The Wrestle News Hub Magazine

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Independent wrestling star Josh Briggs aspires for greatness while blazing a trail for himself






Josh Briggs doesn't like you. If you don't believe it, you can ask him yourself. The New England native has been making a name for himself since beginning active competition over a year and a half ago. With a persona that originated in a bad moment in time, Briggs developed a character that fans have come to enjoy watching each time he competes. One of the most notable in ring qualities that Briggs possess is his versatility and ability to move around with the greatest of ease. He enlightened me when he said that it was important to know your audience, and he certainly does just that. As arguably one of the fastest rising talents in the northeast, Briggs has continued to hone his craft since starting with the New England Pro Wrestling Academy.

Possessing an array of technical moves and the ability to perform high flying maneuvers, Briggs aspires to personal greatness. Standing 6'7 and weighing 270 lbs, those aspirations aren't limited to competing in the United States either. He demonstrates a passion for what he does and does it the right way. It is only a matter of time before the rest of the world finds out what the North Eastern United States has known for nearly st two years: Josh Briggs is coming, and when you see him you certainly won't forget the impact he will make.

Fans can communicate with him on various social media, such as Twitter and Instagram, where he can be reached @thejoshbriggs


Where did your early exposure to wrestling come about, and was there a moment where you felt you were going to make this a commitment?

From where I am from, where I am based out of and where I started making my name, the Northeast in the United States of America. Early on I was with Chaotic Wrestling, and then I started to branch out to Limitless Wrestling, and now I am wrestling in CZW, places like that. That is where I am trying to make my name right now. As for when I really realized this was what I wanted to do, and where I wanted to make my money, I think it was really early on before I even had a match. I knew this was something I wanted to do. I was a Division 1 football player, and I was fairly good at it, but I chose not to pursue any dreams of the NFL because I was completely miserable, and it wasn't like I was great by any means, so I wasn't going to get drafted. So, I forsook the entire NFL process and I jumped into professional wrestling. Early on, maybe two or three months in, I realized I had a knack for it. I played football for 11 years and I was completely miserable. So, going from something that made you completely miserable and depressed to something you enjoy automatically was refreshing, and it was how I knew it was something I wanted to do.

I stuck with football for as long as I did because of the free education, at one of the best schools in America. I realized as I got older and more mature that the only reason I played football was to get things that I wanted, like money or free education. Once I got into wrestling, I realized I didn't care about money, I cared about being happy, and wrestling made me happy. That is how my thought process is right now.

Traveling the independents has its share of highs and lows. Share with us if you could what you have found to be some of the biggest challenges and some of the biggest rewards of competing all over North America.



I have only been a professional wrestler for just over a year and a half, and luckily I have been able to get a good amount of matches under my belt. I have had over 200 matches since January (of 2017).

Once you get up there in matches in a row, five or six, for example, it's really hard on your body. It's a real challenge when I am driving 4 to 7 hours back-to-back, just go back home to sleep, and do it all over again. That's where you really realize wrestling isn't what you really think it is. You really have to love what you do and enjoy what you do, to get out of bed when you are sore and you can't move. So that's one of the biggest challenges. Early on, trying to find who you are is one of the biggest challenges. Your brain is so scattered from everything you did in the match that you don't really know who you are portraying once you are in the match, and that was something I had a tough time with. I am finally getting over that, and now I am more comfortable with knowing who I am, to an extent.
One of the biggest rewards was wrestling Donovan Dijak. He was a guy that trained at the same school as me and was pretty much a mentor to me outside my training with Brian Fury. Without him, I wouldn't be as good as I am. So, I owe him. To throw ideas at the wall and see them stick and see him light up with excitement about what I was asking him to do or what I am doing for him, that's probably the biggest reward I've had so far. I was getting a really good match against him most of the time.

Championships are cool and everything, but you are making a name for yourself. Once you have those championships, it means you are starting to rise in the ranks and everything. All that will come with time. I think the memories will last a lifetime. With this last Limitless show, Question the Answers, Teddy Hart had a match against one of my good friends Maxwell Jacob Freedman, and afterward, he called someone out and I was lucky enough to be chosen to go out there and meet him in the ring. So it laid the breadcrumbs for a future match against me and him. That is a big honor to me. Things like that are rewards to me. It isn't the money or the titles or winning matches or things like that.

If you can highlight one match where you felt that it all came together either/or in singles or tag team action, when would that be, who was involved and share what was going through your head at the time?

I touched upon it a little bit, but probably my crowning match where I realized I had something going here was against Donovan Dijak at Limitless. That was my first match against him, someone I looked up to and aspired to be like, and to be able to have him explain the way he was putting together the match made me a completely different and better wrestler for it. But, I was able to throw ideas out there and he enjoyed them, and it boosted my confidence to know that one of the best wrestlers in the world appreciated my ideas, understood them, and believed in how good they were. When he was placing all the ideas into spots, I started to realize, yeah, that's where I would have put it too, and that was another boost of confidence as well. Mentally we were from the same learning tree from Brian Fury all the way down to Killer Kowalski and Steve Bradley, and to be able to fall back on that and know that, okay, I have a similar mindset to Donovan Dijak, it's a very comforting thing. That boosted my confidence a lot. In the match itself, right from the get-go, I didn't want to mess anything up. Luckily enough, I haven't messed anything up so far in my career. That was my biggest match and an important point in my career. So, I didn't want to screw the pooch, especially with someone who was my friend that I see all the time, and someone I wanted to know that I was a good wrestler. Midway through the match, I realized that he knew I could bring it, and I knew that he knew what I am all about. That was more of a boost of confidence. That was one of the biggest things in wrestling, to boost your confidence and to know that you are good.

To me, tag matches are difficult because you have more bodies to work out. I like to take control of everything and be the general in there, call the match and put everything together in there and make sure everyone's positioning is on point so that everyone out there can have everything come out perfectly. Sometimes it's tough because when it's singles wrestlers or even a triple threat, you can for the most part figure out where everyone is going to be based on your own positioning. But, when you aren't in the right place, or when three of the four are in the ring and you are not, it is a little difficult. But, I tag with Mike Ross of the Minderaser. He is an awesome guy and one of my great friends, and we are the New Gore Order down in XWA in Rhode Island. We just gelled instantly because we have the same mindset, and we can put the match together perfectly because we know each other so well. I can rely on him when I am not in the ring, to take control and to move people where they need to be. If I lose where I am at in the match, I can ask him, and vice versa, and we can get back on track. It's really comfortable having someone with the same mindset on your team so you don't have to think about everything. You can give him some of the worries and you can take some of the worries off of him as well.

How would you say your character or personality developed from its inception to today, and where do you see it going?


Not a lot of people know, maybe 20 or 30 in professional wrestling know this, and I don't discuss it a lot because it's a little embarrassing to me, but everyone has growing pains with their first character. Back in college, I had a nickname of Mike Honcho, from the movie ‘Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.' It's a little inside joke I have with me and my friends, but I liked that name a lot. Getting into wrestling, I knew I wanted to wrestle, I just didn't who I wanted to be yet. I pitched that name to my friends and they said that sounds like a relaxed surfer. So, I decided, help me put together this character of Mike Honcho and let's see what happens. So, Mike Honcho became a surfer and just went out there and had this whole ‘hang ten' attitude and stuff. It was fun. I didn't know any better because it was my first character and I just wanted to wrestle.

After a few months I knew that's not who I am and that's not who I wanted to be, so it started getting uncomfortable and almost embarrassing. I came up with the name Josh Briggs after months of deliberating what my name should be. I changed the last three letters of my last name from Bruns to Briggs, and I stumbled upon who that was. It took a long time. That's one of the hardest things in wrestling that people don't understand, who you really are, and if your character is completely different from your actual being it is easy to get into because you are just acting at that point. But, being 23 at the time, I didn't know who I was as a human being. I realized one day, I had a horrible day and I was grumpy, I was in my car and I hated everyone, and I hated everything, and I didn't want to deal with anything. I realized that may be a good character trait for Josh Briggs, so that became who I am, someone who doesn't like people. It's basically me on a really bad day. It is still ever evolving, just like everything in wrestling. Right now, I know who I am that I don't like being around people. If you are in the ring with me I instantly don't like you, and I am going to do whatever I can to hurt you. In a nutshell, that's just Josh Briggs, someone who doesn't like people.

Limitless Wrestling and Chaotic Wrestling appear to be promotions that are near and dear to your heart. What is it about these promotions that has meant so much to you?

I'd like to throw Beyond (wrestling) in that hat as well. When I first started, those were the three that I wanted to work for, they were promotions that had the buzz at the time, they were promotions that you could make money with. They were promotions that you could wrestle better people at, sometimes; not always the case, but sometimes. I always wanted to get to those three. Chaotic was my first because of where I trained, at the New England Pro Wrestling Academy, it was the feeder for Chaotic Wrestling, the one that I first broke in with. Chaotic will always be special to me because they gave me my first big platform to actually have good matches with great production value, great professionalism in the locker room, great booking, great ownership. That was the first time I realized that indy wrestling is more than just going out there and doing moves. It's an actual business and an actual job. Chaotic is special in that sense.

Limitless, that was the first big super indy show that I was able to get on. All of my friends got on it and I really wanted to wrestle with my friends and go on road trips with my friends and get out of the New England, Rhode Island, Connecticut area. To get there was one of the crowning moments of my career. Randy Carver Jr, the guy who runs the place, the owner, gave me one of the most special things on the planet. They just had their two-year anniversary show with Question the Answers, and it sold out with about four hundred people, they need to get a new building because of how quickly the place sells out. The match quality is next to none. That Question the Answers show was the best show I'd ever been at or have been on. Every match had a place on the card, every match did its job, every match was perfect for the most part. That's something special that Randy does, and being so young, to put together that card and bring those people in and draw those people in, in Maine of all places, that's outstanding.

Beyond, everyone knows Beyond. Everyone wants to get into Beyond, and Beyond is THE platform for Indy wrestling on the East Coast. Everyone that is anyone wants to be in Beyond, that's how you make that name for yourself. Me being such a big fan of Donovan Dijak, and such a good friend with him, I saw how he made his name, and wanting to follow in his footsteps I chose Beyond as my ultimate destination early on. Drew Cordero, the owner, he runs the most amazing show. If you haven't seen a Beyond show on demand or on YouTube, it is something special that you can't replicate. He has been nothing but good to me and gives me the matches that he thinks I deserve even if I don't think I deserve it, and an outstanding platform to build my brand of Josh Briggs.

So those three are very near and dear to my heart. There are few more, like Northeast Wrestling where I just started, they treated me so well, and XWA as well in Rhode Island, and the Monster Factory. Places like that have given me opportunities on great platforms, those are the places are special to me and I can’t thank them enough because without them I would be Joe Schmo, wrestling in front of twenty people not doing this for a living. Maine for a while didn’t have the wrestling buzz that it does now, and that is all due to Randy Carver and Limitless Wrestling. The way he runs that place, it’s unbelievable. What he does for me and wrestling and all the boys in the back is such a good platform, such good production, and there is such great talent opposing them in the ring. Everything about that place is second to none.

A few months back notable trainer and former wrestler Rip Rogers were very critical of the state of independent wrestling today. What are your thoughts on how programs are worked in an independent wrestling match as opposed to something that is televised?

Independent wrestling is a different monster than WWE. There are different fans, and you have to know your fanbase and know how to get over in the fans' eyes. It doesn't matter if you do no moves or you do a million moves in my opinion, as long as the crowd enjoys it. I think you need to do the least amount to get over, but get over nonetheless. Some places, in particular, you need to do a little bit more and you have to put your body on the line. People who have grown up and have been cultivated by that major, WWE style, they don't get to experience independent wrestling, when you don't do what the crowd expects of you. If you don't get that reaction from the independent crowd, it really is, not heartbreaking, but it's disconcerting. You really go home pretty bummed out, and sometimes that is going to happen.

With the WWE style, those guys are making six figures, and I completely understand they can't put their body on the line the way independent wrestlers do. We're working to get there, and in our eyes, we have to do those moves. They're in that safe zone where they don't have to put their body on the line, and they shouldn't have to body on the line because they are such big items for WWE and those big companies. They can't risk their life. You have to know your crowd, and if there's a crowd with thirty people in it and you aren't making that much money, you don't really need to put your body on the line. If there is a crowd of 300-400 people standing on their feet, expecting you to do a dive over the top rope, giving them anything less is a disservice to the fans if that makes any sense.

In my opinion, I can do really athletic things that my body shouldn't allow me to do, and a lot of the things I can do people haven't seen on shows from me because I chose to save them for those big moments. I think if you do something huge so many times, so dangerously, it waters down that product that you are giving to the crowd. If I go to the top rope and do a 450 every match everyone is going to expect it, but if I pull it out in those one or two big matches everyone is going to want to see that. I don't feel like a guy who is 6'7”, 270 lbs., needs to make his money being on the top rope, but I think for the right crowd you can give them one or two special or unique things to show that you are one of the superior athletes of your size.

Often talent has aspirations to improve. What are your aspirations moving forward, and who can you see involved in helping achieve those aspirations?



I think one of the easiest ways and to get better and get farther and build a name is to have matches against some of the best in the world, and open those peoples' eyes to how good you are. You can listen to people tell you how good someone is, but you don't really understand how good they are until you get into the ring with them. Being really young in the business, that's the opportunity that I need, to get into the ring with some of the best in the world and show them I am the real deal, show them I can hang with them and they can see everything that I can do.

As for my aspirations, I want to become the best big man on the planet. I want to become one of the top independent wrestlers on the planet. I want to get out of the country and start becoming an independent household name. Right now, I have only been wrestling for a year and a half. I've made a pretty good name for myself in the Northeast and I'm starting to branch out a little bit, but I need to start taking over the country, and other countries as well if that makes any sense. That is going to happen by getting opportunities, capitalizing on those opportunities, and showing everyone what I actually am as a wrestler.

Self-promotion is crucial for success. What would you say it takes for any talent to elevate their stock? What helps increase a following for anyone looking to be seen?

You touched upon some of the main things, like going out and getting into a car, meeting other people. Once they see you they can keep you in their mind, and if you have a unique look, which luckily I do, they will remember you. We have this big son of a guy from New England, let's bring him in and give him a shot. I think what goes a long way is not being a piece of garbage. I think if you are a genuine human being who lets the passion for the business ooze out of you once you meet them, I think you can tell once you meet a few people and look them in the eye how passionate they are, and know instantly that this guy wants what I want. That helps a lot.

I went to college for communications and business and marketing, so I have a good background in marketing. If you can market yourself properly and not make a fool of yourself on the internet (which is hard sometimes), and put over the show and your opponents and everything, it goes a long way. JT Dunn, one of my best friends in the business, and MJF, both do that in a way that I think anyone that doesn't do it should be jealous of. When they are on the show, they don't just highlight themselves, they highlight the event. Go watch everything, and just get the gratification from the gifs by Mr. Lariato on social media that I think is something no one really does, and it's something that I am trying to do myself. It's a hidden talent that gets you a lot of respect from promoters, and from me as well. Things like that. Marketing yourself, and of course giving your fans more than what they paid for. Putting your body on the line and letting them know that you did it for them. That's another one of the big things.

Anyone that follows you on social media can see you have a fairly longstanding friendship with “All Good” Anthony Greene. To what do you attribute that friendship and relationship with one another.

“All Good” Anthony Green is my best friend. He is the first genuine person I ever met in pro wrestling, we train at the same school, the New England Pro Wrestling Academy in Massachusetts, and we have the same mindset on a lot of the same things. I know that if I need something I can just talk to him about it. Something that is very scary in professional wrestling is you don't know a lot of these people. It's frightening to have to trust someone. Professional wrestling gives you a weird trust issue, but Anthony Greene is a great guy. I hang out with him outside professional wrestling all the time. I think he's one of the best wrestlers in New England. To me, the most entertaining guy. He's a good guy. He's fun to watch and fun to be around. He gives the crowd what they want, and he knows what to do. He's been doing it for a long time. He's pretty much a grizzled young veteran, and I can't speak highly enough about him. He's on my list of guys to wrestle, and it's weird not have ever had a match against him in singles competition, but we've had probably had about 50 matches opposing each other in tag matches. I hope to tick him off of my list pretty soon, within the next few months. If you don't know who Anthony Greene is, look him up @allgoodag on Twitter and Instagram. He's a good follow and a great wrestler.

Do you have anything to share, promote or make fans aware of as it pertains to wrestling? How can fans connect with you if they so wanted to?



If you want to, follow me on Instagram and Twitter @TheJoshBriggs and you can friend request me on Facebook and see all my updates through that. If you want to buy a shirt you can do that. You can tell me how much I suck or how awesome I am, and ask me if I don't like you, which I don't. That's Facebook, just search Josh Briggs, I'm the ugly guy with the really good picture from Harry Aaron. That's pretty much it. As for me being on a show, come see me, I'm not a horrible wrestler and I think you might like me.
 

Sunday, 17 September 2017

'The Green Machine' discusses character evolution, initial WWE Performance centre visit and giving prestiage to a championship




‘The Green Machine' Mike Orlando continues to showcase his talent in the ring after a successful NCAA college football career. With a persona that originated in his football roots, Orlando has evolved into a premier performer both in the ring and on the mic. One of the most notable skills that Orlando has continued to demonstrate is his adaptability. And whether it is competing in front of a raucous crowd or a more intimate audience, he strives to give those he is performing for exactly what they want.

With an array of technical moves and the ability to showcase high-flying maneuvers, Orlando aspires to personal greatness before anything else. Standing 6'5 and weighing 275 lbs, Orlando has been encouraged to remain a solid technical wrestler, but that doesn't mean he won't resort to pushing his body and skill set in a new direction. Orlando demonstrates a willingness to never rest on his laurels and a desire to make himself the best. As a current trainee of the Monster Factory, Orlando is surrounded by such notable names as head coach and trainer Danny Cage. Orlando's dedication to his craft says a lot about him, but major promotions may want to have him as part of their roster.

Fans can communicate with him on various social media, such as Twitter and Instagram, where he can be reached @thebigorlando

Tell us a little about the evolution of Mike Orlando. Where did the character originate from? And how it has evolved?

When I first started I was a bodyguard in Old Time Wrestling, and that was where I was called the Smasher Mike Orlando, which was handed to me. It was pretty funny. It was for about a year and a half, and that was where I learned the ropes and whatnot. Then, I evolved into the Elite Athlete, which was more me, and brought in my college persona, college football background. I was a football player, so I took everything from the football field and made it a wrestling type thing. Over time I just kind of outgrew football in real life. I don't like football actually, I never enjoyed it all, and I wanted to kind of drift away from that. I was more of a workhorse, and I kind of incorporated with that the fact that I played football. So, I still incorporate that with the whole green machine gimmick, which is a true reflection of myself as a person, and as a character as well. It's been a long ride, and it's been a learning experience, to say the least.

What have you had to learn the most?

To just get out there and learn the ropes from everybody, rather than just stay in one place. If I stay over here, then I'll dominate, and someone will care. That is good for a little while, but it's good to just branch out. I wish I had learned that earlier, but at the same time, I am glad I didn't. I would have been able to compete at a high-level with other people rather than just mess up, but it isn't that I would change it I just wish I was more informed if that makes sense. Instead of worrying about all the stupid crap in the beginning, just think about the big picture. When you start wrestling you are thinking, what is my entrance going be to be like? None of that matters. It is what works, what doesn't work, what do these people want to see? Then, when you get an idea of what everyone wants and then you can put it together and make one big character that everybody wants. It's a learning process, but it's not that I would have changed it, but more that I wish I had paid more attention to the grind in the beginning so it didn't slow me down.