Sam Shaw recently spoke with Robert “The Krupy” Krupar of artofwrestling.cz. Here are some highlights from the interview.
If he is still employed by TNA: “Yes, still an independent contracted talent with TNA.”
How much of what people see of him is a character and how much is himself: “It’s really me. Absolutely me. No one said, ‘hey try this gimmick…wear boardshorts and skater shoes and be this X-games type-guy.’ That whole concept was me being me. I’m sure there were fans that looked at me and said, ‘look at this guy… no wrestling gear, stupid tattoos and spiky hair? He’s gonna suck!’ My whole thing is this: why be like everyone else? You’re always going to be compared to other wrestlers but I wanted to be my own person/character. Hillbilly Jim was a redneck farmer guy, so you knew it right away when he walked down the aisle with the whole presentation. No one asks why Bully Ray doesn’t wear spandex. Aces & Eights are bikers… none of them should wear trunks and wrestling boots. I wear boardshorts and skater shoes everyday. That’s the way I grew up, skating, surfing and wearing those types of clothes so it feels natural for me to wear that in the ring. Am I opposed to wearing the traditional gear? No. I have before.”
The recent releases in OVW: “It’s always sad to hear that guys/girls get released, especially if you are really close with them. I was close with a few of them, but I know that they love this line of work so much that they will bounce back and seize other opportunities.”
The Gut Check concept: “For me personally, it was a great way to introduce me to a much wider audience. Instead of just debuting me they used the GutCheck concept to introduce me and in a lot of ways. I’m not sure if certain people within the company knew if I would sink or swim when the bright lights and TV cameras were focused on me. My goal was to make the most of the opportunity and show that I belong and I could do some cool things when all the attention and pressure is layed on me. It’s hard to throw a guy out there if he isn’t particularly known, even on the Indy scene where there are so many talented guys that are looking for the same opportunity that I got. I’ve been doing things with TNA since 2009, as I was training under Bully Ray and Devon at Team 3D Academy (and busting my ass) which afforded me opportunities over the years that others might not ever get. Bully always told me, ‘it’s right place, right time, and maximize your opportunities.’ And he was totally right!”