Joseph Bruen: Vlad thanks for joining us today man. Let us start from the beginning. Tell us about you`re childhood and your first memories of becoming a wrestling fan.
Vlad: My earliest memory of wrestling was watching WrestleMania 6. Hulk Hogan vs Ultimate Warrior blew my mind as a kid. As a matter of fact, I would watch that on VHS over and over again and never get tired of it. At the time, it was the greatest thing I've ever seen. I knew then that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.
Joseph Bruen: When did you decide you wanted to actually get involved in the wrestling business?
Vlad: I always knew I wanted to get involved and be in the ring but I never knew how I would do that. When you're a kid, all you care about is having fun with friends, watching cartoons, video games, and not having a care in the world! It wasn't until my senior year of High School where I had to really think about my future and made a decision to actively look for a place to go train.
Joseph Bruen: Who were you`re top 5 favorites growing up as a kid? Tell us a little about them and what put them at the top of the list for you.
Vlad: Wow, the Top 5 is tough. Top 3 is easy for me. I'm going with Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, and Triple H. The other 2 interchange all the time. Obviously it's all subjective but I'm a huge Mr. Perfect fan along with Steve Austin.
Shawn was/is probably the most well rounded gifted performer I've ever seen. His style is unique. He's not a "high flyer" per say but he did some things back then that others weren't doing. His sense of psychology is unreal. The guy literally broke his back in 98' and came back to be even BETTER than he was when he left! However, when you're a little kid, you don't know anything about ring rate and psychology. All you know is that someone is either awesome or they're not. Shawn was awesome! His gear, his style, his facial expressions, everything he did was pure perfection and as a kid you knew he was special.
Bret Hart was just so technically sound and so different from Shawn. I loved Bret because he always stood up for himself. You could tell he loved his fans. Anytime Bret would go out to ringside and give his glasses to a fan I would wish it was me! The Pink/Black attire is what attracted me to him. He looked like a star. He was amazing in the ring. And just like Shawn, you didn't know what made him special, but you knew he was.
As far as Triple H is concerned, I always thought he was awesome because he was from Greenwich, CT! There was no other reason when I was younger. I thought to myself "Sweet! This guy lives in the next town over from me. I'm going to cheer for him because that's awesome." It wasn't until I got older and realized why I did like him. From his transformation from Hunter Hearst Helmsley to DX Triple H to The Game he has been a constant in my life since 95'. He was a guy I looked up to. I actually bought his bodybuilding book which got me to get into the gym. As a big man, it's hard to drop weight but I've always kept his core principles from the book in my mind and tweaked it to benefit me more. I'm always still learning from Triple H and his mind for the business is unbelievable as you can clearly see with what's going on with NXT.
Mr. Perfect was just that. He was perfect. Can't say enough about him. And Steve Austin, I mean, come on. How can you NOT like Stone Cold?! The guy is legend.
Joseph Bruen: What is you`re favorite pro wrestling match of all time?
Vlad: I'd have to go with Shawn Michaels vs The Undertaker from WrestleMania 25. Quite possibly the best match I've ever witnessed. It goes to show that you don't need to do crazy flips and dives to tell a great story. Anyone who's in the business could learn from that match. If I had to show someone who never watched wrestling before a match, that would be it. Simply amazing.
Joseph Bruen: Tell us about you`re journey in the world of pro wrestling after getting involved in the Independent wrestling scene.
Vlad: My journey in the world of pro wrestling has been an interesting one. I started training in 2006 then had my 1st match in 2008. Since 2008 I've been able to share a locker room with some of the best in New England and the world. From AJ Styles, Kurt Angle, Homicide, Ron Simmons, Colt Cabana, Daniel Bryan, Matt Hardy, Jeff Hardy, Matt Taven, Michael Bennett, Slyck Wagner Brown, Frankie Arion, Brian Fury, Brian Anthony, and list goes on and on. I've been very fortunate to observe and listen to those who are better than me and who are all well respected by those who matter.
Joseph Bruen: Which promotions have you worked for and which places have you traveled?
Vlad: The 2 biggest ones I've worked for was the now defunct CTWE (Connecticut Wrestling Entertainment) and Northeast Wrestling. Those 2 companies have given me the platform to showcase my talent to a much larger scale. I wish CTWE was still around because that's the place I loved the most. However, all good things must come to an end. NEW has given me a tremendous opportunity that of which I'll never forget. I hope to make my presence felt there again sooner than later...
Joseph Bruen: What would you see yourself doing if you were never involved in wrestling?
Vlad: I get asked this question quite a few times and I always say the same thing. I'd most likely be involved in the entertainment field in some fashion. I like to make people laugh. I like to uplift people. I'm a positive person by nature. I love people. I think it's amazing how we're all so different and unique. So, something in entertainment would be where I could see myself. It's never out of the question if wrestling doesn't work out.
Joseph Bruen: Who has you`re favorite opponent been since you entered the world of wrestling?
Vlad: Oh man, I don't really have a favorite. A lot of them were special for different reasons. My series of matches with Frankie Arion were amazing. He's a guy who's style doesn't match mine at all. The fact that we were able to tell several stories through the course of what seemed like a year was real special to me. My bouts with Dan De Man have been amazing as well. The story of brothers, jealously, and a common cause will always work. Dan is extremely good at evoking an emotion out of people. Also, my matches with Slyck Wagner Brown were beneficial to me because I got to shut my mouth, learn, and listen. It's amazing what you can learn from being in the ring with someone who's been in the ring with guys like Samoa Joe, Eddie Edwards, Test, Jay Lethal, Bobby Fish, 2 Cold Scorpio, and so on. I once had a chance to wrestle Brian Anthony which was so much fun! People don't understand just how good that guy is. He's amazing. I don't think he gets the credit that he deserves from both the fans and himself.
Joseph Bruen: Tell us about some of you`re favorite moments in the wrestling world whether it`s as a fan or you`re direct involvement.
Vlad: I think sharing a locker room with Daniel Bryan right before he headed to WWE was very cool. He became CTWE Heavyweight Champion on the same night that Anthony Battle and I became the 1st ever CTWE Tag Team Champions. That was really cool to be a part of. I also had the opportunity to work security for Shawn Michaels up in Poughkeepsie, NY for an autograph signing that was presented by Northeast Wrestling and Collectors Realm. Shawn then talked to me and anyone who would listen about life and wrestling. It was kind of surreal. Nobody really has that chance and we got to do that. It was inspiring to say the least. Very sweet and humble guy. Not anything like the stories I've heard. One thing I took away from that day was when he told us "never judge someone based off of what you've heard, judge them based off of how they've interacted with you".
There have been many great moments in wrestling for me. It's amazing how much wrestling has helped and molded me into the person I am today.
Joseph Bruen: What would you say to someone aspiring to get involved in the wrestling business? What advice can you shed for them?
Vlad: I would say be smart. Know that this is the life you want. Do NOT let anyone dictate how you should live YOUR life. Wrestling is like any other thing in life. It requires your effort and hard work. "Hard work" doesn't necessarily mean physically hard. Things become "hard" because of self doubt, fear, and a lack of faith. Sure, it's hard. Do it anyway. Be stubborn. Be stupid. Be crazy. Make them scratch their heads and ask "why won't he/she just quit?" You won't quit because even though your rational mind doubts the validity of your dreams... something inside of you refuses to let go. Never let go, always dream.