411 Interviews: Tony Kozina of Resistance Pro and Ring of Honor
Posted by TJ Hawke on 11.21.2011
The longtime independent veteran sits down with 411mania to discuss working the upcoming show promoted by Billy Corgan, being a part of "Team Richards" in ROH, and much more!
Tony Kozina, a long time independent wrestling veteran, will be on the debut show for Resistance Pro Wrestling on November 25th in Chicago. Resistance Pro is owned and operated by Smashing Pumpkins frontman, Billy Corgan. The roster also features David Hart Smith, Colt Cabana, The Briscoe Brothers, Kevin Steen, El Generico, The Necro Butcher, Teddy Hart, Kyle O'Reilly and many more. Raven is an agent for the promotion and will be working backstage in various capacities. Kozina has also recently been seen on Ring of Honor television and iPPV as a part of the "Team Richards" training camp.
TJ Hawke: You were recently announced as one of the members of the Resistance Pro roster. How did you get hooked up with this new and unique promotion? What are your goals for your time with this promotion? Do you know what your first match is going to be when the promotion debuts in Chicago on Black Friday?
Tony Kozina: I was contacted by Gabriel [Baron] months ago about being a part of the card. I had no idea about any of it, but the more I talked to him, the better and better it started to sound! My goals for Resistance are to cut loose...not hold back, or be held back from going for broke.
Not sure what my first match is. I've heard some things, but nothing confirmed, so I couldn't tell you with any degree of accuracy who I'm facing.
TJ: In the last year or so, you have become known to newer indie fans because of your work with your training partners, Davey Richards and Kyle O'Reilly. The three of you have been dubbed "Team Richards" on Ring of Honor programming. You guys are known for your rigorous training regime. I have actually asked both of them this question before, and I am curious to hear your perspective. What is a typical week of training and wrestling for you guys?
TK: It changes from time to time, and right now were in the process of switching training facilities, as well as moving into different, better housing.. Basically mon/wed early morning cardio.. Muay Thai and Jiu Jitsu from noon to 2pm and a workout later that night with weights..tues/thurs is 7am weights and Muay Thai/Jitz from 645 to815pm...Tuesday we amatuer wrestle as well for another 45 min after Jiu Jitsu.. fri/sat/sun depends on if were on the road, but we get in a good working and/or some rolling time when we can
TJ: Before the "Team Richards" story started in Ring of Honor, you wrestled sporadically for the company since 2007 when you debuted at that annual Survival of the Fittest Tournament. What have your experiences at Ring of Honor been like? Is there a match that you have there that you are most proud of?
TK: I debuted in July 2004 at Do or Die.. I've enjoyed my time with ROH, yet it's been frustrating as well. I'm capable of more than what I've been given, yet I'm so thankful to be a part of the company. It's such a team environment amongst all the guys, from the referees, wrestlers, and matchmakers, to Sinclair C.O.O. Joe Koff. Everyone's onboard to make this the finest wrestling promotion on the planet. I will say my finest match thus far has been teaming w/ TJ Perkins to face Davey and Rocky at the Cow Palace in San Fransisco in Oct. 2007. I hold all three of those guys in the highest regards. What a treat to be with them, at such a historic wrestling venue. I'm so glad ROH has signed TJ, at long last. And what can you say about Davey and Rocky's success in New Japan Pro Wrestling?? [Author's Note: Davey and Rocky won the IWGP Jr. Tag Team Titles recently in NJPW] It motivates us all to keep bustin' ass, and become better!!
TJ: If I am not mistaken, you were one of Davey Richards's original trainers when he was first broke into the business. What was Davey like when your first started training with him? What about your training relationship has allowed the two of you to still be working together all these years later?
TK: Davey came to me 85% trained as a pro wrestler AND came in with a fighting background, which we utilized as much as possible. I helped him fine tune some ideas he had. He was motivated beyond what I had ever known, and I thought I was motivated!! Hahahahaa. I knew he was gonna be something special and as soon as I could, I brought him to LA with me because I knew he would get exposure down there through PWG. I just knew they'd want him onboard.
It's sooo funny, because he came to me a quiet, hungry young man, who listened and was ready to take in every bite of information he could get his hands on. He was very respectful, but kind of quiet. We did a few trips to Canada together, and then I brought him to San Fransisco with me. I thought, if I'm gonna drive for 12 hours with this cat, I've gotta loosen him up cuz I'm a damn nut!! So a few hours of a Jerky Boys, Adam Sandler, and Phil Hendrie crash course, he was never the same! As different as we are, we are quite similar as well. We've both learned a great deal from each other in wrestling AND life in general, and continue to do so. We've shared all of our personal disasters together. My divorce, and his divorce, the passing of his grandparents, and so on. I always say to him, "where were you 12 years ago?" What allows us to still be training together after 7 years...? We're best of friends: it's as simple as that.
TJ: On October 2nd of this year, you competed for two growing independent companies: Absolute Intense Wrestling and Beyond Wrestling. How did your matches go that day? Would you like to return to those companies in the near future?
TK: Ahh shitcity, I know Kyle and Davey are laughin' right now. They're praisin' sweet Christmas. Ahh, my match was ridiculous. He was a very nice guy, as they all are but didn't belong in the ring. You can't get mad at those dudes. They don't know any better. They're trying, but when every other promotion takes guys from Jumpin' Joe Jim-Bob's rasslin' school, you get... well I don't know what you get, but it ain't wrestling. We went in there and squeezed one off for all to enjoy. I dont know, would they have me back after reading this?? HAHAHAHA. I'll go anywhere. I love to travel, and see the fans and all the parts of the country. I may have to ask exactly who I'd be facing next time though. But it's like that everywhere now on these indies. It's like Hellraiser...just like Clive Barker's Hellraiser out there!
TJ: You competed at the Chikara King of Trios 2009 as a member of Team EPIC WAR (Austin Aries,
Tony Kozina, & Ryan Drago). King of Trios is now considered to be one of the biggest wrestling tournaments of the year. What was it like to compete in that tournament? Do you have any memories of your matches from that weekend that you would want to share?
TKI didn't think of the show as a big deal. We were using the show to further stories we had running in Los Angeles w/ EPIC-WAR, so I was focusing on cutting promos for that, but it was a good time. Except Gary ran out of gas in the city, when I told him repeatedly to fill up. That and I wrecked my ribs something fierce doing the rana to the floor on the first night.
TJ: You have been in the wrestling business a long time. What part or accomplishment of your career are you most proud of? Is there a specific goad you still wish to accomplish in the pro wrestling business
TK: Well, the truth of it is...I've hardly…BARELY, been in the wrestling business over the past 15 years.. When you're in WWE, or under contract w/ New Japan, ROH or TNA, then you're in the business. Other than that it's just blowing smoke. Do you know what I mean?? All this "Heyy bruthA, we're in da business" bullcrap: It's idiotic. With that said, I'm proud of what I've been able to accomplish. There are things, looking back, that'd I'd have done differently here and there, stuff I wish I wouldn't have done, but it's all a learning experience, you know?
But my goal is, and has always been to always work in wrestling. I love it all: the travel, the lifestyle, the guys, the dedication, and the magic when it's done right. A lot of folks have no idea of my creative mind; some do, and they know…one day everyone will know. But I was born for this lifestyle, and this business: it's what I do!
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