Courtesy of Alan J. Wojcik and http://alanwojcik.com
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, Chris Hero & Erick Stevens. On November 20-21 sixteen men will come to Brooksville & Crystal River, Florida to try and join those names. Could this year’s winner be:
Height: 5Ft 10 In
Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio
Pro Debut: 2005
Where you have seen him: AAW, Dragons Gate USA, TNA, Ring of Honor, Cleveland All-Pro Wrestling, Pro Wrestling Ohio, IWC, Hybrid Pro, UWA (Canada), Absolute Intense Wrestling, Championship Wrestling Experience
Championships held: PWO Heavyweight champion, IWC Super Indy champion, IWC Tag Team champion (w/Michael Facade), 2 time Intense champion, CWE Heavyweight champion, CAPW Jr. Heavyweight champion.
Alan Wojcik: What was your initial reaction to being invited to the 2009 Jeff Peterson Memorial Cup and what did you know of the event’s history and Jeff?
Johnny Gargano: I was excited as soon as I found out man, it’s something I’ve been looking forward too! I don’t know too much about the past history of the event. I know a bit though, don’t get me wrong. I know this is one of the most prestigious tournaments around, with an amazing resume as far as past winners and participants go. So it’s really cool to be apart of it. But don’t get me wrong, I plan on adding my name to that prestigious club of winners. I hope I get a gold jacket, that’d be pretty boss.
Alan Wojcik: Who trained you for westling and who were some of your favorite wrestlers before you got into the sport?
Johnny Gargano: I was trained by JT Lightning and more noteably Josh Prohibition had a big hand in my development as an overall wrestler. Favorite wrestlers, that’s an easy one Chris Jericho and Shawn Michaels hands down. I think a snippet of their persona’s come out in mine, just a tad. Alas I’m just a sexy boy. When I was real young, I used to dress as HBK and dance around the house. Little did I know, I was basically acting like and idolizing a male stripper. No wonder I turned out the way I did =/
Alan Wojcik: Pro Wrestling Ohio’s profile of you lists you being billed as “the Unique One.” Was this something you came up with or did someone at a show crown you with that monicker?
Johnny Gargano: Um, it’s just something someone came up with. I mean, I always try to be different. That was a big thing I wanted to aim for when I got into Pro Wrestling. Be as different, be as unique as possible. I want to make sure when people leave any event they see me at, that only one name remains on there mind as they’re walking to there car and that’s Johnny Gargano! and maybe Dave Batista, but he should always be on there mind. He’s big AND his name is Dave. Lethal combo.
Alan Wojcik: Former ECW/TNA star Jerry Lynn’s name came up as a frequent opponent of yours. Talk about working with him and has he influenced your career in any way?
Johnny Gargano: Jerry was a big influence! He’s probably, actually no, he’s without a shadow of a doubt, the best vet to have in ANY lockerroom. The man’s done it all and been everywhere. With that in mind, he’ll still take the time to help out any young wrestler, even when he really doesn’t have too. He’s a class act in every sense of the word, and it was my honor to be in the ring with him so many times and learn so much from him.
Alan Wojcik: Looking over several promotional sites its seems you have a love/hate thing going with Josh Prohibition, even being his final opponent at PWO Wrestleution 2 this past August.
Johnny Gargano: Ha, yea. Me and Josh had quite the history. I’ll go out on a limb and say that the match I had with Josh at Wrestlelution 2, with that atmosphere and the way everything turned out, may in fact be one of the best of my career. It definitely ranks up there as one of my favorites. Even though I could barely walk for a couple days after the match. Eh, tomatoes, tomatos ya know?
Alan Wojcik: After doing some searching online I found a site called www.wrestleohio.com which lists close to 30 promotions operating in Ohio. Having worked for some of them which is your favorite and are there any you would never work for?
Johnny Gargano: My favorite without a shadow of a doubt would have to be Pro Wrestling Ohio, with Hybrid and CWE up there on that list as well. It’s tough man, they’re so many feds up in Ohio. Wrestling really gets oversaturated up here. There’s only so many times you can see the same people and the same matches ya know?
Alan Wojcik: You got noteriety on September 17th defeating the recent WWE signee “American Dragon” Bryan Danielson. At the event before the match you could have won the Intense championship a third time in a match with Facade & Sonjay Dutt . Did you look too far ahead and what are your memories of the match with Danielson?
Johnny Gargano: I’m not here to make excuses or anything…but YES! That’s EXACTLY what happened! I blame the schedule! Going into the match with Bryan Danielson, I knew it’d be one of the absolute toughest tests of my career. I knew going into that match that it’d be one of Bryan’s last independent matches. So that alone was a huge honor for me. Being in the ring with a guy like that, who has revolutionized and really been the face of Indy wrestling the way he has for so long, you can’t help but learn and be better for it afterward. I feel like I truly am today for it.
Alan Wojcik: On the October 23rd CWE card you were scheduled to take on international star Kushida Yujiro of HUSTLE, thoughts on your opponent.
Johnny Gargano: Unfortunately, that match DID NOT happen. Kushida couldn’t make it unfortunately, but I still had a pretty good match that night with a young guy by the name of Bobby Beverly. He’s not Japanese and he has funny looking tattoos, but I dug it! I also believe I had some form of the flu during that match, but I don’t think it was swine…I’m more of a kermit guy myself.
Alan Wojcik: You are a representative of AAW in the Peterson Cup. Talk about the promotion and your fellow competitors Arik Cannon, Silas Young & Shane Hollister.
Johnny Gargano: AAW is one of the best promotions as far as talent goes in the midwest I feel. Cannon, Young and Hollister are some of the best AAW has to offer as well. Even though that Shane Hollister cheated to beat me in my AAW debut….Theirs no hard feelings…I won’t turn on him or anything…I promise ;)
Alan Wojcik: You won the most recent FRAY! match on a Dragons Gate USA event. Since there will be a FRAY! match on night two of the weekend, tell the fans about it and also talk about working for the newest American-based promotion.
Johnny Gargano: Man, I just have one thing to say to all of those guys…You’re in way over your head, over your heaaaad! Bad joke. But really, FRAY!’s a different type of animal man…It’s unlike any match I’ve ever been in before. I entered in at number 3 in the first FRAY! and came up a tad bit short….BUT! BUT! I entered at a later number in the most recent one, and using my cunning tactics and amazing intelligence, I was able to soundly win that bad boy! That means I’m the current FRAY! Heavyweight Champion of the Galaxy! Yep, that’s right, Galaxy. It’s more than the World, I think… But In all seriousness, Dragon Gate USA is the future of Professional Wrestling in the US. It has everything you’d ever want in a wrestling promotion…Action, Excitement, Drama, COOL MOVEZZ!! When they say it’s OUR wrestling haven it’s not just a fancy catchphrase…it’s the dead on truth. And it’s been really my honor and priviledge to be apart of this company from the ground up.
For full event info, VIP ticket packages and profiles of other competitors log onto www.JPC2009.com