The Crystal Ball 11.1.06: Interview With Boris Alexiev
Posted by Steve Sullivan on 11.01.2006
Who is he? Where's he been? Why did Jim Cornette slap him? All the answers are inside as The Crystal Ball goes 1-on-1 with the Russian phenom Boris Alexiev!
Before I get started, a note to all my New York City readers: The 50 Greatest Moments At Madison Square Garden debuted this past Tuesday on MSGN. As many of you may know by now, I'm going to be on the episode that features Wrestlemania, which will likely be in the Top 15. A new episode airs every Tuesday night at 9 on the Madison Square Garden Network and a replay happens periodically though the overnight hours so make sure you check it out. There is also a website for it, www.msg50.com For those interested, there is a teasing video of the one about Wrestlemania which features Vince McMahon, Gene Okerland, and Hulk Hogan. Yours truly will be joining that company on the TV version, so go watch it! Now, onto the interview!
This past spring, when I still had OVW TV, a man emerged onto my TV. Every now and then, I notice a wrestler like this in OVW. When I do, I try to bring attention to them using this column in hopes that someone out there may take notice of this particular person's talents. This particular wrestler really impressed me. Not because of his ring abilities. Not because of his mic skills or a silly gimmick. But because he was real. He was intense. And he was determined. His name is Boris Alexiev.
As the days went on, stories came around about Boris. Previous stories I had heard about the infamous Jim Cornette/Boogeyman slapping incident that ultimately led to Jim Cornette being fired were popping up with Boris' name in them. Today, the truth is revealed about what really happened.
I wrote about Boris just a couple of months ago here on 411mania. I had no idea how much attention that particular piece would get. One week later, Boris Alexiev received a WWE developmental deal. Little did I know that Boris himself would end up reading the piece as well while doing MMA in Japan.
Boris liked the piece so much that he agreed to sit down with me and go 1-on-1 with The Crystal Ball!
How did you get involved in wrestling?
Boris Alexiev: A team-mate on my university wrestling team is the son of my first coach Don Kolov. "Coach" wrestled with the likes of Calgary Stampede and the WWF, At Coach's school, UFO, I trained MMA in the cage beside the pro wrestling ring where other UFO wrestling students were training, however one day I found myself inside the ring and I instantly knew that I had found my place.
You've been off of OVW TV for a few shows now...where have you been?
Boris Alexiev: I am training at home waiting for my American work visa to be processed.
You were in Japan for awhile, were you doing MMA programs? If so, how did that go?
Boris Alexiev: MMA was great, I love fighting, and I love Japan, however if it were not for my last fight I would be 7-0, but one lucky punch and I am 6-1.
Do you see a trend developing between professional wrestling fans and MMA fans?
Boris Alexiev: A big trend, there has always been an overlap in the fan base, I hope to bridge the gap even further with my style .
Paul Heyman was said to have really liked you when he was heading up OVW creative, what was it like working with him and the other members of the OVW Creative Team?
Boris Alexiev: Everyone at OVW is passionate and professional, We eat, sleep, and breath wrestling, It has been a great place for me and a great time in my life, Paul Heyman is amazing, he brings out the best in me and pretty much everyone else he works with.
Since Heyman liked you so much, can you see yourself in ECW someday?
Boris Alexiev: It would be an honor to be considered a peer with regards to all the great innovators that have come from that brand.
You play a stiff, shoot fighting heel on OVW TV, what's the REAL Boris Alexiev like outside the ring?
Boris Alexiev: I like to enjoy life, have fun, train hard, eat good, and win, I know right from wrong, and like to enjoy each day to the fullest, and god help those who try to stop me, lol
There's a picture of you in a clown suit on your MySpace page, are you a big practical joker? If so, what's the best joke you ever played on someone?
Boris Alexiev: I guess from time to time a good joke is ok, the best I ever pulled was when I was a kid, my brother and I shared a bedroom and one time he went to the washroom in the middle of the night, so I went into his bed and grabbed him when he laid back down, right on top of me, I still have never heard such a scream in my life.
Can you talk about The Boogeyman/Jim Cornette incident?
Boris Alexiev: It was a simple misunderstanding, Jim Cornette didn't know that I was simply in the audience watching with my daughter, so when I smiled thinking boogy was going to scare my daughter he thought I was laughing at the bogyman, which pissed him off big time and the rest is common knowledge I think, no worries though I forgive but I don't forget, wink
You worked a short program with Chet The Jett, who is now the OVW Heavyweight Champion. A lot of wrestling fans don't know who he is, even though he is the champ. Can you talk about what you learned about Chet while you wrestled with him?
Boris Alexiev: Chet has the heart of a champion, he deserves the belt, he trains hard and is a very smart athlete, but I sure do want a rematch, he was in better condition than me for that fight but he has now created a monster in me, my cardio is way better now, I've made some serious changes to my training and life style in general, thx Chet
Who else on the OVW roster would you say is a strong up-and comer?
Boris Alexiev: There are so many guys here, I can't mention everyone but some are Mr. Stronko, J-man, Mo Sexton, Adam Revolver, Spiral, Cody, Shawn Spears, Serena, actually there are so many more that I could go on for a while so I'll stop here .
Who were some of your favorite wrestlers growing up?
Boris Alexiev: Ricky Steamboat, Jimmy Snuka, Hogan, Davey Boy Smith, Dynamite Kid, Billy Jack Haynes, and of course Andre
What WWE Superstar, past or present, would you say most resembles your character?
Boris Alexiev: Well some call me the Russian Kurt Angle which is very cool so I'll have to say him
Who on the WWE roster would you most like to wrestle with?
Boris Alexiev :Finley, Benoit, and CM Punk
How did the WWE discover you?
Boris Alexiev: OVW - good place to be to get noticed !
You said you read my column about you while you were in Japan, do you regularly check wrestling writers on the internet?
Boris Alexiev: not so much, I couldn't sleep one night in Japan so I went to the 24hr internet cafe and just googled my name for fun, and there you were, lol
Do you feel the internet has made a major impact on the business?
Boris Alexiev: Yes for the good and for the bad.
What kind of advice would you give to aspiring wrestlers?
Boris Alexiev: Cardio !!!! train!! - its not about the fancy moves, its about winning the match, train to win fights, if you don't know how, learn, the knowledge is out there.
Anything else you want the fans to know about Boris Alexiev?
Boris Alexiev: The Intercontinental belt is my first love, so look out cause here comes Boris!
Once again, I want to thank Boris for taking the time out his schedule to be a part of this column and share a few tidbits about himself and his career! I hope all of you enjoyed it as well!
Speaking of you enjoying my stuff, I finally got some feedback from you this week, so for the first time in forever, it's time to answer some...
I don't get very many negative emails but this week, I finally got one. So let's have some fun making fun of him. Bring it on Mark:
...you're an idiot. lol TNA is the biggest joke in "wrestling." If you
like flipping and gymnastics, with some blown spots sprinkled in, go watch
TNA. It'll feel like an indivudalized show made just for you because it's
only you and about 200 other people watching it on TV...
Yeah, Kurt Angle really popped the ratings for them.
I don't ever remember saying that Kurt Angle popped the ratings for TNA, and so far, he hasn't. The only people who really know TNA exists are wrestling fans like us who follow it regularly and know where to find it. Once TNA begins its Primetime slot on Spike, look out. TNA will have the same if not higher ratings than Smackdown by next summer. I can guarantee it.
As for TNA being a joke, you obviously haven't watched recently. Yeah there's some flipping and gymnastics but that's what makes TNA different. Do you want to see the same thing you already see on the WWE? And yeah, there's going to be some blown spots, but the WWE is no better. Have you seen Sabu wrestle lately?
TNA is trying to be different and that's the only way they are ever going to be a force to be reckoned with in the near future. But you just keep watching the same tape over and over again and entertain yourself that way.
We continue the TNA bashing with Jason:
Great article on Cyber Sunday, but I did find one relative inconsistency...
"That was a first to me and I realized that TNA truly has established itself as the WWE's biggest competition."
Ummm.... ok. Considering the WWE has had literally NO competition for the past five years makes that a.... compliment? I think. If you HAD watched previous TNA ppvs to be quite honest I think you wouldn't have been too impressed by Bound for Glory. BFG proved just to be TNA's usual fanfare and wrestling style which to any sound wrestling fan is butt-ugly.
To a more interesting point on TNA, the recent debate about Kurt Angle. Certainly the debate over the past few weeks has been centered on Angle's health and what a great acquisition he is for TNA etc. etc.but no one has asked the question that matters most to TNA, can he bring in the $$$. Can he draw (ala Hogan) or is he just another great technical wrestler who just can't move merchandise or ratings (ala Bret Hart)? I don't know if you can point to any particular area where Angle had the entire company (WWE) on his back (early in his career, Austin, Rock, Later on, HHH Lesnar, Guerrero), and maybe that's a sign. Looking back honestly his biggest draw was never as a face, but as a heel on the receiving end of unanimous "You Suck" chants from the crowd. A crowd that didn't exactly seemed decked out in the WWE's Angle Merchandise. While in a wrestling sense Angle might make them better (if TNA adapts to Angle's style and not the other way around) but what about a product sense? Wouldn't have TNA been better off to have their own Marky Mark than Angle? Someone who could sell more T-shirts bad rap albums, and even worse movies than a technical wrestler who's olympic victory is essentially a forgotten memory? Certainly Angle's wrestling skills are not in question, but just because you're a good wrestler might not necessarily translate into people ponying up the cash to watch you wrestle people the general public probably thinks weren't good enough to be in WWE.
I think I'll close on this point..... wasn't Raw and the stale DX plotline that involved little to no actual wrestling more of a draw than the more pure wrestling shows (ECW, Smackdown!, TNA)? You can find the answer here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2006_WWE_television_ratings
but you can pretty much figure it out for yourself.
Thanks Jay. You make a good point about Kurt Angle. I don't think Kurt was ever a big draw for crowds in the WWE. But at the same time, Kurt has always had to share the company with guys like Triple H, HBK, The Undertaker, Ric Flair, and other guys who have always been huge draws within the company. In TNA, Kurt Angle is now finally the biggest name in the company. He's bigger than Rhyno. He's bigger than Christian Cage. He's even bigger than Jeff Jarrett and he may be a bigger name than Sting. Would I say that about Sting 6 years ago? Hell no. But as of right now, any current wrestling fan is going to recognize Kurt Angle's accomplishments over Sting's.
And I mention these names for a reason because you made another good point. These names are currently owning the TNA main scene, and they shouldn't be. I'd really like to see TNA push their younger stars more than they are right now. Stars who, without TNA, most wrestling fans would have never heard of. In a couple years, Jeff Jarrett will retire to a non-wrestling position. Sting will retire and disappear again. Rhyno will get in trouble and get himself fired and Chrstian will get tired of being on the midcard again and head back to the WWE so that he can at least get paid to be on the midcard. To build a long lasting company, TNA needs to start using its veteran talent to bring in old WCW and ECW wrestling fans to the TV program and using those same fans, get them to support newer talents like AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels, Chris Sabin and of course Samoa Joe. So yes, TNA is defiantly better off using their own talent, but at the same time, its smart to bring in the veterans to get them to watch, just to see their old favorites wrestle a few more times.
As for Angle's salary, I actually asked that question in my column regarding that. TNA is obviously taking a risk on him and hoping that their buyrates and house shows will generate enough cash that they can pay him. But knowing Angle, I'm sure he's willing to take a paycut just to make Vince stress out. That and he's a workhorse that just wants to do his job.
Good points Jay. I mostly agree with you.
Onto Cyber Sunday! Natedogg chimes in next!
I enjoyed and agreed every bit of your article about the so called "fans
choice" matches at these PPV's. The first year Taboo Tuesday was on, I
thought the idea of having the fans choose the matches was phenomenal, but
then when I see the match choices they gave to us I was like "are you
kidding me" Its like saying If you had a choice of watching a regular match,
a no disqualification match, or a elimination chamber match, what would you
choose. Obviously the chamber because nobody wants to watch a stupid singles
match or a no dq match that we have seen 100 times before when we can see a
EC match which is rare, taking all the fun away from voting. Im even
skeptical about if the wwe would really even go through with the true fan
vote had it been something other than what they wanted. I personally voted
for Benjamin in the IC match and I voted for Benoit vs Umaga but even if
those 2 get the most number of vote, I doubt the wwe will go through with it
and change the votes. I voted for the World Heavyweight Belt to be on the
line because I think the Booker could really use the push between the 3. No
one cares about ECW and Cena.... dont even get me started on him. At least
Cyber Sunday falls on my Birthday, Nov 5th, this year so I will wont have to
pay $40 dollars to watch highly predictable matches and an overall
lackluster ppv. Great column, keep up the great work.
411 reader Natedogg
Thanks Natedogg and happy early birthday! I'm glad I was able to make the point I was trying to make to you. As for Cyber Sunday, at least I'm going to see it in person. I'm actually SAVING money by seeing the show in person than I would if I bought the Pay-per-view and watched it at home! There's something wrong about that. I don't think this one is going to be worth your 40 bucks but I do think that the Champion of Champions match is going to lead to a very great Survivor Series so if anything, order the pay-per-view to see the buildup!
And finally, last but not least is Isaac!
I agree with trying to mess this whole up.. but is it
possible? I'm sure whichever belt is on the line (be
it WWE, ECW, or WCW, I'm mean World Championship) they
have the work covered. I believe it's 'if it is on
TV, it's a work'. So when you want Sandman against
Umaga that match is still already practiced. Now if I
could pick anyone on the WWE roster then that's could
get interesting as you wouldn't have the slightest
idea of who's coming out.
Just think that there really wasn't a way to mess
Cyber Sunday up.
Keep up the interesting read!
Here's the thing about voting on Cyber Sunday. It doesn't matter. You're just giving the WWE and their sponsors money making hits. The WWE has its storylines created and they make them obvious. Even if you put the entire roster who doesn't have a belt up for a shot for a World title shot, who do you think is going to win that chance? Right now, it's probably going to go to the top face, Batista. And to make sure that Batista wins the vote, the WWE would book him to beat everyone or to get beat down so that he can extract revenge when he gets "voted in". You're nothing but puppets if you vote for the obvious.
And on that note, I'm outta here. Everyone have a great week. I'm back next week with notes about Cyber Sunday but more importantly...THE CRYSTAL BALL IS ONE YEAR OLD! I'm back next week to look back at my first year's work and show you just how right I was. Until then my friends...