(Above: We have Pete, Fight Club: Pro ring announcer Mark Adams & CZW's DJ Hyde - Picture credit to Jamie Simpson of JAMIEPhoto which can be found here - https://www.facebook.com/snapplemonster)
The Indy Corner: Thanks for your time today Pete, so before we get onto your refereeing career, tell us a bit about your time as a fan growing up, who were your favourites etc?
Well I have been a fan of professional wrestling ever since I can remember, I remember going to my eldest brothers grandads and watching tapes of Saturday Nights Main Event and Superstars of Wrestling. Growing up as a teenager was a bitter sweet time as a wrestling fan in regards to the Attitude Era being in full force. There was one point growing up that when we had just standard Sky TV, we didn't have sky sports so every night when the wrestling was on i'd listen to Monday Night Raw as it was then through the stereo during breaks of WCW Monday Nitro and watch Nitro on the Cartoon Network TNT switch over. It was a very good time to be a wrestling fan, even better when ECW came onto Bravo. Favourites back then were, Tananka, Bam Bam Bigelow, Goldust, Piper, Flair, Chris Kanyon, Chris Jericho, Taz, Sabu, Jerry Lynn, Kid Kash.
The Indy Corner: What steps did you take from being a fan to getting into the business, did you ever want to be an actual wrestler, if so, did you doing any training?
Well when I was 15 years old, I went to my 1st UK Indy show which was run by the now promoter of New Scene Wrestling. The card for it was brilliant, FWA champion at the time was booked on it, Jonny Vs Jody was the main event if I remember rightly. After the show I approached a young lad by the name of K-Star Kid about training and such things and he put me in the direction of Steve Logan (Not the old Steve Logan from World Of Sport) and I went from there. 4 of us started training together every Sunday afternoon at K-Star under tutelage of Heavy Metal Mass (Lee Massey) Abbas the Iranian Warrior, Carl Corporate as he was known then and GBH (John Kirkham).
The Indy Corner: What was your wrestling training like, did you find it tough and I guess it was there where you decided being an actual wrestler wasn't for you and you were going to go down another route in the business?
Training was good, I was 15 years old when I started training with K Star and I was training with 3 of my friends so to me it was brilliant. True story here, in my training seminar group was Mad Dogg Maxx and I actually attended K Star before Spud so who knows where my career could of gone and what promotions I could of worked for. The problem with being young and learning to wrestle is that you have a LONG time to wait till you can get in the ring so what with GCSE's and what not I took a different direction in life.
The Indy Corner: You are probably more known for refereeing in Fight Club: Pro but tell us about your early days as a referee and who did you start with?
I had been out of Wrestling for 4 years by the time I started this and I did it purely by chance. I was surfing the Internet one day, Facebook or Myspace I'm not sure which one and a guy by the name of Tom Russon, Known to most as Lord Graham Thomas posted that there was a referee needed for a show at last minute as the other guy had dropped out and I don't know what took over me but I replied back and said id do it. Tom got me the booking, It was on 24-5-2009 for LPW and my 1st main event involved good friend "Hurricane" John Walters (RJ Brewer for those who are a follower of LLUSA) and I haven't looked back since
The Indy Corner: How was it for you when you got in, I imagine it's not easy learning the ropes so to speak with positioning and the like, how did you adapt?
This is a tough question to answer to be honest, as most people are VERY ignorant when it comes to Referee's. People are always quick to moan and complain about shit Ref's but then don't have the ability to compliment a good one. I don't tend to talk about it much these days because in my experience anyway, when I start talking about being a ref most the times I get stuff like "all you do is count to 3" "it only take 2 to work a match" and things of that nature but its a lot more than that. I take my job very seriously and I feel its people like that who make comments like that who A, have no place being in this business & B, don't take what they do seriously enough to have to worry about me.
However coming back to topic, It wasn't very easy for me no as I had no formal training at all. Everything I learned I did on the job which in my opinion is always the best way to learn in anything you do. I have been a referee for just over 3 years now which is crazy to think as I thought it was more like 4 but I still learn every single time I'm in the ring. I learned a lot from watching guys like Chris Roberts and Steve Lynskey and I always try to take the advice I am given by my peers and add something new every time I work a show, sometime it works & sometimes not but I learn going forward.
The Indy Corner: You may not want to speak on this but did you get much grief from the boys?
Hey I'm happy to talk about it, I did when I 1st started. More than once I'd try to find out finishes to matches & more than once I would get the reply of "Just count to 3 kid" which is OK if your an experienced official like I mentioned earlier, Roberts and the like. It's never easy if your just starting out and you have no guide to work to and most of the time I would ruin the end of the matches due to not knowing.
Most of the other things I tend to get as I mentioned earlier are from people that have no business making comments, mainly from hangers on of wrestlers and workers themselves that are to busy worrying about everything but themselves and what they should be doing. I'm not mentioning names on this occasion but these people know all to well who they are.
The Indy Corner: I personally have been there and seen not only yourself but other referees get stick from the crowd,how do you cope with this?
You have to learn to take it on the chin Stu, take this comment away from me for a moment and put it onto a wrestler, If they took personally everything fans shout at them then I would be out of a job as there would be no wrestlers left. If I'm honest I don't pay it any attention. I hear it, ever time someone shouts "Zebra" "The Referee's a Wanker" and things of that nature I deaf it out.
In fact I take a personal compliment from it in the fact that if there to busy paying attention to me then why bother coming to the show?
The Indy Corner: Onto some of the matches you have worked, you've been in there with some top Indy stars while working for FCP such as Davey Richards, Eddie Edwards, Adam Cole to name a few,tell us, what match have you worked where you really have to pinch yourself to make sure it's real?
I have been very fortunate that in my just over 3 years as a referee I have officiated a lot of the best talent this business has to offer outside of a national organization. 2 matches come to mind straight away when I come to answer this question.
1st one being T-Bone Vs Kid Kash at AWW. I have always been a big mark for Kid Kash right back to his ECW days so being in the same ring as him reffing one of his matches was a high point in life that's for sure. Being able to talk to him before the show about general stuff, His MMA training, Music, Ricky Morton etc etc was brilliant!
2nd one is easily the highest profile match I have ever worked in regards to what was on the line. I officiated a Ring of Honor World Title match between Trent Seven & the then Current ROH Champion Davey Richards. The match was pure technical skill from the outset. Friends of mine who were at the show said I looked physically shocked to be in the ring for that match and I honestly was looking back on it now. The ROH title is the 4th biggest title in the world in my opinion and being a lad from West Bromwich being able to hold it in the air before its defence means a lot to me and something i will always thank the FCP management team for having the trust and belief in my abilities to be given such responsibility.
The Indy Corner: We'll go back to FCP in a minute but the biggest star I'd say you have worked in a match with was Matt Morgan, at the time a co-holder of the TNA tag team titles, this match took place in Birmingham based New Scene Wrestling, how was this match for you, tell us about the build up and being in the ring with Morgan, as a big wrestling fan this must of been great for you?
Agreed, working with Matt Morgan was a big deal for me and again one that I am very grateful of. The build up to this match was good as the promotion ran videos months before the show teasing the booking of a top level superstar which worked well in generating interest. I watched them myself and was very surprised to find out that not only was it Morgan booked but that I would be officiating it. Being a life long WWE fan I have been made well aware of Morgan and his career so it was awesome to think I would get to the chance to work with him.
Its just a shame that in reality Matt's personal issues and attitude behind the curtain cloud over how talented he is.
The Indy Corner: Back to FCP, what was it like working the Project Mayhem shows last year with not only the FCP guys but guys from CZW, WXW in Germany and BJW from Japan?
It was big man, Not just for me but i think for all the guys at Fight Club. It was the 1st time we all joined forces for a show and it was a great experience to say the least inside and outside the ring. I met, worked with and made friends with people from all over the world but apart from that I made alot of contacts. I have openings and future working agreements in place with wXw and CZW which I will be sure to look into as the future becomes the present for me. The weekend as a whole was great, totally different styles of matches and workers. Death Match, Strong Style, Light Weights - we had it all to suit everyone that weekend and I'm personally looking forward to this years event.
The Indy Corner: Were you a bit apprehensive when you knew death match style wrestling was on the card?
Oh sure I was. I've never really been a fan of death match wrestling if I'm honest with you. Taking nothings away from them but I feel that when people have short comings in there wrestling abilities they surround themselves with weapons and work death match wrestling matches. Each to there own though.
I was very fortunate in the fact that the guy that was booked as the head referee for that weekend, WXW's referee Tassilo Jung had booked BJW's referee Yuki Lee in nearly all of the death matches apart from the one I asked to work which all things considered was the safest in terms of weapons used of them all that weekend.
The Indy Corner: At the last FCP show, you took a Lariat off CZW owner/wrestler DJ Hyde, where does this rank with other bumps you have taken in the ring?
Simply put it ranks as number 1 as it knocked me silly. If you look at the picture (Credit Jamie Simpson) you can clearly see that he hit me in the face with enough force to mold his arm fat around my jaw line. I can remember the impact but that's it. I don't remember finishing the show, Getting home and I'm still having trouble remembering things now.
I was assessed by a medical expert who did say I was certainly suffering from concussion type symptoms and I strongly needed to be checked out but over time I seem to of come out of whatever was hanging over me since the show apart from some forgetfulness.
Unfortunately though I will not be working the next FCP show due to the incident at the last show but I'm hoping that when Project Mayhem comes round this year that my peers will exact a measure of revenge on DJ Hyde.
(Again, credit to Jamie Simpson for the photo above)
The Indy Corner: I was there when you made your debut for South Side Wrestling at the Speed king show, which featured Mark Haskins who is part of TNA and PAC who although is from the UK spends the majority of his time in Japan with Dragon Gate, how was it being on this show with these guys?
Honestly and I don't man to sound big headed here but because I have worked with so many guys now being backstage was fine to be honest. The only nerves I really had was not meeting some of the guys before however guys i do know and have worked with before, Marty Scurll & Spud made me welcome and was was fine once I'd done the rounds of the dressing room.
The show itself was brilliant from start to finish, I have wanted to be a part of the South Side crew for along time and I'm glad its all working out for me now. I have worked for them twice now and each show has been brilliant. I'm glad to be apart of it and congratulations to Marty Scurll on being the 1st Speed King Champion however he has a hard challenge coming June 23rd in MK McKinnan.
The Indy Corner: OK Pete, we’ll wrap this up soon but a few things, as a referee, what is your goal, is it the WWE, TNA, ROH or somewhere else?
Of course I would love to join WWE one day. Being a fan of them for all these years I think anyone that is on the UK scene right now dreams about working for one of the 3 promotions you mentioned along with Dragon Gate and Noah as places to go but the only issue I will find myself with is my visual tattoo's. When you look at TNA, WWE or any of the major promotions for that matter all of there officials are very clean cut, very plain which unfortunately for me I am not. If I had of known before having tattoos that I would be having this much success in the wrestling Business then I wouldn't of had any at all that are visible
The Indy Corner: There are a lot of talented workers in the UK currently if you could name just one that you enjoy working with and see big things for who would that person be?
For me that's simple - Noam Dar. That guys is absolutely amazing. I first heard of Noam Dar though UK's Number 1 wrestling fan - Sam Bradley who is a big fan of Dar & I got my 1st chance to see him live at the Dragon Gate show in Nottingham and what a match that was. Since that time I have worked with Noam about 5 times and ever time he has been very polite and professional in the back and absolutely awesome in the ring. Personally for me Noam is the best worker in terms of time in the business and is only going to get better as the time and opportunities come forward for him. I am looking forward to Noam Dar Vs AJ Styles as I will be there in person to see this and would love to see Noam Dar in Fight Club: PRO someday. £3 Megabus!
The Indy Corner: To finish we’ll do a bit of word association, just give me the first thing that comes to your head when you see what is written:
Trent Seven - British Strong Style
MK McKinnan - Future
Clint Margera - HARDCORE!!
Rockstar Spud - Promo genius
Chris Brookes - Giant
Mark Adams - Best in the UK
Sami Callihan - Future WWE Superstar
Davey Richards - Tough
Eddie Edwards - Champ
Nigel McGunniess - Legend
Adam Cole - Skills!
Mike Quackenbush - Flips & Shit!
Fight Club: Pro - Home
New Scene Wrestling - Not Booked.
SouthSide Wrestling - Finally!
The Indy Corner: OK Pete, this is your chance to say whatever you want and plug any Facebook or Twitter etc.
I'd just like to take this time to thank everyone who has made my journey this far possible. Tom Russon for getting me the booking right up to the people that continue to book me now.
If there is anyone I think people should also keep their eyes open for is a kid by the name of Tyler Bate. This kid eats, sleeps and drinks this business. He trains twice a week, every week without fail and I'm proud to say that he is going to be big things on the UK scene in the future mark my words.
For bookings or details I can be contacted via my twitter @PeterStevensUK or on facebook facebook.com/pete.stevens1