It's difficult to fathom a happier start to the New Year than UK wrestling fans have had. A WWE UK tournament? Check, A UK Championship? Check. Independent promotions setting the bar ever higher? Check. And to find one of those bar-raising companies in 2017 look no further than the indefatigable What Culture Pro Wrestling (WCPW). Not content with selling out shows with thousands of fans in 2016, they are continuing their UK takeover this year with shows in Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle, in Milton Keynes, London, Leicester and yes, for those going to Wrestlemania WCPW will be hitting Orlando!! Its an export/import relationship though as amongst the international talent WCPW has visiting these shores is the returning Bully Ray and Alberto El Patron (Del Rio), the one and only Kurt Angle and indie king Ricochet.
In advance of WCPW's last London show we talked to top draw Joseph Conners, since that time Conners has been picked to compete for WWE's UK tournament (and won't be on their forthcoming shows) so do keep that in mind when reading. What this has proved for us is that WCPW quite clearly have an eye for talent so make certain to get yourself along to their shows, a list of which can be found here and follows this article. Follow them on Twitter for further updates. For now, read more about the righteous one, Joseph Conners.
For people who aren't familiar with UK scene, can you tell us about Joseph Conners and the development of your character?
I've been doing this for ten years now and I'd say I've been on quite a journey. I was primarily known for some time as a tag-team wrestler with Paul Malen in an act called the Predators. Then eventually we split and went into singles careers and that's when I think I really began to find my feet. I've been known as 'The Righteous' in Southside and other promotions. That character, it sounds almost clichéd but it's a cold, disturbed man at times. I've now taken similar characteristics from that and brought it into What Culture. I've been on quite a journey and I'm excited to see where it's going to take me next.
How did the relationship with What Culture begin and how has it evolved?
As a professional wrestler you get contacted by organisations all over the country and sometimes in Europe. I thought it was another of those bookings. I didn't quite understand the magnitude of what I was getting involved in. I think I'd come across some of the WhatCulture videos scrolling through YouTube but I didnt know everything about them. Then I saw a few people who were on the roster for these shows and asked about it and it began to sink in, what the viewership is like and what we were getting involved with - that this has some real potential. When the first show aired, Twitter and social media blew up for me with it and I started to realise the scope. Its building momentum and hopefully it keeps going that way.
How has the wrestling scene changed since you started?
For me, it's changed a lot. When I was getting trained there wasn't really anybody in the training school I was a part of that had been to many places. The most experienced guy that was being trained was probably a year ahead of me. So there wasn't anybody nurturing me other than my trainer and even he now would have had a lot less experience than I've got in the industry. It was hard to find gear, supplies and so on. I loved it, every show was like a wrestlemania to me back then. If I got 100 for an audience that was a big crowd and if you go to British shows at the moment they're packed out and there's so much going on. It's changed now, social media is huge. There was no Twitter when I started and less connection to the audience. Now you pick your phone up and there's so many shows and people coming and going, it's huge.
Is your goal to make it to the WWE?
When I got into this I said I don't want a glass ceiling on my career. I wanted to take this as far as it could go. I've been involved in the extra work side of WWE, so I've had a very small taste of how that operates. To a wrestling fan, that's like a kid being at disneyland, getting to see that and getting to be a part of the machine. Of course, if those opportunities were afforded me, I'd be silly not to want to explore them. At the minute, there's so much good stuff going on for me, especially WCPW, I'm looking to see where I can take it. I look at this as a ride and if you stick on it, it will take you a lot of places you might not expect and who knows where it might take me? I'm excited to see.
Do you see yourself as settled in the singles main event picture or might you return to tag wrestling?
I think you have to stay versatile because sometimes there might not be a spot for the heavyweight guy. They might be looking for you to go into a tag team. Look at someone who played a role in my career, a Rockstar Spud for example. He's very adaptable. He can be that young, plucky babyface or that arrogant rockstar or whatever character they want him to play. I like to think I can adapt to who I'm in the ring with and adapt to their move set. So I'm not against anything within reason, so long as it makes sense and people are going to get their money's worth.
Will we see a righteous stable in WCPW?
Maybe. I think with What Culture I'm seeing where the character takes me. I've not labelled myself as "the righteous". I'd like to try new things. If I feel something is getting stagnant or needs refreshing, I have the opportunity here to do it differently. Not only are you getting an audience who may have seen me in other promotions, you're getting an audience that may never have seen Joseph Conners before and are watching on Youtube. So I have to make the best presentation of myself and look at what I've done in this promotion and think through "how would I act? Whats my psyche? Whats my mind going in?" At the moment I'm just playing Joseph Conners but with an edge and seeing where that takes me. If some followers want to join my side... you never know! but Im doing alright as the lone man at the moment.
For more on WCPW make sure to see their website at WC.PW
Catch WCPW live at:
Manchester - 6 January
Newcastler - 7 January
Milton Keynes - 12 February
Leicester - 12 February
London - 13 March
Orlando - 1 April