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Teen Wolf: An Interview with Air Wolf

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How did you spend your summer vacation?

Most eighteen year olds would give you the same answer; Enjoying the last summer of your true teenage youth, routinely spending the evenings with fellow friends in party mode, while keeping your eyes on the horizon lines of “what’s next?” Some begin filling out applications for those dreaded summer jobs. Some begin packing boxes, toiling over the details of making the big move to college or to a home away from their family for the very first time. For many eighteen year old kids, these are common answers but one you rarely ever hear is “pinning a former WWE United States champion and Money in the Bank winner to capture a title.”

This is an uncommon answer for many people in this age range but eighteen year old “Air Wolf” is anything but common. Trained by Ken Anderson (WWE’s “Mr. Kennedy”), he is the first graduate of Anderson’s Minneapolis, Minnesota based “The Academy: School of Professional Wrestling” and even had the honor of pinning his mentor and teacher on July 29th to become the undisputed champion of the “Heavy on Wrestling” promotion. In addition to that accolade, he has proven himself worthy of the attention and buzz he has been receiving from all around the independent circuit.

He recently appeared in Chikara’s “Young Lions Cup”, he has shared the ring with many marquee names and talents and the future is looking bright for the young masked sensation. Air Wolf has a rare maturity and is as humble outside of the ring as he is graceful inside of it. He took a few minutes to talk with me about his amazing rise, his trainers and fellow trainees and of course his hopes for the future and what it may hold. Get to know an amazing human being in this WrestlingDesk exclusive interview with Air Wolf!!!

1) What is it like to be competing at a high level at such a young age? Most people haven’t even had their first full time job by 18 and here you are putting on high quality matches. How would you describe your time in the wrestling business so far?

It’s pretty crazy how fast everything has been moving. I’ve had experiences I didn’t expect to have until at least 5 years into my career in less than 2 years. Although I’m still new to it, it’s been really fun and rewarding working hard and really trying to better myself at all times.

2) Who are some of your biggest influences and what inspired you to wear a mask in the ring?

There are a lot of different people I draw inspiration from. I like lots of different kinds of wrestling and for the most part, there are a few guys I really look up to in each style of wrestling. As far as the mask goes, I started wrestling at 16 and it was suggested to me that I wear one due to the fact that I looked young. I figured if I were to wear a mask, it wouldn’t be some guy in a generic mask thing. I was going to put time and effort into designing a certain look and everything.

3) What has been the biggest hurdle you have had to jump while training and breaking into the business?

I think the biggest hurdle I had to overcome was balancing the activities and events I participated in while in high school with the shows and training I was doing for wrestling.

4) When you watch someone in the ring, what makes you remember their performance and how do you use the things you learn to make yourself a better performer?

I think generally a thing that really sticks out to me while watching wrestlers is the aggressiveness behind their movement and their footwork. I feel as though footwork is the key to making everything you do look smooth. I’m always trying to learn and build on what I know. I like to ask “what can I do to take that next step?” You can only go so far if you’re not making an effort to better yourself.

5) Who has your favorite opponent been thus far and why?

There are quite a few really good wrestlers I’ve had the opportunity to step in the ring with. I feel like Arik Cannon always brings out the best in me whenever we wrestle each other. From a personal standpoint, it’s really cool to work guys like Shane Strickland and DJZ because those are the dudes I love to watch in the ring and being able to step in there and work with them is a dream come true.

6) Tell us a bit about being the first graduate of The Academy School of Professional Wrestling and what it’s like to work with Ken Anderson.

The Academy is such a great facility. You have people there who are more than just your fellow trainees. A lot of the time we travel together and see each other all the time. As cliché as it sounds, we’re like a family. We all work hard to succeed and push each other to be successful. Being the first graduate from there makes me feel like I need to set an example and strive to help others. I want to do right by Ken, Shawn, Ariya, Cannon and Molly by working hard and being the guy that promoters want to bring back, not just because I put on a good match but also because I carry myself in a respectful manner and do everything asked of me and more.

7) The first glimpse I got of you was through some Chikara fans that saw you compete during the Young Lions cup. What was it like to work with a great organization like Chikara?

Getting the opportunity to participate in something like the Young Lions Cup is amazing. Everything is on a whole other level there. There was a certain sense of drive in the Wrestle Factory that was different than your typical indie shows. There are so many moving parts to the show and specific ways things have to go that makes it feel bigger in a way. I’m very thankful for having had that experience and being able to go back later this month for the King of Trios weekend.

8) When Air Wolf isn’t performing in the ring, how do you spend your time?

Having just graduated, a lot of my free time was spent doing various high school activities. I participated in my high school theater productions as well as the school speech team. I also did discus and shot put throwing for the track and field team. Outside of school activities, a lot of my time is spent watching wrestling or training at The Academy. I also just recently got a job at a trampoline park so I can maybe work on some cool flippy stuff that hopefully can translate to what I do in the ring.

9) What are some goals you have for the future?

There are so many goals I have for the future it would be hard to list them all. There’s too many people I want to work with, too many promotions I want to work for, places I want to go…I’d say the biggest goal I have is to make a living doing solely this. I know I have to work incredibly hard to do such a thing but I have every intention of doing so.

10) Any parting words or places our readers can find you online?

Thank you for taking the time to read this and supporting me. I appreciate it a lot. If you want to keep up with me on social media, I’m on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram under the username @officialairwolf. If you want to support me through buying some merch, I do have a Pro Wrestling Tees store if you go to https://prowrestlingtees.com/officialairwolf.

Nicholas Grooms is an accomplished writer, journalist and hip hop artist with many writing credits to his name. He is best know for his work creating songs for the Kansas City Chiefs football organization and is author of the book "Me, Myself & I Hate You: Stories of Adventure, Lust & Shi**y Paychecks". He regularly writes for WrestlingDesk, SteelChair Magazine, Vulturehound Magazine and freelances elsewhere. He is also host of the "Nick is Pissed!" podcast which is based on his misadventures in life. You can find him @NicholasGrooms on Twitter or @officialnicholasgrooms on Instagram.

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