Top indie star Shane Strickland was a recent guest on the Wrasslerap podcast, and recalled how he started competing in death matches at the age of 15, which actually led to getting a scar due to taking light tube shots. Strickland stated that this, and competing on mattresses when he was a teenager, gained his confidence in competing now as a professional wrestler.
Strickland also discussed how wrestlers have the ability to work on their ring psychology, which in turn allows them to not rely as much on what they do in the ring. He mentioned Adam Cole, and how it does not matter what he does in the ring, as long as he starts it with putting two fingers from each hand in the air and shouting "Adam Cole, bay-bay!" with the crowd. Other wrestlers he mentioned were Joey Janela and WALTER.
Strickland credits Ricochet for giving him his break on Lucha Underground and Big Ryck (Ezekiel Jackson), as Ricochet put in a good word for him, and Ryck spoke to them again to see if they took a look at Strickland. He added that this was the defining moment to completely switch gears from military to wrestling.
"Me and Ricochet had to drive from New York to Rhode Island to do a show together, and this was around the time that they were in the mid-season break of season one," said Strickland. "And he was telling me about the cool things about it and all that, and so he gave me contact information for Konnan. [I] messaged Konnan, it was my CZW match with Mike Bailey. I sent him that, he told me to send it to Anthony Jensen. It was like a two, three-month process for them getting back to me, but every time, Konnan was like, 'hey, did they get back to you yet?' [I'd be] like, 'no, not yet,' and he's like, 'oh, I'ma talk to them while I'm there this weekend.'
"Ricochet would be like, 'hey, did they contact you yet?' [I said], 'no, I haven't heard anything yet,' [and he would say], 'oh I'ma talk to them about it this weekend.' And then Big Ryck would be like, 'did they get back to you yet? I heard your name being brought up over here.' I was like, 'uh, not yet, I'm still waiting.' He was like, 'alright, I'ma talk to them.' So I had like a bunch of people vouching for me before I even got there. Me and Willie Mack were in the same tryout match and all that. So it was like January 2015, they sent me over a contract, I signed it, faxed it back to them, and I think that was the same month I quit the military."
Strickland added that everything started to take off following him joining LU (as Killshot), as CZW put the Heavyweight Championship on him, as well as WrestleCircus and DEFY. He was released from the military on a general discharge, so he had no negative marks on his record. Strickland has recently generated a great deal of buzz due to speculation that WWE may be interested in signing him.
If any portion of these quotes are used, please be sure to credit Wrasslerap podcast with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.