WWE tag team legends The Hart Foundation
Positivity – in many places – is in short supply. Not that there aren’t a myriad of positive things going on, but it seems a person needs to have a particular set of filters applied to their perspective. “Mr. Saturday Night” Michael Barry is not only an example of what exists within the aforementioned myriad, but is also an owner of one of those particular filter sets.
A multi-time champion throughout the central and southern United States, Barry experienced a great deal of success and exposure as one half of Traditional Championship Wrestling’s (TCW) alpha tag team, Genetic Perfection, along with “All That” Alan Steel.
Professional wrestling is, if nothing else, a challenge, but MSN isn’t content to take on one challenge at a time. I asked Michael a few questions based on his wide array of experiences in wrestling, life, and his upcoming attempt to tackle the ultimate challenge: Steve Austin’s devastating Skullbuster.
I always ask this because it’s one of my favorite conversations: what are some of your earliest memories of pro wrestling? Who, in your mind’s encyclopedia of wrestling history, can you look back to and say, “I have some of him in me”?
Earliest memory by far was my parents flipping through the channels, and on came Hulk Hogan – I was instantly mesmerized. I didn’t know who this was, but I knew he wasn’t human, and I knew that I wanted to see more!
As far as who I wanted to be or I was influenced by? Gotta say: “Mr. Perfect” Curt Hennig. As a child, in a big world, growing up with all the things that a kid experiences in school, pressure, bullies, coming into your own? This guy had it down. He was perfect, not a problem in the world or one he couldn’t handle because he was perfect. He may have not been the fan favorite but he was a favorite to 8 year old “MSN”.
You’ve held singles titles in promotions across the central and southern US. Your time with Alan Steele as Genetic Perfection in TCW also yielded a great deal of success in the form of the TCW Tag Team Championships, which you two held for the better part of a year. What differences are there in attaining championship success as a member of a team versus as a singles competitor?
It’s a team effort, when you win, the team wins. When you lose, well then the team loses…and not only to mention there is now a 50% more chance of you losing because your partner could get pinned. So it really behoves someone to team with someone close, that they can be on the same page with.
Family is easy, and that is why Alan made the perfect partner. Now, on the flip side, when we stood across the ring from each other, it was harder…he knew your playbook. So you better have something up your sleeve or some trick that plays handy.
Singles? The glory or agony of defeat is all on you and you better have big, big shoulders to carry the load.
You have graphic design talent, education, and experience – in my mind, that would be a major advantage for a professional wrestler. In what ways have your visual skills helped your wrestling career?
Not only wrestling, but life itself. Some of the same characteristics that make you successful in wrestling work across the board in life, work, and relationships. It sounds campy, but never give up. I always say “I’m not smart enough to know I can’t do something.” My wife just says I’m stubborn. Either way, you show up do the absolute best, and let everything fall where it may. No one in this business is going to put yourself over but you. You have to learn to market yourself, to the fans, the promoters – in a way, to the business itself. If that is one more weapon you have, that increases your chance of success. It has done nothing but help me communicate visually with my fans and catch promoters eyes.
Last night, I watched the premiere episode of the Broken Skull Challenge (Sundays @ 8/7c on CMT), and I was not surprised that the finalist didn’t have the upper body strength left at the end of the Skullbuster to climb the rope. The whole thing was brutal and very intriguing. How have you trained for your appearance? And not just physically, but mentally – what’s your mental approach to such a grueling and imposing challenge?
I wouldn’t recommend that anyone train like me. I train with greats at True Strength Crossfit where the coach, Jason Zurba, is a former Canadian Olympic Alternate and a machine, and I work with different athletes with different specialties at Joplin Crossfit. We are talking two-a-days, running, cross training, and exercises that test increased work capacity across broad time and model domains. As for mentally, that was easy. If you have had any kind of success in the wrestling business than you have have mental toughness about you. Don’t get me wrong: I had few “WTF-did-I-get-myself-in? moments”, but you only live once, no regrets.
What are your goals for the future of your wrestling career? What would you like to be able to say aloud and know in your heart once it’s all said and done?
Keep doing the best with what I am given and at the end of the day say “I tried my hardest, and I had a good run.”
Find and like “Mr. Saturday Night ” Michael Barry on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter @TCWMSN_Barry. Watch for him on SCSA’s Broken Skull Challenge, airing Sunday nights, 8/7c, on CMT.
— Daniel Stusiak, OWW writer