Former OVW TV Champion and recent TNA Impact Wrestling Gut Check competitor and WWE Tough Enough V contestant Ryan Howe addressed a number of topics in an interview with WrestlingEpicenter.com (audio available here). Highlights from the interview are as follows:
On the TNA Gut Check Experience: "It was incredible. From the moment you get there, they treat you so well!," said Howe. He feels he did what he could to make the best of his opportunity and thinks the door is still open there."
On not going through on Gut Check: "None of them said, "Hey kid, this isn't for you." He says that he feels he has gotten better over the past few years and will continue to work hard to make it. He credits Al Snow for helping him out a lot. Howe jokes that maybe not getting signed that night was a good thing given all the guts to guys that did go through on Gut Check."
On The Rockstar gimmick: "I want everyone to know it is legitimate. I don't want to be thought of as a poser. I really play." Howe says his look is clearly an 80's rockstar look and playing the Star Spangled Banner with his tongue like Hendrix is something that he hopes will translate into maybe the father's in the audience talking to their kids about the 80's scene and their glory days chasing chicks or when they saw Hendrix play with his tongue. He says the look is legit, and that he thinks it helps him stand out. He also puts over that he's teaming with TNA British Boot Camp winner Rockstar Spud in OVW currently."
On being compared to Van Hammer: "I'm 25 so while I saw Van Hammer, I had to go back and look. I can see how a wrestler with that style was someone I looked up to." He admits his age being so young, he didn't recall him right off the bat but remembers him now. He says he respects those guys like Van Hammer and Max Payne/Man Mountain Rock. But, he simply feels his character is different and no one else presently is doing anything like it. James mentions that Van Hammer was working security last he had heard after discussing trying to interview him with the owner of Maryland Championship Wrestling.
On his music and time in bands: Howe opened up about his rock career talking about the albums he played on and a few tours he did as an opening act. "We opened for Puddle of Mud, Saliva, and Skid Row", said Howe. James marks out a little being a huge fan of Skid Row. Howe says it was actually at that show that the wrestlers approached him and said he had a look for wrestling.
Howe describes his recorded music as "Throwback Rock". He says his musical inspiractions are clearly AC/DC based. Some of the other bands had different tastes, one was a big grunge guy, the singer had a very deep voice like Danzig, so it turned out being a very cool mix of "Throwback Rock".
On his story being very close to that of Hulk Hogan's beginnings: "You know, I'd love to sit down one day and shoot the s--t with him about that." Howe shows his knowledge of Hulk's story by quoting the name "Ruckus", the name of Hulk's rock band. Impressive! He says it is very cool to have that in common with a star the size of Hulk Hogan.
As asked on Impact Wrestling by Al Snow, why wrestling over music? Howe says when he was in a band, he'd have to set up the stage himself and after the show tear down the stage as well. He said, not to knock the other band members, but there became a lot of other people to have to rely on rather than depending on himself above all else. He even said adding a singer to the band meant he had to depend on someone else for the success of the band. With wrestling, it is all down to him. "A part of me always loved the spotlight", says Howe. "I always said I'd either do music or be a pro wrestler."
On how he met his wife and OVW Knockout stand-out Jessie Belle: "Tracy Smothers is to blame", says Howe. Jessie was playing Smothers' illegitimate legitimate daughter at the time and Howe, who had not met her before, was amazed by what a b---h she was on the microphone. One thing lead to another, and with a little help they ended up getting together and are now married. Howe says she's the "Social Media Queen" and to friend her on facebook and follow her on Twitter.
On being trained by Tracy Smothers: "I don't want to say he's underrated because he had great success. But, he's just so good!" He talks about how Smothers didn't just teach moves but also taught a complete package of moves and getting your character together. He does not have enough good things he can say about the experience of working with "The Wild Eyed Southern Boy".
On WWE Tough Enough: "It was the biggest springboard I could possibly have". He mentions that he was one of the least experienced talents brought in for the show and he thought it was challenging. When comparing that to other reality shows, he feels that Tough Enough was more physical & mentally demanding. He also says that how it played off on TV is close to how the experience really was.
If he had to credit just one major influence from both wrestling and music, who would it be? "Music: Angus Young (AC/DC). Wrestling: Believe it or not, The Ultimate Warrior. I remember as a kid, he was the only one who came out to heavy metal music and had the hair. As I've gotten older, I certainly appreciate the work of Randy Savage, Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, and those kinds of guys." Howe remembers for a very early Birthday having to choose between a "Macho King" Randy Savage or an Ultimate Warrior Wrestling Buddy (the stuffed wrestlers). He chose Warrior. But, he feels it was even because not long after he got a "Macho King" bop it punching bag that bounces back at you.
On if the doors are open at WWE and TNA still: "I believe the doors are wide open for me at WWE and TNA. I am at TNA's training facility in OVW." He says he believes he handled himself well at Tough Enough and here would be no reason to have a closed door at WWE. He goes on to say that he works a lot of independent shows and to be sure and hit him up on Facebook and Twitter to keep up on upcoming shows.
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