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  Nigel McGuinness is far from your typical wrestling school student. Born and raised in England, he developed a taste for wrestling in his early teens and this brought him to America. Nigel plays the cocky, punkish, English heel hard when he's in the ring, but he's as far away from his in ring character in real life as you can get. Nigel was profiled during ABC's 20/20 Special on Heartland Wrestling, discussing his passion for the sport and he talked about all he had to do to get as far as he has come. On top of that, he has to constantly eat to maintain his weight in hoping in achieving the look that could land him a job in a national promotion. Nigel was kind enough to let me turn on the tape recorder and talk to him while he was eating following his match at a recent HWA Showcase.

Nigel McGuinness:

BJ: So how does one get introduced to pro wrestling in England?

Nigel: In England, we have the WWF on T.V. We got WCW on some smaller stations on Saturday night, but no one really watches it. That’s about it as far as American goes. You can pick up some ECW tapes and such, but other then that it is a blackout. The WWF rules the country and that is why the British wrestling scene has been so dwarfed as it has been the past 10, 15, 20 years.

BJ: You see guys like Regal coming over and having a lot of success, is he an inspiration to you at all?

Nigel: I love Steve. I think he’s a fantastic wrestler, certainly. Its great he still manages to get over when he doesn’t do all the highspots and everything else that a lot of guys have to do today. I think my style is a lot more old school then the young guys that are up and coming in England at the moment. Anyone that sticks to the business as long as he has is an inspiration.

BJ: So you were over here once before and send back to England due to Visa problem and now your back. How did your whole journey over here begin and what made you decide to come halfway across the world to Les Thatcher’s wrestling school?

Nigel: I first wanted to become a wrestler when I saw the British Bulldogs and the Hart Foundation. British wrestling used to be on T.V. up until the mid- 80’s and there was this one show that had American stuff on it for like half an hour. From the moment that I saw the WWF I was just absolutely hooked. It wasn’t until a couple years later that I decided to get into it, but from 13 that’s what I decided to do. I’ve always been so thin and as your average wrestling fan, certainly from England, and your wanting to become a wrestler in another country, the odds are huge. As far as ending up at Thatcher’s, I was in school out here and I wrote to a bunch of places. I wrote to Killer Kowalski’s place, the Monster Factory and Les was the only person who wrote me back a personal letter, hand written. And I thought, this bloke had taken the time to hand write this thing he obviously has to have some kind of commitment, so I came down to look around. Pretty much there and then I decided that I was going to come here. To be honest I didn’t look anywhere else. Les pretty much knew everyone in the business at the time and someone coming from England that has no contacts and you walk into a place and there are pictures of Arn Anderson and others….

BJ: Its kind of overwhelming.. *laughs*

Nigel: *laughs* Yeah, I’ll always remember that I came down on a Saturday afternoon, and they had that Livewire show on and I was just a huge fan of Sunny. So I watched that in the morning thinking “Sunny, Sunny, Sunny” and there is an 8X10 of Sunny and Chris Candido signed personally and Les is talking about going out to lunch with them the week before. That just, wow, just….

BJ: Sold…. *Laughs*

Nigel: *Laughs* Yeah, and I came down and took a few bumps and hung out with the guys and we became good friends and hung out for like a week. That’s where I met Shark (Shark Boy, aka Dean Roll) and we became good friends and hung out for a while. To be honest, it was a lot of Shark helping me out that got me back here. Without his help I wouldn’t be back here today, that’s for sure.

BJ: You obviously have the drive for this since you’ve been all the way across the ocean and back twice, how long have you been training and did you do any shows your first time here?

Nigel: I did a few matches before when I was out here. I’ve come out here a few times intermittingly and worked and trained for a few months at a time and I’m working on making it something more permanent. I’ve basically been just visiting, bumping around and learning a little bit more and going back. Its difficult enough when you live in the country and you can stay here, but having to go home and however much money it takes to fly over here and I can’t work anyway… I’ve sacrificed, I’ve spent thousand. Tens, twenties of thousands. I’ve sacrificed my education, I’ve sacrificed any savings I’ve had. I’m so deep in debt its not even funny. I’ve pretty much given up everything and I think that is what you have to do. If you don’t give it everything you absolutely have then how do you expect to succeed at anything? I don’t know if I’ll ever succeed I don’t know if I’ll ever come back again, but in the periods that I haven’t been in this business, what I’ve realized is that you’ve got to enjoy it at the moment. And it’s a cliché` but it’s the truth. I had everything set up so I could stay out here and it fell through so I had to go home again. That was the ABC deal (talking about the 20/20 special on Heartland Wrestling). When that happened, when everything came over and there was this strange sense of death inside me, it was almost like it was that was over and it was almost like “Wow, the war is over , and now I’m hear and I can wrestle now,” and its weird…

BJ: Once you got over here and having to start climbing the ladder after all you’ve been through, was that tough to deal with.

Nigel: The trying thing is starting from the very first day I came out here. I’ve always been stupidly thin and I knew I had to gain weight. And it took me five years of lifting weights to gain weight. Right not I’m just over 200 lbs….

While we’re doing this interview, Nigel’s eating dinner, only a few minutes after he had wrestled, and had two different Powerade bottles with the usual mixed weight gainer/muscle builder stuff in them

BJ: Obviously Powerade is helping you out a bit…

Nigel: I graduated University in ’97 and I was 6 foot 170 and had been lifting to for three years. I didn’t realize how much you had to eat to gain weight. So I came over and I realized and I got up to 210 and then I had to leave again and it dropped down to 190. I come back it goes up, I go back it goes down. When I was back in England last time I lost 50 pounds of muscle and that’s the truth. I’m not trying to gain that back. I got a long way to go and I have got another 30 to go before I get to where I need to be. So it’s a tough thing, but like I said the more obstacles that are in your way the more it drives you, ya know. I’ve always got people telling me your too thin, your English, that gets you going more because every little step you make you remember that and every now and then you meet someone that you said that and they are like “When are you going to get a real job?” and then they look at ya. Its like an epiphany, it’s a marvelous moment. It’s the kind of thing that keeps ya going. But you know, I’m not doing a good job of sounding like a heel am I?

BJ: No, but your getting heel heat with me because now I have to figure out how to spell “epiphany” *laughs*.

Nigel: *Laughs*

BJ: So after all this, are you wanting to keep your heel character going, or are you wanting to go to other feds, any guys you want to feud with, what do you have store in your future?

Nigel: Well, that’s a lot of questions. As far as the future goes, I take it one week at a time because I honesty don’t know how long I’m going to be here. I could go home in a week, I could go home in a month and I could never come back. All I want to do is each week, put some more weight on, each week get better in the ring so that every match that I have I can say “I’m better in that way, I’m better in that way…” It’s the only thing that I can do. Of course I’d love to wrestle around the WWF or around America. Until that happens, the only thing I can only get better as a wrestler. In terms of wrestling people in the HWA, we have a lot of good talent here and there are a lot of good guys that have come through here that are fantastic and Les has trained them well. Personally, I love Ranger Hayes. Ranger, it took him almost two and a half to three years for him to get out there. I was more excited for him when he first wrestled then actually getting out there myself. It was marvelous. Its difficult for me to pick out someone I don’t want to wrestle. We have guys who are muscular, guys who can do high spots.

BJ: Are you familiar at all with the internet wrestling scene?

Nigel: I don’t have internet access. The truth is I don’t have a lot of free time. I spend a lot of time eating, I have to eat every three hours and it takes an hour to cook it and an hour and a half to eat it. I hear a lot of the boys talking about it, but other then that, not really.

BJ: What did you major in when you were going to college?

Nigel: I worked mainly in England and made some money until I came over here, and I can’t work over here. I graduated with a 3.6 in Chemistry.

BJ: Is there any kind of indy scene in England that you could do work for?

Nigel: There is and there are a couple of good workers but the majority aren’t up to standard. The truth is, its not much different then over here. Except over here, you have a chance of going somewhere. The chances of going over here from England is slim. You have to be headlining cards from 5 to 10 years to come over here. I’ve decided to approach it from a different angle. How successful that will be? We’ll have to see.

BJ: Well you got your Degree and your doing what you want to do, I guess you can’t ask for much more then that can ya?

Nigel: I guess not. I don’t really want to work in Chemistry though, I don’t mind making a lot of money but work in Chemistry is kinda dull. I’ve come so far, just to be sitting here. The things I’ve gone through and sacrificed. Every time I’ve looked at what I’ve done so far, then realize I got a mountain ahead of me. About three or four more times then what I’ve already done. Its daunting but at the same time its very exciting. Its like Oscar Wilde said, you’ve ever read Oscar Wilde?

BJ: No, can’t say that I have.

Nigel: He was a fantastic play writer from the late 19th century. Anyway, he said there are two tragedies in this life; first is never getting what you want, and the second is getting it. I love that line it says everything about life.

BJ: Well that sounds like a great line to end things on. Thanks a lot man and good luck in the future.

*Coming soon, Race Steele, former HWA Heavyweight Champ. Chairshots will also have my interview with Tony Devito of The Baldies coming soon as well.*