WWE Superstar and former member of the Shield
The hosts of Sterling Eyes Wrestling Podcasts talk about WWE, John Cena, and more in this exclusive interview with OWW.
What is your website’s history?
Sterling: We have been up and running only since the end of November this year (2013). We started off with the podcast itself just using our hosting site as the main site before setting up www.sterlingeyes.wordpress.com as our blog and since then have moved on to create our YouTube videos to compliment the podcast.
Dead Eyes: It’s strange to think we’ve only been going since end of November, it feels like we’ve been doing this forever (in the best possible way!) We have had some struggles on our journey with podcast hosting and generally getting the podcast’s we’re recording out there for all to hear but thanks to Sterling and his acute insomnia – we have quickly established an online presence and continue to grow and expand.
How did you guys team up?
Sterling: Myself and Dead Eyes have been friends for nearly ten years. We met in a workplace that will only ever be known as ‘the twilight zone’ and have always worked together on various creative projects. We live in different cities now and hadn’t collaborated for a while so when we came up with the idea of a Podcast we just went for it and threw ourselves in at the deep end. Neither of us had a clue about the technical side of creating, editing and promoting a podcast (as you can tell if you listen to our Pilot show) but I think we’ve done ok and have managed to build up quite a following in a relatively short period of time.
What is your background as wrestling fans?
Sterling: I was a HUGE wrestling fan as a kid. I got into wrestling when I was really young and although I’m not 100% sure when it was, it was around 1989-1990. I used to receive recorded video tapes from my mums friend who had Sky TV. These were; Prime Time, Challenge, Superstars, etc as well as all of the PPV shows. I also built up a massive wrestling video library, which much to my regret now I gave away when I ‘grew out of wrestling’. I also used to watch a bit of WCW because that was on in the early hours of the morning in the UK. I stopped watching sometime around 1993-94 when I felt that WWF got a bit stupid, with lots of really over the top cartoon type characters. I then got into WCW again during the Monday Night Wars and watched that every week for a few years before discovering the joys of girls and partying. I had a good few years out until I got back into wrestling about 2-3 years ago.
Dead Eyes: I’ve admitted many times during our reviews that my interest in wrestling has always been a bit sporadic. I watched when I was a kid and loved to emulate the stars but never really got the chance to watch as much wrestling as I would have liked due to being poor and having a home where wrestling wasn’t really accepted. When I was a teenager I did go to see a Wrestling match being held at the Plymouth Pavilions and the real wrestlers weren’t even there, just fake wankers (nothing worse than a fake) so my interest waned and I’ve only watched on and off over the years. I can safely say that up until we began our reviews that I was not as much of a fan of wrestling as Sterling but since we’ve began my interest has come back with a vengeance to the point that I now cannot talk to people without sneaking in something about wrestling into the conversation.
What do you think of today’s product?
Sterling: Personally although I still enjoy watching sometimes I think there’s a lot of work that needs to be done to build up the mid-card wrestlers in today’s product. There’s some amazing athletes and performers but the booking and continuity is really affecting the overall product. There’s a real lack of depth to storylines and everything seems to be booked from week to week without any real fore-thought or planning. Also, although I’ve got nothing against either of them I am pretty sick of seeing Cena and Orton main event every PPV when there’s so much talent lurking just beneath the surface.
Dead Eyes: I refuse to accept today’s product.
What would you change about wrestling today?
Sterling: I would strip it right back to basics. Good wrestling, great story-telling, decent feuds throughout the card, rather than just for the main-eventers, builds that last more than 2 weeks, unscripted promos, and characters that are an extension of wrestlers own personalities rather than the creation of far too many different writers. I would also go back to only having the WWE title, the IC belt and the Tag Team Championships. With fewer belts there’s more competition for them and everyone gets a shot rather than having one title being feuded over by two wrestlers for a whole year whilst everyone else just drifts along without direction. I have a lot of thoughts on what should be changed and how it should happen. I would also get rid of Michael Cole on commentary because he drives me insane!
Dead Eyes: I would employ myself and Sterling to sort out the WWE and we would do this by giving the WWE and each wrestler ‘layers’ rather than being a heap of confusing and boring crap. We would have a major focus on storytelling, really good reasons for feuds and a massive and longer build up to the feud matches. Sterling has pretty much covered everything on this but I will add that if you look at the Mega Powers story line, that was a year in the making and was one of the best feuds ever!
What is your favorite promotion?
Sterling: I have to say WWF because that’s what I grew up on really. I loved WCW but I was only really a fan for a relatively short period. I’ve not really watched much in the way of Japanese or Mexican wrestling other than the odd show but i think my poor western brain struggles to invest in the shows when I can’t understand the commentary (I’m a big fan of good commentary)
Dead Eyes: Inoki Genome Federation… that is all!
What are some of the top WWE PPVs ever?
Sterling: For me, that’s a really hard question because I have two ways of looking at that. There’s the shows that I loved most as a kid and there’s the shows that I’ve re-watched as an adult with fresh eyes and those two choices would vary dramatically. One of the things that’s been interesting having done the podcast is that very thing. Speaking as my 10 year old self I would say – WrestleMania’s 4, 5, 6 & 8, Royal Rumble 92, and SummerSlam 91. Speaking to you now as an overgrown man-child who has re-watched some of those shows – I would still say Royal Rumble 92 but I’m not so sure about the others. SummerSlam 91 is our next podcast so I will have to tell you after I’ve watched it again. Out of the shows we’ve reviewed on the podcast Wrestlemania X was particularly good despite a few pretty duff matches. If I have to pick just one it would definitely be Rumble 92.
Dead Eyes: I’m going to choose to use one of the PPV’s from the shows we’ve reviewed so far – this is quite difficult though as Wrestlemania 10 had two amazing matches (Owen Hart vs Brett Hart and Shawn Michaels vs Razor Ramon). I hold a special affection for Rampage 1992 being as it was the first PPV we reviewed, however, I think overall that my favorite to date is Royal Rumble 1992.
What are your thoughts on John Cena?
Sterling: As someone who grew up on Hulk Hogan as the Cena of his generation, I actually quite like Cena. I know that is definitely not a ‘cool’ thing to say and I’m sure the Internet Wrestling Community will be forming an angry mob as I type these words but he’s actually pretty good in the ring and can tell a decent story. He’s pretty annoying on the mic and I don’t understand why his accent changes every show but as an in-ring competitor he’s much better than Hogan ever was, and can certainly carry a far better match technically. He has his faults; he can’t sell particularly well and is on TV far too often, his jokes are pretty awful, etc but as a top guy, he’s not too bad.
What are your thoughts on the Divas?
Sterling: I have never really been a fan of women’s wrestling. I think partly because all I had access to as a kid was Lelani Kai, Moolah, Bertha Faye, etc who were all horrible to watch. The Divas these days are far better in the ring but with the exception of AJ Lee I’d happily see them removed from the card. There are far better female wrestlers in NXT than on the main roster.
Dead Eyes: Now if you look back in the day at someone like Miss Elizabeth, she was amazing in every way – she wasn’t a busty model but rather naturally lovely and had a timid but foxy personality. I’m not saying that Diva’s these days aren’t pretty but they’re so “samey”. I’m backing Sterling with saying that I’m not a fan of women’s wrestling either.
Should Undertaker lose at WrestleMania?
Sterling: I’m really conflicted on this. My instinct says no. He should have his long and illustrious career end with a huge victory over someone special and leave a legacy of an unbeatable, undefeated streak at WrestleMania. However, at the same time can you imagine the rub it would give a younger star to be the only man to ever defeat the Undertaker at WrestleMania? That guy would be made for the rest of his career. If anyone is going to beat him it should be someone like Daniel Bryan or CM Punk. If they ever put Triple H, Randy Orton, or John Cena over the Taker I will be done with WWE.
Should Hulk Hogan return to WWE?
Sterling: Only in a non-wrestling capacity. there’s definitely a part of me that would ‘mark out’ big time over Real American playing and Hogan hitting the ring for a match but he’s in far too bad shape to carry any kind of match these days. I think they will bring him back for Mania 30 but hopefully it will be as a guest referee or something along those lines. (Disclaimer: This should definitely not happen but the kid inside me would love it) If he comes back I would love to see him take on Taker but that will never happen.
Dead Eyes: I think Hogan would be well out of his depth in modern day wrestling. It’s like we’ve said in our podcast reviews, back in the day everything Hogan did was amazing but these days it wouldn’t work (a bit like music or fashion fads that have a certain shelf life). I think it would be great to see him in some capacity… maybe an outside of the ring referee or towel boy?
Can TNA ever truly challenge WWE?
Sterling: I very much doubt it. I find the TNA product almost unwatchable. There’s some great wrestlers and the production values are high but there’s something about the product that I just don’t enjoy. Who knows what will happen in 10 years’ time but the way things are going I imagine they will be out of business before they every overtake the WWE.
Dead Eyes: I honestly don’t care, I can’t watch any modern day wrestling.
What do you think of the current Independent wrestling scene?
Sterling: My only real exposure to the Indy scene is ROH. Most of my time is spent watching and reviewing the old school wrestling, recording, editing, and promoting the Podcast so I’m finding myself watching less and less of other promotions. I really like the concept of ROH, the talent level is phenomenal and the booking is good a lot of the time. I much prefer that promotion to TNA despite the lousy production values. I think, looking forward 10 years ROH is more likely to be a competitor to WWE than TNA but that is also extremely unlikely.
Dead Eyes: This is where Sterling shows his true geeky colors, I honestly don’t know anything else apart from WWF and WWE – this may change in time but at the moment I’m not really into any other scene that the 80’s and 90’s so more retro than indie!
Who are some of today’s rising stars?
Sterling: Daniel Bryan (as long as they don’t bury him), CM Punk, Sheamus, Cody Rhodes, Luke Harper, Dean Ambrose, Wade Barrett, Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, Fandango – there’s quite a few. These are the stars I think should be the future of wrestling, not necessarily the ones that will be made into the future of wrestling
Dead Eyes: From the little I’ve seen I hate Daniel Bryan and indifferent to all of the others that Sterling has named. There seriously needs to be something done to get people’s interest back and make them actually care about the wrestlers because at the moment I care more about Eastenders characters and that’s sinking pretty damn low.
Who are some of today’s falling stars?
Sterling: Sting (time to hang up the boots buddy) Kurt Angle, Samoa Joe, Triple H – All of these guys are past their prime and match quality is decreasing because of this.
Dead Eyes: I’m going to be hated by an entire community of wrestling fans but all of them need to go and start again from scratch, I cannot express how bored these modern wrestlers make me. They’re all great athletes but they’ve got no soul, that’s been taken away by commercialism and having every single thing that they do scripted… ohhhh how I miss the Warrior and his crazy unpredictable ways.
Where can people find you on social networks?
Sterling: Everywhere! We are all over social media. You can find us on Twitter: @SterlingEyes1 on Facebook: Sterling Eyes Wrestling Podcast Extravaganza on Youtube: Sterling Eyes Wrestling Podcast on our blog: www.sterlingeyes.libsyn.com on itunes: Sterling Eyes Wrestling Podcast Extravaganza and we are also featured on a great site called www.voicesofwrestling.com
Dead Eyes: We’re on Facebook as well which we’re building our ‘likes’ on at present, Sterling’s covered the rest but please take the time to check out the Youtube videos as they take a ludicrous amount of time to put together and have some mildly amusing moments which add to the Sterling Eyes experience.
How many podcasts do you produce every month?
Sterling: We try to release one podcast a week. We generally record on a Tuesday evening and once the show’s been edited it’s usually up by the following Friday. We’re having a bit of a break over Christmas and New Year but we will be back with our review of SummerSlam 1991 sometime in January. There is going to be 10 episodes in the current series and then we will start production on series 2 which is going to be something a little bit different. We’re really excited about it and I think our listeners will really enjoy what we’ve got in store for them.
Dead Eyes: Sterling’s got this all covered but what I’d like to add is that it’s felt like breakneck speed recording one a week as you need to count in the time it takes to watch and write up notes for each PPV and then recording, editing, adding to hosting sites and YouTube. I wouldn’t change it for the world though, it’s been one of the best experiences I’ve had and an extremely rewarding one.