Saturday, July 14, 2012

Interview: Ian Bear of Alpha Sigma Sigma

When did you decide you wanted to be a Pro Wrestler?

From the time I was about seven, sitting in my Aunt's house with my cousin Lance and watching wrestling tapes. Hogan, Slaughter, Hennig...loved it all. Something about the larger than life personas attracted me to it, and I was a massive fan. When I was, let's see...fourteen or fifteen, I had a cable box in my room that could get the pay per view channels in with scrambled pictures. I would sit there and listen to matches based only on the commentary, unable to see the match, and I'd sit there for three straight hours and just listen to what they did. It was during that that I realized I wanted to be a storyteller and get to do some of the same things.

Who were your favorites growing up?
Sgt. Slaughter, most certainly. I mean, the man had his own GI Joe. It didn't get better than that. The other favorite was Million Dollar Man. Otherwise, at different points - Mick Foley, HBK, Jericho, DDP, Kane - I used to really mark out for some of the lower guys, D-Lo Brown and Al Snow.

Was your family supportive of you becoming a wrestler?
Oh yeah. They were nothing but supportive. I mean, they weren't crazy about wrestling when I was growing up, but when I said I intended to get into it, they had my back entirely.

Where did you train and what was it like?
I trained with DV Sullivan and Ron (Shere Khan) Sullivan as well as Dean Preston and Mark Ferguson in Shelton and Poulsbo, WA. I honestly thought (DV) hated me at the beginning just because of the amount of bumps and drills he had me do - I was almost 400 lbs when I started and really uncoordinated. It grew into a more supportive atmosphere and I got to the point where I really enjoy coming to training, but training is never done - I can always learn something new.

How long have you been competing?
Three years now.

Have you gotten to meet many big names since you started? And if so, what was your impression of them?
I've gotten to meet several big names coming through SCW - NW Legend, The Grappler, who is a great psychological worker and a wonderful person to learn from. Raven, who was real distant but fascinating to watch in the ring. Eugene, who was a real nice guy even if he did end up giving me a super-wedgie in the ring. Gangrel, who was an absolute pleasure to meet and just a vault of information, and of course Kevin Sullivan, and its just a great opportunity to pick his brain and gleam what knowledge I can from him every time he's around. And, as a fan, I drove 120 miles in an hour and half after work one day to fulfill my dream of meeting Sgt. Slaughter.

What is your favorite match that you have competed in so far, and why?
The tag elimination match from SCW's Beauty Meets Beast - Alpha Sigma Sigma (Myself and Davey Heartbreak) against D-Mobb (Demarcus James and CJ Edwards), Homeland Security (Triple D/Native Assassin) and Steve Rush/Victor Price. It was just a fun match with a variety of styles, the crowd was really into it, and we were able to run with it.

Who is your dream opponent?
Sgt Slaughter in his prime. Him or Kane, since he looks like my father-in-law and I think my wife would get a kick out of it.

What is the toughest and/or easiest part about being a wrestler?
Getting over the physical pain is tough - as I type this I'm recovering from a separated shoulder. It's unlike anything else, really. Easiest part for me is interacting with the crowd, I love it.

Any funny/strange stories from your time in the business?
There was the time when I was still wearing a mask (as Outpatient) and was wrestling against Randy Taylor, and he kept rotating it enough that I would lose my eye holes. Or the time I slid into the ring to help someone as a referee and blew out my slacks - I mean, blew them out from front to back. Everyone got a good shot of pasty white Washington legs and black boxers. Still had to ref another match that night, too. That was...that was an interesting night. I think I wound up wearing a pair of someone else s tights under the slacks to keep everything in.

What do you think about the PG direction of the current WWE product?
I think it's a good idea with a lousy implementation. There's nothing wrong with working family friendly, but they aren't turning the focus enough into developing a solid roster that can carry a show without resorting to the old crutches of profanity, blood, and innuendo. I love all of that stuff, but it's not as accepted anymore as it was in the boom period - and that also helps it be more impactful when it does happen.

The business as a whole is down right now. What do you think needs to change to help it grow to where it was in the late 90's?
There needs to be more focus on the middle titles - Tag, US, IC - and a stronger development of the mid-card guys. Used to be you could get the fans caring about guys who worked 6 minutes in a throwaway match, now the fans don't invest attention because the company doesn't invest attention. I've been watching a lot of CHIKARA lately and love the fact that they give every match a decent amount of time to build up and earn the crowd.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?
University of Montana, pursuing my doctorate in Pharmacology. Hopefully still wrestling. School gets priority though.

Any upcoming shows you would like to plug?
A benefit show for the family of SCW  Super fan Traci Richardson, a wonderful lady without whom the shows will never be the same - July 14th, Suquamish Tribal Center, Poulsbo WA, 7 PM. Three dollar tickets, a dollar from each ticket goes to help the family.

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