A brand-new Conversations With Love is LIVE!
Today, I have the privilege of chatting with an Albertan wrestling legend, TJ Wilson! Tune in as we chat with the former Tyson Kidd about his time wrestling in the Great White North and beyond, including:
- How he’s managing through the COVID-19 pandemic
- His role as a producer and what it entails
- Breaking in with his home-town promotion, Stampede Wrestling
- Being part of such a talented group of wrestlers in Alberta at the time
- What he saw in Michael Richard Blais and Brandon Van Danielson
- How much of an opportunity he gets to keep up with Alberta’s wrestling scene
- Maximizing his role as a trainer without physically being able to perform
- His training with Tokyo Joe
- Working with Ross and Bruce Hart
- Getting stretched by Stu Hart
- His memories of the Matrats promotion
- Working with both Matrats and Stampede simultaneously
- Winning the Stampede Wrestling Championship at McMahon Stadium
- The differences in working with the Hart Dynasty versus working with Cesaro
- His feelings on professional wrestling being called “fake”
- If he’s been inspired to get tested after the recent return of Edge.
Conversations With Love is proudly brought to you by Beercade YEG.
Conversations With Love 76: A Conversation With TJ Wilson
On breaking in with his home-town promotion, Stampede Wrestling:
TJ: “That’s exactly it. That’s exactly it. It was very interesting that - so, I loved wrestling. I really liked wrestling, I’ll take that back, I really liked wrestling when I was a young kid, but I was not - my cousin showed it to me, and then I wanted to emulate some of the moves on my sisters, and then wrestling got banned in my house at a very young age. Fast forward a few years, and I go to school with Teddy Hart, and we were in the same class. He kept inviting me over to his house, which he called a gym, and when you’re a kid, the only gym you really know of is like a gymnasium where you play sports in school. So, finally, I give in and say ‘okay, I’ll come over,’ and I go to his house and he lived in a - his dad owned a gym, BJ’s Gym. He lived, the family lived in (the) quarters above the gym. So, he lived in a workout gym, which was mind-blowing to see at that age. Next thing you know, I’m going up to Stu’s (Hart’s) for Sunday dinner, and here’s Bret Hart, and here’s Owen Hart, and here’s Davey Boy (Smith), and here’s Jim Neidhart. It’s like ‘wha - what? I see these guys on TV, what’s going on?’ I just became engulfed in all aspects of it, in wrestling and in the Hart Family.
TJ: “I mean, to wrestle in Stampede, and especially that one year that Stampede Wrestling was back on TV in ’99-2000, that was such a cool thing because Stampede had gone off the air in ’89, and now here we were ten years later in ’99 restarting Stampede Wrestling TV. Things like that were very, very cool milestones in my career.”
How much he keeps up with the Albertan wrestling scene:
TJ: “A little bit, here and there. I mostly find out - I’m in contact with MRB daily, so he kind of keeps me up-to-date on his end of things. Otherwise, y’know, I still have a lot of friends there, obviously, and I find out little things here-and-there, but I don’t keep up with it as much as obviously I would like to be able to in terms of kind of knowing.”
TJ: “When I did the PWA, when I was at that Anniversary show, it was really cool. It was a lot of people I’d maybe seen but hadn’t met, or I’d just kind of like glanced across maybe something online, so it was cool to actually meet them and then watch their work. It was cool to kind of put a name to the face of a bunch of people.”
His feelings on professional wrestling being called fake:
TJ: “I mean - so, predetermined is not some secret. It’s not letting the cat out of the bag, it’s long out. I’m not obviously - I’ve never in a match purposely tried to injure somebody, hurt somebody. I want - my job and my goal is to - there’s many. I want to entertain the audience. I want the people to get their money’s worth. And, I also want to come back, and my opponent (to) come back to guerrilla in the exact same shape we left in. We’re just going to be more blown up, we’re just gonna be tired, and that’s it. In terms of that word, I get it. I get why people use it. I - there’s some ignorance to it, and I get it. Wrestling is not for everybody. So, someone who says that, obviously wrestling is not their thing, that’s fine. I’m a giant UFC fan. Huge. I watch UFC all the time. People get very funny - it’s almost like, which is big right now because of this Last Dance documentary, it’s like Jordan versus LeBron. Just because - if you think one guy’s better than the other, you’re not actually - that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re insulting the other. If I’m a fan of UFC, I can also love wrestling the way I’ve loved wrestling my whole life. You don’t have to pick one or the other, and I think people get defensive and that’s when they start throwing those kind of words around, which is, y’know, it is what it is. I’ve had people say it to me, not meaning it in an insulting way. They just say it like ‘oh, but that stuff’s, like, fake, right?’ And, it’s like -“
SL: ‘Not particularly’
TJ: “But like, it depends, like, yeah - again, I’ve never really tried to piledrive somebody, but at the same time, I have rods and screws in my neck, and they’re really there!”
TJ: “A lot of times, it’s just kind of ignorance, and not always hate. Sometimes, it is trying to be hateful, so that person that’s saying it out of hate, they just - they don’t matter, to be honest. No matter what you say, you’re not gonna change their minds, so it doesn’t matter.”
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