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WRESTLING COLUMNS

Interview with "Hurricane" John Walters
July 12, 2004 - by Larz Richards


1. Well for the benefit of fans who don't follow the indy scene, can you give them a good idea of who "Hurricane" John Walters is?

Hurricane John Walters is an independent wrestler from the New England area. I try my best to appeal to the fans I am wrestling in front of. For the most part, my style is a mix of mat wrestling, submission wrestling, and high impact moves. I have been wrestling for 4 1/2 years and compete primarily on the east coast. I am currently the ECWA Heavyweight Champion and compete for the ECWA, ROH, Chaotic Wrestling, and many other independent promotions. I first made my name in Chaotic Wrestling and have branched out to many other organizations throughout the country.

2. What made you decide to get into the wrestling business and how did you go about getting into it?

In the back of my mind, I was always toying with the idea of becoming a professional wrestler. At first, they were simply dreams that I did not think I could accomplish. First being my size, and second being my ignorance of what it took to become a pro wrestler. As I got older and older, these thoughts were occupying my mind all the time. After graduating high school, I decided that I would give it a shot once I graduated college. I figured playing college football, working part time and taking 5 classes in a very competitive college, dedicating myself to wrestling would be virtually impossible. Therefore, I focused on college football and my studies, but never let that dream leave my mind. After my sophomore year in college, I discovered a cyst in my throat which required surgery. This interfered with me playing football my junior year as I was sidelined until the 5th game of the season. It was then that I decided to give wrestling a go. I joined Killer Kowalski's wrestling school in January of 2001 and drove from my college in Worcester to Walter's school in Malden 4 days a week. The round trip was well over 3 hours but I was on my way to accomplish my dream. I also new that I had to transform my body and diet to become successful, so those were also steps I took.

3. What was it like to train at Killer Kowalskis' Wrestling Academy?

Training at Kowalski's school was very old school. We were taught the basics before we even got into the ring. The head trainer, Mike Hollow, is a stickler for basics and fundamentals so we all knew we were being taught the right way. His first concern was our safety and the safety of our opponents. For the most part, the drills were focused on conditioning and psychology. Walter did not get into the ring as much as he used to, but he would still share his wealth of knowledge with those who took time to pick his brain. Walter taught me more in one day than I could ever imagine. As for Mike Hollow, he was the drill instructor type with the passion and patience to teach everyone who was willing to learn and give 100%. The drills blew us up and my body ached, but I value my time there greatly and felt that the first 2 years of training were very important in building a base and foundation for my future learnings.

4. After Kowalskis’ Academy you trained under Mike Hollow at the Chaotic Training Center. How did you first become involved with the Chaotic Training Center?

Mike Hollow decided to leave the Kowalski school and become head trainer at the brand new Chaotic Training Center (ctc). Many of the students went with Mike, some stayed with Walter. I felt that at this stage in my career, I would benefit more from training with Mike, so I transferred over to the CTC. I still continued my relationship with Kowalksi and would often go to him for certain things. Fortunately, Walter Kowalksi joined the CTC earlier this year and now the two school are one and Kowalski continues to teach his principles every Saturday at the CTC.

5. In your home promotion of Chaotic Wrestling, you won your first title by beating Slyk Wagner Brown for the New England Championship. How did you feel about winning your first title?

I guess winning the belt was cool, but it didn't really effect me all that much. I mean, winning titles are certainly accomplishments, but at that stage in my career, I just wanted to wrestle everywhere and learn as much as possible. Title belts didn't mean much to me. The match itself was exciting and the fans were certainly vocal and upbeat and very receptive to my winning of the title. I guess it will be a night that I will never forget, but that can also be said about 90% of my matches.

6. Later in Chaotic Wrestling you would form the team "12 Pack" with "Good Time" Vince Vicallo whom you would later feud with. Thoughts on Vince Vicallo?

Vicallo and I had a very funny relationship in Chaotic Wrestling. My second match in the company was a tag team match with Vince Vicallo. Management seemed to like the two of us as a team so I'm sure that earlier match planted the seed for 12 pack to take off. As the TV/New England championship, I wrestled Vicallo a handful of times and we always seemed to have a good chemistry in the ring together. He is a good wrestler and is very simple to work with. At Cold Fury, we won the tag team gold together and thus 12 pack was formed. We really were an odd couple as I was the straight edged, serious wrester and VV was the party animal. Our relationship got really rocky as VV was focused on drinking beer and partying while I was constantly focused on our opponents and tag belts. My patience ran out that summer as we were in a huge title defense and had eliminated our opponents from the ring. At this point, Vicallo took two beers out to prematurely party. As his back was turned, I clocked him in the head with the beer and busted him wide open. 12 pack was done, and I was instantly a heel. We then competed for months, leading to a ladder match at the 2nd Cold Fury. Overall, VV is a great performer and certainly lives his gimmick. He is a true friend in wrestling and someone I can always count on.

7. After you would win the Chaotic Wrestling Heavyweight Title, you would defend it against Vince Vicallo in the promotion’s first ever ladder match. Did you feel any extra pressure to deliver a memorable match since this was the first time Chaotic Wrestling had held a ladder match?

I was very nervous for the ladder match. It was Chaotic's first ladder match, but most importantly, my first. I felt that everybody was watching to see what kind of standard we set for ladder matches in the promotion. On top of that, Dr. Tom Prichard from WWE was in attendance and he was interested in seeing the match first hand. Overall, I think the match was a success and both of us did a good job in delivering for the company and the fans. It was a memorable night as our feud ended, I still remained CW Heavyweight Champion, the fans left happy, and most importantly, neither of us were injured.

8. Perhaps your most well known feud came in Chaotic Wrestling against "Latin Fury" Louis Oritz, which cumulated after a year at Cold Fury III when you defeated him in a "Shoots and Ladder Match". What are your thoughts on the feud overall and the shoots and ladder match itself?

My feud with Ortiz was by far the most intense and personal feud in my career. Basically, you had 2 triple crown winners (CW heavyweight title, CW TV title, and CW tag team title) who thought they were the best. We tested each other every show until finally, we met one on one in the ring. This was a first for Chaotic and probably delivered the best house in the company's history. One he beat me for the title, and then beat me in a return "I quit" match. I left CW to focus on out of state bookings. When I returned, we picked up where we left off and continued our rivalry until "shoots and ladders" at Cold Fury 3. The match was nothing less of Ortiz and I beating each other up with ladders and trying to force submission. It was not the best match psychology wise but the crowd ate it up and both of us walked out of the building that night. Overall, the feud with Ortiz will go down as the most memorable in my career. The angles and build up to our matches made the feud that much better.

9. You are a regular for Ring of Honor, which recently split from RF Video due to the Rob Feinstein scandal. How do you think this will affect Ring of Honor in the future?

If there is anything I know about this situation it's that ROH management is very resilient and seem to overcome all the odds that they have been faced with so far. I like to think that fans buy Ring of Honor shows for the shows, not because they are produced by RF Video. I think that there business will continue. I don't know the exact details or enough to comment on this, but I think ROH will continue to succeed and produce quality shows and videotapes. I think the split was very necessary so I think it was a good thing.

10. Over the course of your career you’ve had the chance to work with many of the top independent talents such as AJ Styles, Jerry Lynn, Justin Credible, and Christopher Daniels. How did it feel for you to work with such talents?

Whenever you can get in the ring with someone you can learn from, it's truly a blessing. All of the above talents have accomplished something great in his career. Every professional wrestler brings something to the table and it is a tremendous opportunity to be in the same ring with someone and be able to learn from them. I feel it's every wrestler's job to learn from the guys they work with and those are just a few of the names of guys who have helped me along the way.

11. Who are your favorite wrestlers to work with?

Christopher Daniels, Luis Ortiz, Austin Aries, Homicide, Mike Kruel, Vince Vicallo, Maverick Wild, Roderick Strong, Slyk Wagner Brown, Chad Collyer, Matt Stryker, etc. These are just a few of the names of guys I seem to enjoy wrestling.

12. This year you got the chance to work the ECWA Super 8 Tournament, even getting a victory over Nicho who was formally known as Psicosis in WCW and ECW. What was it like to work such a prestigious tournament and get such a big victory in the first round?

It was a blast and an honor to participate in this year's Super 8. It was a fun weekend and very much appreciated to be there. Jim Kettner has set a standard for tourney's and the Super 8 was one that I had been reading about for years. Being included in it was very beneficial for my career. I thank Jim Kettner for inviting me and thank the other 7 guys for busting their asses and working hard for such a great tourney. The first round match certainly was a big victory. Nicho started wrestling when I was 8 or 9 years old, so he was definitely someone I could learn from. It was a pleasure to wrestle someone of his status and even a bigger honor holding a victory over him. You could tell talking to him that he loves professional wrestling and I wish him the best of luck.

13. In your opinion, what goes into making a good tournament? Is it all about finding the right match-ups, or offering the fans a match-up they've never seen before etc?

There are a few different things I feel makes a tournament good. First, it should make sense. If a guy hurts his arm in the first match, his arm should be hurt in the second match. Storylines from previous matches should carry on in a one night tourney. It only makes sense to have something happen for a reason. Also, all guys in the tournament need to leave their egos at home and be willing to do business the right way. As always, this will allow the tournament to be more fluid and professional. Next, all guys should have the opportunity to shine. If this is supposed to be a tournament of prestige, then all 8, 16, 24, or however many guys should be able to show why there were invited to the tournament. There are many other factors that go into a successful tourney. It is also dependent on the talent and the promoter and what the goal of the tournament is.

14. You’ve had a few chances to do some matches for the WWE. What kind of experiences were those for you, and do you plan to work for them again in the future?

Every single WWE experience has been beneficial and a great learning experience. I have been backstage/booked for TV probably 20-25 times and have probably wrestler 75% of the time. The other 25% of the time is just as important as getting into the ring and wrestling. I am there to learn and help them in any way possible. They treat me well and most of the guys are willing to help you learn. I value my time there greatly and am even more appreciative when I get the chance to wrestle in front of thousands. I will be working for them 4 times in July and hope to continue being booked and learning from some of the best.

15. Is there any specific indy promotion out there that you would like to work for?

Right now, I am content doing what I am doing. I am always willing to work shows, but right now, there aren't any certain indy promotions I am eyeing. Right now, I am focused on building my name in the promotions I am at and am certainly looking to expand nationally, so promotions should always feel free to contact me. My next step is international exposure and very shortly I will try to focus on getting overseas bookings.

16. What in your opinion is your best match?

It's hard to name just one best match. There is always room for improvements and it's hard to remember what you were feeling on one particular night. One of my favorite matches was my match with Christopher Daniels at Empire State Showdown in October off 2003 in Spencerport, NY. It was a very old school match that the fans ate up. Also, my Singapore Cane match with Stevie Richards in Chaotic Wrestling back in the fall of 2002. The match was brutal and was my first time wrestling someone with such status. Finally, I would have to say my 30 minute title match with Luis Ortiz in Chaotic Wrestling in April of 2003. It was the what the bookers were building to and I feel we blew the roof off the place.

17. Who are your best friends in the business?

Vince Vicallo, Ace Darling, Gary Michael Cappetta, Rich Palladino, Mike Hollow, Todd "Fat Pants" Sinclair, etc.

18. Any funny or amusing stories from the road that you’d like to share?

All road trips are funny. I refuse to be miserable over a long drive. I will try and try to make something funny even if it isn't. As for something funny that has happened, I can't pinpoint anything specific but let's just say it's never a dull moment going to a show.

19. In general has the indy scene become better quality wise or worse?

For me, the indy scene has become better simply because I have gotten more exposure and more opportunities recently. I would say there is a lot of garbage on the indies, but unfortunately, I don't see that changing. I just think that people need to get the proper training, learn the proper etiquette, and protect their name. You don't get a second chance to make a first impression so people need to be more cautious about what they say, who they say it to, and where they work. Overall, I think the quality can improve a lot more, but I don't feel as though it is that bad. There are some damn good wrestlers on the indies.

20. You started training in 1999, and since that time you’ve wrestled for several big name indy promotions, and have received numerous awards and accolades for your work. How does it feel to have accomplished as much as you have, in such a relatively short time in the business?

It feels good to be appreciated and have accomplished what I have accomplished. For me though, I look at what I want to do, and not what I have done. There is so much more that I want to achieve and won't stop until I do. As for the awards and such, I thank everyone who appreciates what I do and I will continue to work hard for myself, for the fans, and for this great business. Mark my words though, my accomplishments have not ended and there will be much more great things to come from me.

21. How can the fans keep up with your career?

My website is updated weekly. http://www.hurricanejohnwalters.com/

22. Any last plugs or thoughts you’d like to throw out?

To the fans who enjoy my work. Thank you. Your feedback and support is very much appreciated. To the fans who don't particularly enjoy me. You pay your money and deserve to be listened to. You should have your opinions and you should continue to have them, but realize that this is so much harder than you will ever know. If you can do better, please try and then you will earn my respect. To the smart marks, relax, have fun and enjoy the shows. There are promoters, there are bookers, and there are wrestlers. We need fans, not experts who think they know it all. There is a whole world of wrestling that you don't know about. I just wish the fans will continue going to the shows, making noise and supporting the wrestling business. This is a particular time that we need all the fans we can get. To all the wrestlers, stay healthy. Thank you. If you are interested in training visit http://www.chaotictc.com/

by Larz Richards.


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