Dominic Garrini is an accomplished gold medalist in Brazilian Jiujitsu and recently crossed over to pro wrestling by signing with MLE. He talked about his martial arts background when he joined The Wrestling Inc Daily podcast.
"I've been training the last eleven years in BJJ. I started in April 2009 as it was something I decided to do after high school. I was a high school wrestler and high school football player and I wanted to keep my athletic career going," said Garrini. "I thought at first I wanted to fight MMA, but once I started training jujitsu, I dedicated my life to trying to win a World Championship or Pan-Am Championship in jujitsu.
"I've been training multiple times a week. I was training six times a week but now with my wrestling it usually goes down to about two-ish… It's been quite a ride and it's definitely helped me out in my pro wrestling journey. That's for sure."
"To be grouped with those guys is awesome. When I first started training, [my trainers] mentioned the early days of EVOLVE and how it was so grapple-heavy. We're definitely having a grapple renaissance with all of those names mentioned. Those guys are some of the top guys in the game right now so it's an honor to be in there with them," said Garrini.
"I've always seen pro wrestling in a certain way in that it is like ice cream. There's so many flavors of it and some flavors are gonna be more popular than others. But that doesn't mean that the less popular flavors aren't great. Right now, the grappling/strong style aspect might be vanilla but in two years that could be tooty-fruity and no one could wanna eat it at all.
"Industry trends are just so random that you never know. Grappling might be on top this year, then next year the Will Ospreays, the Ricochets, the Jordan Olivers – they could be what everybody wants. That's why I've always compared it to ice cream. There's so many varieties and so many ways to consume it all."
With his martial arts background and pro wrestling experience, Garrini was asked what he thought of WWF's Brawl For All and if something like that could actually work.
"I think if tailored properly and regulated properly, it's something that could definitely be an idea. I think the way WWE had the rules set up, they never really knew what the rules were," stated Garrini. "They kinda wanted a Toughman contest but to appease certain guys they started to allow takedowns. They thought that takedowns would help college wrestlers like Dr. Death out. I think the round times make sense and the takedowns make sense, but if I can take you down then why can't I submit you? That doesn't make any sense to me.
"The crazy thing about the Brawl for All is that it's 1998-99 and this is the dark ages of UFC where everything is a human cockfight. But WWE was doing this right in front of athletic commissions and clearly this was more dangerous than anything the UFC was doing at the time. So I look at it that regulations have to be there and State Athletic Commissions probably need to get involved.
"Poor PCO was out there fighting with one eye and that's not fair whatsoever. I think if it had regulations and fight rules adjustments and had the right judges, then it's something that could do well. But I don't know how many guys are jumping at the bit to do it."
The Brawl For All was WWF's attempt at a pro wrestling/MMA crossover and Garrini was asked if fans of those two sports cross over any.
"I think that they keep their distance but MMA fans don't wanna admit that they like the pro wrestling guys. Every MMA fan would watch a John Cena promo and say, 'Man, that's so hokey!' But why won't you watch Conor McGregor talk or Jorge Masvidal talk? They are literally pro wrestlers. They're cutting pro wrestling promos to get you interested but just because they do what you like, you guys like it more," said Garrini.
He then said that in Japan there is more of a cross over between the two but it's not that way in America. He noted that MMA fans like sh*t-talkers like McGregor but his act doesn't work on everyone.
"If you look at what Khabib does, me and my MMA friends talk about this – if there's one person that I'm not gonna do my Conor McGregor schtick against if I'm Conor; it's Khabib. That guy does not care and he's out there to kill you. He's a whole different animal," said Garrini. "That's why when push came to shove and the fight happened, it went the way it went. Then the post-fight went the way it went."
Another guy who crossed over is King Mo who had over 30 professional MMA fights but now is exclusively a wrestler for MLW. Garrini spoke about working with Mo and his manager Dan Lambert.
"Mo is awesome and working with Dan Lambert also is awesome. Dan Lambert is the most under-appreciated promo guy in mixed martial arts history," stated Garrini. "But Mo has always been a character and he's always loved pro wrestling. So I think MLW is a great fit for him. He's retired from MMA so he's got his entire focus on just pro wrestling. He's done really great with the promos and had an awesome match with Low Ki. The sky's the limit for Mo in MLW and especially the sky's the limit with Team Filthy and the Top Team merger."
Garrini can be seen every Saturday night as part of MLW Fusion of BeIN Sports. For more information please visit www.MLW.com. Garrini's full interview with Wrestling Inc aired as part of a recent episode of our podcast, The Wrestling Inc. Daily. Subscribe to get the latest episodes as soon as it's released Monday - Friday afternoon by clicking here.