Interview with “Daredevil” Dane Griffin of IZW
by Drew Archer
“I see myself and Joe Herell as the purest of tag teams in the area.”
“Daredevil” Dane Griffin is back in IZW and making a huge splash as one half of Aerial Assault, the dynamic, energetic tag team catching the territory on fire and on the cusp of greatness as one of the top contenders in the ever-changing gauntlet that is the IZW Tag Team division.
For fans new to IZW, Griffin has already carved out a legacy in Oklahoma as one of the top grapplers in the region. Griffin was ranked by Oklafan’s Top 50 as the #1 Wrestler in back to back years covering 2008-2009 for his successful run through the area. A large amount of Griffin’s success came with Impact Zone Wrestling during that time period, including winning the Impact Division Championship back in 2009 and becoming Tag Team Champion as part of The Future Hall of Famers (with Shane Rawls) a year later in 2010. IZW fans will also remember the epic feud Griffin had as part of Revolution (with Seth Allen) when they battled against BLK-OUT (Jermaine Johnson and Montego Seeka).
But with all of Griffin’s past successes his mind is squarely focused on what lies ahead for him and his current tag team partner as they make a run at the IZW Tag Team Titles.
“My goal for the next iPPV [Violent Valentine on February 16] is to get one step closer to or even capture the IZW Tag Team Championship,” Griffin said.
For Griffin, he and Herell are kindred spirits and that plays a huge part in what they are able to accomplish in the ring against other teams. “We are not, for lack of better term, a ‘thrown together’ tag team. Not only are we a team on the show but real life friends at that. We broke in together, we had our first match together, train together at the gym, we go out to dinner and hang out with our wives on a regular basis, heck I was even his best man at his wedding. We haven’t achieved our goal at becoming IZW Tag Team Champions yet, but we will.”
Griffin and Herell’s friendship started off right at the beginning of both men’s careers.
“I trained at Prince Al Farat’s ‘Slam University’ along with Joe Herell and Montego Seeka. The trainers there were Al Farat and Thomas Trump. Michael Faith also made some ‘guest appearances’ as a trainer.”
It was a match in which the aforementioned Faith was a participant that set things in motion for Griffin, to transform from a fan into a pro wrestler. “I’ve always enjoyed wrestling while growing up. I was always a HUGE Macho Man fan as a kid. Even through my teenage years I was obsessed with wresting and pretty much wore nothing but wrestling tee shirts to school. One day I saw a flyer about a UWF wrestling show in Ardmore, Oklahoma that featured Buff Bagwell and I decided to go. The main event was Buff versus Michael Faith, a good entertaining match, the rest of the show sucked, except for Cody Jones versus Ryan Davidson. I remember saying that I could do better than most of these guys. At intermission they announced that they were starting a wrestling school, and that is where my journey began.”
With roughly six years of professional experience, Griffin has experienced firsthand the highs of being a professional wrestler while also dealing with the challenges that are a reality for 99% of pros today. “At this level there are many things that fans probably don’t think of when it comes to wrestling. At the Indy level most of us have full-time jobs as well as families. When we get injured at this level it doesn’t only keep us from wrestling but also our other jobs, which is the one that provides for our families. Having other jobs also makes scheduling some wrestling shows difficult or sometimes impossible,” Griffin continued.
Like most wrestlers on the Independent circuit, Griffin continues to pursue the big dream of being a full-time professional wrestler, with his sights set not only on WWE but taking his skillset across the world and performing in front of Japanese and Mexican crowds, where his well-rounded, hard hitting, high flying style would fit right in with those foreign promotions.
Fans of Oklahoma know all too well that watching Griffin wrestle is to expect the unexpected as you will get a different Dane Griffin match each and every time you pay your money to watch the “Daredevil” in action. One of Griffin’s trademarks is the fact that you never know how he is going to finish the bout. He uses a plethora of finishers that keep his opponents on their heels and the fans on the edge of their seats. “I have a few different finishers. The main one is called the K-9. It’s basically a sit down spine buster out of the fireman’s carry. Al Farat is actually the one that came up with it for me. I also like to use the Alabama slam, made famous by Hardcore Holly, and the crippler cross face, made famous by Chris Benoit,” Griffin remarked.
Griffin couldn’t have picked a better time to return to IZW as along with the deal struck back in 2011 with The GFL Combat Sports Network (GFL.tv) and more recently the nation’s leading cable provider, Comcast, IZW provides a platform that no other Independent wrestling company can touch. And for experienced grapplers like Griffin, this new exposure is sure to strengthen IZW’s broadcasts and build his own brand in a way that was never possible even two years ago. “IZW’s future looks very bright to me. It’s headed in the right direction. I haven’t been to a show where production value comes anywhere close to IZW. There are a lot of talented workers in the back and everyone from the workers, to the production guys, to the lovely ladies in concession, pull their own weight to make it the best fed around.”
The IZW Tag Team division has never been more exciting and Aerial Assault stands near the top of the pecking order. For Griffin and his tag team partner, Joe Herell, the sky is the limit for these two innovative wrestlers who form one of the blue chip teams in any wrestling organization on the planet.