Interview with Paddy Morrow

Sitting Front Row sat down with the returning Paddy Morrow for a chat about his impending return this weekend at WrestleCon 2016 ,October 28th -30th. The former Suicide Machine makes his highly anticipated return to the ring under his new guise of Paddy M, brother of OTT’s infamous Session Moth Martina, when he takes on the Social Elite’s Charlie Garrett. For Morrow personally it marks a return to the big stage and allows him to once again showcase his in ring athleticism which at one time saw him wrestling for the NWA Ireland Championship. Here’s hoping it is only the beginning of more appearances to come from the Finglas native.

Thanks for taking the time to do this interview. This weekend sees you make your long awaited return to the ring at the biggest weekend in Irish wrestling history at OTT Wrestling’s WrestleCon 2016. Before we discuss the match itself, I have to ask how are you feeling about making your return and have you any nerves of anticipation? Thanks for the interview, much appreciated that you contacted me. Well to be honest, I’m feeling good. Since my time out of the ring I’ve kept myself fit by playing a lot of football for different teams and managed to keep the cardio levels at a decent level. I’ve also took part in some of Main Stage Wrestling training sessions under my good friend Joe Cabray to, as he says, “take a grinder to that rust”. If I’m honest though, the nerves are coming and going. I’m sure I’ll be a bag of nerves on the day.

At WrestleCon it will be Paddy M taking on Social Elite member Charlie Garrett in a one on one match. Garrett seems like the perfect opponent for you to return against, character and size wise, allowing you to spotlight your aerial arsenal once again? Absolutely! From what I’ve seen of Charlie he has all the attributes a lad my size loves in an opponent. Great gimmick, unbelievably good heel and a great size difference. I watched him perform at the last OTT show in Merrion Square and he was awesome! Also, on a side note, I hear he carries himself very well everywhere he goes so that in itself is great in an opponent. He seem to have a great head on his shoulders and will go far in the business. Hopefully we can gel together and put on a great match.

Tell us a little bit about the character of Paddy M? Will there be any similarities with your Suicide Morrow character? The concept of the character is pretty much black & white. Being Martina’s “brother” it will have similarities with her and will have pinches of comedy/highflying. As of right now, we’ll see how the wrestling style gets incorporated into the gimmick but I guess we’ll find out for sure on the day

Speaking of the Social Elite. You have a long history with their leader Paul Tracey. You guys wrestled back in the American Wrestling Rampage (AWR) days. How did you find working with Tracey back then? Actually myself and Paul go way back to when I started training in 2002. Paul and Fergal Devitt (Finn Balor) were head coaches of a promotion based out of their hometown of Bray, Co. Wicklow. Years before the AWR days, myself and Paul wrestled all over the world really. From Nashville Tennessee, all over the UK to Canada, Germany, France etc. We’ve had a great friendship inside and outside of wrestling and someone I call a true friend. Anyone who has trained under him would tell you the same, that he is one of, if not the, best coach in Europe for motivation, drills and heavy wrestling workouts. A true veteran of the game.

During your AWR career, you were involved in matches as either opponent or partner with the likes of Scotty 2 Hotty, Marty Jannetty, Sid, PAC (now known as Neville in WWE) and Heidenreich. Have you any particular highlights which stand out from that time? The AWR days were without a doubt the most fun I’ve ever had in wrestling. From getting to travel and work with some of the most well known wrestlers in the world along side some of my closest friends, it was special. So many funny stories and memories! As for a highlight….ok here’s one I can think of. So myself and Sabu were wrestling a match somewhere. Sabu had this great idea that he would throw a fireball at my heel manager who was standing on the apron. So the time comes in the match, Sabu gets me in a Camel Clutch with my head covering him up, and he reached for the lighter and flash paper. He had to hold it between my head & really close to his chest to ignite it. The second he lit it, the paper stuck to his chest because he applied way too much baby oil and it pretty much burned a lot of my hair from the back of my head! To this day he apologises about it, but I think it makes for a funny story. My hair smelt rough for the whole tour!

Another opponent you faced during the AWR days was OTT owner Joe Cabray. Have you and Joe kept in touch over the years and is this the main reason behind your return? Joe and I have always gotten on so well. He is one of, if not my favourite opponent to work. He’s just so easy to work, very rarely puts a foot wrong and knows his limits in the ring. Never had a bad match with him. We kept in touch throughout the past 2 years of my absence and during his stint in NXT. Joe pretty much pitched the idea to me & felt as though I needed to be a part of what he has going on in OTT. I’m extremely grateful and humbled to be thought of in that way so I couldn’t say no. Its hard to turn down an opportunity to be apart of the fastest rising promotion in the history of Irish wrestling! Two years and its gone from strength to strength! I’m happy to be a part of it.

What do you make of the growth of OTT in the last 2 years? It’s all about catering to your audience. And Joe and the crew have worked very hard to find their niche that does just that. Its no fluke, you can see the work and effort coming to light and I’m over the moon for their result. Everything from advertising, promo videos, stage set up and presentation is top of the pops! To get the level of following after just two years is a testament to the roster and crew’s dedication to putting on the absolute best wrestling show around. I’m delighted for all involved.

Would it be fair to say that OTT stands out from previous Irish promotions you worked with because of its 18+ rating? Well being an over 18’s show it kind of gives the paying punter a greater variety of different performances. You can get comedy, technical master-classes, highflying and of course a little hardcore wrestling. There’s also a feeling of freedom as a performer to raise the bar and do some more risky things you wouldn’t tend to see on a family friendly show. I worked a handful of over 18’s shows in the UK and Ireland and there’s more of a buzz for the workers to go out there and leave it on the line. That dynamic alone is a large reason to OTT’s success!

To switch gears slightly for a second, lets go back to the start. When did you become a fan of pro wrestling? I have the typical wrestling fan of my generation’s story. I was hooked in by my Dad who watched it religiously when Hulkamania was runnin’ wild! I was an 80’s fan. My dad would buy me WWF VHS tapes, magazines, all the figures and stuff when he worked up (the) North so I was a pretty big fan right up to my teens!

Who were your favourite wrestlers to watch back then? I always liked the tag teams with, funny enough, Bret Hart & Shawn Michaels being my favourites. I must have had a good eye for the work horses because both men went on to be the best of all time! But lads like Mr. Perfect, Macho Man etc. pretty much anyone who was involved in the Intercontinental title matches. The smaller lads stole the show.

Do any particular matches stand out as favourites that you’ve watched? I don’t really recall the match itself but I remember bawling my eyes out when Earthquake squashed Hulk Hogan on the Brother Love show. I also cried when Shawn Michaels threw Marty through the barbershop window. One match though that I absolutely love to this day was Bret vs Roddy Piper from Wrestlemania 8. The psychology alone is so simple yet so convincing throughout. That and Bret vs Mr Perfect at Summerslam 91 (I think). Amazing!

Who would be a dream match for you past or present? I’d love to wrestle Bret Hart in his heel days. If you ever watch his match with the 123 Kid, he just makes him look so good! He was a true ring leader and had his craft perfected! I got to do a few tours with Bret and he’s such a good lad. Always willing to help with advice when needed.

Have you a favourite match of your own so far in your career? I’ve been lucky enough to have a couple of good matches. But if I had to narrow it down, I don’t think I could separate these two. The first was way back in 04/05 and was the crowning of the first ever NWA Ireland Champion. I lost the match but all the lads came from the back and gave us a standing ovation. The other was a 3 Way Ladder match for the same title between an excellent wrestler called Carl O Rourke, Fergal Devitt & myself. It just flowed and turned out pretty well.

During your early days of training you crossed paths with Fergal Devitt (Finn Balor). Did you see the potential in him back then and are you surprised by the success that has come his way since? Fergal is one of my closest pals and we chat every week. He has been there for me through a lot of stuff over the past few years and I’m genuinely delighted he has done so well for himself. Everyone knew Fergal was a different class when we trained years ago. He was naturally so gifted in everything he tried! He had a great build too and just carried himself so well to the point of where he was a bit intimidating to be in the ring with. He was a different breed in training too. I remember we’d be so competitive coming up with crazy athletic stuff to do in class. We’d get two people to hold a stick at waist level and get the class to jump over it, raising it each time 20 or so people had a go. It would always come down to Fergal and I with the stick at shoulder level! How we didn’t get hurt is beyond me! I can’t honestly say I’m surprised either. He excelled everywhere he has been and built an amazing reputation over his whole career. I’m just gutted for him on his recent setback, but know he’ll be back really soon picking up where he once left off.

What’s in store for you after WrestleCon, do you have any more appearances scheduled? Well, we’ll see how well the character gets over and if the response is good maybe I’ll stick around for future OTT shows. Watch this space.

-DS

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