In May 2003 IPW Hardcore promoters created the JEFF PETERSON MEMORIAL CUP in tribute to the fallen cruiserweight star who passed in 2001 after a long battle with cancer. Since then the event has garnered a list of international stars who supported the event and honored Jeff’s memory by putting on five star caliber bouts. The previous winners were “Reckless Youth” Tom Carter, Justice, Chris Sabin, Milano Collection AT and Chris Hero. On September 26-27th sixteen men will come to Port Richey and Brooksville, Florida to try and join those names. Could this year’s winner be:
Hometown: Manhasset, NY
Pro Debut: June 2005 vs. Chasyn Rance
Where have you seen him: Big Japan Pro Wrestling, ICE RIPPON, Yokohama Pro, MXPW, AWA World-1 South, D1PW(FL), UXW (defunct), FPWA (FL), GCW, AWF (defunct), CCW (FL), Four Star Championship Wrestling, Dropkick Pro Wrestling, All Aggression Pro (FL), Pro Wrestling Fusion, Professional Catch Wrestling (FL), Down South Hardcore Wrestling (GA), Pro Wrestling Dynasty (FL).
Championships Held: former D1PW Cruiserweight champion,
Alan Wojcik: What does being part of the 2008 Jeff Peterson Memorial Cup mean to you and what did you know of Jeff before you were invited to be part of the event?
Craig Classic: It’s a great honor to be part of this years tournament. It has been a goal of my since I started wrestling here in the state of Florida to one day compete in the JPC. Jeff is somone that I have heard nothing but great things about and sadly was taken away from all of us. He was a pioneer of the many different styles you see out there on the indy scene today.
Alan Wojcik: You have one of the most interesting training backgrounds of any ’08 Tournament member. How did you go from being a Florida based wrestling student to training in the Big Japan Wrestling dojo? Describe a typical day of training and how did it vary from your American based training under Soulman Alex G.
Craig Classic: Typical day of training in Japan is waking up at 8am, Getting in the ring with nothing in your stomach and doing 500 Hindu Squats, Jumping Spuats, All different styles of push ups & sit ups. After that is all finished, we all lined up and start taking bumps and rolls. Then work on holds and different moves. This at first was not easy. As they were alot tougher on me, Because I am American and not Japanese. So from 8am to 1pm everyday was like hell. But I stuck with it and got alot of respect from the other BJW members. Training under Soulman is not all that different, Soulman is old school and will drill you till you cant move anymore. I respect him so much, and owe alot to him for everything he has given me to be sucessful in this business.
Alan Wojcik: Where did the name Craig Classic come from and did the Japanese ever try to call you anything besides Craig?
Craig Classic: I was in Japan and here in the states, I was wrestling as the Dragon Warrior. I had been wanting to change my name to something for awhile and just didn’t know what. So one day during training, Daisuke Sekimoto came to me and said you are Classic Wrestler. So thats where the Classic came from. When I came to Japan in 2006 for my first tour, I was asked what I should be called. This was before I used Classic in my name & I wasn’t going to use my real last name. So I said just call me Craig and the BJW office felt since I was still young in the business at the time, It would be fine. So for now, I am just called Craig.
Alan Wojcik: How different are the Japanese matches to the ones a fan here in America would witness on any given weekend?
Craig Classic: There is a big difference. In Japan, the wrestlers just have wrestling. Its there job and all they know. So they train really hard and keep themselves in good shape and work a style that is much different then what fans are used to seeing here.
Alan Wojcik: What are the main differences between BJW, ICE RIPPON and Yokohama Pro besides they are three Japanese promotions?
Craig Classic: Big Japan Pro Wrestling is mainly a Death Match company. But offers many different styles of Wrestling to its fanbase. Yokohama Pro is BJW’s other company that forcuses more on entertainment and wrestling for children. ICE RIPPON is a small Japanese company, that runs small shows in Tokyo. It’s run by a female wrestler named Emi Sakura. They from time to time bring in names from other companies to their shows.
Alan Wojcik: You’ve had such great international success at such a young age (Craig is 25) How do you keep yourself grounded or has it ever really sunk in I wrestle in Japan?
Craig Classic: Soulman always drilled it in my head to be humble & thankful for what comes my way. I know alot of people cant separate themselves from who they are in the ring to who they are outside of it. I know the success that I have had touring Japan and I dont let that get to my head. I keep myself grounded knowing who I am outside of the wrestling business and being thankful for what it has given me in return.
Alan Wojcik: In recent months you have come under the guidance of the lovely Amy Vitale (www.myspace.com/amyvitale) who runs Club 305 in Pro Wrestling Riot. How did this partnership come to be and do you feel she has helped your career?
Craig Classic: Amy Vitale is like my sister. She helped me, When no one else would early in my career and I owe alot to her for that. There is nothing that I wouldnt do for her. Having Amy in my corner, I beleve she brings out the best in me.
Alan Wojcik: In Division 1 Pro Wrestling you have been involved in an ongoing feud with fellow tournament member Jaison Moore. Do you think that rivalry will spill over into the tournament or can you block him out long enough to focus on the matches?
Craig Classic: If the rivalry spills over into the tournament then maybe we can end this 2 year long feud at the Jeff Peterson Cup. But that is not something that I am thinking about at the moment. My main focus going into this tournament is 3 things. Giving the fans there money’s worth, honoring the name of Jeff Peterson and most important is helping out little Devin and his family.
Alan Wojcik: When one looks at your bio, you currently work for several Florida promotions. Is there one you would call your “home promotion” and why?
Craig Classic: This is a hard question for me. I spend so much time in Japan. That I only consider my home being BJW, because that is where I started back in 2005. I just made my debut for Pro Wrestling Fusion and it was one of the best times, I’ve had in a long time working for any company. But as far as being my home company, I will say Divison 1 Pro Wrestling. D1PW was born at time, when alot of us South Florida based wrestlers didn’t have a home company to go to and for that I am always loyal to everyone in D1PW, for giving me a place to wrestle.
Alan Wojcik: When you look over the other fifteen names in this year’s tournament is there one you feel could be the biggest obstacle that stops you from winning it all?
Craig Classic: There are a few guys in this years tournament that could be obstacles in my path of winning it. Jon Davis is one of them, Erick Stevens being other one. But I am gonna remain focused and take one match at a time and go as far as I can in the tournament.
The 2008 Jeff Peterson Memorial Cup will be held Friday September 26th in Port Richey and Saturday September 27th in Brooksville. FL. Tickets and show information is available on http://jpc2008.com