This week I managed to sit down and talk to a guy I feel doesn’t get paid enough attention in the UK Scene Tom Jones a.k.a The UK Kid. He is one of the UK stars currently making a name for themselves in the US market as this is where he spends most of his time. Tom was trained by some of the biggest names in the business including Shawn Michaels. So I managed to catch up with what he has been doing in the states and find out about his big homecoming against Flash Barker for PWF.
How are you feeling today?
It’s new years day, 7 pm and just got back from working a camp show today, with a broken hand which I got Christmas eve from helping a damsel in distress but I’m pretty good, a little hungry but ill live.
When did you first decide to get involved in wrestling?
Well I’ve always loved the sport, ever since I was younger, but its one of those things most children dream about doing same as being a popstar or film star. But when I was around 14 I decided that if someone wants something bad enough they can achieve it!
Where did you train and who was it with?
I first started training at 16 in a tiny gym near my hometown called Gosport by a wrestler from the area called Kris Kay. After about 6 months I realised that I needed to really get out and train with guys maybe more experienced, nothing against Kris, just I wanted to excel a little quicker than I was. At 17 I heard of the Shawn Michaels wrestling academy in San Antonio TX USA. I applied and eventually was accepted but not until I turned 18. So when my 18th b-day came round I had saved the money from working two full time jobs to complete the 3 months basic training in the states! Since then I have most recently trained at Dory Funk’s Funking Conservatory.
How did you come up with the UK Kid gimmick and have you always used it?
When I started in the UK I was called Tom Johnson (couldn’t go out as Tom Jones) but when I had completed the training in the states it was almost a joint decision between me, Shawn and the head instructor. I used it for my U.S. debut and have been the UK Kid abroad and in the UK ever since!
Talk us through your debut match who, when and where?
I made my official UK debut at Eastbourne, Aug 3rd 1999 if I am correct, it was against the guy I trained with Kris Kay not too nervous as we knew each other well enough in the ring. I was more nervous about meeting the wrestlers and how I would be taken, as I was 6ft, and only 9st, but the were all cool! I remember speaking with Mal Stewart, and Mal sanders who were real cool to me!
I made my USA debut in June 2000 in San Antonio TX, for Shawn Micheals Texas wrestling alliance against Kris Krugar who was known for being stabbed in the head with a fork by Brian Pillman at an ECW show. Surprisingly I wasn’t too nervous as I knew all they guys and was very comfortable in the ring, but, knew I had to give over 110% as I was on the card with people like American Dragon, Spanky, Taka Michinoku and people of that calibre!
You have been working for a few years now, which promotions have you enjoyed working with and who are your closest friends?
Hey Adam isn’t that 2 questions?….. Well, u seem like a swell kinda guy so ill go ahead and answer them.
I started in the UK with Premier Promotions a very British style promotion! and since I, in some kinda way owe a lot of my success and getting into the business to John Freemantle, (promoter) when ever I return to the UK I always make his shows my no1 priority! But have also done the odd few for AllStar, TWA and some camps. While in the states I’ve worked for Shawn’s TWA, Dory Funk Jnrs Funking Conservatory, a small amount for Ultimate Pro Wrestling in California, Big Time Wrestling in north Texas, Gulf Coast Championship Wrestling in south Texas run by tweedle dum and tweedle dumber! Only kidding Ben and Jeff Galvan you guys know I love ya! Seriously those guys are cool and given me lots of work! and have worked all over Texas California Florida and a few other states and like every one I’ve also worked for those little rinkydink promotions that think they’re promoters! No names of course because they know who they are and so do we, and well at the end of the day money is money and experience is experience!!
For the second part, my closest friends are my two roommates from the states Derreck Madison ( Slayer ) and Camron Garcia ( Spiro ) who work as a tag team called the Phantom Lords and were also trained by HBK. In the UK I’m fond of quite a few guys, Flash Barker, Robbie Brookside, a guy I think is highly under rated Jace the Ace, Kris Kay and many others.
Earlier this year you went to the states to battle for a big title how did that come about?
Wow, sounds like you’ve been doing a little research! I presume your talking bout the heavy weight title tournament for big time wrestling in Texas? Well,.. I guess the promoter picked the guys he rated as top workers and entered them into a title tournament in a packed rodeo building! It was a great show I had a chance to work with some cool guys and interpret a bit of my Japanese style offence into my match which was great and easily rated as the top match of the night! or so I was told. I also wrestled for the Funking Conservatories Triple Crown Championship against fellow Brit Adam Windsor, which was viewed and had some involvement from Dory Funk Jnr and Dr Tom Prichard which was amazing. We worked hard and battled for a gruelling 25 mins of non stop fast paced action, unfortunately Adam was victorious, but he did have Dory and Tom Prichard in his corner!! A little unfair don’t you think, there should be a rematch in the near future for that but only time will tell!
How long do spend in the states on average, and do you prefer the scene over there?
I normally spend about 10 months a year in the states and 2 here, so I have plans for a huge return end of Feb early march which I’m really looking forward to. Every one likes me to compare but in all honesty you cant as the styles are so different, I love the aspect of the crowd working in the UK which nearly all the workers lack in the states, but I find the U.S. work a lot faster as the crowds expect a hell of a lot more. I think they should slow themselves down, think what the crowd are doing and draw them into the match with work, not tables ladders and chairs! It can be done but a lot of the U.S. guys like to try and top ECW or WWE by half killing them selves for $20 which then leaves the crowd dry when they don’t see blood on the next card!
You don’t get much Internet coverage compared to some of the UK guys, why do u think this is?
Like I said when I’m not always in the UK a lot and I always work for Premier Promotions, which is not as recognisable as Allstar or TWA, and doesn’t hardly get any publicity like it deserves as its regulars are top UK workers!! Wth my heavy training and work schedule I don’t have a lot of other time for many other promotions, but would like do some stuff in the future.
What are your opinions on the current UK wrestling scene?
I think there are so many great UK workers, the industry has a chance to really boom, it just needs someone to do it right! I think it will be a sudden thing, all of a sudden UK wrestling will shoot through the roof again! You have a much better chance of seeing a solid show with the majority of the UK promotions than you do in the states, and eventually with all the hard work and hungry talent this country is producing hopefully it will have another day to shine.
Past and present which UK wrestlers have you looked up to?
To be honest I’ve not really seen a lot of the old UK stuff but from what I’ve seen and heard it was great! I love to watch Robbie Brookside get in and wrestle, and people like Mal Sanders and Steve Grey, and then the newer guys that when I was trying to break in were already established like Flash Barker and Jace the ace.
What have been your fondest memories so far in your career?
Well that’s tuff,… I love wrestling and have so many fond memories, but what I love is just being on the road with my roommates in the states, cos we travel anything thing up to 6- 7 hrs, its a day out not a 20 min match, and I love to feed from the crowd and know that I managed to make every single person stand on there feet whether it be to boo me or cheer me!
You have a big match for PWF in January, it looks to have potential to be an awesome match can you give us some details?
Your right, Jan 31st in a small town called Gosport I’m wrestling PWF heavyweight champ Flash Barker, in a match that will blow the roof!!! Me and Flash have come across each other once or twice in which he was victorious, but that was a long time ago, I’m better than I’ve ever been and cant wait to show flash that I can get down with the best of them! I hope to become the next champ but I like to take each day as it comes and I’m ready and waiting for that day!!
The show starts at 8pm in Thorngate halls Gosport, tickets £6.50 adults £6 children and oap’s. I really recommend anyone in the area or that loves top quality wrestling to make their way to Gosport!! It will be a night that fans in attendance will never forget!! I promise!!!
What are your plans for 2003 and where can the fans see you wrestle?
Well in march I’ll be back in the states but before then I will be in Potters Bar Jan 18, I think in Worthing around 23rd of Jan (but please check for sure and more info at the Premier Promotions web site) Gosport 31st, Midhurst 1st of Feb and many more those are the ones of the top of my head, remember it was new years eve last night!!! Well it was a pleasure to be interviewed by you and a quick note, not one Genitalia reference!!! You know who you are!!! Hope to see you all in the future and happy new year every one! Tom Jones a.k.a The UK KID.