Saturday, August 27, 2011

Exclusive Interview with Former TNA Talent, Shark Boy (June 2011)

This is an interview I just conducted with one of my favorite TNA Originals of all time, Shark Boy. Dean Roll, played the role of Shark Boy and captured the imagination of the TNA fans for years. From the inception of TNA until his untimely release this past March, whether known to the fans as the lovable loser or “Shark Boy 24/7,” he always entertained any crowd he was put in front of. I hope you enjoy this interview…


Rallo:  First off Mr. Dean Roll (Shark Boy), I would like to thank you for taking the time for this interview. Over the years, you have been one of my favorite Superstars to watch on Impact. The first question is, how did it all begin? When and why did you even want to be a part of this profession?

Shark Boy: My earliest wrestling memory was tuning in to the WWF episode where “Rowdy” Roddy Piper blasted Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka with the coconut when I was about 10 or 11 years old.  For some reason, I had never been so fascinated by anything in my life.  I was hooked and almost immediately started telling people that someday I was going to be a professional wrestler.



Rallo: What started your aspirations to become a professional wrestling and how did you get your first big break? Did you have a mentor or inspiration that guided you along the way? Where there any doubters or naysayers that held you career back? How did you overcome the obstacles of being a young independent talent?

Shark Boy: My first big break came when I met wrestling trainer Les Thatcher at an independent show in northern Kentucky when I was 20 years old.  He invited me to visit his training center and became my mentor for the first several years of my career.  Plenty of people doubted me along the way, mainly because of my lack of size in a “big man’s” profession, but I found a way to use my brains and creativity to overcome my physical limitations.

Rallo: This is one of the questions I’ve really always wanted to ask you….How did “Shark Boy” come to be? The gimmick is certainly one that was very unique and it also helped you connect with every crowd you performed in front of. Who came up with it? Did you personally come up with the idea or was there somebody else who nudged you to do it?

Shark Boy: The idea for the character was originally inspired by the Toadies song “I Come from the Water”.  I heard the song and immediately started picturing a “superhero”-type wrestler who rose from the ocean to battle the wrestling bad guys.  I started out as El Piranha, but when I went to work for Ian Rotten’s IWA Mid-South promotion in 1997, he suggested that I change the piranha to a shark.  Thus, Shark Boy was born.

Rallo: When signing with TNA Wrestling, from day one you were a fan favorite amongst the Impact Zone and the Asylum. What are your feelings on the earlier days in TNA? Any favorite thoughts or memories upon arrival that really made you think this was the perfect company for you? Any memories you’d like to share that really stood out from this earlier time?

Shark Boy: Being a part of the early days of TNA was really exciting.  It was the first national alternative to WWE since their purchase and dismantling of WCW, and plenty of people thought it was just what the industry needed to spark some major interest in wrestling again.  One of my fondest memories was when I did the vignettes with New Jack.  The contrast in our characters made for some really fun clips of us playing board games and goofing around with “Hulk Hands”, etc.  It’s great for me to go back and watch those vignettes on Youtube and think about how much fun they were to shoot.

Rallo: As time went by in TNA, many changes occurred amongst the character direction of some of the talent, including yourself. A few years ago, your character that was loved by many was altered into a “Stone Cold” Steve Austin parody gimmick. I, for one found this gimmick very entertaining…but I also thought it was the last of any chances to see you being higher in the ranks of the TNA mid card. What were your thoughts of the Austin gimmick and how did it come to be?

Shark Boy: I have been doing a Steve Austin impression since the days when he and The Rock were first on top of the wrestling world.  Austin is one of my all-time favorite performers and truly one of the greatest entertainers in the history of the business.  One day at a TNA taping, my good friend Simon Diamond had me do the impression for Jeff Jarrett and he loved it.  He told me I was going to do it on TV and a few weeks later it came to pass.  I owe “Stone Cold” Steve Austin a huge “thank you” for actually complimenting the impression and wishing me the best of luck in my career.  He is a class act all the way.

Rallo: After the “Austin awakening” scene in TNA, you did receive a very moderate push from then on for the next few months. On top of that you were part of the “Prince Justice Brotherhood” alongside Curry Man and Eric Young as well. The TNA crowd, much like they did since you arrived was very intrigued and favorable of you. However, when your initial push back then ended, you were basically off television for the next few years. Any thoughts on that push coming to an end? Do you think you could have been more of an asset?

Shark Boy: Curry Man, Super Eric, and I took that ball and ran with it as far as we could.  The thing was really starting to catch on and I was told we sold a lot of t-shirts.  The reality is there is only so much you can do with two hours of TV time a week, and it wasn’t long before the company decided to scrap the Prince Justice Brotherhood altogether.  I believe there was a ton more we could have done with the characters.

Rallo: This past year, you were released by your TNA contract and you were one of the originals of TNA who, much like other talent from the start were underused and underutilized. You were very over with the crowd and a very solid in ring talent. Can you tell us what happened in the Hogan/Bischoff era that led to your release? How did Hogan and Bischoff differ from your previous era in TNA?

Shark Boy: I never really got to be around Hogan or Bischoff that much.  I had basically already been put on the shelf when they arrived in TNA.  Right before my release this past March, I pitched every idea I could think of to the “creative” element of TNA and was told there just wasn’t enough TV time for me to be a featured character.  I asked for my release shortly thereafter.

Rallo: Now that your time in TNA has ended, what have you been up to since? Any future aspirations you’d like to do? Goals? What is going on and what is in the future for Shark Boy?

Shark Boy: Things are completely up in the air for me at this point.  I’ve been keeping busy on the independent circuit and spending as much time with my 10-year-old son as possible.  What the future holds for me is still a mystery.  Fans can keep up with me at www.SharkBoy.net to find out how the next chapter of my career will unfold.

Rallo: These last few questions I wanted to ask your opinion on the professional wrestling industry today in general. In your opinion, what do you think of the cruiser weight division wrestlers in the industry. In WWE and even TNA today, the light heavyweight talent have really been pushed aside to the point where the X Division title is given to almost anyone every month and the Cruiserweight Championship no longer exists. As a smaller wrestler yourself, do you agree witht his call from a business standpoint? What are your thoughts?
Shark Boy: I think it’s the “nature of the beast” in professional wrestling for the bigger wrestlers to be featured over the smaller ones.  It’s just sort of always been that way.  It would be great to see what would happen if smaller wrestlers were given a chance to shine more at the main event level.

Rallo: For my last question, I’d like to ask what your thoughts are on your career in total. Do you have any regrets for your career in general. What has been your favorite and least favorite moment? Any last words as for what is next and anything to say to anyone who has dreams of becoming a professional wrestler?
 
 Shark Boy: I don’t regret a moment of my career and I wouldn’t change a thing.  It’s been a wild, fun ride and a dream come true.  Anyone who thinks they might want to give pro wrestling a try can contact me about my “Shark Tank” program through my website at www.SharkBoy.net.  In closing, I would just like to take this opportunity to thank the fans for being so incredibly supportive of me over the past 14 years.  Without them, I wouldn’t have been able to live my dream.  Shell Yeah!

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