North Texas' Fiercest Indie Pro Wrestlers Chime In On WrestleMania 32.
We've already waxed poetically (and frequently) about what to expect from next month's Arlington-held WrestleMania 32, from the glut of injured superstars to the up-and-comers you need to know and how Jerry Jones will forcefully inject himself into the proceedings on wrestling's biggest night.
But if we're going to talk wrestling — and if you can't tell, yes, that is what we're doing here — then why not go straight to the source and talk to some pro wrestlers themselves? North Texas, after all, boasts quite the history in this realm and still remains home to countless independent wrestling promotions, each with rosters full of seasoned grapplers.
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So we thought we'd ask some of our favorite local tough guys their thoughts heading into WrestleMania 32, to find out what they anticipate when the event invades Jerry World and what their favorite moments are from WrestleManias past.
Dalton has 13 years of wrestling experience under his belt, and an appreciation for old-school techniques — he's been known to take out opponents with a piledriver. The son of wrestler Fred Dalton, Andy has taken his brutal talents all over the state, working with independent companies like Professional Championship Wrestling (PCW), Xtreme Championship Wrestling (XCW), Metroplex Wrestling (MPX), Inspire Pro Wrestling, River City Wrestling (RCW), North American Wrestling Allegiance (NAWA), VIP Wrestling and multiple NWA affiliates. He's held a number of titles, including the Inspire Pro Championship, NWA BOW Cruiserweight Title, NWA Texoma Texas Title, VIP Championship, NAWA Tag Team Championship, and NWA Elite Championship Wrestling Title. You can watch him in action Friday, March 4, in Fort Worth at VIP-X, teaming with Moonshine Mantell against ROH Tag Team Champion Ray Rowe and a mystery partner.
What are your thoughts heading into this year's WrestleMania? This year's WrestleMania should be interesting, mainly because a lot of the top stars are injured. I look forward to seeing who steps up and what matches are going to happen.
What match would you most like to see this year? I was really hoping for a John Cena versus Undertaker match. Badly! But with Cena being injured… I'm up in the air on a particular match.
Haiden has been involved in wrestling for just over nine years, clobbering unfortunate opponents with his 12-gauge running lariat. He's built up a formidable resume by wrestling with a number of companies, including MPX, VIP Wrestling, Iconic Heroes of Wrestling Excellence (IHWE), and PCW just in the DFW area. He's also worked with League of Lions Wrestling and North Texas Wrestling Alliance (NTWA). He's been the MPX Champion, and the MPX Prospect Champion. Want to see him for yourself? Check out the joint event between IHWE and NWA, the Parade of Champions event at the Ridglea Theatre on March 31.
What are your thoughts heading into this year's WrestleMania? If anything, I'm interested to see how they're going to pull this year's event off. With so many guys being injured, and WWE wanting to make WrestleMania 32 one of if not the biggest WrestleMania in history, I'm very intrigued to see where they go. Some matches seem kind of obvious right now, but we've had curve balls thrown at us before. Vince McMahon is a genius. And if anyone can pull off a card to get 95,000-plus into AT&T Stadium, it's him.
What's your favorite WrestleMania moment? I actually have two. Both have to do with The Undertaker, and I was in the crowd for each of them. The first was WrestleMania 25 in Houston, where I watched Undertaker and Shawn Michaels have what I still think is one of the best 'Mania matches ever. The second was WrestleMania 30 in New Orleans, where the Undertaker's streak ended. It felt like all the air was sucked out of that building at once. You could hear a pin drop. It was probably the biggest WrestleMania moment, and I got to see it in person.
If you could wrestle one person at WrestleMania 32, who would it be? Stone Cold Steve Austin. I grew up an Attitude Era kid — the Attitude Era was a period of WWE in the late 1990s-early 2000s known for more mature storytelling, and violent matches — and he was my favorite wrestler growing up. And to work with a legend like him, in Texas, and in front of 95,000 people, that would be a dream come true.
Hawk has seven years of experience, and during that time he's had the opportunity to work with one of his all-time favorite performers, the iconic WWE Superstar Tatanka. He tends to finish opponents with trademark moves like the Dream Catcher, the Scalper and the Paleface Pulverizer. He's been the RCW International Champion, the Total Championship Wrestling (TCW) Television Champion, and the MPX Prospect Champion. He's worked with Metroplex Wrestling, IHWE, Anarchy Championship Wrestling, Inspire Pro Wrestling, River City Wrestling, Total Championship Wrestling, Texas Heat Wrestling and Territory League Wrestling. You can check him out on the weekend of April 1-3 in Arlington, Texas, where he'll be part of the Trifecta Tour, which finds Territory League Wrestling and Knokx Pro Entertainment co-hosting an event from 1 to 4 p.m. with The Samoan Dynasty, including WWE Hall of Fame member Rikishi Fatu.
What's your favorite WrestleMania moment? My favorite moment would have to be when Sting faced Triple H at last year's WrestleMania. It wound up being DX vs NWO, and I completely lost it once those two groups joined the match.
If you could wrestle one person at WrestleMania 32, who would it be? AJ Styles, hands down. He and Tatanka have been on my bucket list of wrestlers to work with. In November of 2015, I got the honor to work in a tag team with Tatanka, so that's off the list. So now I want it to be The Phenomenal One versus The Bird of Prey.
Davis introduced himself as someone who's been involved with pro wrestling to the point that he's “done just about everything except be a full-time wrestler.” Between that line and the impressive white suit in his picture, I couldn't pass up a chance to talk to him. Davis first got involved with wrestling about 13 years ago and, despite the occasional break from the business, he's been a feature for several organizations, working with PCW, MPX, VIP Wrestling, New Age Wrestling, IHWE, Wrecking Ball Wrestling, Victory Crown Championship Wrestling, Total Texas Wrestling (TTW) and Full Effect Wrestling during that span. He's a solid go-to when you want insights from a guy who's been an integral part of the peripheral aspects of professional wrestling.
What are your thoughts on this year's WrestleMania? I am naturally excited about WrestleMania every year, and with it being in my hometown of Arlington, I'm even more excited for the shorter travel. Much like the Super Bowl or World Series, it's a culmination of the best performers coming together for one show. Unfortunately, injuries have hampered many of the featured guys, but the depth should shine once April rolls around.
What's your favorite WrestleMania moment? I was in attendance in Houston for the legendary Shawn Michaels and Undertaker match at WrestleMania 25, so that will always be a personal favorite. An honorable mention would be the ringside commentary for WrestleMania 8 — Bobby Heenan and Gorilla Monsoon were on full display that night.