Thanks to Caroline Walsh for sending us the following:
Show: Interactive Wrestling Radio
Guest: Punishment Martinez
Your Hosts: James Walsh
Ring of Honor has some very intelligent talent who all have the same objective and that objective is the advancement of the Ring of Honor brand. This week's guest is Punishment Martinez and to say he gets the big picture of pro wrestling better than most relatively young talent would be an understatement.
In an extremely interesting interview, Martinez talks about what got him into pro wrestling and how the Undertaker/Ultimate Warrior casket incident on the Funeral Parlor made him fall in love with wrestling. He also discusses how he himself broke in and the goals he has set for himself in wrestling. Check it out. It is worth your listen!"
To listen in MP3 format, go to: http://wrestlingepicenter.com/
Youtube video link: https://youtu.be/4eHQanJNSts
On getting into wrestling:
"Like most wrestlers today, I grew up watching it and was a big time fan. I dreamed of doing it. We had martial arts schools. We ended up closing them down. I moved around. It came to a point where I didn't know what to do next. A friend of mine came to me and said, "Hey, why don't we do this wrestling thing we always dreamed of doing?" I didn't even know how to go about it. I mean, what do you do? Show up at a wrestling show and say, "Hey, we're wrestlers!" (laughs) He said, "No, we've got to go to school and train." He found the school in South Jersey, the Monster Factory. The rest is history!"
On what makes the Monster Factory special:
"Over time, the Monster Factory has evolved as has wrestling. It has had different trainers and different facilities. Now, because of how wrestlers and athletes are trained these days in terms of wrestling, it has become a mini-performance center. There's amateur matches, a weight room, multiple rings. It's not just in-ring training. As I said, wrestling has so many different dynamics to it now compared to yesteryear. It needed to evolve! It comes down to fundamentals and being able to tell a story... Everything beyond what you see as just moves. It is what's before and after that is so important. That's been the heart of the training of the Monster Factory! It is the way it makes guys do things the right way, be businessmen, to treat this as a business, and weeding out the bad folks who don't belong in our business. I think that is why it has been so successful as far as breeding popular stars."
On his upbringing:
"I'm from New York. I was raised in Puerto Rico so Spanish was my first language. I moved to the States when I was about 11 and have lived in the Tri-States the rest of the time."
On learning to work as a wrestler after learning shoot style karate:
"It was odd. I knew going into it... I knew what wrestling was! I was a big fan. My dad used to take me to every show at Madison Square Garden. So, if WWE, or F at the time, was at Madison Square Garden, I was there. I was there for the Survivor Series in 1996 when Undertaker took off like a bat and Sid beat Shawn Michaels. (laughs) I was there for the Kliq moment when Disel and Razor left. So many good shows I saw there. So, I understood the business or at least the wrestling. I guess because I have a fighting background, although I love wrestling and I love the story lines, I still looked at it a little differently than probably most fans did. I understood what they were doing and kind of appreciated how they made it look. When I joined the school, I knew that it was going to be hard for me. I knew it was going to be hard on my body because this is tough! I didn't go into it thinking, "This is going to be easy and cake." It was still a lot harder than I thought it was going to be! It was a little odd but I was able to adapt quickly. I wasn't just into martial arts, I played all sports. I played football, basketball, baseball.... Usually, you're taught to try to have control over your emotions where in pro wrestling, they want you to show emotion. That was the hardest transition. Having to let it out and show emotion in everything we do as opposed to hiding it because you don't want your opponent to see it. You have a certain image you have to maintain when you're in combat or in a game whereas in pro wrestling, NO! (laughs) It is the complete opposite. That's what tells the story. As far as the in ring, I was pretty good at it because I believe the martial arts helped me so much as far as being able to fall, position myself, and my foot work. That's the problem with a lot of the wrestlers today. They come in and want to move a thousand miles an hour when it is the opposite, you've got to plant your feet to position yourself. I had that background and that base to help me."
On the difficulty of learning promos:
The psychology and even the speaking, the promos, that was a little harder for me too. " He goes on to say, "It is about knowing The problem is when you don't know what to say or when to say it, it becomes challenging. I can say words and make them menacing but if it doesn't make sense in the moment, it becomes wasted words. "
On it being tough to be a big man in the modern era:
"You raise a very good point and I like the way you worded that. It is hard which is funny because pro wrestling was all about the big men. Now, there's a big man and the fans are like , "Ugh, I don't want to watch this guy." It used to be the opposite! What happened? (laughs) I kind of like the challenge a little bit because when you can succeed being the one that everyone expects to fail, it is just that much better. I know if they're expecting the worst and you give them something good, they're going to say that it is great. If you give them something great, it is going to be special! That's my goal. There are still a lot of big men and they're very athletic. The style has changed. There's no generic big man anymore."
On working GFW's iconic performer Abyss:
"There's still your classic big men like you said, Abyss, who knows how to tell a story so he doesn't have to rely on doing dives and flips and wantnot because he knows who he is. Everybody knows who he is! He's established! Would Abyss, how he works, starting now, would that work? I don't know. Maybe it would, because it still does. But, would he get the opportunity?" He goes on to say, "I'm a big fan of Abyss and what he does."
On Randy Orton and Rip Rogers' "#Dive" Tweet:
"I didn't take it as a knock. I know what he meant. When he said dives, he meant certain guys are just doing dives for no reason. Guys who were doing it just to get a reaction without it making sense. That is what he meant. He did not mean dives don't belong in wrestling because he wrestles with guys who do dives all the time. As a matter of fact, if you look at stuff from earlier in his career, he was jumping off the top rope a lot. He just doesn't have to now. But, it all comes down to the "WOW" moments. The dive doesn't necesserilly need to be a dive, it is the "WOW" moment. The reason the word "dive" was used is because Rip used it. I know what he (Orton) meant and I know what Rip meant as well. But fans that don't understand, of course, tried to rip them apart. When you look at the WWE fan base, it was a very small percentage of fan base that had a problem with what he (Orton) said."
On ROH's new TV Deal:
"It's awesome! You're always trying, our goal in the locker room is to make the product as good as it could be. I'm not just saying this because I work for the company. In the time I've been there, I've been so appreciative of my peers and those that were there before me because of the way they treated me coming in. It wasn't, "You're an outsider and you've got to pay dues." No! It was, "You're here. You're here for a reason. So, we're going to help you become the best you because that's what we're all about. We're not about individually being the best. We're about the product." Then, when the product itself starts raising the bar, getting TV deals, getting bigger opportunities because of what we're contributing, it makes us feel really, really good because we know we're doing our job."
On working with Kevin Sullivan and Steve Corino:
"Man! Coming into ROH, getting a job with a major company, and then getting to work with these guys was a pretty cool deal! (laughs) And, developing a relationship with thes people too where I talk to these guys on a regular basis now. I just talked to Sullivan two days ago. I still ask him questions and ask him to critique my work and give me tips and pointers. Both these guys... Geniuses! It does not matter what people know about them, I think they're still under appreciated. People don't understand all they've done for professional wrestling be it on camera or behind the scenes helping people raise their own bar. They've helped so many people along the way which goes unnoticed by many but not by the people that they've helped. But, they didn't do it for recognition. They did it because they love professional wrestling and that is something I really respect about them."
On working with The Addiction:
"Awesome, awesome. Frankie and I have a lot in common. We like the same music... We have similar personalities. More laid back, more to ourselves. Man, that guy knows this business in and out. It was so easy to work with him. With him, everything was so flawless. Same thing with CD. Those guys... Man, they're so good!"
On Cody Rhodes saying ROH has more growth potential than GFW:
"I can't speak for GFW because I've never worked there, he did. He's spekaing from experience. I can speak as far as Ring of Honor. We just got a new TV deal. The partnership with New Japan and CMLL seems to be growing stronger. Each year, the numbers raise as far as the TV viewers, attendance, and pay-per-view buys. It's growing! The proof is in the pudding!"
On Sean Waltman's recent rant bout it being a great time for wrestling:
"Oh, it's a great time for wrestling and I know why he said it. Because there's so many platforms to watch wrestling for number 1. Number 2, there's so many different styles. So, if you don't like 1 type of wrestling, here's another one. here's another one. Here's another one. They're all easily accessible. All these styles have been around forever. The only difference is, there wasn't a way to watch them. Now, with social media being so big and so important in the world, it is so easy to watch anything!"
On Lio Rush saying every wrestler's goal should be WWE:
"Lio is 3 years in. When I was 3 years in, of course that was my goal. I'm in a different place right now. My goal is to do what I love and make a living at it. Of course if I could do something that would be more financially fitting for me, of course I'd be interested. I set different goals for myself. I had started a transformation about 4 years ago. I pretty much changed my whole life... My whole training. Really giving 100% to this business which I didn't do previously and that's why it took me so long. Now I set, not short term goals but more realistic goals. Like, "This is what I want right now." My goal was to sign a contract with Ring of Honor: I got it! Then my goal was to have a match in Japan: I got that! OK, I want to main event a show: I did that! Now, my goal is I want to be a champion. Of course I have big goals. A big goal of mine would be getting to wrestle at the Tokyo Dome at a Wrstle Kingdom. That is a HUGE goal! If I said I didn't want to work for WWE, I'd be lying. I think anybody would be lying. I hear it all the time and I start laughing. I was talking to a teenager the other day and he said "I want to be a wrestler but I'd never go to WWE. I started laughing and said, "Why not?" He said, "Because they make wrestling look bad." I cracked up and said, "You don't get pro wrestling. But, that's OK because you're just a kid."