Huskie Howard Interviews HWA’s Jon Murray
Murray: I am fine and dandy just like sour candy my friend! Thanks for having me!
Huskie: How long have you been in the wrestling business and how did you get your start?
Murray: Well, I’ve really only been actively wrestling for about two years, but it’s been a long road. It started almost ten years ago when a guy put his neck on the line, and trained a bunch of punk kids. That guys name was Bill Kovaleski, and those punk kids were myself, Dustin Rayz, Dave Crist, and Jake Crist. Bill trained us, and after awhile, Bill started putting the boys on shows. I wasn’t on those shows though. I suffered a pretty bad knee injury, and had to have an ACL reconstruction done to my left knee. That hurt, alot. I thought maybe wrestling wasn’t for me, but my best pals did it, I loved it, and just couldn’t stay away. So, I started traveling with the boys. Not only to just local venues, but traveling all over the Mid-West, and all over, and I started picking up odd-jobs along the way. Ring announcing, Commentary, things like that. I sat back, kept my eyes and ears open, and my mouth shut. I saw how the business worked, and what all really goes into putting on a great show. Not only that, but also, some of these road trips are 10 -12 hours, so I would hear the boys talk about their matches, and what they could work on, and how they could get better. Hear them talk about their experiences, and it was almost as if, even though I wasn’t in the ring, I still was kind of learning along side them. So that goes on for a few years, and then HWA started running weekly again in Middletown. We would always be there hours early, so I would roll around with the boys. Dave was working a show one weekend, and he needed a tag partner, and for some reason, he asked me if I wanted to do it. So, I had Rayzwear whip me up some tights, and Dave and I had our match, and it was awesome! It felt good, and I got hooked. It was where I’ve always wanted to be, and I haven’t looked back yet.
Huskie: How did it feel being able to wrestle after you had such a severe injury?
Huskie: What was it like getting your start along side such talented guys such as Dustin Rayz and Jake and Dave Crist?
Murray: Don’t get me wrong, it is a true blessing. I count my lucky stars that I have those guys. Though, sometimes it can be almost stressful, but in a totally good way. I mean, you said it, those guys are talented, and I’ve seen first hand, how hard they’ve worked, and everything they’ve done to make themselves some of the top guys in the Mid-West, and in every locker room we enter, all the boys there know, I am with the OI4k boys. So, I feel like at every show, I represent them. I would never want to do anything to tear their name, that they worked very hard for, down. Up to, and not excluding my in ring performances. Every time I step in a ring, really I just want to impress them, and prove to myself, I do belong there. Like we said, they are incredible talents, and really so passionate about the wrestling business. It really inspires me, probably more than they know. Just knowing them makes me want to be a better wrestler. Also, they are so willing to help any young wrestler, but with our nearly life-long relationship, they are also emotionally invested into me, just as much as they are in what they are doing. They genuinely want to see me succeed and will go the extra mile, just to help me, without batting an eye. Without them, Jon Murray would not exist. With all the ups and downs, I still feel like the luckiest man, and I really owe everything to them.
Murray: Well, besides those guys, I would have to say the biggest influence of all, for me, was Sting. I remember being a young guy, not older than 5, and my Dad’s friend gave him two tickets to a WCW show. Our seats were just to the left of the entrance ramp, and just a few seats away from the guardrails. Man, I can’t remember any of the matches, except for one. Sting vs. The Big Show, then the Giant. I had never really seen wrestling before, nor did I know who Sting even was, but right before main event time, the young couple next to us turned to me and said, “Hey buddy, Sting is getting ready to come out, do you want to come by the rail so you can see him?” I obliged, and the music hit, the pyro exploded, and there at the ramp stood a guy with bright yellow tights, with a badass black scorpion on them. Bright blonde hair, and black, yellow, and white face paint. He threw his arms up, and the crowd went nuts. He walked down the ramp, handing out high fives like candy. My new friends cheered out, “Put your hand up!” So, I did, and as Sting came walking by, he reached out, and gave me a high-five. My new friends, almost seemed more excited than I at the time. The match starts, and Sting is giving everything he had to the Giant, and still just couldn’t rock him, but no matter how much bigger, or stronger the Giant was, Sting wouldn’t stop fighting. Until The Giants power was just too much for him. Things didn’t look good for my new favorite wrestler. Sting started to mount his last flurry of offense, and he grabbed the Giant, scooped him up, and gave him a body slam, and won the match. I was so young I had never seen Wrestlemania 3, so my mind was blown! It was all I talked about the entire car ride home, and all I told anyone who would listen, ever. I walked away that night, thinking, I want to be like that guy. Though, of course, as I got older, and kept watching. There were plenty of other guys that made me feel excited about the business, but Sting was where the spark started. Now, being older, and on an Indy level, I find that a lot of the other guys I meet influence me as well. Guys like Moxely, an HWA homegrown original, who is just getting started with his career. Guys like BJ Whitmer, a world traveled athlete, who will gladly take time out of his day, to help guide me along. Or a guy like Sami Callihan, a dude who use to be bigger than me, who worked hard, got in shape, and is probably one of the hottest things on the indys right now. You’ll see the dude everywhere. Everywhere is also where you can find inspiration if you’re Jon Murray. Once, again. The luckiest man, right here.
Murray: Man that’s a tough question. Chris Benoit vs. William Regal from the Pillman show was amazing. Those guys went hard. It was a beautiful match from top to bottom. But I have to say it was one of my favorite matches, that really draws out the child wonder in me is when I watch it is Eddie Guerrero vs. Brock Lesnar from No Way Out. There was a few years where I wasn’t watching wrestling on television that much, well hardly at all and when I started tuning in again Eddie vs. Brock had just started to grow. The months leading up to the match really got me sucked in. Eddie is one of my all time favorites and here he had just overcome a lot of personal demons, and now professionally he was faced with his biggest challenge yet. I mean I was really pulling for the guy to win. Even though Goldberg did a run in I still get goose bumps every time the bell rings, and Eddie has his hand raised as the champion.
Huskie: What is your favorite match that you have been involved in?
Murray: This is no doubt the easiest question to answer. It would be myself vs. Greg Excellent from the HWA FundRAYZer show. This show was extremely important to me because it was a show the HWA put on with the cooperation of CZW to help raise money for Dustin’s medical relief after he broke his leg. In this business even if you don’t like the guys, the absolute last thing any of us want to see is a wrestler get seriously injured. Doublely so if that wrestler happens to be one of your best friends. I wanted this show to do well so bad, because Dustin needed it. I don’t just mean the money either. His morale needed it as well and I think everyone in our tight group needed it as well. His injury really made us all realize that we are not invincible and man that show could have not gone better. That may have been the most people I have ever seen smashed into the Great Miami Event Center. I know being in the ring with Greg would help elevate me as well, because that dude is friggin awesome. It was a real pleasure for me to step in the ring with him and once the bell rang we went toe to toe, chop for chop, we spilled into the crowd, a ref went flying out of the ring, a midget got involved and by the end of the match we both found ourselves belly touching embraced in a hug, in nothing but our underwear. Yeah it was special, magical to some. One thing is for sure I have never heard a crowd as loud as they were that night. The cherry on top? We raised a metric ass load of money for Dustin that night. I like using my wrestling for the powers of good, and that night also confirmed that being a pro wrestler is my dream job! I only know that because one time I quite literally found myself in a room of hundreds of people in my underwear (laughing).
Murray: Dude, it’s totally awesome! Being brought in from town to town to perform in front of a paying audience kind of gives you that rock star vibe. The trips can be long and exhausting, but totally worth it. Plus, I can’t tell your how many cool people I have met along the way. It’s a great feeling to know you have pockets of friends and a place to crash scattered all across our part of the world. What a lot of people don’t think about when they think about someone being a pro wrestler is their travel schedule. You spend a lot of time just driving. The road trips to me are the glue of the entire experience. It’s how the journey starts and how it ends. It’s humbling. Like I said sometimes your kind of feel like a rock star. Travel to some town, put on a show, hang out with a bunch of friends, party a little, have fans give you things, tell you how awesome you are or in some cases how handsome you are, and then the show ends. Everyone leaves and you get back in your car and head home, it’s quiet, it’s dark and everything you did that night no longer means anything. You are a regular person again. It keeps me in check, and keeps my head from getting big. I have to think it’s the same way a super hero feels when he returns to his mild mannered alter ego’s job, the day after saving the world. Standing there pretending he cares about what his boss is saying, all the while he’s really thinking “Man, I would much rather be in spandex beating up bad guys right now!”
Huskie: What is your dream match?
Murray: Another easy one for me! A match I have always wanted, but still hasn’t quite happened is myself and Dustin Rayz vs. The Irish Airborne. You see we all went to the same high school, but we were from two different towns. Dave and Jake were the wrestling kids from New Carlisle and Dustin and I were the wrestling kids from the next town over. We heard about each other, met up and said “Oh, you guys like wrestling too?” And we have been making it together ever since. Us meeting each other seriously altered the course of our lives forever. So it’s like I would love to have that match just for me.
Murray: Anywhere outside of our own border. It doesn’t matter whether it be Canada, Mexico, Europe, Japan. Wrestling is a different style everywhere you go. I would love to learn any and all the tricks of the trade that I can. I’ll take any platform my good sir.
Huskie: What are your thoughts on Indy wrestling in Ohio?
Murray: There are really only about three promotions in Ohio that are really doing anything to put us on the map. In southern Ohio you are prone to find three different organizations running in the same town, using the same guys, sometimes even in the same building. Now I’m not saying I have any solutions but certainly we can agree that is a problem for the business.
Huskie: In your opinion what could make the Ohio Indy scene better?
Murray: Like I said I’m not one for solutions, but I would say it would be fine if everyone would quit worrying about what the other guys are doing, or saying and just focus on their product. If there are several promotions running, just think of ways to make the fans want to see your show more than the others.
Huskie: You have held the 1CW tag titles with Jake Crist and the HWA tag titles with Clark Konner which your are better known as the Heavyweight Hero’s. What does it take to be a successful tag team?
Huskie: What do you want to achieve in your career?
Murray: If I can call it a career that means I’m making money and man that’s just fine with me.
Huskie: After your career is over how do you want to be remembered?
Murray: Wrestling really is an out of sight, out of mind business. So just to be remembered by someone would be nice. Even if it is just “You mean the guy who takes his shirt off?” Or “That fat guy who did a back flip?”. Hell I’ll even take “Yeah, I remember that guy, he owes me $12.00.”. That’s why I’m so willing to show my ass so to speak when wrestling. They’ll remember the fat goofy guy. Everyone loves that guy.
Huskie: Do you have any advice for those looking to get into the wrestling business?
Huskie: What companies do you currently work for?
Murray: With my knee troubles I like to stay close to home now days and mostly work HWA. I would do IPW shows when they still ran. I work some for D1W in Indiana and in June I’m doing a tournament in Algood, Tennessee for Fusion Tradition Wrestling. Though the HWA offers me a lot. So may talented, traveled guys in that locker room, seminars all the time, a lot of names brought in on big shows. With all those handy tools in my back yard, I don’t see much reason to mosey off too far just yet.
Huskie: Speaking of the HWA, that is one of the elite promotions in Ohio and has produced a massive amount of talent over the years. What does it mean to you to be apart of such a great promotion that is always loaded with great talent?
Murray: Man the HWA means a lot to me for a few reasons. When we were fourteen and fifteen we would go to HWA shows together. They were so awesome! It’s almost the same as it is today. You will see a lot of great local talent who you know will go on to bigger and better things, and a lot of well traveled big time names. I remember we all met Justin Credible after a show, we told him we were training and he stood there for hours with us, letting us pick his brain for information.
It was a big push in the right direction. When we broke into the wrestling world the HWA was the place we wanted to go first. That was my first real goal I set. I remember the first time I got booked for the HWA. I heard Ron Mathis put up an open challenge. So I approached the promoter and said “I hear Ron Mathis is looking for someone to beat up next week, I can get beat up.” He said “Do you have gear?” I said “Yeah” then he said “ See you next week.” And I’ve been there ever since. Now the HWA is still the promotion people are talking about, and we are the guys people are talking about. It feels good man.
Murray: Hey, why not? That’s my question. I maybe the guy picked last on the playground, but let me tell you, I know how to bust a move and get the people singing. I’m your common man, who stripped and stumbled and found himself in a wrestling ring with the world watching. I feel incredibly lucky to be where I am, so when I’m stepping through those ropes I am getting all that I can from those people, because I never want this ride to end. You want to entertain the people for a little while then let Jon Murray take his shirt off and do a back flip.
Huskie: Is there anything that you would like to say to your fans?
Murray: No, not really…OH, WAIT!!!!! There is this one tiny thing…THANK YOU!!!!! I’m always blown away every time someone asks me an autograph or wants a picture. It makes me feel like I’m doing things right. It means a lot. Once again thank you all.
Huskie: How can your fans follow you online?
Murray: Easy, just find me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jon.murray.12. It’s the future of friendship!
Huskie: Well Jon that’s all the time we have here today is there anything else you would like to say? And I’d like to thank you again for your time.
Murray: Thank you my man! I would like to remind everyone that HWA has shows every Tuesday in Hamilton, Ohio. The tickets for the weekly event are on $5! You are a fool not to come! I’ll be there and in spandex! I know you all want to see that (laughing). Thank you again!
Huskie: Alright wrestling fans, be sure to go watch this agile big man every Tuesday night at the HWA in Hamilton, Ohio. Until next time, you’ve been Hanging with Huskie!