1.How many hours of wrestling "tape" do you watch per week? In the weeks leading up to your encounter with Gargano how many matches of his did you study to analyse his in ring style?It's funny, I actually have somewhat of a reputation as a borderline obsessive tape-watcher...to the point that even other wrestlers give me a hard time about it. I started following wrestling in Japan and Mexico seriously in 1998, so my collection is pretty big. I have literally hundreds of old VHS tapes, probably more DVDs, and with MP4s becoming the norm, I have a 2 TB external hard drive I'm filling up with stuff from SMV. I'd estimate that I watch upwards of 20 hours of wrestling per week. With Johnny, I watched more iPPVs than anything. Johnny's everywhere these days, and 2013 Johnny is a different animal than the Johnny I wrestled in DGUSA years ago.
2.I know you are a great student of the wrestling "game" so to speak, how to you evaluate yourself and decide what type of arsenal you want to take into the ring against a fairly versatile opponent like Johnny?Like I said, Johnny has evolved (pun intended) quite a bit over the past few years. I've been able to make the comeback I have in the past year or so because I'm honest with myself, and I had to be willing to evolve too. I was able to do what I did in the match with Johnny because I stepped up my game. I filled in the gaps, got rid of the elements that didn't work, and made myself into a more complete wrestler. Johnny Gargano is arguably the top guy in the indies right now. To get in there and hang with the best, you have to rise to their level.
3.What were the last thoughts you had before your entrance music started and you walked out to the ring for your match?Honestly, I wasn't nervous. I should have been, because everything I went through coming back was to get to that point. It was my chance to show I could still gang with the top guys. My confidence is at an all time high these days. I came through the curtain and tore my robe off ready to take on the world.
4.During the match you had taken a fair amount of punishment (a super-kick, cheetah swipe, lawn dart,) how do you keep yourself composed when you are beginning to feel the fatigue of a match?By that point, it becomes very primal. Adrenalin takes over. When you're in the heat of battle, you feel indestructible. The next day is a whole other story...
5.How satisfying was it to bring Johnny's chest down onto your knees for the Tenchi Crash?It was the exclamation point on the statement I wanted to make. After being labeled a weak link, after being written off by wrestlers, promoters, and even fans... I finally showed them all I was back and better than ever.
6.Now that you have exacted a small amount of revenge on Johnny what is your next step in your history with F.I.S.T?I think that chapter of my life is over. F.I.S.T. seems to be a thing of the past. I'm excited to move on to bigger things.
I don't think I will be able to thank Gran Akuma enough for his insight into his match with Johnny Gargano! Thanks for stopping by The Dark Match to check this out and keep your eyes open because The Watchmaker recap is coming soon.