Welcome back to part 2 of our exclusive interview with Parrow. Aside from being one half of The End alongside Odinson, and one of the most fearsome heavyweights on the indie scene, he’s now also branching into the world of deathmatch. We covered MLW, the indie scene, and optimism in part 1. Now we look to the crazier side of Parrow’s career as we dive into the world of no-ring deathmatches and No Peace Underground, talk training alongside Darby Allin, and end on a positive hope for representation in wrestling. Enjoy!
Let’s talk crazy matches, what’s it like working for No Peace Underground?
“I’ve been involved with No Peace, since their birth. I’ve known the people who run No Peace for a very long time, and I went and watched a lot of their shows. They’ve had DJZ, they’ve had Danhausen, and they’ve even had EC3. When they approached me about doing a match because their first match got cancelled, that’s how I actually got involved in it. They called me and were like, “Hey, we lost our first match, is there a possibility you’re willing to do it?” I said sure because I knew I was doing the Collective the week after, and I needed to get my body going. What better way than no ring, right? I got really good feedback from that and did really well at the Collective, so they were like,” Hey, want to come back and do another?” I think that was against Satu Jinn and Tye Hyll, and that’s the first time I got hit with glass. It turns out I’m kind of good at this.
“I joke with SHLAK, look, I’m not a deathmatch wrestler. He goes, “You’re getting really close. You could have fooled me.” No, I am an Attitude Era Hardcore Wrestler. Mick Foley is my favourite wrestler of all time. Any time I ever get the chance to speak to him, he has been the greatest. That’s my biggest fan moment. He’s the whole reason I wanted to be a wrestler because he made me believe I could be a wrestler. Remember, I’m not a body guy. I don’t look like an EC3 or all these other ripped guys out there. I don’t look like my tag partner; he looks like Thor. But I’m a big dude, and Mick’s a big dude. He made me believe through his story-telling that I could do this. The cool thing about working for No Peace is the way they do things. They ask you for your ideas. It’s not like, “this is exactly what we want.” The one thing about a deathmatch locker room is they’re extremely accepting. It’s different than any other locker room I’ve been in. The deathmatch guys behind the curtain are some of the most accepting dudes I’ve been around. It’s hard to get their respect because their art is very niche, and it’s a small community. I respect the hell out of them.
“It started with Drew Parker. I love Drew. Every time I’m in Japan, I get to be around Drew. Watching him come back from all these matches, I just go, “How are you not dead?” You just got stabbed with a fork in the head, or you went through all this barbed-wire. He’s like, “You kind of get used to it.” Now that I’ve done it a lot and will be doing a lot more, getting crazier as I hint towards my match schedule coming up. My upcoming matches at No Peace are going to be nuts. Hopefully, the fans enjoy it because it’s going to get much bloodier. Not for me, for them. I will say this, watching Drew do what he does and then watching SHLAK and Rickey Shane Page and these guys I’ve been in locker rooms with for years, I have a newfound utter respect for them. First and foremost, I ask them questions. This is their art, this is what they do best. I have endless knowledge from some of the best deathmatch guys out there.
“I hate when guys come into the locker room and don’t ask them questions. This is their craft. Their superpower is deathmatches. They’re able to do three in a row, so obviously, there’s a magic behind it. If they can do three back-to-back nights, and you can’t do one without dying, ask them a question. They obviously know what they’re doing. This is their art, their craft, their sport. Trust me, the stuff they’re doing is way crazier than what you’re doing kid. It’s hard, it’s difficult, not everyone can do it. Unfortunately, especially with the fan’s newfound bloodlust, fans are looking for more violence. AEW just had an exploding ring deathmatch. The match was really good, and for them to even do that is amazing. I look at it this way, for all these years, deathmatch wrestlers got a bad rep. There’s no such thing as a bad form of wrestling, this would be like telling the difference between two quarterbacks. I use a lot of sports analogies. Tom Brady is WWE, but Pat Mahomes plays nothing like him. They’re totally different, but he’s considered one of the best out there. They paid him $500,000,000, so he must be doing something right. Well, these deathmatch guys have been doing something so right it influenced the shape of wrestling.
“Mick Foley was a deathmatch wrestler. He’s a former world champion. Moxley was World Champion in two companies. How’d he get famous before that? Doing deathmatches in CZW. Cage of Death, my man got a weedwhacker and a saw to the head. Obviously, those two know how to wrestle, you wouldn’t say they don’t. So why would you go back there and tell any other deathmatch wrestler they don’t know how to wrestle? A lot of these guys are really good wrestlers in the ring. It’s just their art is death. They can all wrestle. Rickey Shane Page is one of the best wrestlers out there. I’ve been in the ring with him countless times, and he teaches me every time I’m in there with him. Are you going to say he can’t wrestle because he does death? No! He’s probably right now, one of the hottest entertainers in wrestling. Villain aside, he’s great. First off, he’s brought deathmatch wrestling to the forefront of independent wrestling today. Think about how hard that had to be. The number one stable (44OH!) is a deathmatch stable. None of them are big guys. Rickey is my size. The rest are what independent wrestling is today. He influenced stories so much that EFFY trended on Twitter for just joining his faction for an hour. So, tell me again that deathmatch guys don’t know what they’re doing. Some fans do, as I said, you have to respect all the art of professional wrestling. You might not want to watch it, but respect that it exists because every little bit of independent wrestling, whether it’s Luchadors, heavyweights, the classic style, the pure wrestling champion in ROH, or deathmatch.
“You’re learning that all these little things influence all the things you see on Monday Night RAW. Every night on AEW. Independent wrestling is the single most influential tool on wrestling. If you want real change, support independent wrestling. AEW isn’t going to care unless it’s being influenced by independent wrestling. They watch that. That’s why it’s so important to fight stereotypes in wrestling. Television isn’t going to change unless you change it for them. The only way to change it is to like certain things in independent wrestling. Obviously, deathmatch became very popular, because we had WWE’s version of a hardcore match on RAW and multiple deathmatches on AEW. So, they’re paying attention. As I said, you have to adapt in wrestling, and the one thing about deathmatch guys, they’re able to adapt. They think outside the box, and I love creative people. When there’s no ring what are you going to do?
“That’s what I love about No Peace. Look at your surroundings, you don’t need a ring to be a wrestler. The ring is technically a stage, that’s all it is. It’s your stage above the people to perform your art. Originally, you couldn’t do anything on the ropes, remember? The original rules of wrestling were you couldn’t touch those ropes. That’s why we have rope breaks. What happens when you don’t have ropes? What happens when you don’t have that platform? Can you perform? I like the no-ring setting because it challenges me as a wrestler. Can I do my craft to the best of my abilities because if you can do it there, you sure as hell can do it in a ring, Right?”
And you end up piledriving Tony Deppen into a car hood. That was probably my favourite spot of the show…
“Well, he deserves it. It was a very real car, and the cops were not very happy. We did almost get arrested.”
I did wonder, I was like there they go, they’re fighting in the street, there’s the crowd, there’s a car and there goes Deppen.
“EC3 was in the crowd too. He was there right before the crowd, walked right up to me. Go back and watch the video. Spoiler alert in every match I do, there are cameos to something I’m going to do in the future. I’m just putting it out there. Every match I’ve done since the pandemic has an easter egg to some event in the future. One of them is going to make sense in June, and it is going to be extremely violent. It’s going to be nothing you think, but the match is going to be violent. This match has been building for a very long time, and it will make sense once you see it. It’s one of those things. How creative can you get in wrestling? That’s what I love about No Peace, they allow you to be creative. What other company is going to be like, okay do a car? What other company is going to give you the green light to do that? It’s very limited. There’s a lot of companies that tell you no. You put me and Tony Deppen together, you’re going to get a lot of crazy things because me and Tony are crazy, legitimately. I’m like a Michael Bay film, I like things to blow up. I like action. I have to be talked down from a lot of things.
“One of my favourite ever people to work with is Darby Allin. He was one of my favourite ever training partners. Half of Parrow’s stuff actually comes from Darby working with me in the ring. When I started the Parrow character, Darby was starting at EVOLVE, and I was a part of the company, and he lived here in Orlando so he, Palmer, Ricochet, Sami Callihan, and Moose all took time to work with what I was becoming. To focus on what I’m good at and not good at. Darby is a really fun training partner cause Darby’s crazy. What you get on screen from Darby is actually Darby. He has some crazy ideas you have to talk him out of. Funny story about Darby. My first run at MLW, I wasn’t in the match, it was Shane Strickland, John Morrison, Jimmy Havoc, and Darby in a deathmatch type of setting. My husband came to the show and was sitting on the balcony while we were doing the tapings with a couple of other people, and Darby runs up with a chair duct-taped to his back, waves at him, and jumps off the balcony. My husband looks at me and says, “You’re getting health insurance.” I said, I’m not even in the match, and he said, “You’re not smart enough to say no.” Flash forward to now, and I’m doing all these deathmatches…”
He was right…
“He is not happy when I bleed. The first time I ever did it, I bled through all the sheets.”
Did they ever get that massive bloodstain off the stage?
“That’s actually happened like three times. The funny thing was when I wiped off, it wasn’t as bad. I get more worried for the guys. I’m still like a little kid when it comes to watching these guys. I’ll be watching, and when they come back, I’ll be like, are you okay? I was picking glass shards out of Mercer’s back, and he was like, “What did you think?” What do I think? You just got chokeslammed through glass, you psychopath. He was like, “You just got hit by a car.” That was just a car, that was a pane of glass. Our arguments are kind of funny. That’s what I love about deathmatch wrestling. I’m still at that point where I love watching and getting shocked. It’s like Neil Diamond Cutter, every time I see him wrestle, I think this guy is going to die. Then he doesn’t. The Honey Badger is just still around. Then there’s The Rejects and just, anybody. I will say this, I love Atticus’ character. He interests me. To me, AJ Gray is very New Jack, a modern New Jack. I want to see AJ cut more promos. Give him a mic. No Peace is the only show I know with three shows on three networks during Mania weekend. There’s Fatalism, Shallow Graves, and Murdermania. They’re putting in the work and quietly becoming a force in independent pro wrestling.
“I like being a little part of that company. I like being a part of companies that have taken off. Between EVOLVE, watching GCW grow, and being part of their Collectives, just watching it grow even MLW and NWA. I like being part of their growth process and being there from their birth or their rebirth in certain situations. It’s so cool to watch them become powerhouses. I like working for companies that give young talent opportunities. I’m very big on young guys getting opportunities even if it’s detrimental to me as an older talent, but if I’m going to be trapped in purgatory the rest of my life, I might as well be entertained by young talent coming up. There are so many guys. When people say indie wrestling’s dead, I wonder what are they watching. There are so many cool guys that are flippier than the last guys that came through. How do you do that? I’m just going to hit you really hard, is that okay?”
My last section is on future goals. What do you want from the next few years? Do you want to go back to Japan, take over the world?
“There’s a couple of things I want to do. I’ve made it no secret that I want to reunite the NWA with All Japan. I want to win those tag titles. Those NWA tag titles are the heart and soul of tag team wrestling. That is tag team wrestling, the NWA. I want to be a champion there. I’ve also made no bones about it on MLW, I want to be the greatest heavyweight of all time. I also want to end the stereotype of what a gay man is. The whole LGBTQ+ community is so different. I want to get to a point in wrestling where we’re no longer hired as a quota. Where we get hired because we’re entertainers. There’s a whole LGBTQ fanbase that feels alienated because they don’t get to see us every week on a Monday or a Wednesday. They have to watch us on YouTube or another show. It takes companies taking chances like MLW. Let’s be realistic, I’m a chance. I know that. I knew coming out three years ago that me saying those words were going to change everything for me. While a lot of positive things have happened, a lot of negative things have happened too, quietly. That’s the reality of any business.”
That’s a shame…
“Business is business. Larger companies don’t have to take the risk if it’s not beneficial to them. We’re still at the point where there’s so many talented LGBTQ wrestlers that are open that don’t have jobs and that are not on television. They’re not even getting phone calls from major companies. EFFY is a superstar, and I hear people say he’s not that great of a wrestler. I’ve seen some of the people that have been hired. I watch. The point of wrestling is to entertain. Nobody starts off being the best in the world, but if you give them the opportunity, let’s see if they can get there. But if you’re not letting people through the door or not even letting them on the sidewalk. I always say this. I can change anything if I’m not in the game. A small group of people know about me. Imagine if it was a large group. I’m not for every gay person. I’m for the gay person that needs to see me. I don’t represent the whole community. There’s so many of us. The community is so different. That’s why you need so many more of us. More than just one so you can go this is our gay guy, this is our lesbian, or this is our bi guy, this is our pan person. This is our trans athlete. Rather than showcase us like that, don’t hide us. Let us speak openly about who we are just like our straight counterparts get to do every two seconds on social media. “Me and my girlfriend at the beach. Having a great time.” Before I’ve had a fan say to me, if I post with my husband, that takes the beat out of you being a badass. I’m like step in the ring with me. You’re welcome. I will kill you.
“I’m really as big as I am, and I’m really as mean as I am because wrestling stereotypes exist. Unfortunately, some fans don’t understand that because they perpetuate a stereotype. We’re not all the same, and that’s the one thing I want to change coming up in wrestling is allow open wrestlers to succeed because right now in wrestling, three years after me coming out, we still rarely have the chance to succeed. I commend Court (Bauer) for not stereotyping me. He could have. They could have written some kind of stupid storyline, but they allowed me to do what I’m good at, and that’s violence. That’s another reason I like MLW. Court has never asked me to never be me. Court has never asked me to not post about my husband on social media. In fact, they’ve been super supportive of everything I’ve done outside of wrestling with fighting stereotypes. That’s a huge step forward for any wrestling company. Once other wrestling companies see that, hopefully, they’ll start opening the floodgates, there’s hundreds of open athletes why aren’t they being hired as well?
“WWE just had the largest class, no one in that class is open. Sixty people. There’re hundreds on the independents that could be given the opportunity. You couldn’t hire 61? It pains me to have to say it out loud. But it needs to be said out loud. I’m not saying anything negative, it’s just the reality of wrestling. It’s the reality of any business or sports. Our straight counterparts will never know the feeling of someone looking you right in the eyes and not respecting you because of how you were born. They don’t get that feeling. You’ve got to remember, I’m a big dude, and to have people look at you and know they don’t respect you because you’re married to a man sucks or because they have old stereotypes stuck in their heads. I wish sometimes my counterparts could feel that, to feel that disrespect. The thing is, it’s a non-verbal disrespect, but it’s the ultimate disrespect. That you’re not equal to them because of how you were born. I want to get to a point in wrestling where we don’t have to have that feeling in a locker room, no matter where we step in.
“When I came out three years ago, there were a handful of open athletes. Now, we have OutSports printing hundreds of new wrestlers coming out. That is amazing. Every one of those wrestlers is different and unique. It’s why we do EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch. Yes, it’s a funny name and tongue in cheek. The main reason EFFY started that was to give young LGBTQ+ talent a chance to be seen outside of their small market. So the rest of the world gets to see that. That’s why I do that show proudly because no matter what, being in that locker room and seeing those kids so happy and just being themselves was a cool experience. The wrestling was good, but to be in a locker room where they felt comfortable for the first time. Not having to sit in a corner or not having to hide or risk being overly gay or having to be with a certain person to feel protected. Just to walk around a locker room feeling safe was cool. I wish everyone in wrestling could feel that way. Not every gay person is like me. I’ve been in locker rooms my whole life. Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names aren’t really going to hurt me.
“You can call me anything you want, but you aren’t going to hurt me. But a person like my husband, that hurts his feelings. Not everybody is the same person and not everyone is as big as I am. I know how to fight. I’m okay with that. That shouldn’t be the situation in 2021. Locker rooms should be inclusive because your show is only better when it’s inclusive. If you have diversity on your show, it’s only going to be better, not worse. What was the main thing for a wrestler to do? Draw new fans into this business. That’s our job as pro-wrestlers, and diversity does that. I hope being open and not hiding who I am can at least in a little way shape, or form, leave the business better than it was when I started. Those are the things I want to accomplish, but definitely being one of the greatest heavyweights of all time has definitely been my personal girl. I’ve always wanted that. Watching Bam Bam Bigelow, I think he’s one of the best. I do the Greetings from Asbury Park. Tony felt that on top of a car. I hope he would have been happy.”
Watch Parrow in MLW – YouTube, FUBO, DAZN, BeInSports, ROKU
— Rob (@HeyyImRob) November 13, 2020