- Former NFL player, Ojinnaka has found his calling in the ring
Ring of Honor’s Moose recently took some time to participate in an interview. Moose reveals his transition from football to wrestling, training under Mr. Hughes and the GFW signing rumors. He opens up about the deal ROH and Destination America what he learned competing recently in Mexico. Check out the complete interview below.
What has helped you the most with your your transition from football to wrestling?
“I would say that basically the discipline. Waking up early, going to work out, and making sure you’re eating right, making sure you’re getting your proper rest, making sure you’re patient. That’s probably the biggest thing that’s helped me out, thus far from football with wrestling.”
What can you say has been the most challenging part about transitioning to wrestling when you did? If you could have done this earlier, would you have?
“I haven’t really had any difficult part of this whole transition process to the wrestling business. Its been pretty smooth and pretty easy, thus far. Would I have done it earlier? Maybe a couple of years earlier. Maybe when I was done playing with the Patriots, maybe I would have done it then. I would have chase this dream of mine of professional wrestling but I definitely would have then. When I was with the Falcons, it was probably the best years that I enjoyed playing the sport of football. So maybe after I left the Falcons or maybe New England, I probably would have given it up then to chase this dream. Maybe I would have been a little older, probably about 26 years old, 27 years old.”
Describe your training with Mr. Hughes & the ROH Academy. Also, what led to the decision to change careers from football to wrestling?
“Wrestling was always something I always wanted to do. I’ve been a big fan of it since I was 10 years old. I knew I was going to do it at some point in my life before it was all said and done I just didn’t know when that time was going to come especially after getting drafted and playing a few years in the NFL. It was always something I was going to do. Without trying to be repetitive, I just didn’t know when I was going to start. Training with Mr. Hughes was great. He is definitely one of the best trainers out there. He knows his craft. He knows his stuff. He knows how to get people prepared. Look at how many people have been successful coming out of his school. He definitely knows what he’s doing. It’s been a big blessing working with him. I’ve worked with Delirious a few times, and Jay Lethal and the Briscoe’s, so all those guys were definitely helpful with where I am now at my career and thank them tremendously for it.”
Outside of the training you’ve received, who from Ring of Honor has been really instrumental in helping you continue to develop?
“Those three guys (Jay Lethal and the Briscoe’s) were definitely a few of the people that have helped me. You definitely have Kevin Kelly, who has been really supportive since day one. You have Brutal Bob Evans, who has been a great friend of mine and he has definitely been supportive and helpful in my progression. You have guys like Adam Cole that I talk to when I need some advice. You have Bobby Fish, Colt Bower, George, I mean there are a bunch of names that I could throw out there but the thing about Ring of Honor that a lot of people don’t know is its different from a lot of wrestling promotions or at least I think it’s different from a lot of wrestling promotions because this is the only real wrestling promotion that I’ve worked for but we’re like a tight knit group here like a family in other words and we try to help each other out we always watch each other’s matches and tell people and tell each other what we could have done to be better and what you should have had done so I mean right there is one thing I’m sure every other company doesn’t do that’s why I believe we have the best wrestling on the planet.”
It had been reported that you signed with GFW, but would only appear on house shows. Is there any reason for this in particular?
“I have plans with Ring of Honor and I haven’t signed anything with any other company. It’s crazy because just to segway out here and I normally hear the same thing and sometimes I laugh about it, sometimes it’s just funny because how people get their information and how quickly the information is spread through social media and how truthful or not truthful the information is and by the time it’s because it’s funny by the time hear it one thing and by the time it gets back to me it’s totally different from what I actually said or what I actually told to them and that’s what media is about it’s a fun little circle and its part of the world we live in. So no validation to that. I haven’t signed anything with any other company. Recently, I signed with Ring of Honor and that’s true and that’s it. I will be with Ring of Honor for another year maybe more years to come we’ll see. For the next year I will be with Ring of Honor where I consider home.”
How would you describe your WWE tryouts & time with Dragon Gate USA?
“I’ve had tryouts with them (WWE) actually more than the one but I’ve had tryouts with them and it was just one of those things where I just felt comfortable with where I was at. I’m not saying that WWE is not somewhere I wouldn’t want to work at some point in my career because it is. Every wrestler in the world would tell you that. That the WWE is somewhere they would want to work at, at some point in their career. But I felt comfortable staying where I was currently at. I’m not saying there they even offered anything, I’m just saying that it’s just one of those things where I looked at what I had in front of me and where I wanted to go I felt that right now that staying with Ring of Honor was the best choice for me. Like I said, not that WWE ever offered me anything because they didn’t. With what I had in front of me and the choices and the options available to me, staying in Ring of Honor was the best possible choice.
With Dragon Gate USA, for a short time it was definitely a fun experience. Everybody knows that Gabe (Sapolsky) gave me my first opportunity and I thank him for that. Like I said, it was there where I definitely saw myself being a better worker, a better wrestler, working for Ring of Honor then staying with WWE and Gabe and working with that promotion. It was just one of those things where you never know, you might see me at one of their shows here or there but for a long term taking a company to work for I felt like Ring of Honor is the best place for me to be at and I’m friends with a bunch of the guys on the roster and I am happy with that.”
The on screen character of Moose is consistently conflicted as he struggles between choosing the advice he’s given and deciding for himself. Why is that?
“My mangers play into that some. With Veda Scott being ruthless and Stokely being a little bit more like myself. I’m generally really a nice guy and I have a lot of guys in the locker room so it’s one of those things where when I’m in the ring it’s one of those things where I am lined up against someone who I consider a friend and I don’t want to hurt them then but Veda is telling me to hurt them then and Stokely is telling me to hurt them but not to hurt them as bad because they are our friend. It’s just one of those things, who do I listen to? Like when I see that confliction in my head is when do kill this guy or take it easy on him?”
Describe the growth of the relationship between yourself, Stokely Hathaway & Veda Scott.
“All three of us are good friends that makes it a little bit easier working with each other. I actually haven’t spoken to Veda since Global Wars because of what happened. I don’t want to throw any spoilers out there but I haven’t spoken to her since Global Wars so I’m dying to see her to talk to her about some stuff that went down and make sure we are all still on the same page. It definitely makes it easier when all three of us are good friends and it makes it easy working with each other.”
You recently competed in Mexico. Describe the experience and what you feel you gained from your time there?
“I definitely learned a different style of wrestling. The Mexican style of wrestling is definitely different then what I’m used to. That was a great experience on its own from that style of wrestling and all the work down there. Mexico City was definitely fun. I got to work there and meet some new friends with Ken Anderson and Matt Hardy, who I previously had known because he’s worked Ring of Honor before quite a bit. I got to meet Rey Mysterio which I’ve been a big fan of him. That was just a real experience being in the same ring with him. I got to hang out with Alberto (El Patron), I got to meet the original Sin Cara which he goes by Mystesis and some of the old Mexican legends down there. That whole time in Mexico was a very fun experience. It was definitely a shame to get paid to go there because it was so much fun. I had more fun than it being work. I think football helped me on my transition and my time playing football, I feel I had adapted to situations very quick. So getting used to the style was very easy for me. It was really easy for me and the style was different.
The way and I’m not trying to break kayfabe or nothing but the way they work down there is definitely different. The way they work their heat is definitely different. The way they shine is different. It’s just a different experience. The way the fans react to them. Their moves are different you don’t have to do as much down there so it’s doesn’t affect your body. The fans there will pop for anything. If you slap somebody in the chest they’ll pop for that and add something that’s so little that the American culture of wrestling. Just the way they react to things. Just the overall experience down there is different. Likely for me it was easy for myself and AC Albert, who is a tremendous worker, wrestler and Brian Cage that currently works for Triple A all the time. It was easy for me and Albert to mesh with them and to adapt.
Ring of Honor has recently debuted on Destination America. What do you think this will mean for the company and for you as a rising star within the promotion?
“It’s definitely good. It’s definitely going to help the company. We were originally and we still are on Sinclair broadcast which the hours when we come on which are really odd hours sometimes it’s a midnight. Sometimes I: 00 in the morning or sometimes it’s at 11:30 on a Saturday which is really hard for fans unless you’re a true Ring of Honor fan it’s hard for people to stay up or to catch up. But now we are on a more known network which is Destination America and we are on at prime time and it’s easier for a casual fan who is not a Ring of Honor fan who knows nothing of Ring of Honor but loves wrestling to tune in because it’s during the week @ 8PM/Central. So if you’re at home not going out, not doing anything, not going out, just at home, I feel it’s definitely going to help the company a lot and for myself and the rest of the boys I think it’s going to help show who the nation who we are and why our product is better than the rest. It’s going to show the nation who the ex-football player is, why he feels like he still is the best wrestler to come out of football.”
It appears as though Moose is on the verge of a collision with the Decade. What do you anticipate coming about from that feud?
“I think that whole thing ended at Global Wars. I honestly believe that. Do I hate BJ? No, I don’t hate him but I think he’s a scumbag. All he can do is talk until he actually puts his hands on me, then we will have to settle it. But I feel like me beating up on Colby (Corino) ended that. BJ’s problem is not with me. I feel like his problem is with Steve Corino so I’ll leave Steve Corino handle that and I posted a tweet the other day and Colby was just different from what was booked. I just went in and did my job and it was supposed to be against BJ but BJ withdrew and let Colby handle his I guess ‘light work’ and you saw what happened. Like I said to Steve, I’m sorry with what I did but Steve is still a good buddy of mine and Colby is still a good buddy of mine but it was different. Nothing personal. I just had to do my job.”
What do you foresee for Moose from now until the end of 2015 and beyond?
“I definitely see some kind of title around my waist. Right now, for those that don’t know and the hardcore fans, I’m in a number one contender match at Best in the World versus Mr. ROH Roderick Strong and Unbreakable Michael Elgin so we’ll see what happens. I’m planning on winning it so I could win the ROH world title whoever has it after Best in the World if its Jay Lethal or if its Jay Briscoe we’ll see only time will tell who wins that match and advance for the title. But it doesn’t matter because whoever wins it is just keeping that title warmed up until I get it. If that doesn’t work out as I planned then there is always the television title which we’ll see who has that title after Best in the World if its Jay Lethal or if it’s Jay Briscoe so there are a lot of questions to be had but at Best in the World we’ll definitely get answers on what is going on.”
Was there anything you’d like to share, promote or make fans aware of?