Sluggin’ with Steven O’Neil featuring Rip Impact

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?
Hmm, that is a good question! I spend a LOT of my time in the ring wrestling and training. Truthfully there hasn’t been a period of more than two weeks that I haven’t been in the ring over my 18 active years! Having said that, when I’m not in the ring training I like to keep myself busy with rock climbing, kayaking, hiking and caving. When I am not busy with outdoor activities, I always enjoy escape rooms and my good ol’ board game collection!

What is your favourite wrestling themed podcast or YouTube channel?
I try to listen to as many as possible! I have always been a fan of Colt Cabana’s Art of Wrestling. I’ve also enjoyed the Kayfabe 2.0 series and I always enjoy Chris Van Vliet’s interviews! I just try to listen and watch anything that I can learn from. As far as a YouTube channel, I try to watch as much wrestling as possible and a wide variety of styles. One example that comes to mind that I really enjoy is +LuchaTV, among many other channels of different styles. I really just love it all!

What was the moment that made you decide to pursue wrestling as a career?
It’s tough to pin-point it to an exact moment and I feel it was more of a collection of events. I always watched it as a child. I really got into it around the age of 10 and from there my passion for it only grew. Truthfully (and it may be cliché to say) the first time I stepped foot into a ring at 16, I was set on making it my full time career and I have never looked back. I am proud to say that I am a full time pro-wrestler and wrestling trainer and this is my career.

How do your friends/family feel about your wrestling?
My friends and family have always been supportive. I don’t know if all of them have always thought I was going to dive in as deep as I did but after doing it for several years, they all saw how serious I was about it and encouraged me to continue with my journey. I’m thankful to have started with a close friend, who no longer wrestles now, but to this day is still an active watcher and supporter.

How do you balance family/relationships while pursuing your wrestling career?
Wrestling has always been there for me and what I dove into head first at a young age. I was on the road and touring in my late teens so it was always my main focus and what I prioritized. Over the years of touring and keeping busy travelling and locally, I eventually met my wife (at a wrestling event of course!) She has always been supportive of my goals and career. Since opening my wrestling school, the Hamilton Pro Wrestling Academy 4 and a half years ago, I’ve been a little more settled down locally and have found the perfect balance of wrestling and ‘general’ life time, hahaha.

What does a typical training day look like for you?
Every day varies and it’s been a bit different this past year but typically I try to do 30 minutes of physical exercise everyday. It could be riding my bike or elliptical or doing body weighted exercises. I also really enjoy swimming, kayaking and climbing so I do that when the weather allows it. I recently built myself an indoor climbing wall so I’m trying to use that more and I hope to get into Yoga some more too. Mentally I train myself daily by watching and studying wrestling footage. Honestly though, majority of my training takes place in the ring which I usually spend a few hours in almost every day of the week.

What does the diet of a pro-wrestler look like?
It’s different for everyone and I’ve had students succeed with various diets from keto to fasting. I think most of them can work when the discipline is there and someone puts the work in. As far as my personal diet, I eat mostly ‘whatever I want’ (within reason, haha) and I try to just eat a healthy balance of all the food groups and 3 meals and 2 snacks everyday. I don’t get out of control with anything but I also don’t restrict myself from having some sort of treat if I want it. I also live a straight edge lifestyle so I don’t (and never have) drank, smoked or done any drugs at all. I don’t even consume caffeine, haha, and I typically only drink (lots of) water.

What do you think is a common misconception about wrestling that people have?
That is a tricky question. An easy answer would be that some people think it’s ‘fake’ but truthfully I feel majority have some form of (possibly misconstrued) understanding of things to some degree. As a trainer, part of me wants to say that several people misconceive the challenges of wrestling and believe ‘it’s not that hard’. But, for anyone who has ever said that and then tried it out, they find out quickly that there is a LOT more to it than many believe.

If you had to wear a WARNING label, what would it say?
‘Danger – may explode if not kept in a ring. For safety reasons, please store in a ring. Further instructions suggest watching out for takeovers, high flying and submission based wrestling’.

In an alternate universe where wrestling doesn’t exist – what are you doing instead?
Well, I never ever want to think about that universe! But, I have always gone on record saying that if wrestling never existed, I could see myself being a Magician. I love magic! Hahaha. I love everything about it and I feel something about pro-wrestling is truly magical. Other than that, I could see myself leading some sort of adventure tour business with the aforementioned activities above.

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