ProWrestling.com’s Matthew Wilkinson recently sat down with Sugar Dunkerton for an exclusive interview at the debuting Broken Ring Wrestling event, where he discussed working in the UK and learning from Doug Williams, as well as his time with IMPACT Xplosion and WWE’s recent use of race in Kofi Kingston’s storyline.
Having spent a long time working in the UK against some of the top British talents, Sugar started the interview discussing what it is about the UK scene that he loves so much.
“The English scene is crazy from the technical styles to the characters, you know there was a time when it kind of died out for a little while and now it’s back in a major way. Now you’ve got people from where I’m from and all other parts of the country coming over to get a piece of it. I love it, plus the fans are like no other, it’s like a concert every time you go out.”
Dunkerton recently got the opportunity to be amongst some of the final people to work against British wrestling legend, Doug Williams, and he spoke about the opportunity and the impact Williams has made to the business.
“I completely did not expect it. I know when they were putting the card together they were shuffling things around and you know, you think you’re not the type of guy who gets that match and on top of that, Blackpool Tower, Blackpool being a city that Johnny Saint carried on his back. We got to do it again and it was awesome, it’s always a learning lesson and I definitely respect the history of it. It was cool to get two of his last performances and it was good stuff and I thank him for that because it could have easily been a case of “let me get these matches done and get out of here.” But, he taught, and he left the business better than how he found it and that’s a lesson that anybody can take.”
“No matter how bad or good your time frame was, what comes after is based on what you put in. It’s good we have those pillars who are like, “This is what we did for the business, now this is what you can do to take it higher than we took it.” That’s ideally how you want to do it, he’s not selfish about his knowledge or his ability.”
Dunkerton recently got the chance to make his debut with PROGRESS Wrestling, which saw him impress the crowd with a “Please come back” chant being given to him, but Sugar doesn’t want it to be just a one-off experience.
“The goal wasn’t just a one and done. The thing about it is, I don’t have any qualms about how I am viewed, especially back in America, I think sometimes what I bring to the table can be a little bit underestimated. I know I am silly, and I am a little out there sometimes, I feel like I am probably one of the most well-rounded performers and entertainers you can find in the middle of the ring. I feel like you have to go to places like PROGRESS and ICW to be able to be like, “I am here with your best in the world and I am not only hanging, I’m thriving.” I think that was just a step to bigger things and the fact that people recognize it and understood that, the, “please come back,”chant was very nice. I always say that chants are good, but return bookings are better, and I hope it opened some eyes for what I can do for them going forward.”
Whilst Sugar has spent a lot of time working in the British wrestling scene lately, he recently announced his plans to return to America later this year, and he spoke about what he will take from working in the UK back home with him, and why he is excited to be back Stateside.
“Definitely knowing your worth and taking your time in terms of what you present to your audience. I feel like sometimes the American scene is so quick, it’s like always the next GIF or viral video. It’s not like it isn’t like that here (in the UK), but here, if they choose to love you or hate you, it is rooted in something a little deeper because they want more. Plus, I think it’s just maturity as a performer in a major way, there were pieces of myself that I couldn’t find in America and I had to come here to get them. Being here opened up gateways and you really figure that wrestling is for everyone and it is a beautiful thing.”
“The biggest thing is that people know what I am doing but they don’t see it yet, sometimes you have to get right in there face to see it. I’m out here doing everything I said I was going to be, we get a lot of guys that like to talk the game but I walk it as good as I talk it. They need to see it, I am putting it them on notice.”
Next, Sugar Dunkerton went into detail about the recent Kofi Kingston storyline that has been taking place in WWE, discussing WWE’s decision to reference and tiptoe around the topic of race throughout and how important Kingston winning the WWE Championship at WrestleMania could be.
“It’s hard to ignore. Recently Jim Ross brought up the whole deal that they should never have made it about that but we watch any other form of media and entertainment and we get bombarded with stuff like race and sexuality, hard issues. We watch it anyway because there is a lesson to be learned, right? We are not saying that the reason it hasn’t happened, and let’s get the elephant out of the room, is because he’s black. We’re not going to say that, but let’s look at something, in the history of the WWE Championship, there has never been an African American Champion. A lot of people like to say The Rock, but he is part Samoa and a lot fo the time he claims more of that Samoan heritage.
“For Kofi Kingston, who has been going at this for 11 years, who has personally reached out to me a number of times, he was one of the first people to text me when I got my shot on IMPACT Xplosion, he didn’t have to but has given me great advice throughout my career, he has been a good beacon as far as advice. To see him find himself where he is going to WrestleMania after all the great moments and matches he has given us, I am excited. Especially now at a time when diversity is huge, I adore the fact we are seeing something along the lines, as long as it took to happen, it would be awesome to be able to see. We often talk about in life how anything is possible, but sometimes you need to see something can be done and I think if there was ever a guy to get that to be done, whether you’re just a fan of great wrestling or a young black child that wants to believe you can be a World Champion, I am all for what we will hopefully see at WrestleMania.”
Finally, Sugar Dunkerton discussed his time working with IMPACT Wrestling where he had opportunities on IMPACT Xplosion, reflecting on whether or not they missed the boat with him.
“It takes time, they said that when they moved to new management that there was going to be a lot of image repair. Yes, there have been a lot of fumbles as far as management and how things went, but if you look at the product week to week lately it is a hell of a product. As far as my experiences, I enjoyed it and it obviously put a few more eyes on me than I had. Of course, I would have loved for it to have turned into something more, people can put two and two together, it didn’t turn into something a little more concrete. Do I want to say they missed the boat? Maybe. Perhaps they will look back on it and think they should have given this another go, but then maybe I will look back on it and think maybe it wasn’t my go-to take. At the same time, the more options and avenues we have in the business, the better.”
You can follow Sugar Dunkerton on Twitter- @SugarDunkerton