Joe Nelson

Joe Nelson is one of the UK’s youngest, up and coming stars. At just 17 years of age, Joe’s travelling the independent scene and making a name for himself.  SteelChair Magazine caught up with him before TIDAL’s Wipeout 2020 show, at Temple of Boom in Leeds

Hi Joe. Thanks for joining us. Let’s address the elephant in the room. You’re quite young! How old exactly are you?

(Laughs) 17 and a bit.

And how long have you been wrestling professionally?

Too long! Since April 2012, which will make it 10 years in April, since training! I did like, training shows for a long time, cos obviously I was 10 years of age. So it was around September 2012, I did my first training show. Then I guess 15, 16 (professional debut), but like, training shows we’d do every few months from September 2012 so yeah, I was around 11.

So all in all you’ve been wrestling for 7 years and you’re only 17? That’s crazy. This is probably going to make me feel ridiculously old, but who were your biggest influences growing up?

Rey Mysterio has always been the man for me. He’s cool, so yeah. Probably, Rey Mysterio. It was always like, the cruiserweights, the Rey Mysterio matches and stuff like that, and then when I got to understand what wrestling was, watching all the WCW cruiserweight stuff, the coolest thing ever for me.

So you’ve been wrestling since the age of 10. Whats it been like, from a social point of view, growing up in wrestling? You’ve obviously lived a very different childhood to most kids your age. How difficult has it been balancing wrestling with essentially growing up?

Yeah, and no! Like, it has matured me a lot. People always say to me, “You’re not 17!” You know what I mean. But nah, it has been somewhat normal and somewhat different, especially in recent years of being as busy as I have been. Being able to balance that with college. And when I finish in a couple of months, I’ll be kinda proud of myself for balancing the two at the same time, you know. Its been DIFFERENT but I wouldn’t change it, you know.

Has it had an adverse effect on your social life?

Erm…yeah and no. If there was someone to be dropping out of plans, it was me. It’s not really changed TOO much, apart from not being able to do as much at weekends with friends. It has been different, but yeah, it’s been good.

You said you started training at 10. How did you get into that?

There was like a free open day thing, and I was the only one that turned up (laughs)! Legit, I was the only person to turn up, I was so close to feeling so awkward and just leaving. My first day of wrestling, I could’ve just left and maybe never done it again. I saw a flyer in some shop. I was like “aw, I like wrestling, can I go and do that?” Turned up, only one there, felt awkward, but yeah, I stuck with it, and here we are!

Where are some of the other places that you’ve trained?

I started off at UKW when I was 12, and then I trained at NGW, HOPE, Futureshock, Grapple, those are the MAIN places I’ve been to. Also done loads of seminars and been to places like Fighting Spirit on and off when I’ve been able to.

How important do you think it is for young wrestlers such as yourself to go to different various training schools and not just the one?

Oh very! Cos there’s only so much one person can teach you. And even if you’ve got a very reputable trainer you’re gonna get a long way with them but if you’re not getting input from other people that have also done good stuff and are very reputable you’re only gonna get to a certain point, but if you have other people chiming in, giving advice here and there you’ll progress. So, in my opinion, the most important thing in any wrestler’s development is it doesn’t stop. If you stop learning somethings going wrong, you know.

I think it’d be safe to say 2019 was somewhat of a breakout year for yourself. Places like ATTACK! where you tagged with the Lost Boyz, how did you enjoy your time at ATTACK! last year?

Oh, it was great. I loved it. The first time I went to ATTACK! I just came and helped. Guys like Lykos, they were pushing for me, I got on in a scramble, just as me, no Lost Boyz gimmick. I knew, like, a lot of people there. They were like, “Yeah, we wanna use you more,” but obviously ATTACK! is very character-based. That’s something that I still don’t really have as Joe Nelson. They were like, “Oh yeah, we’ve got Rufio and Fraser Thomas, have the Lost Boyz character,” and we did that for around 6 months. Not a bad word to say about either of them They’re both great. REALLY ENJOYED IT.

You mentioned Lykos. Obviously, Schadenfreude and Friends is another place you became somewhat of a regular last year. Recently, you’ve started to don the mask as Lykos 2. How did that all come about?

Oh man, it’s been a thing for, like, a while. Like in the works and the plans, then finally bringing it to fruition a month ago, which feels weird as it feels like it has been so long. It was cool, very cool. A very stressful day. It was so different from anything that I’ve been used to, and I think it was also a big target on my back as well. There are 100 guys who are young and good at wrestling, who could’ve filled the boots, and for them to choose me as the first guy they thought of to do it, it was nice. It’s just weird that someone at the level that Lykos was at was like, “Yeah, have this!” It has been really surreal, even the fact it was just over a month ago that it debuted it feels like it has been a thing for a long time.

Is the Lykos 2 character strictly reserved for Schadenfreude and Friends, or will we see him in other organisations:

Oh, 100%. 100%. I’m still Joe Nelson HERE, and I’m Lykos 2 here. It’s not I’m only gonna be Lykos 2, at one place. Nah, anywhere. Absolutely

Another place you had a pretty good year was Breed Pro Wrestling, where you won the New Breed Championship. You got to defend that in a cave against your best mate JJ Barker….

(interrupts)…that was the coldest experience of my life (laughs).

How WAS that day?

Oh man, like, the idea was SICK. Like oh yeah, man, we’re gonna wrestle in a cave! And then we got there, and it was leaking everywhere. I was freezing my tits off, and I wasn’t very happy. The match itself was great cos JJ is really good at wrestling, and I like wrestling him. But being there wasn’t fun! (laughs) It was just cold. I’ve never got back from a match and put a hoody and coat on IMMEDIATELY before even taking my gear off.

I was just in the crowd, and everyone was getting dripped on. If it was the original date, which was a month earlier, I don’t think it would’ve been as bad.

Yeah. Yeah… I think even it not being in a cave wouldn’t have been as bad! It wasn’t gonna be nice either way, you know. I couldn’t imagine just sitting there watching it. I did 20 minutes running around, and I was still freezing! But nah, it was cool. I enjoyed it. But I dunno if I’d do it again.

How good does it feel that Breed have given you the trust to be the face for the next generation coming through?

Oh, it’s the best. Breed kicked off big. Just having a promotion going, “Here, we want you to be our champion,” is cool in itself, but for the hype that Breed got, and they still wanted me to be their champion, it was really cool. And the matches that I got to do there were fun. They put me in there with Gabriel Kidd, which is still one of my favourite matches that I’ve ever done. The OJMO, loads of other guys that I’ve forgotten cos it feels like ages ago, but yeah, I’ve had a lot of fun there. Very happy to go back as I get to beat up Luke Jacobs, Ethan Allen, and Tom Thelwell. Well, no, I’m gonna beat Thelwell up (big smile).

I think you’re all gonna beat Thelwell up!

Yeah (laughs) that usually happens!

Let’s talk about where we are today. TIDAL. I’d imagine one of the highlights of your 2019 was winning the TIDAL Wrestling Championship. In a match you weren’t originally supposed to be in, I believe?

If I remember it was supposed to be a five-way. Sean Only was injured, so I was always meant to be in it, but as a surprise. But Sean Only was hurt, so it got changed to a four-way, so it was still last minute, but yeah, it was just wild. Turning up as the surprise, and then THAT pop, and the photo of like, of all you guys hugging in the crowd, it’s the coolest photo of my wrestling career. That reaction wasn’t what I was expecting at all. I was like, “Oh, this’ll be cool,” and it happened. And I remember I was just sat in the corner, and I was like, “SHIT! That was cool!” It’s still surreal now. It’s the coolest reaction I’ve received.

I remember watching the moment you won back on Twitter, and considering the place only holds around 80-90 people…

(interrupts)…if there are 100 people in there, you know it’s dead cramped. For those 80-100 people to feel that genuine emotion from something that I did is insane.

You’ve obviously managed to get a cynical set of smarky so and so’s in the crowd, myself included, I don’t think anyone saw you winning that night. It’s great someone managed to elicit that type of reaction from that crowd.

Oh, it was insane. Especially pinning Brady Phillips as well. Cos that’s kinda a story we developed ourselves, you know. On my TIDAL debut, I wrestled him. It was in Church. It was really good. Then I wasn’t in TIDAL for around a year. Then I wrestled him in one of the surprise shows we did, Befuddled. That was another surprise, so we wrestled there, and then I replaced Jack Sexsmith and had another one of my favourite matches. And that was on the day I wasn’t on the show. We just kept having these matches. They were getting better and better, and it was getting to the point where it was a story people couldn’t ignore. And Ian (TIDAL owner) couldn’t really ignore either. Joe Nelson v Brady Phillips is like a bookmark in 2019 for me. Every time we wrestle is great, and he’s so good. He’s one of my favourite opponents, and he is RIDICULOUSLY underrated. So being able to pin Brady, I guess to end the story, or even elevate the story between us, it made it cool.

One last question then we’ll let you get ready for tonight: where do you see yourself this time next year?

Still doing what I’m doing hopefully. If I can continue to be as busy as I am at the minute, I will be very happy. Things might happen. Things may not happen. I’ve never been one to expect anything. The fact I’ve been this busy and the places that I have been in the last year has been VERY good for me so, keep doing this and I’ll be very happy.

Well I think 2020 will eclipse 2019 for you. Joe, good luck to you and thank you very much for your time mate!


Follow Joe Nelson on twitter @Joe_Nelsonuk

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