My interview series continues today with another interview with one of the UK's top wrestling stars. This man is known best for his work in Insane Championship Wrestling where he is known as 'The Beast of Belfast', a name he lives up to with his 23 stone frame that makes him one of the most powerful men in the world of wrestling today. I had the pleasure of having Big Damo aka Damian O'Connor answer some questions about himself, ICW, and about the upcoming Fear and Loathing 8 show that takes place on November 15th at the SECC in Glasgow.
For those who are not familiar with the product what is Insane Championship Wrestling all about?
ICW is wrestling for mature fans. It caters for fans who want a great night out with their friends and it caters for fans wanting a hell of a wrestling show. If you want both, then you are in luck!
Can you tell us a little about yourself and your character?
I am exactly what you see. A 23 stone power lifter who flies.
My character does only what he believes is right. That doesn't necessarily mean it is right though!
What was your first experience of wrestling?
I remember the tail end of the World of Sport era and the start of NWA/WCW on ITV. The colourful characters where the ones I was drawn to as a child!
Who were your inspirations (both in and out of the ring) growing up?
Outside the ring undoubtedly my parents. What they have lived through is mind blowing, yet they brought me and my sister up as best they could and never left us wanting.
In the ring undoubtedly Fit Finlay. He's from 8 miles away from where I grew up and to be honest is one of the reasons why I believed I could do this. He was a success in every nation he wrestled in and every era he was apart of. His style was so fluid yet looked so real which allowed him to take it to anyone size or weight.
What made you first realize you wanted to get into the world of wrestling as a job?
I always wanted it to be a job, but the means weren't necessarily there at the beginning. When I first got into wrestling it was only as a hobby. As the scene grew and as I improved it gradually became a part time job then a full time job.
If there is still something in wrestling you want to achieve what would it be and why?
I want to be the best Heavyweight in the world. ICW and Revolution Pro Wrestling have allowed me to start on that path. I thank them for the opportunity to compete with the best in the world.
I have a long path to reach the goal of being the best, but every day I am closer than the day before.
What would be your best advice to anyone who is looking to break into the wrestling business?
Do your research. Be in shape before you start your first class. Don't waste your time with part time gyms and find the right coach for you. Don't settle for the first school you go to or the closest school.
What hobbies do you have outside of wrestling?
I'm a huge fan of sports. I played Soccer and Rugby to University level and played basketball at school. I also played Judo.
Nowadays I am an avid power lifter. However I support Man United and Orlando Magic religiously.
I also love reading.
Why do you ICW is so popular with audiences?
Everything is done with them in mind.
The production team are trying to give fans the best viewing experience possible live and on demand.
The creative team are trying to keep everyone guessing with every up and down while using the talent the fans want to see.
The talent in turn are desperate to put on the best matches possible. There's a real buzz in the locker room.
How do you feel ICW has changed over the years and grown as a product?
It hasn't changed, it has become more refined.
The roster gets better every year. The production has become phenomenal, as good as anywhere in the world.
There are more staff to carry out the necessary jobs. There is a dedicated ring crew. I could go on and on but the truth is it will only get better.
ICW made their first venture into England in May 2014. What was that experience like as previously ICW had only ever worked for a Scottish audience?
I had worked in England plenty throughout my career and knew it made little difference for me. ICW also brought in Tommy End and great talent local to London. They were more than prepared for the English audience.
A month later they debuted in the North of England, (Newcastle to be precise) and brought Finn Balor to the party!
They knew exactly how to make a success of themselves in England and the proof is in the pudding now as they have so many shows all over Britain.
This year we have went to Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Newcastle, Southampton, London, Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Nottingham, Norwich, Birmingham. Some of those cities we've went to multiple times.
Next year we venture to Belfast, Dublin and Cardiff among others.
How excited are you for ICW's biggest show in history in November at the SECC?
I believe people see this as a pinnacle. I see it as a beginning. We will put 5000 people into the SECC. Our next target will be 10000 in the Hydro. Then thousands into Newcastle, London, Liverpool, Belfast, Dublin, Amsterdam, New York...why not?
What do you think the future holds for ICW as a company?
It will continue to evolve and improve. It will soon be the number 1 indy company in the world and after that it'll no longer be an indy company.
What has been your favourite moment in ICW so far and why?
Opening the show at the Barrowlands. It was the biggest show in our history by that point and it was awesome to lead the way.
What does the future hold for Damian O'Connor in ICW?
One way or the other I will be the ICW World Heavyweight Champion in 6 months. The first Irish Champion. I will get my revenge on Drew Galloway and Jack Jester and I'll make Red Lightning eat a pair of my trunks.
I'd like to thank Damo for taking the time to answer my questions today. Hopefully we will have an audio interview with the 'Beast of Belfast' in the very near future once we can get some time organised. To keep up to date with Big Damo and all of the latest action with Insane Championship Wrestling, including their big show at the SECC on November 15th you can check out the links below.
You can also check me out on Social Media, Audio, and a link to my previous work below.