Hernán Lombardero Interview

Writing and recording songs has given me the opportunity to meet interesting people from all over the world. One of these individuals is Hernán Lombardero from El Palomar, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Let’s learn a little bit about his life, interests, and enthusiasm about professional wrestling.

Hernán’s wrestling theme tracking site: Indy Wrestling Entrance Music List
Hernán’s Reddit: https://www.reddit.com/user/Hernan_Lombardero/

Particle Don: It’s an honor to have a fan from Buenos Aires. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your life in Argentina. What is your age? What do you do to earn money? What is your family and home like?

Hernán: Well, I was born on December 3rd, 1996 in Ramos Mejía, but always lived in El Palomar, Partido de Morón.

Unfortunately, I don’t earn money because I’ve been trying to start a podcasting career since I finished high school in 2015. The fact that I cannot pronounce words combined with “r” is a big deal, as they sound like I am saying it with the letter “l”. For example, when I say “crayon”, it sounds like “clayon”.

Apart from that, my home is not very big at all. I live with my mother and sister.

Particle Don: How long have you been interested in pro wrestling? How did you discover the sport?

Hernán: I’ve been interested in wrestling since 2009. I recall going to an ex-friend’s house, where I discovered the video game WWE released in 2007, SmackDown! vs. RAW 2008. I bloody liked it. I bought SvR 2009 once the game came out, and a year later the 2010 edition.

Smackdown! vs. RAW 2008
Smackdown! vs. RAW 2008 was released in late 2007 for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii; photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Unfortunately, SvR 2010 was the last WWE game I’ve played since I don’t have any next generation consoles due to their cost. Maybe one day I’ll buy one of these consoles, but as of today, I have zero interest.

Particle Don: Who are a few of your favorite wrestlers, and why?

Hernán: I’m mostly into the promo guys. You know, Larry Sweeney, UltraMantis Black, Zack Gibson, and Prince Nana just to name a few. These people can get your attention with just a few words. They are experts at being cheered or berated by the crowd. They have wonderful presence!

UltraMantis Black
UltraMantis Black photo by Marshall658

Speaking of presence, I’m also a huge fan of CM Punk and Prince Mustafa Ali, who is the man.

Other people I enjoy include Travis Banks and CHIKARA’s Icarus.

As far as deathmatch wrestling, one guy I enjoy is Matt Tremont. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be into deathmatches.

Matt Tremont
Matt Tremont as GCW champion

Particle Don: What are a few of your favorite entrance themes? What makes them unique and special?

Hernán: My favorite themes include Edge’s “Metalingus” by Alter Bridge and Mr. Águila’s theme, which was also the opening song for the In Your House: Mind Games PPV. CM Punk also had a good theme in “This Fire Burns” by Killswitch Engage.

I’ll go into more detail. Some people choose good music. Necro Butcher always had the best themes. So did CM Punk.

UltraMantis Black has interesting selections raging from normal rock to death metal.

Another guy that has good music is Illinois’ Craig Mitchell. The man has used a range of hardcore punk and metalcore.

I’m into rock a lot and also enjoy hip-hop. That’s why I love doing theme counts for wrestling promotions, as I discover lots of new music.

Particle Don: What fuels your passion for wrestling theme music? What is it that you love about these songs?

Hernán: To be bloody honest, at first, I wasn’t a guy into music at all. I recall listening to Edge’s theme from the SvR 2008 game and loving it. It was perfect and never gets old. When I got Internet access at my home for the first time in 2009, I searched for themes and bookmarked them in Internet Explorer.

I have always been curious to know who sang each wrestling theme. So, I searched for them on the Internet. Unfortunately, there was not always information about the artists and song titles. Later on I will explain my solution to that part in detail.

What I love about theme songs is that they match each wrestler’s character. They provide identities. I mean, you don’t give Batman a white costume when his whole persona is inspired by dark-colored bats.

Particle Don: Do you still work for Cagematch.net? How did you become affiliated with this excellent website? What did/do you do for them?

Hernán: I do still work for them. At first, I was contributing information while watching indy shows. Sometimes picky things and small details, other times match results.

Cagematch.net is a comprehensive wrestling information database, with biographies, results, and theme music info

One day I sent them a tracker. This allows you to suggest something for the website, but unlike an ordinary email, they cannot answer you. If there’s a case where there’s something I am unsure of, I send them a standard email.

My tracker asked for Rachael Ellering’s song, “Cut the Chord” by Shinedown, to be added to their database. In the message, I mentioned that I had a site which compiles wrestling music. This was when the Cagematch guys’ light bulb turned on.

A few days later, I got a message from ARIZA offering me a spot on the team. He asked me for the URL to my site. I was amazed that something like that was happening and obviously, I sent him the link.

He loved the site and asked me what promotions I would like to be responsible for on Cagematch. I told him I could cover the Pennsylvania and New Jersey territories, since I believe this area has the best wrestling in the United States.

So at the end of the day, I took over most of ARIZA’s area, which covers Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia. I also take care of other areas at times.

One thing I’ve learned about Cagematch is that you can’t go on a rampage and do whatever you think is right. You have to know you’re not the only crazy cat in charge of the site.

Particle Don: What is your username on r/SquaredCircle? What kind of stuff do you post to the site?

Hernán: It’s u/Hernan_Lombardero.

I post comments from time to time, mostly on r/SquaredCircle. Other times, I post on a subreddit called TipOfMyTongue. This page allows users to help each other remember movie names, song titles, and books.

I’ve learned that that wXw has become associated with the Warner/Chappell music publishing company. This means they have official rights to use copyrighted entrance themes, which is rare in independent wrestling.

Particle Don: Tell us about your Indy Wrestling Entrance Music website. Why did you decide to create this page? How long have you been working on it?

Hernán: Well, everything started when I decided to create an entrance music database for Pennsylvania’s CHIKARA. I asked my friend Kid Ego to help me with some questions, as sometimes old school ROH and CHIKARA themes overlap.

CHIKARA was founded in 2002 by Mike Quackenbush and Reckless Youth

Kid Ego helped me compile the list since he has been always interested in making a CHIKARA theme count. He subscribed to CHIKARATopia (CHIKARA’s On Demand service) and watched every show.

In a matter of months, we had compiled the entire list. Currently, it’s a little out of date as I’m waiting for IndependentWrestling.tv to upload the rest of the shows from 2018 and 2019.

Kid Ego created a Google Drive with folders for each event. Each folder had a .txt file containing a list of known themes from the event and recordings of unknown songs for identification.

Before that, a guy from Xylot Themes, BretC, asked me to create a theme results database so you could check what has been used through the years. However, most people said it was impossible and the idea was forgotten.

Xylot Themes
Xylot Themes is a wrestling music database that contains a great deal of info about Particle Don releases

It was in April 2016 when I decided to try various free website creators to see if I could make a true theme database. I ended up using Google Sites. With a little inspiration from Kid Ego, I tried making an entrance list for Combat Zone Wrestling. It took me seven months to finish the whole company. In the process, I also compiled lists for IWA Mid-South and Game Changer Wrestling, just to name a few.

Eventually my database was integrated with the Xylot Themes website. With Xylot I was a moderator from March 2015 to September 1st, 2018, the day after All In.

I’m currently enrolled in a web design class so I can attempt to create a site combining the databases of Cagematch and Xylot. It’s also worth mentioning that I work for WrestlingMedia, which is basically a site that tracks wrestling-related discographies. Big thanks to Craig for allowing me the opportunity to work for that site.

Particle Don: Do you watch WWE?

Hernán: Nowadays, I rarely watch WWE. I’m not interested in their stale, predictable product. I typically just watch Royal Rumbles and WrestleManias.

I’m more into the independents than anything else. I like to discover new talent and witness maneuvers that you don’t normally see in other companies.

Particle Don: What are a few of your favorite wrestling promotions, and why?

Hernán: CHIKARA is one of them. It has everything I want, from comedy to interesting story lines. They make their stories and outcomes matter. This company helped develop talent such as Icarus, Hallowicked, Eddie Kingston, Larry Sweeney, and many others.

Eddie Kingston
Eddie Kingston currently works for Billy Corgan’s NWA; click play on the video below to view his debut match

Despite its controversies, IWA Mid-South is another league I follow extensively. It was the proving ground for people like CM Punk, Chris Hero, Colt Cabana, Jonathan Gresham, Matt Sydal, and an endless list of other talented wrestlers. To me, in order to prove your legitimacy, you need to wrestle for IWA Mid-South at least once.

Their peak years were obviously from 2001 to 2006, but I think they are back on the upswing. Currently, they feature top indy wrestlers such as Mance Warner, Calvin Tankman, Adam Slade, Aaron Williams, Shane Mercer, and Project M.O.N.I.X.

Anopther promotion I enjoy is 3-2-1 BATTLE! from Seattle, Washington. Aside from the strange name, they feature a bunch of good talent that always gives their best. Some of their top wrestlers include Daniel Makabe, Mr. Fitness, The Legion of Gloom, The Hall Sisters, Rook Kelly, and Pitfall Jones.

Particle Don: Are there any wrestling promotions in Argentina? Have you ever seen any live wrestling shows?

Hernán: Sadly, I don’t follow wrestling in my country. Ever since I saw a local dude wrestling in a Spider-Man costume, I said “no thanks”.

Particle Don: What are a few of the best wrestling matches you have ever seen? What makes them special?

Hernán: My personal favorite is Travis Banks vs. Zack Sabre Jr. from the now-defunct promotion Defiant Wrestling, formerly known as WhatCulture Pro Wrestling. When I saw Banks flipping and throwing Zach with expert agility, I knew the match would be a classic. I was hoping Travis Banks would win and it happened.

Zack Sabre, Jr.
Zach Sabre, Jr. photo from Pro Wrestling Wiki

The Togi Makabe and Timothy Thatcher trilogy in 3-2-1 BATTLE! is also one of my favorites. Those contests feature a ton of technical wrestling. It’s basically the obligatory trilogy that you have to watch at least once if you’re into technical wrestling or want to learn about Togi Makabe.

Of course, I have to mention the Ricky Steamboat vs. Randy Savage match from WrestleMania 3. It was perfect!

Particle Don: Have you ever met any wrestlers in person? How did the interactions unfold?

Hernán: I haven’t met any of them in person. However, I get in touch with some of them online. Sometimes they reply, other times they don’t.

I often ask wrestlers for match results or info about their themes so I can add them to Cagematch. I mean, I’m sure most people would be happy to publish results from an event they were involved with.

A wrestler from Philadelphia, Shawn Phoenix, normally sends me his match results. The New York Championship Wrestling promotion also sends me results, as well as the Philadelphia outfit known as Pro Wrestling Rampage. I also used to get results from a wrestler named Billy Avery.

Particle Don: Is wrestling on TV in Argentina? If so, what promotions are broadcast?

Hernán: WWE is on TV, but I don’t follow mainstream wrestling. I know that many moons ago there was a televised Argentinean promotion called Titanes en el Ring owned by Martín Karadagián.

Titanes en el ring
Titanes en el ring logo

In the previous decade there was also a regional promotion called 100% Lucha, which lasted four years. I didn’t know it existed until it closed.

Particle Don: Is it difficult to watch American wrestling over there in Argentina? Does the internet make it easy for you to keep up with your favorite promotions?

Hernán: The Internet makes miracles! I know that WWE is on cable, but as I said, I don’t care for them. With the help of the Internet, I keep up with several American promotions that I’m interested in.

Particle Don: Have you seen any shows from the new American promotion AEW? If so, what do you like or dislike about this company?

All Elite Wrestling
All Elite Wrestling logo from Wikipedia

Hernán: I’ve watched most of their shows, including All In. However, I missed the second episode of Dynamite due to going to the cinema with my mother and sister.

I mainly watch AEW out of curiosity. It’s good to see people get exposure in a major promotion other than WWE.

Particle Don: How many hours do you spend each week watching wrestling?

Hernán: Currently, three hours (AEW Dark and Dynamite), and four or more if you include PPVs.

Particle Don: Do you collect wrestling action figures or merchandise? If so, what are a few of your favorites?

Hernán: I wish I could collect merchandise. I have no clue if stuff like that is sold around here, but it’s never too late to start a collection.

Particle Don: Do you play video games? If so, what are a few of your favorite consoles or game titles?

Hernán: I used to be into video games a lot as a kid, but this desire has slowed down in recent years. After they stopped releasing WWE video games for PS2, I stopped caring.

Now that WWE games are available on on PC, I could get back into them, but I choose to play other games. Since last year, I’ve started playing Grand Theft Auto games. I’m on a mission to complete every release. So far, I’ve finished San Andreas, Vice City, and GTA 3.

GTA Vice City
GTA Vice City sold 1.4 million copies in its first two days of hitting store shelves

Particle Don: Do you have a favorite wrestling video game? Why do you like it?

Hernán: To be honest, I do not. However, I did like the games created by indie developer Mat Dickie (MDickie). They aren’t the best control-wise, but they’re good if you want to kill some time.

Particle Don: Other than wrestling, what are some of your hobbies?

Hernán: Apart from wrestling, I like researching random things on the internet. When I find an intriguing topic, I like to search and search until I have enough information to satisfy my craving. Other than that, I’m more into wrestling than anything else.

Particle Don: Have you ever met any non-wrestling celebrities or athletes? How did you meet them?

Hernán: Unfortunately, I never had the opportunity to meet someone of high caliber. I wish I could have met Gustavo Cerati of Soda Stereo when he was alive.

Particle Don: What are a few of your favorite bands or musical acts? Why do you like them?

Hernán: I like Soda Stereo, Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, Metallica, Carcass, Jinjer, I See Stars, Nine Inch Nails, Ice Cube, and Eric B. & Rakim, just to name a few.

I’m the type of guy that listens to singles and hits from many bands. By preference, I mostly like 80’s and 90’s music, specifically rock. However, I’m also into current genres like deathcore and electronicore.

Particle Don: Do you play any musical instruments? If so, how long have you played them for?

Hernán: I hate to say it, but I don’t play any instruments. I’m a simple guy.

Particle Don: What types of food do you enjoy? Why?

Hernán: I enjoy eating pizza, something that my mother makes pretty well. I also like milanesa, which is the best food in my country.

Milanesa photo from Wikipedia user pier

Particle Don: Tell us about the candy and snacks over there in Argentina. What are a few of your favorites?

Hernán: I’m not the kind of guy that eats candy and snacks all the time. Over here, the most common treat is the alfajor, which is basically two pieces of circular flour with caramel between them.

Alfajor photo from Wikipedia user Silvio Tanaka

Medialunas, a type of croissant, is frequently served during breakfast or tea time.

Empanadas are a common party snack. There are many varieties of this treat, including those prepared with ham, cheese, or other types of meat.

Particle Don: What types of beverages do you enjoy? Do you drink lots of water? Do you drink sodas or any other types of beverages?

Hernán: I drink a lot of mate, haha. It’s very addictive. The bad thing about it is that it will make you go to the bathroom very often.

I don’t drink much alcohol. If I do, it’s in small doses.

Particle Don: Is there a wrestling show or promotion you have never seen live, but would like to?

Hernán: I’d like to see wrestling live and in person no matter what the promotion. Maybe one day I’ll be able to attend an event; possibly a WWE show since they have started touring here.

Particle Don: Other than wrestling, what are a few of your favorite sports, and why?

Hernán: Besides wrestling, I don’t have any other favorite sports. I remember my father trying to get me into soccer, which failed.

When I got into wrestling, my father was disappointed, as it involves men in underwear. I couldn’t care less, as it is what I like. As of now, I haven’t seen my father for many years.

Particle Don: How did you discover Particle Don?

Hernán: I remember very well. I recall adding the theme songs for Danny Havoc and Drake Younger to the CZW section on my website.

When I posted the info to my site, I figured that the wrestlers had used the songs quite a bit. I was correct. Don’s website even featured a section that listed each time the wrestlers had used his themes, which showed great dedication.

I love the fact that Havoc and Younger wrestled each other during the semi-finals at Tournament of Death XI, both using Particle Don themes.

It might sound dumb, but I think it’s important for independent artists to track down when their theme music had been used. For example, I’ve heard that Nick Diener has recorded a theme for Jordynne Grace. He also created music for Hakim Zane and The Pain Killers. I had sent him a link to Grace’s entrance from ICW New York. He had no idea the song was already in use.

Particle Don: What are a few of your favorite Particle Don songs?

Hernán: I like Drake Younger’s theme, Devon Moore’s theme, and Steve Blackman’s tribute song. I also enjoy Nate Webb’s tribute song.

Particle Don: What topic would you like to hear Particle Don write a song about?

Hernán: That’s a hard question. I’d go with the wrestler Shawn Phoenix. The man had an accident at an IWC event back in October last year. It took him over a year to recover. Luckily, he’ll return to action next month against Atticus Cogar. I’m pretty sure Shawn isn’t into the rap genre, but he would appreciate it.

Particle Don: If you could see Particle Don perform six songs live, which ones would you pick?

Hernan: I’d choose these songs:

Particle Don: Other than English, what languages do you speak?

Hernán: My mother language is Spanish. I tried to get the First Certificate in English about two years back, but failed the exam by a few points.

Particle Don: What types of movies do you like? List a few of your favorites and tell us why you like them.

Hernán: I’m not into a whole lot of movies. If I happen to enjoy a movie, it’s a plus for me. I’m not a big fan of horror movies because that’s not my thing.

Particle Don: Do you have a favorite TV show?

Hernán: I do not. I don’t regularly watch any television. I think the last TV show I watched was titled Mi Hermano es un Clon (My Brother is a Clone).

Particle Don: Do you listen to any wrestling podcasts? If so, which ones?

Hernán: I do not but I should, especially since I want to begin a podcasting career.

Particle Don: Have you ever seen a UFO? Do you believe in extraterrestrial life?

Hernán: To be bloody honest, I don’t believe in UFOs. I have a friend who follows that stuff. When he talks about it, I stare at him and say “What in the blue hell?!”.

Particle Don: Do you have any cats, dogs, or other pets?

Hernán: I used to have dogs. All of them died. We don’t currently have one as my mother says it involves a lot of responsibility.

Particle Don: What types of wild animals do you see when you walk outside? Or do you live in the city and see few wild animals?

Hernán: I live in the city. At times I come across wild dogs or wild cats, haha.

Particle Don: If you had three wishes, what would they be and why?

Hernan: Here are my three ideal wishes:

  • The first would for my wrestling theme site to be successful. I want to keep people informed about what has been used in the world of wrestling besides your typical main company entrance themes from WWE, WCW, and ECW.
  • I’d like to have a son named Leandro Martín. That’s all I’m asking.
  • My most important wish is to begin a podcasting career. I’ve already explained why it’s nearly impossible, but I will still give it a try. If I cannot make it, I’m not worthy of my name.

Particle Don: Is there anything else we should know about you? Talk about your websites, YouTube pages, or anything I may have forgotten to ask during the interview.

Hernán: I think I’ve already explained about everything. Aside from completing a web design course and recreating my site from scratch, I hope to find a job in web design. That would help me to to earn some decent money.

Particle Don: Thanks so much for taking the time to do this interview! It was very interesting learning more about you.

Hernán: The pleasure is yours, jefe. Thanks for allowing me this opportunity.

MC Snax Interview

The excellent 2015 release from MC Snax titled When Robots Talk and Ninjas Rap

Bandcamp: https://mcsnax.bandcamp.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/aninjanamedsnax

Newest Release:
Healing Sounds of the Benevolent Realm Vol. 2

Hailing from the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador, MC Snax has released several classic albums of nerdcore rap. Let’s learn a bit about what drives him to write and record music!

Particle Don: What’s up MC Snax? Thanks for sitting down to do an interview with ParticleDon.net. My brother and I are big fans of your many albums and are excited to get a chance to ask you some questions!

MC Snax: Thank you, homie! You and your brother are long-time supporters of the Ninja Funk, and I’m looking forward to the interview!

Particle Don: How were you exposed to music as a child? Around what age did you decide to start making your own songs?

MC Snax: I was mostly exposed to music at a young age through video games. And that’s exactly how I fell in love with it. I wrote a song about that, actually!

Rainbow Road off of my album Tales from Rainbow Road tells the story of how I first recognized the incredible power of music while playing Mario Kart 64.

As I grew older, I fell in love with more and more music. But it wasn’t until I was 14 or 15 that I actually tried to write anything!

Particle Don: What made you choose to create rap music over a different style? Who are some of your musical influences?

MC Snax: At 11 years old, I discovered ICP. My life was changed forever. It was them – in addition to MC Lars, who I discovered a few years later – that really showed me how music can be as unique as the person writing it.

Those guys and the music from my favorite video games are by far my biggest influences. When I finally got the courage to try and write something myself, rap was 90% of what I was listening to, so I think making that kind of music was a natural decision.

Particle Don: When you first started recording, what type of equipment did you use? (Boom box, tape deck, karaoke machine, mic hooked up to a speaker, etc.) How does that recording setup compare to the one you use now?

MC Snax: So, my very first song, that has never seen the light of day, was recorded much different than how I do it now. I used a $150 keyboard, a microphone, and a four-track recorder. Luckily, not long after making it, I discovered DAWs.

FL Studio was the first program I decided to try, and it’s what I use to this day. Different synthesizers and keyboards have come and gone in my collection and in my music, but FL Studio is always where my stuff is recorded, sequenced, arranged, mixed, and mastered!

Particle Don: Did you have any bands or participate in any collaborations before creating the first MC Snax album in 2012? Was this album your first true musical endeavor?

MC Snax: The first time I really did anything with music, casually or seriously, was as MC Snax. Since then, however, I have collaborated with my friends’ bands. For example, a few of my closest homies have a band called Joe Grizzly, and they had me scratch on their last album. You should check them out!

Particle Don: How does writing music help you erase negative emotions?

MC Snax: Similar to when listening to music, writing it also has this power to make life seem all the more cool. To me, both writing and listening to music is an over-the-top awesome experience. It makes anything not awesome in life seem so small and insignificant by comparison.

Music is therapeutic for sure, but there’s more to it than that. It’s also, like, spiritual to me. Music is proof that there’s a lot more going with this existence than we understand, and I find that both exciting and comforting in a way that I don’t think I can fully describe with words.

Particle Don: We all know that you love to snack, hence the name MC Snax. What are some more details on the origins of your rap name? What made you choose to focus on snacks as an overall theme for your music?

MC Snax: I can’t remember the exact thought process behind it. I just remember that a lot of the Nerdcore pioneers that influenced me (MC Lars, MC Frontalot, etc.) had the MC in front of their names. Plus, I thought it was a good way to pay homage to the old school hip-hop I also love.

Also, I’m a fat kid, so the Snax part just came to my mind. They say you should rap about what you know, and I definitely know snacks!

MC Snax snacking
MC Snax snacking

Particle Don: What are a few of your favorite snacks to have at home? What’s your preferred snack while on the go?

MC Snax: Some of my favorites are Oreos, Crispy M&M’s, Kit Kat, or just about anything else that has chocolate involved, haha. I also love Miss Vickie’s potato chips.

I can enjoy these treats at home and while on the go, because a professional such as myself can eat any snack in any scenario.

Particle Don: What did you think of those Zapp’s Voodoo Chips I sent you?

MC Snax: They were great! They were similar in flavor to the All-Dressed Ruffles we have here that I love so much. But a little sweeter! Very interesting taste!

Particle Don: You recently released an excellent collaboration song with ABK entitled Scrub ‘Till You Shine. How did this track come about?

MC Snax: ABK is one of my all time favorite artists. When I discovered ICP, Psychopathic Records had put out his Hatchet Warrior album a couple of months prior. I love that album so much, as well as everything he’s put out since.

MC Snax and ABK
MC Snax and ABK

I’ve dreamed about collaborating with him for a while, so I got in contact with his company Native World, Inc. to see if they were interested. He was down!

He nailed the concept, and it was a surreal experience to hear him rap over one of my beats.

Particle Don: Is Scrub ‘Till You Shine going to be a part of an album or is it a single only?

MC Snax: Yes! It is going to be on Healing Sounds of the Benevolent Realm Vol. 2, which is coming out sooner that you think!

Particle Don: You have three songs with the legendary DIY artist MC Lars. Two of them are on Lars’ Patreon and one is on your 2017 album Incredibly Human. How did you get to know Lars? Do you think you might collab with him again in the future?

MC Snax: That was another case of simply reaching out! It was pretty interesting timing, however.

Even though I’ve been following him since he put out The Graduate and I knew he liked ICP and Psychopathic Records, he had started to do more things in the Juggalo world around the time I hit him up. So this led to us just talking about that and bonding over our love for the hatchet.

They say you should never meet your heroes, because it can let you down when you find out what they’re really like. This definitely wasn’t the case getting to know Lars.

He’s genuinely one of the most humble, nicest, and talented people I know. I definitely think we’ll do more stuff in the future, and I can’t wait to do so!

Particle Don: Have you ever heard of the band Koo Koo Kanga Roo?

MC Snax: Yes! Their unapologetically upbeat music is awesome!

Particle Don: You often reference pro wrestling in your lyrics and song concepts. How long have you been a wrestling fan? Do you have any particular nostalgic wrestling memories?

MC Snax: I’ve loved wrestling since I was like 6 or 7 years old. My Brother and I initially got into WCW. 

I remember the first time we flipped on WWF Raw. Stone Cold threw The Rock’s belt over a bridge the very moment we tuned in, haha! Those are definitely great memories.

When I was a little older and had a better understand of what was going on, Eric Bischoff became GM of Raw.

I remember him shaking things up every week, and I couldn’t wait to go to school the next day and talk about it all with my friends. Such good times, brother.

Particle Don: Who is your favorite classic-era wrestler? Who do you enjoy to watch from the current generation of superstars?

MC Snax: If The Attitude era counts as classic era, then Mick Foley – hands down. He’s still a personal hero of mine.

I feel like he was always living proof that a fat kid scrub like me could school it in life. He turns hardcore wrestling into poetry, and whether he’s on the mic or in the ring he’s a 100% artist.

If by classic era you mean 70’s and 80’s, then I’d probably say Abdullah the Butcher. He’s a pioneer of the hardcore style, and he’s also Canadian!

As far as current wrestlers, I’m a big AJ Styles fan. I think he’s one of the most all-around talented dudes to get in the ring. Such a great move set, and he usually executes it perfectly.

Particle Don: Do you follow any independent wrestling promotions? 

MC Snax: I used to follow ROH and PWG a little bit, but to be honest, I don’t watch as much wrestling as I once did. Of course, when JCW stuff happens, I always keep up on that!

Particle Don: Have you heard about the new promotion AEW? If so, what are your expectations for this potentially revolutionary brand?

MC Snax: I’ve never heard of that, dude! I’ll have to check it out!

Particle Don: What’s your favorite wrestling video game and why?

MC Snax: That might be that hardest question yet, man.

So, WCW/nWo Revenge for nostalgia purposes. That was the first wrestling game I think I ever played. Me and my brother rented it from Blockbuster over and over.

But I feel like WWE Smackdown VS. Raw is also a masterpiece. PS2 was killing it with the wrestling games, just like N64 was.

The Backyard Wrestling series is super fun, too. The fact that they’ve got JCW, ECW, and backyard wrestling legends in it is so sick.

If I had to spend my life on a desert island with only one wrestling game, it would be WWF No Mercy. It has THQ’s awesome N64-era control scheme and an incredible branching storyline system. I still haven’t seen every little cut scene or scenario in the career mode of that game. It’s just so dope.

Particle Don: Back in the Attitude era, did you buy any wrestling action figures?

MC Snax: 100%! Money isn’t easy to come by, especially as a kid, haha. But whenever I got my hands on some, I would beg my mom to take me to buy a new figure. I still have them all. When I have kids, I plan on passing them on to them!

Particle Don: When was the last live wrestling show that you saw? What was the promotion and who had your favorite match?

MC Snax: The last live show I saw was 2014’s WWE Money in the Bank.

It’s so weird when it comes to live wrestling. I’ve seen several shows, but never seem to be able to remember much about them afterwords.

Maybe it’s the adrenaline or something like that. I just know that Goldust wrestled and won. He’s also one of my favorites, so that’s awesome.

Particle Don: It’s always great when Goldust wins! If you were to sit down right now, grab a bowl of popcorn, and watch some wrestling, which match would you choose?

MC Snax: Probably Daniel Bryan’s match with AJ Styles from this past TLC. I haven’t seen it yet, and I’m assuming they put of an amazing match.

When it comes to one that I’ve seen before, probably the Hell in a Cell between Cactus Jack and Triple H from No Way Out 2000. It’s been a while since I’ve seen it, and it’s a classic!

Particle Don: Yeah! I’ve seen that match several times. In 2018 you released a mostly instrumental 3-track EP titled The Healing Sounds of the Benevolent Realm Vol.1. What drove you to create this inspiring work of art, and when can we expect Vol. 2?

MC Snax: Originally, it was going to be entirely instrumental.

I wanted to write some super potent and uplifting Ninja Funk that gives people the happy feeling a lot of my favorite video game soundtracks give me. I wanted it to be pure sonic benevolence, if that makes any sense, haha.

But then I realized forcing myself to write only instrumentals felt as limiting as it does to force myself only to make rap beats. So that’s why one of them has rapping on it.

Whatever comes out, comes out. And that’s going to be the same for Vol. 2 and 3!

Particle Don: In 2017 you made a full-out concept album called The Esoteric Journey of a Cemetery Groundskeeper. Do you plan on releasing any more records that tell a story throughout their duration?

MC Snax: I definitely do. I love using music as a story-telling medium, and a lot of my favorite albums are concept albums.

I have a few ideas when it comes to stories I’d like to tell, including a sequel to Esoteric Journey. I’m not sure what one I’ll record first, but I am sure I’ll be doing more some day!

Particle Don: What do you think of the Violent J Wizard of the Hood album?

MC Snax: It’s one of my favorites. It’s another one that came out around the time I discovered Psychopathic, and that era just has such a special place in my heart.

I feel like the rappers were all on fire. Everyone was all over one another’s albums at the time, and this is a perfect example of that. J’s rhymes and delivery are so good on it. And the song Shiny Diamonds is a guaranteed boost of posi-vibes if you ever need them.

Particle Don: One of my favorite MC Snax songs is Me and Kurt. In this track you describe battling eyeball-harvesting aliens with Kurt Angle as your trusty sidekick.

Later on in the song you make it to the alien mothership and battle the ETs in a game of WWF No Mercy. What inspired you to create such in incredible track? How did you even begin to dream up this concept?

MC Snax: Writing is a weird thing, you know? I’m not quite sure where it comes from.

To me, it’s like, “Why don’t more people write about themselves fighting off an alien invasion with their favorite wrestlers?” It just comes to mind when I think of a interesting story I could tell.

I love wrestling, and I’ve always been fascinated with aliens, haha. So why not combine the two in a strange story?!

Particle Don: Can you reveal any song concepts you have planned for your next album?

MC Snax: It’s funny that you asked these two questions in this order. I actually just recorded vocals for a track yesterday.

I don’t want to reveal too much, but no joke, it’s another song about an alien encounter. However, this time it’s a very positive experience.

It’s going to be on Healing Sounds of the Benevolent Realm Vol. 2. That’s all I’ll say for now!

Particle Don: How often do you come to the United States? What was it like during your trip to Denver for the Dark Carnival Games convention? 

MC Snax: I used to visit the U.S. pretty regularly, until I eventually moved there for two years. I even have permanent residency status!

I haven’t visited that many times since I’ve moved back, but I hope to change that. I love the States.

DCGcon and Denver were super cool. There was so much freshness crammed into one weekend.

Even though the convention was “shut down” after day one, the Juggalos kept it going and it ended up being an amazing time.

Plus, ICP performed at the Roxy, and it was the only Faygo-less show I’ve seen them do. It was cool to witness such a concert rarity!

Particle Don: About how many warm months are there in Canada per year? Do you enjoy living there?

MC Snax: Where I live, which is the province of Newfoundland, it isn’t super cold compared to some parts of Canada. But our winter is long.

It’s not unusual to experience winter weather any time from October to April. Last year we actually got snow in June, which is less common, but can indeed happen.

I love Newfoundland, though. There’s a unique culture here that I wouldn’t trade for the world. It’s my home, and as they say, there’s no place like home!

Particle Don: If you could play a show anywhere in the world, where would it be?

MC Snax: Hmm…I would say anywhere that has a lot of fellow ninjas who enjoy rap songs about aliens, snacks, and posi-vibes!

Particle Don: If you could collab on a song with anyone in the world, who would it be? I’m sure there are many people you’d like to record with, but who comes to mind first?

MC Snax: Insane Clown Posse. No doubt.

Particle Don: What are a few of your all-time favorite video games?

MC Snax: Super Mario 64, Mario Kart 64, Earthbound, Shenumue I & II, The Animal Crossing series, The Sims series, SimCity 4, WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgame$, WWF No Mercy, Wave Race 64, Pilot Wings 64, WWE Smackdown VS. Raw, and the Backyard Wrestling games – just to name a few! 

Particle Don: Name a video game that you’d like to write a song about.

MC Snax: Earthbound or Animal Crossing.

Particle Don: Name a movie or TV show that you’d like to write a song about.

MC Snax: Maybe The Simpsons or Shaun of the Dead…there’s a lot that might be fun to do!

Particle Don: Name a person that you’d like to write a song about.

MC Snax: Tommy Dreamer from ECW. I think he’s the definition of someone who does what they do because of their passion for it. And that’s dope.

Particle Don: Have you ever seen the early 90’s Nickelodeon TV show My Brother and Me? What are a few of your favorite childhood TV shows or movies?

My Brother And Me
My Brother And Me

MC Snax: I’ve never seen My Brother and Me! I don’t think we got all the Nickelodeon shows that the States did, unfortunately.

Some of my favorite shows growing up were of course The Simpsons, Boy Meets World, Recess, and The Weekenders.

My favorite movies growing up were definitely Good Burger (which is Nickelodeon!) and Ready to Rumble.

Particle Don: Thanks for the interview, Snax. Is there anything you’d like to say in closing?

MC Snax: Well, I’d like to thank you for thinking I’m interesting enough to warrant an interview. And thank you as well for continuing to support The Ninja Funk!

Everyone stay tuned to mcsnax.bandcamp.com, because Healing Sounds of the Benevolent Realm Vol. 2 is coming very soon! Much love, y’all! Whoop whoop!

Brian Carson Interview

Brian Carson in AIW

Brian Carson has made a great deal of progress since beginning his training with Johnny Gargano in mid-2014. He is now a regular in AIW and numerous other promotions. Header photo by John Janezic.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brian.grimm.5
Twitter: https://twitter.com/@BTheExcellence
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thebriancarson/
Cagematch.net profile: https://www.cagematch.net/?id=2&nr=18450&name=Brian+Carson

Particle Don: What got you into wrestling? Did you watch growing up?

Brian: As a kid, my parents and grandparents bought me a bunch of old school WWF action figures, wrestling buddies, and Coliseum Home Videos. The first match I saw was Bret Hart vs. Mr. Perfect for the Intercontinental title at SummerSlam ’91. Ever since, I’ve been in love with wrestling and would never miss an episode or RAW, Smackdown or Nitro, or any of the pay-per-views.

Particle Don: Who was your favorite wrestler growing up?

Brian: Bret Hart.

Particle Don: How did you first hear about AIW? Did you attend their shows as a fan?

Brian: My initial show was Gauntlet for The Gold 8. I got there late because of work. Johnny Gargano was in the first AIW match I saw, and I had an idea of who he was. My buddy called me during JLIT 2014 and told me about AIW opening their own school. I figured no better time than now to give it a shot!

Absolute Intense Wrestling operates in Cleveland, Ohio
Absolute Intense Wrestling operates in Cleveland, Ohio

Particle Don: What made you decide to train to be a pro wrestler? When did this happen?

Brian: I went to 4 different colleges out of high school, and realized it wasn’t for me. I always wanted to be a wrestler, so I made the decision to stop wasting time and money on school, and pursue my life’s dream. I last attended college in 2009. Ever since then, I’ve been focused on wrestling.

Particle Don: What’s it like training with WWE superstars Johnny Gargano and Candice LaRae? Is there any funny or entertaining stories that stick out in your mind?

Candice LeRae in 2014
Candice LeRae in 2014. Photo by Tabercil

Brian: Johnny and Candice are human encyclopedias when it comes to wrestling. They don’t only push us physically in the ring, but they make sure we stay sharp mentally outside of it. They’re always available for questions or anything.

If anyone’s birthday falls on a training day, they get to book a show of matches of their choosing between all of us trainees. We’ve had hardcore matches, lumberjack matches, I quit matches, falls count anywhere matches, even a ladder match. I wouldn’t have wanted to be trained by anyone else.

Particle Don: Do you know if anyone will take Johnny’s place as head trainer when he goes to WWE full-time?

Brian: I don’t know who, or if, anyone will replace Johnny.

Particle Don: If there was one match you’d show to someone who has never seen you wrestle before, what would it be?

Brian: My match against Johnny Gargano at AIW Fresh Meat. I don’t think I can have that much fun in the ring again!

Particle Don: What is your theme song, and why did you choose it?

Brian: “Bad” by Downstait. I’ve always been a fan, and that’s my favorite song by them. They even wrote music for the first AEW event, All In.

Particle Don: Other than AIW, what are a few other promotions you’ve worked for?

Brian: Mega, UXWA, NWA Midwest, and Full Throttle.

Mega Championship Wrestling has been running shows since 1999
Mega Championship Wrestling has been running shows since 1999

Particle Don: What’s the farthest you’ve traveled for a wrestling show?

Brian: Before debuting in AIW, I went to Chicago with Johnny, Candice, and Alex Daniels.

Particle Don: What was it like competing in this year’s Back to the Future Cup? You had an impressive showing and made it to the finals.

Brian: The tournament was a lot of fun. I’ve always wanted to wrestle Space Monkey, and we had a hell of a match. It’s great to get in the ring with someone that has a totally different style than yours. It helps you become a better wrestler.

I’d like to do over the finals because I hurt my knee in the beginning, and couldn’t give 100% during the match. All in all, though, I enjoyed it.

Brian Carson vs. Space Monkey took place at the Back to the Future Cup in May 2016
Brian Carson vs. Space Monkey took place at the Back to the Future Cup in May 2016

Particle Don: Did you know Kaplan before training with him at the AIW school? You’re both from Mayfield Heights.

Brian: We went to high school together. I’ve known Kaplan since I was 16.

Kaplan was featured in a segment on Cleveland's Fox 8 News
Kaplan was featured in a segment on Cleveland’s Fox 8 News. Check out his AIW podcast interview.
Brian Carson during his high school years!
Brian Carson during his high school years!

Particle Don: What are your goals in professional wrestling?

Brian: Short term: travel more, work in Canada, improve my physique. Long term: wrestle in Japan, NXT, and WWE.

Particle Don: Who are a few people you’d like to wrestle that you haven’t already?

Brian: Chris Sabin, Ethan Page, Raymond Rowe, Josh Prohibition, Ricochet, The Young Bucks, Joey Ryan, Tracy Williams, Tyson Dux, EC3, DJ Z, Pentagon Jr…I could go on and on. There’s so much talent on the independent circuit right now.

Raymond Rowe is a Cleveland wrestler who has made it to the WWE
Raymond Rowe is a Cleveland wrestler who has made it to the WWE

Particle Don: I’d definitely like to see Brian Carson vs. Raymond Rowe. What’s your finishing move? Why did you select it?

Brian: It’s called The Reaper. It’s a back suplex that plants my opponent on their face. I hit it one day in training, and liked how it looked and felt. Plus, you need to try to be as original as possible with your finisher.

Particle Don: Do you have any non-wrestling hobbies? If so, what are they?

Brian: I enjoy cooking, personal training, doing mock radio shows with my friends, and performing stand up comedy.

People tell me all the time to either be a chef, trainer, radio personality, or comedian. I wouldn’t enjoy these things if they weren’t just hobbies to blow off steam. I do them to relax.

Particle Don: What are a few of your favorite bands?

Brian: Eminem, Dr. Dre, Linkin Park, Blink 182, Lil’ Wayne, Downstait, AC/DC, Journey, KISS, Van Halen, and Guns N’ Roses.

Particle Don: Had you ever heard of Particle Don before this interview?

Brian: I remember when you rapped Ethan Page’s intro at AIW Battle of the Sexes 2.

Particle Don: Do you have a favorite classic WWF entrance theme?

Brian: Man, that’s a good question. I have so many. Stone Cold is my favorite, but I also like the themes of Hogan, The Rock, Shawn Michaels, Million Dollar Man, Bret Hart, DX, nWo, Mr. Perfect, Triple H, Kane, Big Boss Man, Undertaker, Vince McMahon, and Goldberg.

Particle Don: Do you watch current WWE? If so, who are your favorite wrestlers?

Brian: Yes, I watch WWE. My favorite wrestlers, including NXT, are AJ Styles, Seth Rollins, Kevin Owens, Dolph Ziggler, Johnny Gargano, Shinskue Nakamura, Finn Balor, Sasha Banks, Bayley, American Alpha, and Dean Ambrose. I like a lot of them.

Particle Don: Do you have a favorite 90’s cartoon?

Brian: Man, again, I could list so many. But my favorite as a kid was Looney Tunes.

Particle Don: What’s your favorite food?

Brian: Either a grilled medium rare porterhouse steak, or my homemade cavatelli.

Photo from SeriousEats.com
Photo from SeriousEats.com

Particle Don: Do you have a favorite candy?

Brian: Cookie Dough Bites.

Cookie Dough Bites
Cookie Dough Bites taste great when frozen

Particle Don: What’s your favorite TV show?

Brian: Again, I can list a ton of them. I’m big into House of Cards. I loved Sons of Anarchy, The Newsroom, Friends, Chappelle’s Show, All In The Family, and The Sopranos. But because of how I love almost every episode, I’ll say South Park is my favorite.

Particle Don: Do you watch the show Ancient Aliens? What is your opinion on the Ancient Astronaut theory?

Brian: I don’t, but my dad does. And I’ll say here what I tell him: stop watching that stuff, it’s bad for you.

Particle Don: Do you have a favorite movie?

Brian: This is one that can really go on forever, haha. I’ll give you my top 10: The Dark Knight, Pulp Fiction, The Big Lebowski, Man on Fire, Jaws, The Empire Strikes Back, The Godfather, Christmas Vacation, Caddyshack, and The Breakfast Club.

Particle Don: Is there anywhere can fans buy your merchandise online?

Brian: Not yet. It’s coming soon, though.

Particle Don: Is there anything you’d like to shout out or plug?

Brian: Follow me on Twitter! I’m @BTheExcellence. On Instagram I’m thebriancarson, and add me on Facebook.

Keep coming to AIW if you live in the Cleveland area. The shows are always improving, and independent wrestling needs all the support it can get!

Brian Carson with Ronda Rousey at AIW
Brian Carson with Ronda Rousey at AIW

Drew McKenzie Interview

I met Drew McKenzie in the hotel parking lot during King of the Deathmatches 2015. Him and his brother Todd were super cool!
I met wrestling fan Drew McKenzie in the hotel parking lot during King of the Deathmatches 2015. Him and his brother Todd were super cool!

Visit Drew’s Facebook page

Particle Don: You don’t live in Cleveland, but you’re a big Indians fan. What got you interested in the Cleveland Indians?

Drew McKenzie: It’s funny because my old man is a Cubs fan, but my love for the Tribe started because of my pops. He used to have a collection of old, beat up baseball caps that he would wear when he was mowing the grass at home. As an 8 year old kid, I fell in love with that Chief Wahoo logo, and would wear the hat any chance I could.

When the Indians opened up the new ballpark in 1994, I remember watching the very first game at Jacobs Field on ESPN. From that moment on, I picked the Tribe as my squad. My entire life I have grown up rooting for the underdog, or the less popular choice. Living in Illinois during the “Jordan Era”, there wasn’t too many kids who weren’t rocking a #23 jersey. However, I was rooting for Charles Barkley and the Phoenix Suns during that time! I guess I have always gone against the grain when it comes to sports.

Particle Don: As of this writing (9/21/2016), the Cleveland Indians are 88-63. We are nearing the end of the season. Where do you see them going in the coming days and weeks?

Drew McKenzie: I can’t tell you how excited I am to see playoff baseball back in Cleveland! They were able to get that one game wild card back in 2013, but that was really just a tease. They haven’t won the division since 2007, so it’s great to see them back on top of the AL Central.

They have suffered some tough injuries this year, and nobody gave them a chance against Boston in the first round, but they swept the Sox and proved everyone wrong. Then they did it again in the ALCS against The Blue Jays.

This team has proven everyone wrong from the beginning of the year until now. I’m hopeful that they can keep it going into the World Series and shock the world!

Particle Don: Despite their 88-63 record, do you think they should have done anything differently this year?

Drew McKenzie: I really feel like they have played their cards right the entire season. They made some key off-season moves in Mike Napoli and Rajai Davis.

Napoli is having a career season, and Davis led the American League in stolen bases this year. They made a huge trade for Andrew Miller, who you could argue is the most dominant relief pitcher in all of baseball. I also loved the acquisitions of Brandon Guyer and Coco Crisp, too. They had a trade done for Jonathan Lucroy, but Lucroy used his “no trade clause” and stopped the trade from happening.

That one hurt a bit, as it would have been great to add Lucroy’s bat to the lineup. I really feel like the front office has stepped up to make sure we have the best possible team on the field.

Particle Don: How do you feel about their pitching staff?

Drew McKenzie: On paper, with no injuries, it’s one of the most dominant pitching staffs in the league. I would also argue that it’s the most dominant pitching staff that Cleveland has had in the last 50 years.

There’s Kluber, Carrasco, Salazar, Bauer, and Tomlin. Then you have Otero, Shaw, Allen, and Miller in the bullpen. You really feel like they give you a chance to win every night.

It really hurt to see Carrasco and Salazar go down with injuries at the end of the year. However, in the next few years, these guys have a chance to be one of the toughest pitching staffs we have witnessed in a long time.

Drew in some Tribe gear!

Particle Don: Do you have a favorite Indians team from past seasons?

Drew McKenzie: It’s hard to top the 1997 team. That offense was truly special. Growing up, I loved Manny, Thome, Alomar, Vizquel, etc. They were just so much fun to watch. I still can’t believe they were just 1 out away from winning the World Series that year!

Particle Don: When was the last time you saw them play live?

Drew McKenzie: I actually saw them play this year at US Cellular field in Chicago. That is the only plus about being a fan of the Indians in a different state. I usually get to see them play multiple games when they are in town to face the Sox, and on rare interleague occasions, against the Cubs. My goal is to see them again this year, hopefully in the ALCS or World Series!

Anytime they are in Chicago (both Cubs and Sox) I try to go up there, since it’s only about 2 hours away. Also, when they have interleague play in Milwaukee, I try and at least see a game or two up there as well.

Particle Don: How many times have you seen the Indians play live at Progressive Field? Were you ever there when it was Jacob’s Field?

Drew at a Tribe game!

Drew McKenzie: I have been to about 30 games at Progressive Field. My uncle took me to my first game back in 2002 when it was still Jacobs Field. Back in the 90’s and early 2000’s, it was extremely hard to get a ticket, since those were the glory days.

My favorite memory at “The Jake” was being there live to see them clinch the division title back in 2007.

Particle Don: Do you have a favorite piece of Indians memorabilia?

Drew McKenzie: Back in 2006, a friend of mine who is originally from north east Ohio and I went up to Cleveland for an entire week. We did 7 games in 7 days. We basically hung out at the ball park from morning till midnight. It was baseball heaven!

We were up there so much that the players actually started to recognize us and would talk to us as they were coming into the games. We met CC Sabathia, who was the ace of the pitching staff at the time. He was extremely cool and talked to us for a bit. We got our photo taken with him and it’s one of my all time favorite pieces of memorabilia

Particle Don: What got you interested in wrestling?

Drew McKenzie: My Uncle and my Dad are to blame for this one! I can honestly say I don’t recall a time where wrestling wasn’t a part of my life.

My earliest memory was when my Dad took me to a WWF house show to see Andre the Giant vs. Jim Duggan. I was probably 4 or 5 years old, tops. As a young kid, wrestling was all I cared about it! Thankfully, my Pops and my Uncle were just as into it as I was.

Particle Don: Early on, who were a few of your favorite wrestlers and promotions?

Drew McKenzie: As a young kid, I was a Hogan mark. However, it didn’t take me too long to realize that Flair was the man when it came to in-ring work.

As far as promotions go, I would literally watch anything. My uncle was big into the tape trading market, so it seemed like there was always something to watch. Right around the age of 12, I found ECW, and that’s when I discovered Guerrero, Benoit, Malenko, Mysterio, etc.

From there I found “Puroresu” and fell in love with All Japan. I watched Misawa, Kobashi, Kawada, etc.

I started going to independent wrestling shows in my early teens. Although I was still watching WWF and WCW, I found myself more into the underground of pro wrestling. The internet was truly a game changer, as you could basically find anything you were looking for with a click of the mouse.

Particle Don: When did you see your first death match?

Drew McKenzie: This is a funny story!

My uncle got a copy of the first ever “King of the Death Matches” from Japan back in 1995. Like most of his tapes and DVDs, it wound up in my hands, and at 11 years old I witnessed my first ever death match!

I was lucky to have parents that didn’t censor me with music, movies, and TV. You can only imagine what an 11 year old wrestling marks’ reaction was to seeing Terry Funk and Cactus Jack wrestle in exploding barbed wire! I saw my first live death match when I was 16 years old, and it ranks in my top 5 in-person wrestling experiences. It was IWA Mid South in Morris, Illinois. The show was “Morris Mayhem” on February third, 2002.

This was about an hour away from my house, and when I found out that Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio Jr. were going to be there, I knew that I had to be as well. Of course, like most days in early February in central Illinois, it was freezing cold. We literally drove through a blizzard on the way to the show. My uncle, who we later nicknamed “The Driver”, white knuckled the entire trip and got us there safe just in time for bell.

The main event that night was Ian and Axl Rotten vs. Mean Mitch Page and Rollin’ Hard vs. Cash Flo and Corporal Robinson. I don’t even know if you would consider it a death match, but it was the first time I witnessed a man hit another man directly in the face with a thumbtack bat! From there on, I had death match sickness.

Particle Don: What are a few of the best wrestling shows you’ve been to?

Drew McKenzie: Wow, this one is tough! If I had to call out a top five, in no particular order, here is what my picks would be:

  • IWA Mid-South King of the Death Matches 2003
  • IWA Mid-South 5/29/2004
  • Chris Hero vs. Samoa Joe – This match was epic!
  • IWA Mid-South Ted Petty Invitational 2004
  • Samoa Joe vs. Brian Danielson vs. AJ Styles – This is my all time favorite match that I’ve attended.
  • Ring of Honor Samoa Joe vs. CM Punk #2 10/16/04
  • IWA Mid-South King of the Deathmatches 2015.
  • Nick Gage vs. John Wayne Murdoch – This was such an awesome match!

As you can see, IWA Mid-South has been very good to me!

Particle Don: You have seen some historic bouts in person. About how far of a drive is it for you to see a live IWA Mid-South show?

Drew McKenzie: Where they are currently running shows, it’s about a five and a half hour drive from where we live. We try to make it up to 2 or 3 of their shows every year.

Ian Rotten has provided me with the best live pro wrestling experiences. Anytime that we drive down to one of their shows, it’s always worth the trip!

Particle Don: Who are a few of your top deathmatch wrestlers?

Drew McKenzie: This one is also tough! However, let’s stick with the top 5 of all time. (In no particular order)

  • Ian Rotten
  • Necro Butcher
  • JC Bailey
  • Corporal Robinson
  • Nick Gage
Nick Gage at Masters of Pain 2015

Those five guys always delivered. I have witnessed some of the craziest, most violent wrestling of all time because of them. I do have to give a big shout to people like Matt Tremont, Bryant Woods, Masada, Devon Moore, and John Wayne Murdoch. They are keeping the death match wrestling scene alive and well.

Particle Don: Do you have a favorite piece of wrestling merchandise?

Drew McKenzie: I’m not much of a “merch” guy these days. Back when I was younger I had it all. I had the shirts, figures, magazines, and everything in between. I still have an awesome Abdullah the Butcher figure that sits in front of my TV. That was one piece of merch that I couldn’t part with.

Particle Don: Do you watch current WWE? If so, who do you tune in for?

Drew McKenzie: I do watch the current product. The WWE Network was a true game changer for me. Not only do I get to enjoy the older stuff, but it gives me an opportunity to see what is going on currently. It easy to justify watching their TV and PPVs when you are only paying $9.99 a month to stay up to speed.

Although I’m not a huge fan of the “PG era,” the in ring work is the best it’s been in a long time. You can’t go wrong with guys like Rollins, Owens, and Styles on your TV every week. I feel like the work rate is getting better and better as fresh faces keep coming in. Their creative needs a little work, but for $9.99 a month, I really can’t complain.

Particle Don: What’s your favorite wrestling theme throughout history?

Drew McKenzie: I’m going to have to go with an “oldy” on this one. Sweet Stan Lane and Beautiful Bobby Eaton’s theme was, and still is my favorite entrance song of all time!

Particle Don: What types of bands do you listen to?

Drew McKenzie: I listen to just about everything except for country. I like a lot of hip-hop/rap and lots of classic rock. Some of my favorite bands/acts are Oasis, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and Kiss. On the rap side, I enjoy Kendrick Lamar, J-Cole, A$AP Rocky, and Kanye West. I’m all over the spectrum when it comes to music.

Here’s Drew at a Snoop Dogg show!

Particle Don: Where did you hear about Particle Don?

Drew McKenzie: I got to see you live at King of the Death Matches 2014. I was fan from then on. Then in 2015, I really enjoyed your live performance during Randi West’s entrance at KOTDM 15!

Particle Don: Do you have a favorite Particle Don song?

Drew McKenzie: My favorite Particle Don track is “Always Makin’ Big Waves.” I can relate to the track, because I remember watching that same VHS and opening match as a kid! That Wrestlemania 6 card was one of my favorites growing up. A close second for me is “Positive Vibe Advisory.” I’m a huge fan of Devon Moore!

Particle Don: Who should Particle Don write a song about?

Drew McKenzie: I would love to see you write a track about Abdullah the Butcher or Sabu’s Uncle, the Original Sheik! Those two guys were hardcore before hardcore even existed!

Particle Don: Do you have a favorite candy?

Drew McKenzie: When it comes to chocolate, I can never go wrong with a Twix. For sweets, I’m a big fan of Sour Patch Kids.

Particle Don: What’s your favorite food?

Drew McKenzie: If I could only choose one food to eat for the rest of my life, pizza would be the choice. It might be the greatest invention in the history of the world! I’m also big into chicken wings (not the cross face type, though!)

Particle Don: Do you have a preferred beverage?

Drew McKenzie: I’m a Coke over Pepsi guy.

Particle Don: Do you have a favorite 90’s TV show or cartoon?

Drew McKenzie: Seinfeld is my all time favorite. It still holds up as one of the greatest TV shows of all time.

Particle Don: Do you watch Ancient Aliens? What’s your opinion of the Ancient Astronaut theory?

Drew McKenzie: I’m not familiar with this show.

Particle Don: Do you watch South Park? Have you seen anything from the current season?

Drew McKenzie: I used to watch South Park all the time. I haven’t been paying too much attention over the last handful of seasons, but I did see the season premiere this year. It’s amazing how they have been able to stay on top for such a long time. They are truly creative geniuses!

Particle Don: Do you have a few favorite movies?

Drew McKenzie: You would think that Major League would be on my list, and although I do enjoy it, it’s not my favorite baseball movie. I really enjoyed the movie Moneyball. The Wrestler is also one of my all time favorite movies. I’m a huge fan of Jonah Hill, Seth Rogan, and James Franco. Anything those guys are in, I usually see.

Particle Don: Other than Indians and wrestling, do you have any hobbies or interests?

Drew McKenzie: I have been playing guitar since I was 18. I was self taught, so it was lot of hard work, but truly a rewarding feeling to pick something up and stick with it. I have played in a few bands in the past and also do some singing.

I really enjoy fantasy sports (football, basketball, and baseball). I also enjoy sports gambling and I spend a lot of time studying lines and trends.

Particle Don: Do you have any cats, dogs or other pets?

Drew McKenzie: I don’t currently have any pets of my own. However, my parents have an English bulldog named Roxie that I love dearly. I call her my “Matilda.”

Particle Don: Is there anything you’d like to mention before wrapping things up?

Drew McKenzie: I just want to say thanks for reaching out to me for the interview. I really enjoyed it!