As noted, Interactive Wrestling Radio interviewed Punishment Martinez this week. Martinez discussed what got him into pro wrestling, the Monster factory, Cody Rhodes' comments about ROH's growth potential and more. You can download and listen to the full interview by clicking here, they sent us these highlights:
"Like most wrestlers today, I grew up watching it and was a big time fan. I dreamed of doing it. We had martial arts schools. We ended up closing them down. I moved around. It came to a point where I didn't know what to do next. A friend of mine came to me and said, "Hey, why don't we do this wrestling thing we always dreamed of doing?" I didn't even know how to go about it. I mean, what do you do? Show up at a wrestling show and say, "Hey, we're wrestlers!" (laughs) He said, "No, we've got to go to school and train." He found the school in South Jersey, the Monster Factory. The rest is history!"
What makes the Monster Factory special:
"Over time, the Monster Factory has evolved as has wrestling. It has had different trainers and different facilities. Now, because of how wrestlers and athletes are trained these days in terms of wrestling, it has become a mini-performance center. There's amateur matches, a weight room, multiple rings. It's not just in-ring training. As I said, wrestling has so many different dynamics to it now compared to yesteryear. It needed to evolve! It comes down to fundamentals and being able to tell a story... Everything beyond what you see as just moves. It is what's before and after that is so important. That's been the heart of the training of the Monster Factory! It is the way it makes guys do things the right way, be businessmen, to treat this as a business, and weeding out the bad folks who don't belong in our business. I think that is why it has been so successful as far as breeding popular stars."
"I'm from New York. I was raised in Puerto Rico so Spanish was my first language. I moved to the States when I was about 11 and have lived in the Tri-States the rest of the time."
The difficulty of learning promos:
"The psychology and even the speaking, the promos, that was a little harder for me too." He goes on to say, "It is about knowing The problem is when you don't know what to say or when to say it, it becomes challenging. I can say words and make them menacing but if it doesn't make sense in the moment, it becomes wasted words. "
It being tough to be a big man in the modern era:
"You raise a very good point and I like the way you worded that. It is hard which is funny because pro wrestling was all about the big men. Now, there's a big man and the fans are like , "Ugh, I don't want to watch this guy." It used to be the opposite! What happened? (laughs) I kind of like the challenge a little bit because when you can succeed being the one that everyone expects to fail, it is just that much better. I know if they're expecting the worst and you give them something good, they're going to say that it is great. If you give them something great, it is going to be special! That's my goal. There are still a lot of big men and they're very athletic. The style has changed. There's no generic big man anymore."
Working GFW's iconic performer Abyss:
"There's still your classic big men like you said, Abyss, who knows how to tell a story so he doesn't have to rely on doing dives and flips and wantnot because he knows who he is. Everybody knows who he is! He's established! Would Abyss, how he works, starting now, would that work? I don't know. Maybe it would, because it still does. But, would he get the opportunity?" He goes on to say, "I'm a big fan of Abyss and what he does."
ROH's new TV Deal:
"It's awesome! You're always trying, our goal in the locker room is to make the product as good as it could be. I'm not just saying this because I work for the company. In the time I've been there, I've been so appreciative of my peers and those that were there before me because of the way they treated me coming in. It wasn't, "You're an outsider and you've got to pay dues." No! It was, "You're here. You're here for a reason. So, we're going to help you become the best you because that's what we're all about. We're not about individually being the best. We're about the product." Then, when the product itself starts raising the bar, getting TV deals, getting bigger opportunities because of what we're contributing, it makes us feel really, really good because we know we're doing our job."
Working with Kevin Sullivan and Steve Corino:
"Man! Coming into ROH, getting a job with a major company, and then getting to work with these guys was a pretty cool deal! (laughs) And, developing a relationship with these people too where I talk to these guys on a regular basis now. I just talked to Sullivan two days ago. I still ask him questions and ask him to critique my work and give me tips and pointers. Both these guys... Geniuses! It does not matter what people know about them, I think they're still under appreciated. People don't understand all they've done for professional wrestling be it on camera or behind the scenes helping people raise their own bar. They've helped so many people along the way which goes unnoticed by many but not by the people that they've helped. But, they didn't do it for recognition. They did it because they love professional wrestling and that is something I really respect about them."
Working with The Addiction:
"Awesome, awesome. Frankie and I have a lot in common. We like the same music... We have similar personalities. More laid back, more to ourselves. Man, that guy knows this business in and out. It was so easy to work with him. With him, everything was so flawless. Same thing with CD. Those guys... Man, they're so good!"
Cody Rhodes saying ROH has more growth potential than GFW:
"I can't speak for GFW because I've never worked there, he did. He's speaking from experience. I can speak as far as Ring of Honor. We just got a new TV deal. The partnership with New Japan and CMLL seems to be growing stronger. Each year, the numbers raise as far as the TV viewers, attendance, and pay-per-view buys. It's growing! The proof is in the pudding!"