developmental territory. Did you have a lot of interaction with any of TNA’s roster? Also, do you have any good stories to tell involving TNA talent?
Rump Thump: The locker room isn’t a big place at OVW so you interact with them all the time. I wouldn’t have any particular funny ones of my own but it was always fun to watch [Rockstar] Spud try to sneak attack Rob Terry and wrestle him to the ground.
Daniel Johnson: I was always curious about how that developmental relationship worked. For instance were you considered a TNA developmental wrestler until OVW and TNA parted ways? Did you ever have to sign anything for TNA?
Rump Thump: No, none of that. TNA had their own talent who were developmental talents like Alex Silva, Sam Shaw, Taeler Hendrix, etc. Everybody else was considered OVW talent and we all just worked for the same television show.
Daniel Johnson: Even though OVW no longer works with TNA are you interested in getting on the full-time TNA roster at some point? What about WWE?
Rump Thump: Any opportunity to shine on that big of a stage would be amazing so definitely.
Daniel Johnson: Getting back more to your OVW work what did you think was the best program you had in 2013 for OVW and does any one particular moment stand out for you?
Rump Thump: I wasn’t really involved in much of a program during that time but one of the most memorable moments was dressing up as Stephon-ie. Even that one was fun for me.
Daniel Johnson: Jumping into this year how did you come up with the name Rump Thump? How did you decide to move to that name from Stephon J. Baxter III?
Rump Thump: I’d actually been using the name of Rump Thump as a move back when I wrestled in Virginia. I had knee surgery since I’d torn my meniscus and ACL in November 2013. I just wanted to come back and do something I didn’t do previously but try to add more to it. It just so happened during one of the OVW Old School shows that they changed the name and it kind of stuck.
Daniel Johnson: How would you say your work is different as Rump Thump from performing as Stephon J. Baxter III? Also has the knee surgery been difficult to work after at all?
Rump Thump: Just a different approach and allows me to use what I’ve learned. So now I can use the experience gained from wrestling and training for nine months in London with Justin Richards, Adam Mansfield and Jon Ritchie, training with Rip Rogers since 2012, and learning about Memphis with Mark Bravura at Fusion Wrestling. It’s just a chance for me to show people a culmination of all of these awesome experiences I’ve had in this sport. It’s fun for me and I want people to have fun watching me do this.
Daniel Johnson: You wrestled in a four way match in July to determine the number one contender for the OVW Heavyweight Championship. What are your thoughts on being put in this kind of spot and of how the match turned out?
Rump Thump: Like wrestling with Doug, being Stephon Baxter and everything else it was a challenge. An opportunity to show, “Hey I can be a contender,” but I lost so I can’t be too happy about it.
Daniel Johnson: The current OVW Heavyweight Champion is Cliff Compton who you have wrestled before in OVW. What is it like to work with Compton and how do you think he represents the company as its top title holder?
Rump Thump: It’s fun and challenging in a good way to work with Cliff. He’s been apart of a lot so you want to do your best and match/out do him. Overall, I think he’s a good representative as title holder.
Daniel Johnson: I remember back in October when Cliff Compton won the OVW Heavyweight Championship news broke out that CM Punk was backstage. What was it like backstage at that time and were you interested in meeting CM Punk? Also did you feel any additional pressure for your match with The Bodyguy that night because of the buzz around the show?
Rump Thump: News sites fudge a lot of things and since nobody was told he was there it didn’t add any extra pressure.
Daniel Johnson: Speaking of The Bodyguy you have been working with him a lot this year? What are your thoughts on working with The Bodyguy?
Rump Thump: Seeing as he tried to injure me again I think he’s a dick for lack of better words.
Daniel Johnson: Are there any OVW talents you have yet to wrestle you hope to soon? If so then who?
Rump Thump: I just had a chance to wrestle Chris Silvio on [OVW TV] 797 so cross that one off. I’d like to mix it up with Michael Hayes, Eddie Diamond and Adam Revolver on OVW TV someday.
Daniel Johnson: Cool, how would you rank 2014 among your years in OVW?
Rump Thump: The best yet with more to come.
Daniel Johnson: Speaking of the future what do you hope to accomplish in OVW in 2015?
Rump Thump: Winning the [OVW] Television title at some point and then moving onto the Heavyweight title.
Daniel Johnson: I also had some questions I wanted to ask you about your work outside of OVW and your ambitions, but before we move on is there anything else you wanted to say about OVW or your work there?
Rump Thump: My time with OVW has been great so far. It’s definitely been worth the move and I recommend anybody else to do it as well.
Daniel Johnson: Looking beyond the United States you mentioned training in the United Kingdom. Do you have any interest in working full-time for a foreign company like NJPW or AAA? If so where would you like to work?
Rump Thump: I am a huge fan of New Japan and did their tryout seminar when they came over to the US for the first time a few years ago. Either experience would be awesome to do, so AAA or NJPW would be tremendous.
Daniel Johnson: Wow, that’s awesome you did their tryout seminar! What was that experience like and who did you get to work with and talk with?
Rump Thump: It was pretty amazing actually and a learning experience. The entire thing was led by Karl Anderson and Fergal Devitt/Finn Balor and we went through a lot of drills. So it definitely opened my eyes up to my level of fitness and where I’d need to be at to be apart of their company. The biggest compliment I got out of Devitt was that I was, “Surprisingly athletic.” Thinking back I could have come much more prepared but it was definitely fun.
Daniel Johnson: Cool, this is sort of a random question, but I remember seeing you wrestled for CZW once. How did this opportunity come about and do you have any interest in working more for CZW?
Rump Thump: I knew DJ Hyde when he wrestled in Maryland. When he took over the company I kept in contact with him on occasion and he mentioned he was putting together a free show before the main show later that night. He agreed to let me be apart of it and it was interesting to say the least. Honestly, seeing the talented guys they have there now it’d be great to work with them
Daniel Johnson: Winding down I like to close wrestling interviews with five non-wrestling related questions and then some short wrestling questions. First, what is your favorite movie to come out in the last year?
Rump Thump: Tough one but I’d have to go with [Captain America: The] Winter Solider. I didn’t get on board with the first one but it was such a badass flick.
Daniel Johnson: What is the last book you read and would you recommend it?
Rump Thump: Not one for reading for pleasure so I can’t remember honestly.
Daniel Johnson: No problem, have you tried any new foods this year? If so then what has been your favorite?
Rump Thump: There’s a local restaurant called Taco Luchador which sells tortas which are these giant Mexican sandwiches which are absurdly delicious.
Daniel Johnson: Sounds tasty. Moving back to wrestling I had some short questions. First, who is one wrestler 25 or under that you think readers should know about?
Rump Thump: Dylan Bostic for sure.
Daniel Johnson: Ribs and road stories are always fun. Do you have any that you could share?
Rump Thump: I’ve never been a bigger ribber and it sucks that I can’t think of any off the top of my head.
Daniel Johnson: No problem, my last question is, is there anything you would like to add?
Rump Thump: Nothing much else to add. I just ask that people keep supporting OVW and all of its talent. Be on the look out for bigger and better things from me.
Check out Rump Thump in action! In this match Thump wrestles under the name Stephon Smith for NWA SAW in an effort against Jason Nesmith:
Categories: Wrestling Interviews