Interview with IZW Superstar “High Risk” Joe Herell
by Drew Archer
“I see myself in IZW becoming a champion again. Hopefully, one day, even becoming Heavyweight Champion.”
“High Risk” Joe Herell has been a top hand in the Oklahoma and surrounding territory for years. Always known for his fast paced style, Herell is always a hot commodity for any organization to sign. Recently, Herell has found himself back in his old stomping grounds, inside an IZW ring. As one half of the tag team Aerial Assault, along with Dane Griffin, Herell has stormed into the division shaking up the status quo and giving fans from around the world another reason to tune into IZW every Saturday night on GFL.tv.
Along with the weekly platform provided by GFL.tv, Herell and all of the IZW Superstars can be viewed by 24 million households across the country on The Comcast Network and over half a dozen Comcast SportsNet regional networks. For Herell, his return to Impact Zone Wrestling and getting the chance to partner with Griffin couldn’t have come at a better time in his career.
“IZW…… What an amazing company. They have so much to offer for the wrestlers and most importantly for the fans. They have top notch talent and awesome storylines. And did I mention the production? This is the best fed that I have possibly been to. The wrestlers look like wrestlers and not dressed in gym shorts, church shoes and kickpads. That tells a lot about a fed when everyone has different characters, styles and gear. IZW having monthly iPPVs and airing on Comcast once a month is a huge deal because it allows for the wrestlers to be seen WORLDWIDE and that’s huge in this business. The more you promote yourself, the more you get booked in other places and the better chance you have to make it to WWE or TNA perhaps. In my opinion IZW is up there with TNA,” Herell said.
Herell, like most wrestlers working on the Independent scene, has had a long, grueling road to the top. But for Herell, he has always been able to count on something not every wrestler has, and that’s his natural athleticism.
“Well I grew up in Ardmore, Oklahoma and went to school at Dickson High School. As far as I can remember back, I have always been a fan of wrestling, but it’s not what I’ve always wanted to do. I started playing football in about the fifth grade and I played all through high school and I wanted to try and get a scholarship to play in college.”
As fate would have it, Herell caught the wrestling bug during his teens.
“Well come my senior year in high school, right before football season started, I went to a really big show here in Ardmore. The show had names like Scott Steiner, Buff Bagwell, Jeff Jarrett, R-Truth and a few others. That’s where I met my trainer Al Santos and he had told me that he was starting a wrestling school right here in Ardmore. After that show I got all of his info and the next day when I came up to help take the ring down I met the owner of IZW, Johnny Z. He asked how old I was and if this was something I would like to do and I think that’s when I decided that this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life and that’s how I got started in the business,” Herell remembered.
Herell put his years of blood, sweat and tears on the gridiron to good use as he transferred over his skillset into the squared circle as he hit his newfound passion with the same resolve that made him such a highly respected football player. “I started training right after football season so I was midway through my senior year. I trained with guys like Montego Seeka, Javi Hernandez, and my best friend and tag partner now, Dane Griffin. After about six months of training every day, I made my pro debut in March 2007.”
Since 2007, Herell has been progressing up the ranks of Independent wrestling and has incorporated his own personal family history and bloodlines into the equation along with his in ring work to help set himself apart from the crowd. “I do have a nickname it’s KY-OTE everybody calls me that. It was my debut name and I had that name for a good five years until I started to use my real name, Joe Herell. I came up with my finisher after watching one of my favorite luchadores from Mexico LA PARKA. He calls his the ‘lucha bomb front-flip power bomb pin combo’ but I was thinking of a clever way to rename it. I thought to myself well I’m Indian Chickasaw and so I started calling it the Chickasaw bomb.”
“My goals in pro wrestling are of course make it to the WWE or TNA. That’s pretty much everybody’s goal in wrestling. But I want to tour overseas and really get a lot of matches under my belt. I think experience is the key to make it and being successful in this business. Being an Indy wrestler really isn’t a walk in the park. It’s hard for most guys to be really successful do to having to manage your wrestling time, your job during the week, and families. It’s harder than people expect. I’ve dislocated my shoulder three times. And the following Monday, I had to be at my job. That makes it hard to fully recuperate,” Herell stated.
But with great sacrifice comes great reward. Herell’s work inside the ring has even taken him outside of the country where he has gotten a chance to rub shoulders with some of the sports all-time greats. “The highlight of my career is when I did a one month tour in Puerto Rico where I did shows with the Great Muta, Scott Hall even Eddie Colon who is now Primo in WWE. I wrestled three days a week for a month doing dark matches. It was a really good learning experience getting to talk to the old timers and legends like Carlos Colon,” Herell continued.
Longtime fans of Herell will know he is a two-time IZW World Tag Team Champion and will remember him in one of the hottest feuds in IZW history. “My most memorable feud would most likely be when I was feuding with Randy Price over the fact that I’m an Indian. He bribed me with firewater, a huge bottle of whiskey; we brawled in the parking lot, the locker room and finally ended the feud with an Indian Death Match which was my idea. It was a good feud and that match I think is pretty memorable for the IZW fans as well.”
As for what fans can look forward to in the present, Herell and his partner Griffin are close to reaching the pinnacle of tag team wrestling on the regional scene. They are only one or two wins away from having another crack at the IZW World Tag Team Titles.
“February 16 is Violent Valentine, two days after my birthday. Yes, my birthday is on Valentine’s Day. Aerial Assault is ready and whoever our opponents are, they better bring their A-game because we are ready to be back on top as a premier tag team in IZW.”
Herell has always been a fan favorite and that feeling is reciprocated by “High Risk”.
“I just have to say to all the fans of IZW thank you for all of your support. I promise Aerial Assault will keep doing what we are doing. And remember when Aerial Assault is in the arena the ASSAULT STARTS NOW!!!!!”