Tournament history: 2006 IWA-MS Ted Petty Invitational (lost 1st round to Trik Davis), Winner 2007 Eddie Graham Memorial Battle of the Belts (winning Florida Heritage Title), 2007 YaPro Cup(winning earned entry to 2007 Jeff Peterson Memorial Cup), 2007 Jeff Peterson Memorial Cup (lost to Chris Hero in 2nd round)
Where you have seen him: Ring of Honor, GEAR, Full Impact Pro, Pro Wrestling Riot, NWA Florida, PWW (FL), JAPW, EWE (FL), CZW, NNW (FL), AWA World-1 South, SCW (FL), ACW (FL), AWF(FL) and IWA-MS.
Championships held: Former 2x FIP World Heavyweight champion, AWF Universal champion (Florida and Heavyweight) and NNW Heavyweight, FIP Florida Heritage champion.
Alan Wojcik: Around this time last year we did a profile for the ’07 event and here we are once more. Were you surprised to be asked to return to the tournament and was it easy to say yes I will be there?
Erick Stevens: It may sound a little pompous, but no, I’m not surprised. I think I’ve proven over the past couple years that I’m one of the best Florida has to offer. As far as saying yes, it’s a no brainer. Jeff Peterson was such a special human being, I think going out there and putting on a great show is the least the Florida wrestling community can do.
Alan Wojcik: You had two of the most competitive matches in the tournament with Nooie Lee and Chris Hero. Talk about those two matches that fans can see on the recent DVD release.
Erick Stevens: Last year was dissapointing to say the least. Nooie was pretty scrappy and gave me a damn good run for my money in night 1. Night 2, Chris Hero was, well, Chris Hero. He was the better man that night. But since then I’ve gotten biger, stronger, faster, and most imporantly learned a lot of new tricks. I’m planning on going much deeper in the tournament this year, hopefully the finals.
Alan Wojcik: Last year we about your debut in ROH. This past September you got to show the fans what all of Florida already knew, that you were ready for the national stage when you took on then ROH World champion Takeshi Morshima after winning the right to earlier in the evening. Was that the biggest match in your career at that point and what do you remember from that night?
Erick Stevens: I think so. I mean, this is the current GHC Champion we’re talking about here – and I hung with him! it was a big confidence booster.
Alan Wojcik: At the Sixth Anniversary event you took on two men who couldn’t be more different, Roderick Strong and Necro Butcher. What was that like and is it weird to see a King of the Deathmatch legend like Necro in the “home of pure wrestling?”
Erick Stevens: Necro is a special breed. I liken him to a zombie – You can hit him with stuff, drop him on his head, throw him onto concrete, and he will still keep coming after you, albiet slowly. Short of chopping his head off, I don’t think he can be stopped for good. He’s the toughest man in pro wrestling without a doubt. Don’t judge a book by its cover either – He’s an intelligent beast.
Alan Wojcik: Last year you talked of watching ROH DVD’s at Roderick’s house, now you are a prominent member of the ROH roster. Has it sunk in yet that you have been on PPV and most recently got to share the ring with Lance Storm?
Erick Stevens: It may sound corny, but I keep expecting to wake up at any moment. Like BIG said – “It was all a dream!”. I’m living it though and it’s awesome.
Alan Wojcik: You won the 2007 Wrestling Observer Rookie of the Year despite being in the business for five years. Do you consider this an honor or a slight that no one took notice of you until now?
Erick Stevens: Hey, late recognition is better than no recognition. I was flattered and honored to get that, especially since it’s an award voted on by the fans.
Alan Wojcik: 2008 saw the emergence of a new promotion in Florida, namely Grappling Entertainment Athletic Revolution (www. gearwrestling. com). The website explains the concept behind GEAR but I wish to hear it from someone who has worked for the promotion and got his start in Florida.
Erick Stevens: Yeah, GEAR’s mission is something Roddy and I are very passionate about. A lot of the young guys end up wrestling young guys here in FL and not really learning anything, so we wanted to give them a place where they could get it in the ring with some experienced talent.
Alan Wojcik: Who designed the shirts that fans can purchase through your Myspace page and what other merchandise is in store?
Erick Stevens: Oh yeah, 8-Bit Stevens will be released in September. The response has been great, hopfully people will buy them!
The 2008 Jeff Peterson Memorial Cup will be held Friday September 26th in Port Richey and Saturday the 27th in Brooksville, FL. Event information and tickets sales can be found at http://jpc2008.com