Tryout: Justin Baisden

What’s good everybody? My name is Justin Baisden, a long time pro wrestling fan and avid viewer of Japanese wrestling (Puroresu) specifically. I used to work with (for?) Scott 15 years ago during The Smarks “era.” In any case, with New Japan’s recent big show being broadcast in North America with an English speaking commentary team of Matt Striker and Jim Ross, I thought it a prime opportunity to write a review for the show. Hopefully I’ll be covering all future New Japan big shows and PPV’s in the coming year.
I’m basically going to try and provide back story for those of you who don’t know the workers involved or the history behind some of the matches. Please feel free to ask any follow up questions in the comments and I’ll endeavour to answer.
Also note I will try to talk about the matches without providing the winners. While the information is all over the Internet, I’ve always found I enjoy pro wrestling and sports as a whole far more if I don’t know the outcome.
ReDragon vs The Young Bucks vs The Time Splitters vs The Forever Holligans (IWGP Junior Tag Titles) ReDragon (Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish) are the champs here. They won the titles from The Time Splitters (Alex Shelly & KUSHIDA) the recent Power Sruggle PPV (11/08/2014 ****½). The participants in the 4 way are 4 of the last 5 Junior Tag champs (TAKA Michinoku and Taichi were left out). The match itself is an extended spotfest. The earlier matches on this show were rushed as Japanese “big shows” tend to run very long. Most Wrestle Kingdom shows are in the 4.5 hour range. Obviously that isn’t going to fly on US PPV so the poor Juniors and a couple of other non consequential matches got hacked up. The teams essentially cram as much as they can into the 10 minutes they were given. Poor JR is completely lost (a theme for the first ½ of the show) as he’s unfamiliar with everyones moves. The team to watch is The Young Bucks (brothers out of Southern California who look like the late 90’s Hardy Boyz). They’re the glue here as they provide the most innovative spots and also take the brunt of every other teams punishment. I’d classify them as the best Junior Tag Team in the world right now and can’t recommend their work highly enough from here, Ring Of Honour, or Pro Wrestling Guerrilla. There’s an absolutely spectacular spot where The Bucks are hit with a double Doomsday Device, land on their feet (WOW!) and then Double Superkick Alex Kozlov & Alex Shelly. If you like your matches fast and spotty you’ll enjoy it. Juniors typically play better with more time to build their spots in smaller venues. ***½
Jeff Jarrett & Bad Luck Fale & Yujiro Takahashi vs Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima & Tomoaki Honma So the heels are part of a primarily foreign (gaijin) stable called The Bullet Club. Jarrett debuted on 08/14 during the G-1 Climax Finals (major tournament) in New Japan as the face of Global Force Wrestling. He was invited by New Japan’s president and then immediately turned, hitting Hiroshi Tanahashi (the company’s “Ace”) with his guitar and joining The Bullet Club. Bad Luck Fale and Takahashi are part of the stable but are filler here. On the other side, there is veteran tag team and crowd favourite TenKoji + perennial jobber loved by all (think Santino Marella) Honma. Like the opener, this is very rushed, only going a little over 5 minutes. It’s a back and forth 6 man until Jarrett introduces the guitar and shenanigans ensue. A completely nothing match. *½
Toru Yano & Naomichi Marufuji & MIkey Nicholls & Shane Haste vs Takashi Iizuka & Davey Boy Smith Jr & Lance Archer & Shelton X Benjamin This is like a convoluted grudge match. Yano and Iizuka were partners in the stable called CHAOS (with caps). Iizuka turned on Yano and joined the heel stable Suzukigun. Now instead of a singles match for the blowoff, we got an 8 man tag. On top of that, Yano didn’t know who his partners were until the last New Japan show of 2014. He announced Marufuji (Pro Wrestling NOAH GHC Champion) and The Mighty Don’t Kneel (TMDK if you see the acronym around) who are the top foreign tag team in NOAH, as his ringers. New Japan has bought a majority stake in NOAH and plans a lot of Interpromotional stuff in the upcoming year. This match is really a backdrop to introduce Killer Elite Squad (Smith & Archer) as new opponents to TMDK in NOAH in 2015. Again, a very rushed match. I was gushing to see Benjamin but he literally has 2 moves in the entire match. This only goes 5 minutes but again, it’s more a launching pad to NJPW vs NOAH in the coming year. There’s an absolutely insane spot with Archer Choke Slamming Shane Haste into the stratosphere but otherwise it’s just filler. *½
Kazushi Sakuraba vs Minoru Suzuki (UWFi Rules) To be clear, the rules mean you can only win via submission, Knock Out, or referee stoppage. This is a worked shoot dream match, though I’d say 10 years too late. Suzuki was the first Pancrese champion. Sakuraba is arguably responsible for PRIDE exploding as an MMA promotion in the early 2000’s thanks to his feud with the Gracie’s. I know I’m really condensing his significance with that statement but if you want a detailed history piece I’ll do one in the future. This sort of links into the previous match. After Iizuka turned, Yano began a feud with Suzukigun. He needed a partner for the big Dominion PPV (06/21/2014) and brought in Sakuraba to take on Iizuka & Suzuki. The match was a mess. The key though was Suzuki & Iizuka attacking Sakuraba afterwards and leaving him laying. They re-matched at Power Struggle and Sakuraba went over clean. This match got time, but could have used 5 more minutes. These guys worked STIFF as is the norm for worked shoot style. The story of the match was Sakuraba seemingly breaking Suzuki’s arm with a Kimura Lock at the mid way point and Suzuki having to work with 1 arm. It’s an odd story as you’d figure the face would work with the injury. In either case, the crowd was very hot for this one coming off a 6 month build. Both guys worked very hard and the story is enthralling after the “arm break.” ***½
Togi Makabe vs Tomohiro Ishii (NEVER Open Weight Title) New blood Evolution Valiantly Eternal Radical. I might as well get that out of the way now. There’s no major back story to this match. Makabe challenged Ishii after his successful title defense against Hirooki Goto at Power Struggle (absolute war of a match ****½). Makabe went over Ishii in a 6 man tag on the final show of the year and here we are. Shocking how simple booking works sometimes. If you’ve never seen Ishii in a big match, the best way to describe him would be “guy willing to die for you.” Every major Ishii match makes you cringe. Not because of blood (though he ended up coughing up blood in the Goto match from the beating) or weapons, but because you are guaranteed to see the stiffest match on the card. These two just beat the holy hell out of each other. It’s just Lariats and chops and forearms that should by all rights break your jaw. Ishii’s got a bad right shoulder (legit) and Makabe smashes that thing to bits with Sledges. You can’t help but grow invested as you’re left wondering who will possibly be able to withstand all the punishment each guy is laying down. The smack of flesh and flying sweat from all the brutal Lariats will make you clutch your own chest. A completely different style of match from anything else on the card and a true joy if you’re into simple stiff wrestling. ****
Kenny Omega vs Ryusuke Taguchi (IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title) Omega is a Canadian who has been working Japan regularly for years. He’s actually a very good wrestler with flat out amazing facial expressions. He was in WWE developmental for a while but hated the experience. It’s a shame because he looks like a natural for WWE. In any case, he was working the Japanese independant DDT promotion until 3 months ago when he jumped to New Japan. He immediately joined The Bullet Club and challenged Taguchi at Power Struggle after the conclusion of his title defense. I’ll be honest in saying I”m not the biggest Taguchi fan. He’s a solid worker with a diverse moveset and some charisma but I’ve never been able to get into his matches. He used to be far more tolerable as Prince Devitt (Finn Balor now in NXT) partner but now he’s just a near Eddie Guerrero clone who you know will give you a ***+ match and nothing more. Actually Randy Orton is a the closest comparison. The previously mentioned Devitt turned on Taguchi a year and ½ ago when he formed The Bullet Club with Bad Luck Fale, Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson. Taguchi has been going back and forth with that stable ever since. This was an enjoyable match. Omega is a big junior and uses a lot of unique power moves while still moving at a blistering pace. There’s a beautiful spot where he uses a Dipped Suplex. It looks simple but it’s very difficult and uses a lot of power. Omega carries the match. He heels it up, sometimes with interference from The Young Bucks (who accompanied him) and gives Taguchi the perfect opportunity for hope spots. I’ll give Taguchi his props in that he ramps up the charisma here. At one point he tosses Omega and then does Devitt’s signature kneel pose before hitting a Tope Con Hilo. I would expect to see a series between these two over the next few months. Omega is a treat to watch if you’re into the little things like facial expressions, creative selling, and working the crowd. ***¼
Katsuyori Shibata & Hirooki Goto vs Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows (IWGP Tag Team Titles) Goto & Shibata are legitimate high school friends and rivals. They had an emotional feud and when it was over they became a tag team. They went into the annual World Tag League and went over the champs in the finals (12/07/2014 ***1/4) to earn this title shot. Anderson & Gallows come into the match having held the titles for 1 year, winning the belts from Killer Elite Squad at Wrestle Kingdom 8. I’m a big fan of Anderson/Gallows. They’re big men that work a fast pace but incorporate lots of power moves. JR makes a comparison of Karl Anderson to Arn Anderson and he’s spot on. If you’re unfamiliar, you may know Doc Gallows as the former Festus and then Luke Gallows from CM Punk’s Straight Edge Society. He’s carved a prominent role for himself in New Japan. This match was oddly short (10 minutes) but the pace never slows. Anderson in particular brought his working boots for this one. They packed a ton of work into a short amount of time and it was fun while it lasted. 20 minutes with a slower build likely would have yielded a MOTYC. ***½
Tetsyua Naito vs AJ Styles Yoshi Tatsu (yes that Yoshi Tatsu) had come back to New Japan at the King Of Pro Wrestling PPV (10/13/2014), was promoted as a major WWE star, and immediately was thrust into a major program with The Bullet Club. He faced Styles at Power Struggle and was defeated. He also broke his neck taking The Styles Clash (I’ll get into that in a second). The Bullet Club beat him down after the match and Naito made the save. They had a big staredown. The crowd went bonkers and the match was signed. Now as for The Styles Clash, there’s been a bit of an issue with that move over the last couple years. It’s either very safe or can kill you. See most wrestlers tuck their head taking a bump. It’s almost a reflex action. With the Styles Clash, you have to lean your head back. Every so often, this goes horribly wrong and the result is a broken neck. That’s the case with Yoshi Tatsu at present. There are a lot of fans who are calling for the banning of the move. In New Japan’s case, they ran with it for all that it’s worth and pushed the move as “deadly.” Both guys are fast paced, hard hitting, high flying, workers and can put on a hell of a show on any given night. That was no different here. I wouldn’t say they tore the house down but they put on a very worthy performance of their skills with the simple story of “don’t get hit by The Styles Clash.” Respect to New Japan for making the best of an awful situation. ***½
Kota Ibushi vs Shinsuke Nakamura (Intercontinental Title) So this goes back a year and ½. These two faced off during the G-1 Climax 2013 (08/03 ****½) in a true MOTYC. It’s very telling of their respective talent as Ibushi was a Junior Heavyweight at the time. In the vast majority of cases, a Junior does not go over a main event Heavyweight. Suspension of disbelief is key to some of the truly fantastic pro wrestling matches over the years. Everyone was hyped for a re-match during the 2014 G-1 but Ibushi suffered a devastating concussion July 4th against KUSHIDA in dropping the IWGP Jr Title. He was out for nearly two months just for an idea of how bad it really was. He came back and sort of re-debuted this time as a Heavyweight. He gained 10lbs (or so they say) and would now challenge exclusively with the big boys. This match was to get revenge after their last encounter and be his coming out party. Nakamura, if you’re unfamiliar, is considered by many to be the best overall pro wrestler on the planet right now. He is the ideal fusion of hard hitting, fast paced, creative, charismatic, the list goes on and on. If you have a check list for the ideal pro wrestler, he’s it.
JR is in his element here. He pushes Ibushi as a young kid looking to overtake the established guy. Truth be told, Ibushi is 32, though he could pass for 25. Nakamura has lived a HARD career and it shows. He’s 34 and looks 45. Ibushi plays the spunky kid to a tee. He’s flashy in his moves. He steals Nakamura’s signature moves and mannerisms to insult the established star. Nakamura plays asshole grumpy main eventer, corralling Ibushi from getting out of hand and beating the piss out of the guy whenever he can. They came up with some of the most creative spots I have ever seen including an Apron German Suplex where Ibushi stood on the top rope and Suplexed Nakamura standing on the apron, OVER the top rope into the ring. I don’t know anyone who has said they’ve seen that spot before. You as a viewer are drawn in from the get go with the nuclear hot crowd that doesn’t stop yelling for 20 minutes. Stiff in strikes, fluid in moves, nail biting in its near falls, and layered upon layered in story, this was a true classic and has a viable chance to hold up as Match Of The Year, only 4 days into 2015. ****¾
Kazuchika Okada vs Hiroshi Tanahashi (IWGP Heavyweight Title) These two have a history going back nearly 3 years. Okada was a “young boy” (rookie) who left New Japan to go to TNA in 2010. In Japan, a lot of wrestlers go on “excursion” and ascend from a no personality black trunks kid into a character that they’ll go with for the remainder of their career. They learn new styles from other non Japanese wrestlers, incorporate it into their own unique style, and go forth from there. Okada was used as a jobber in TNA over 2 years. When he returned to New Japan in 2012, he created The Rainmaker persona. The idea is that he’s a money maker, wanting only the best money can buy for himself, family, and fans. Yen drops from the ceiling onto the fans during his entrance. He challenged then IWGP Champion Tanahashi at Wrestle Kingdom 6 (01/04/2012). Fans thought their match at the New Beginnings PPV (02/12/2012 ****) would be competitive but nothing major. In an absolute shock, Okada went over the for the title using his debuting Rainmaker finisher (Wrist Clutch Step Through Lariat) and was instantly made into a star. They’ve since had 5 more matches (Okada with a 3 – 2 – 1 overall series lead). The two had been kept apart for 13 months, having last battled at the King Of Pro Wrestling PPV (10/14/2013 ****¾). It was considered the true passing of the torch as Tanahashi vowed never to challenge Okada for the belt again. Then Tanahashi defeated AJ Styles for the title on King Of Pro Wrestling this year (10/13/2014 ****). Okada had been chasing the belt but couldn’t beat Styles time after time. So now we got the 7th match in their series, as Tanahashi did not have to challenge for the belt.
Unlike Nakamura/Ibushi, this wasn’t so much about story as it was working the best possible match. This was super heated. I thought the crowd would burn out after the IC Title but they were with these two from the get go. The match is slow and steady in build. Mat work -> small spots -> big spots -> near falls. It’s constructed right out of the pro wrestling manual of how to build a strong match. It was given plenty of time (over 30 minutes) and is just one of those great matches that would have been all the better if it wasn’t following something that was just a bit better. These two worked so hard but the impression in the viewers mind is that it wasn’t on the level of the previous. It’s an unfair approach, I fully admit that. I give serious props to Tanahashi. At 37, he’s worked very hard as the Ace of New Japan for the last 7 years. His body is really starting to break down. You’d never know it here though. He works at a blistering pace and takes tons of risks including a High Fly Flow (Frog Splash) Body Press from the top rope, OVER the barricade, onto Okada. It’s absolutely breathtaking and terrifying all at once. You’re left on the edge of your seat coming down the stretch as to who will win. There’s a discernable point though where you know they worked past the peak though, which takes it down a slight notch. Truly an outstanding match that’ll be in the mix for Match Of The Year consideration as well. ****½
Final Thoughts: Wrestle Kingdom 9 set a ridiculous bar for match quality for 2015. There were two legitimate MOTYCs and another **** match with Ishii & Makabe. Other reviewers have gone so far as to rate the Jr Tag & Styles/Naito as ****+ as well but I didn’t think they were quite on that level. In any case, with only 2 throwaway matches, and everything else ranging from very good to outright classic, you owe it to yourself to track down this show. It’s truly a must see.
I drop regular thoughts on various wrestling (and video game) related topics on Twitter at @NagataLockII. I hope you enjoyed and I look forward to writing more in the future.

Justin Credible

Hey Scott,

I was just listening to a Justin Credible shoot trailer. I know you used to consider him a factor in the Death of ECW but in  every other account of the company, he basically isn't even mentioned. With over a decade of hindsight, do you still believe ECW Non-JC would've lasted longer than it did. On a related note, why isn't JC more recognized than he is? He is a kinda-sorta Clique member and you'd think that'd be enough to get a mention every now and again, if not a job either training or as enhancement.
He was a factor in the company not getting any bigger with him on top, but I don't think anyone considers him important enough to kill a company.  It was 100% Spike TV killing the company.  As for why he didn't end up as a trainer or whatever, I get the feeling he doesn't have the right connections any longer.  It's not like he was super tight with anyone but Heyman.  I guess we'll have to watch the shoot interview to find out!

RF Video Shoot Interview with Justin Credible (2014)

This was filmed in 2014

The Interview was conducted by Brett Lauderdale

It runs at two hours and three minutes long

The interviewer briefly mentions how RF Video last interviewed Justin in 2003.

Credible said he trained in Calgary with the Hart’s after he saw an advertisement in a wrestling magazine for the “Hart Brother’s Wrestling School.” Credible spoke with Bruce then went up to Calgary when he got the money. He was just eighteen years old at the time. Credible said the Hart’s rented out a hall and they went five days a week for two months, training up to four hours a day. He said the class started with nine students and only two of them ended up finishing. Credible said that it was a great decision and brings up how everyone else then started at the same level where today, you can have guys who have been in training for over a year, which Credible thinks is incredibly stupid. He said that Keith Hart was involved and Bruce was barely there while Stu was not present at all.

He said the location was just outside of Calgary and they lived in what he called a shady motel above a strip club. He said that Lance Storm and Chris Jericho had trained their the previous year and would help out at times. That is how Credible formed a friendship with them.

His first match was when he was 19 in November of 1992. It was for the Rocky Mountain Promotion and he paid his own way to get there so he could wrestle and get some experience. Credible then added that his second match was against Chris Jericho. He came home for Christmas that year then left and never returned home. Credible said that he was broke but did not want his parents to know that he was struggling and said that he would go days without eating.

In January of 1993, he attended a WWF house show in New Haven, CT. Credible said that he was naive and did not know any better and went backstage and saw Tony Garea and Rene Goulet, who were the agents, and introduced himself. He mentioned that he was trained by the Hart’s and they told him to have a seat and watch the show. Credible adds that the business has changed so much that you could never do something like that today. Garea told him that they were going to shoot a new show called “Monday Night RAW” in Manhattan and were needing to get some talent to do jobs.

Credible is asked about his first match on RAW against Lex Luger. He said that he was not nervous but rather surreal. He said he only had about eight matches under his belt and went backstage and saw stars like Randy Savage. Credible said that they made you ready and that actually calms your nerves. He then talks about fundamentals in wrestling and how he is not the flashiest guy but in wrestling, you either get it or you don’t. About the match, he said that Lex was easy to work with. He worked again with him at that same taping.

The payoffs at that time for the tapings were $150 plus transportation.

Credible said that he liked working with Yokozuna, who he said would “jack up” some guys when he performed the banzai drop. He adds that if you sold for him, he would take care of you. Credible said that on TV, the guys all brought their “A” game and would lay into you. After a while, the locker room would appreciate him as a jobber because he could take all of their offense and some of the jobbers at the time were old and out of shape, thus unable to take some moves.

He talks about his first ever win on TV against IRS. He said that they played off of the 1-2-3 Kid angle as Scott Hall was taking him under his wing backstage. Credible said that he was feeling comfortable there and always felt very well-liked.

His first impression of Vince McMahon was that he came across as a larger than life cartoon character. He said that Vince would start acknowledging him after a while. He said that Vince never said much.

Credible is asked about doing some TV jobs as PJ Walker on “WCW Worldwide” in 1994. He wrestled against Vader and the Nasty Boys. He said he befriended Paul Roma at a gym in Connecticut and he worked a few tapings in a week and got the gig as a result of him. When asked, he said there was no feedback from the office in WCW. Credible said that in WCW, you could never tell who was in charge, compared to the WWF where they had the fingers on the pulse of everything.

He then talks about how he was offered a contract by the WWF. During the Undertaker vs. Undertaker feud, the WWF needed someone to take bumps for Brian Lee. He said that Garea booked him to work with Brian Lee and the Undertaker to prepare them. He was in his gear and Vince was there, with Pat Patterson. He worked a TV match with Brian Lee and Patterson apporached him and asked who trained him. He then asked about his nationality, which is Portuguese, and when asked if he spoke the language, Credible said that he was fluent. Patterson then told Vince that he was Portuguese and little did Credible know, they already had the Aldo Montoya gimmick written up and after two months, Vince pulled him aside after a TV Taping and offered him a deal. He was not immediately told about the gimmick then added that he did not even see the costume until the day he debuted the character.

Credible is asked about Shawn Michaels back then. He said that Shawn was a mess but very competitive. He said that he was not even old enough to be in bars at that time and wound up as the driver. He did say that Shawn was quick to accept him and how Shawn is a completely different person today.

Speaking about the Kliq, Credible said that people do not realize that they were passionate about the business, even if they were not always right. He said that he would learn from them by riding in the cars as he was only a few years in the business and listen to them discuss the matches on what did and did not work.

Still on the Kliq, he said that he saw a lot of them pass out from using a lot of somas and get into bar fights. When asked, he said that they were “dicks” to fans when they approached them at bars. He felt like he was a babysitter back at this time.

He is now asked again about Shawn and Credible said at this point, he was all about wrestling and getting f----- up. Credible even said that Shawn had a system down that he would take his pills at a certain time so right after he finished his match, they would kick in and he would immediately be high. He then said that Hall was even worse with the drugs.

On how they got the drugs, Credible said that they were all prescribed by doctors. He mentions the fanny packs that wrestlers wore to carry their pills and said that you would go to Curt Hennig for pain pills, Hall for Xanax, and Shawn or Road Dogg for somas. He said that you were basically the odd man out if you did not have anything and attributes that to the crazy schedule, which he said has been corrected today.

For the first few years of his wrestling career, Credible said that he never used drugs. He recalls the end of a 20 day tour in Germany that he was so exhausted that he put his head into an ice bucket right before his match in order to wake himself up.

He is asked about the first time he took a pain pill. He wrestled at a small show against the Brooklyn Brawler and blew out his shoulder. He was at the bar with Hall, nursing a Coors Light, and told Hall that he hurt his shoulder and gave him two pills and told him to take them, even calling him a “puss.” He said he never did drugs before but noticed the relief he got from those pills. He said at that time, he was still naive and had a lack of education about substance abuse and figured that this was what everyone was doing and could not show weakness as he was running with a group of alpha males. Credible said it took him years to realize that he had a problem.

Credible is asked about other big names at that time doing drugs and he states that he took acid with the Undertaker while on a plane ride to the Philippines. He also mentions how Michael Hayes would hit up the locker room for drugs and he was an agent at the time. Credible said that the drug problem was rampant but that some guys were better with their use than others. He said that they were testing for marijuana and steroids primarily but if you tested positive for Opiates and had a prescription for Vicodin or Percocet, you were fine.

At this point, Credible said that he was doing everything, from pills to coke. He then tells a story about how he and Hall were smoking a joint during a drive from Montreal to Boston and got tested when they arrived and only Hall got popped. Credible said that Hall had heat with Vince at the time then adds how they were picking and choosing who to bust.

He mentions how he once had two eight-balls of coke in his pants passing through customs in Kuwait and ended up snorting it with Shawn. At this time, they would charter buses for heels and babyfaces for the overseas tours.

Back on the subject of wrestling, he is asked about working with Ted Dibiase. Credible said that he was stepping down to a managerial role and going through the motions but would give you a lot of offense in the ring.

When asked about his first impression of HHH, Credible said that he was always serious about the business and rarely partied, if ever, but would joke around and was a likable guy. He said that Shawn, Hall, and Nash thought that he was money and brought him into their circle as they wanted to be around guys who they thought could draw money.

He said that Nash is a cool guy who was all business. During the time Nash was champion, Credible said that they were upset about payoffs as business was bad and WCW was paying better. At this time, Credible was making from $60,000-$75,000 a year and nothing was guaranteed and you were paid off of the house. When asked, Credible said that his friendship with the Kliq got him booked a lot.

Credible is asked about working house shows with Steve Austin when he was the “Ringmaster.” Credible said that the stunner would get a pop even before he became Stone Cold.

He said that he was also cool with the Undertaker, Godwinn’s, and Rikishi at this time.

The interviewer goes back and asks him about the time he took acid with the Undertaker. He was sitting behind the Undertaker when Henry Godwinn told him to take it and within twenty minutes, he said he was “bobbing and weaving.” When asked about the Undertaker on acid, Credible said that he was funny. Credible then said that overall, Undertaker was a real cool guy that was level-headed.

On the Aldo Montoya gimmick, he said it sucked but it was a learning experience. He said that he ended up going to Vince’s office and wanted to learn and do something else so Vince sent him to Memphis and told Credible that he was going to bring him back as a heel. He also said if he wasn’t going to do anything, he was going to ask for his release as he was talking to Scott about joining WCW. Credible believes that Vince sent him to Memphis because it would look bad if more guys were leaving.

Justin said that he respected Jerry Lawler but never cared for the Memphis style of wrestling. At one point, he tried out with the Nation of Domination gimmick as part of PG-13 but he ended up quitting six weeks into his Memphis run. The day he quit was when Heyman came down as part of the ECW/USWA feud and he met up with Chris Candido who hooked him up with Paul Heyman and he signed a deal.

He thought that Heyman was a “mad genius” and loved him in WCW. Justin believed that Heyman hired him as he needed solid guys who could work. He said a lot of the ECW guys were homegrown and raw but it was a sloppy style of wrestling and needed more polished workers. One of his first matches there was with Jerry Lynn and he even wrestled a match as Aldo Montoya.

Justin talks about how he never established a character or got comfortable on the microphone until 2000 while in ECW. When asked about the Justin Credible character was created, he said that the urban legend was that Bilvis Wesley saw the name on a bumper sticker and wanted to use the name for himself but Paul thought it fit him instead of Bilvis and gave him a small sum of money, about $150 for the name.

As Justin Credible, he talks about how he could work all sorts of styles. He is asked about being stuck with Jason Knight. At the time, he thought it was corny but looking back, he was glad that it started that way.

When asked about Chastity, she was hanging around at the time and they wanted Justin to have an entourage so they stuck her with him.

He is asked about the drug scene in the ECW locker room, Credible said that it was more recreational drugs than pain pills. He talks about the travel being much lighter than the WWF as a reason for that.

Justin is asked about several wrestlers he worked with in ECW. He thought he had good chemistry with Jerry Lynn and cites his match at Heatwave 1998 as his breakout match, which included a tombstone piledriver from the second rope. He said that Tommy Dreamer helped him adapt to the ECW style of wrestling. At first, Justin said that he was apprehensive about using the hardcore spots. He thought that Masato Tanaka was great. He talks about how the Sandman character was not a gimmick but that he was an intelligent guy who could work in the ring. He talks about getting to beat the s--- out of Sandman when he left for WCW and got the kendo stick gimmick as a result.

When he got more popular in ECW, Justin said that he got to become the Shawn Michaels of the promotion. He occasionally traveled with Tony DeVito or Lance Storm but usually just traveled with his wife.

He is asked about Heyman’s attitude of the locker room drug use, Justin goes back to the “mad genius” of Heyman and how he was able to keep things together. Justin also mentions Dreamer and how he was basically the Pat Patterson of ECW, usually coming up with the finishes of the matches.

On the subject of Nicole Bass, Justin said she was a sweet girl but was lost and pushed into the business by her husband, an older man who would also sell Vicodin and Nubain.

He calls Sid a “rockstar” and said that he could always command a reaction from the crowd. He talks about how he filled in for Shane Douglas and came in on the PPV to work with him. Speaking of Shane, Justin said that he has a lot of respect for him and adds that he was the reason that ECW lasted in the beginning.

Justin is asked about the Impact Players. He said that Dawn Marie had ties into the business and thinks it was because she was dating Simon Diamond. He said that she was smart and knew how to work her roll. He loved being paired with Lance Storm because they were opposites as he was the hardcore guy with jeans and Lance was the technical wrestler. He said teaming with Lance was the easiest thing he did in wrestling because of their chemistry and the fact that they were trained by the same people.

Talking about Raven, Justin said that he liked working with him but sometimes he was so whacked out on drugs or would just be in a mood due to conflict with Heyman and not be his best in the ring.

The Interviewer point blank asks Justin if he was a full-blown addict at this point. He said that he was buying Vicodin from Nicole Bass’s husband and was making $2,500 a week while his wife was selling merchandise and making $150 a show. On the subject of bounced checks from Heyman, he said that he had checks bounce but Heyman always made good, citing one time when he was getting married and needed the money after the check bounced so he went to Paul’s house and got the money he was owed, along with an 1/8th of weed. He thinks that Paul made sure he was paid as everyone was leaving and he could have called up Scott and went to WCW.

He doesnt blame Lance for leaving for WCW and said that his deal allowed him to retire as he got a ton of money. This also led to Justin’s singles run and ultimately the title.

When he won the title, Credible puts it over as making you feel good because you closed the show and the company believed in you.

Justin said that Steve Corino worked hard and was really good. He admired his passion and says that he deserves everything he got.

He said that New Jack never f----- with him and thought he was funny.

When ECW closed, Justin said he was scared. He was reaching out to Jim Ross in the WWF and also to Lance Storm in WCW, who were not hiring anyone because they knew the company was going under. The WWF gave him a contract after two days.

In the WWF, he was paired with Albert and X-Pac as part of the X Factor. He was told at first that they were going to push them strong.

He talks about working against Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero. He said that Eddie was very nice and generous in the ring. He also said that Chris was generous but quiet. Justin also said that you had to work hard with them in the ring.

Justin talks about the Invasion angle ending up as a bust then X-Pac got into trouble with the office so he ended up being cast aside.

When asked how HHH changed from when he first arrived in the WWF, Justin said that he was more about business. He also said at the time, he was dating Stephanie but it was not out to the public yet and he knew because he rode with Regal, X-Pac, and HHH. He talks about one time, instead of driving to a Smackdown taping, HHH got them on Vince’s Jet and they flew. He said that he was on the plane with HHH, Regal, Austin, and Debra.

On teaming with Raven, Justin said it was the “shits” and that he was addicted to crystal meth and pain pills at the time too. He was getting drugs shipped to his home from a guy in Los Angeles. When asked about how he became addicted to meth, he did not give up the name but said that it was someone from the locker room who he was close with. Justin said at the time his career was slowly going down the shitter as there was no more WCW or ECW and he was floundering at the time.

Justin never cared about the Hardcore Title and reiterated that it was a dark period in his life due to his drug use.

He was fired in January of 2003. Before his release, HHH approached him and told him he needed to get his s--- together and Justin ended up blowing him off. Shortly after that, he had to sell his home because he was running out of money. Justin got fired after missing a flight to a show because he was high and Johnny Ace called and told him that he was fired. Justin then said he waited a week to tell his wife and cried after Ace called him.

When asked if his release from the WWE worsened his addiction problems, Credible said he doesnt remember that period and does not want to because it was a very dark period in his life.

The interviewer asks Credible about his daily struggles with addiction. He talks about how difficult it was to function as an opiate addict, especially the withdrawals, and how he was too embarrassed to get help for years. Credible now takes over the interview and talks about his drug abuse. He said that he went from abusing pain pills to abusing heroin intravaneously. He said that he was using heroin to get by to prevent himself from being sick as he was no longer being prescribed opiates from doctors as he was not wrestling full-time, which made it easy to get prescriptions. Credible said that the opiates were too expensive to purchase off of the streets. He then talks about how at first, he was snorting three bags of heroin daily just to prevent himself from going into withdrawals. One day, he could only afford one bag then someone told him that if he shot up, he would not go through withdrawals and that is how it started.

Still on the topic of his addiction, Credible said that for a long time, he did not want to give up his drug habit because he felt like Superman when he was high. Credible then talks about how he found that wrestlers mask not only pain with drugs, but also emotions, from dealing with the difficulties in the business. He says that he felt like he had no identity outside of pro wrestling and when that got taken away, he didnt want to feel anything anymore. He said that he swallowed a lot of pride and called the WWE in November of 2012 and asked them for help.

They go back to Credible’s brief return to the WWE as part of the ECW brand in 2005. Credible said that he had no real intentions of giving up his addictions. He talks about trying to lock himself in his house for a few days and go cold turkey but he was unable to overcome the physical pain.

Credible is asked about how he got in contact with the WWE in order to get to rehab. Credible said he called the office and got the number to the company’s addiciton counselor. The WWE ended up flying him to a facility in a suburb outside of Baltimore, MD. Credible said that the place was wonderful. He then talks about how the addictions counselor for the WWE holds weekly phone meetings (almost like a narcotics anonymous meeting held over the phone) that would have other wrestlers who were addicts as well.

He speaks about how it is still a constant struggle to maintain sobriety. Credible says that somedays, like today, are good while others are not. He does say how he is happy to say that he has not touched any opiates or any other drugs since leaving rehab a year ago. He said that if someone would have told him a year ago that he still would be sober today, he never would have believed them. Credible then talks about how he got hooked up with DDP Yoga and said it gave him another obstacle to climb as he continues to go through his recovery process. He then shows us a new tattoo on his arm that reminds him of his new beginning, noting that an old track mark is still present.

Credible talks about his career and how he wants to leave a better legacy behind. He talks about how he is getting a lot of independent bookings and helping teach classes and reiterates about wanting to leave wrestling on a positive note.

The interviewer asks if the WWE Rehab offer is only for 30 days. Credible said that it is all open ended and they tell you to just get well. Credible then talks about how at first he thought the WWE Rehab offer was just a PR move, and he still does to some degree so the company can cover themselves with all of the drug abuse deaths in wrestling, but says that the business has changed and the drug abuse is almost non-existant. He talks about being in a locker room recently and that there were no drugs around backstage and if anything, someone might take a pill or smoke a joint but that is all. Credible gives credit for the newer generation of wrestlers for standing up and saying enough is enough regarding the drug abuse and talks about how the generations before them took a lot of s---.

Now, Credible is asked about the recoveries of Jake Roberts and Scott Hall. He talks about having a close bond with Hall, saying that Hall would call him up drunk on occasion and that they would rely on each other for support. Credible then talks about a photo at a recent “House of Hardcore” show with former ECW wrestlers. Credible said that Tommy Dreamer invited him and the other’s to the show because they were all sober now. Credible then talks about how when they were in ECW, it was cool to use drugs but now that is not the case at all.

Credible is asked about his family and how aware they were of his drug abuse. He said that they were all aware and tried to help. He said that he put everyone through a lot of “s---” but today, he can’t believe that he has regained the respect of his family. He then tells a story of how he was recently at his mother in law’s house and went to the bathroom and saw a bottle of Percocet sitting on the counter and how five years ago, he would have considered taking them or make him want to get some for himself but on this occasion, he said that he was not triggered by the bottle at all and is proud of that.

When asked about making amends to people he hurt or screwed over in wrestling after leaving rehab, he said that he did. Credible added that it was not hard but in some instances, it was too painful to reach out. He said that he still has some work to do.

Now, Credible is asked about his “Pro Wrestling 101” videos that are available online. He talks about being a guest on Colt Cabana’s “Art of Wrestling” podcast and after that, Cabana told him to do a podcast of his own or make videos so people know that he is around and to keep yourself relevant. Credible said that he thought about what to do and said that he was doing a lot of independent shows and felt that so many of the other wrestlers would never be able to get the knowledge from experienced veterans like he did when he first broke into the business so he decided to make videos about all of the things he has learned from wrestlers over the years as a way to give back to wrestling and to keep himself relevant.

Credible is asked if he would ever want a job with the WWE as a trainer. He said that he would and adds that he follows the current product and even keeps in touch with others in the company. He said that he would like to stay sober longer before atetmpting to land a job like that but wants to do that sooner rather than later.

He talks about how he loves wrestling, whether it is being in the ring with a young guy or a veteran. He said that in the ring is the only way he can be creative and said that wrestling is now his heroin.

When asked about what he would want people to say about him twenty years down the line, Credible said that they would want him to say that he loves the business, was honest, and worked as hard as he could to entertain the fans.

Credible closes by plugging his website and his “Pro Wrestling 101” videos. The interviewer thanks Credible for having the balls to say what he did as Credible says that this interview was liberating and that

Final Thoughts: I really liked this interview, especially the end. Credible was open and honset about his struggles to finally ask for help and to stay sober. I really, really hope that he can stay on the right path. He also shed some light on the WWE Rehab process and how it does seem to help out the performers even when they have finished a stint at a facility.

While discussing his “dark period,” you could tell that Credible was still uncomfortable even thinking about that time in his life. He could be seen nervously bouncing his legs at times while talking and on one occasion, just did not want to go back to that time and place. However, when he talked about being sober and winning back the respect and trust of his family, the anxiety decreased and took great pride in his sobriety. I also respect how Credible never blamed anyone for his addiction. He took responsibility for his actions.

Credible also shines a light on how bad the drug scene was in wrestling and how much it has cleaned up today. Like he said, the guys today learned from the mistakes that he and his fellow wrestlers made when they were on top of their game.

I recommend this interview as it is a great story of someone who is has made a lot of mistakes and took the steps to correct that. Credible really seems genuine when he says that he wants to give back to wrestling. He did not go in depth into his stories of drugs and did not glorify the examples he gave. He did not have a bad word to say about anyone and I wish him all of the best.