411 Wrestling Interview: Mathew 'Massive Q' Sforcina
Posted by Justin Watry on 04.18.2014
Justin Watry interviews the one and only Mathew 'Massive Q' Sforcina on multiple topics. How does the pro wrestler feel about unions in the business? What will be the top four matches at WM31? Also, does he enjoy writing or wrestling more? All this and much more!
From writing a weekly column to competing the squared circle, Mathew Sforcina can do it all. This past week, I was lucky enough ask him a few questions about the business he loves so much. Enjoy!
Justin Watry: Thank you for the time sir. To start, just introduce yourself to the wrestling world who may have been living under a rock.
Mathew 'Massive Q' Sforcina: Well to be fair you don't need to be under a rock to not know me, most people who are up and about on tops of rocks don't know me either, in fact you need to be on a pretty high tall stack of rocks to know me, if that metaphor makes sense, which I don't think it does.
Let's try that again.
I wrestle on the Australian wrestling scene as Massive Q, having competed in AWF, Newcastle Pro and PWA, as well as having worked with several interstate companies. I'm a former AWF Australasian Champion, and am also a former three quarters of the AWF Tag Team Champions.
Before getting into anything specific, The Ultimate Warrior passed away this past week. What are your thoughts on this happening so quickly after WWE WrestleMania XXX and was he of any influence to you?
It was interesting seeing the reaction from the fans as the news started to spread, as it was possibly one of the more shocking deaths in a long while, given that it came so soon after WM, as you say. I'll cop to fearing for the worst when I first heard about it, but now that we have more details, while any death is tragic and is never a good thing, I think that Warrior, maybe just subconsciously, knew, perhaps, that he was nearing his twilight. He rebuilt his bridges, got his moment at the Hall of Fame and WM and Raw, got into video games and DVDs again... He's helped ensure his family's future, got his moment, and has left us. I certainly don't think he knew it would be that sudden, but unlike Randy Savage, he got to experience the fans loving him one last time, he had his moment, and that's excellent.
In terms of influence, I certainly admired his charisma and his energy, and in a way he has inspired me but in reverse, in that I'm a giant, and the vast majority of my opponents are smaller than me, and his matches with larger guys are very good at teaching young wrestlers how to work a giant verses a powerhouse type matches. But as far as personal inspiration, our styles are just far too different to take anything specific.
On that note, WrestleMania XXX has now come and gone. Since you are the guru on the history of this business, how will the event be looked at in 30 years? Good, bad, great, special, changing of the guard?
I always get slightly weirded out when people talk about me as a historian or a guru or whatever, I'm just a fan, a wrestler and a guy with internet access, but if people do treat my opinion as important, then that's a huge compliment.
As for Wrestlemania XXX, assuming that WWE is still touring in 30 years and hasn't moved into just a nostalgia VOD service, the show will probably be remembered as a good show to watch as a standalone show, in that Bryan/HHH and the main were both great wrestling matches, The Shield and Cesaro both got impressive moments, Cena/Wyatt told their story well, and you have the Streak ending as one of, if not the most shocking moments in wrestling history. So in the "60 Days, 60 WM" type recaps and reviews, it'll get positive words spoken for the wrestling in of itself. Not quite X-7 levels, but still very good.
In terms of historical significance, it'll always have a spot because of The Streak, it will be a Wrestlemania remembered, but long term it's hard to say because while right now it does look very much like a game changer, like the rise of the next generation and all that, Wrestlemania 6 looked like that too. And one year later it was Hogan V Foreign Heel again. Wrestlemania X was Bret's moment, but he got pushed aside within a couple years. Wrestlemania XX had an iconic ending... Or at least, it did, until a tragedy and crimes occurred. As it stands right now, Bryan, Cesaro, Shield, Brock and to a lesser extent Wyatt all got their moment, all got their launchpads, or boosts. But if WWE turns right back around and 31 is headlined by Cena V Orton and HHH V Batista or something, if WWE reverts, it'll be seen as a wasted moment. I'm confident that it will be remembered fondly as a turning point, but there is no guarantee.
With your expertise, tell the reading public what the top four matches for WrestleMania 31 next year will be.
Wow, all right. Well, it depends on if you're talking workrate and quality matches or the main events. You'd hope that's one and the same, but... Anyway, the 4 top matches, as I sit right now?
WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Brock Lesnar (c) w/Paul Heyman V Daniel Bryan: Right now, Brock is the final boss of the WWE. He beat the Streak, he is Galactus, Destroyer of Worlds right now. So if he ends up getting his hands on the belt, that's a worst case scenario. Yes, having the belt on a part timer is not great for house show business, but if he takes it at Survivor Series, that's only a few months for Bryan to focus, win the Rumble, challenge and hopefully get the belts back for the fans.
John Cena V Cesaro w/Paul Heyman: I base this on the fact that John Cena is both a fantastic opponent for Cesaro and a fan of his work. They've had great matches on Raw, and given that the belt is now with Bryan and I hope mostly in his orbit for the coming year, Cena will continue working with new hot heels as the sort of Secondary Main Event storyline. Although Wyatt lost, he's gotten a rub from working with Cena on the big stage, why not Cesaro?
The Rock & Roman Reigns V Batista & Randy Orton: Reigns is also getting a monster push, but there's also talk of Rock coming back next year, and while you'd assume Rock would want a main event slot, I don't think he'd be willing/able to work a full singles match. So, why not team up with his ... Half Grand Nephew Once Removed? I still can't get my head around the entire Anoa'I family tree...
Sting V Triple H w/Stephanie McMahon: I don't see Taker coming back for next year as a wrestler. Actually I think he's done and he'll officially retire/HOF next year, but either way, we won't get Sting/Taker next year. So, who else is on that level? Triple H, come on down...
Speaking of your expertise, you are well known for the Ask 411 Wrestling column right here on 411mania.com! Cheap plug aside, what has been the biggest pro and biggest con to the fan favorite weekly column?
To start with the con, apart from the times when there's been controversies about what I've written and said (Sadlygate and what have you), the time and effort involved can sometimes be a huge burden. Any writer knows that sometimes when deadlines loom, the words just do not appear and you have to force every line, and it can be stressful to produce work I think is good enough. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't. Often times what I think is great people hate and vice versa, so the stress is there at times.
But that's very overshadowed by the pros of having my work read and appreciated by so many, to have my opinion be valued and respected by fans, and fellow writers, and fellow wrestlers, it's crazy at times to think of people who I respect say that they love my work or that they value my opinion. Hell, being interviewed like this is still a shock to me. I'm still just a guy, and to have that sort of respect from people is incredible, and I do thank and respect everyone who reads and supports all my work.
This may have been brought up before, but I have always been curious. If you had to pick just one, would you rather get paid a healthy sum of money to wrestle full-time or get paid a healthy sum to write about wrestling full-time? Explain.
Actually that's the first time that comparison has been asked of me. I occasionally get the "King Kong Bundy V Tito Santata" comparison, of a long, moderate career vs a short but huge one, but wrestling vs writing about wrestling? That's tough. I mean, I do want to become a writer, someone who writes things that are appreciated and hopefully makes money, but there is no thrill like stepping out of the curtains, down to the ring and performing in front of a crowd. Being able to tell those stories is a hard thing to give up.
But... I'm not crippled, but I have had injuries. My right shoulder has been fractured, my right ankle seizes up when it isn't used for a while, wrestling is a full contact sport. So while I'd hate to have to make that choice, and I'd prefer the wrestling then the writing, if Vince McMahon called me and made me that offer, I'd probably go with the writing. I could do it more consistently for longer, and I'd be almost as happy.
Being a wrestler, where do you stand on the never ending issue of a union forming in WWE or even the constant independent contractor/employee debate?
In the interests of full disclosure, while I do wrestle as an independent contractor, I have a day job, and as part of that day job, I'm in a union. Not that that influences the answer I'm about to give, but just so all cards are on the table.
A large part of this issue is based around the fact that the 'big leagues', the WWE and whichever American companies down you personally consider 'big', are in America, and so it's predicated on the basis that it's the American rules on employee V contractor issue. While I'm not saying the Japanese or Australian system is better, it is different, so my being in a union of Australian wrestlers would be different than the issue of a union for American wrestlers, since the Australian health care system is funded by taxes and surcharges rather than as pay as you go and so on. So personally a wrestling union wouldn't affect me too much.
But in America, I both see the need for one and also know that it will never happen. First and foremost, the basis of a union is collective bargaining and the idea of fighting as a group for the best outcome for the group. Whereas wrestling is, first and foremost, a business run by individuals where individuals succeed or fail. It's all well and good to want to help fellow wrestlers and to want to support movements to get a better deal, at the end of the day you're asking someone to give up their money for the sake of someone else, and in a business where you have to look out for yourself, on a business built on who you know and where you can get buried because you do something wrong in the back... It's an idea that should be implemented, but I don't think it ever will.
Since I did a little bit of 'research' for this (just a little bit), I read that you once met Daniel Bryan. It had to have been great to watch his journey play out leading to the WM main event. Besides yourself, who is on your radar to follow that very same path to success? Indy wrestler? Ring of Honor star? Somebody already in WWE today?
Well I wouldn't be so quick to say I'm on that path, but let's quickly move away from that and onto the question proper.
Although yeah, I met Bryan and if things had gone slightly differently I'd have shared a title lineage with him, but alas it wasn't to be.
I tend to be slightly cynical about things using the old logic that "better right or pleasantly surprised than right or horribly disappointed", and so I'm very aware of the fact that no matter how sure a bet, no matter how much of a can't miss someone seems, sometimes the bet fails.
Sometimes can't misses do miss.
But while I could go with the obvious guys who I think will be big stars who you, dear reader, already know in WWE (Zayn) or ROH/Indies (Elgin, Steen), I'll go with a couple names that are local who you may want to check out now, so you can do the whole 'Knew them before they were famous'.
One of them is Tama Williams, a New Zealand born wrestler who I watched from his first training days through to where he is now, UN Heavyweight Champion in ZERO1 in Japan. He's a great all round guy, he can pretty much wrestle any style of match, and he's got a good head on his shoulders. After a few more months in Japan, if he's not getting interest from the States then there's something wrong with the world.
The other two are female wrestlers, Evie and Shazza McKenzie. Shazza I've been high on for years, partly because I played a small part in her getting into the business, and Evie is a more recent wrestler I've grown to really love watching, but they are both great wrestlers and they could be awesome as centrepieces for female wrestler divisions. Plus they also are both cute, which I wish didn't have to be a factor but it is and they are so yay.
Going back to yourself, what has been your biggest accomplishment in wrestling and what do you wish to achieve before being able to retire with a clear conscious and no regrets?
There were, and still are, firsts I had that I wanted to achieve as a wrestler. Just having a match, winning any title anywhere, stuff like that. Those sorts of things are awesome, but the biggest accomplishment isn't so much the titles or the TV appearances and stuff, but stuff I've gotten to do via wrestling, getting to entertain kids and do charity events and stuff, being able to make kids happy is awesome and a major achievement. Although having a really great match with Sonjay Dutt and winning the AWF Title were both very sweet.
As for still wishing to achieve, I want to, even if it's just once, wrestle in America and Japan. I've got plenty of ideas and lofty goals, and so if I wanted to shoot for the moon I could. Be in the main event of a Wrestlemania and lose is still my #1 goal, but if I just got to work in those countries even just once, everything else would be gravy.
I appreciate the time. Everybody already knows to check out your outstanding Ask 411 Wrestling column every Tuesday night/early Wednesday morning. Where else can fans find you? Feel free to promote any project, website, or appearance you wish. Thanks again!
I do have other irons in the fire that may or may not end up popping up, so following me on Twitter is the best way to get all the Massive Q news you need. But hey, thanks for reading this interview, I certainly appreciate that too!