Vinnie Massaro Interview (July 2014)

By Nathan P Hunt

Vinnie Massaro (@snoringelbow on Twitter) is a veteran of Xtreme Pro Wrestling, All Pro Wrestling, the National Wrestling Alliance, Big Time Wrestling and various other independent promotions. He is currently one of the trainers for Pro Wrestling Revolution (, and he also still regularly performs in the ring himself (bookers and promoters can reach him at

What made you want to become a wrestler & how did you find a training school?
I was born  in Sicily and lived there till I was 8. Every Saturday  morning I would watch cartoons. The last one they would show would be a a Tiger Mask cartoon. Right after that they showed New Japan Pro Wrestling. So from 1 to 8 I watched Inoki Hase Tiger Mask Liger Saske. When my family moved to America I searched for wrestling, but watching NJPW for so long I saw WWF as really bad fake stuff so I started watching NWA. Mainly for Great Muta. Later on I realized I could watch Japanese wrestling by buying tapes online plus living in San Francisco I could go to Japantown and buy them there. As soon as I was done with school I went and started looking to becoming a wrestler. Went online and found the closest school to where I lived. I was 17 when I started.

Who were your biggest influences?
Mostly japanese wrestlers and any wrestler that made a name in Japan. My top wrestlers have to be Inoki, Misawa, Liger, Kobashi, Dynamite Kid and Steve Williams.

What is the hardest part about training to become a professional wrestler?
Honestly for me it's the fact that I had so many people being negative. Both my parents did not want me to do it so they made me choose wrestling or living with them. Both gave never seen me wrestle. Some guys I trained with never thought I could do it. My friends thought I was crazy. But that just gave me more fuel to work.

What is the best piece of advice that you were given back while you were training?
Don't wait for the opportunity to come to you. This is a job. You must act like it. Better yourself. Send out your resume. Make calls.

As a trainer, what parts of the job give you the most satisfaction, & what causes you the most frustration?
Best part is when I see my student wrestle a match and use the tools I've taught him. Worst is people that think they don't need to know the basics. Just show me the RKO and I'm good.

Is it easier now for aspiring wrestlers to find schools and break into the business than when you were starting out?
 Yes but for the wrong reasons. Every moron with two months of training and a ring has a promotion and a school. Then they train people and put them in matches a month after. Horrible.

How can an aspiring student differentiate between what will be a good school and what would be a waste of their time and money?
Go and visit a class. Ask to sit in and watch. Go online and ask. Email or message an established wrestler from around the area that doesn't have ties with any school and ask his opinion.

At what stage should trainees start thinking about ring names, personas etc?
Think about them from the beginning. But don't stick to one. Come up with a few. Then when you're trainers think you're ready, they should ask your opinion.

How hard is it for new wrestlers to get bookings when they first start out?
If you're persistent it should be ok. Especially if you come from a good school. Show up. Be humble. Ask and if they say no stay for the show and help with the ring at the end of the night. Guarantee the next time you'll be booked.

How important is the internet & social media these days in building a name & reputation, & for drawing crowds etc?
It helps but it shouldn't be the only thing. I don't care how many followers you have, if you can't wrestle you're not getting booked.

How did it feel to walk out in front of a crowd for the first time, and how long before your confidence grew to a point of feeling comfortable in front of an audience?
 It felt scary and awesome at the same time. I still get a bit nervous but not as bad as before. It takes a long while but it does get easier.

What advice would you give to anyone who wants to become a professional wrestler?
It's a 100% commitment. You must love the sport. Not love the money or fame you could get from it. I love wrestling. If it's in front of 6000 or 60. I love wrestling in matches, training, watching it,listening to people talk about it, playing video games of it, doing interviews about it, doing reviews of it.

What British wrestlers do you feel have made the biggest impact on the sport?
For me it's Dynamite Kid. His stuff in Japan vs Tiger Mask and Liger are amazing. When I got older I really started watching William Regal matches and now I think he's one of the best of all time. His match vs Benoit from the Pillman memorial show is one of the greatest matches I've ever seen. I see it at least once a month. I can't talk about British wrestling without mentioning Doug Williams. I tagged with him vs Misawa and Ogawa from NOAH and I remember watching him from the apron just thinking how awesome of a wrestler he was. I learned so much that day from watching him work holds and manage the ring. Just awesome. Bonus one: Jody Fleisch. First time I saw him it blew my mind. I think he started a cruiserweight revolution.

What has British wrestling contributed to the wider wrestling world?
I love british wrestling for giving that strong style combined with catch wrestling And a mix of charisma. Strong style doesn't mean no fun. Just cause you do comedy or you're not 6"8 275 lbs doesn't mean you're not tough.

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