Welcome once again fellow WNW readers to another exclusive interview with a great talent from within the wonderful industry we all know and love that is wrestling. Today I speak to a man who is without question one of the biggest up and coming names in the worlds of British and worldwide wrestling, a man who is both a wrestler and a rock star with his own band, a man who competed in and won TNA British Boot Camp 2 back in 2014, and a man who is currently making his mark on TNA and their X Division by taking it to a whole new level. Please join me in welcoming "White Lightning" Mark Andrews to Wrestling News World.
Thank you for taking the time to talk to me today Mark. For our readers who may not be familiar with you can you tell us a little about your character?
I'm a happy go lucky, fun loving underdog! Imagine a slightly cooler milky bar kid (or definitely less cool...) hyped up on candy.
What was your first experience of wrestling?
When I was younger I had a load of wrestling books and toys, so I got really into it before i'd actually properly watched it. Then I saw the famous ladder match from Wrestlemania 2000 with the Dudley's, Hardy's and Edge/Christian. I was hooked from then on! What a way to start watching wrestling, right?!
Who were your inspirations (both in and out of the ring) growing up?
In wrestling, I looked up to the Hardy Boys, Shawn Michaels, and Rey Mysterio. All the smaller dudes I could relate to.
Outside of wrestling? The entire cast of the first season of Power Rangers, and Zack Morris. I'm still currently trying to be as awesome as that guy.
What made you first realize you wanted to get into the world of wrestling as a job?
To be honest, when I was younger I assumed it was achievable. When I was a kid I remember thinking how awesome it would be to be a referee, or on the ring crew, or just involved in any way. Then I went to a local indy show and they invited us to come train the next day. From then on it slowly became more achievable.
Where did you begin your training? Who trained you? And what was the experience like?
I began training with NWA Hammerlock, in their Welsh branch based in Cardiff, and I would travel up to Kent for regular week long camps. My first session was a week before I turned 13 which is pretty surreal. It was friggin' awesome too. Being 12 years old and going to wrestling training classes?! That's definitely the coolest thing ever.
In my first few years I was trained by a variety of Hammerlock guys from around the UK and Ireland, like Edd Ferris, Zack Sabre Jr, Paul Tracey, Jon Ryan and Jimmy Havoc. The majority of my training is credited to Mike Bird though. Once NWA Wales became a thing, and then transitioned into the Dragon Pro Academy he took the main role as my trainer.
What has been your favorite moment of your career so far and why?
Probably winning British Boot Camp? It just felt like the biggest milestone so far. For a lot of my friends and family outside of wrestling, it was the first obvious point of progression that showed my efforts had paid off over ten years of training/wrestling/travelling. To be honest though, a lot of my favorite moments come from travelling around with my friends and having a laugh. Travelling America in 2013 for 10 weeks with Pete Dunne is probably my favorite memory, not just in wrestling, but in general!
Who would you say your influences were on your in ring style?
A lot of my in ring influences come from people who've helped train me, or been in the ring with me. I take a lot of inspiration from Mike Bird and Zack Sabre, and then guys I watched a lot of once I began training, like Mike Quackenbush and Kota Ibushi.
Which wrestling promotions do you tend to watch or follow?
I find it very hard with my lifestyle to follow a promotion if I'm honest. I like to watch a lot of stuff from CHIKARA, and I like to keep up to date with places like PROGRESS Wrestling, and other promotions around the world that my friends work at.
Which promotions in the UK do you enjoy working for the most? And are there any you haven't worked for that you would like to work with?
ATTACK! Pro, PROGRESS Wrestling, Shropshire Wrestling Alliance are all ones I love working with. I'd love to work more with ICW as it's been years since I've been there and their shows are incredible!
If there is still something in your wrestling career you want to achieve what would it be and why?
I just wanna keep progressing in general! I'd love to tick some more countries off the list. Japan and Mexico are the cliche ones, but also places like Australia, they have a sweet little scene growing out there!
What are some of the best things about working in the independent wrestling business?
You're your own boss. A lot of people don't make the most out of that. It's such a big opportunity to be creative. Do your own promotion, make your own merchandise, market yourself. I thrive off that stuff.
What hobbies do you have outside of wrestling? I hear you have your own band?
I'm in a band called Junior (CHEAP PLUG - www.musicofjunior.bandcamp.com) but similar to how I saw wrestling when I started training, it's more than just a hobby, without that sounding too corny. So if i'm not wrestling, or on tour/recording/writing with the band, I love going skateboarding even though i'm pretty terrible. Just hanging out with friends in general.
What is a typical week like in your life?
Busy, and really fun.
I have a lot more down time when I'm based in America, so I can waste time eating Wendys and watching Netflix (it rocks.). When i'm in the UK, you'll find me in the gym, playing with the band, wrestling, and editing videos/merchandise designs, and then stressing out that there aren't 48 hours in a day.
If you were not a wrestler what do you think you would be doing for a career?
Trying my best to be a successful musician. Probably would have given a good effort at skateboarding. Maybe focus on video editing more. Or just live out my life long quest to find Zordon and become a Power Ranger.
You were a contestant in the latest series of TNA British Boot Camp. Can you tell us a little about the process you went through to get onto the show?
I was scouted at a show in Preston by Jeremy Borash to be apart of the show. We had auditions, and I managed to get to the next round. If i'm honest, I didn't think i'd go much further, so I thought i'd just give it my best shot and make the most out of the opportunity. Turns out that worked out pretty well for me!
What was the whole experience of being a part of the show like and getting to perform in front of the TNA fans?
It was awesome! Nerve racking though. Massive learning curve, being thrown completely out of our comfort zones. I was fortunate enough to be around a rad group of people so we all experienced it together.
You got to work with some of TNA's top names as part of the show. What was that like and was there anyone on their roster you wanted a chance to work with that you didn't get chance to?
I was psyched I got to work with Al Snow, and DJZ. My match with DJZ is still one of my favorites now.
How did it feel when you found out you had won the show?
It didn't properly hit me for a while. In fact I'm still not sure that it's hit me now haha. I just remember being pretty shocked, but really psyched!
And what was it like getting to perform in front of a UK crowd as a TNA star?
That was awesome. UK fans are the best in the world I swear to god. I love being from this country and being able to perform in front of those guys on such a big scale was the best feeling.
What are your thoughts on working in TNA's X-Division?(Question submitted by CJ Blaze)
It's awesome! A lot of variety there at the moment, every match is fun!
What are your goals as a TNA Superstar?
That X division belt! And to generally learn from all the experienced people I'm surrounded by there.
Who on the roster do you want to work with the most right now?
The Wolves, and Bram.
Who are some of your favorite wrestlers in WWE? Past and present?
Finn Balor and Sami Zayn.
If you had the chance, who on the WWE roster would you like to work with in the future?
Finn Balor, Sami Zayn, and Cesaro.
Do you think there is a desire to make British wrestling great again or if everyone is just looking to escape to the USA or Japan?(Question submitted by Lee Herbert)
British wrestling is already great people just aren't as aware of it as they should be. The world needs to see what's going on here, it's incredible.
Do you think British Wrestling can ever realistically get back on prime time TV?(Question submitted by Lee Herbert)
Of course. I'm not necessarily sure that it's essential for us to do that though.
What do you want your contribution and legacy be in the wrestling industry?
I want to make it fun again. There's been so many times over the last ten years where I've been genuinely disheartened by how wrestling ends up negatively effecting people who love it so much. It's a common trend for people to invest so much into wrestling with such high expectations that they then get let down, or they get desensitized to how awesome it is, and let the politics and the bullshit bother them. They give themselves rules to how wrestling SHOULD be and the whole industry becomes limited that way. Let's forget all that, and make it as awesome as possible.
It's always confused me how everyone in the world doesn't love pro wrestling, because it's so rad. Let's do as much as we can to make everyone in the world love it as much as we do! It genuinely is a source of entertainment that can be enjoyed by everyone, so I want to try and promote and present it in a way that everyone can digest. Whether that be video game themed wrestling shows that I put on with ATTACK! Pro, sweet clothes that I sell with DEFEND Indy Wrestling, or just fun YouTube videos that give people more enjoyment than just the standard wrestling match.
And if all that fails, people can just remember me as that guy who ripped off the Dynamic Dudes by riding a skateboard to the ring.
What would be your best advice to anyone who is looking to break into the wrestling business?
For people who want to start wrestling - go find a reputable training school, and be open minded. Don't be so impressionable that your believe every word your trainer says, always consider there's more than one way to do something. Listen to everything, be respectful!
To wrestlers trying to progress and break into the scene - Give yourself more reasons than you might need for people to be interested in you. Don't just focus on being "the wrestler who's good enough to get on show A". Be the awesome human being who does so much rad shit both in and outside the ring that you organically become in demand.
Do you have any upcoming shows, appearances, social media pages, etc you would like to plug so people can get more of Mark Andrews in their daily routine?
I'm literally one show away from finishing my band's first UK tour! But I have a lot of UK appearances both with wrestling and my band planned for the rest of the year, so watch this space! You can also find me on Twitter and Facebook.
And if there are any promoters reading this how can they get you booked on their show?
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mark Andrews for taking the time to answer these questions for me on behalf of Wrestling News World dot Com. All the staff and readers of the website wish you nothing but the best of luck with your future in wrestling.
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