Interviews

The Randy Orton Interview

randy-orton

Randy Orton was the winner of this year’s Royal Rumble, meaning that, barring any unforeseen swerves in the storyline, he will face the champion at Wrestlemania in a few months. I was at a party where we held a raffle, and I was fortunate enough to pull his number (23) and win 75 bucks. This all reminded me that I interviewed him once, a couple years ago, heading into Wrestlemania 30. I started off with 2 sets of questions: One for if he wanted to maintain kayfabe and another for if he wanted to do a shoot. He said “I don’t know what those words mean.” So kayfabe, it was…although by about the second question, we lost all sense of formality, and I felt I got some fairly candid stuff from him.

As follows:

Current World Wrestling Entertainment Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton is one of the most accomplished performers in the ring today. The son of the distinguished Cowboy Bob Orton, Randy started his career back in 2000 at Louisville’s own Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW) where, under a developmental contract with WWE, he bodyslammed and dropkicked his way to the top along with John Cena, Brock Lesnar and Shelton Benjamin, just to name a few. By the time he made his debut on WWE programming in 2002, he was a highly-polished wrestling machine and became one of their top superstars very quickly. He returns to Louisville for Wizard World on the eve of his title defense against former Evolution stable partner and fellow OVW alum Batista at the greatest event in all of sports entertainment, Wrestlemania XXX on April, 6. Here’s what he had to say about returning to his first wrestling home.

Louisville is certainly a great wrestling town, and it’s not unusual to spot wrestlers around town. How does it feel to come back to your former home?

My “college years” were basically spent in Louisville. That was my time to socialize and find myself and grow up and do like most people do when they’re going to school, or doing whatever they do after high school. I went into the Marine Corps, came out, and was lost. After a few short months, I found myself in Louisville, Ky. That’s where I met a lot of guys that I still know to this day. That’s when I found out that I had this underlying talent of being a pro wrestler, a WWE Superstar. I had never really been in the ring before that, other than just playing around with my dad when I was on the road with him as a child. I had no idea that this was something that I could excel in. So I found out a lot about myself in Louisville, and I’ll always remember that it happened there. I have my favorite places to eat, and there’s Powerhouse Gym off of Breckenridge. There’s a lot of spots I remember, and even when we go back there, I see fans that I still remember coming to our show every Sunday at the Davis Arena. Louisville will always hold that place in my heart.

How do you handle life on the road?

It’s just like anything once you get used to it. The human body is capable of many things. I’m reading Lone Survivor right now, and not to compare myself to a Navy SEAL, but they do a lot of things that we do, too. I don’t want to say they go unnoticed, but the year-long travel is hard on your body. It’s hard on you mentally. It’s hard to be away from your family so long, but it’s just something that is required of you to be a WWE Superstar.

How do you feel about defending the title against your old friend Batista going into Wrestlemania?

I think it’s great that here we are, a decade later, and even though Dave’s path led him elsewhere, he found his way back here. He’s saying on the show how he loves this business and that’s why he’s back, and I think a lot of the fans are rolling their eyes at him, but they don’t know all the reasons that he left this business. And I’m not saying I do, but I do know Dave. And I know no matter what happens at Wrestlemania between me and him or on the road to Wrestlemania, I’m glad that Dave and I are on top. It’s Evolution, over a decade in the making.

It’s very exciting to see OVW guys on top. Watching you guys in those days, there was no doubt as a fan that you guys were on your way up.

Well, we sure as hell had doubt. Or I tell you what, I did. (laughs) That first half a year down there, I didn’t know left from right. I didn’t know when I was running off the ropes to tackle a guy, if he was gonna tackle me or I was gonna tackle him, I didn’t know to grab a headlock. My first dropkick, it was in front of guys like John Cena, Brock Lesnar, Dave Batista. These guys are All-Americans, NCAA division 1 champions, college athletes. Mark Henry and Big Show were down there. That ain’t funny to me. They’re big old behemoths, been in the business. I got nothing but respect for these guys, and I throw this dropkick, and damn near cleared the guy’s bellybutton! I landed on my ass, I just jumped up and put my legs out. People assumed that I had been in the ring with my dad for years, rolling around, learning the ropes, but that wasn’t the case. We wrestled in the pool during the summer, but he didn’t teach me wristlocks and top-headlock takedowns. It was a rude awakening, but I buckled down, got as good as I could, and six months later, I started to feel at home down there. Then I was one of the first guys up.

What message do you have for the fans in the WWE Universe coming to meet you at an event?

It’s been a long time since I did an autograph session, so bare with me! I’m looking forward to going back to my old stomping grounds, looking forward to seeing some familiar faces, all the friendly people I remember seeing. I’m sure not all of them will be friendly, given my current status in the WWE, but if they want the Viper’s autograph, I’m gonna give it to them.

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Fiction

Ben Venice: G.H.O.S.T. Agent 4

benvenice

Part 4

“Jesus. Are we going to Mars?”

Ben had seen plenty of planes, and in fact, he might’ve jumped out of one once, but this sleek thing of beauty was in a class by itself. Not like a big lumbering dinosaur flying fortress or the propeller driven suicide machines he saw during the war.  Bud just laughed.

“Not this trip, Sarge!”

Bud parked the car cavalierly and the two men popped out. They had driven all day to this spot, a strange, deserted, flat piece of ground somewhere down the coast. Ben wasn’t sure where they were. In fact, he had no idea. In fact, he had a hard time focusing all day, since just after breakfast.

“Bud, lissen, what’s this all about?” Ben noticed his words slurred a bit as he slid them out.

“You know that gum you were chewing?” Bud asked, as he knocked on the side of the plane.

“…Maybe?”

“Well, I’ll level with you, Sarge. Right after you agreed to come with me on this, I slipped you a mickey. Shit’s gonna get really weird on you quick, and I know sometimes you do your best work if you can get a little altered, and I want this to go down easy for you. ”

With a low hum, the staircase doorway to the plane unfurled with a mechanical swivel.

“But you agreed. Remember that. I didn’t trick you. All you cared about was bringing your records and seeing some heat again, and that’s fine by me, because I know you’ve got a motherfucker of a record collection and can swing OK against some heat.” Bud said, poking Ben in the chest. He then quickly changed the subject.

“Louise! You ready to go, or you want to stretch your legs first?”

“I’m ready now. Let’s get gone.” a tough, almost feline female voice responded. Ben looked up to the top of the steps and was struck by the sight of the chick from the hotel bar the night before, now looking like she was ready to go toe to toe with Marlene Dietrich in black slacks, black shirt, high boots, and aviators,

“Ah.” she said, “You hooked him.”

Ben inhaled deep, then smirked hard. “Sorry now that I blew you off before. I suppose you and Bud are in cahoots.”

“Something like that, I suppose. Mr.Allen speaks very highly of you. You can drink, I’ll say that for you. Easy coming up the steps.” And with that, she disappeared into the cockpit.

“Whoa.” Ben said.

“Yeah.” Bud replied, “C’mon, man. Let’s get going.”

Bud carefully followed Ben up into the plane, where he let out an exclamation at the lushness of the tricked out interior. Attached couches lined the wall, and in the center run of the tubular flying room was a console loaded with screens and buttons. Everything was luxurious white, metal and glass.

“You’re sure we’re not going to Mars?” Ben asked, just before he flopped into the plush amenity.

“Ah, there ain’t shit on Mars, Sarge. Lay back, buckle up, and saw some logs. I’ll cue up Round Midnight.”

Bud pressed a couple of buttons, a circuit connected, some reels turned, and the warm sound of Miles Davis filled the air, just as the plane began it’s run for takeoff. Ben wasn’t awake and he wasn’t asleep, but he he was looking forward to killing someone again. Someone who really had it coming.

Am I moving too slow for you? Spend a buck and get it all.

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