Saturday, September 10, 2011

NexGen Interviews: A Very In Depth Talk with Longtime Indy Veteran, Damian Dragon

 All over the world, there are many wrestlers who have unlimited talent, who never receive quite the amount of exposure, they deserve. One of those men, Damian Dragon. Being a 15+ year veteran all over the Indy wrestling scene, Dragon brings a unique in ring style that never disappoints his viewing public. Dragon is a decorated champion and is a current reigning tag team champion, in, Fusion DS. 

Recently, I was able to talk to Mr. Dragon on a variety of topics. Dragon made sure to express all his feelings in this very in depth conversation. He talks about independent wrestlers in the PWI, tag team wrestling, and so much more. Whether you know of him and his underrated legacy or you are reading of him for the first time, you will not regret reading this interview. Dragon is a very entertaining star with much to look back on and smile about. Once again, I hope you enjoy this interview as much as myself and Damian did!
Rallo: First off, I'd like to thank you for taking the time to conduct this interview. My first question is, how did it all begin from, Damian Dragon? Could you give us some insight as to who introduced you to wrestling? Who were your biggest influences in and outside of the ring? Who were your biggest supporters in life to pursue this career and at what moment did you believe that this was the right career choice for you? Did your family support this or was this a dream your pursued on your own?

Dragon: Actually no one introduced me to it. I was up late one night and turned on channel 9 on a late night and caught what was then WWF. I’d say I was about 7 or 8 years old at the time. I’d never scene anything like it before but I was instantly hooked. After that night I watched it wrestling more religiously than 3 o’clock kung-fu theater on channel 5. Looked in the old TV Guide and found 11am NWA on channel 11, WWF at 12pm & 1am on channel
9, as well as the monthly airing of Saturday Night’s Main event on channel 4. If it was on I was watching! Before it evolved to the ungodly antics of backyard wrestling, I would play wrestle outside (and get yelled at for it from my father) and be told I was not going to ever be a wrestler (boy was my he wrong..lol)

 
My first influences were two wrestlers I watched that very first night. One was The Dynamite Kid of The British Bulldogs. In comparison, height alone he was smaller than everyone else and I was a small kid. The other was Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat. From the martial arts, the way he moved, Steamboat was it for me! I was never a Hulkamaniac. As time went on & I started learning how to wrestle, I learned there was a much larger world to wrestling. So I got hooked into Lucha Libre, Japanese, I discovered ECW which changed our business tremendously. From that I found so many more influences that I’d be here forever listing!
I was 19 when I decided to look into wrestling training & I told my father. He was NOT happy about it. Actually, we had a big blow-out argument about it! So I took all the money I made from my job at the time, asked him & everyone else just for money for Christmas, pooled it all together to pay for my training. On my first day of training I was at the school opening until closing (10am-9pm). I was so sore & went back the NEXT day! Despite the pain I felt so at home in the ring & knew then it was for me.

Rallo: Moving on, I'd like to ask where who initially trained and who were your primary mentors? What moments and lessons taught in your training do you feel were the most significant and also, I'd love to hear your story on how you decided your wrestling style. Known as, "Simply the Best," Damian Dragon, how do you feel you are unique in the ring? Who were some of your influences on your high flying and technical style? Also, what had inspired you to use the, "Ace in the Hole" and the, "Phoenix Elbow" as your primary finishing maneuvers. 
 
Dragon: I began my training in December of 1996 at WWE Hall Of Famer’s “The Unpredictable” Johnny Rodz’ wrestling school in Brooklyn, NY. While there other than Johnny I was trained by ECW’s Angel of Da Baldies as well as Big Vito who has been every where there is to be. They never took it easy and very tough on me! I couldn’t be more grateful for it all. Over the years I sought out additional training. So I trained with Dory Funk Jr. in Florida, got a ton of psychology and character development work from ECW’s Simon Diamond. In addition trained with Les Thatcher and my idol Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat. They were all significant in molding my work in so many ways.
My style is definitely a hybrid style of martial arts (I trained and taught karate for many years prior to wrestling), heavy psychology based, suplexes, technical, lucha, strikes and aerial. Since I am a smaller wrestler it is expected for me to be a crazy highflyer-and I’m not. Not being the biggest also meant huge power moves outside of suplexes was out. So I needed a way to stand out despite my size. So the choice to train and create such a style was more a necessity if I was ever going to last. My style actually has benefited me as I never imagined. On first sight I am classified as a cruiserweight. But once promoters/bookers watch me I tend to get bumped up to the main division cause they see I can actually thrive there as well. I tend to be a chameleon being able to adapt the situation or style needed. It seems to have paid off I guess…lol
What I feel makes me unique is that I don’t just rely on my in-ring moves. I bring a lot of who I am to the ring. I’m goofy and generally like to have a good time no matter where I am. So I project that in the ring which I feel people identify with. As for “Simply The Best”, that is my alter-ego. He is that extremely sarcastic a-hole side of me just really turned up…lol In my home we speak of “Simply The Best” as it was another person cause it is such a stretch from me. He is arrogant, brash, cocky and lives a lifestyle I WISH I had. Which is funny because people love to hate that persona of me so much that oddly enough more times than not, “Simply The Best” becomes a fan favorite anyway…lol To me you have to know everything about your gimmick to make it believable to fans. You need to know where he was born, what his interest are, how he lives. It gives you a reality based reference to work off of so your gimmick doesn’t look phoney. The more real this “person” is to you, the better it comes across to the fans and they believe in this gimmick. The most successful wrestlers are either the ones that are just working off the extension of who they are OR an channeling the person they wish they could be. That is how I Damian Dragon comes to the ring-as real as I am taking part in this interview.
The influences to my style were wrestlers like The Dynamite Kid, Jushin Lyger, Dean Malenko, god rest his soul Eddie Guerrero, (though it seems taboo to say his name now) Chris Benoit, Keiji Mutoh, Shawn Michaels and Jerry Lynn. Again all (with the exception of Mutoh who is HUGE) smaller guys that broke the barriers of their division based on their work and over coming the limitations of their height and size.
The inspiration for the “Ace In The Hole” is because I love mat work and technical wrestling and I love MMA. I noticed outside of mainstream wrestling (and even there it has become rare) you do not see a lot if any submission finishers anymore. I knew it was an opportunity to showcase my abilities as a mat wrestler as well as make me stand out. The “Pheonix Elbow” is actually spelled the way it is and dedicated to my number 1 fan-my oldest son. Actually it was something I had been doing for years prior to as a finisher. I merged the style and finesse of the way Shawn Michaels delivered his, with the height and impact Perry Saturn & Big Vito did. I use to just use it to showcase a really high jumping yet impact move. But it looked so nice and forceful I was told by many veterans like 2 Cold Scorpio, Big Vito, amongst others it had to be a finisher. So I heeded the advice and now it is a staple in my finishing arsenal.

Rallo: Looking back on your years past as a wrestler, there is no doubt that you have had a decorated past. From your feuds with Jason Kross in Warriors of Wrestling to your matches with Steve Corino and Ricky Reyes, there is no doubt you have left your mark on Professional Wrestling. What do you feel your favorite moment of your career has been thus far? You are very decorated in terms of accolades, holding the, WOW World title on two occasions, as well as tag team titles here and there. Can you tell us of which experience you feel defines your career as well as what you feel your best match in your career has been to date, in your opinion? It seems as though, you never have a bad performance or an off day, which is more than impressive. 
Dragon: WOW! I know this is a huge side track, but I’ve heard that time to time from people in and out of the wrestling. I don’t honestly think I am anyone important, influential, or will remotely be remembered when my time is done in pro-wrestling. I’ve been blessed to do Ring Of Honor, worked high level talent & in a tag team that has been doing things I never fathomed possible. But in comparison to guys I am fortunate to be friends with, admire and respect like Low-Ki, Steve Corino, Jerry Lynn, Ricky Reyes, The Briscoes, Jay Lethal, Amazing Red and on and on and on, I never worked WWE or TNA. I never toured to wrestle in Mexico, Japan or Europe. So it leaves me to feel I am really no one special in wrestling that is not thought of as even a blip none the less to be remembered…lol But to you and those that tell me the same, I can only feel so honored and humbled by that feeling.
As for my favorite moment? Personally, being blessed to work in the “Madhouse Of Extreme” The Elks Lodge on Queens Blvd for year. Getting to work with my now retired wife, Foxy Foxxy (aka Foxxy Dreams) was such a great time & we enjoyed moderate success as “Disturbed Dreams”. Being the ONLY wrestler in WOW to be “streamered” at an event was so surreal. An experience I NEVER imagined happening anywhere! Cause that is such a huge sign of respect from the fans and your peers for your work in the ring. Defeating Steve Corino on my birthday for my FIRST WOW & main title in any promotion was huge. Having my son oldest son there when I captured my 2nd WOW Championship, celebrating with him in the ring was so emotional. This entire ride with Fusion D.S. has been amazing and emotional. But if I had to round it out to a singular match, that is really a tough question cause there are so many guys I have gotten to wrestle that are top of my list as favorites-hence me loving those matches. Guys like Steve Corino, ECWA Champion Papadon, Jay Lethal, The Midnight Sensations, Ricky Reyes, Dave Greco, Reckless Youth, Jason Kross amongst others have brought out the best in me to only make me better. So it honestly is hard to pick one singular match as the BEST in my career thus far.
Never had a bad performance or off day? Definitely too kind my friend..lol Lord knows I’ve had them. We are always our own worst critics, but it seems I at least cover them up well….lol

Rallo: Nowadays, you are known to be part of the team, Fusion DS, with, Matt Saigon and reign as the current ECWA/TWA Tag Team Champions. Could you tell those who do not know, how and when you guys decided to pair up and make this tag team? Also, could I get your feelings on tag team wrestling as a whole and whether you believe it to be something used to get one guy over or it actually can serve as the attraction it once was in the older days of WWE or even TNA, who had a very unique tag division not too long ago? What makes Fusion DS special and do you ever feel as though you'd like to take this tag team to a promotion such as Ring of Honor, where some of the world's best are found? Feuds with teams such as All Night Express, WGTT, and others would certainly make great matches with you two. Thoughts? Would you consider a return? 
 
Dragon: The pairing of Saigon & I was one that just kind of happened and was never planned. We were familiar with each other from TWA, even faced each other. We later debuted in ECWA at the same time. Our second night there we were booked to team with each other. Though we didn’t get the win there was an instant chemistry. So the following TWA show rolled around and the then TWA Tag Team Champions The Best Around were set to defend their titles against Team Macktion. There were some travel issues for them that day. Saigon & I were set to face off again in a 5 way match. But management came into the locker room looking around for opponents to face The Best Around. Saigon & I looked at each other and just stepped up requesting the chance to face them. We knew going in we were the huge underdogs against a great established team like TBA. Turns out the chance paid off as we shocked TBA, the fans and ourselves getting the win and the TWA tag titles. A month or so later lightning struck twice when we faced The Midnight Sensations for the vacant ECWA tag titles, becoming the first recognized ECWA/TWA Unified Tag Team Champions.
Tag Team wrestling is absolutely essential to pro-wrestling! It has been known to be used as a tool to elevate a single member of the team. But look at all the great teams that left their mark. Those that went on to singles success still had huge success in their respective tag teams prior to breaking out. From The British Bulldogs, Hart Foundation and The Rockers. The list of teams that never split or at least not a substantial one are just eternal like The Road Warriors & The Rock N Roll Express. Tag Team wrestling is a dynamic that needs to be ever present in wrestling & I wish mainstream companies realized it.
The amount of press Fusion D.S. has been getting from PWI, ECWA management and fans has been incredible. We’ve been asked to do Signamania VII which was so unexpected. We’ve found we have something special with this team. That being that we come from common paths of our careers. Always promised something never to get it, always getting the rug pulled from you to get that chance to really breakout and shine. Pushing passed your own personal doubts when you want to give it up (and trust me individually prior to this team we BOTH considered and came close to walking away). This team really changed Matt & I’s perspective on our careers. We rejuvenated each other’s fire to keep striving. To “Believe” has really become more than our motto. But our whole philosophy on this team. In all this personal emotion fueling us, it made us look at this team as an opportunity to do what we really want in wrestling. The benefit is having a guy like a brother next to you-and that is what I whole heartedly consider Matt now. So we’ve said let’s take this team and shoot for all we can. Hence the name and making the team much more serious and away from a make-shift team. We’re going to really start fleshing out WHO we are into the team and the image/persona we want to project. We’ve decided on a new theme and getting tag team gear. Fusion D.S. wants to take this team as far as it can go-and we hope it is very far! That includes taking a chance and seeking opportunities at EVOLVE, Pro-Wrestling Guerrilla and Ring Of Honor. If we can get a chance for any of those promotions is something we really are striving for to legitimize our team.
I would return to Ring of Honor in the blink of an eye if they’d have me. But if so, I’d definitely want to do it with Matt Saigon. That is a huge goal right now, for Fusion D.S. to make it (if for only one night) to Ring of Honor. It would be an ultimate high for us and we welcome a chance to face any of those great teams you mentioned. All the teams in ROH are incredible and I honestly feel no other promotion has the quality or level of competition for a tag team division like ROH. So that is the place we DEFINITELY want to be and NEED to be to be considered amongst one of the best tag teams. That is something we absolutely want out of Fusion D.S.-to be considered a top caliber team in wrestling. The higher the level of competition can only make us grow and a better team. ROH to me, is the ONLY place to achieve this & where we want to do it. Speaking personally, my two dream matches for Fusion D.S. would be against The Briscoes & part time ROH roster members The Motor City Machine Guns. I am lucky to know Mark & Jay personally for years. But there is no question they are one of the highest levels of teams I have ALWAYS admired. I know Fusion D.S. would be in for the fight of our careers as a team. No one would give us a chance to win. But in the end it isn’t so much about the win, as it is having a great team like The Briscoes bring out the absolute best in us. They’re both so agile, but physically dominating. We’d have no choice but to push ourselves and try to match that. The other team I’d love to face is The Motor City Machine Guns. For similar yet different reasons. Briscoes would bring out the toughness in us. But MCMG would bring out the best in our cohesiveness as a team. The ability to match tag team specialty against probably the very best at it today in The Machine Guns. They’re so fast, quick, compliment each other’s styles and work together as a unit incredibly. Hopefully one day we’ll get a chance to live those dream matches! (hint, hint, wink, wink, ECWA….lol) If you want to be one of the best, the only way to do that is face those that are better than you. As I said, I KNOW no one would give us a chance to win against either team-not that win would be bad for us. Then again, look what we’ve done as underdogs when given no chance to win…lol

Rallo: Now something I've noticed about you is your skill at artwork. You were most notably using your skills in art as a fundraiser for new tag team gear for, Fusion DS. Also, you do seem to have many tattoos that seem very creative as well. Could you tell us how your art career had begun and when your passion to create art had started? Was it something that came natural to you or something you went to lessons for? How big of a role does creativity in the arts play in your life. Do you ever sell art pieces or do any sorts of designing these days? What's the scoop on your art career? 
 
Dragon: I began drawing the moment I could pick up a pencil. I got accepted to La Guardia H.S. for the Arts (the “Fame” movie school). It was really hard to literally get accepted in. I was 1 out of only 3 students from all the applicants from my junior high school that made it in. I just love doing it & personally in my late teen years to now I wish I had more confidence in my work cause I would have seriously perused it. I have done commercial art work here and there for people in terms of logos, wrestling gear, T-shirt designs and so much more. As far as an art career I am trying to muster up what little confidence I have with it and building a portfolio to show to some places. Better late than never I guess.
 
Rallo: Back to wrestling, I always like to know a bit about how a wrestler chooses his persona or name. A name I see that always seems to impress is anyone that goes by the name, "Dragon." From Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat to Ultimo Dragon to "American Dragon," Bryan Danielson, amongst countless others, may I ask why you chose to go by the "dragon" name? For those unaware, could you explain why the dragon is so important to Professional Wrestling as many wrestlers incorporate the word in their name, moves, etc, for many years. Was anyone particularly responsible for giving you this name or was this something you wanted from the start? What does the term, "Dragon" mean to you, as a very high caliber, Pro Wrestler? 
 
Dragon: Well thank you for listing me amongst Danielson and Steamboat! Also for seeing me as a “very high caliber“ wrestler! I’m rather taken back by that and couldn’t thank you enough for it. I don’t think it..lol but thank you!
The term “Dragon” is so relevant in wrestling cause it really does put you in a style that coincides with it. It automatically is associated with martial arts and highflying. It is a quick identifier for what you are bringing to the ring. So there actually is almost a responsibility that comes with having it-dare I say expectations.
I was always intrigued by the mythical creature of the dragon. All it‘s different stories and cultural takes on it. My first tattoo the moment I turned 18 is the dragon tattoo on my right arm. But “Dragon” was something I KNEW before I started I wanted as part of my name and who I was going to be. I was born in 1976, Year Of The Dragon. Bruce Lee is one of my idols in life, philosophy and martial arts. Of course as I said before Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat was hugely relevant to everything I wanted to be in wrestling. So for me there was never a thought process as to my name, it was always going to be Dragon in my heart and mind.
As I said, there are expectations that come with being “Dragon”. Because of an incredible wrestler like Bryan Danielson and the great Ricky Steamboat there are big expectations. My greatest honor was my times spent with Ricky Steamboat. Here is a man I looked up to since the very beginning as a child, and he was praising my work. Kind of a side story, but everyone knows I pride myself on doing the arm drag just like him. I worked so hard at it & told him I could do it. He didn’t ask me to show him-but rather verbally explain to him how it is done. When I did I impressed him and he told me I was right. I was the only one at the camp that got in the ring with him. But other than having my all time favorite and idol praising my work, Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat, dubbed my “Little Dragon” and he was “Big Dragon.“ THAT was just so incredible a feeling I can not put it onto words. I just hope to fans I have been meeting the expectations and doing such a relevant name such as “Dragon” justice because of how great those two are!

Rallo: Another topic I'd like to bring up is the yearly, Pro Wrestling Illustrated yearly, "PWI 500" edition. This magazine chronicles and ranks the top 500 wrestlers in the world and ranks them in terms of their impact on the business in the past year. I've listened to several radio shows and other media endeavors hearing writers from PWI speak of the importance of this list to the more "underground" Indy stars. They say that each year, this list means a lot to Indy talents to see where they are ranked amongst the top 500 and take their ranking very seriously. As an independent wrestler, who has been placed at #421, could you tell us of the reaction as an Indy star to being on this list? Reading down your accomplishments of the past year, it seems as though you've had a big year, so do you feel that Indy stars are ranked too low on the list or that #421 seems suitable? I just like to ask because PWI says all the time how much this list means to Indy stars, yet they place someone with a pretty big year a lot lower than someone such as, Great Khali....who is....The Great Khali...Thoughts and reactions on this list?
Dragon: This is actually the 2nd time I was fortunate enough to be listed. The previous was 2008 where I squeaked in at #498. So 421 this many years later was a HUGE jump for me…lol I wish it was 420-just for the joke factor…lol The list is definitely relevant to us on the independent circuit. Cause it makes you feel what you’ve done over the past year leading to the PWI 500 release date actually is legitimized. It just puts that stamp of approval in black and white print of what you have done. Does it seem suitable? Who am I to say honestly? There are so many guys out there that I feel are better than me that maybe are lower or not even ranked. I definitely feel I had probably the strongest year in the 16 years I have been wrestling. But for me to say my accomplishments maybe greater than others-just wouldn’t feel right. So I feel very lucky simply to be listed.
As for the Great Khali comparison, that really threw me for a loop. I heard this argument between Khali & I was a quick topic on a wrestling radio show on iTunes! I was so taken back to even be brought up like that. Hell honored it was felt I deserved higher over him. But the reality of it is even though I may be a better wrestler in the minds of some, Khali is an over 7 foot tall man on WWE! A mainstream program seen weekly by millions of viewers around the world! Khali is working around the world in front of thousands of fans almost daily. Khali is on PPV whether it be wrestling or a backstage segment. Khali has legitimate action figures and stopped for autographs, pictures and moments of his time where ever he goes. Damian Dragon on the other hand, is a humble 5’ 8” small barely known name or stopped by anyone for anything, independent wrestler on the northeast working in much smaller venues in front of couple hundred people on weekends, possibly on some small DVD selling market and a blurb on a couple of wrestling websites and a custom made action figure (by me of course) my son owns….lol So does it bother me Khali is ranked higher in the PWI 500 than me despite this amazing year I have had? Not in the least! But seriously thank you to everyone that brought me up into such a debate. Was such a cool moment to be a small center of controversy..lol
My feelings on this year’s list are actually very proud & impressed! This year independent wrestlers REALLY jumped to the forefront with some unexpected high rankings! Tommaso Ciampa, one of my dearest friends Adam Cole had a HUGE year, Sami Callihan who is so damn impressive and so many others. The independents wrestlers, at least to me really “stole the show” in this years PWI 500! There were so many listed in high spots! It was such a proud year to be an independent wrestler in terms of the PWI 500! Lets hope it is a sign of changes for our level of the industry making fans turn to us again for wrestling action! Then, love him or hate him in or out of the wrestling business, The Miz REALLY deserved his #1 spot! This is a guy who was laughed at on The Real World for his dream to be a WWE Champion. He started on Tough Enough, became an interviewer, finally got to get into the ring. Only to be met by ridicule and rejection by those above him he was not a top quality talent never to be anything. Miz turns it around to refocus, repackage himself to a more serious look and gimmick. Has a monstrous year wearing double championships, BECOMES WWE Champion & MAIN EVENTS WRESTLEMANIA LEAVING CHAMPION! Yeah the Miz DESERVED to be #1 & is a great figure to show let no one or nothing stop your heart & determination of what you want. My thoughts on this year’s PWI 500 IS AWESOME! Sorry-couldn’t resist..lol

Rallo: You have been all over in terms of promotions you have worked for, including a short stint in, ROH about this time last year. My question for you is, out of all the promotions you have worked for over your long career, which do you feel holds a very special place in your heart, more than others? Do you feel there was one promotion that, "Made," Damian Dragon, if so, which company do you feel best utilized you and helped make you a very noticeable name in the world of, Pro Wrestling? Also, which out of the promotions you work with today, do you feel is your favorite to be with at the moment? From D2W, ECWA, etc, do you feel is one of your favorites to work for? What makes it unique and a flourishing company? 


Dragon: I know this is going to sound like such a “politically correct” answer..lol BUT in this case it IS true! They ALL hold a special place in my heart. Each helped mold or develop different aspects of myself and my work that have allowed me to grow as a wrestler-and as a person. I have such a great appreciation for every promotion, promoter and booker for the opportunity they gave me.
As far as “made” me there are a couple that actually really are so instrumental on my tenure. ICW (Impact Championship Wrestling) while I was in The Natural Born Killers with Boogalu. I had no idea up until recent how much people followed our team and some still mention it to me today in the NY wrestling scene. JCW (Jersey Championship Wrestling) & NYWC were so important cause they pushed “Disturbed Dreams” (my wife & I) so strong that got us so much attention and opportunities in so many places. And apparently the gimmick STILL resonates with people in wrestling today. Warriors Of Wrestling (WOW) despite a sour ending I am ever grateful to. That was seriously the turning point in everything my work is now. They were the first to see potential in me and took the chance for me to be “the guy” to be at the forefront of the company. I grew leaps in bounds in terms of my gimmick, persona, promo style and in-ring work. I felt if I was going to be a main eventer, I better be able to perform like one-cause it is a huge risk for a company and responsibility for the wrestler put in that position. Cause you’re the guy that is really being looked at to get them attention. Though WOW is not seen as a huge company by it’s industry peers, it has had really great success. I hope my efforts played a part in that. WOW allowed me to step up and be a leader, help and be a mentor to so many. At that time they gave me the biggest match I had in my career then with Steve Corino. NO OTHER promotion prior to that EVER gave me that chance or saw me as good enough to be at that level. So I took it very seriously hence driving me to just work so hard to get better in all aspects. The work at WOW really opened the flood gates for all I have and am doing now. Working with Corino got me to WORLD-1. That work got me to TWA & ECWA. Developing such a friendship with Steve Corino and the backing of Prince Nana (My FIRST and longest friend in wrestling. My brother from another mother as he & I say) helped get me my opportunity with Ring Of Honor. Mind you ROH was the first time in my 16 year career I had EVER been to The Arena in Philly, none the less wrestle in it. I even got a mild “Dragon” chant my first night out in ROH-even a win!..lol The powers that be in ECWA/TWA really have launched it now though with Fusion D.S. All these places really have made and still are making my career.
I am not working many places. So between ECWA/TWA, D2W & ACPW-they are ALL my favorite! Each place allows me to work a different style and it really keeps things fresh for me all the time.

Rallo: Through everything you've done in your career, one thing that has never truly happened, was a true chance to succeed in a major promotion. Although you have faced some of the greatest competitors the world has seen, do you feel as though you ever wanted or still do want to one day compete on the main stage of, WWE...or even TNA? Do you feel that has always been a true goal of yours or are you more happy to stay put on smaller promotions? It seems past Indy talent, such as, CM Punk and Bryan Danielson have found their way to succeeding in WWE. Do you feel they sort of, paved the way for other independent talent to cross over to the big sea of, WWE and succeed? Would this every truly be something you want to pursue? Also, what is your view on the mainstream on the product today? Do you keep in touch more? What are your general feelings on the mainstream wrestling promotions as a whole? 


Dragon: With out a doubt CM Punk & Bryan Danielson have paved the way for independent starts to see there is still a chance to get to the WWE. That the door although may be opened a crack, is NOT closed to get it, I’ll admit when I first started wrestling, of course I had starry eyes for WWE. But time changes and you get older. You realize sometimes some things really are not in the cards-and I know WWE isn’t for me. Unless they want a middle aged 5’8’ bald gut-then hey WWE I’m your guy!…lol As for TNA I really don’t know. I’ve been in contact with Simon Diamond now and again about submitting stuff, been a while since I have though cause when Hogan came in I knew I had no shot! But if they wanted to give Fusion D.S. a chance-absolutely! For me may main unattained goal now is a wrestling tour in Japan, Personally I’ve ALWAYS had a fondness for Japan and wanted to visit it. My background in karate and my time wrestling only heightened it. After nearly 16 years I have NEVER had a chance to do it and something I really want to do badly to this day. That would be a dream come true for me, to get a chance to wrestle in Japan.
As for pursuing it? I’d have to bring it back to Ring Of Honor. I did that brief stint and loved it. It was such a taste of what I want that I can‘t get rid of. I did well enough that then ROH producer Adam Pearce made it a point to tell me to be sure to stay in contact. Unfortunately, such is my life that fate reared it’s ugly head and Pearce was let go from his duties with ROH. But I am looking at it, and hopefully I’m right, that it just wasn’t the time-yet. I really enjoyed the atmosphere and have been so hungry to go back. Now this team with Saigon really changed what I want in wrestling. Now I want another shot at ROH even more! But with Fusion D.S. I can only speak for myself, but getting Fusion D.S. to Japan and ROH would be “making it” for me.
Sadly, I fall into that category in our industry that says they don’t watch the main two much. Which is wrong cause you really should watch, learn and see what is working or not. I actually watch more lucha & ROH as much as I can. But mainstream has had more lows than highs in the last 8 years or so. It isn’t hot on television right now. WWE has it’s moments and TNA every now and again when the push the legit teams and X-Division. But no one is biting right now. WWE seemed to be on the right track with CM Punk. When I go tot do indy shows Punk was on, he always stood out. There was something that made you want to watch him-even then. But since the interjection of the whole Nash/HHH angle, unfortunately it seems things are simmering down again with Punk. Which is unfortunate cause I was really liking what he was doing and the main reason (other than my boy Zak Ryder…lol) why I was watching, It just isn’t like the Monday Night Wars era with the level of quality and excitement out of two brands. The kind that keeps you flipping between both channels so you don’t miss anything. That is what we need again because it is the trickle effect. If it is hot on TV then there is demand for it. If there is a demand for it people go out to indy shows cause they want more! The late 90’s-early 2000’s were the golden years of our industry all around. Independent shows were packed with fans. This meant better survival rates for promotions that had continuous growth. Promoters had the option to offer better paydays to it’s wrestlers. The wrestlers felt appreciated and I am praying for that time to return. But it all starts with WWE & TNA really turning heads and getting people hungry to watch again.
 
Rallo: Before I let you go, do you have any last words for your fans? Do you have any upcoming matches you would like to plug or discuss before this interview is over? Any words of inspiration to any aspiring Pro Wrestlers? Any last plugs or projects in the works? Where can we find you online? Floor is yours for anything you wish to say. 

To the fans that have cheered or booed, thank you so very much. One of the highest compliments a wrestler can get is when a fan reacts to what he or she does. That is the mark we are giving you what you came to see. To those that were my worst critics I’d have to say thank you. If not for you, I wouldn’t have taken all the anger and turned it into fuel to always either strive to be better or simply prove you wrong. Either way it drove me to just work harder.
Saigon and I have a HUGE challenge coming up on September 24th at ECWA’s 44th Anniversary show! We’ll be defending the Unified Tag Titles in a Ladder Match against The Midnight Sensations. This is our 3rd meeting against them. Our first was very competitive, the 2nd Sensations drew the battle line when the got intentionally disqualified attacking Saigon & I with chairs and ladders. Well now, in this 3rd match I PROMISE fans it is going to get very ugly in this ladder match. This is THE match that Fusion D.S. is going to use to begin solidifying ourselves as a very serious team to watch on the wrestling scene. While simultaneously ending this feud with The Midnight Sensations. September 24th folks, ECWA 44th Anniversary show! Go NOW (or until you finish reading this) to
www.ECWAProWrestling.com
and do NOT miss this match!
To aspiring wrestlers, be ready for pain in the beginning physically. This business WILL exhaust you mentally AND emotionally. It will cause personal hardships with friends and families and destroy relationships. You will miss A LOT of personal and special events cause you’re on the road going to the next town for little to no pay or reward, simply cause of what you love. NO ONE outside of wrestling will understand why you do it. And trying to explain it will ALWAYS never be understood-sometimes even excepted. Be ready for a lot of ridicule of what you do and how you do it. You will find rejection more than opportunity. You will be betrayed by those you thought you can trust. You will lose what you thought were friends in this industry more than you will actually have. Be ready for more lows than highs. But if you can overcome it all-the rewards, experiences and memories will ALWAYS outweigh it all!
As for future projects a large majority of my wrestling focus focusing on Fusion D.S. Saigon & I are really focusing on getting more out there as a team. Believe me when I say we are really driven to take this team as far as we can. Personally aside from wrestling I’m working on some possible options with my artwork I hope can pan out. But above all else being a good husband and father to my family first and foremost.
Personally online you can find me at www.Facebook.com/DamianDragonWrestling or at www.Twitter.com/STBDamianDragon Plus be sure to check out www.ECWAProWrestling.com for updates on Fusion D.S. as well as www.ACPWrestling.com & www.D2WProWrestling.com
 
Closing statements. Well if you have actually FULLY read this from BEGINNING to END-congratulations-you made it to the end! I KNOW this was VERY long (cause I am all thumbs typing & it too ME forever to answer..lol) and the fact that you’re actually interested in reading what I have to say (cause I really don’t think I’m special in wrestling) I GREATLY thank you! I’m very honored DJ Rallo has followed me in what I have done and am doing in wrestling for such an extensive interview and asked to do this. It seriously has been a pleasure! Thanks to everyone that has and continues to support me and Fusion D.S. It is what keeps me going & why I continue after 16 long years to do this-you all make it so worth it! “Believe!”

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