With Ring of Honor getting back to producing new programming, among the fresh faces sure to be seen is Sledge. A star who grinded for nine years before signing with the company just before the pandemic took hold of the world. He is slowly working his way to TV with vignettes and videos being created to generate anticipation.
"They played the first one. I know they are getting ready to show the second one," he said. "We're getting ready to film the third one in the next couple of weeks. From what I understand, that is when we're going full force with me."
For Sledge, the "Metal Head Maniac" is more than a marketable nickname. Although there was a point growing up where rock wasn't his favorite genre. It was actually rap and the sounds of Puff Daddy and Mase. His taste changed thanks to his sister introducing him to the sounds of Jimi Hendrix, Metallica and Iron Maiden. A game-changer was Anthrax and the album "Stomp 442." When it comes to the most metal entrance music in wrestling, Sledge quickly names "Enter Sandman," vividly remembering the Sandman coming to the ring and smashing a beer over his head. He also liked CM Punk coming out to Killswitch Engage "This Fire Burns" and then Living Color's "Cult of Personality."
"Entrance music is everything to a point. That's what lets people know who you are and what you're about," he said. "When I was coming up with the persona of Sledge, I actually played in a metal band before I got into wrestling. I played drums, and they called me 'The Hammer.' I don't want to lose 'The Hammer,' so I just turned it into Sledge. Sledge needed a branding I thought, which is where the 'Metal Head Maniac' came from.
"Music and wrestling go hand-in-hand. Some of the best professional wrestlers have the best music, especially with what WWE is doing now with NXT. They are more like the metal group of what WWE is, having Lzzy Hale come in and Nita Strauss. Then on WrestleMania, they would always have Limp Bizkit and Saliva. My new entrance music I'm using for Ring of Honor was made for me and produced for me as well. Not going to have generic metal music. It's going to be something written for me."
The "Coffee with Sledge" host is happy to be working for ROH and making him feel welcome. He names Josh "The Good" Woods and veteran talent like Matt Taven in particular who have gone out of their way to help ease the transition. Sledge hopes to use his story of battling alcoholism, drug abuse and depression to show you can get through it. As it relates to going on the road and being a regular performer, the temptation to fall off the wagon is always there. However, he remains strong and keeps focused.
"When you are new to a company like Ring of Honor and want to get in with the boys and show them, 'Hey man, I'm a cool dude. The boys after matches maybe will like to get together and hang out. The temptation is there, but I know that all the hard work that got me to where I am today. If that's what I have to get in with you, that's not the people I want to be around.
"Honestly, Ring of Honor is not like that in any way, shape or form. The locker room is absolutely fantastic. I can't ask for a better group of guys to be around. I would give any of them the shirt off my back."
Ring of Honor, Sundays, 10/9c, Charge! ROH TV episodes are also available via HonorClub, FITE TV and in syndication on Sinclair networks (check local listings). Sledge's full interview 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.