Marco Di Fiore and Steve “Justice” Walker were 2 of the top rising stars in BRAWL, But no longer had 2002 come in had Marco and Justice left, and took with them the BRAWL website. Suddenly everyone wanted to know what was the cause of these two stars leaving the promotion they had both worked so hard for. Today I bring you one of the most compelling interviews I have ever done. This interview is about lies and deceit, and about two men who struggled through politics. Today I present you with the full exclusive story of Marco Di Fiore and Steve “Justice” Walker.
First off I would like to welcome you both to Talk Warestling Online / Wrestling101
Justice: Thank you, I appreciate the opportunity
Lets get straight to the question a lot of fans are asking themselves, and that’s why did you both leave BRAWL?
Justice: I left BRAWL for a number of reasons, it’s a bit of a long story so brace yourselves. It started just after BRAWL’s first super show When Worlds Collide, myself and Chris Peacock had been talking for a while before hand about him leaving and him signing over his half of BRAWL to me. I was obviously up for the idea but there was one problem, and that was Jem Brown the Co owner of BRAWL. Now although Jem is a nice bloke a lot of people feel that he isn’t really management material, including myself and Chris, so the plan was for me to take over Chris’s duties “temporarily” while he took some time off, but in reality he was just going to leave altogether.
In the mean time I was supposed to hoist Jem out and eventually Chris coming back taking Jem’s half thus leaving me and Chris the co owners of BRAWL. At the time I didn’t have a problem with it, but when the time came for me to take over Chris’s role, he had a change of heart and decided he would be coming back after a couple of months. Now at the time BRAWL was in a financial trouble plus there were a few problems that needed sorting after WWC, and after a discussion with some close friends it became apparent that all Chris wanted me to do was sort out his problems and do his dirty work while he just sat back and done f’all. This pissed me off tremendously so I rang him and told him that I no longer wanted to take over his role as co owner of BRAWL temporarily or otherwise. I also felt guilty of the Jem situation, 1 because it shouldn’t have been my job to get him out, it should have been Chris’s, and 2 because I wouldn’t of liked the same thing to have happened to me.
After Chris came back there was obviously tension between us but it seemed to have calmed down after a few weeks. Now, when Chris came back he decided to set up a plan to start paying wrestlers as of the next show which was about a month or so away, we thought great because in the 18 months we were there we hadn’t been paid a penny. Now a week or so before the show I decided to stop going to BRAWL training because I wasn’t getting anything out of it, there was too much jumping off boxes and doing what you wanted as opposed to actually getting trained or shown how to do certain moves, but I also decided that I would still like to work the shows so a few days before the show I approached Chris and asked him how much I was getting paid for the show, and he said nothing, I asked him why and he said that no one apart from outside workers are getting paid for the show. I brought up the fact that he said starting from the next show everyone will be paid and he outright denied it and he said starting from next year everyone will be paid even though several people were there when he said it. So I said to him you either pay me for the show or I’m not doing it, at the time I was one half of the BRAWL Tag Team Champions so he stripped me of the title and I decided to leave.
When I got into work the next day I went straight onto the net and posted my thoughts and the reasons I left BRAWL, I went to watch the show on the Saturday and I was kicked out by Chris. This infuriated me because of all the hard work I had put into BRAWL i.e. posters, advertising, helping at training, I got BRAWL a grant for £1000 plus a number of other things, I basically said bollocks to the whole thing and myself and Marco Di Fiore eventually set up UPW.
Marco: Personally I felt let down, but you live and learn. I’m not really sure to be quite honest how I ended up leaving. I suppose I felt that over the past 2 years, the ‘real’ BRAWL workers, especially those at the top end of the roster had put more effort into making BRAWL a success than the management. I suppose I didn’t think things were going anywhere. I suppose I didn’t feel the management could take us anywhere. People really cared about BRAWL, but it didn’t seem to care about them. I really cared about BRAWL but in the end, I don’t think it didn’t care about me! Maybe that’s selfish, I don’t know….
UPW may be a new promotion, we are certainly not new to this business and the effort we expended trying to drag BRAWL into something respectable will now be placed into UPW. I know we can do it.
Chris Peacock & Jem Brown run BRAWL, are you still friends with them or is it a no go area?
Justice: If I passed them in the street I would say hello but were by no means best buddies. Chris was a good friend of mine but because of the things I just mentioned I don’t really want to be associated with anyone like that.
Did you ever sit down with the owners of BRAWL and discuss your problems with the group, and if so did they go about making any changes to please you?
Justice: Things were always said by many people but the problem is Jem is enthusiastic and tries hard but he just doesn’t have the knowledge to make anything of it and Chris is the opposite, he has good ideas and knows what he is talking about but he is extremely lazy. It’s not a very good combination.
Marco: Things were said on a number of occasions. We sat down and talked to Chris about our fears but Chris is very closed-minded. He may ask for opinion but at the end of the day there is no compromise to his view.
Ever see yourselves going back to BRAWL?
Justice: I would work their shows if they paid me but I don’t see it happening. If I were to leave UPW training to go back to BRAWL training it would be like leaving university to go back to infant school. I know that sounds harsh but that’s exactly what it feels like, there’s no commitment to training at BRAWL, at least when I was there anyway. There was a lot of running around and doing what you like.
Marco: No, I would be slightly hypocritical if I did. To me it’s not about the money, the money comes second. I wrestle because I enjoy it, if I didn’t I wouldn’t do it and I’d find something else to drive me. At this moment in time I couldn’t possibly wrestle at BRAWL there’s too much bad feeling from their behalf. They feel ‘let down’. I can’t see how that will change!
Moving away BRAWL, lets talk about your brand new promotions UPW, could you tell us a little about the promotion and your first shows?
Justice: The promotion started around November last year when we were just doing weekly advanced training sessions for anyone else who wanted extra training. It was also a good way to see how many people were more interested in actual wrestling training as opposed to jumping off boxes, as it turns out there were only 5 or so, and there the same 5 or so that continue to come to our training every week. We haven’t gained any more but we have heard that there are a couple of BRAWL trainees who want to come along but are too afraid of the repercussions from BRAWL management, which is a shame. However, we decided to launch our new promotion with the opening of our website on the 1st of Jan this year and since then we have come quite far. We have acquired Scott Mackenzie as our head trainer as he has just come back from a 3 month stint in the states training with C W Anderson so we feel he is the best person for the job. We are also in the middle of acquiring new training facilities, and once that’s sorted it’s steady sailing until show time. We have a few links with other wrestling promotions in the UK as well as the USA.
Marco: We’re in a good position at the moment, our outgoings do not exceed our income. We can afford to focus on a set few, to set the standard for future trainees to follow. Its like if you want it, then you have to prove you do. Particularly at BRAWL as trainees got it too easy, personally I believe that sets a bad image for the business.
What areas will you be promoting in?
Justice: To start with we will be promoting locally and if everything goes well then we will start spreading our wings a bit more. We are just taking things steady so we don’t make any major mistakes; I think first things first is to make a good name for ourselves.
Marco: We are concentrating on the standard of our shows. We would rather have 4 excellent shows a year than 12 mediocre ones, I’m not saying that that’s the amount of shows we will be promoting a year, I’m just simply saying that we are looking at quality more than quantity.
Which wrestlers will be featured on the UPW shows?
Justice: Myself, Marco and Great Scot obviously, as well as Kobayashi, Pyro, Ace Anderson, Omega and “The One Time Deal” Tom Steel who are all regular UPW trainee’s. We are also looking at talent in the states; we won’t mention who as nothing has been set in stone yet, and no doubt talent from the UK also.
Marco: We have been in touch with some old friends. The Hirst & Barefist, who are currently training up north are interested in working for us. We have also added Andy Hogg to our affiliated roster who, is a great old school wrestler. We have close ties within the PWA roster also. Its no secret that Scott McKenzie was trained by CW Anderson, hopefully we should be seeing him very shortly. We also been approached as Justice has mentioned, by some other quality performers based in the states.
Now you were both on the Scottish Championship Wrestling show last week. Justice you were booked against Iceman, how did that go?
It went a lot better than I expected. I had very little contact with Iceman before the show although I did manage to get a tape of him before hand so I could see what I was up against. We were the second match on the card and we certainly got the crowd going. I think I play my character very well and I always seem to get the crowd behind my opponent(s) before they even step into the ring. In fact I have been given a nickname from the boys in the locker room, I’m known as the “Heat Machine”. I can’t think of a better compliment. Anyway, the match in it self was nothing but an outright brawl. We started the match with basic tie-ups and then just went crazy. We were lacking in weapons so we had to improvise with what was available which basically consisted of bins and ring tools. I got my face cut open after Iceman smashed one of the bins over my head, it literally exploded on impact. I had fun; there was good psychology in the match.
Same question to Marco Di Fiore, you took on The Great Scot, how did that go?
I have to hand it to Kenny Morrison at SCW, he did a superb job. Especially considering he was let down at the last min (in my opinion) by so many people. Everyone pulled together and produced a show that perhaps excelled what it should of. It reminded me of BRAWL in the early days. Everyone wrestled their asses off, and sent the crowd home with something to remember. It was good to meet up with The Hirst and Barefist also. I can’t wait to return to Scotland.
There has been a lot of talk about my match up with Scott McKenzie. It seemed to get over well. To be fair, there couldn’t of really been a better place to debut as a heel especially considering my opponent. I have to give an enormous amount of praise to Scott McKenzie. He has always had potential, but since his trip to the states he has excelled. He has reached a standard to compete and match anyone in this country, for real. I just feel happy I was able to ride it and throw in a few things of my own as well. I’ve learnt to slow down a little and showed in the quality of my own personal performance. My execution has greatly improved, and in doing so greatly enhanced the psychology of my matches. I have a great deal to thank Scott for. He pushed me to my best match to date.
Are there any more appearances your scheduled to make, and if so what shows are they?
Justice: We have been approached by PWA and we recently had an e-mail from Andy Hogg about a show in Blackpool so we’ll see how that goes. Were also regulars on the HCW shows so we’ll see what happens with them also. Also I got in contact with Iceman last week about starting something with the fed he is associated with, BXW, I’m looking forward to a bit of payback.
Marco: We have been contacted by a couple of BRAWL wrestlers about a show they want to run sometime this year called Attitude Championship Wrestling, we’ll see what happens with that.
How long have you both been in the pro wrestling business, and where were you both trained and who by?
Justice: I started wrestling in 1997, I was trained by Jack Taylor in Leicester for a couple of months, worked a show with John Canon (that was an experience, anyone who has heard of John or has seen him wrestle will know what I’m talking about) and then left because traveling was beginning to be a problem. I then heard about BRAWL in the spring of 2000 and was trained by Jem and Chris for about 3 months and then we trained ourselves and each other after that. I had 1 training session with C W Anderson when he was over here and now I’m being trained by one of his students. I can honestly say I have learnt more in the past month then in all my years of being trained, and it isn’t easy.
Marco: I’ve competed in Martial arts for over 10 years now. I’ve studied Shotokan Karate, Kenpo Jitsu. It was during my early Ju jitsu training where I first came into physical contact with the grappling game. It was here where I learnt the basic art, which has stayed with me throughout training, no matter what my style. On joining BRAWL in early 2000, I was initially trained by ‘Detox’ Mike and Chris Peacock. Although I had been a fan of Pro wrestling all my life I was about to find out how real it was. I can remember being repeatedly drilled onto a thin layer of matting, for probably about a month. I would walk away feeling beaten up, but I would always come back. Since then I’ve become an instructor in KO.B.O and also Combat Sombo. As far as Pro wrestling goes, I am currently trained by Scott McKenzie.
During your careers have there been any serious injuries?
Justice: I have had a couple of joint problems with my elbow and my knees, I also seriously sprained my ankle last year when I was back body dropped over the top rope and landed awkwardly. I have had my nose broken twice, the first time was my first match under the BRAWL banner in a Rumble match, I was thrown over the top rope and got my arms caught in the ropes and my face came crashing down onto the apron. The second time was in a TLC match with Marco when he punched it, kicked it, impaled it and placed a chair over my face and guillotine leg dropped it. They were all accidents so there’s no hard feelings.
Marco: Nothing to serious. I think the biggest problem is conditioning your body. In the early days I used to regularly get niggly injuries, but they cleared up because I changed the way I trained. It’s all about toughening up. I ripped my lower back muscles at an FWA midlands show against Chris Peacock. I was power bombed off the top. Chris came right down on top of me. I was out for nearly 3 months. That’s about the worst I’ve had dealt with. I’ve cracked ribs, had concussions, broken minor bones… The fun soon wore off. Yeah your going to get injured wrestling, its something you have to except. But you shouldn’t wrestle to get messed up. Theirs something Seriously wrong with that!! I wrestle to stay fit and health, in fact its one of the greatest methods I’ve found to do that.
Any good stories you can share with us from your wrestling careers?
Justice: I think the stories we could tell should be kept under wraps. Although Scott convinced Marco a haggis is a real animal on our way up to Scotland last week. Sorry Marco, it’s too funny not to mention.
The wrestling industry in this country is starting to get a lot of attention just recently, last Saturday was Revival which featured Eddy Guererro along with Doug Williams & Jody Fleisch, now the show will be broadcast on Bravo on March 3rd. Do you see British wrestling once again making its way to the television screens on a full time basis?
Justice: I can’t see why not, if it’s marketed right and has enough financial backing then it can be done. Half of the problem is that most of the wrestling fans in the UK only know talent from the WWF and it’s a shame we have to rely on them to draw a crowd. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to bring them over because most people don’t have a chance to watch them live but it’s going to take time before names like Jody Fleisch and Doug Williams become well known with the wrestling’s fans in the UK who are not associated with British wrestling. With Doug Williams, Alex Shane and Johnny Storm appearing in the PS 50, it has certainly helped so hopefully things will take off for them. I recently went to an FWA show with those 3 appearing on the card and all 3 were fantastic wrestlers and put a lot of UK talent to shame, including me.
Marco: Yeah I think those guys are quality, you really have no other option but to respect what they do… There are some top-notch performers within hammerlock mind. Lets not forget them. With the standard of British grappling vastly improving, its only good news for the fans.
I would like to think that UPW would establish itself over time as a respectable federation. On which other performers from other federations would feel happy and safe to come and work for. As well as promoters from other federations feeling happy about allowing their workers to perform under our banner. This is another issue as to why UPW was initially founded.
Who have been your favorite opponents and which match was your best?
Justice: My favorite opponent and my best match were both my matches with Marco. He beat me in the TLC match and I beat him in a straight one on one match. Both matches were good in there own right and I seem to have good chemistry with Marco. He can hit his crazy shit on me and I can throw him all over the place, it’s wicked.
Marco: Well, I have to admit I did enjoy beating up on Steve, he is one tough individual I can tell you, and yes our styles do combine nicely. Carl Mizzery was fun to work against and did result in some very intense matches. One problem I found with my match ups against Carl was the pace. Looking back on them I don’t think the pace was varied enough, and so the build of the match was inevitably affected. We’d cream through 15 – 20 minutes of action at 100 miles an hour. That Is one aspect of my game which I have worked hard to establish, and one which has paid dividends in terms of the quality of my match ups.
Going up against Scott McKenzie always pushes me to my physical and mental limit though. I would have to say that he has to of been my toughest opponent to date. Again it’s a clash of style situation here, which always produces an entertaining match up. He is greatly improved since returning from the states, and looking very sharp. Any prospective bookers would not go far wrong in hiring this exceptional talent. He works very hard in the ring for a man his size and his wrestling mind is phenomenal.
Before I wrap up this interview, are there any more comments you wish to add?
Justice: Just want to say thank you for this interview, I hope I have cleared up any rumors or false accusations that have been said over the past 6 months.
Marco: Just keep checking out the website, it’s updated regularly and has profiles and stats on all our workers unitedprowrestling.com It also has news on training and upcoming shows. We’ll have some very important news to announce very shortly.
On behalf of everyone at TalkWarestlingOnline/Wrestling101.com I would like to take the time to wish you all the best in your futures and hope we can do this again sometime.