Pick My Brain Interview: Mike Coughlin

Internet Wrestling Columnist

Ever since the unfortunate passing of WWE TV reviewer Nilton Fernandes, young wrestling aficionado Mike Coughlin has stepped in to take his place. Mike has a true passion for the business, and his TV reviews are the subject of much debate among WrestlingObserver.com readers. Here, Mike gets to tell his side of the story.

Mike was gracious enough to let us pick his brain, and was very thorough with his answers. That’s all we ask of anyone. Enjoy.

1. First off, tell us where we can read your work, and plug anything you want to plug.

Well, you can read my RawVelocity, and Heat reviews, and sometimes the occasional column at WrestlingObserver.com. They’re basically a very low brow, unprofessional, often times horribly misspelled, watered down version of Dave and Bryan’s reviews, but they’re free. And anything in life that’s free is a good thing. I’ve also decided to announce the beginning of my “Win a Date with Mike” sweepstakes. To qualify you MUST be at least 18 years old and a female. Simply send in an email to me at TheDude828@aol.com and you automatically win. I’m also available to do children’s birthday parties. I make a mean balloon giraffe. (everyone really should also subscribe to bother the Observer and F4W~! because they really are awesome reads and you’ll seriously learn so much) Oh yea, and GO GIANTS! (We’re taking this title this weekend baby!)

2. What college do you go to, what year are you, and what’s your major?

I’m currently enrolled at the University of Iowa where I’m a sophomore (and I’m still trying to figure out exactly how I pulled that off). My major is communications and my minor is political science.

3. You’ve gotten a lot of criticism from readers regarding your unique Raw reviews. Specifically, some people don’t seem to like your SHOUTING, wordy descriptions, and an attitude that seems, well, kind of “markish.” What do you have to say to your critics?

I didn’t know anyone said these things about me. That hurts guys, it really does. Sniff. I actually don’t mind sometimes, it all depends on my mood for the day. The shouting thing I just blatantly ripped off of Figure Four Weekly (also available at the website, a true gem to read)(and yes I said “gem”). Sometimes I think people forget to “mark out” at times. Every once in awhile I like to let myself go and get lost in a match. It can add a lot of fun sometimes.

Everyone should try watching an old Misawa/Kawada match and start counting out the three counts, it’s a blast. That’s what wrestling is supposed to be. I’m also an enthusiastic guy, there’s no middle ground for me: I love it or I hate it. And what attitude? I haven’t got an attitude at all. Anyone who says I do can kiss my, oh wait, I suppose I do have one. You try watching Raw and not develop a severe habit of hating the world. Besides, what kind of a loser would sit behind a computer and criticize someone else’s work? Sounds pretty lame to me.

4. During my college years, the Monday night wars were at their zenith, and Nitro parties were in full effect on campuses nationwide. Is it safe to say there are no Raw parties on your college campus?

Oh yea, there are all kinds of parties for Raw, necrophiliac rape is a hit on campus’s across the nation.

5. Four years ago, you were still in high school. How hip was wrestling among high school kids in 1998? And it was hip, which promotion was the most popular?

It was really weird. My whole life I’d be a wrestling fan. (Literally since like the age of 5) Being a fan forever I’d gotten used to the “dork” comments and such that most wrestling fans experience. Then one day I noticed the “cool kids” were into it now too. Suddenly my vast lifetime of knowledge made ME cool. (well, Ok, not “cool” but I did get invited to parties) Easily WWE was the most popular, but ECW really had a sizeable following. I come from the Chicago-land area and ECW always did real well there. No one ever watched WCW.

6. Nilton Fernandes was also a college student, but at 22, had years of wrestling viewing to his credit. How did you catch up on all the classic feuds you missed while you were growing up, such as the Freebirds-Von Erichs, Flair-Steamboat, Flair-Funk, Watt’s Mid-South, the old 4 Horsemen, the WWF expansion, and Midnights-Rock n Roll Express?

Well, most of the WWF stuff I’d seen growing up. Being from the North, WWF was always “it” around my house. No one watched WCW, and I think that’s because it skewered “older”. Now I have to go out and buy old tapes or read up on stuff in books. Of course these are books written by people who lived their whole life working people, so who knows what’s true or not. Besides, I did get to live through angles like Undertaker v. Undertaker. I was even at Summerslam for the blow off to that feud.

7. What kind of GPA do you think each of these wrestling personalities would get if they went to your college?

Cornell University’s Joel Gertner: I dunno, Joel’s a pretty smart guy, but he did drop out of a nice school to pursue wrestling. He’d probably do better than I do. (ok, EVERYONE does better than me)

Harvard University’s Chris Nowinski: Dude’s a stud man, he’d have a 4.0 for sure.

SMU’s “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan: I think he’d do well in American politics for some reason. That and “How to be a janitor and win a title”.

Cortland University’s Mick Foley: Mick would do fine. I bet he’d ace the creative writing classes.

Eastern Carolina University’s Vince McMahon: Common, Vince McMahon is a living god, duh! He’d get like a 6.0 and then some. Vince is infallible and no one shall ever say otherwise.

FSU’s Ron Simmons: Iowa does have a good team this year, so he’d fit in. Beats me if he’s smart. He’s kept a job this long so he’s got some brains up there.

Syracuse University’s Mike Rotunda: He’d do good in Math I figure.

University of Michigan’s Scott Steiner: He’d be good at poetry classes.

Booker T: There’s no way in hell Booker T would ever make it into college.

8. Why does your brother hate Fozzy so much?

A. He likes sissy, alternative bands like Weezer
B. He wants to be a pretend-rapper like Undertaker, Kid Rock, & Limp Bizkit
C. HHH likes heavy metal, and he doesn’t want to agree with HHH on anything
D. Your brother has no opinion, you just wrote that he thinks Fozzy sucks so Jericho wouldn’t come after you personally to beat your ass

Actually, he does like Alt. Bands quite a bit. (though in all fairness, so do I) I thought that segment was retarded too, but to be honest, I had that damn song stuck in my head for a few days. I probably just said he said it to take the heat off of me. I’ve learned much from HHH over the years.

9. You don’t get SmackDown where you live. Do you sometimes wonder what it is you ever did so bad to be punished by only being allowed to watch Raw?

I wonder about this every single day of my life. I can’t imagine it was worse than raping a corpse though, so perhaps I’m being revisited by my past offense or something. If this is the case, I apologize to everyone who has to sit through this pain because of me.

10. I’m sure at one point when wrestling was popular, telling girls you write for a wrestling site might’ve gotten you a date. With WWE the embarrassing mess it is, do you keep your wrestling hobbies a secret?

Oh dear yes. I’m much more apt to mention MMA than anything, but then again the ladies don’t seem to come around to often. I think this is due to my being uglier than Emilio Charles. BUT, I do have my aforementioned contest running right now, so ladies ladies LADIES! Come and get it!

11. Where I live, there are MBA grads literally begging for jobs in the middle of the freeway. Are you scared about graduating and trying to find a job with the economy in such a sorry state?

Not one bit actually. I figure that I’m a talented enough guy that if I work hard enough, I’ll do fine. Besides, if wrestling has taught me one thing it’s how to get and keep a job, often at others expense. If push comes to shove, I’ll just nail the daughter of a rich CEO.

12. Most college guys are, well, horny. Do you know anyone horny enough who would stoop to HHH’s level and bang a corpse?

Well, not the corpse that HHH did, but I’m sure there are one or two guys who, so long as the body is still warm, would take a crack at anything female.

13. Yes or No, has Mike Coughlin ever:

Spoken to any of Nilton’s family members: Nope.

Received hate mail for your Raw reviews: Oh dear goodness yes. For some reason this one guy REALLY hates me and continually sends me hate mail and tries to trick me into downloading virus’s. But to be fair, most people are really nice, and have nothing but kind things to say. I love you guys.

Had someone ask you “Why do you watch that crap?” while watching wrestling: It seems like every Monday night I hear this.

Seen anyone wearing an “Austin 3:16” shirt on campus: Actually, I just saw a guy yesterday wearing one. He fit every single stereotype of a wrestling fan one can imagine.

Thought you could do a better job than the WWE writing team: I know saying this sounds bad, but I really think I could under the right circumstances. Under the current system I’d probably be fired in a week.

Had anyone in your classes recognize your name from WrestlingObserver.com: YES! Like three people have! It’s the coolest feeling there is! I AM THE MAN!

Cut a promo on one of your TA’s for giving you an unfair grade: Only to the TA’s that don’t speak English so well and can’t understand me.

Gotten drunk at a frat party: Never once. I spend most of my free time in the gym. (How sad)

Called into Wrestling Observer Live: Nope. But I’ve considered it on occasion, but I figure I get a weekly outlet for my views anyways, so why take time away from someone else. However, if my legion’s of fans (don’t laugh) want to start a campaign to get me on as a guest that would be cool.

Jumped out the window of your dorm and elbow dropped your friends: I live on the 8th floor, so no. But I have stretched a few kids. (I know a little Brazilian jiu jitsu)

Taken out a college loan: THAT’S why I get those checks for no reason every semester. Shoot, I have to pay those back eventually don’t I? Damn.

Yelled your cable company for not carrying UPN: I’ve actually written dozen’s of emails on this subject. I need a new hobby I think.

Seen someone trip and fall at your campus dining hall and chanted, “You f*cked up, you f*cked up!”: If it was a guy I’d probably laugh, but if it was a lady I’d be the proper gentleman that I am and help the lady up. (I’d like to take this time to remind all you women out there to enter the contest now!)

Incorporated a famous wrestling catch phrase on your answering machine greeting: No, but I did write an entire term paper on Antonio Inoki and Hulk Hogan. I was trying to illustrate how just because at first glance an individual might appear to have a great deal of talent, doesn’t mean that is that case. I got a “B”.

Had a professor or TA who speaks fluent English: NEVER!

Participated in a group project in which you made your team members do all the work while you slacked off: Let’s just say that I get a lot of sleep during class.

Used a fake ID: Nope.

14. Will NWA TNA still be in business by the time you graduate?

I’d like to see them stay in business till the end of this school year. I’m more interested in if WWE will be around in 3 years.

15. Do you realize you’re the only person on Earth who watches B-level WWE shows like Velocity and Heat?

This isn’t true. Sometimes I make my roommate watch them with me.

16. Do you ever wonder why Tough Enough contestants are forced to do all those suicidal training regimens while people like Big Show, Mark Henry, Albert, Rikishi, HHH, and Mick Foley probably couldn’t run a mile in under 10 minutes to save their lives?

Naw, I actually think it’s not a bad idea. This season really demonstrated why these tests are needed with that Wendell moron.

17. How long have you been a wrestling fan, and who were your favorites growing up?

I honestly can’t remember a time in my life when pro wrestling wasn’t in the top 5 things in my life. Growing up I was always partial to the 1-2-3 Kid, Bret Hart, and Shawn Michaels. Yea, I was a Hogan/Warrior mark for a while, then my brain began to develop.

18. You stated that Chris Jericho was the best worker in WWE for his ability to carry Kane to a great match. After watching the recent SmackDowns, do you really believe he’s better in the ring than Chris Benoit, Eddy Guerrero, Kurt Angle, & Rey Misterio?

Naw, he probably isn’t, but I think people really underestimate Jericho’s in ring skills. His matches with Ultimo Dragon are still my favorite matches to this very day. He’s just stuck on that crap show and has NO ONE to work with. Overall though, no one will ever be able to touch Kurt Angle. Not only does he truly rock in the ring, his real worth is outside the ring because he’s SOOOOO legit that it’s hard to rip on pro wrestling with a guy like that doing it.

19. In 10 words or less, what’s the 1st thing that comes to mind when hearing each of these names:

Vince McMahon: Subconsciously wants to kill his own company.

Katie Vick: The single dumbest angle in the history of pro wrestling. (yes, this is dumber than the midget blowing up the boat)

Eric Bischoff: Awesome promo guy.

Rosie & Jamal: I wish they’d leave before they cripple someone. (knock on wood)

Rico: Embarrassingly underutilized.

Paul Heyman: Calm in the midst of chaos.

Bryan Alvarez: I owe him a lot because of how much I rip off from him.

Al Snow: I like Al Snow.

Nilton Fernandes: Nilton was the best ever at what he did.

(Wow, apparently I can’t count to 10)

20. And finally… who screwed Bret?

How the hell should I know? I imagine a girlfriend or two in high school, and since I know he has kids, his ex-wife did for sure. Perverts.

Very well done. Mike knows how to do a good interview. Whether you agree with him or not, check out his weekly TV reviews on WrestlingObserver.com and read his work. Thanks to Mike for his time.