I was wary of doing this interview a wee bit. Not because I didn’t think it would be good. Not because I worried that a cavalcade of hatred was gonnae come pouring out of Kennedys mouth/fingers when the answers came through. Not even because James R.Kennedy came up to me at a show, laughed heartily at my shiny baldy heid, while muttering “he not have thick hair, like good Turkish man” as he stoated away. Nah. It was none of that. The main reason I was wary of doing this interview is because James R.Kennedy is technically half responsible for Joe Hendry no longer being part of the ICW roster, and I’m pals with around 700 folk who aren’t very happy about that. When you think about it, I’m kinda risking my life in the name of journalism here. This is an interview that needed to happen, with a man who has a lot to say, so I’m risking being torn limb from limb by a stampede of greeting lassies for this, and I’ll be damned if its not a fuckin belter. Mr Kennedy. Mon in. Sit down. We’ve been expecting you…..
I think this is the first interview I’ve done with someone who’s not been a wrestler, so the old “How did you get into wrestling?” question is actually not filler for once. So aye. How did you get into the wrestling business and what made you pursue it as a career?
By being a cheeky, passionate wee bastard, basically! In late 2010, I was staying in a rubbish basement flat in the city centre, and it was a pretty rough winter. Virgin Media weren’t exactly being the most forthcoming with our new router, so I didn’t have wifi access. Instead, I’d go to the Mitchell Library to write articles, check emails etc.
One day, when checking Facebook, I saw Mark Dallas in the old ‘People You May Know’ bit. I’d been to a few Scottish shows, mainly SWA, and had always been interested in being a manager. Other companies hadn’t replied to me, but being a chancer, I added Dallas, and sent him a PM explaining what I wanted to do.
To my infinite surprise, he messaged me back, asking me to send him a promo video. So, I asked my sister to record a video, filmed a promo (which was terrible), sent it to him, he liked it, and he booked me! From there, I went to the PBW Academy, run by Ross Watson (Kid Fite), and learned how to bump, sell etc.
I think I’m quite unique, in the regard that I never wanted to be an actual in-ring wrestler, I’ve always wanted to be a manager, ever since I was a wee boy.
You’ve worked with two of the best young talents in Scotland this year in Kenny Williams and Joe Hendry. What do you see the future holding for them if they keep improving at the rate they are?
On the surface, Kenny Williams and Joe Hendry look like wildly different performers, but they actually have a lot more in common than people think. Both are driven, passionate individuals who are making waves because of that awesome mixture of talent, determination and not being afraid of failure.
As soon as I met both men, I knew I’d enjoy working with them, and I have. The sky better be ready to have a hole torn right through it, as it can’t possibly hope to be the limit for these guys. Having worked closely with them, there’s every chance of them fulfilling all their dreams in the wrestling business, it’s clear for all to see.
Really, I feel quite lucky to have been given the chance to work with them. It’s been a joy, gentlemen.
They also put on one of the most engaging matches of the year at the recent Spacebaws show, with Joe seemingly departing ICW. What does the future hold for James R.Kennedy now that the administration lacks a leading man?
There are some very exciting things coming up. ICW is rare, there are so many possibilities for what can happen – the company across the board is ever-changing, and that’s partly what makes it so dynamic and exciting.
The future for me is bright, and that’s not a promo line about wearing shades indoors or anything like that! I honestly feel I have so much more to give. Ideally, I’d like the chance to talk more, but that’s maybe a case of me grabbing the opportunity, and making it happen.
Without giving anything away, things are about to get very interesting for me. It sounds cliched to say, ‘watch and see’, but it really will be worth it. 2015 will see a different James R. Kennedy, and see what I’m truly capable of.
Being a non wrestler involved in the thick of the wrestling scene, has there ever been any opposition to your involvement?
I think there has. Maybe not openly, but there’s been a few occasions where I’ve felt a bit of resentment, perhaps even a little bit of outsider status. That could be down my own personality – I’m shy, which surprises a lot of people, and that can often come across as rude.
It’s obviously not meant as such, but it’s difficult to change who you really are. Also, because of the way I came into wrestling (I was booked before I’d even met anybody!), it turned a few heads. I think a few folks were expecting me to fall flat, but I’ve been preparing to be a manager my entire life, just the same as some of the top wrestlers have been preparing for what they do for a long, long time.
You play a big part in the ICW official magazine “Enter The ICW”, can you tell us a bit about that and its plans for the future?
The ICW Magazine has been a complete and utter pleasure to be involved in. Hand on heart, Scott Reid has been amazing to work with. Similar to yourself, as a writer you can spot straight away when someone has talent, and that dude has some serious talent. I feel a bit of kinship with him, because he kinda’ came out of nowhere too, but that’s a testament to his talent.
All the guys involved in it, Andrew Downs, Chris Renfrew, Scott and I are excited about where it’s going. We’ve had hiccups, but I think we put together a nice little read, which accompanies the wild action at ICW shows perfectly. It’s forever evolving, and about to get a whole lot bigger as a project. Bring it on!
The “You’re just a shite George Michael” patter has been happening at ICW since I first started going 2 years ago. Is it a case of “Its getting a bit old now” or are you happy to continually get a reaction from the fans?
There’s a bit of that, being happy to get that reaction, but everything in wrestling has a shelf-life. I love being a heel, but modern wrestling dictates that once fans catch on to something, there’s a good chance they can start to have a warped fondness for even the most obvious heels.
Somehow, through all the stuff with Kenny Williams and Joe Hendry, I never once got cheered. I pride myself on that, because it was a conscious effort to keep the boo boys booing. Whilst fans were warming to them, I kept myself firmly on the ‘bad guy’ side of the fence, and that’s where I’d love to stay.
One time, an ICW fan said he disagreed with the fans, and felt I was a ‘good George Michael’. That’s worse, time for a makeover.
Favourite wrestler of all time?
Bret Hart, no doubt. There isn’t one Hitman match that I can watch without being enthralled, he just has that ability. During work on my old wrestling radio show, MOS, I was fortunate enough to meet and interview the man, which was magic. I wouldn’t say I’m much of a starstruck person, but I’d be a liar if I said the wee boy inside me wasn’t buzzing over that one.
Other notable mentions would be Kurt Angle, Rick Rude, Sting (late-80’s/early-90’s era) and Shawn Michaels. I’ve always liked the smaller, workhorse style guys, rather than the big power dudes. Of course, I like them too, but I digress.
Favourite wrestler on the UK scene currently?
This may seem controversial, and I’m probably biased, but Scotland has a lot better talent at the moment than England. That wasn’t always the case, but I feel it’s true now. I’d have to say that it’s the same man it was when I broke in, Joe Coffey. He has that old-school, NWA look and style going on, which I’m very much a fan of.
A big shout out for Wolfgang too, I think he turned a lot of heads with his match against Fergal Devitt at ICW: Hadouken in September, 2012. For some reason, he’s consistently under-rated, despite having the best match on the card time and time again.
Favourite match? All time. Recent. Even both if you like.
Definitely a tie between two tremendous matches – Bret Hart vs. Razor Ramon for the WWF Title at Royal Rumble 1993, and Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker at Wrestlemania 25. WWE does drama like few others at ‘Mania, and Michaels vs. ‘Taker is a tremendous example of that.
As for the Hitman vs. Razor match, it’s just always been overlooked. More people should check out that match, along with their opening round effort from the King Of The Ring 1993.
Last but not least. Anything you want to tell us about, feel free. Or if you fancy using this platform to cut a promo on Christopher, feel free to do that as well. Where the fuck is he btw? Seemed to drop off the face of the earth.
This is where I choose to be a h0-bag, and pimp myself out. You can find me on Twitter @jambofish, or @topclasskennedy for James R. Kennedy. Also, check out the ICW website for all on the promotion and “Enter The ICW”. Finally, I write a lot for FSM (www.fightingspiritmagazine.co.uk) and WhatCulture (www.whatculture.com).
As for Christopher, I feel we’d run our course. That wasn’t the reasons for moving on, in all honesty, but it really is a story for him to tell someday, as it’s more of a personal one for him than me. I sincerely hope he’s happy, well and enjoying his life, with wrestling or without it. People deserve to be happy – wrestling makes me happy, but it’s not for everyone.
Usually when folk send me answers, theres at least some work to be done to make these interviews ready to put up. Jamie Kennedy sent me perfection though. This literally took me 5 minutes. And most of that was me writing the intro. Then this bit. And this bit. And this sentence….ach ye get the picture.
Cheers to Mr Kennedy for his stellar words, and his stellar heelyness. Enjoy him and his chest hair at aw the ICW shows. Enjoy his words in Enter The ICW, FSM and various other outlets. Enjoy his boaby if……well, I think he’s got a burd actually, but usually he’s DTF. I had a shot once back in the early 90s, and lets just say. Nexx were snapped.
Credit to David J Wilson for the photo