Lucha DS is a talented up and comer from PBW’s ranks. A guy who accentuated his strengths in life and moulded a wrestling persona out of those strengths. A dedicated student of the game who you should definitely be keeping an eye on, but with all that being said, the big thing I took from chatting to him was the answer to something I’ve always wondered but never really knows how to ask. A burning question you might call it. The thing I’ve always wondered is does wearing a mask when you wrestle not make it much more difficult? Why would you voluntary subject yourself to sweaty faced misery? After a few months the mask itself must be about 90% sweat 10% mask. Apparently it fucks with your depth perception which doesn’t sound ideal for doing a lot of jumping about, but this is the sacrifice of the Luchador. The dedication it takes to commit to that type of character and adopt its traditions. It is also the sacrifice for siblings of The Undertaker who have magically disappearing then re-appearing third degree burns on their face, but mostly luchadors. Lucha DS has had a cracking 2016 and tells us all about that, his philosophy on learning his craft, his philosophy on how good Liam Thomson is and many more philosophical things.
For anyone who might not know, tell us a bit about Lucha DS. What sets you apart from the rest?
I’d like to think I have a couple of things that make me stand out, apart from the obvious of being one of being one of a handful of people who work wearing a mask, which causes a lot of issues itself, like the fact I’m doing something really physical that puts me at risk of injury so why don’t I cover my face to not only impair my vision and depth perception but also restrict my breathing at times, not greatest idea but the mask is a fantastic part of the character and have to take the bad with the good parts to make it work.
I am very quick and agile and as nice as a flip can look, if you are just flipping for the sake of it then I may as well be on a trampoline, I think I am getting more experienced now with use of gymnastic ability to the point of making things work well in matches to tell a story, where the addition of the Lucha libre style can hopefully add to a match, a show and bring that bit of variety to the overall card.
You’re a PBW Academy trainee, and the most decorated student to come from their most recently opened Greenock school. I wanted to ask you how big a part PBW has played in your evolution from trainee to performer and how important them opening a school that was easy for you to get to was in you taking the leap of faith and giving this a go?
PBW give you all the tools you need to become a wrestler, you have to learn what they teach and not just moves but everything in between. The core of things everyone can learn but I feel the real strength of the academy has been that the coaches Kid Fite, TJ Rage and Gary Burns (who is my coach) teach the structure, timing and psychology of wrestling in a way that makes sense to me. The step between trainee to performer I feel is a role I haven’t went from one to the other I still feel I learn every single time I go to training or have a match on a show, I feel I have to take something from each match to work on to improve, I even have a journal where I have written every single match I’ve had and the feedback after matches I received and I read it all the time. The location of the school has been like winning a watch, being there from the beginning and working hard and the benefit of the small group numbers the first few weeks meant Gary was more intensive with that small core group. I am just glad that I went and tried it.
You’ve appeared on a couple of PBW’s Greenock shows. Most recently in a singles match with one of the top guys in Scotland, former ICW Champion Jack Jester. How much of a buzz has it been to be able to perform in front of such big crowds in a place that holds personal significance for you?
That match was amazing, the crowd were red hot for me and Jack Jester being his usual big, smug, evil gloating self-enjoying every single time he hit me, had the crowd eating right out his hand, working against the top guys is what we all want to do, it’s how you improve, watching how they work up close you can’t help but learn. It being in the Greenock town hall just made it so much more special, standing across from Jester and other big names is such a cool thing to do, doing it when you can see and hear all your friends and family cheering you on just made it more fun.
Who is your favourite opponent so far and is there anyone you’d love to get in the ring with but haven’t had the chance to yet.
Favourite opponents is hard and I know everyone always says it’s a hard pick because you don’t want to forget a name, but I have had a few guys who I enjoyed working for various reasons. Kid Fite who I have had three really good matches against now, is top drawer, TJ Rage was great to work against I love the big guy vs the little guy matches, and again he’s a powerhouse and I thought we matched up well.
Liam Thomson was a memorable match, at the start of the new year Mav (Gary Burns aka former Scottish wrestler Scott Maverick) asked us to set some goals for the new year we would like to achieve and the previous year I didn’t hit any of the three I wrote, then this year I had four written, one of which was, “have a match against Liam Thomson, ( I even tweeted about it in Feb/March) Liam was the PBW champion when I was a fan and on shows I always try to watch the other matches. Liam always has great matches, so thought why not put it down and by chance, I don’t tell anyone what I have written I turned up to do the All Star camps during the summer and got told I was working with Liam and the match itself was great. I told him afterwards that I had written it and he tried not to look weirded out about it at all ha ha ha and was very nice afterwards.
Right now Source, GPWA and PBW are crossing paths and getting talent involved from the schools which is amazing to see, and there loads of matches in there that would be interesting. I’ve had matches against CS Rose and Sam Barbour recently that were good, so many guys just now are killing it, being in with your pals is good fun too from Krieger and Lou King Sharp who are so funny it’s hard not to break, to the big name talents like Wolfgang and Joe Coffey who are killing it at the moment. Good thing is promoters pick who I get to wrestle so it’s out my hands.
Why do you love wrestling? What makes you willing to put up with the undoubted pain and suffering that it brings just for that 10-15 minute release when you’re actually out there performing?
It’s like no feeling in the world, standing at the curtain as you music starts and hearing your name get announced is the bit when the nerves reach boiling point then it go time, you get out to that crowd and do what you’ve trained to do. I try to enjoy every moment, to take it all in because that’s what makes the hours gym less shit, travelling for hours on end less tedious, being away from my wife and son on sometimes my only day off that week worth it, to perform in the ring, have my match, entertain the fans, win or lose that ten, fifteen minutes pass like seconds, it really does. Then you feel sore that night the next day and I’m already counting down the days until I get to do it again.
Who are your inspirations and main sources when it comes to learning your craft? Folk will be expecting answers like Rey Mysterio and the like so shock them all and tell them how you’ve closely studied the work of Adam Bomb and have essentially based your career on him.
I have loads of guys who I love to watch, just now I’m on a Jack Evans, Areostar binge, I watch a load of wrestling from everywhere, i just got a copy of Flash Morgan Webster s DVD to watch, he is such a unique character, I trained last year with Kris Travis and he said something that day that stuck with me, learn what you can from everyone take what you like from them and make it your own, I like to think like a DJ with music, I take what I learned like small samples of music and I just mix bits of this and that to hopefully make my own wee tune. Seminars are where you learn some golden stuff to take away and I try to attend as many as a can to learn from everyone who all got to differing places in the business by doing things there way. This year I done a four day seminar with Atsushi Aoki from all japan, and just on Sunday I was doing drills he taught me. I have a move that I do that the set up into it Big Damo drilled me on in a seminar he took before he headed to NXT. Inspiration can come from so many places with everywhere putting on top shows.
With the wrestling scene going through a boom period here and you being one of the many “new” talents looking to establish themselves, how do you plan on doing that and getting involved with a few other companies in the coming year?
I want to work more places in 2017 I had a great 2016, PBW giving me a real crack in some big shows, debuted for a few promotions such as Discovery and PWL, SSW giving me lots of opportunities to work almost every month for them last year.
I have a couple of Debuts lined up for the New Year, a diary that is looking busy.
I will do what I have done from starting out, be professional, work hard, make sure I’m working for the show and not myself, knowing where my match is on the card and trying to learn from every match, train just as hard and know what, be nice to folk, which isn’t hard to do. I don’t have an ego, everyone is all trying to reach the same goal, I want to be part of this business to have a career that I’m proud of, and make friends along the way.
What’s the best and worst thing about being a pro wrestler?
Best thing, is the wee things, a fan saying to you had a good match, a wee kid telling me I was their favourite on a show, a wee tweet from someone at a show I was on, who says how good the show was, but the best my wee boy walking in town and seeing daddy on a poster.
Worst thing, the day after a show, when you look and its maybe a week or two until you can do it again, it sucks real bad, I am such a grumpy bastard for the next few days and don’t hide it well.
Last but not least, tell us anything you want. Plug your social media. Tell us your favourite food from the region of Mexico your from. Anything you like.
I have a Facebook page that I appreciate a wee like on and a twitter that I plug any upcoming dates and appearances.
Come and check out the PBW academy if this is something you’ve ever wanted to do, come along and just watch a session see if it’s for you, there’s no pressure to have to get stuck right in. There are school in Greenock, Barrhead and Airdrie.
But most of all I just want to say thanks for reading this, fans who get out to shows and help this scene you guys are why we do it, and the reason we can do it, I am only getting started, so 2017 get out and see live wrestling.
If war games strategy is your thing, check out the recent episode myself Mav and Donnie T done for BBC it’s on iPlayer just now, Time Commanders.
And Merry Christmas
Thank you to the incomparable David J Wilson and Jamie Spaul for the accompanying images.