WWE United Kingdom talent Joseph Conners was recently interviewed by the Card Subject To Change podcast. In the interviewed, Conners discussed his influences in the ring, the Righteous character, British Wrestling, the WWE United Kingdom Championship, his involvement in the upcoming WWE UK tour and more. You can listen to the full interview by clicking here, they sent us these highlights:
"British wrestling at the time when you had the World of Sport and was when you had massive crowds in British Wrestling, and British Wrestling was a massive focal point on television. When I was getting into it there was a couple of promotions like the Frontier Wrestling Alliance, 1PW was around at the time, and they were the companies that had the bigger super shows and mass, big crowds. But when I first started, if we had a hundred in the audience that was huge. And you still get those numbers in certain shows now but we're very fortunate now in wherever I seem to go, it doesn't matter what show it is, it's always predominantly a packed house or there's five hundred plus, six hundred plus, sometimes thousands, and we're kind of spoilt at the moment. Everyone's talking about it but British Wrestling has this sort of epicentre around it in terms of professional wrestling at the moment."
His favorite wrestlers growing up:
"I loved Kane, I loved Mankind, I was a big Triple H fan. I like guys like Hardcore Holly, Al Snow, Steve Blackman. I liked everybody really. The Hardy Boyz. That was the great thing at that point; all those people I've just named, each one is a different personality, They're all selling something different. I was never a massive Rock or Austin fan. I used to like the guys they would seemingly wrestle, so I was more like Triple H, Kurt Angle, Kane, those kind of guys, the guys they'd oppose a lot of the time. Then I got into guys like Edge and Christian. Then the more and more I started watching wrestling I started appreciating other people like William Regal, the people who could really go in the ring and you start noticing more about the in-ring mechanics of wresting."
Deciding to get into being a pro wrestler:
"When I was a fan I never saw myself being a wrestler, just because I didn't really realise there was a British wrestling scene. To me there was just WWE, WCW, and ECW, and I was aware of the FWA in England, but I had no idea about how someone went about becoming a professional wrestler and I just didn't know if I'd ever have a chance of being involved in it. When WWE started releasing more of the documentary DVD's that they started doing, I remember watching an Eddie Guerrero DVD that came out called Cheating Death, Stealing Life, and I just remember watching that over and over again, seeing how he grew up and what brought him into wrestling, and I just started thinking more and more that this is something I'd maybe like to at least have a look at... I'd recently passed my driving test and my friend just said to me there's a local wrestling show in Leicester, shall we go and check that out... I saw the show and there was a few people on it and I thought if they can do it then I'm going to find out and try and get involved myself."
Who influenced his in ring style:
"When I was tagging with Paul Malen, as an act called The Predators, when we started doing that I remember, obviously before the Network, we studied a lot of Tully Blanchard and Arn Anderson. As a tag team we'd sit and watch those guys non-stop....I watch a lot of guys like Fit Finlay and William Regal, like a lot of British guys do just for their physicality, their facials, the way they get so much out of so little....From being just a fan to being involved in the industry you notice a lot of little things you wouldn't have noticed before. And I think watching the way Finlay delivers a strike or puts a hold on, he's just such a phenomenal talent....The thing is you pick up something from just about everybody you watch because everyone has got a little way of doing something. And I think even if you don't realise it your style is influenced by so many people. I love watching Shawn Michaels, just for his facials, his fire. There's so many guys but I definitely always think of Finlay, just watching how phenomenal he is. He's one that just steps right out the pack for me."
Getting into the WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament:
"I did some extra work last April for the WWE, and I guess my communication or getting slightly on their radar started when I got the opportunity to do some seminars with Dave Taylor, who's another phenomenal British wrestler and obviously been in WWE and WCW. He was very kind to me and said he'd maybe put a word in for me, or give me some more information, or help me sort of make some changes and look to be something that WWE might be interested in. Once again, I had the opportunity to train with Robbie Brookside when he came over. I took that opportunity and got to meet him again... And I think I managed to stand out within the group that was there. I had an opportunity to just show him a few things.... He asked me to keep in contact and send him some of my stuff, so I did that... I got the opportunity thanks to him to go down last year when Raw and Smackdown were doing the O2 shows, where I was asked to be an extra, which was just a fantastic experience... I got to meet Mr. Regal. He's been fantastic and gave us all loads of advice and explained a lot of little things to us, which was just invaluable at the time. Mr. Regal also gave me his email address to stay in contact with him so I took him up on that and if a new match came about I'd send him the footage, or send him a promo that I'd shot, or anything like that and just try to keep in contact and if he had the time for any advice and stuff. And then literally the tournament idea came out of nowhere. I was offered that opportunity and of course, I jumped at it."
What winning the WWE United Kingdom Championship would mean to him:
"That's the next goal. When I did the extra work last April, it's like ok I've done that now, what's next. If I go back it would be good to be involved in something on TV. Then obviously I got the opportunity to do the tournament. At first it's like ok I want to go out there and have that match. I want to have that match and I want to win and advance into the next round. Done that and I got knocked out....I want to be where Pete Dunne and Tyler Bate were. So I'm going to work and move forward....Anyone who's involved in this United Kingdom brand, everyone's got to have their eyes on what Tyler Bate's got at the moment....I want to be exactly where he is. I'm always looking forward. I want to progress and being the champion of this United Kingdom representation of WWE, that's goal number one. And then keeping hold of that championship and moving continuously up the ladder. That's definitely what I've got my sights set on."
The upcoming WWE United Kingdom Live shows in Norwich:
"I'm majorly excited. After the buzz and after the reception of the tournament, especially from what I've read and been told from fans who've come up to me, everyone's been asking when are we going to see more of it, when are we going to see more of yourself and more of the guys, and now we've got May the 6th, May the 7th, we've got two shows and there's so many variables, so much stuff that can happen. I just can't wait to see what I'll be doing, who I'll be wrestling. There's so much talent across the board. We're going to have guys from the 205 Live brand involved. So far announced we've got guys like Rich Swann, Tony Nese, Brian Kendrick....There's something for everybody."
How his life has changed since being a part of the WWE United Kingdom Championship tournament:
"Even before the WWE, I was starting to get to a point where I'd be in the gym or in a supermarket and I'd get recognised for certain shows, which is always a bit weird at first. But it's really cool when I'm in random places, like I'm in the opticians and somebody comes up to me and says great job in the United Kingdom tournament, Mark Andrews shouldn't have won, you should have beat Mark Andrews. Or I'm in Tesco and I'm buying something and the security guard is coming up to me, and I'm thinking what have I done? He thinks I've stolen something. And he says you were robbed....Or I'm at the gym and I think why is that guy looking at me? Does he think I've been on the weights too long? Does he want to step in and do a set? And then he'll come up to me and say I really enjoyed your match at such and such. It's cool those instances. It's also cool doing meet and greets with the crowds at some of the shows I've been doing and hearing their feedback.....I just try and stay humble because I've got a long way to go yet and there's a lot of things I want to accomplish."