Chris Jericho recently welcomed Suge D, a.k.a. Pineapple Pete, on Talk Is Jericho to talk about their brief feud in AEW as well as the independent wrestling scene. The independent wrestling scene was hit hard after the cancellation of all wrestling events at WrestleMania weekend including WrestleCon. Suge D says that indie wrestling won’t die, but things will be different because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the easing of allowing full crowds into small, indoor venues.
“Indie will never die. It’s going to exist in one way or form,” Suge D affirms. “The funny part is, we always joke about the fact that there was like an indie middle class, and I felt like I was in that. We may not necessarily be headlining every indie card that we’re on, but we’re making enough good money. We’re doing enough merch. We’re traveling. I’m still living here, then I got a little something going on in England too, so I was like, OK, cool. This is the life. I think the biggest thing that’s going to affect everything it goes on two things. The first one is again, these attendance limits because they’re talking about, as they start to open things up, you’re at 10 percent, 25 percent or 50-75. No promotion and let’s be fair, no promotion, no matter what the level is or what not is trying to spend good money, especially if it’s same money to rent a building and not be able to sell it out. So that puts a hamper on things.
“Secondly, you still got to pay the guys. You still got to be fair. You got to do what you got to do and what not, and the paydays probably aren’t going to be as extravagant as they used to because again, public trust, you got to be able to get people into those venues again. You got to be able to pack a venue to make a profit hopefully for yourself and to be able to pay the boys. So that’s why I’m saying like logically, they can open up everything that they say they want to, but our industry, whether it be live band whether it be theater, whether it be wrestling etc. etc., it’s going to be hard times for like a good little bit. Hard times like Dusty Rhodes for like a little bit until everything is good. I don’t know if it means hey, we got a vaccine, again, public trust [and] all this other good stuff like that.”
Suge D has spoken before about the emotions of these AEW opportunities. He talks about wanting to “keep swinging” for those not as fortunate as he was.
“It’s a scary thing to think about, and it makes you want to swing harder like it’s that back against the wall thing because I’ll always be thankful and grateful and humble for that,” Suge D stated. “I’m one of the fortunate few. For some reason, I haven’t stopped yet. This should have been my hard stop, and I haven’t stopped yet. So as long as I got a chance to keep swinging, I’m going to keep swinging, and I’m fortunate that I got a good base of people around me whether it be family, friends, [and] guys, I used to see in locker rooms that are like, ‘dude, you’re doing what we can do right now. Even if you just acting a fool and you’re yelling crazy stuff or whatever it is, you’re there. Keep freaking swinging something’s got to happen.'”
Suge D also shared a story of when he was doing extra work for WWE. He first described the weird situation that he was put in but still enjoying the challenge of doing something new and different.
“It’s funny that you mention standing out because it reminds me of an old story when I did extra work. Before I get into this story, I didn’t feel as good not to be put in a broom closet. When you do extra work there, I don’t know if it’s changed or anything like that, but when you do extra work, they throw you off into like whatever or they put you in a little tarp or whatnot. It’s like, ‘we’ll we’ll get you when we need you,.’ It’s weird trying to start a conversation with anybody. You don’t want to look at somebody the wrong way and all this other stuff like that.
“I get it. Once you start climbing up anywhere on the ladder, the rules change, and you have to do that. I’m not gonna lie. I’ve had my share of anxiety week to week because I’ve done a lot of things. I ain’t done this before. I haven’t been this deep in before, but that’s what’s exciting ain’t it? it You’re supposed to get excited. You’re supposed to get hype about stuff that you haven’t done before.”
Jericho and Suge D talked about before on the podcast about not wanting to be defined as doing one thing. He talked about how he was glad that he didn’t have to change who he was despite being looked over for extra work.
“So Regal’s in charge of the extras at the time, and they needed people for an EMT bit and going back to the Al Bundy thing, you see your share of wrestlers too who are like, ‘there I was. I was an EMT. I was this or whatever it is,’ and the photos all over the place,” Suge D noted. “It’s like yeah. It’s the ‘Inception’ line like, ‘you mustn’t be afraid to dream a little bigger darling,’ like you can go a little bigger but good for now. He’s looking at everybody, so he’s got everybody lined up. He’s going down the line and everything, and this is when I got my hair super frowed out. He’s like, ‘you and you,’ so it’s like the guy to my left and the guy to my right, and then he kind of looks at me and he gives me like a little tap. He’s like, ‘you know in some cases, it’s not always the best to stand out.’ I nodded, and then I left it at that, but I never took it as like an insult.
“I know there’s some people that are like, ‘damn, I didn’t get picked to be an EMT. I didn’t get to do this or whatever it is,’ but it’s like I knew what I showed up for, and I’ve never been a guy that’s like blended. That’s not how I do. I’m a little loud. My style is a little different etc. etc. So it’s like good. Even if you don’t think I’m a wrestler by first glance, I want you to think I’m something not just something that you see everyday on the street. So I took it as a compliment. So I’m like cool. So when the when we come around all this time later and this loud-ass shirt is the reason why I like all this is happening, It’s like cool. Like I’m glad I’m glad I didn’t I didn’t dumb it down.”
Suge D also talked about his WWE tryout. He shared that he had failed at doing a promo and wanted to redeem himself when given another opportunity at AEW to cut a promo where he could be himself.
“I feel like, at the end of the day, you have to show two sides to things because yeah, I’m a bit of I’m a bit of a jokester. I’m a bit of a prankster,” Suge D admitted. “You ask around. They’ll tell you. They hate it, but it is what it is. That doesn’t change the fact that I don’t think about things, and I try to be very deep in my thoughts when I have time and whatnot. Even here sometimes, I’m just sitting on the arena steps, and I’m just kind of to myself unless somebody comes to me because I’m usually very deep in thought. When I went to that WWE tryout, that was around the time that they did promos, they would film your promo. They look it over. They critique it etc. etc.
“I went, and one of my really really really good friends told me, ‘hey, when you get in that promo room, do not cut a wrestling promo. Be real with them. Tell them what’s on your mind, etc. etc. I got so scared that if I told them who I really was and what I was about and what I stand for, that it wasn’t going to resonate, so I did wrestling promo one-on-one this and that, a bunch of buzzwords and it sucked and I knew it sucked. What hurt most was you’re sitting at that panel of people, and one of them at the time would look at independent talent. So he’s looking at it, he’s like, ‘man, I was just expecting more.’ It’s like damn.
“You want to do a redo, but you can’t, so when I was told ‘hey, this is about to happen. They’re about to give you a promo. You’re going to get some footage that’s going to show on ‘Road to,’ and you’re going to get this.’ I was like, I don’t know if I’m ever going to get this again. Again, it’s that swinging, so it’s like do you want to be remembered for faking it, or do you want to just go out there and give them a real and even if you don’t come back again, at least they know what you stood for what you’re about. So I gave them everything I possibly could as verbal as humanly possible.”
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit Talk Is Jericho with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.