FSW’s ‘Suntan Superman’ on the dynamics of indy wrestling, the ‘depressing’ politics of the pro wrestling business and his prediction for the winner of ‘Batman vs. Superman’
By Randy Jean
‘Suntan Superman.’ It’s a catchy name, but the man behind it, a former Fighting Spirit Wresting (FSW) Primero Champion, is far more intriguing when you take 30 minutes to sit down and speak with him.
Being a competitive pro wrestler for the better part of a decade has not only allowed him to master his craft, but also heightened his awareness of what is going on around him in the business he has chosen to making his living in.
From being a fan of The Golden Era of wrestling to being a trailblazer in the independent circuit, Suntan isn’t afraid to chase a childhood dream.
Two days removed from the FSW: “Men of Mayhem” live event, which streamed live on GFL.tv, Suntan addressed the state of pro wrestling today, the idea behind “Omega Black,” the role Santa clause played in creating his ring name and his thoughts on next year’s highly-anticipated silver screen release, ‘Batman vs. Superman.’
Randy Jean: Judging by the amount of excitement you bring into the ring day in and day out, I take it wrestling has always been a passion of yours?
Suntan Superman: Wrestling was always a passion of mine. Specifically, I’ll say it actually started when I was at the age of 14. Now this was basically towards the end of the Golden Age era in the WWF (WWE at the time). I also loved the Lucha Libre style that they were showing on TV, which I would always try to emulate at the parks growing up.
RJ: They actually have that new promotion going on called Lucha Underground, have you checked it out?
SS: Yeah man, it’s actually a pretty cool format. It’s actually nice that they getting that sort of platform. It still needs a little more though. Give it a couple more years to grow.
RJ: Wrestling is art within itself. Would fans benefit from it more if there were different genres of it? For example, could ROH (Ring of Honor) or even GFW (Global Force Wrestling) change the game if they were to capture the same level of mainstream attention as WWE?
SS: All depends on who’s willing to shell out the most dough. If you notice, WWE has now decided to cater to the independent crowd, while still doing things their way.
But you’re right. There are promotions out there that can use the limelight, which can benefit from being seen. What we do is an art and a lot of people tend to forget this, but it’s an art because it’s mainly subjective. There’s a definite skill set that’s needed to do what we do. You have a lot of ‘smarks,’ or smart marks, whatever you want to call them, who forget that this is an art that requires skill.
RJ: We actually should give props to WWE for adding more emphasis on that “Indy style” of wrestling.
Take NXT for example. It’s a WWE brand but it’s basically a different entity in itself that fans aren’t used to seeing from that the WWE. It’s great that they’re allowing their younger fanbase to ease themselves into that style of wrestling. Do you agree?
SS: No. Look, that is true. I watched it the other day on the WWE Network. All the lights and special effects it has are exhilarating. I was glued to the screen. It was so beautiful.
But I’m telling you, if they could have put that on the main roster, they wouldn’t have needed that. I don’t know if you remember this company, but TNA (Total Nonstop Action) had this concept called the ‘X Division,’ which almost rivaled ‘The Attitude Era.’
What they did was basically keep that concept of X and package it into an exclusive brand of it’s own. There’s so much more to the art that’s out there. I met this guy by the name of Mike Quackenbush who clued me in on various styles of wrestling and the technique. He basically told me there’s a lot more to be seen behind the WWE style thanmeets the eye.
It’s more tragedy and triumph that caters a lot to the old American principals. My teacher Joel Maximo came up with a style that I’ve yet been able to see (elsewhere) today. If you watch the old ROH material with the S.A.T/Maximo brothers, watch their style and go back to wrestling today. You’ll notice theirs is being utilized, or emulating WWE and mainstream television, which I love.
But in terms of business practices, what you clearly see is this move to intentionally trump any sort of competition. In other words, you’re going to make very hard for any other brand to potentially come up.
RJ: Within the promotions is there a lot of back stabbing going on? In a sense, are there people trying to be the top dog in the expense of others?
SS: In our business, the word ‘entertainment’ is sort of a taboo word you can say to a fellow wrestler. Essentially that’s all you’re going to be when there’s a lot of entertainers. You’re going to meet them in every corner. But when you’re trying to get ahead, there are certain principals you need to exhibit before you move up within any position in the business.
The Maximo brothers and Amazing Red – one of the main reasons why they didn’t make it to the Hall of Fame position like the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express was because their work ethic out shined the other guys on the roster, which they built up.
What these guys didn’t know was that you don’t want to do that in this business. When you have these old timers guys putting all of this light and shine on their people, you don’t want to become this phenomena unless you’re given the green light, and that’s just one (of the) depressing parts I’ve noticed about this business.
Imagine this, you come in wanting to be a wrestler. So you come in, train and work your ass off, and manage to out shine the other wrestlers. The promoter will do anything in his power to cut you down. This is just the old way of doing things. If you go into the WWE locker room and do more than what their guys are doing, they’ll just shut you down.
RJ: You’re right, some of the Indy wrestlers who come into the WWE like Daniel Bryan and the CM Punks of the world, come in with a huge fan base and once they start to get elevated the promoters retaliate by saying no, you come up when I say so.
SS: Exactly! I take it you watch a lot of the American Dragon, or Daniel Bryan as they call him now. His style is completely different to what it was in the Indies years ago. He’s clearly one of the best technical wrestlers who’s ever came up to the game. If you watch him now, you realize it’s a more watered down version in order to cater to the mainstream fans.
RJ: All right, let’s talk about the “Omega Black”. It was a stable with the names Greg Jones, Dashing D. Weatherford and Suntan Superman attached to it. Who created the group?
SS: “Omega Black” was the brainchild of Greg Jones and Joel Maximo. I wasn’t an original member there were four other individuals and I just came in to try to help them. They basically getting their asses handed to them almost every night.
That’s when I told Joel that he has got to put me in there and instead of being security for them; I basically became an enforcer and then eventually got into the ring. I love a good rumble and getting hit. I enjoy(expletive) like that. Sorry, excuse my French, ha-ha.
RJ: It tells a better story when you project it that way.
SS: Yeah, you’re right. I came in there to join the group thinking I was going to be some kind of equalizer but you know Greg he’s always got his head up his ass and I figured I should probably let it go and get the hell out of there.
They feel a certain type of way and I’m out there trying to have a real good fight. This is pro wrestling, not a beauty pageant contest. Just give me a fight. Put me in a corner with somebody and have them put their dukes up and lets rumble. That’s my thing.
RJ: Speaking of rumbles, what were your thoughts heading into the two on one Rumble in the Bronx match against your former comrades?
SS: Basically to sum it up, I wanted to kick their asses. I hopped on that bull and rode it. I punched and chopped all throughout the match. I did a lot of heaving and hoeing.
You got that little manager in Weatherford whose got all these bumps in bruises for always getting in the way a lot and you would think he’d learn his lesson by now, but nope so I had to let him know.
RJ: I’m sure fans are dying to know if we’ll ever see a rematch between you and Magma for the FSW Primero Championship?
SS: You see what I did rubbed Greg and Dashing the wrong way so they cost me the title. I really have no beef towards Magma, but I would love to get my chance against him again.
Unfortunately right now I can only focus on one thing right now, but I’m sure we’ll meet up again. He knows who I am; he’s felt the power before. I put the boots to him a couple times. So he knows whom the real meat and potatoes really is, I’m not worried.
RJ: So where did the name Suntan Superman come from? Did you come up with it?
SS: In 2002-03 I was at this bar called Santa’s Pub near Nashville, Tennessee, where they were filming TNA for their weekly PPV. After that show a bunch of the guys went to this bar, which was owned by this guy who was skinny but had this beard like Santa.
There was this wrestler name K-Quick (R-truth in WWE) and a bunch of other wrestlers who were coming in and out. So K-Quick and I got drunk and we were trying to mack on the bar tender. I was telling her how I was known as the son of Superman and so we were standing in the middle of the bar floor and the bar tender was trying to call Santa but instead yelled out “Suntan, Suntan” mind you she was a little drunk because we bought her a couple shots.
So I go up and told her I like that name and K-Quick was next to me and said he was going to also use that name in his song. I was always known as the son of superman because I am a big time mark for Superman; I love the guy’s philosophy and work. Suntan was basically created at a bar and on top of that, it’s a name that can easily roll of your tongue.
RJ: ‘Batman vs. Superman’ comes out next summer in theaters. Who’s going to win?
SS: I’m telling you Batman is the braniac in the DC universe. If there’s a rock, Batman will find it and put Superman down.
I got my money on Batman. I know Batman has all those gadgets and such, but it’s proven that Superman isn’t invincible. Both Braniac and Doomsday have proved it. Batman is one up against these guys. The movie will be an awesome picture, but I have to put my money on Batman.