Former ROH Champion Nigel McGuinness on the dangers of bloodletting in pro wrestling, what inspired his self-made documentary, his new role as the ROH matchmaker
Kayfabe Wrestling Radio with Nigel McGuinness
Hosts: Alan Wojcik and Spug
Airs Tuesdays at 9:00 p.m. ET
Interview available at WildTalkRadio.com
His inspirations for doing the final tour and DVD documentary: "It was really (Colt) Cabana, 'Cabana’s Road Diaries' I think was really a big inspiration. You know, cooked him a little bit and he was happy how it turned out. Took a long time from the time they started filming it to actually get it finishing, I think two and a half years for it to finally get out there but he said it turned out well for him, so I thought well, you know, I’ll give it a shot. I didn’t know anything about it at the time, I didn’t know how to even shoot footage or even the first thing about editing it but like he said to me ‘You just gotta give it a go’. So I did, I gave it a go and you’ve seen the results."
His thoughts on some calling him a ‘modern day ROH legend’: "Well, thank you, I appreciate it. A lot of people were involved, from day one when Gabe had that idea of what Ring of Honor was going to be and toeing that fine line between putting too much into storylines and letting the boys go out there and sort of get over on their own. That’s why Gabe (Sapolsky) was so good at what he did and Cary (Silkin) obviously standing behind the company when we had some difficult financial times. So many guys came through there: Alex Shelley, Austin Aries, and the list just goes on of some many talented guys who came through Ring of Honor."
Does he have hope wrestling will return to wrestling and not just storylines and gimmicks: "Um, no. You know, I think Ring of Honor is doing a great job of trying to fill that niche, fill that niche for people that want to see more action bell to bell, believable sort of stuff. But for it to become mainstream like it used to be in the '70s, where you’d see a Dory Funk and a Jack Brisco go out there, or those sort of guys on a national level, I’m not really sure if people have the, what’s that word, the patience to watch it, to watch a story develop without the backstory behind it. It’s tough, it’s difficult. I think that with Ring of Honor going forward, that’s what we have to do. We have to try and understand our audience and decide which direction we’re going in. And I think now, with Delirious at the helm, we’ve certainly got a good game plan to do that."
His views on the use of blood in wrestling today: "What’s that say when you see someone covered in blood now? How do you feel? Do you just brush it off and go ok, or does it have an effect where now... I would hope now that anyone watching that sort of thing would have a stronger appreciation for the dangers involved. I’m not going to tell anybody how to function. I’m not going to tell any company necessarily. I think changes need to be made.
"I don’t think there’s anybody in this day and age that can look at unmitigated blood loss, intentional blood loss in a match and thing that’s really a good idea. You know, TNA, they test guys every six months. They’ve vaccinated all of their wrestlers for Hepatitis B. So, they’ve certainly taken some steps to protect their guys, which I fully applaud. My concern is with Ring of Honor, because it is the company I work for now, and I’ve talked to the people in charge and everyone is on the same page, intentional blood loss, I don’t think, is a prudent thing in today’s world and I think they all agree with that and we’re currently in the process of basically trying to get some kind of working protocol to where we can protect the guys but, at the same time, insure that people who paid money and arguably driven 4-5 hours to watch a show aren’t going to be disappointed and feel as though they spent their money for nothing. So, we’ve got to find a happy medium and, as I said, we are working on that.
"In the independents, or in Ring of Honor, we kind of have to police ourselves. And that being the case, I should hope we see in the future, if it’s a big match and people can get tested beforehand, then I think, to a certain extent, that should mitigate a lot of the concerns and a lot of the fears. I talked to a very prominent infectious disease specialist this week and, as we discussed, you have to find that happy medium, you know what I mean? You can’t be testing guys every week before every single match they wrestle because it’s just not practical and at the same time, the chances of someone getting something if they were tested the week before, obviously, is very slim so you’ve got to find that sort of middle ground. How far is too far and how far is too short?
"So, we’re working on that, we’ve got some things in place for the show this weekend in New York City to make sure that we are going to protect the guys. I just think that, if someone gets cut open on accident and it’s a little bit of blood, I don’t think it’s crazy to say ‘Ok, let’s just let this match continue. But to let it happen intentionally, whether there’s a ton of blood, given what we know now about infectious diseases and how easy it is to transmit them. I don’t think it’s conscionable in today’s industry.
"But, again, that’s just my feeling and that’s why I made this movie, one of the reasons I made this movie, it to try and explain how I feel and hope that other people would understand. In my mind, it’s an archaic thing, much like chair shots to the head. Ten years ago, no one blinked an eyelid about that and just accepted that it was part of the business and I would hope now, in the future, that I know intentional blood loss will be one of those same sort of things. But we’ll have to see. We’ll have to see how fans react to it, if fans really care or not."
How do you move forward in the future training guys against blood or unprotected chair shots: "You know, you just got to go out there and do it, really. And more importantly, you know who has control? The people who have control are the fans, en masse, the fans have control because if the fans do want to see something. I’ll tell you now, when I watch independent matches and, every now and again, I see an unprotected chair shot or something like that. When I see that, you feel the energy go from the crowd because half the crowd just goes ‘I don’t want to watch this’ because they understand how dangerous this is.
"So, they are the people that have control. This is how to get this thing through and I hope, not just because of me, but there are lots of other instances didn’t get the same sort of profile because it wasn’t done in a documentary but there are plenty of other people who are other there now with Hepatitis C that could have passed it on to someone else, and thankfully didn’t."
On being named ‘Matchmaker’ and if it was known or a surprise: "Yeah, we discussed it beforehand. I talked with Delirious and I had talked with several of the guys beforehand about the possibility of it and it just adds another string to my bow. I’ll still be doing commentary from time-to-time in some of the big matches. Obviously, the 'Matchmaker' would certainly have an interest in being there at ringside. So, I think I'll still be doing some commentary but certainly doing the matchmaker side of things as well."
To order a copy of his "Last of McGuinness" DVD documentary or t-shirt, you can visit www.nigelwrestling.com for all the ordering information and options. You can also follow Nigel on Twitter (@McGuinnessNigel) or through his Facebook (www.facebook.com/nigel.mcguinness.7).
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