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    Saturday, October 26, 2019

    TNT Is Ready To Go Off On The Philippine Wrestling Scene

    With a career spanning 20 years, different continents, a promotion he started and grew himself, and a long list of who's who in the business, it's no surprise that the man they call TNT is one of Australia's most legendary pro wrestlers. One place we've never seen him wrestle before, however, is the Philippines; the Australian veteran has been teased quite a few times by different promotions in the country, but nothing has come to fruition—until now.

    That all changes on Sunday, October 27 at World Underground Wrestling Philippines' first public show Fight Night 0. TNT is set to finally make his Philippine debut, going up against local upstart Razael. He'll be bringing two decades' worth of experience like few Filipino fans have ever seen to the ring—just check out this match he's had with The Brian Kendrick:


    Smark Henry caught up with TNT before he's set to appear on WUW PH's Fight Night 0.

    You've referred to the Philippines as your "other" home. Can you talk about why that's the case? Also, how often do you come to the country?
    I’ve referred to Philippines as my other home as I have a house in the South, where I visit when I have short breaks a few times a year from the Australasian Wrestling Federation (AWF) in Australia. I have my lovely partner and a young son and stepson here.

    Your name has been making the rounds in the local scene for quite some time. As Australia's most famous wrestler (from a Bleacher Report article), how do you see yourself fitting in with the Philippine wrestling scene?
    I have wrestled across Australia for about 25 years now so I'm pretty established there. In the Philippines I hope to be able to pass on knowledge I've learnt around the world, and to assist to improve many new wrestlers' skills and understanding for the sport I love. I hope to be able to work with the best rising talents and make exciting bouts for local fans while still competing, and i then future assist with shows and possible promotion.

    How can you compare the Australian wrestling scene with the local wrestling scene?
    Australia has been running solid since the 1960s. These days there are shows every weekend in every state. It is oversaturated currently in many ways. There are many world quality wrestlers, and many looking to become seasoned. In the Philippines, wrestling is in its infant revival years with the modern crop of local wrestling enthusiasts passionately building a scene for last five or so years it seems.

    With time, skilled coaching and training, and many shows, like in so many places in the world, the Pinoy wrestling scene has the chance to build in quality. I hope to be able to assist in this with seminars and show mentorship for a select few wrestlers like I have done in many places in the past.

    I read some time back that you were advertised for an MWF show before. If I remember correctly, it was teased that you were going to have a championship match. What happened to that appearance/championship match?
    Yes, I made an appearance at an MWF show and had a face off with Rex Lawin and Gus Queens. I’d hoped to set an AWF Championship match, but I lost my titles in Australia, and when I had break time from AWF in Australia to come to Philippines MWF shows unfortunately where not running, so I guess the opportunity passed by.

    Who knows, it may reignite and a match could be set for early 2020 if shows line up when I visit then.

    Wrestling in the Philippines is at an all-time high right now. With PWR, MWF, AOWW (previously) and now WUW PH, how do you see the local wrestling industry and market within the next few years?
    It seems like it can possibly grow, especially if all can find their niche and own spaces where they run events. If the talent continues to improve, and some can become local draws it will help.

    How did you end up working with WUW PH?
    I visited a training session for Art of War Wrestling when Chilly Willy was running training, and a few months back ran a seminar at Brawl Pit Bulusan. I saw the show took place a few weeks back that a few from the training appeared on, and then told WUW Philippines staff I’d be in town weekend of the 27th, and a show was made. I have a good relationship with international WUW promoters having wrestled some shows in Japan for them, and it looks likely I will assist with some WUW shows in Australia in 2020.

    What is your role in WUW PH?
    I will wrestle the WUW show on October 27th and we shall see what the future holds after this event. I seek to continue to build and make a great relationship with the group. I may also have an announcement that night for WUW in Australia for 2020. I will also scout talent for the shows I run and advise to other promoters around the world.

    In your opinion, what makes WUW PH different than the other wrestling products in the Philippines?
    In [WUW Japan] the style is a little more snug and stiff, and often no ring, just pads surrounded by chains. Here in the Philippines with its strong ties with Brawl Pit Bulusan and mixed martial artists, possibly a hard striking and submission style of wrestling will also be adopted. All will likely evolve over the coming shows and will develop through the group's skills and efforts.

    What can we expect from you and the WUW PH roster in your upcoming show?
    I can’t speak for the other talents, but for myself I will look to deliver an explosive bout of wrestling-based fighting that elicits emotion from the audience. I would like to connect positively with many fans and wrestlers and make a great experience for the event, and be able to continue that to future events and build a positive rapport for all.

    Who do you think are the guys (and matchups) to watch out for in WUW PH?
    I will be watching the other bouts in person this Sunday! In the lead up I will view the Dojo Storm event to scout future possible opponents and talents. I am looking forward to testing Razael this Sunday for sure. He has claimed he will put out my spark. Many have tried! We shall see if he can come close!

    Talents like The Machine, Saint John-Martin, Jarhead, David Ravena and the rest of the WUW roster can all handle themselves. They won’t be mucking around at these events.

    This Sunday’s Fight Night 0 event will be a hard hitting and skilled event at Brawl Pit Bulusan. Please spread the word, gather friends, and contact the WUW Philippines Facebook page to get tickets for the show at 7 p.m. this Sunday, October 27. I would love to have a full house of fans for this event and to meet them all, and for WUW and it’s hungry wrestling fighting athletes to thrive.

    Is there anybody in the local scene that you'd like to face or work with?
    I would like to wrestle the best wrestlers in the Philippines and deliver exciting bouts to help wrestling fans in the Philippines get really excited about the wrestling here.

    It would be great to wrestle or team with locally-based talents like The Machine, David Ravena, Rex Lawin, Classical Bryan Leo, Chris Panzer, Billy Suede and Jake Deleon. I would also enjoy the chance to work with international visiting wrestlers such as TJP, Ho Ho Lun, Blackzilla, Tajiri and Charlie Salmon.

    I am very much looking forward to facing Razael this Sunday and pushing him to his wrestling limits and seeing what this new WUW wrestling prodigy has to offer.

    Are there any goals you still want to pursue in the wrestling business?
    Yes, I set new goals every year. Most of them are for AWF in Australia. Currently it is to end the year strong with sellout shows. Our last event was at capacity. My upcoming Supanova shows' first two weeks are in South Australia and Queensland and will be viewed by thousands of spectators over the days. November 15 will be another big Sydney event with likely over a thousand fans, which will be the first for this in many years. Then on December 6, AWF will host its 20 Year Celebration event at Parramatta RSL. This will be a really good night and means a lot to me personally. Then on December 20, I hope AWF will finish the year with another sellout for our Year End Extravaganza Xmas Bash.

    In the Philippines, my goal currently is to get to know as many of the good wrestling people and fans as possible, and help train and assist new wrestlers. In future perhaps I will join with groups to promote events if I spend time in the country and my sons remain here.

    I also offer a pathway to Australia for local wrestlers who may wish to holiday wrestle in Australia. If you are planning a wrestling excursion to Australia anytime be sure to contact me, and if suitable may be able to get you some bouts with AWF.

    Any advice for aspiring local wrestlers in the country?
    Yes, be passionate and respectful to the wrestling. Be proud to be a wrestler. Some shows will be the first time local fans have seen live wrestling. Don’t treat it as a joke. If you are a play wrestler or extra, please get serious or go away. You will stunt the growth of the scene. One bad show can kill a territory. Seek out the best training. Get in shape. Give your best efforts and prepare for every show. Study and care about the wrestling. Be a good person and representative of the wrestling. Give the fans who make all possible and the promoters and staff who organize the shows the respect they deserve. Never stop growing.

    If you wish for your group to run a seminar with myself, or as a wrestler have a space and want to organize some private sessions to level up when I am in the Philippines, please don’t hesitate to contact me on Facebook at TNTGregBownds or email at contacttnt@hotmail.com. You will learn and see results.

    Check out more of TNT's stuff at TNTGregBownds on Facebook, @TNTGregBownds on Twitter, and @tnt_wrestler on Instagram, as well as his website www.tntwrestler.com. WUW PH's Fight Night 0 is this Sunday, October 27, 7 p.m. at Brawl Pit Bulusan in Quezon City. Visit the WUW PH page on Facebook for more info on how to get tickets.

    For more info on the Australasian Wrestling Federation, check out their website at www.awfwrestling.com.au, like their Facebook page at Australasian Wrestling Federation, and follow them on Twitter at @AWFWrestling and Instagram at @awfwrestling_off.

    This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. Photo from TNT's Facebook page

    Disclaimer: Smark Henry is independently owned and managed by a group of Filipino pro wrestling fans, but includes members affiliated with Philippine Wrestling Revolution.
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    Item Reviewed: TNT Is Ready To Go Off On The Philippine Wrestling Scene Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Smark Henry
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