The independent wrestling scene is on fire right now. We have people training all over the country and we’re seeing new talent pop up almost every day. Those who work hard and take their craft seriously seem to gravitate to the top. There always seems to be something special about those who grab our attention in the ring. For me, it’s a pleasure to be exposed to new talent coming out of the training schools and academies that have a special spark. It’s a perfect combination of talent, presence, and skill creating a recipe for greatness. When I’m lucky enough to come across this, I get excited to give others an opportunity to see what I see. One such talent is Showcase Chase James.
It gives me great pleasure to introduce you to a young talent hailing from the Pacific Northwest. Some of you are already becoming aware of the incredible performers coming out of this region. For those of you who are not, may I introduce you to one of our local talents on the rise. Chase James is a 27-year-old with a firm foundation in MMA who made the transition to professional wrestling nearly two years ago. He’s worked for DEFY, Prestige and Without A Cause among other great promotions. Most importantly he is a talent starting to get noticed here in the Pacific Northwest and if you haven’t heard of him, it’s time to start paying attention!
I had the opportunity to ask Chase James a few questions and give us an opportunity to get to know this outstanding and talented young man.
Philip: Tell us a little bit about your earliest memories of wrestling. What role did it play in your formative years?
Chase James: There isn’t a single point in my life where I can look back and remember wrestling not being a part of it. It was basically one of the few things that I constantly loved and continue to love. Growing up I had a little bit of a different childhood than most. My parents had a job that required them to travel a lot and most days were either spent traveling to a new town or trying to find a place to set up camp for the night. So, while they were busy driving or working, most of my days were spent in the back seat either playing wrestling video games or watching wrestling DVDs.
Philip: When did you decide to become a professional wrestler? How did you find training?
Chase James: Well, from my earliest childhood memories, that I can recall, I’ve known that I wanted to be a professional wrestler. I remember, as a kid, there wasn’t a wishing well I passed that didn’t get a coin with my wish, or a night that went by that I didn’t go to bed without saying my prayers that I would someday become a professional wrestler. Unfortunately traveling around from town to town and being based out of Spokane WA made that a pretty challenging goal to achieve because we really didn’t have much professional wrestling in Spokane. But thankfully what we did have a lot of in the area was MMA and that was the closest thing I had to fulfill my professional wrestling dreams until one day on my way into a BJJ class I noticed signs being put up at a unit a few doors down for a new professional wrestling school that was being run by a former member of the famous Hart Dungeon. So, I instantly was intrigued and had to go over and see what it was all about! I went inside and the first thing I saw was a twenty-foot real-life pro-wrestling ring and instantly knew that I found my new hangout! I quickly started looking around to see who was in charge and find out what I had to do to get in the ring and start fulfilling all my childhood dreams of giving people rock bottoms and stone-cold stunners. Then from there, after spending a little time at the local training center, I knew that I not only wanted but needed, more.
I flew out to New Jersey and spent a few days at the world-famous Monster Factory with Danny Cage for a Super Camp, and then started searching for other gyms within driving distance that I could attend and continue to grow in my own area before one day I was blessed to have crossed paths with Shayna Edwards, while at a show in Canada. She and I got to chatting and she had asked me about my goals and what I was doing to grow as a pro-wrestler. I explained to her that I kind of felt stuck and really didn’t know what to do or what my next move was, in order to help elevate my performances. It was then when she offered for me to come and check out Buddy Wayne Academy in Everette Washington one of these weekends and to see if they could help me improve my skills and I have been there ever since!
Philip: How long have you been training and performing? How old were you when you started training?
Chase James: I started training MMA at 17, as a way to cope with my father battling cancer. He wasn’t really into wrestling but was a huge MMA fan. So, for me, it was a great way to deal with all the emotions and feelings that I had, but also in a weird way it was one last way to try and make him proud. The only reason I bring it up is that a lot of my move set and things I do in the ring today are actually things I learned over the years of doing MMA, as far as strictly pro-wrestling goes, I started training and competing at 25 in November of 2017.
Philip: Tell us about how you train, who are you working with and what are your training goals? Do you have moves you’re working to perfect right now?
Chase James: Right now, I train with some of the best talents in the PNW at the Buddy Wayne Academy, if you know anything about BWA, it’s that everyone who attends there is very dedicated and determined to push not only ourselves but our training partners to continuously get better and keep growing. The school has produced a lot of commonly seen northwest names like King Khash, Cody Chhun, Randy Hawkins, Danika Della Rouge, and so many more talented guys and gals.
As far as my training goals go, right now, it’s all about just improving overall at everything. I truly believe that there is a lesson to be learned in everything in life, as long as you’re open to listening and focus on moving forward. Plus, I’m a bit of a perfectionist. Meaning, that I always feel I have room to improve on every single thing I do! Haha!
Philip: What does your training look like? Both for wrestling, in the gym, food?
Chase James: An average week of training right now for me is hitting the gym for strength training and cardio Monday through Thursday. Friday I am normally working a show somewhere in the Northwest. Saturday mornings I am up at 5 A.M. so that I can start my 800-mile round trip to make it to the Buddy Wayne Academy to train with some of the most talented people in our area before either coming home or hitting another show. Then Sunday is either a show or rest day depending on if Without A Cause is happening or not.
Philip: You’ve worked for Without A Cause, Prestige, and Cascade Championship Wrestling, among several other regional Promotions. Are there any promotions in the region you hope to work with?
Chase James: So far, I’ve worked with a lot of top Promotions like Without A Cause, Prestige, DEFY, WCWC and many more. I love each and every one of them for bringing me out and not only allowing me to showcase my skills but trusting me to come out and put on a match that will send fans home happy. So, I’m overall pretty happy with where I am sitting in our region, but I would also be lying if I said that competing in Washington Hall wasn’t on my to-do list.
Philip: What kind of career goals are you setting for yourself as far as growth and development? Where would you like to end up one day? WWE? NJPW?
Chase James: Right now, I’m just starting my second year and my current goals for this year is to just expand and continue to grow. So far, I have wrestled in Washington, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, lower BC (Canada), and New Jersey. I would love to try and add another four to five states to that list this year and just really expand my horizons.
As far as long-term goals, right now, I would say the Indy’s are more appealing to me, places like PCW, Evolve, PWG, ROH, Impact, and so on, are really killing it. They are delivering a fun product that I would love to be a part of myself someday. As far as WWE or NJPW go? I think both of those would be amazing opportunities to be a part of but are not what I would currently say are goals of mine.
Philip: You live in Spokane, I imagine you spend a great deal of time on the road, like many guys in the indies. What’s playing in your car when you’re on the road?
Chase James: Oh man, My Spotify stations and playlists are random, at any given moment it can be gangster rap, 80’s metal, some new rap or rock, 2000’s throwbacks, or a podcast. It really just comes down to what I’m feeling that day. But if I had to try and narrow it down, I would say the five bands stations I listen to most frequently are Eminem, Atreyu, A Day To Remember, NWA, and Blink 182.
Philip: When Chase James isn’t wrestling or training, what kinds of things would we likely find him doing?
Chase James: Well I am a huge adrenaline junky, so most of my free time (which isn’t very much) is spend riding dirt bikes, street bike, racing cars, catching a rock show, or building race cars. Or, if I’m truly getting away for a while, I have been known to take the random trip to Mexico or Vegas here and there.
Philip: How would you describe your wrestling style? What kind of approaches do you have to your craft?
Chase James: My style I would say is very unorthodox, with my MMA background along with training at BWA, I really have a big bag of tricks that allow me to mix it up in the ring and adapt to whatever style works best against my opponents.
Philip: How was your transition from MMA to Professional Wrestling go? Even though they seem similar in MMA you are literally trying to take out your opponent, pro-wrestling you don’t actually want to harm your opponent, at least not in the same way. Was that a difficult transition?
Chase James: The transition from MMA to Pro Wrestling was a pretty natural one. I think that’s why we have seen so many athletes successfully transition between the two in recent years. Wrestlers like Tom Lawlor, Matt Riddle, Brock Lesner, and even Ronda Rousey have all found great success in both sports and, to be honest, I think it’s because of the similarity between the two. Both sports require you to be completely focused on the task at hand as well as thinking about how you can, not only win but put on a show and make it exciting for those spectating.
Philip: When you look at major influences on your professional wrestling career/training, who would you identify as your primary inspirations and motivators?
Chase James: My biggest influences were people like my late father who always gave it 100% at everything he did in life, he taught me that hard work, dedication, and being selfless can get you far in life. But honestly, my biggest motivator and inspiration is the fans. Knowing that when I’m going out there it’s not just me in that ring. I’m out there putting it on the line for the little boy or girl in the crowd wearing a Chase James shirt, the people who have also wanted to be able to do what we do but have been held back due to a life event or disability, or even just the guy or gal who’s escaped from whatever they have going on in life is watching myself and whoever is across from me duking it out in the ring.
Philip: If you could switch places with anyone in the business who would it be and four reasons why? (What essentially you respect or value about this individual.)
Chase James: Cody Rhodes, this is a tough one, but I think Cody is the guy that I have to go with. First reason, that guy is a true hustler and entrepreneur that knew his value when he asked to leave the WWE then quickly started making waves at Indy shows everywhere.
The second reason would be because he genuinely seems like a good dude from all the stories I’ve heard from not only social media but also from people who have interacted with him in person.
A third reason, I’m a huge fan of his in-ring work, and the stories he tells with his opponents in the ring. I actually spend a lot of time on the road watching footage of Cody’s to see what I personally can take away from it.
The fourth reason, lastly, I have to comment on how much I respect his family values, he often is talking about those around him and seems to be like a pretty selfless person which is getting to be increasingly rare in our industry.
Philip: As we wrap up, is there anything you would like people to know about Chase James?
Chase James: I guess I just want people to know that I’m a person just like they are. I’m thankful for all the support and noise they make for me every time I perform when I’m out in the ring competing, I’m not out there for me. I’m out there making sure to give it my all, for everyone that’s in that building or watching online or for all the people who dream of doing what we do!
If you see me at a show, please feel free to come to say hi or take a photo. Nothing makes me happier than when I’m on the road and open social media and see a photo of myself and someone else who shared a smile together at a show!
Pay attention folks! Chase James is a name I believe you are going to hear again. He’s talented, approachable and a joy to watch in the ring. Whether you’re a fan or a promotion, if you are looking for talent, this is a good place to start.