Since joining All Elite Wrestling earlier this fall, Powerhouse Hobbs has featured his strength in multiple matches.
Despite now getting his spotlight, Hobbs has had been wrestling for over a decade. Speaking on Busted Open w/ Bully Ray, Hobbs discussed what the past few months has meant to him.
“Personally, it’s been crazy,” Hobbs said. “I’ve been wanting to do this since I was four years old, and just getting the opportunity to showcase what I can do is crazy. It’s still unbelievable to me. Just Tony [Khan] and Cody giving me opportunities to do what I can do, being put in a position with guys that I can learn from, it’s unbelievable. I sit bank and I think, ‘Holy s–t. I’m doing what I love to do.’ I know that’s a cliché to say.
“A lot of wrestlers say it, but being where I’m from, kids didn’t watch wrestling. It was either football, basketball, or baseball. I got picked on for watching wrestling, with the people that picked on me are locked up or passed away. I’m doing what the hell I want to do. I’m learning from the best. So, I can’t be mad at all. It’s just crazy.”
Hobbs has since aligned himself with Team Taz. That partnership has allowed the young heavyweight to not only be featured more prominently on AEW programming, but has also given Hobbs the opportunity to learn from a legend.
“I’ve been a Taz fan for years,” Hobbs said. “The way he did his promos, you can feel the stuff. You can tell the bs from the real, and those are the things I get from him. Anytime I have a question, I pull him aside and he gives me a straight answer.”
Hobbs says Taz has already taught him a lot, but two of the more important qualities he’s learned from the ECW alum are patience and authenticity.
“Moments, slowing down, being real, because whatever I put out there, the fans are going to feel it,” Hobbs said. “They’re going to know if I’m throwing some bulls–t at them. If I’m being real, being me, people don’t feel it.”
While Hobbs and Cody Rhodes may not get along on-screen, he emphasized that he has a strong personal relationship with the American Nightmare.
“The relationships are great,” Hobbs said. “I’ll give you a little story – when I was first coming on, doing Dark and doing the enhancement matches, I talked to Cody and Cody told me, ‘Whatever you want, put it out in the universe and it will come true.’ I want to be here in AEW. I got that contract. It’s out there. Now, I hope I get the opportunity to lock it up with Cody.”
Speaking on his bond with Tony Khan, Hobbs says he is grateful to have a superior that he can have human conversations with.
“With Tony Khan, I’ve never had a boss that I could just talk to,” Hobbs said. “He asks me how I am doing. You genuinely tell that he means it. It’s not just like ‘Hey, how are you doing?’ and he walks away. So, little things like that mean a lot to me. Makes me feel good. Plus, the fact that he’s put me in positions that he has, working with Darby [Allin] on Saturday Night Dynamite. Being thrown into the battle royal. Being paired up with Cage, Taz, and Ricky. I feel he trusts me.”
Before breaking into the professional wrestling industry, Hobbs called California his home. There, Hobbs trained with former WWE superstar Ezekiel Jackson.
“I came from a two squared mile city called East Palo Alto in California,” Hobbs said. “Pretty much a rough neighborhood growing up. I trained at All Pro Wrestling. Did some training the last four years with Ezekiel Jackson, down at his school called ‘Workouts Pro’. Got the opportunity from Cody and Marcus Mack to get a dark match on Dark, and the rest is history.”
Like so many wrestlers before him, Hobbs thought his big break call was a joke. He revealed he did not take his initial message from QT Marshall seriously.
“I got a text from QT Marshall and I thought it was an actual rib,” Hobbs said. “So, I didn’t answer the text for a few hours and then, I responded. I was like, ‘Let me respond and see what this is.’ They asked if I could come out today but I live [in California]. And I said, ‘No, but I’ll find a way to get there.’ So I went from Cali to Jacksonville, and made my way out there.”
Once he made his way to Jacksonville, Hobbs acknowledged that nothing was guaranteed.
“Nah, opportunity. That’s what it’s all about,” Hobbs said. “I’ve heard you say, Bully [Ray], that you only get one shot to make an impression. So, I made that impression in my very first match on AEW Dark against Orange Cassidy. That match lasted 13 seconds, so it’s about making the most of any opportunity you get. So, at that time, I got laid off because of COVID-19 and I had to take my shot.”
While he is now officially contracted with AEW and a regular on Dynamite, Hobbs says he is still taking the opportunity to learn from the locker room. Speaking on who he turns to for advice, Hobbs mentioned both active competitors and behind the scenes talent as strong mentors.
“There’s a few people. Well, more than a few,” Hobbs said. “I got FTR. I can go up to them and ask for advice. Tully Blanchard, I’ve asked him for advice. Chris Jericho, Tony Khan. So, those are the people I know if I got a question, I could go up to and ask.”
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit Busted Open w/ Bully Ray with an h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Mehdy Labriny contributed to this article.