TNA’s British Boot Camp 2 reaches its climax this Sunday on
Challenge TV at 9pm. In advance of the final, we spoke with the hopefuls about
their past, present and future. High Flyer Mark
Andrews has impressed throughout the competition and won us over
again with his wit, charm and honesty.
Wrestling has always been my first love. I started doing it
a week before I turned 13, so just under ten years ago, before the rest of the
things you mention. From wrestling, I went on to start up my promotion and the
clothing brand came from selling wrestling merchandise. I learned video editing
so that I could edit my matches together and found a passion for that – and
followed it to University. The only thing that was separate to the wrestling
was my music. I started playing guitar at a similar age (12 years old) and I
remember thinking to myself when I was younger, which am I going to do-
wrestling or music? I chose wrestling but kept music close to me over the
years. I learned skills from wrestling that I could apply to different parts of
my life, it has always been my main focus and the other things have just
followed behind it.
You’ve had the nicknames White Lightning,
Lightning Kid and Mighty Morphin! How did they come about?
When I debuted at about 14 years old I looked really young
and most people don’t want to see young kids in the ring, so I wore a mask. My
masked gimmick was “the lightning kid” but as I got older it was
getting dangerous because I couldn’t see very well and I felt more comfortable
without the mask, so I transitioned into White Lightning. In-between that I used
Mighty Morphin but only once or twice as a reference to Power rangers which I
enjoyed as a kid but only a few times!
You spent 2011 working in the US and across
Europe – did that help expose you to the US style of wrestling?
Definitely. I used to
watch a lot of American independent wrestling, I’m a big fan of it. I went over
to the US and managed to train with and do a show for Chikara and it opened my eyes. Not just
in the ring but with the business thinking – to see how different scenes work.
Thankfully the British scene holds up around the world and last year I went
back to the US for 10 weeks with my mate Pete Dunne. We made a lot of contacts,
a lot of friends and a lot of people got behind us so when we came back to
Britain a lot of promoters started to contact us. It certainly elevated our
careers and our own promotion. It helped to increase awareness through social
networks – which is so important in wrestling these days – and it helped our
clothing brand as well.
You’re facing DJ Z in the Boot Camp final – do you
feel pigeonholed as a potential X-Division star?
I definitely want to be in the X-Division. I don’t mind
necessarily being pigeon holed or labelled as an X-Division wrestler because
even compared to most of those wrestlers I’m quite small – I’m a very petite
wrestler to say the least. I think it’s definitely the division I’m best suited
to out of anything else. It’s the style that I’ve been watching over the years
and I’d be privileged to be a part of it – so it’s certainly what I’m aiming
for at the moment.
Who do you most admire on the current TNA
Well DJ Z is somebody I look up to a lot. He has a similar
style of wrestling to mine and I used to watch him on the independent scene
before he joined TNA. I feel like over the years his career has been elevated
and its admirable how he’s changed his look, his character and the way he
wrestles to adapt to the situation he’s in.
Kris Travis sadly had to pull out of
the Boot-Camp 2 Final. If you could bring back one wrestler from the whole
process, who would it be?
Well Kris Travis would be up there as my main choice
obviously but other than him, maybe Sha Samuels. I often feel like he gets
overshadowed in wrestling and I’m not sure why. I think regardless of whether
people love him or hate him, he’s a top wrestler. He’s definitely got something
about him – his charisma and his overall appeal. He’s due his time on the big
Who is the best person on the British scene
not to have made an appearance on Boot Camp?
There are three names that I consider to be some of the most
underrated in the UK. The first – and maybe I’m biased but I hope not – is Pete
Dunne, my best pal who I think is criminally underrated together with his tag
partner Damian Dunne. Also Andy Wild from Scotland and Zack
Gibson from Liverpool. They’re all criminally underrated and have so
much to offer to the wrestling scene.
What is the best ‘rib’ [practical joke] you
have played on others?
Well, there’s a lot of banter amongst the Attack
pro-wrestling guys – my core group of friends in wrestling. There was one time
when we staged an argument between two of the wrestlers that were meant to be
working with each other. We persuaded the promoter -originally my friend Jim,
who ran it -that they really hated each other and weren’t going to wrestle on
the show. We stressed him out no end! It might not translate but it was
You shared with the other five Boot Camp
finalists – who was the worst roommate?
I’ll be honest, I got on well with everyone and was just
enjoying my time over in the US. I don’t know who my least favourite was but my
most favourite was probably Grado because although he could be slightly
slobbish sometimes he was also great fun. He was always up for a good time and
put a smile on everyone’s face, so definitely Grado.
What does British Boot Camp 2 tell us about
the state of British wrestling?
It shows that not only are we up there with the best but in
some cases, the British scene is better. I think all we need as a country is
more and bigger platforms like British Boot Camp. We’re pro-wrestling’s best
kept secret – it’s mad. From travelling around the world I’ve realised how much
talent we have in such a small space. We’re a tiny little island and we’ve got
so many good promotions. Only this past weekend, we had 3 shows sold out by
Preston City Wrestling with 800 in the
crowd followed by a 700 person sell-out show from Progress Wrestling in London. The fact that in three days you can have four
shows at that capacity and with so much success – it’s just incredible and I
don’t think you’ll find that in independent shows anywhere else in the world.
So I think Britain is just a goldmine at the moment and that we should just
keep pressing as hard as we can to get a bigger platform.