Pick My Brain Interview: Mike Coughlin

Internet Wrestling Columnist

After interviewing liberals like Todd Martin and Dan Wahlers, we figured it would only be fair to even out the playing field and call up our old buddy Mike Coughlin.

Mike is a member of our staff, and does the monthly “Circular Square.” That has made him a huge superstar, and has led to him getting offers for starring roles in several major Hollywood motion pictures alongside the Rock.

So as Mike ponders those offers, he answered these questions for us. This is our THIRD interview with Mike since 2002. Here’s his first, and his second.

1. As always, first questions are reserved for plugs. And you got lots to plug, so get to it.

I’m so happy that I have stuff to plug. But, I’m also sad that I make no money off of said plugs. Still, I’m young so no one really cares about my plight. Visit wrestlingobserver.com. Don’t bother reading my stuff, it’s all crap, but make sure you read everyone else’s work. It’s an excellent site and I’ll say that even when Dave realizes that I’m dragging the quality down and sends me packing. Mmaweekly.com features a lot of my MMA only columns. Again, same as WO.com, my stuff sucks but everything else is great. Ryan Bennett runs the page. Umm, this place also features my work, but I don’t think they’ll kick me off anytime soon! and www.uiowa.edu/~krui has my radio work. Every thurs and fri at 500 I do the sports update and every once in awhile I’ll co-host the hour long sports show.

Oh, I’m writing a book too. I’m taking this creative writing class (I know, I’m really going all out my last semester) and have decided to try and write a book instead of just doing boring assignments. This is my attempt at “The Old Man and the Sea.” Ya know, full of symbolism and all that. It’s even got fighting in it!

I’m also writing a short story, somewhere around 25-50 pages about a superhero and another story, much shorter, about a boy growing up in Norway (I’m part Norwegian) and how he overcomes discrimination. I’m almost positive none of this will ever be printed though, so don’t worry.

2. You joined The Armpit as a monthly columnist a few months ago. Since that time, you must have been hounded by movie producers, record producers, MMA promoters, countless groupies, legions of autograph seekers, and hordes of media. How has life improved since you’ve been a member of our staff?

Well, my resume has another line to it, that’s cool. Unfortunately I have to spend a great deal of time explaining to potential employers that I’m not part of some weird sex website.

3. Since we last spoke, you’ve been a participant in MMA matches. That takes a tremendous amount of guts. Do you have any regrets, and do you plan on fighting again?

It’s weird, I’ve heard a lot of people say, “man, that took guts,” but it never occurred to me that I was doing something dangerous. I don’t know why, I just kind of did it without thinking. Looking back, I know I should have been far more scared of what I was getting myself into. I was far more scared of losing than of getting seriously injured. I never once thought of myself as “ballsy” for fighting. I’m sure I’d have regrets if I thought about it, but I try not to. That fight was a learning experience the likes of which one rarely gets to encounter. It really changed my outlook on life.

Obviously there are a lot of, “I just wish I’d do this, this, and maybe some of that.” I still obsess about certain things, knowing that I could do better. But, like I said just a few lines ago, I try not to dwell on my mistakes too much (to be honest, if I did, I might never get anything done).

As for fighting again. I was actually lined up to fight on three different occasions following that fateful night in June, 2003, but for one dumb reason or another (injury, event canceled, opponent pulled out) it never happened. I was all set to fight on Oct 2nd of last year, but things didn’t work out. I officially “retired” then (with my brilliant official record of 0-1), but I’d really like to do it again.

4. What does it feel like being in a real shoot? Is it as painful as it looks? Or does the pain really kick in the next morning? We can’t, and don’t, want to imagine.

I hate when people write, “there’s no way to explain it,” so I’ll give it my best shot (I AM a writer, and describing things is what writers do). The pain isn’t as bad as you might think. You become aware you’re getting hit and you know you’re in pain, but it doesn’t register quite right. I’m betting it’s an adrenaline thing, but I’m no doctor. It’s more of a thudding than anything I guess. Nothing is all that painful, but there are scary moments. There is still a brief split second of the fight I don’t remember at all. I recall throwing a high kick, then trying a low kick, after that I was on my ass against the cage. Somehow I got put there, but it’s all a mystery to me. That part is kind of scary. I guess I got punched or something, beats me (pardon the pun).

5. Let’s talk poontang. In recent articles, you’ve spoken of a new girlfriend, from Hong Kong. Interesting. Please tell us about her. Of course, if you’d prefer not to, we’ll understand. Just thought we’d ask anyway. You know our readers, they’re real pervs.

Her name is Nikki and she’s great. I’m not sure if she’ll read this or not. I am curious as to whether she knows the word “poontang” or not, so she probably will. It’s kind of cool dating someone from, literally the other side of the world.

6. Let me say, it’s nice to finally talk to someone with your political points of view. Our last two Pick My Brain victims, Todd Martin and Dan Wahlers, are proud liberals. How would you describe your political affiliation?

I would be an American Catholic conservative or, more accurately, a classical liberal. Hopefully this is the first anyone has ever really heard about this, because I try to leave it out of my work as much as possible. True story even, I wrote a piece about Muhammad Hassan, before he’d debuted, saying I thought the character was a bad idea. I got people calling me everything from a, “no good bleeding heart liberal” to a, “racist fascist.” Hmmmm, maybe I’m not a conservative but I’m really a “bleeding heard liberal racist fascist.” I’ll bet I’m the only one in America too!

7. Yes or No, has Mike Coughlin ever done the following:

Beat some guy’s ass because he looked at your girlfriend funny: Nope.

Beat some guy’s ass because he looked at you funny: Nope

Beat some guy’s ass in a real MMA shoot match: Nothing sanctioned. I’ve taken on people in gyms under Pancrase style rules, but that was more because we all wanted to gain some experience and all that. Even then, I still lose way more than I win. Honestly, I don’t care though. My philosophy for training has always been, “Tap a thousand times in the gym so you don’t have to in the fight.” Of course, I then tapped during my fight so that philosophy got shot to hell.

Beat some guy’s ass for the Hell of it: Nope. I’ve been in a few fights “on the streets” (and “fights” is a VERY lose term) but that was because some drunk assholes would harass girls and wouldn’t stop. Yea yea, I’m “Mr. Chivalrous.”

Stuck up for the school nerd when he/she was getting bullied around: Yes.

Prank-called a pizza place: Nope.. Oh wait, yes I did. I think I was like 12 though. Ahhh, to be young and rebellious. I like my local pizza joint though. The girls there flirt with me and always give me a discount. So does this girl at my other fav. Restaurant. Hmm.

Interviewed with recruiters on campus yet: Yes.

Umm, “embellished” your resume: When you have, “armpit-wrestling.com” on there, no embellishment is needed!

Applied for a job with WWE: Nope, but I have thought about it. I keep feeling like someone would read something I wrote and that’d be all she wrote for my career.

Told your girlfriend about your obsession with wrestling: Not the wrestling part, but she knows about the fighting.

Purchased a Playboy magazine with a WWE diva on the cover: Yup.

Missed writing Raw re-caps: Sometimes yea. Of course now is on and I don’t even bother watching the first hour of Raw. I tape it, and if Todd says something good happened, I’ll check that out. Otherwise I’m not missing much.

Wished Todd Martin would lighten up and not insert his political views into his Raw re-caps: Naw. I think Todd gets a bit of a bad rep for that. I think it’s there if you’re REALLY looking for it, but even then, it’s nothing bad. The guy does a tremendous job, really puts me to shame.

Felt uncomfortable watching WWE divas on TV when your girlfriend is watching wrestling with you: Nope. You just say, “You’re more beautiful.”

Told your math TA that we can do this the easy way, or the hard way: I took ONE math class in college, ONE! I got a D and that was that. It’s not even that I’m stupid, it’s just that me and a buddy of mine would skip class to eat Taco Bell and play pool. Oddly enough, he got an A. I EVEN CHEATED and got a D. And he did less work than I did. Damnit.

Explained to your girlfriend what the Observer is, and who Dave Meltzer is: I don’t think I could explain that one in a million years. I have no idea if there’s anyway to tell her all this, and then further tell her, “oh yea, and I get another one of these too.”

Read the Observer during class: ALL THE TIME!

Read the Observer while taking a dump: Ditto.

Read the Observer while driving: Yup.

Read the Observer while your girlfriend is talking, and you pretend that you’re listening to her by saying “Uh-huh” unconvincingly: Did this tonight as a matter of fact.

8. I read all the Raw reports. Todd Martin always rags on Christy Hemme for being a talentless idiot. When you did a Raw recap, during the diva search, you said how hot Christy was. How can two straight men feel so differently about the female species? Do you think that one of you is way off base here or what? Or do you think Christy is a talentless idiot, but could care less because you think she’s hot and nice to look at?

Being beautiful has nothing to do with being talented. That said, I thought Christy showed a ton of natural charisma, far more than any of the other women they usually get, but that it’s gone now. Like, well, everyone on the roster, she has strengths and weaknesses and they need to be brought out and hidden accordingly.

The Playboy thing is stupid too. Guys like to see naked chicks, no doubt. But the appeal of seeing a WWE Diva naked comes from that same urge that makes you want to see a hot math teacher or the girl next door naked. That forbidden fruit type of deal. It’s what can make a guy look a hardcore porn and say, “eh,” and then get excited when he looks down a woman’s blouse.

Right now no body knows Christy Hemme. We know Trish and Lita, and to a lesser degree Victoria. If Trish posed nude it would be through the roof, because viewers feel like they know her. Christy is just a hot chick who was on TV for a few months, has no definable personality, and as such my desire to see her naked is very little. I’m still going to buy the magazine. (Mike note: I WAS going to buy the magazine, but my roommate did instead. I saw the pictures and she looks horrible. I mean, yea, she’s naked, but she seems completely uncomfortable and doesn’t look anything like the chick you see on TV.)

9. Desperate Housewives… a group of washed up sea hags, or a group of hot, horny, MILFs that you just wanna bang the bejeezus out of?

The latter. Especially Bri. She’s my dream woman. I LOVE HER SO MUCH!

10. Who’s the hottest news reporter chick you’ve seen on TV?

A. Paula Zahn
B. Maria Bartiromo
C. Laurie Dhue
D. Rebecca Gomez
E. Page Hopkins
F. Lis Wiehl
G. Robin Meade
H. Ashleigh Banfield
I. Meredith Whitney Layfield
J. Dari Alexander
K. Patti Ann Browne
L. Kiran Chetry
M. Juliet Huddy
N. Other (please specify)

OUCH! This is tough. People will think it’s because of my aforementioned conservative view points, but FNC (btw folks, it’s FNC, not FNN; The Fox News Channel with a C not the Fox New Network with an N. I have weird pet peeves.) always has really hot chicks. I think my favorite is Skinner though (I forget her last name right now). She does the news around 2 Central time on Fox, right before Shepard Smith comes on.

11. How does a guy in college, and we all know how broke college kids are, afford to go on dates?

Well, it’s not THAT much of a burden to buy one extra movie ticket (Romeo I am not). Luckily, Nikki is cool and very laid back. Just sitting around, hanging out is usually enough.

12. In a previous Pick My Brain, you said that you weren’t concerned about finding a job because you’d just apply yourself and do your best. I knew you were delusional then, but never told you. It’s now March of 2005, you’re a senior, and reality is setting in. So I’ll ask again…. are you worried about finding a good job, being that the economy is still in the shitter?

Nope. Well, kind of. Not because of the economy (which I would argue is not in the shitter) but because I’m lazy. I’m working on maybe a gig in NYC or DC writing, or maybe a radio gig, possibly in AZ or WI. Yea, take a guess at which one I want most.

13. We asked you the same question we asked Todd Martin. College professors are generally smart people. They can’t all teach, but they’re still pretty smart. So then why do so many of them lean toward the left?

Well, ya see, conservatives are also smart, they just happen to be a little bit smarter, so they took all the good jobs first; all that was left were teaching positions. OK folks, it was a joke. Half my audience is probably liberal/progressive/Democrat/whatever, and I’m not here to offend anyone.

14. The Simpsons tends to stereotype all sorts of people. Is that offensive, or funny as Hell?

Stereotypes? Funny, if done right. I don’t think it’s cool to pick on one group, but if EVERYONE is stereotyped, that’s generally OK with me, so long as it’s not malicious. Besides, one persons stereotype is another’s archetype. The Simpsons? NOT FUNNY! It used to be the best show on earth but holy cow has it gone in the shitter the past few years.

15. Time to bore our readers and talk politics. Quickly, what is your take on each of these current events:

The war in Iraq: The recent elections were good, no matter what anyone says. I was humbled and awed at the bravery of those folks to just go out and vote. As for the overall war, time will tell. I’m sure people thought the Revolutionary War and WW2 were big failures in the middle, just as people thought Vietnam was a smashing success at times.

American relations with France: I’ve made jokes in the past about France, but I don’t really have a problem with the country. I’ve been there before and it’s beautiful. There was a lot of anti-French sentiment, some of it real, some of it blown out of proportion, but whatever, that was then, this is now. I’m gonna go on a Honeymoon someday, and France will be on the list.

Stem cell research: Hey, let’s rephrase this, “Hey Mike, wanna alienate your readers?” I’m Catholic, that’s all I’ll say.

Gay marriage: Actually, I think marriage should not be allowed for anyone. I’m serious. The government should never grant a single “marriage license” to any person: gay, straight, white or black. It should be granting, “civil unions” for everyone. Marriage is a religious ceremony, it always has been. The government is not a religious institution, so why it is in the same business as religion? I’ll make an analogy, of sorts. Within my Catholic faith we have Reconciliation. You go in, confess your sins to some strange dude in a black robe (it’s a weird faith, I admit it) and then you’re forgiven. The government has the same thing, we just call it a “pardon.” You’re granted a pardon, your crimes are “forgiven” and life moves on. If we only allowed the government to “unionize” people, then the whole issue would be gone. It would be a bland, ordinary contract that any two people could enter into (this also eliminates all the “what about polygamy” arguments that spring up). If they wished, they could still get married in their church of choice, or whatever/wherever. Your personal church would then choose to marry or not marry people who are homosexual, as would be their right, which makes those folks happy. No one would have to worry about the government, which speaks on behalf of every citizen, undertaking an action they disagree with. The religious aspect of marriage is actually strengthened, because the government would be out of that business. And equality would be there for everyone, because gay and straight people would have the EXACT same things. I think if you have marriage for one and “union” for the other, that will just fall apart in the larger scheme of things and unfair. It reminds me of the, “separate but equal” stuff (not saying they’re the same, just the wording will probably be seen as the same).

Sending jobs overseas for cheaper labor: I typed up a super long answer to this, but then realized, no one cares. I like cheap stuff, but I like people having jobs. Win-lose situation.

Permanent tax cuts: We need more of them. I don’t know a tax I don’t want to cut.

Privatizing social security: Me in control of my money? I’ll take it, even with the risks.

16. Many famous celebrities, some of whom have rather embarrassing academic backgrounds, have been bashing Bush for over 2 years now. Has your opinion toward these celebrities changed as a result of their political beliefs? For instance, will you now think twice before spending any money on Chris Rock, the Dixie Chicks, Mick Foley, Tim Robbins, etc?

It kind of does. Some, like Robbins for instance, I always knew so that doesn’t bother me. Others, like Foley, bugs me. In general, I’ll ignore stuff outside of the screen. I don’t seek their political view points out or anything. But Foley, much to my chagrin, has brought his political viewpoints into the wrestling world on occasion and it irks me. I still like the guy, respect him to death, and think he might be a cool guy if I met him. However, I don’t think anything is accomplished by him bringing up “red state/blue state”jokes. It can only alienate the audience at times.

Plus, he made some crack about Bush once in a promo he cut on Randy Orton that I thought was dumb. It didn’t do anything more than let him get a public jab in at a politician. It’s stupid. And yes, it’s stupid when Lawler or Ross do it too, even if I agree with their statements. Is there a difference with HBK and his religion? Kind of. I think a lot of people don’t support politicians so much as they don’t support the other guy. I got the impression that Mick didn’t like Bush, not that he liked Kerry. Same for those supporting Bush. But with religion, and I think HBK is genuine, you got people who love their faith. They’re not really saying, “I’m Catholic because I hate Jews.” They just love being Catholic. But, well, just don’ be an ass about stuff and it’s OK with me.

17. Which do you prefer:

Hannity or Colmes: Hannity.

Bill O’Reilly or Chris Matthews: O’Reilly, but only on occasion. I think he can be a really good interviewer, but only at times. He’s got this hard-on for the border and France that gets annoying. I can tolerate him in small doses.

Rudy Giuliani or Michael Bloomberg: Giuliani I guess. I’ve seen Bloomberg on TV and he seems like a tool.

Colin Powell or Condie Rice: Condi! She’s my favorite politician in the world right now.

Christy Hemme or Carmella DeCesare: Hemme.

Raw or SmackDown: Raw. I haven’t watched an episode of Smackdown in months.

Marty Jannetty or Robert Gibson: Janetty, but only because I was exposed to a lot more of his work over the years.

TNA or ROH: In general, ROH. But an ROH show takes a lot out of you. TNA, while stupid, never leaves you saying, “Whew. I need to breath now.”

Ultimate Fighter or Surreal Life: TUF!

Rock stars who get hot chicks and don’t whine about saving the world (ie, Motley Crue), or rock stars who don’t care about chicks but want to save the world (ie, REM, U2): The former, in general, but I really like U2 and respect Bono a great deal. He seems to go about things the right way. He has his cause and cares only about it. He’s diplomatic and plays both sides very well. He’s never belligerent and always positive. Plus, when he met the Pope he gave his holiness a pair of sunglasses! HOW COOL IS THAT!

Matches with no psychology but tons of high spots, or matches with slow builds, great psychology, and moves that mean something: The latter, in general, but everything has a place.

To Be the Man or Have a Nice Day: Have a Nice Day.

Dave Meltzer or Wade Keller: Meltzer (duh).

A hard job that pays great, or a kick-back job that pays not-so-great: Depends. I don’t mind hard work at times. Hell, I’ll take ANY job right now.

Living at home with parents to save money, or living on your own and not feeling like a pathetic loser: Latter.

Inebriation or sobriety: Sobriety.

The Highlight Reel or Piper’s Pit: Piper’s Pit. It’s, well, THE PIT!

Vince Russo or Dusty Rhodes: Dusty. At least he has a legit claim to having drawn money over the years.

18. College is almost over. Did it suck, or what? Rate your college experience on a scale of 1 to 10 in each of the following areas (with comments, if you’d like). 1 is lowest, 10 is highest.

Chicks: 10 (well, Nikki IS going to read this)

Parties: 1 I guess. I never went to any parties. That’s not my scene.

Academics: 1 and 10. I didn’t really “learn” anything directly, but I’m so much smarter now. I’ve become more refined, particularly as a writer and public speaker.

Sports: 10

Social activities: 8

Weather: 1. I hate being cold.

Food: 5. When I was dieting it sucked, when I wasn’t, it was cool.

Transportation: 1. I took a bus EVERYWHERE! ME WANT CAR!

The students (in general): 10. People are the same everywhere, no matter what anyone says. You’ve got dicks and you’ve got cool kids. Gotta make the most of wherever your situation is. U of IA is one of the more liberal campuses around. Some teachers are blatantly belligerent towards me. Some students flat out say they hate me. But I still have friends and still enjoy waking up everyday. I could have let this place beat me down, but I didn’t. I had fun and that’s all that matters.

19. Frat boys… studly dudes, or dork-ass nerds who wear nothing but white baseball caps, dirty flannel, and look like each other?

What exactly is this question asking me?

20. Do you think Brock Lesnar is nuts? When he’s 40, Sable will be over 50 (depending on whom you believe). Here’s a guy who could sleep with almost anyone he wants. What’s the deal?

Do I believe that a man who weighs over 250 lbs, is solid muscle, and a former NCAA wrestling champion is nuts? Of course not!

21. All joking aside, you’re a good guy, Todd Martin’s a good guy, and Dan Wahlers is a good guy. Mike, thanks so much for doing this interview, for a third time. Any last words for your readers? Take care and best of luck with finding a great job and having a great career.

All 5 of you who read this whole thing rock. The other who stopped half way through, cursed my very being, well, you rock too. btw, big ups to the professor himself for somehow creating a whole new batch of questions for me. Everyone out there should really appreciate how good an interviewer he is.

Mike’s good people. Don’t forget to read all his columns, especially the ones he does for us. And yes, it IS FNC, not FNN. FNN was the Financial News Network that used to air Memphis wrestling. FNC is Fox, damnit.