Huskie Howard Interviews Dustin “The Dustin” Thomas
Thomas: I’m doing very well, thanks for having me.
Huskie: How long have you been in the wrestling business, and how did you get your start?
Thomas: I started in March of 2004, so just over 8 years. I got my start when a friend at the gym mentioned he saw an ad in the local paper for the “Shark Tank,” which was Shark Boy’s training camp, so I immediately withdrew my student loan money and paid for the class.
Huskie: What was it like working with Sharkboy?
Thomas: It was tremendous. At the time he was still featured every week on TNA, so it was cool to get trained by someone who had made something of himself in the business.
Huskie: Who are your influences in wrestling?
Thomas: As far as big name guys, I’ve always loved the Undertaker, I was always drawn to his dark gimmick, even as a child. Once I got into the business, I was more influenced by the guys I worked with who made me better: Roger Ruffen, Chad Allegra (Karl Anderson in New Japan), Dean Jablonski, and of course Sharkboy.
Abyss was probably the biggest influence on me though, just because he’s so smart when it comes to psychology and he was always around NWF, which is where I went after Shark Tank.
Huskie: What is your favorite match that you have ever seen?
Thomas: The first match between Undertaker and Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 25 was just incredible. Even now when I watch it, despite the fact that I know the outcome, I still get the feeling that Shawn is going to somehow pull it off. As far as matches I’ve seen live, I saw CM Punk vs. Samoa Joe in Dayton back when they were with ROH, they wrestled to an hour draw, and from the 30 minute mark on, the entire crowd was on their feet.
Thomas: Back in 2006, my best friend died from Cystic Fibrosis, in 2007 and 2009 I organized the Cole Gray Memorial Wrestling Show. In 2009, I wrestled one of my best friends, Jay West, on the show. Jay was also a friend of Cole’s, and it was also Jay’s last match. It was one of those nights where everything came together perfectly, and I couldn’t be more proud of that match.
Huskie: What is your dream match?
Thomas: 3 simple words: Undertaker at WrestleMania. I know he’s close to retiring, so the chances are slim to none, but hey, it’s a “dream” match.
Huskie: So you want to end the streak?
Thomas: Personally, I don’t think the streak should ever end. And if it does, it should be to an up-and-comer. But if it happens to be me, I’m not going to say no.
Huskie: What is it like being on the road traveling from show to show?
Thomas: Some people hate it. Personally I love it, especially when I have a road partner. Sometimes the drive home is a bit rough because you’re tired and beat up, and then three hours seems like an eternity. But I’ve always enjoyed going to new places, wrestling in different cities for new companies, so whenever someone offers me a spot, I’ll take it if I can.
Huskie: If you could wrestle anywhere in the world where would it be and why?
Huskie: Is there any certain Japanese stars that you would like to wrestle?
Thomas: I’ve wrestled Karl Anderson a few times when he comes back to the states, but I would love to work with him in Japan. Tanahashi is a no-brainer. And of course some of the legends like Jushin Liger and Muta would just be an amazing experience.
Huskie: Karl Anderson has become a star in Japan. What was it like working with him?
Thomas: I was lucky enough to be around him a lot before he made it to Japan, even then he was so talented and I learned so much and looked up to him a lot when I first started. Getting in the ring with him is always a blast, and he is always the first person to give me advice or constructive criticism about things he notices.
Huskie: What are your thoughts on Indy wrestling in Ohio?
Thomas: In the Cincinnati area I think it’s oversaturated with too many companies. For instance, from my house, there are 3 companies within a 15 minute drive, and they’re all companies I would never want to work for. There’s a lot of guys that do a two week training course and then think that qualifies them to train other people. There’s just a lot of things that annoy me about wrestling in this area.
Huskie: What are some of the other things that annoy you?
Thomas: The guys who think that because they’re the champion of a local independent fed that it means they’ve accomplished something/ Lots of bad workers who don’t deserve to be in a ring. And the amount of politics and trash talk that occurs just in this area alone is astounding, news flash to all of them…all of us are nobodies in the business, get over yourself.
Thomas: Eventually, all the terrible feds will run themselves out of the business, but in their place will be ten more because any guys with a little extra money can buy a ring and call himself a “promoter.” I would like to see the area be more like the territories. Each company runs their show on a certain day of the week, using some of their local guys, and have the better workers making the runs to every town. We need to weed out the ones who can’t work their way out of a t-shirt.
Huskie: Do you have any advice for those are looking to get into the wrestling business?
Thomas: Do your research. Find a good school, with a trainer who knows what he’s talking about. See if they’ve trained anyone you’ve heard of. If you’re serious, don’t give up after the first few weeks of training. It hurts now, but once you actually get into a ring in front of a live crowd, you’ll be glad you stuck with it.
Huskie: Are there any trainers that you would recommend?
Thomas: The only trainers around here I would feel comfortable telling people to go to would be Roger Ruffen at NWF or Cody Hawk at RockStar, they’re the only ones that I feel would give you a real wrestling education as opposed to taking your money and showing you how to do cool moves.
Huskie: Dustin, you also write a blog. Would you like to tell us a little more about how that got started?
Thomas: Sure. Recently I heard that TNA (Impact Wrestling) is doing some kind of gimmick with their “Gut Check” open tryouts on their weekly television program. I couldn’t tell you what they actually are though. This prompted me to write a blog about my experience with the two Gut Checks I tried out for. To sum it up, it was a very negative experience, and if one happens to come to you, I would suggest passing on it, because it’s not worth wasting your money on.
Thomas: It was a scam. Maybe the way they do it now is different, but when I went, it was nothing more than a way for them to make a quick buck. I was no closer to receiving a contract after it ended than I was before it started. I honestly don’t feel like the Gut Check is a legitimate way to make it onto their roster like they promote it to be.
Huskie: What do you want to accomplish in your career?
Thomas: If you don’t want to make it big in the business, then get out. No one wants to make it to the minor leagues in baseball or play for a semi-pro football team, and I’m not satisfied wrestling independently. I just want to make it big somewhere, whether it be in the United States, Japan, or elsewhere. If I can make enough money to where I can live, I’ll be happy.
Huskie: What companies do you currently work for?
Thomas: The NWF based in Cincinnati, and OCW which is in Morehead, KY. Other than that, like I said, nothing in the area worth working for with the exception of Rockstar, but my current schedule makes it impossible for me to make it.
Huskie: Why should a promoter book you?
Thomas: To put it simply: because I’m good. It makes me sound cocky, but you have to be able to admit when you’re good. I know what I’m doing in the ring, I’m big, I have a good look and a good physique, and regardless of who you put me in there with, it’s going to be a good match.
Thomas: The fans dictate who the champion is. If they love you, they’ll pay money to see you win it. If they hate you, they’ll pay money to see you lose it. It’s all about making that connection with the paying customers. Just like any other business.
Huskie: Is there anything you would like to say to your fans?
Thomas: First, just thank you for all of the support over the years, whether you were cheering me or booing me, thank you. Second, spread the word. Let the world know who Dustin Thomas is.
Huskie: How can fans follow you online?
Huskie: Well Dustin, it’s been a pleasure but that’s all the time we have for today. I’d like to once again thank you for your time.
Thomas: Again, thanks for having me, it was a pleasure.
Huskie: Wrestling fans, be sure to check out Dustin’s blog about TNA’s Gut Check right here on Wrestle Ohio. Also, get out to a show near you and go watch this big man in the ring. Until next time, you’ve been Hanging with Huskie!