Pick My Brain Interview: Nigel McGuinness
Just as we attended Spike Dudley’s first ever pro match in 1994 before he went on to superstardom, we were in attendance for Nigel McGuinness’ first ever high-profile match.
It was San Leandro, CA, June of 2004. Nigel teamed up with Bart Blaxon to take on Mitsuharu Misawa and Yoshinari Ogawa. This match aired in Japan on Pro Wrestling NOAH’s TV show. This match made Nigel a star. And we were there.
He was also on ABC’s 20/20 in 1999. Nigel is already a superstar. And shooting him to super-duper-stardom will be this interview with us.
Nigel is a kick-ass British-style wrestler who is all over the indie scene these days. Most notably in ROH, Nigel is turning heads, and Dave Meltzer is already calling WWE stupid for not signing him yet.
Who is this bad boy? Let’s find out. Let’s pick the brain of Nigel McGuinness, typos and all. Enjoy.
1. Please use this first question to get all of your plugs out of the way. Websites, merchandise, indie feds, and all the other usual crap…
hwaonline.com; nigelmcguinness.com; check out where i’m wrestling and please support the groups. without the indies none of us would have a place to learn to get better.
2. We saw you wrestle the Wrestler of the Decade, Mitsuharu Misawa, live in San Leandro, CA. We dare say you outperformed Misawa, who looked lethargic, tired, and didn’t play to or acknowledge the appreciative audience one damn bit (which still pisses me off). In fact, our hero Dave Meltzer was sitting at ringside paying close attention to the match. What are your memories of that match, and since it aired on NOAH TV, do you think it has helped your career?
I just really enjoyed being out there with guys of that stature. It gave me a lot of confidence because I wasn’t nervous and had belief in my ability. Heh, I’m Nigel McGuinness, and I’m in it to win it right. I was very privileged to be given that spot and I really enjoyed being part of the Iron group, they are such a quality group of passionate, professional guys. It got me the mention in the observer you mentioned which is very valuable, and there’s been talk about me going over there but nothing has comes of it yet.
I would be honored to be given the chance and I really feel my style would get over there. Doug is already doing such a stellar job for the company.
3. Speaking of Meltzer, he wrote in this week’s issue of the Observer that it’s amazing that you have not been contacted yet to help stock WWE’s new developmental territory in Atlanta. This is your lucky day, because when Meltzer writes something, people notice. After all, it was his kind words on your Misawa match that helped land you regular gigs with ROH and other indies. Since this will likely be your last interview before becoming a big star with WWE, do you promise not to forget all the little people who helped you along the way to superstardom?
Of course I will. I’ll be a superstar. Although I do promise to send my parents a Christmas card. In all seriousness though, I always try to make an effort to remember people that helped and inspired me. I’ve kept a journal daily since age 11 and have written a book about breaking into the business that I hope credits the people that helped me along the way.
4. You’re an obvious punk rocker. That’s not as cool as being a metalhead, but still cool in its own way. What were your favorite bands growing up, and what are your favorite bands today?
I was never into the music so much as the look. I liked Blur, Oasis and Suede, bands like that. Nowadays I listen to a lof of that same music but also stuff like coldplay, robbie wiliams and a fair bit of classical music.
5. In 10 words or less, please give us your opinion on the following kick-ass British metal bands:
Iron Maiden: Stop screaming and talking about death.
Def Leppard: silly name for a band, hard of hearing predator. did know a hot girl who wanted to screw them though.
London Quireboys: probably friends of oscar wilde’s types.
Tygertailz: sounds like they should be playing in mothercare.
Ozzy Osbourne: great advert for our heritage. like some of his more recent stuff.
Judas Priest: quite an achievement to be used as an alternative to blasphemy.
The Darkness: Preferred the lightness.
Saxon: Never got over in the UK.
Motorhead: Probably obvious by now, I’m clueless about metal. In the UK it was really quite a socially stigmatized culture. Just a little below wrestling.
6. How annoying is it when you do interviews and get asked about Steven Regal?? As if all Brits know each other?
Not at all. He had quite a big impact in my career when he told me to go back to the UK four years ago and learn the British style, without which advice I wouldn’t be a tenth of the wrestler I am.
7. The odds of British wrestlers making it Stateside are small. You wisely moved out here to get trained and work indies. Your country’s best working wrestler, David Finlay, coaches WWE divas for a living. Why is that your country has yet to take the US wrestling scene by storm the way Canada has?
It just takes time. I believe it is easier in terms of visa requirements from Canada, but there are a lot of good British talents around in my generation. We just need to get a few of us up there. If Regal is given the platform to perform our style I’m certain it’ll help.
8. Which do you prefer:
Billy Idol or Billy Joel: Joel. Idol stole my haircut and sang about pedophilia.
Bruce Dickinson or Blayze Bailey: Blayze Bailey sounds cooler.
Rob Halford or Ripper Owens: Ripper Owens, can’t say why.
Duran Duran or Depeche Mode: Depeche mode – for my old mate Lying Dave’s drunken karaoke of tainted love that always got him laid.
Sid Vicious the wrestler or Sid Vicious the rock star: the wrestler for the most horrific section bump ever.
Sex Pistols or Ramones: ramones did less heroin.
Steve Regal or Fit Finlay: are you kidding?
British Bulldogs or the Blue Bloods: see question 19.
Lord Alfred Hayes or Sean Mooney: mooney, less annoying.
Soccer or Football: it’s the same thing where i’m from.
Being a forward or being a goalie: only the nerds go in goal.
Les Thatcher or Les Claypool: LT. There is only one Wolf.
HWA or OVW: Again, see question 19.
Tony Blair or B. Brian Blair: Tony, puppet or otherwise.
9. England is responsible for some pretty annoying pop culture trends in America. Simon Cowell, American Idol, the Spice Girls, intellectual British alternative music crap, and others. What are some American pop culture trends that have made it in America that you guys feel are especially annoying?
dyslexia, attention deficit disorder, obesity, sandals.
10. Are You Being Served? totally rocks, and is a huge hit on American public television. What American TV shows are big in the UK?
Friends, i think the fed has quite a good following.
11. Be honest, would a kid who looks like Jack Osbourne get laid at your high school if he wasn’t rich and famous?
if he had rich parents, did drugs and knew how to get hold of them. so yes.
12. Did you attend SummerSlam ’92, and if so, was it really considered a huge event in England at the time?
I was there wearing my ultimate warrior t shirt and face paint. it was huge on the wrestling map, in my world, but i’m not sure it hit the mainstream that much more than a wembley dog show, which is absurd and shows what reflex objection the masses have to pro wrestling.
13. In the early 90s, your country basically kept the WWF in business, because you guys sold out all the events when business was dead in America. Strangely, WCW had more viewership than WWF did, even though it was considered minor league. What was the British perception of WCW in each of the following time periods:
i) during the early 90s, when it sucked?
second tier like you said.
ii) during the late 90s, when it was kicking WWF’s ass?
not sure, i don’t think it was easy to see Nitro and i still was always a wwf mark.
iii) toward the end, right before it went out of business?
i was in the us by then so i have no idea.
14. You’re always complaining about how thin you are. You’ve bulked up to about 210 lbs or so. Much better, but still thin by wrestling standards. Frankly, to get WWE’s attention, you need to juice up. Are you willing to do what it takes to get into WWE shape, or do you value your health too much?
I got Triple H’s book for xmas and have got up to 230 already. If Triple H can do it so can I.
15. My all-time favorite show is Three’s Company. It was based on a British show called Man About the House. Did you ever see Man About the House, and if so, can you tell us a little about it?
Never saw it, didn’t watch a lot of TV.
16. Research all over the world shows that restricting calories seems to drastically extend the life span of living species, humans included. So by stuffing your face, which you’ve admitted to doing in order to gain weight, does that mean you’re not going to live very long?
Yeah, I think that’s a fair guess. But shit, this business, between paying your dues, the bumps, and reading triple H’s book, is all gonna shorten your life anyway. You gotta live for now and achieve what you can while you can. Or else you’ll be a pretty regretful 90 year old.
17. We’ve seen a picture of the woman you call your “old lady.” She seems very nice. But just between you and me, if you ever make it big, you’re going to have hordes of women falling for you like you’re some sort of rock star. Will you be able to fight off these temptations?
No problem. I have the worst game in the world. In fact I have anti game. I’m as likely to get laid as a syphilitic badger at a polar bear’s only party. besides i love my old lady and would never go back on my word. I’ll just pass them on to Bruce Gray the ref.
18. Oh how it must suck to be Donovan Morgan and Michael Modest. They spend their whole lives trying to make it in this business, and just can’t seem to get a major break, despite having more than enough talent. How did you hook up with Pro Wrestling Iron for that tag match with Misawa and Ogawa?
Mike Wallace who runs New Breed Wrestling in South Bend IA, went to bat for me and flew me out to San Francisco so I could get looked at. He is one of the people that I mean when I say I will remember the people that helped me. He talked to Mike and Donovan and they were gracious enough to help me and give me the chance. I will not forget that either.
19. Everyone knows the truth about HHH, Vince McMahon, Stephanie, the Jarretts, Dusty, etc. That is, they’re all killing the business without knowing it. But since they are the only major employers in the US, you have to learn to kiss their asses and pretend they are greatest people in the world. In other words, when you eventually hook up with them, don’t be a pain in the ass, and keep your real feelings to yourself. Are you prepared to behave as politically as possible in order to keep your job?
I need to have a job first. I understand how things work of course. But you know what, it’s a lot easier to look at things from where we are and say what’s wrong than to be in their shoes and do it right. How am I doing so far?
20. Nigel, thanks so much for putting up with our admittedly ridiculous question. Please use this last question to say a final word to your fans. Take advantage of this, because once you’re a big WWE star, you won’t be allowed to talk to the press honestly.
I appreciate you. I don’t think the fans realize how much some times. It’s a connection that we all have, bound by a joint love of pro wrestling. You need the fans, you need the wrestlers, you need to promoters, you have all three and you have something special, something we all once loved.
Nigel’s a good guy. And when he becomes a huge WWE star, he’ll know who to thank first (us). Don’t forget that, Nigel.
Be good boys and girls and check out all of Nigel’s links. A million thanks go out to Mr. McGuinness. Best of luck in your career.