We had the pleasure of linking up with wrestler PB Smooth. Originally from Hempstead, New York who played college basketball for D1 Hofstra University & D2 Mercyhurst University. Check out our exclusive interview with PB. An active dreamer who has a bright future. He speaks on what he learned from wrestling, the stereotypes, advice for athletes, what he eats before a match, training regime, his dream championship match and much more!
What have you learned from wrestling that you can apply to every day hustle?
One thing I’ve learned from training and being involved with independent wrestling is that it is IMPERATIVE to be strong-minded. With Professional Wrestling, there is a lot more creative freedom than people would perceive. You have the ability in most cases to create your own identity and persona, but you can’t live and die by it. You must be ready and willing to try new things if one thing doesn’t work. Generally speaking, I have learned that not every promoter, wrestler, or fan will support every decision you make; there are also times that a promoter or wrestler can try to convince another wrestler into doing things that he or she may not feel safe or comfortable doing. It’s a constant battle between figuring out what works and knowing when to stay true to what you believe in. Whether it be a gimmick you feel can really work; saying “no” to a spot in a match you aren’t ready for; or just being confident enough to take criticism and not allow it to break you, a strong mind is a MUST HAVE in this business. I’ve been fortunate that although my first experience is still a work in progress, I get a lot of support from the locker room and my promoter (Jamie Scott of Pro Wrestling Rampage) with the direction I’m headed, so I am confident that it will work.
How often do you train?
My training consists of many different things. I lift weights 4 days a week, do cardio 2-3 days a week, core training every day, and yoga about once a week. In terms of in-ring training, I do it whenever opportunities present themselves. I’ve been to several different training seminars; one led by “Asylum,” who is a big Indy star and another by “The Franchise” Shane Douglas, who was the first ECW Heavyweight Champion. On a regular basis I am trained by Aaron “Omega” Draven and “Big League” John McChesney, both well-established stars on the Indy Pro Wrestling Circuit whom have competed in the ring with and against some of the biggest names in the wrestling business. I also spend time every day watching film of big men in wrestling that have styles and move sets that correlate with the type of wrestler I aim to be. Some of these wrestlers include Razor Ramon, Diesel, Ernie Ladd, and Test. Other wrestlers- such as J-Rocc, out of Cleveland, Ohio and “Big Time” Bill Collier- have watched some of my training and given me tons of feedback on what I can improve on. On top of all of these things, I also find time to work on promos and finding new ways to display the entertaining aspect of my in-ring character. Whether I am in the ring or out, there is something I am doing every day that relates to my craft and can be considered training.
What advice would you give young athletes?
The best advice I could give to young athletes is to stay the course. As athletes, we are always told what it takes and means to be successful at our sport; it is even possible to surf the internet to find the perfect workouts, training regime, and/or diets to help us accomplish our goals. However, I feel the ultimate factor in obtaining set goals is consistency. There are thousands of athletes that can work hard for a day, a week, or even a few months. To be a great athlete, I feel that it takes a year round commitment, maybe even a lifestyle change. You have to be consistent with your work ethic as well as everything else to truly reach your potential as an athlete.
We see you got a couple of tattoos. What was your first? Tell us the story
At this point I have about 38 tattoos. My first one and one of the last ones I’ve gotten are actually my two favorites so I will elaborate on them. The first tattoo I got was one on the right side of my chest. It says, “Suffer Now Rejoice Later.” I got it when I was 17 and the phrase is truly the essence of my being. I was raised to believe that hard work is the difference between being great and mediocre, so I adopted this mindset to give myself a better shot of fulfilling my dreams and aspirations later in life. The other tattoo is a unicorn on the back of my left arm. It symbolizes me forever embracing my strength, freedom and eccentricity. I spent a lot of time trying to find the unicorn that looked less feminine, and the unicorn head on the stereotype beanies matched up as a perfect visual of what I was looking for, so the tattoo has a resemblance with your work!
What do you eat before a match?
Before shows or training, even leading up to the show, I try to maintain a healthy diet. I feel as though what you’ve been eating on a consistent basis is what makes the big difference in your body, as opposed to just eating a particular way right before a match. I do struggle at times to maintain the correct diet for my goals but for the most part I eat a lot of healthy foods such as : boneless/skinless chicken, vegetables, sweet potatoes, granola for snacks, and a few other things. I am currently trying to put on more muscle so I am now aiming to intake about 5,000 calories a day, but I don’t want to lose my lean figure and abdominal muscles at the same time. As of now it is a work in process.
Who are your biggest inspirations to follow your dreams?
I’d say my biggest inspirations are my friends, family, and coaches that believe in my dream. Although I was raised to be a basketball player- and followed that mold throughout my college years- I’ve had many passions in life. Wrestling was something I was extremely passionate about, but being that this type of wrestling isn’t something you go to school for, I never knew how to get into the business and just focused my efforts on being the best basketball player I could be. When I decided not to play overseas professionally and come back to school to finish my Masters, a lot of my old teammates told me that I should get into wrestling because of how much I loved it. They also felt I had the size and personality for it, but still I never actively pursued it. I was lucky enough that a girl I was working with at the time knew about Indy Wrestling and got me in touch with John McChesney, and from there it just happened. When I told friends and family about my wrestling, a good amount of them understood why I was doing it and automatically supported me. My personal trainer back in New York (I now reside in Erie, Pa) even found a specific workout plan that is tailored to what I am doing with wrestling and sent it to me. It also just so happens that my grandmother watches WWE religiously and has been a big fan ever since I could remember, so the thought of her being able to see her grandson wrestle inspires me on a whole new level. Although there are many people that don’t agree with my life choice and think it isn’t safe, there are just as many people that support me, and they are enough to aid in my motivation to hustle hard with this business.
Call the Coroner because I'm Fresh to Death. Can you explain what this means?
One thing I’ve learned watching all the greats in the wrestling business, is that they all have their own catchphrases that get the crowd engaged. It’s like a finishing touch that puts emphasis on what was just said. I think this is a very important component when trying to get the audience to identify with your persona. PB Smooth is basically that big man on campus you always see that thinks he’s ‘that dude.” He dresses in unnecessary expensive clothing, always has a clean haircut, shows off his muscles, thinks he’s the best looking guy in the room, and displays a type of cockiness but calm swag about himself; as if he doesn’t care or fear anything or anyone around him. With that being said, Call the Coroner, I’m Fresh to Death is sort of an urban slang that is a way of telling someone you are better than them, in a more hip way. Just as if a commentator at a basketball game would say something like, “Call the fire department because this man’s on fire!” or 90s hip hop would describe someone’s outfit as “dressed to impress.” Me saying “Call the Coroner, I’m Fresh to Death,” is a play on words that how cool I am and how dope I look with the way I’m dressed and the things I say. Call the Coroner is also fitting because I use the Chokeslam as my finisher. With my height at almost 7 feet tall, once my opponents hit the ground from being lifted that high in the air, it’s game over. Call the Coroner!Many people are under the impression that wrestling is fake.
Many people are under the impression that wrestling is fake. Can you explain this stereotype?
I want to start of by saying many wrestlers and promoters have different ways of answering this question and my response is my own words. I personally feel that people don’t understand what wrestling is supposed to be, and that’s why they dismiss it or call it fake without even really watching it or giving it a chance. If I were to be discussing an episode of say, “Game of Thrones,” with someone and they were talking about how much they enjoyed the show and the characters. If I were to say, “You know it’s fake right?” that person would probably give me a confused look, like I just popped their balloon or something. Pro Wrestling is not to be looked at as if it is boxing, or UFC. It tells a story through the spirit of competition. It incorporates athletics with an entertainment aspect. More emphasis is put on provoking crowd emotion and shock value, than who actually wins the match. If I am a heel (bad guy), my job is to make everyone in that crowd hate me, just like whoever plays the villain in a movie you watch. If that actor can’t make you hate them in the movie, they aren’t a good actor, so the same concept applies. The only difference is that what we do is more real than any movie you see because we are actually in the ring performing in real time, without special effects and film editing. What we do in that ring is very much real. If it weren’t, people wouldn’t get hurt and injured as much as they do. WWE has maybe 5 or 6 of their top guys out right now due to injuries sustained in the ring, which isn’t something you can fake. You rarely hear about an actor getting hurt on set. So in a nutshell, what we do incorporates athleticism, competition (in a different aspect), and story telling. We are both athletes and entertainers and I believe what we do is a sport.
What is your favorite slogan that inspires you?
My favorite slogan, which will probably be a new tattoo soon is, “Fortune Favors The Bold.” I don’t remember exactly who started it, but I read it in a book entitled Extreme Focus by Pat Williams. I believe that in the wrestling business, as well as in every day life, that this slogan deems true. It is very important to be able to make decisions in life. If you make a decision and stick by it, you can either be right or wrong. We can learn from the decisions we make and they teach us courage, confidence, and right from wrong. I think being indecisive in today’s world is very deadly and can be a complete dream killer. The decisions we make in life, big or small, impact us in a major way and indecisiveness does not give us a fair shot and making the right decision.
What is the biggest Stereotype of wrestling? Explain
Aside from the stereotype of wrestling being fake, which I touched on, I think another big one is the validity of Independent Wrestling. Just like me in the beginning, most people only knew about WWE (that was WWF at the time I first started watching) because that was all I saw on television. Just because that was the only Pro Wrestling promotion I knew about at the time, didn’t mean that others didn’t exist. I’ve later learned that WWE is just the grand scale of wrestling, such as how the NBA is with basketball. There is still great wrestling on independent shows around the country such as Pro Wrestling Rampage (Erie, Pa), Empire State Wrestling (Buffalo, NY), International Wrestling Cartel (Pittsburgh, Pa) and many others. There are also other big name promotions such as Ring of Honor and Lucha Underground. I am beginning to see a lot of great wrestlers on these Independent Markets and a lot of names on WWE today have worked their way up by being discovered on Indy shows. Our last PWR show, we worked a tag match that included Yusuke Kodama, who is a big star for New Japan Wrestling that was trained by wrestling legend, Tajiri. There are a lot of great independent wrestling shows and wrestlers out there that I feel don’t get the credit they deserve. Just like there is the NBA, D-League, and overseas basketball that all have great players, Pro wrestling operates in sort of the same way.
Who was the best pound for pound fighter the business has ever seen?
I honestly couldn’t answer that; I feel it is a matter of preference.
Tell us some of your new dreams
My big picture dream is to be on the WWE main roster, which would require me to try out for WWE’s development league at some point and work my way up. I am still in the very early stages of my wrestling career and I have literally thousands of things to learn. For the next few years I just plan on building my body up, gaining a lot of in-ring experience, and absorbing all the knowledge possible from my trainers and other wrestlers I come into contact with. I have to fully embrace the humble beginnings and learn the business the right way so that I am ready should an opportunity present itself.
What would be your dream championship match? PB Smooth vs ?
I would have to say my dream match would be me vs. The Rock. I personally feel The Rock is the Jay-Z of the wrestling business. I say that because he was able to transfer his skills and talents from the ring into other aspects of life, which not everyone can do. I enjoy watching his work and think I would learn a lot from being in the ring with him.
Connect with PB
Facebook: PB Smooth