Brimstone Interviews & Postings
Pop Stars Plus Interview - April 2007
Hello Brimstone and thank you for answering some questions for us.
1. When did you first become interested in wrestling?
I've been interested in wrestling since I was very young. I was never really involved in regular sports growing up. I played a little basketball with PAL (Policeman's Athletic League), and deck hockey on a couple of teams; but for the most part, I never watched other sports. My father was a professional golfer for a short period of time, but I rarely ever got to go on the course. I was so uninterested in watching anything sports related, but began watching wrestling on a regular basis after attending private school, where I met a small group of avid WWF fans. After watching for the first time I was hooked. The allure was phenomenal, and I used to pretend I was a superstar while we would have our little matches in the living room of the unfortunate home we were watching in! Wrestling stuck with me over the years, even though I originally went with my other love of music before getting into the business.
2. How did you become a professional wrestler?
With a lot of hard work, dedication, and heart. It is not easy taking this path, even though people like to pretend it is. I hate the stigma that wrestling is "fake." It had always been a dream of mine to be like The Undertaker, or Shawn Michaels when I was younger, so it was a no-brainer for me to take the leap. In 1996, I heard about a pro wrestling school opening up in Queens via a wrestling magazine. I discussed the idea of training with a close friend of mine Chris Hostile, and we headed down there to "try out." When we got there, the Doghouse (as it was named) was full of hopeful wrestlers.
Sitting behind a desk checking in these potential students were Bobby Lombardi, and Laithon (The Tower of Torture). "So you THINK you can be a wrestler, huh?" Bobby said with a sneer as he shook our hands. We paid our cash dues and when we arrived a few weeks later, most of the guys who had come down to the initial meeting did not even show up. At that point I began learning that the drop out rate in wrestling is higher than most other sports.
The roster of students, who are very well known nowadays, consisted of wrestlers like Grim Reefer, Mike Kruel, Justin Cage, El Diabolico, Lord Clarence MacDougal, Maniac Mike Mayhem, Papadon, Major Intensity, Havok (fresh from the Wild Samoans), G.I. Joe, Deacon Riot, Psycho Tony, Fat Boy Rob, and many others. Our trainers were some of the best workers on the Independent scene at the time, and some of them are currently big names in the business consisting of Homicide, Low Ki, Laithon, Low Life Louie, and Monsta Mack. As tough as it was, I loved the Doghouse, and trust me, it was tough. We learned raw… we were learning our bumps on a concrete slab like men before we had the honor of setting foot into the ring, push-ups with cinder blocks on our backs, cardio that would make you either puke or break down and cry! This was seriously the school of hard knocks, and I was a proud member.
It was at the Doghouse where I met my trainer and mentor, 'The Original' Gino Carusso (Unified Wrestling Federation). Gino had worked in WCW, and every other federation known to man! I loved him then, and I love him to this day. We also had guests come down on a regular basis who took the training reigns like Magic, Sir Christopher Michaels (aka: Da' Bum), Crazy Clown and Dances With Dudley's to name a few.
3. Who did you fight in your first professional match? Did you win and what was it like the first time stepping into a professional ring?
I wrestled my first professional match against my manager Chavez Raoul at the ECW-made-famous, Elk's Lodge. It was a tag match where we both had other partners that were thrown in last minute. Prior to the match I had the usual butterflies in my stomach with the anticipation. It was a big deal because not only was it my first pro match, but it was at the Elk's Lodge! Hostile, and Mayhem came out to the ring with me that night, and we had a little surprise ending planned! We worked the whole match flawlessly, and the end was a major league melee! Chavez and I turned on our partners and united to show the formation of Critical Mass in a professional setting (although we had ran with the Critical Mass angle throughout all our student shows as well). It was great, and the crowd ate it up! The fans that followed the student shows knew who we were already, but it didn't matter at all. Everyone had a blast watching us do our thing.
4. How did the Brimstone character come about - or is that just you?
I am actually the complete opposite of the Brimstone character (unless I am in a really bad mood, or I'm rubbed the wrong way). The Brimstone gimmick has seriously grown in leaps and bounds over the years evolving into who the character is now (if I knew then what I know now, huh!). When I initially started training, I had ideas of who I wanted to be. I really was unsure though what would work for me, and what would not work. I fell into the trap that every newcomer falls into, and I started thinking intently about my gimmick. Fortunately it did not interfere with my training as much as I have seen it affect other guys' performances. I think at first I thought about only a name. I wanted a cool name that was memorable, and marketable. I really honest to G-d have no idea where I actually got the idea for the name; I just loved it knowing I could use the name as a stepping-stone for a demonic character. The rest of it just grew from there. I believe my gimmick came to a head when I allowed my persona to actually become a focal point of a match. My interviews became gritty and raw, allowing Brimstone to be seen as a caged animal waiting to be unleashed. I feel my gimmick has evolved throughout the years in monumental ways to create the dark character I now portray.
5. You are an original member of the Critical Mass - how did the idea come about?
The Critical Mass faction idea came about while commuting from Long Island to Queens for training. Chris Hostile and I were already set on working as a tag team. We had become very close with Mayhem, and at the same time another friend of ours Chavez Raoul began attending classes as well. The four of us clicked very well together, and we thought we would look great as a clique. At the time, WWF was running with the DX and Nation of Domination angles, and WCW with the New World Order and such. Stables became very popular and were normally a success. Hell, even the Ministry of Darkness was over with the crowd! Another thing that we felt was intriguing about ourselves was that all our characters were different in appearance and culture. All four of us agreed that we could do a lot together, so we presented it to Bobby Lombardi (LIWF Founder). Bobby liked the idea, and gave his blessings. We needed a name that would be appropriate, memorable, and marketable. Hostile, Chavez, and I were on our way back from training one night when it came to us. Honestly it is a toss up of which one of us actually came up with the name, so let's call it a combined effort.
A few times throughout Critical Mass history, we were forced to work against each other. The most popular was an angle used by Bobby Lombardi in order to turn Hostile, and Mayhem against me. Wrestling World Wide loved the idea, so George Espada ran with it pitting me against Mayhem in one-on-one matches. My two most memorable feuds were against my two closest friends! No one knew each other better in the ring than the four of us, and it led to some amazing matches. This became known as the "Dysfunctional Family" era of Critical Mass. Chavez was eventually able to reunite the full team.
Over the years there have been a few additions to the Critical Mass clique- somewhat of a "revolving door". Hostile and I recruited Rexx Rockwell for a brief stint with Critical Mass in the LIWF. Another time (in the absence of Hostile and Chavez), Mayhem and I recruited temporary members Storm Sasake (Larry McKenny), and Curse in NYWC. Towards the end of my days with the NYWC, the last official member initiated into the group was our former student Tyler Payne. None of the additions ever stuck, or were able to fill the void of our original members. Mayhem and I are currently planning to re-unite. I think I gave you a little more than you asked for!
6. What is your favorite move? Did you create it, and if so what was your inspiration?
My favorite move is XiBalba (The Entrance to Hell). I created the move years ago because I felt that my original finisher, a Bezerker Bomb, was too boring to be my finishing move. I still use the Bezerker, but during the match as opposed to completing the match. I'm not typically a high flyer although I do hit a top rope elbow from time to time. However I always seem to be surrounded by them! I felt I needed to do something impressive to compete with moonsaults, and triple corkscrew whatever's! I wanted to show power, intimidation, and athleticism. I worked on XiBalba creating many variations, and eventually came up with the final version where I seat my opponent up in the corner on the top turnbuckle, grab their wrists, twist my body (so my back is towards them and their arms become crossed), then I throw the opponent over my body (into a monkey flip) while I sit out into a pin. I have noticed that other workers started using my move, and different variations as well. But I still did it first, and I do it the best!
7. What is the biggest mistake rookie wrestlers make and what should they do to correct it?
In the beginning, one thing that everyone who is green falls into, is wanting a gimmick right away. They all want to be somebody, and you really can't blame them. They should really take the time in and out of the ring concentrating on training, not the glitz and glam. The gimmick, and matches will all come in time. I am currently working with Pro Wrestling Revolution as an assistant trainer alongside head trainers Demolition Blast, Bobby Riedel, and former student Johnny Ova. I've been helping to watch over a new class of up-and-comers, and I have seen the same stuff that I've seen a million times! Rather than perfecting a punch, kick, or even a side headlock, some newbies are more concerned with their gimmicks and what they are going to do at the next show! People, wrestling is a lot more than just getting a pop on gimmick alone! Concentrate on the little things, the special nuances that will make you a well-rounded worker. I'm not saying that everyone is like that, but a good portion is… I suppose it is just the nature of the beast.
Another common thing rookies do is work too fast. Slow down! Make each piece of the puzzle count! They also try to imitate their favorite workers in the ring, which will normally piss off the trainers and in some cases reap some harsh punishment. This is easy to fix though. Don't get in the ring and start making DX chops to your crotch! I really don't think I need to elaborate.
8. Sometime around 2002, you disappeared from the wrestling spotlight - what happened?
I dipped into the shadows for a bit because I had a lot of things going on in my personal life, but in actuality I never really left. Building the business that was/is CMPW & NYWC took a major toll on me. I spent too much time with my wrestling family as opposed to my real family. My career at the time was in the middle of a huge upswing (where there was a lot of jealousy), and my personal life was on a downward spiral… I had separated from my now ex-wife, and needed to take a step back to concentrate on getting myself straightened out. My business partners knew about this, but one of them took the opportunity to black ball me as much as possible during my short-term absence. There were issues between this person (that I had brought into the company) and myself. These differences finally came to a head, and in 2002 I took a step back from all the hard work I had done to focus on myself. I spent the time constructively, most of the time continuing to promote everything Brimstone behind the scenes. As for CMPW/NYWC, the same person to this day tries to "change history" and act as though I never existed, when in theory they exist solely because of me. I believe in karma, and I know everything always comes full circle. I've moved onto bigger, brighter pastures- now working with PWR, "The Borderhounds", and as always, everything Brimstone.
9. What match do you remember most and why?
If I had to pick my one of my most memorable matches, I would have to say Critical Mass (Brimstone & Mayhem) vs. The Bad Boys (Rocky Shore & T-N-T) for Real Deal Wrestling. I wish I had a copy of that tape! It was very early in our career, and we worked against those two a lot. They would normally win, considering they were the ones getting us booked (Rocky owned a ring and wound up working everywhere he rented it- I paid some of my dues helping them put up and break down the ring in my early years). Now not only did we work against them all the time, but they were known for always working hardcore matches! Sometimes we would get stuck working three hardcore matches on three shows in two days putting up, and breaking down the ring for every one. Most people, even most workers, do not know what a toll it takes on your body to repeatedly go through tables and get hit with chairs or kendo sticks day-in-and-day-out. Well, this particular night it had been decided that WE would be going over! Mayhem and I literally looked at each other with the hugest smiles on our faces, LOL… it was a long time coming! Mayhem and I proceeded to find anything that was not attached and prepare it for the match. I am not lying when I tell you we even grabbed a kitchen sink! The Bad Boys entered first, and as they walked out to the ring we bum rushed them! We didn't warn them at all, we wanted the reaction… Hahaha, we hit the two of them with everything and anything that we could. It was divine. Payback! Hahaha, revenge is a dish best served cold! I loved these guys, do not get me wrong; but putting them through those tables was one of the greatest feelings I ever felt! We won the match with a double pin, and the crowd ate it up! Yeah, to this day I have tried to get a hold of that match, but with no success! I'm sure it will surface one day when least expected!
10. You have a new comic book based on the Brimstone character - what can you tell me about it, and why should I buy it?
Yeah, The Borderhounds comic is currently in the works! I am extremely excited about it because I have always had a love for comics, and one of my career goals was to be portrayed in comic book form. The book actually has nothing to do with wrestling, except it is based on the actual "history" of the Brimstone character and Critical Mass. My long time friend Marcello Carnevali (Lord Clarence MacDougal) and I came up with the storyline, which is unlike anything you have ever read. We recruited our teammates Penciler Sajad J. Shah, the most talented artist in the world and our inker Allen "Vandal" Chickering who is utterly amazing! I can't wait for it to finally be completed. Honestly, I can say that everyone who has had a sneak preview of The Borderhounds is begging for more. I suppose that's a good sign? Feel free to check out www.theBORDERHOUNDS.com for more information.
11. Who is your favorite old school wrestler and why?
The Undertaker, hands down. He has been around forever and has never skipped a beat. I do not think anyone in the business gets as much respect as he does… his presence literally commands it. He has also tied the old school and the new school together seamlessly. He is just as popular now as he was back in the day. I consider it a major honor that I am compared to him on many occasions.
12. If you were stranded on an island and could pick any three people living or dead to be stranded with - who would you pick and why?
This is an easy question, my Fiancé, and my two children. They are quite simply, my life.
13. What does the future hold in store for Brimstone?
Right now I am taking things one day at a time, although I seem to be in demand. I'm enjoying myself being back in the public eye, and I am looking forward to seeing what new opportunities will arise. As for the future, I don't know what it holds, but I can't wait to see the story unfold in front of my eyes! So far, I have no complaints.