Monday, May 23, 2011

Interview: Johnny Yuma from PWG and NWA Hollywood

Johnny Yuma is professional wrestler who regularly teams with Johnny Goodtime. They are known as the RockNES Monsters. The Monsters compete in Pro Wrestling Guerrilla and NWA Hollywood. The Monsters will be challenging the Young Bucks (GenerationMe in TNA) this weekend in Reseda, California for the PWG Tag Titles at PWG All Star Weekend 8. The two cards for PWG ASW8 are absolutely loaded. A preview of the weekend will be up tomorrow.

The cards for PWG All Star Weekend are here: http://www.prowrestlingguerrilla.com/ASW8/
Information on NWA Hollywood is here: http://nwahollywood.com/main/


TJ Hawke: Looking at your "Who I Am" page at the NWA Hollywood website, you wrote that "I consider myself a unique story, as I grew up hating pro wrestling. It was a blind hate though, because I never even gave it a chance," and that "after watching just ONE match on TV on a Thursday night when I was 12 years old, I made the decision that wrestling would be my life, no matter what." I was just wondering if you could go into more detail about discovering your love for professional wrestling? What was that one match you watched?

Johnny Yuma: As a kid I hated wrestling, despite being surrounded by the hardest of hardcore fans. All my friends LOVED it, but I cared more about Star Wars, James Bond, and Saturday Night Live. I'd never actually watched it though. The most pro wrestling I'd ever seen was the 1 second clip of Bret Hart and Benoit from the beginning of Malcolm In the Middle!

Of course right as all but 2 of my friends start growing out of wrasslin', I finally get swayed into watching it. I turned on Smackdown right as Crash Holly came out to take on Viscera right before Royal Rumble 2000. I was hooked! I saw a small guy standing up to a monster. Being small my whole life it was cool to see a real life smaller athlete getting a chance to shine; however, it was Viscera that really got me. I'd never seen a human like that. He will always be one of my favorites, for the simple fact that him being a freak of nature kept me from changing the channel.


TJ: What was your training like at Ultimate Pro Wrestling? John Cena and Samoa Joe got their starts there right?

JY: It was great! It was very hard for a 5'5" 100 pound chump who hadn't done anything athletic since middle school. I puked my second day, thanks to 600 squats with Aaron "Jesus" Aguilera. I learned so much in the 9 short months I was there, and special guests including John Cena and RVD, made my time there pretty unforgettable. Thats also where I met my to this day close friend, Ricky Mandel, and even my best friend/tag partner, Johnny Goodtime. It's funny looking back to how I'd make sure I got in line next to him, just to make sure I could ask advice and watch how he did the drills.


TJ: You are probably most known now for your tag team with Johnny Goodtime, the RockNES Monsters. When did that tag team get started? You guys obviously have a ton of chemistry together and it seems like you guys have devleoped quite the following in the SoCal Indy scene.

JY: Honestly, I think it all got started at UPW. Like I mentioned above, Goodtime was nice to me right off the bat. Not that the other guys at UPW weren't (although some were dicks, but it was to be expected), but Goodtime went out of his way to be a buddy and help me out. I was a huge fan of his and at the few UPW Lite Shows I helped at, I was right there in the audience in awe of what he could do. That was early 2006. Fast forward to end of 2007 at a SoCal Pro show. All my old UPW buddies were there, but most couldn't care less. I'd gotten fat as hell and they had every right to assume I'd given up! Not Goodtime though. He came up and asked when I was getting back in the ring and how I'd been. We ended up working on the same SoCal Pro shows about a year later, and I'd always beg the promoter to make us a team. Make us "A Rockin' Goodtime"! Eventually, we teamed up in a fun match where everyone in the match was named Johnny. We clicked and the ball started rolling, especially in my mind. The promoter loved the idea and said we'd start teaming in a few months. The name RockNES Monsters came to Goodtime in a dream, and when I got that text, I knew we were onto something awesome. Things just blew up from there. The fans just seem to gravitate to us. We are out there having fun and they can tell.


TJ: How did you get hooked up with NWA Hollywood? How has the experience of taping television been?

JY: Well, I had been a jobber on the first set of Hollywood Showcase tapings at the end of '08. From there I continued to work for NWA affiliates here in SoCal. By the time this new show rolled around, The RockNES Monsters had been the Mach 1 tag champs for 4-5 months already, and I think that played a big part in making us a staple in the shows tag division. TV has definitely been different from your everyday indy shows, and I love it. Its a crazy feeling to see yourself on TV almost every week. I really believe in the show and all the hard work that I see our crew put in every set of tapings. It really is something special to see so many different types of people come together and bust their ass doing EVERY aspect of putting on the show.


TJ: After a ton of success in NWA Hollywood, you started to get booked in PWG at the show, Curse of Guerrilla Island; your debut match was in a singles match with Brian-Cage Taylor. How did you feel about your debut in PWG?

JY: Honestly, I was really hoping to debut as the RockNES Monsters. That wasn't what they needed that night though, so I had to go at it alone. Luckily, I've worked with Brian Cage a ton of times. I was still nervous though, knowing that PWG crowds can be very harsh on newcomers, and here I was in a singles match starting off the show. The match couldn't have gone any better, and the crowd really seemed to love watching me get destroyed. I held my own though, and have been on every show since!


TJ: After that, you have mostly competed in tag matches in PWG as the RockNES Monsters. You guys got your team's first PWG win in a huge match at Kurt Russellreunion II. How was the whole WrestleReunion weekend experience?

JY: That day was a crazy one and a long one. It started off with a couple hours at the NWA Hollywood booth, which was lots of fun. Surrounded by legends and got to meet lots of awesome fans. We had some down time before the PWG meet and greet, so a couple of us enjoyed some drinks with the PWG Kliq, who are the best fans I've ever come across. Big shout out to them! From there it was time for the PWG meet and greet, which I felt weird being apart of, but the fans knew who RockNES was and were excited to see us later that night. The show got a late start, but it was cool to be backstage and hear the place going nuts for my boy Willie Mack! I was sharing a locker room with legends like Terry Funk, Roddy Piper, and Jake The Snake! Some favorites from my early days of watching, like Vampiro and the Hurricane. Even Bret Hart was back there! It was crazy. Our match didn't go on till 12:30 am, so we were all tired, but the crowd was still there, so we still worked hard for them. That match felt great and the huge crowd response made it even better. The aftermath, however, was terrifying. Kevin Steen ran out, took Goodtime out with a package pile driver, and then gave me a Steenalizer that sent me flying THROUGH the buckles and too the floor. Hearing that metal clank, followed by sounds of shock and disgust, I lay on the floor wondering "What the fuck even happened?".


TJ: The RockNES Monsters victory at Kurt Russellreunion II got you guys a spot in the prestigious Dynamite Duumvirate Tag Team Title Tournament, where you guys had an outstanding match with the American Wolves. Were you guys proud of your performance in the tournament?

JY: That victory was a hard earned one, and I was pretty excited to see what team we'd get put against in DDT4. When I saw it was the Wolves, I just about shit myself. I am extremely confident in what Goodtime and I can do as a team, but this was a pretty big challenge for us. The Wolves are the real deal. To those that have seen the match, that first kick to my leg from Davey wasn't some little comedy bit. That came out of nowhere and me getting out of the ring was me legit second guessing if I could keep up. I could barely walk the next day from that, but we hung in there and almost got the upset! I was very proud of that performance and I think the fans saw that RockNES is here to stay.


TJ: That brings us to PWG All Star Weekend 8, which has two absolutely loaded cards. The RockNES Monsters have two huge matches that weekend: first you challenge The Young Bucks for the Tag Team Titles, and then you guys get a chance for revenge on Kevin Steen (who attacked the Monsters at KRR II) when you guys battle the Nightmare Violence Connection (in what will be Akira Tozawa's final PWG match in his North American excursion). How are guys feeling about this weekend? Do you have any words for Kevin Steen?

JY: Goodtime and I are very much looking forward to this weekend. Us winning the PWG tag titles would be huge, especially against quite possibly the best tag team in PWG history, and in such short time of us being there. We are gonna do whatever it takes to win those belts, but we aren't letting the gold blind our view of Kevin Steen. Part of me wishes we got our hands on Steen at DDT4. We could have ended what he started then, but now that its built up inside us this much, I think Steen is going to really regret attacking us. He's just a big bully; he even said it wasn't personal, but he tried to break both of our necks! It's definitely personal. It also kind of sucks that the excitement of working with Tozawa is marred by our anger towards Steen, but if he gets in our way, he will be going back to Japan with one more L on his record.


Twitter Question from @ToeFukUrFace: Is there any meaning behind your tattoos?
JY: There is meaning behind some, but not all. I've got a couple robins on my forearm for my mom. An anchor with the logo of the city I grew up in and love. The lucha masks are tribute to my love of that culture and the mystery of the mask. My most recent tattoo is a RockNES Monster. I never wanna forget the times I've had as a Monster.


TJ: Finally, do you have anything you want to plug (twitter, facebook, youtube, bookings info, etc)?

JY: Everyone can follow me on twitter @yumabooma, go LIKE the Johnny Yuma facebook page, check out nwahollywood.com every week to watch the TV show, and hit me up on twitter or via email if you wanna purchase the brand new "SUPER CUTE! OK! PARTY!" RockNES Monsters t shirt for $20 + $5s&h. If you are interested in booking me or the RockNES Monsters, please contact me at johnnyyumarocks@yahoo.com (serious inquiries only)



If anyone in the wretsling business would like to be interviewed to promote an event, I can be contacted on twitter (@Shabang728) or email (shabang728@gmail.com)


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