I had the opportunity to speak with indy wrestler Brent Dunn on June 13th at Central Illinois Pro Wrestling's "Redemption" in Kincaid, Illinois, to discuss his football and wrestling career, WWE, and much more. Below is a full recap of the interview:
How did you get your start in wrestling?
Brent: After twenty years of playing football - I played arena football, I played outdoor football - I was nominated into the Hall of Fame and I made it. At that point, they kind of ask you to retire, so I quit football. It was Tim Givens, who quit football about ten years ago, and he's one of the owners of PWA (Pinfall Wrestling Association) who brought wrestling to my knowledge. And he said, you know, if you're trying to be active and doing something, you should do that.
I immediately signed up for Pinfall Academy. It was me and Rosko that were the first two graduates of Pinfall Academy. Christian Alexander, (now known as Chase Brooks) went back through it before, so did Bradley Stephens. We were trained all through last year for six to seven months by "Zero Hype" Guy Smith.
What has been your favorite match or moment of your career so far?
Brent: Back in February, I was working with PWA and Rosko and I got a three-count against the Disrespecticons, and unfortunately, there were some issues about who was the legal man in the ring, and we weren't able to get the victory. But to get what we thought was a victory, and to work all the way to what we thought was a three-count victory was a real highlight for me. That was a big highlight for me.
And then tonight, being able to work with a guy like Blake Steel, whose face is on every poster across three states and has probably been champion more times than I have wrestled a match. That's a highlight. I didn't get to come away with the victory, but being able to get in the ring and compete with guys like that is a highlight.
Do you read the dirt sheets?
Brent: I don't. Should I? I read your stuff and I keep up with The Nose Bleed Seats, Central Illinois Pro Wrestling and Crime Fighters stuff, and keep with the local feds.
What do you like most about working for CIPW?
Brent: The owner, Chase Brooks, and I got to become really good friends through Pinfall Academy. There's a great locker room. For a new guy like me, there's a lot to learn in that locker room. I think being able to be around guys like Blake Steel, Guy Smith, Spencer Powers, and Derek Moss, I couldn't ask for anything more than that.
What wrestling promotions do you watch?
Brent: I watch WWE, NXT. I subscribe to the Nose Bleed Seats so I watch CIPW, PWA, Pro Wrestling Glory, Midwest Impact Pro. I catch matches when I'm able to, and I love to watch the guys that I know and the guys that are entertaining people around here. That's awesome to me.
Are you a subscriber to the WWE Network?
Brent: I am. In fact, I may have a couple of the locker room guys over to watch Money in the Bank.
What match are you looking forward to tomorrow night at Money in the Bank?
Brent: The Money in the Bank Ladder Match. You only get that once a year, and for some of those guys, it's been the kiss of death for the career, or it's been a step up.
If you had the opportunity to tell Vince McMahon one thing, what would it be?
Brent: That's a great question. Vince, bring back the Attitude Era. Let it be wild and crazy and fun. I even have kids, so the family-friendly stuff is good, but I don't know if we'll ever see wrestling like that again. It was just so amazing.
Whether it on the indy scene or on a bigger stage, who would be a dream opponent for you?
Brent: I think I had one of them tonight. Blake Steel is about as good as it gets around here. Being able to wrestle a match with Blake, I think I took him to the limit. After the match, he picked up the mic and said some nice things about to the crowd. I'll put that as a feather in my cap. So consider one of my dream matches checked off.
If I was to do a dream match, I don't care about those WWE guys, give me some of the guys around here that are big. Someday, student becomes a teacher and I get a match against "Zero Hype" Guy Smith. That'll be a dream match for me too.
How did you prepare for your match with Blake Steel tonight?
Brent: I've graduated from training, but I hit the training center twice this week because I knew it wasn't going to be easy. The promoters were expecting a lot of me, the crowd was expecting a lot out of me, and Blake Steel was not going to let me get out of there without my best effort. It was going to take everything I had to beat him. I trained and trained and watched matches I could find of him. I may have had the advantage, because there aren't many matches of me out there!
What's your favorite type of music?
Brent: Okay, so, I don't want to show my age too much here, but I'm a Sirius subscriber, and I'm always on 39 Hair Nation. My entrance music is "Kickstart My Heart" by Motley Crue. I love hair metal!
Do you have any advice for others that are breaking into the business?
Brent: If they are still on the fence about it, do it. If I can do this at my age - I have a business, I have kids - I just put my mind to it, and it's one of the best decisions I've ever made. I've met awesome people, I've got to go out in front of people and have people chanting for me or chanting "USA." I get to promote and show what a real American is, and that's a really cool thing to do. If you are on the fence, give it a try. This has been a great experience for me, and I think it only keeps going up from here.
What are your goals for the future, and what do you hope to accomplish next?
Brent: Here's the thing, I consider myself a winner. I'm in two football Hall of Fame's, I'm an All-American. I've won a national championship. Sooner or later, I need to climb that mountain again in CIPW, PWA, or some other wrestling promotion. You've seen me come to the ring, and I've got gold on every single one of these fingers. I cannot walk away from this until I have that heavyweight championship gold around my waist. I'm sure that's everyone's goal. But that's when I'll know that walking away from that, and learning from guys half my age is going to pay off.
Below is a photo of Brent Dunn choke-slamming Blake Steel, courtesy of NokoPhoto:
Central Illinois Pro Wrestling will return in September.
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