Samuel Shaw made a name for himself as one of the bright, young stars in TNA. There’s no doubt that he made his character (influenced by Patrick Bateman in American Psycho) unforgettable and definitely had all eyes on him. Now that he is a free agent, it will be just a matter of time until he stands tall in a major wrestling ring once again. Did you know that Shaw is also an incredibly talented artist and has been at it throughout his entire life? We definitely cover both sides of the life of one interesting and personable gentleman. Topics discussed include getting his big break in TNA, what he took out of training with Bubba Ray and D-Von, working with Ken Anderson, NXT, discovering his artistic talents, the current state of wrestling and more.
Alex Obert: One of your earliest experiences in TNA was Hardcore Justice 2010. What did you take out of the whole experience?
Samuel Shaw: Just tons of emotions. I was pulled into the office at Team 3D Academy probably a week before that event. Bully Ray pulls me in the office and he just says, “We’re gonna use on the Hardcore Justice pay per view.” I’m just like ecstatic. Just a young guy looking for a break, anything I could really get. For him to tell me that they’re gonna put me on that particular pay per view, it meant that much more because I was such a huge ECW fan growing up. I think about two weeks before that, I worked an indy show against Tommy Dreamer. I told him how much I respected him and that the ECW stuff was such a big reason why I wanted to get into the business. Knowing that Tommy and Bully Ray are such good friends, I’m certain they had some sort of conversation. I guess Tommy was like, “Hey, let’s get him on the show.” Bully Ray agreed, then he pulled me into the office and let me know. Then he told me I was gonna be Lupus. I had to really think for a second. I didn’t really remember Lupus that well, but sort of. I remember he had a little blow up doll and he was basically Raven’s lackey. For Bully to tell me I’m gonna assume that role, I was like, “Okay…well this’ll be interesting.” And he’s like, “Oh, you’re gonna do a big leg drop off the top rope too.” So I’m like, “Sweet! I’m actually gonna do something physical on this show.” Very exciting. I mean it was crazy to be there with all these ECW originals. I don’t know what they were looking at me like “Who the hell’s this kid? Why is he here?” I had Bully’s blessing. I was just soaking it all in while keeping my mouth shut, eyes and ears open. I remember earlier in the day, they needed to get a fire spot approved by the fire marshall because we’re at Universal Studios in Orlando. Well Bully looks at me and he says, “Sam, you’re gonna go through this flaming table.” And I’m like, “Oh, sure! Yeah, I’ll do that!” So sure enough, in front of all the boys and Dixie Carter and fire marshalls, they powerbombed me through a flaming table for no exposure whatsoever. I was just the test dummy for that. That was a fond memory for me, saying that I went through a flaming table, but there’s no video proof. Maybe there is, but I’ll never see it. And then Mick Foley stuck the barbed wire sock in my mouth. Taz put it over on commentary so huge. I think everybody was like, “Who the hell’s this?” I think it was more of a spot for Tommy to pop some of his close friends. I was just ecstatic to be there. I was just thinking, “Oh man, this is gonna get me some exposure. This is gonna open some doors for me.” You know, I think it did. I think I had a dark match the next day at TNA. I thought I was gonna get signed. You’re at that young age and you’re just so excited to be there. I was just thinking that I’m onto something here. But this business is all about patience and I had to learn that. That was one of the learning curves there. It was gonna take more time for them to be impressed with me enough to put me in a spot to where I could get signed.
Alex Obert: Seeing as though you have been involved with Team 3D Academy, I wanted to get your thoughts on what has taken place recently. How do you feel about the Dudley Boyz returning to the biggest stage of them all?
Samuel Shaw: All of us that started with Team 3D years ago, I think we all just saw it coming. We just didn’t know when. I was with Team 3D Academy for four years. I didn’t really know Bubba and D-Von as WWE Superstars. I’ve sort of graduated from that school and I’ve moved on, but they still had a huge amount of students at their academy. They’re training guys the right way. I actually stopped in a couple weeks ago and I saw D-Von and a lot of the students. It’s just one of the best schools out there, I can’t put over that school enough. With everything they offer, you’re getting the training that you need to succeed in this business. Getting back to their return to the WWE, it was just a matter of time. We all knew they were gonna go back. I was taught it was always about timing in this business. I think this was the perfect time and the perfect opportunity for them to come in and make an impact again.
Alex Obert: I have a feeling that Bubba will test those breaking into the business in order to see if they can tough it out and to earn his respect. Would you say that is accurate? If so, did that happen with you?
Samuel Shaw: I think for him, he’s just very old school minded. That old school mentality is “If this kid really wants it, let’s test him. Let’s test him not only physically, but mentally.” And I think that weeds out the guys that can’t really fathom this business. There’s a lot of people that want to be wrestlers, but when you’re actually grinding and not making very much money on the indy scene and possibly living on somebody’s couch for years and just grinding, grinding, grinding, it wears on you. And then going into Team 3D Academy four to five times a week like I was doing. There was just times when I was just like, “I really don’t want to go to training today. I don’t want to deal with Bubba’s shit today.” But at the same time, I knew this is what I wanted to do. Even if he was gonna say something to test you or make you feel like you don’t belong, I always took it as like, “Okay, that’s a challenge. I’m here to prove him wrong.” I do have one particular story regarding this. I was getting a lot of extra work at TNA years and years ago. Bubba would always call me and I would be at work, I was a caricature artist at Universal Studios. So that was literally my plan, to live in Orlando, it’s a wrestling hub. You had WWE/FCW an hour and a half away in Tampa, you got TNA in Universal, Team 3D Academy, you had a bunch of indies. I was in Orlando, trying to be as close as I could so I could possibly knock on the door at TNA each and every day. I just wanted to see if there was any opportunity. Bubba knew that, he saw my work ethic and I think he saw my talent. He may not have necessarily liked me as a person, but he definitely gave me the opportunities because he knew I wanted it. He’d call me and he’d say, “Hey, can you come up to TNA? We got a spot for you today.” On one particular occasion, he called me the night before and he said, “I need you to get three or four other students and you guys dress nice. Come up here and you’re gonna do some stuff with Jeff Jarrett, the Team Jarrett MMA gimmick.” And I said, “Sure, we’ll be there.” We show up there and some of us are wearing jeans. I think he expected us to wear suits. That’s a lesson that I learned. Every time I go for a tryout, I’m wearing a suit. I am dressing extremely nice now, no ifs, ands or buts about it. And I’ll tell you why, we show up and some of us are wearing jeans and just not looking as sharp as guys that are trying to represent Team 3D Academy, Bubba and D-Von, and be professionals. We’re not looking very professional walking in. You can just tell that Bully is just so pissed and just giving us that death stare and making us very uncomfortable all day long. They still used us that night and we performed well. We thought everything was gold. Bubba kinda cut a promo on us. Like I said, we were uncomfortable all day, but we did a good job for Jeff Jarrett. Bubba said, “There’s no heat, everything’s good.”
Well I didn’t go to the training the next day because I was working, but a bunch of the guys did that were involved with this thing in TNA the day before. Bubba tells them all to get in the ring and he tells them, “Do a thousand squats. Right now. Otherwise you’re kicked out of the school.” He felt like we needed to be disciplined for not being a good representation for the school. I got text messages from all these guys and they’re all like, “Oh my God, Bubba made us do a thousand squats. None of us could do a thousand. Guys were puking. Some guy ripped his asshole out, tore his hamstring. Guys are just dropping like flies. Bubba’s disappointed in everybody. He said ‘Don’t think I won’t get Sam cause I’ll go to one of his little indy shows and I’ll make him do it in front of all the boys there.'” I was just waiting for mine. I was like, “Okay, I’ve never done a thousand squats before. I’m gonna go in every day and if that’s what he wants me to do, I’m ready for it.” I went in every day and he never showed up for about two weeks. And then all of a sudden, he showed up one day. Everybody thought he’d forget about it and that it’s all water under the bridge. But nope, he sees me and he says, “Get your ass in the ring. A thousand squats. You gotta go past parallel. If you don’t do a thousand, I’ll just know what kind of man you are and you’re not welcome back here.” I proceeded to do a thousand squats and I never thought that I could do that. It was a challenge. The thought of doing it sucked, but once I completed that, I realized that was all mental. He tested me and I did it. I went in the office and I thanked him. I’m not saying that he had ultimate respect for me after that or anything, but I think he was like, “Okay, I see this kid. He fessed up to fucking up. He paid the price and he did it.” He’s always gonna test you. You’re gonna screw up in this business, especially as a young guy just trying to come up and make it. Hopefully you don’t screw up in front of a Vince McMahon or something like that. Screwing up in front of a Bully Ray, that’s probably worse. I just made it a goal of mine to just always make him proud.
Alex Obert: When you first started paying your dues in the ring, who was responsible for giving you the chop initiation?
Samuel Shaw: (laughs) That was definitely Bully. I initially spent about a year at WWA4 in Atlanta, Georgia with Curtis Hughes. Just traveling up and down the road, he taught me all the fundamentals. He was a great trainer, but after a year in Atlanta, I just felt like there was something missing. I moved back to Florida and I found out about Team 3D Academy. I went down to Kissimmee, Florida and just started immediately with Bubba and D-Von. They filled that void. I felt like, “Okay, now I’m understanding why I do certain things in the ring.” The psychology element was what I really wanted to get a hold of. Along with that came the chops. It’s not pleasant, I’ll tell you that. But it’s your initiation. You gotta go through that phase where you’re like, “Man, one of my heroes just chopped me! That’s awesome!”
Alex Obert: It’s as much mental as it is physical.
Samuel Shaw: Absolutely.
Alex Obert: As a fan, how did you originally discover TNA?
Samuel Shaw: I think it was back in the Asylum days when it first started in Nashville. Being a fan of wrestling and knowing ECW had folded and was bought, now we just had WWE. What else is out there now? Then you hear that there’s this other federation being started by Jeff Jarrett. You’d see the commercials for the pay per views, Wednesday night or something like that. There was a bunch of talent that either had come from WWE and they were just on the outs with them or you saw some young guys doing some stuff that you may have not seen before. It was following it here and there and then it was around 2005 that the notoriety of Joe and Daniels and AJ Styles having those triple threat matches. That’s when it’s like, “Alright, let’s really check this out.” And that was when they just started on SPIKE TV. It was a totally different presentation and they were onto something really unique. They tape at Universal Studios and they have a six-sided ring.
Alex Obert: You had a program with Ken Anderson during your time in TNA, but did you originally discover him in WWE?
Samuel Shaw: Yeah, I caught wind of him when he first had his debut matches. He came in with some pretty outlandish music and he’s coming down to the ring to cut these ridiculous promos. He’s got that whole echo thing going on and it’s just like, “What the hell? This is weird, but it’s funny.” He wrestled Funaki on the first match I saw him in. He did that Finlay roll from the second rope turnbuckle. This guy’s onto something. I could see him being a big star. I mean he just oozed that confidence and charisma right from that starting point. It was cool for me because I thought, “Here’s a guy that’s six foot one, two hundred and thirty pounds. Like me.” It seemed like there were a lot of monstrous guys, a lot of guys that were more like six five, six six and almost three hundred pounds. Those were the ones getting that push at the time. When he just came in, it was very reminiscent of a Steve Austin kind of thing with the way he carried himself. Definitely was an eye catcher for me. I was keeping watch on that.
Alex Obert: Did you take something out of being in the ring with him during a promo?
Samuel Shaw: Absolutely. I also took a lot out of just sitting down with him and picking his brain. You’re handed a script every day with bullet points. It’s a loose script of what they want you to say. The dialogue they give you is never really what you or I would really say if we were in that position. Ken will look that thing over and then he has an idea of where the situation is going. I just observe him going out there, knowing what the script was, but I’d see him just cleverly put it in his own unique way. He would just feel it, just feel it out there. He can get it over organically. It made it so much easier for me. You get it crammed in your head that it’s such a TV business and you have to follow the script, hit this bullet point, hit that bullet point. You’re sitting there trying to read the script and memorize lines. That’s not what I grew up wanting to do! Being an actor is one thing, but when you’re in front of a crowd and you’re just trying to feel it and really get that emotion over to the crowd and to the TV viewers, just go over the bullet points and feel it, man. Know what you gotta hit out there and make it mean something. He really just drove that home for me.
Alex Obert: So the signature character for Samuel Shaw develops and at some point through all this, you grow a mustache. How was that set up?
Samuel Shaw: (laughs) Samuel Shaw, which is my real name, was a very clean cut, handsome young man. He’s always trying to exude that clean cut, American Psycho demeanor. I think the direction they were trying to go was “Well we’re done with the Christy Hemme thing, so now what? Okay, he finds solace in a friend, in a Gunner. Well Gunner has a beard, he has a mustache. Can Samuel grow a mustache? Can Samuel grow a beard?” I can’t grow it like Gunner, I’ll tell you that. But I can damn sure try. And it might actually be funny to see what it would look like if I tried to do it. (laughs) I’d never really given it a fair shot. It’s just so silly to me. I have blonde hair, you can’t even see it from five feet away. I think I got a text message from creative like “Hey, can you grow a beard? Hey, can you grow a mustache? Start doing that now.” And then I think like a month later, I show up to TV and they’re ready to shoot all this stuff. Everybody just looks at me like “…That’s it?” “Yuuuup…that’s all I can get in a month! I don’t know what to tell ya.” After the Gunner thing was phasing out, I talked to John Gaburick and asked, “Can I cut this facial hair? I just don’t really feel like it’s me, ya know? It’s not really the character. What can we do about it? I say if we keep anything, keep the mustache because it’s more like a Salvador Dali artist type thing.” And he was like, “Yeah, yeah! That’s a great idea. Let’s keep the mustache going.” That was fun to play with, but now it just seems like everybody has a mustache.
Alex Obert: You came in through Gut Check with a head of spiky hair, how did it all develop into your current hairstyle?
Samuel Shaw: The whole idea of the character, I just felt like he had to be very concerned with his look at all times. He can’t come in with messy hair. He can’t come in with the normal attire that a wrestler might wear. He’s very concerned with his body and he doesn’t want to be touched. He covers himself up a little bit. I think just having that slick hair really topped off that character. It’s almost like an aerodynamic feel to him. He’s very suave. I just feel like he had to have that. And it’s very American Psycho-ish too. There was an influence there and for some reason, I was always a huge Adam West fan. As Bruce Wayne in that Batman series from the sixties, he was just always so put together with his attire and his hair and his mannerisms. Everything was just full-on. I just tried to emulate that any way I could.
Alex Obert: A recent name that made the jump from TNA to NXT is of course, James Storm. What are your thoughts on that?
Samuel Shaw: I’m happy for James. I think every wrestler that comes up, even if they’re happy for a number of years in a TNA or a Ring of Honor or even Japan, I think everybody wonders if they could cut it at WWE. Like I said earlier, timing is everything. I think James just saw the perfect opportunity to jump in and see if he could make a difference there. He ended up getting a great reception. I think it’s great for him.
Alex Obert: And it’s a great validation that the crowd instantly recognized him when he came out.
Samuel Shaw: Absolutely. I definitely could see somebody like that coming in and having a strong performance, like a James Storm, like a Joe. It validates that these TNA guys, they’re actually really damn good. They’re coachable and they can adapt. It wasn’t a question of if Joe could adapt or James Storm could adapt, you just knew they would. But as far as looking at most of roster there, if opportunities were given to them, I think that for the most part, they would all perform well in the NXT environment. Or also the RAW or Smackdown environment for that matter.
Alex Obert: I recently saw on your Twitter that you’ve been conversing with Solomon Crowe, how did you get connected with him?
Samuel Shaw: I guess you could say we’ve known about each other for quite a while. I’m very aware of his great work on the independent scene. I know he did a lot of stuff with Evolve. I’m good friends with a guy down here in Jacksonville named Jon Davis. He was in Ring of Honor with Dark City Fight Club, a very talented tag team. He did a lot of stuff with Evolve. He works a lot of different opponents and Sami Callihan was one of them. It’s just a matter of mutual respect. I’m a fan first and foremost. I’m not trying to send out mixed signals or anything, I just like to converse with people I’m a fan of.
Alex Obert: You’ve been able to establish yourself not only as a talented wrestler, but a talented artist as well. What was the first example where you really displayed your talent and knew you had something special?
Samuel Shaw: My mother has told me that around the time that I was two or three years old, I was just watching Superman and Batman on TV. And I was also watching professional wrestling, watching Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior and those kind of guys. When the shows were over, it’s like, “Damn, I want more. Now what?” I’d ask my mother, “Hey, can you draw this for me?”She would start drawing a Hulk Hogan esque picture for me and I’d just be like, “That’s wrong! Do his yellow trunks right. Those aren’t what his boots look like.” She’d just handed me the paper and be like, “You do it then!” So that’s what I did. I just started drawing all these larger than life superheroes. I can remember pretty vividly going to the grocery store with my mom and just seeing the comic books and muscle magazines and things like that. They had Arnold on the front and Frank Zane and all those bodybuilders from the golden era. Just picking up one of those magazines, flipping through it and being like, “That’s how I wanna look one day. That just looks cool to me. That’s how my heroes look. That’s how Ultimate Warrior looks. That’s how Hulk Hogan looks. I want to look like that.” And I would just draw it all the time since I knew I was too young at the time to look like that. (laughs) I used it as a reference to draw and make my art stand out a little bit more than other kids my age.
Alex Obert: What are some of the most memorable commissions you’ve done?
Samuel Shaw: Oh man, I wish I could tell you what I’m working on for EC3 right now. (laughs) For the past few years around holidays, I do ornaments. Notwithstanding the hatred I have for Ken Anderson in the feud scenario, we do have some mutual respect for each other. He did ask me to do some ornaments with his family on them, his twins and his dog were the subjects. He put it over huge on Instagram. I’ve already been taking holiday orders and everything. I recently just got a bunch of emails from people that are interested in getting ornaments. It just started out as “Hey, I’m doing ornaments and I’m drawing your dog or your cat on an ornament for thirty bucks or something.” I couldn’t believe when two years ago, I was slammed for the twenty days before Christmas. Every night, I had six or seven ornaments to do. It just became like “Holy cow! If I started this earlier than twenty days out from Christmas, this could actually be lucrative.” Just this past year, it turned into people sending me their orders and it was like “Okay, here’s two dogs and I have to draw somebody’s grandma on one.” I didn’t even know how it was gonna go. I’m just so used to drawing dogs and cats on an ornament and now I have to draw a grandma. Then I drew someone’s kid and so now I’m doing people. It’s turned into that. But hey, gettin’ business. Business is good.
Alex Obert: So when you were a caricature artist, what did you draw people doing? Anything outrageous?
Samuel Shaw: One of the more fun things was when I worked Halloween Horror Nights. A couple sits down and they want to be drawn as zombies. That was always really fun and entertaining to do. I’d always get a crowd hovering around. If you’re doing a really good job, then two more people sit down and you have a busy night. Very fond memories of doing that at Halloween Horror Nights.
Alex Obert: I found out that you drew a match card for Impact Wrestling and really liked how it came out. How was that arranged?
Samuel Shaw: Magnus actually had that idea. He CC’d me in an email to John Gaburick. John got right back to me and was like, “Let’s do this!” I think it was unique. It was really cool to test the waters with that and have different match up screens like that. They were just seeing if that could be something that they’d go with in the long run. But there’s just so many changes going on there all the time, and it’s no disrespect to them because TNA gave me a launching pad for my career. I did a lot of cool things with them. I would never want to burn a bridge because I’m appreciative of everything I get in this business. The way I was taught was that this business doesn’t owe you anything, we owe it all to the business. I did that one shot of those match up screens and I think like a month later, I was released. I think there were some ideas to still maybe work with them and do some artwork for them. But who knows what’s going on with them, I think they’re focusing on different areas right now. Don’t know what’s going on with Destination America. But I’m good, I’m doing my ornaments! (laughs)
Alex Obert: Being in Jacksonville, have you been to Metro Diner?
Samuel Shaw: Yes.
Alex Obert: How do you feel about it? I used to go there during road trips and it always blew me away.
Samuel Shaw: What blows you away about it?
Alex Obert: Every meal that I’ve ever ordered has always been so good. I am convinced there is not a single bad choice on the menu. It’s just so good. Every time.
Samuel Shaw: (laughs) Which one did you go to?
Alex Obert: The one on Hendricks Avenue.
Samuel Shaw: That was the original one. And I think the Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives guy, they had a spot on his show where they were at Metro Diner. They have great food. Every time I go into that place, I walk out just smelling like the food. (laughs) That’s my only beef with them, but other than that, the food’s great. Absolutely. The pancakes are ginormous. Good stuff!
Alex Obert: What is your preferred eatery when traveling on the road for wrestling?
Samuel Shaw: It’s always like a hard thing to deal with in my brain, what I want to do for eating. I’m always eating really clean for the most part, especially the last six months. I’ve been on this really healthy six meal a day kind of thing. If I’m on the road, it’s tough. When I’m home, I get a lot of food from Whole Foods. Grass-fed beef and a lot of organic greens and stuff like that. Steel-cut oatmeal, sweet potatoes, it’s all natural stuff. When you’re on the road, you don’t really have that luxury all the time. You could pack your meals, but that it’s kind of a bitch to go through flying when taking that with you. I don’t know why this comes to mind, but if I need something quick, I’m not opposed to stopping at McDonald’s and getting a salad with the double chicken breast on it. I know it might be blasphemous, but that can constitute as a meal. I usually do some shakes on the road. You can always go to a Denny’s or an IHOP or even a Waffle House. You can get clean stuff there, it doesn’t always have to be the Philly Cheesesteak or greasy grilled cheese or something that. You can get a healthy omelet with greens in it and some chicken or something. When I was traveling with Gunner, we were always looking for an IHOP or a Cracker Barrel. Cracker Barrel has good coffee and their breakfast stuff is really good.
Alex Obert: You recently gave a shoutout to Ken Anderson’s podcast, Push the Button, on Twitter. How do you feel about that?
Samuel Shaw: Man, he had a really good episode recently with Vince Russo. It’s tough because I see the business, wrestling is changing so much. I don’t want to say it’s going in the direction that I don’t really like, but at the same time, I really feel like we’re getting away from what really attracted us to wrestling in the first place. Things like the larger than life characters. They touched on this subject a tremendous amount on this podcast. No matter how many people hate on Vince Russo, the guy was a part of a really, really strong period for wrestling. Guys were just killing it and the business was at an all-time peak. There was a reason for that. It didn’t really matter what they did wrestling-wise, it was because the crowd just felt a connection to these characters. Unfortunately at this point, the masses just don’t really watch wrestling anymore. And it sucks. It really sucks for me to say that. I’ll probably get a lot of heat for it, but whatever. You ask anybody, “Hey, do you watch wrestling?” And they’ll say, “No, I used to.” “Well why did you used to?” And then they always say, “Stone Cold was cool. So was The Rock. Those guys were awesome. I couldn’t tell you who’s there now.” It’s the same shit I hear everywhere I go. What’s it gonna take to get all these people back? I don’t have all the answers; I’m just speaking from the heart and what I’m feeling now. I’m not saying I was the be-all and end-all great character from TNA. I was there for what equates to a cup of coffee. (laughs) I really feel like I did something that I’m proud of. I really feel like I learned a lot about myself and I became more comfortable doing a promo in front of a crowd. For years, I was an indy wrestler. I had countless tryouts. Tryout, tryout, tryout. Just being told “You’re not getting signed right now.” It’s probably because they’re not really looking for indy guys right now. I don’t feel like I am an indy guy anymore, but I’m still not getting hired per se. The indy guys are really popular right now with the NXT vibe. They’re satisfying that niche. That’s all good. Sami Callihan, Rich Swann, Biff Busick, guys like that are finally getting some recognition on a WWE level. That to me is awesome. Having conversations with those guys in the past, I feel like they know why they got into wrestling and they can do a lot of cool stuff in the ring. But in the long run, I think they are all capable of being solid characters that people want to gravitate towards. I just think they need to find that and when it’s time to be on that main stage in front of the masses, they need to make that connection. We all do.
Alex Obert: Pretty interesting that you recently met Ken Jeong. Can you take readers through that?
Samuel Shaw: (laughs) So I went to Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia, that’s where I graduated. I went to school for illustration. All of my friends were film/video majors. They graduated with the skills to be a director, be a producer, anything related to that field. As soon as they graduated, they moved out to L.A. I try and get out to L.A. at least once a year. I wish I’d get out there more. There’s just so much opportunity out there and a lot of really cool things going on. I was just recently out there to visit them and one of my friends is dating a young lady who is a cast member on Dr. Ken. While I was in L.A., we went and hung out on the set. Man, I had a crazy conversation with Ken Jeong and he’s a huge wrestling fan. And I have forgot about it, but I guess years ago, he’d actually guest hosted on RAW with Jeremy Piven. He was actually kind of sad about it when he was telling me, he was like, “Man, I think I really blew it! I was such a huge wrestling fan and I was just there and I was such a fan. I was so excited and I just blew my spot, man. I just didn’t do what I was supposed to do. I think that they’ll probably never bring me back.” That’s a shame because he started telling me about how much of a Ric Flair and a Steamboat fan he was growing up. He grew up in Charlotte. Man, we just had a really cool conversation. My buddy was like, “Hey, let me get a picture with you and Ken!” Ken’s like, “You mind if I put a headlock on him?” So he put me in a headlock and we got that ridiculous, awesome picture. He was a really cool guy.
Alex Obert: Briefly getting into music, what might we find on your iPod?
Samuel Shaw: People might laugh at this, but I was always a rap fan from a very early age. More old school rap, the hardcore stuff. But you can only listen to that so much and you’re always trying to keep up with what’s going on now. I don’t really think the rap today is as good as it once was. But at the same time, I’m getting older. Isn’t that what they say? As you get older, the music isn’t as cool to you anymore. When you started listening to music, you thought stuff was cool, but the older people thought it sucked. I think that’s what’s going on now. I listen to a lot of Three 6 Mafia and Juicy J. I listen to some hard stuff like Rage Against the Machine, that always gets me amped up for the gym. I don’t know what it is, I just always gravitate towards the same music. Three 6 Mafia and Rage Against the Machine always comes up in my head as artists I like listening to.
Alex Obert: Before we wrap up, do you have any particular upcoming dates?
Samuel Shaw: I know I have a big show on December 19th. I have a few things going on before then. December 19th in Clarksville, Tennessee. A friend of mine, Crimson, he is running his second show. It’s called Tried -N- True Pro Wrestling. He’s got me, Madison Rayne, Chris Melendez, Bram. I think he drew close to a thousand people on his last show. That’s unheard of for this Clarksville area. He had the show on a Sunday night. He’s got a lot of great sponsors. This is gonna be a really huge show. Other than that, man, just trying to stay busy. Just grindin’. Open for opportunities here and there.
Alex Obert: Hope the show goes well. I’d love to thank you so much for your time and I wish you the best ahead.
Samuel Shaw: Appreciate that, man.