Ladies and gentlemen, Wrestling Cares Association’s Race to the Ring Wrestling Tournament is the premiere event of all of professional wrestling. The Race to the Ring is the only yearlong 1-on-1 tournament of its kind in professional wrestling. The Race to the Ring Tournament brings together the top Indy wrestling performers in the country, to give independent wrestling fans the opportunity to see live matchups they have never seen before held exclusively in Los Angeles, California. Every event in the Race to the Ring Tournament raises money for a different charity. Whomever is declared the winner of the Race to the Ring Tournament will receive an additional donation to be made to the charity of his choice in the winner’s name. The Race to the Ring Tournament 2013 have showcase some of the biggest names in the independent professional wrestling circuit such as Drake Younger, Adam Cole, Jamin Olivencia, DJ Hyde, Johnny Gargano, Steve Anthony, Caprice Coleman, Kyle Matthews, Davey Richards, Tony Nese, Alex Reynolds, Kyle O’Reilly, Pepper Parks, Drew Gulak, and various others. The Race to the Ring Tournament is down to four participants: Johnny Gargano, Steve Anthony, Adam Cole and Greek God Papadon.
The Greek God Papadon has gone through a unique journey but has successfully reached the final four stages of The Race to the Ring Tournament defeated opponents such as Micah Taylor, Joey Ryan and B-Boy. Greek God Papadon has competed for various Independent Wrestling Promotions throughout the USA and has won numerous championships including the 2012 ECWA Super 8 tournament. Greek God Papadon has impressed many professional wrestling critics with his passion and in ring capabilities throughout the course of the tournament.
I had the privilege of speaking with the one and only Greek God Papadon to discuss the early stages of his career, discuss WCA Race to the Ring Tournament Semi-Finals/Finals, and finally briefly preview the WCA Race to the Ring Event December 7th, 2013.
1). Papadon, what inspired you to get involved in the wrestling industry and where did you receive your training to become a professional wrestler?
Greek God Papadon: “I was inspired by watching a matchup between Sting and the “Nature Boy” Ric Flair in the NWA. I am a big fan of JCP/NWA era of wrestling. It wasn’t their Great American Bash or Clash at the Champions match, it was a regular TV match but it was a tremendous match that hooked me. I went to my mother and I told her “Mommy I want to be professional wrestler” and of course she looked at me and said sarcastically “Um okay now go play”. She obviously didn’t take me serious. After I graduated college I said I was going to go to wrestling school. I have heard of Killer Kowalski’s school and I initially wanted to go to Killer Kowalski’s but I couldn’t find an address or contact online because the internet was not what it is today. I was born and raised in Queens, New York and I did not know about the independent wrestling scene. I found out about the Indies from picking up an issue of Pro Wrestling Illustrated. This issue was called the “Guide to the Independents”. I discovered through the PWI issue that the LIWF (Long Island Wrestling Federation) which was ran by Bobby Lombardi had its own wrestling school in Queens which later moved to Brooklyn NY. So, I checked it out and started my training to become a professional wrestler at the Long Island Wrestling Federation Wrestling School aka “The DOGHOUSE” where I was trained by Homicide. I started training in June 1999 and in July 1999 I had my first match. After the Doghouse lost its lease and closed down I continued my training at the NYWC Academy in Deer Park NY. Where Mikey Whipwreck took me under his wing and continued my training and polished me up. I still currently train 2 – 3 days per week at the NYWC School, which is one of the best schools today and has produced such talent as Mike Mondo, Curt Hawkins, Zack Ryder, Trent Baretta, Tony Nese, Alex Reynolds, John Silver, and others”.
2). Papadon, you competed for various wrestling organizations throughout the East Coast, which wrestling organization in terms of locker room and coward reaction is the toughest?
Greek God Papadon: “Good question, where ever I perform I always get a direct reaction from the crowd and capable of adopting to any environment. I have to say Philadelphia, New York City, and New Jersey are the toughest crowds because they are extremely passionate, honest, & relentless with voicing their opinions. I have had the distinct honor and pleasure to have been part of many different locker rooms throughout my career. The most talented collection of talent is in WCA(Wrestling Cares Association). From match one on the first show until the finals WCA assorted the best of the best talent for their product. As far as tough guys goes, the toughest locker room I have to say is the LIWF or the Extreme Rising locker room. NYWC & ECWA are also two of the best locker rooms filled with a great group of talented individuals that are willing to work together and strive to improve the quality of the company’s product and everyone’s individual wrestling craft as well”.
3). Papadon give Pro Wrestling Smark Talk readers some background about Wrestling Cares Association Race to the Ring Tournament?
Greek God Papadon: “The Wrestling Cares Association Race to the Ring Tournament is a great concept put together by three incredible individuals Les Thatcher, Nigel McGuiness, and David Jackson. The Race to the Ring Tournament brought some of the best independent wrestling talent from across the country; different independent wrestling promotions such as Ohio Valley Wrestling, Combat Zone Wrestling, Ring of Honor, Dragon Gate USA, ECWA, WildKat, NYWC, and Evolve. The greatest thing about The Race to the Ring Tournament it attracts and showcases different styles of wrestling; high flying, hard hitting and technical wrestling. The Race to the Ring Tournament matches are setup Ironman Match style, tournament matches have a time limit; First and Second Round Matches 10 minutes, and of course the Semi Finals/Finals are 15 minutes. A participant must cumulate as many points as possible during the duration of their match, whomever score the most points (gain the most decisions) will win the match. In case of a tie at the end of the time limit there is a three minute sudden death round. Every match in the Race to the Ring Tournament so far has provided great storytelling and in ring psychology. The fans have been giving every tournament match a standing ovation, because every match turn out to be classic each time”.
4). Papadon, who’s the toughest opponent you have face in the Race to the Ring Tournament?
Greek God Papadon: “all my opponents have not been easy. In round one Micah Taylor proved to me that he is the real deal and a very tough and talented individual. But if I had to pick one opponent, I would have to say Joey Ryan because I didn’t know he was my opponent until they announced his entrance to the ring. Joey Ryan was a last minute replacement for BJ Whitmer because BJ got injured. Joey Ryan is an extremely talented wrestler that took me to the limit. B-Boy was another tough opponent that I had to face but our match wasn’t a tournament match. Cassidy Riley also got injured and I received a bi in the tournament. B-Boy just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. Since our match wasn’t a timed tournament match there wasn’t as much pressure, it was just a war between two great wrestlers. Plus it was fun kicking the crap out of him”.
5). Papadon, who would you describe the remaining participates in the Race for the Ring Tournament (Adam Cole, Johnny Gargano, and Steve Anthony)?
Greek God Papadon: “Adam Cole is an amazing wrestler and is the current PWG & ROH World Heavyweight Champion. Johnny Gargano is awesome and is the current Dragon Gate USA Open Gate Champion, and Steve Anthony who I have known for a long time is one of the most underrated talents in wrestling today who is a former WLW World Heavyweight Champion. These gentlemen are great performers with tremendous charisma and character, we all have the potential of stealing the show. I’m not intimidated by them or their accomplishments. I know I have an excellent chance of winning this tournament”.
6). What is your overall strategy heading into your matchup with Johnny Gargano @ Wrestling Cares Race to the Ring?
Greek God Papadon: “My strategy basically hit hard, go direct at my opponent and beat them before they beat me. Once again Johnny Gargano is an incredible athlete and great performer. I do not plan on losing this match; my mindset is geared towards winning this tournament. If I go into this match with any doubt Johnny will sense it and capitalize on it. Guys like Johnny Gargano, Steven Anthony, Adam Cole and I all get better in a match as time increases. We are all very experienced in winning and stealing the show that we are usually on. So I am looking forward to this challenge because when I win the match, the experience of the match, and the difficulty of defeating my opponent will make me a much better competitor. I always learn something from every match I have or every time I step into a ring which makes me that much better. Experience is the best teacher in the wrestling business”.
7). If Papadon does not win the Race to the Ring Tournament, whom do you think have a better chance of winning?
Greek God Papadon: “It could be anybody, we’re all incredible athletes and performers. I did not enter this tournament thinking I’m not going to win. I will come out victorious and win the Race to the Ring Tournament”.
8). Papadon, who will come out victories in the Golden States Tag Team Championship Match between The Ballard Twins, Old School (Timothy Thatcher and Oliver John), Scorpio Sky and Ryan Taylor and The Forever Hooligans (Alex Koslov and Rocky Romero)? Why?
Greek God Papadon: “I’m was thinking about leaning towards the Forever Hooligans, but I will give the nod to say Scorpio Sky/Ryan Taylor, both men are great competitors and competed for various wrestling organization across the country”.
9). Papadon, your thoughts on the Technical Challenge Match between DJ Hyde and Drake Younger according to Wrestling Cares “The first person to break any rule loses)?
Greek God Papadon: “Two hard hitting competitors that will be a good matchup. This match is a solid example of Wrestling Cares Association provided good quality entertainment, and original storytelling, this feud is several months in the making. It’s going to be hard for DJ Hyde and Drake Younger to reframe themselves from breaking a rule and stick with a non-rule breaking style of wrestling. It’s a tossup”.
10). Papadon how can fans receive tickets to the Wrestling Cares Association Event on December 7th, 2013?
Greek God Papadon: “Fan in the Central/Southern California Area tickets for the event can be purchase through Wrestling Cares Association website: www.wrestlingcares.com”.
11). Finally, what can fans expect from The Greek God Papadon in 2014?
Greek God Papadon: “Fans can expect Greek God Papadon to work harder and train harder than ever before. Expand my brand, compete for different wrestling organizations, maybe sometime in 2014 you may see Greek God Papadon on television, who knows”.
Special Note: If you want to read more articles from Pro Wrestling Smark Talk please go to our blog page www.prowrestlingsmarktalk.blogspot.com. Pro Wrestling Smark Talk currently has twelve feature articles posted: The Santino Bros Wrestling School, Dragon Gate USA COO Sal Hamaoui, CZW Wrestling Academy (DJ Hyde/Shane Strickland), Cedric Alexander of C & C Wrestle Factory Interview, Beyond Wrestling Tournament for Tomorrow 2 Preview, The First Lady of PWG Candice LeRae, The Successfulness of Dragon Gate USA Seminar/Tryouts, Eddie Kingston: Discussing Outlaws, Inc., Star Destroyer Biff Busick, The Beautiful Kimber Lee Discussing Beyond Wrestling and The Campaign for a Better CZW and ACH: Previewing AAW Windy City Classics IX.
The following feature articles upcoming: Bobby Ocean Interview and Ring of Honor Seminar/Tryouts with Brutal Bob Evans. Pro Wrestling Smark Talk can be reach via social media: www.facebook.com/prowrestlingsmarktalk and www.twitter.com/pwsmarktalk.
The Heel Turn Podcast on December 9th, 2013 will preview Ring of Honor’s Final Battle 2013 with one half of the ROH World Tag Team Champions reDRagons Bobby Fish and C & C Wrestle Factory Cedric Alexander; also previewing Combat Zone Wrestling’s Cage by Death XV with Shane Strickland. Please go to www.theheelturnpodcast.blogspot.com, www.facebook.com/theheelturnpodcast, and www.twitter.com/heelturnpodcast for more information.