Published on May 24th, 2006 | by Kinko P. Douglas0
The Ox Interview
All that about to change. I was about to enter the home of the Ox to talk about the newest event in Australian wrestling. A night of hard knocks and hard rock – Wrestlerock.
A few minutes after being greeted inside, I feel very comfortable and relaxed as I sense The Ox does not feel threatened by my presence in his territory. Or by my questions. I was relieved to find he was actually a very hospitable and friendly guy. Outside of the ring, of course.
He is also a well known and much loved legend in St Kilda, particularly for his firm but fair manner as a former bouncer at the Prince of Wales.
The Ox has seen them come and go throughout his wrestling career. He is the embodiment of the true survivor in an incredibly tough field. And I mean tough.
It is widely believed that modern wrestling is mock wrestling. Fake moves, fake injuries and a lot of fake chairs. In the case of popular American wrestling, this is largely true. But a quick flip through The Ox’s medical history will alert you to the fact that here in Australia, this is definitely not the case.
“In 10 years I’ve busted my collar bone, busted 6 ribs on my left side, 5 ribs on my right. I’ve had paralysis twice, I’ve prolapsed my back 5 times…tore my sacrum which is the muscle that holds your hips and your belly, I tore my sciatic nerve, broken my left leg, broken my right foot, dislocated my ankles, popped my knees, broken my nose, broken my right wrist, broken my left fingers. And I’ve done a lot of fighting, as in martial arts combat fighting…but wrestling has been the one that’s nearly killed me.”
It’s all in a day’s work for your above average Australian wrestler. But why suffer the pain when the widely held belief about wrestling is that none of it’s for real?
“Well these days, Kinko it’s like, people know that. Y’know? People know that about (American) wrestling. But they know that the Australian wrestling is hardcore. They know that we give it 150%… the egotistical maniacs come out…like The Ox. As soon as I put my suit on, I’ll jump off a building. Not a problem. But in civvy’s, no way. No way, mate! You want me to jump off the house? No way! But put my Ox gear on, mate I’d do a backflip off it.”
The poster says it’s going to be “A night of hard knocks and hard rock”. How is this all going to come together in one event?
“Well the guys have got great wrestlers on the cards for the night (Stephan Cool, Blade, Daniel Swagger, Trikki D, Julian James, Sebastian Walker, Bulldog) A lot of these guys are experienced wrestlers. So you’re gonna get great matches. You’ll get guys who are just gonna throw themselves and put their body on the line for that night, ‘Cos when something new hits town it’s like, give it all. 150%.”
I’ve seen the Wrestlerock press conference footage taken at The Green Room. Now, basically what happened there was it descended into absolute chaos. It that a common part of wrestling?
“Look, if you play with amateurs you get amateur stuff. But if you play with professionals, like myself, you get professionalism. So, there’s a do and a don’t in wrestling.”
Ok, that brings me to the topic of some of the other wrestlers appearing at Wrestlerock. Can you tell me anything about some of the competitors that will be there?
“Well, y’know. As far as I know I’m getting a lifetime achievement award and ah, the thing is you don’t trust anyone in wrestling. I’ve heard rumours, just whispers of what people have been saying, Sebastian Walker or something…and this ah, Canadian Bulldog bloke. Look, The Ox never travels to any wrestling gig without his boots. So I’m just bringing my boots. Just in case. I wanna get this lifetime achievement award, I reckon that’ll be great but, I don’t wanna wrestle.”
‘The Wrestlerock Lifetime Achievement Award For Excellence In The Field Of Sports And Entertainment’ is just one of the many awards you have received. How do you feel about being given this honour on Friday?
“I’ve won a lot of awards but this is great because at least now I’ve got something to look back on and say “Hey, I’m glad I’ve done something for the sport.” I’ve been involved in it for 10 years so, to get a lifetime achievement award will do more for wrestling… I want to be involved in Wrestlerock as well and I’m happy that these guys have acknowledged one of the best wrestlers in Australia, if not the best wrestler. And I have been Australia’s number one wrestler on numerous occasions. The Ox Rocks. The Fans will know that…”
It seems to be the dream for organisers of Wrestlerock to see a return to the renaissance-era of Australian wrestling, when big men leapt from the ropes and sailed through the air in graceful tribute to the sport, to the fans and to pummelling the other guys heads. Rarely do we get the opportunity to witness such a potentially chaotic spectacle in Melbourne.
Wrestlerock is at the Corner Hotel Friday 26 May. Tickets on sale now at the Corner Hotel box office ($12+bf) or $15 on the door.