Sluggin’ with Steven O’Neil featuring Jim Stryder

The following interview is part of an exclusive interview series courtesy of CWN Contributor Steven O’Neil. Steven has been a fan of Pro-Wrestling for the past 30+ years and on top of his love for the business, he has also lent his voice to several podcasts over the past year.

What do you do in your spare time when you aren’t wrestling, or training?
I mostly work at my job, I’m on the road driving trucks. At home I read a lot, I’m really into biographies and non-fiction lately, but I’ll always go back to a good horror story.

What is your favourite wrestling themed podcast or YouTube channel?
My favourite wrestling podcast would have to be, and I know this is a “controversial” opinion, but it’s got to be the Jim Cornette Experience. His breakdown and analysis of matches are still invaluable. Whether you disagree with his opinions of wrestling or not, you can still learn a lot from listening to his breakdown of structure and psychology.

What was the moment that made you decide to pursue wrestling as a career?
This is kind of a funny story; I always wanted to be a wrestler, but the exact moment I began to actively seek training was after a WWE house show in London. In a match between the New Day and The Wyatt Family, Xavier Woods was thrown over the barricade near me. He looked up at some kids and said “Don’t become a wrestler.” For some reason it just reaffirmed for me I had to seek it out, I don’t know why, maybe I’m just crazy.

How do your friends/family feel about your wrestling?
How others feel or the perceptions they have about wrestling has never influenced my decisions. Some still have pretty major misconceptions about what it is we do, but I’m pretty lucky, my family has always supported me, they enjoy coming to the shows.

How do you balance family/relationships while pursuing your wrestling career?
You have to sacrifice a lot. Shows are on weekends and that’s usually when friends or family want to see you, so you end up missing a lot of stuff. You have to be able to recognize when something crucial comes up, and when you absolutely need to be there for people you care about. Dedication does not have to mean selfishness.

What does a typical training day look like for you?
I usually get to the gym after work, you have to find the intensity even if you’re tired. On days we’re also working in the ring, I most likely have to work out later, sometimes it’s a 16-18 hour day but you need to get all your work in. I try to balance old-school weight lifting with plyometrics and high intensity circuits. I’ll do a day of heavy weights, then a day of explosive circuits to really push myself. Rounds of incline sprints and boxing on the heavy bag are good for cardio, jumping rope is a good one too.

What does the diet of a pro-wrestler look like?
Lots of greens, lots of protein. Keeping that energy up and gaining muscle takes a lot, you have to keep putting fuel in the engine.

What do you think is a common misconception about wrestling that people have?
There are a lot of misconceptions, but honestly my feeling is that a lot of the people I’m seeing in the business today still have misconceptions about what it is we are supposed to be doing in there, but I’ll leave it at that before I put my foot in my mouth. I’m very good at doing that.

If you had to wear a WARNING label, what would it say?
If I had a warning label, I’d wear it out to the ring and it would say “No Diving”.

In an alternate universe where wrestling doesn’t exist – what are you doing instead?
I used to be an actor, so I’d probably still be doing that, it’s way less fun though.

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