The Shining Wizards Podcast recently interviewed former ECW talent Joel Gernter. Here are some higlights:

On breaking into wrestling: "Game shows were my first love, going back to when I was four or five years old. Then when I was about eight or nine I found wrestling, and just heavy into it, my number one hobby. I started following it more and more every year. I was calling 976 numbers, the precursor to 1-900 numbers. I started subscribing to a couple of newsletters. Eventually, by the summer of '89 I started subscribing to The Observer. By the time I was 16, in '91, I found out about the Lower East Side Wrestling Gym at the projects on FDR Drive and East Houston. Pete McKay, who wrestled for WWWF, ran the school. Bobby Bold Eagle was a trainer, he had worked internationally as Black Tiger. That's when I started, a little over 21 years ago. I got to meet Jason Knight, who was doing enhancement stuff for WCW; Little Guido, who was working for IWCCW; Chris Kanyon, who was from Sunnyside; Devon Storm, who I think was breaking in around that time. It was a lot of fun, it was something to do during high school to see if this was something I could embark on, as a career down the line, maybe after college. I wound up getting the ECW opportunity during college, after my third year. Me and Cornell University came to the mutual decision that I had other places to be at that time. So I left school and ran off and joined the circus."

On his progression in ECW: "We did Gertner-Vision for a few weeks, for a little while I was doing Hype Central, I was trying to steal it from Lance Wright. It just kinda was always evolving and reinventing itself. I became the ring announcer. Bob Artese had taken some time off and then came back. I was doing foreign language ring announcing for the lucha guys, and from there became a heel ring announcer, and then moved around, doing personal announcing for a bunch of different guys, eventually leading to doing it for a version of the Dudleys."

On his trademark poetry: "If there was something interesting going on politically or sports or pop culture, then if that came up and happened say on a Wednesday, I would jot it down and start writing my poem in advance. There were other times where I'd either, really kind of intentionally, just flew by the seat of my pants. I liked to challenge myself. One of the Pay-Per-Views, I think it was Guilty as Charged, from Kissimmee, it included all the nonsense about Daisy Duck taking one for the team, being filled full of cream and all that, and I didn't wanna write that one in advance. I would come up with a part of it here or there. I knew we were going to be in Kissimmee so I said my crotch was the happiest place on Earth, I came up with that in advance. A lot of the times, like 45 minutes before the show I would just sit down and get some paper and a pen and just start writing... Paul gave me such a level of respect that was probably undue based on my level of experience and based on how young I was, but really, thankfully, and I was blessed that he kind of, especially after a certain time, after a while of me doing it and getting a decent response... I mean, there was no censorship, there was no limit, there was no envelope, it was extreme. So the more over the edge it was, the better. Even leading up to the JFK, Jr., promo, that ran in some markets and didn't run in others, and was beloved by some and I think we got a Jeers for it from TVguideonline.com."

On the neckbrace and his overall look: "It was something that just happened and we ran with it, made it work. I started wearing just a regular shirt, tie, suit, like a ring announcer would. And I was a heel at some point and was putting on enough weight that it would be funny. We were doing a show in Reading, PA. It was in a warehouse kind of building, like a barn, and it felt like it was 125 degrees in there. And I think that was when I started not wearing a shirt. It was hot, so why not give it a try? And then after Total Elimination (at Barely Legal) I started wearing the neckbrace. And then I would start to get different colored stockings to put around it, different patterns, and wear different colored bowties. Eventually one night I got...