Having recently completed one of the best years in the company's relatively short history, What Culture Pro Wrestling appears to be breaking fresh ground again. With a number of notable personalities havibg departed the company is going to redefine itself. So, on December 4th, WCPW will become "Defiant Wrestling".
What we know already is that Stu Bennett (formerly Wade Barrett) is the new General Manager and will open the first show under the new banner. That event will be live from the O2 Academy Newcastle (tickets here).
What we don't know about Defiant yet is whether it will bring back the hugely successful 'Pro Wrestling World Cup'. One of the talented stars who impressed throughout that World Cup is 'Speedball' Mike Bailey. This plucky young Canadian is creating a very good name for himself, the world over, as one to watch. Perhaps you'll see him return to Defiant. Only time will tell. For now, read all about the wondrous 'Speedball' Mike Bailey!
This is not your first visit to the UK, what's your perspective on the scene?
Man, Im sure everyone has been saying how great it is, right? That's the obvious answer.
..So you're going to give us the opposite one...?
I mean, it's pretty undeniable. Clearly, having shows all week. What's going on at WCPW and so many other promotions. I've done RevPro, Preston City and there's a couple of others.
Can you tell us about 'Speedball' Mike Bailey, for those that haven't met you? What are the origins of your character?
Yeah, there's no character. It's just me. I started martial arts when I was really young. Tae Kwando. I'm a 4th degree black belt right now. I couldn't just not have it be my wrestling persona as well because it really shapes who I am. What you learn in martial arts - discipline, to be respectful and keep calm in certain situations - that's how I wrestle.
What got you into wrestling?
I was into wrestling before I started martial arts. I saw Kane try to set 'The Brood' on fire on Raw in 1997 and thought 'Wow, I've got to get into this'. I started martial arts a couple of years later, I actually had it in the back of my mind: 'Oh, when I start pro-wrestling this is going to be good!'. Of course, I got more into Tae Kwando because I couldn't do pro-wrestling - and it got put to the side. I started wrestling again and it made sense.
Aleister Black, Ken Shamrock, Steve Blackman... Are you surprised there haven't been more wrestlers bringing martial arts into wrestling?
Yes, I am surprised but it's a thing that is happening more. You see a lot of Mixed Martial Artists doing it now. I think people are starting to realise that there's actual money to be made from pro-wrestling in that sense and so I think that's going to bring a lot of, not just martial artists, accomplished athletes from other sports to pro-wrestling. Just five years ago, people who were champions of other sports or stuntmen might have received a WWE try-out but if not, they'd have been best sticking to their other thing because there wasn't any real money to be made in wrestling. Now, things can happen relatively quickly if you already have a huge talent, like some of the guys coming in from MMA. I'm hoping we'll see more of that. More world champions, more demonstration martial artists, who do board braking and forms and that kind of thing. I'd like to see a lot of those guys wrestling. Are you familiar with tricking? Where guys do what looks like gymnastics? It's a lot of flips and kicks and is martial arts centric. That has evolved so much in the last several years and there's guys now who can do some crazy stuff, just in terms of the simple tricks. A double back-flip is not really a thing anyone did way back then, other than in gymnastics but now people in tricking are doing it. I would like to see some of those guys come to pro-wrestling because there's some amazing things to be done there.
You represented Canada in WCPW's Pro Wrestling World Cup 2017. Is that ambassadorial role something you embrace?
Of course. Anything that would help people realise that there's really good wrestling in Canada. Right now, Canada feels like its maybe three years behind where the UK is and I hope it follows suit and opens up to the rest of the world more. I remember when I started wrestling, ten-ish years ago. Even if it was close - Philadelphia is a drive-able distance from Montreal and Toronto - you would never have a wrestler come down. Christopher Daniels came to wrestle Kevin Steen (now Owens) in 2006 and that was a huge deal. The first time a real American wrestler came to Canada.
Hold on, there's the Harts, Christian, Eric Young... so many Canadian greats?
Its gotten better now and I think there was probably a phase way before, in the early 90s, I'm guessing, when it was still a territory that people wanted to make money at. Now it's not really anymore, especially not in the middle parts. There is wrestling going on there but not enough people know about it.
Well, you're certainly one Canadian who is building a name and respect in the industry. Are you speaking with Ring of Honor, New Japan, others?
No. Right now I'm working for DDT in Japan and I'm really, really happy there. They are a company that just keeps growing at a rapid rate, for obvious reasons - because everyone there is completely insane! I get disappointed at wrestling in general because I think its boxed-in too much. There isn't enough being done with the art-form of pro-wrestling as there should be. Whereas I think DDT is doing a lot of different things and doing them a lot more. So, I wrestled at a camping ground and at previous shows at the same venue they've had people fighting in Kayaks, shooting fireworks at each other, running over each other with cars and jumping off trees. I look forward to that. I think that's what wrestling should be, honestly. I don't think it should only be done in a ring. Wrestling is good enough and pro-wrestlers are good enough to do it anywhere and make it awesome.
Did you hold the DDT Heavymetalweight Championship?
Well, I don't know who holds it right now but while I was there it was held by everyone in the company. Everyone not in the company. A chicken...a table was the champion for a while! I think another belt won the belt. Its great!
No doubt Mike Bailey will be picking up many titles in the coming months and years. Follow Bailey on Twitter here - he says to contact him about anything, he likes talking to people - and make sure to follow Defiant as it makes a name for itself!