Lucha Underground’s, play by play commentator Matt Striker recently took some time to participate in an interview with Marc Madison of The News Hub Striker revealed his passion for wrestling, hockey, his time with the WWE and his early time with NXT. He discusses his time on the independent scene, what working in Lucha Underground has provided him the opportunity to do and what he has gained from that opportunity. Check out highlights of the interview below and the entire interview here
Working with Jim Ross for NJPW:
..When we got to Tokyo, we sat very quickly with the people from New Japan and their only direction to me was we want people who have never seen this before, we need you to educate the new fan so that’s what I did. I went out and I tried to and I went out and tried to explain this style and these wrestlers to the new fan. Then social media just, came out in droves with annoyance and utter hatred for me but I always like to talk to those fans and say I wasn’t commentating to you on that night. I was commentating to the new fan and sometimes it leaves a bad taste in their mouth that we want a 10 year old kid to know who Nakamura is but in this day and age, that’s where the money is.
I mean, when I was a kid I was the same way when people started knowing who Hulk Hogan and the Masked Superstar was I felt offended because in my own selfish narcissism I thought wrestling is mine. This is my little thing, you can’t know who that is. I understand the venom that comes from the fans. But that was the objective to educate the new fan, the first time fan and there were points in that show especially the last three matches where JR was nice enough to kind of let me drive the ship and for him to say kid, go on out there the Paul Brown giving Bill Landry analogy but that was really nice the great, the veteran the hall of famer, the voice Jim Ross literally with his hands said go, go, you do the thing. So during the Nakamura match and the Okada matches pardon the term, I’m losing my sh** because I’m dancing the fine line between fanboy and wrestler and I don’t dance that line well because I’m always going to be a fan.
His passion for Professional Hockey:
That’s a great question, I don’t normally get asked that. I was on the trajectory in my mind to go play in the NHL. I got as far as apple cores and did some tournaments up in Medicine Hat (Alberta) and Sue-Saint-Marie (Ontario) but being a kid from New York and unless your last name is Mullen it’s hard to really find to many opportunities so I didn’t have a lot of the same facilities and practice and I’ll be honest talent that some of these other kids had so as we went to play these tournaments up in Canada I was 18,19, 20 years old and these kids were 16 and just flying past me so my father said ‘listen get your degree because if this dream doesn’t happen you never know’.
Little did I know that the divine winds would blow and a teaching degree would lead me to my ultimate dream which was wrestling. I still play (hockey) and I play in a league once a night on Thursday’s and I’m an avid fantasy hockey players and very deep into the league. I love it. It’s a great game. I think between my love of hockey and my love of Rush I’d say I’m an honorary Canadian.
Training under Johnny Rodz:
I always look back on this long strange trip and now hindsight is always 20/20 and you realize why you went through the things. But at the time, I walked into Johnny Rodz it was still a closed brotherhood they didn’t just let anyone in. So for the first say three months they literally beat me up and I didn’t know any better. My first month in I had torn tendons in my right ankle. I had cracked ribs, I had busted noses, eyes and then finally for a while they were alright. Now we’ll show you a trick or two and we’ll let you in on a little secret here and there so it was a great initiation because it prepared me for so many of the things that were to come. I loved it. It was a labor of love. I was there when they opened and when Luis the janitor mopping up at night shutting off the lights, he would say come on time to go. I was just enamored with the whole entire to do.
I didn’t know you could become a wrestler. I thought you were just born a Harley Race. I had no idea that you could go and learn this and I was working out in a gym in New York and I saw another guy wearing a wrestling t-shirt and this was before prowrestlingtees.com and everyone having a t-shirt so you’re drawn to it. Hey wrestling? I like wrestling too. A few days later that friend brought in a great crude print out when the internet was in its infancy. The third name down on the list of on the name of wrestling schools was Johnny Rodz. I was hey, I know that name. I went and I remember I drove past the place three times before I ever found the courage to go in. From there, again they didn’t just let anyone in, in that they didn’t want to just pull the curtain back and expose everything to everyone. So it was walking in with a handling of tender feet but that’s how I stumbled upon Johnny Rodz and again if not for the divine wind.
Tags: Jim Ross, Matt Striker, njpw