In celebration of their 15 year anniversary, the AWF (Australasian Wrestling Federation) have been importing and showcasing some of the greatest and most iconic wrestlers from around the world in recent weeks, alongside some of the finest talents Australia has to offer. There have been past WWE Superstars, ECW Alumni and current TNA wrestlers that have made the trip Down Under to give this Great Australian Bash a bit more oomph, for lack of a better word. And this week is no exception.
Former WWE Tag Team Champion and TNA X-Division Champion Brian Kendrick has made his way to our sunburnt country to challenge the might of the Australian wrestling elite. I managed to sit down with "The Man With The Plan" and current Australasian World Heavyweight Champion and AWF Tag Team Champion Dean Draven to get their take on what is happening in the world of sports entertainment as it stands today and what it is like to be a professional wrestler.
- Welcome to our country Brian, Is this your first trip to Australia and how are you enjoying yourself so far?
KENDRICK – Thank you. No, I was here last November for two weeks and prior to that I have been here a few times with the WWE, but while I was here then I didn’t get much of a taste for it but in November of last year I got a chance to truly experience it and I really enjoyed it.
- Dean Draven, pleasure having you also. As an Australian citizen born and bred, do you have any tips on what to do for Brian Kendrick or any international visitor to our lucky country?
DRAVEN - I would show them the sites of Sydney and then out west to see our beautiful blue mountains.
- Brian, you have recently been wrestling for NJPW (New Japan Pro Wrestling). Is there any similarity between the style in Japan and what we have here in Australia or are we more of an offshoot of the American product?
KENDRICK – I’d say Australia is much more based on the American style. The Japanese style isn’t so much a good guy vs bad guy and cheering for each, it’s seen more of a sport so people don’t really cheer until they have been convinced something big is happening.
- Dean, you have a more of a technical mat based attack as opposed to Brian Kendrick's high flying prowess and abilities as a cruiser-weight, who influenced your style and ultimately your decision to become a professional wrestler?
DRAVEN - As a kid I was a huge Ultimate Warrior fan and as I got older it was the Undertaker. When I started training to become a wrestler, my wife Amy Action who was the one who trained me told me I reminded her of Chris Benoit, that's if I can mention his name (laughs).
I got hold of a lot of Japanese wrestling like the Super J Cups so guys like Dean Malenko, Chris Jericho, Jushin Liger, Eddie Guerrero and Dynamite Kid have all been a big influence on my wrestling ability.
- Brian, you have wrestled in practically every major promotion in the past decade and a half, with stints in WWE, TNA, ROH and of course in NJPW. How would you describe the differences in backstage mentality with each promotion?
KENDRICK – In a place like ROH when I was there it is a bunch of young guys coming up, so it is a bunch of guys who are highly motivated and still full of youthful exuberance. In a place like WWE you have a bit of mix, but it’s a very professional culture, so you know you are there for work. And just like any job, people tend to hate their jobs at times. So even though it’s a dream job they start to take it for granted, I was a victim of that myself. TNA is either young guys coming up or outcasts from the WWE, so it is a mix of young guys who are motivated or older guys who don’t really care, unfortunately.
In Japan, it’s different because the Japanese refer to you as Gaijin to your face, which means Outsider. And they don’t bat an eye when they say that. So even though they will take you out drinking and have a good time, you are always seen as an outsider. But with that being said though, I have had a blast everywhere I have went.
- Dean, do you think the WWE and other globally televised brands like TNA could benefit from a influx of Australian talent and input?
It would also help Australian wrestling...