Dominic Garrini Interview

Dominic Garrini in an AIW promo video

10 minute Dominic documentary (highlights his feud with “Filthy” Tom Lawlor): YouTube

Twitter: @dgarrinibc

Dominic Garrini merchandise at

Particle Don: As we all know, you hail from Canton, Ohio. What do you enjoy about the city? What restaurants or activities would you recommend to visitors?

Dominic: The Pro Football Hall of Fame is always one of the first things you should check out in Canton if you’re into that kind of thing. There are a lot of great local eating spots that are native to the city such as Milk and Honey, Taggarts, Papa Gyros, and many others.

Particle Don: I was happy to see you had an extensive interview in the Canton Repository. Did they approach you for the article? What was the experience like getting some press in such a widely-read news outlet?

Dominic: I was approached by The Repository. It was great, because growing up playing football and wrestling in the area we would always read that paper. Sadly I was a poor athlete in high school, so I was never featured in those articles.

It was awesome to get that spotlight. To be honest I think my parents and Grandma were more excited than I was, haha!

Dominic Garrini
Dominic Garrini had an in-depth interview in the Canton Repository.

Particle Don: Have you ever been to the vintage collectibles shop Arrowhead in the city’s downtown area? If so, what did you purchase?

Dominic: I have not, sadly.

Particle Don: Have you ever been to a First Friday in Canton?

Dominic: I have. My friends in college usually assigned me as the designated driver to many a First Friday, haha.

Canton's First Friday is a downtown gathering that happens on the first Friday of every month.
Canton’s First Friday is a downtown gathering that happens on the first Friday of every month.

Particle Don: Was there ever a time you saw a show at Buzzbin? If so, what band?

Dominic: Sadly, I’ve never been to Buzzbin. We were in discussions to hold an AIW show there, but the plans fell through.

Particle Don: Hopefully you can make Buzzbin work someday; it would be great to see AIW there. I know the venue has hosted wrestling shows in the past.

Have you ever been to Cultured Coffee? When you’re there, what type of waffle do you choose?

Dominic: Cultured is one of the places that I’ve been meaning to try, but still haven’t had a chance to do so.

Particle Don: Have you ever seen the Canton Charge basketball team play live?

Dominic: I have not seen the Charge play live, but would like to.

Particle Don: Were you in attendance at any of WWE’s Canton shows?

Dominic: I attended a few as a child.

I also made it to the house show they had here in 2016. Dr. Dan and I went and got to enjoy dinner with Chandler Biggins, John Thorne, AIW Bartender Nick Sanka, and Kevin Owens.

Kevin Owens
Kevin Owens photo by Miguel Discart

Particle Don: Have you ever been to the Pro Football Hall of Fame? If so, what was it like?

Dominic: I probably haven’t visited the Hall of Fame in about 10 years, but if you appreciate football history, it’s a place where you can spend hours.

Particle Don: What was the first live wrestling show you attended as a fan? Where did it take place? Were there any matches or experiences from the show that stick out in your mind?

Dominic: The first show I remember attending was a WWF TV taping at the Canton Civic Center. I was really young.

I didn’t go again until my teens. My dad was always busy working, so we weren’t able to go to many shows.

I remember seeing a MOW show when I moved back to Canton around 2004. It had M-Dogg 20 and Josh Prohibition on the card. Since I was a huge fan of the Backyard Wrestling DVDs and VHS tapes, I was super excited to see them perform.

Particle Don: When did you first become interested in AIW? Did you attend shows as a fan before attending their training school?

Dominic: I’ve always known of AIW, but didn’t attended any live shows prior to training. AIW is kind of the standard for the style of independent wrestling I grew up on, so I always kept up with what they were doing.

AIW is Cleveland’s top wrestling promotion.

Particle Don: When did you begin training to become a wrestler? What motivated you to do so?

Dominic: I began training in August of 2015.

I had just gotten back from the World Jiu Jitsu Championships in July of that year. I failed in my quest to win a world championship, which was what I dedicated the prior 6 years of my life towards. After that, I reassessed everything I was doing.

I remember deciding to go to the post-Money in the Bank Raw in Cleveland that year. Growing up, my favorite indie wrestler was Kevin Steen, and he was very involved in a program with John Cena.

Seeing Kevin’s success inspired me to do something that I’d always wanted to do, but got side tracked. I looked up wrestling schools in the area, and chose to go with AIW.

Dominic Garrini at AIW Absolution 2018
Dominic at AIW Absolution 2018. Image by settaBPhoto.

Particle Don: When was your debut match in AIW? From what I can find, it was on March 5th, 2016 at the Fullest House show in Mentor.

What was it like finally getting a match on an actual show? How did the match go? Was there anything you’re particularly proud of, or anything you would change if you could go back?

Dominic: Yeah, that match was my debut. It was awesome to get on an actual show.

I was above the curve when it came to debuting. Most train for almost a year. I ended up debuting in 6 months, along with Garrison King.

To get that chance was great, but a lot also goes to the other 5 people in the match for helping craft something that was awesome. If I could change one thing I’d have worn different gear. That first pair of board shorts I wore sucked.

Particle Don: What is it like seeing your trainers, Johnny Gargano and Candice LaRae, on WWE TV every week? I’d imagine it must be inspiring to know that with lots of hard work, it could one day be you wrestling at such a level.

Dominic: It makes me so happy when I see Johnny or Candice perform. They are two of the best human beings I know and deserve every piece of the success they are getting. Forget being as good of a wrestler as them, I aspire to be as good of a human as they are.

Johnny Gargano
Johnny Gargano photo by Tabercil

Particle Don: Shayna Baszler is also in NXT. Have you ever talked MMA or trained with her in the ring?

Dominic: Shayna and I have always talked about MMA, pro wrestling, and training. Sadly, we never got the chance to train in the ring before she was signed to WWE.

Particle Don: Through your training and gaining experience at shows, you have met many wrestling legends. Was there ever a piece of advice you received from a veteran that was particularly inspiring?

Dominic: The best piece of advice comes from Johnny and Candice. It’s as simple as this: just be a good dude!

Particle Don: You did a match for the charity-based promotion ACTION Wrestling (@wrestleACTION1 on Twitter), which is available to stream at How did you become acquainted with this wrestling organization?

Dominic: Action Wrestling is run by Matt Griffin out of Georgia. Matt and I met at the Scenic City Invitational last year and we hit it off.

He let me know about his plans to start some kind of promotion, but the dates didn’t work out at first. He then hit me up late in February saying there was a spot open in the main event, and he wanted to offer it to me.

I gladly accepted and am proud to have been a part of a show that raised over $3k for Make-A-Wish Georgia.

Particle Don: On November 19th, 2017, you wrestled former AIW champion Nick Gage in non-tourney action at OPW’s Masters of the Mat 3. This event also featured an AIW showcase match with the likes of DCR, Tre Lamar, and Joshua Bishop.

What was it like wrestling Gage? What sticks out in your mind while thinking about this contest?

Dominic: Man, Nick falls under this category of guys I watched when I first discovered independent wrestling back in 2004. To get the chance to wrestle him was great.

What would stick out the most is Nick’s dedication to the craft of pro wrestling. Everyone thinks he’s just a deathmatch guy, but he has a true love for pro wrestling. He enjoys performing whether it be normal straight wrestling matches or deathmatches.

Garrini vs. Gage
Garrini vs. Gage in OPW

Particle Don: You took on Kyle the Beast at GCW’s submission-only Bloodsport show in New Orleans during the 2018 WrestleMania weekend. Had you ever been in a submission-only professional wrestling match before this? What type of a mindset do you need when working a match with no ropes?

Dominic: To be honest the match wasn’t submission only. It was submission or knockout only, but I hadn’t been involved in the hybrid/shoot style yet.

It was a great experience and I learned to focus on the finish more so than in a normal pro wrestling match.

Particle Don: Not long ago, you had a big contest in Akron against wrestling and MMA legend Dan “The Beast” Severn. In your opinion, how did the match go? Is there anything you learned during the encounter that you could share with the readers of

Dominic: The match was as much as it could be for Dan having such short notice.

At this point in his career, Dan isn’t going to be putting on 5 star classics, so we had a straightforward contest that was fun for what it was. Dan was a consummate professional.

Particle Don: Have you ever wrestled someone who speaks little to no English? How does something like this pose additional challenges?

Dominic: I have once. Wrestling is kind of a universal language. Once you start working, you can read body language and go with the flow.

Particle Don: Who did you wrestle when working for IWA Mid-South?

Dominic: I wrestled Dr. Dan and Cory Storm.

Particle Don: Do you listen to the Something to Wrestle With Bruce Prichard podcast?

Dominic: I do, as I drive a lot, whether it be to training or bookings. I love Something to Wrestle as well as 83 Weeks, Between the Sheets, and the Lapsed Fan.

Particle Don: What type of music do you enjoy? Who are a few of your favorite bands?

Dominic: I’m all across the board when it comes to music, but I prefer punk rock type music. Some of the bands I’m into right now include The Menzingers, The Wonder Years, and A Day to Remember. If I’m not listening to that stuff then I will usually throw on a 90s hits playlist since I’m a 90s kid.

Particle Don: What was the last concert you went to?

Dominic: I’m not really a concert goer. The last one I remember was a free Third Eye Blind concert while I was attending Kent State.

Particle Don: Is there a certain band or type of music you prefer to listen to while training or working out?

Dominic: Something heavy.

Particle Don: In your Canton Repository interview, you mentioned Hulk Hogan was a big inspiration while growing up. Who were a few of your other favorite wrestlers back then? What about your least-favorite wrestlers?

Dominic: Stone Cold Steve Austin (as was everyone’s in that era), Bret Hart, Goldberg, Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko, Chris Jericho, and Kurt Angle. Once I found indie guys like Kevin Steen, CM Punk, Super Dragon, B Boy, Sonjay Dutt, M-Dogg 20, Josh Prohibition, Samoa Joe, Bryan Danielson, Roderick Strong, and Nigel McGuiness, I couldn’t get enough.

Particle Don: Among the current WWE roster, who would you especially love to have a match with someday?

Dominic: Kevin Owens, Chad Gable, Jason Jordan, Aleister Black, Roderick Strong, Kyle O’ Reilly, and Bobby Fish, just to name a few.

Particle Don: If you could have a dream match with a legend from wrestling’s past, who would you lock up with? Why? What arena or event would you want it to take place at?

Dominic: In all reality, it matters of situation. I was a big enough performer I’d want it to be against either Hulk Hogan or Stone Cold in the main event at Wrestlemania in a huge stadium or at Madison Square Garden.

Particle Don: Is there a piece of wrestling merchandise from your childhood that you still have and would never get rid of?

Dominic: My Hulkamania 4 VHS tape.

Hulkamania 4 VHS
Hulkamania 4 VHS

Particle Don: What is your ideal breakfast?

Dominic: Some sort of protein bar and a spoon of peanut butter.

Particle Don: What is your favorite food?

Dominic: I’m gonna have to say a good medium-rare steak.

Particle Don: What is your favorite type of candy?

Dominic: It’s a triple tie between Sweet Tarts Ropes, Air Head Extreme Bites, and Swedish Fish.

Particle Don: Do you have a favorite TV show from the 90s?

Dominic: Either Boy Meets World or Ahh Real Monsters.

AAAHH!!! Real Monsters
AAAHH!!! Real Monsters

Particle Don: What is the LYFT code people can use to help you travel to the AIW training school in Cleveland?

Dominic: I do not need the LYFT code, but AIW Student Xavier would always appreciate the help code XAVIER65163.

Particle Don: You have a great selection of merch with bad-ass designs, including shirts, stickers, and enamel pins. Is there a place online people can go to pick up some Bone Collector collectibles?

Dominic: Either by hitting me up direct on Twitter @dgarrinibc or

Particle Don: Up to this point, what is the farthest you have traveled for a wrestling show?

Dominic: Sixteen hours.

Particle Don: What are your goals in wrestling? Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

Dominic: My goal is to have wrestling be the way I make a living. I’d love to quit my day job and just wrestle, but there’s a lot of hard work that needs to go into making that a reality. In five years hopefully I’m making this a full-time career.

Particle Don: Thanks for the great insight, Dominic! We will see you tomorrow night at AIW!

Dominic Garrini vs. Hot Sauce for the Title!
Dominic Garrini vs. Hot Sauce for the Title!