Teck Tonik discusses training, style, support of LGBTQ & influences in wrestling

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Photo / Teck Tonik

In a small community in Wyoming a boy was born and raised far removed from large cities and the thrill of professional wrestling. When that little boy grew up, he emerged from the rural Midwest and headed further west until he landed in Portland Oregon. It was here the performer known as Teck Tonik set roots, and it was here he began training to become one of the best professional wrestlers in the region.

Transitioning from a small-town boy into a young man in the big city wasn’t the easiest. These two worlds are very different. On his journey to be a pro he was exposed to a diverse world far different from the plains of Wyoming. Instead of running from people who were unfamiliar in the world he grew up in, he embraced learning and accepting those who are different. Teck Tonik has been an out spoken supporter and ally to the LGBTQ community. In addition, those who follow him on social media also know, he is a strong supporter of the promotions he works for and the talent he works with. Most importantly, he is loyal to his fans.

When an opportunity presented itself, I was able to ask this fine young man a series of questions.

Photo / Teck Tonik

Philip: When did you start training? Who was your trainer or trainers? When did you make your debut? What does training look like today?

Teck Tonik: I started training in early summer 2015, my trainers at the time were constantly changing. I’ll only speak about the ones who were the most influential. I started my prowrestling training very briefly with Sandy Barr’s son, Josh Barr, where my primary training was heavily based around endurance/cardio/strength training, team building, and mat wrestling. Heavy, heavy mat wrestling. After him I did a large portion of training with Aries Torretto, trained by Beer City Bruiser, and Ken Anderson. His main objective was teaching us match structure and making sure we looked good, while still keeping the fans engaged. Along the way he also really helped me with my self esteem and confidence. My last and also current trainer is Cameron Star, trained by Buddy Rose, Ed Wiskoski, Dory Funk Jr, and Sandy Barr. While I’ve had previous trainers, I have to attribute just about all I have going for me today to Cam. Yes, I had my basics and my general knowledge and know how, but what Cam did was come in, take what I did know, dipped it into a vat, and then he pulled out a very polished young man with a clear understanding of how to present myself as a professional, and how to prove it in the ring. I made my debut match 2017.

Philip: How would you describe your wrestling style? What do you do in the ring that makes you feel like you had a good match?

Teck Tonik: I’d describe my wrestling style as a premier athlete. Nothing overly complicated about it. I work technical, I’m a hybrid of showmanship and class, I’m a smashmouth heavyweight who’s surprisingly light on his feet, and I give the people what they paid to see- Professional Wrestling. When I generate crowd murmurs and yelling, I know I di my job. When people are not stuck in their phones, I know what I’m doing is right. And when people want to run up and ask me a million questions and ask me what shirt sizes I have left, I know I did my job right.

Philip: What are your three dream matches that haven’t happened yet?

Teck Tonik: I’d love to face Dalton Castle, Cody Rhodes and Aja King.

Philip: You spend a lot of time on the road. What do you typically listen to while your driving across the region?

Teck Tonik: I let my Pandora decide. I have about 30 stations and theya re all incredibly different, by every definition. When I tell people, I listen to everything… I mean it. I have country, rap, pop, jazz, 90’s hits and all the way back to MY favorite and most used station, next to Post Malone, Doo-Wop. If I need to focus and not be too crazy, I’ll put on Andrea Bocelli, or Celtic Lullaby’s. If I want to get hyped up I’ll Skrillex, Sstitches, Winsin & Yandel, and the best one Yung Gravy. Currently its on Golden Oldies. I’d like to make one thing abundantly clear, however, I know a lot of stuff I listen to is full of hate and varying hate speech- I don’t support that. I generate a lot of my inspiration to create music from other people’s music.

Photo / Teck Tonik

Philip: I’ve heard some of the music you make and post on social media. Tell us about your musical interests and creative outlet.

Teck Tonik: As I mentioned in the prior question, I get inspiration from all over the world and from all ends of the spectrum. Which may not directly translate in the slightest sometimes, but that’s neither here nor there. When I’m making beats, I HAVE to be present. I have to be as open minded as possible. When I’m on, it’s like I turn into a different person and I crank out like five or six wonderful beats in a day. When I’m off… I won’t even turn on my computer for days, weeks, or months. Having the time and energy to make them in the first place is hard enough given day to day life tasks. But it’s so rewarding that the pros outweighs the cons hand over fist. One of those being, I also sell my beats, and I’ve been able to help a good friend of mine launch an album he had been working hard on for quite a while.

Photo / Teck Tonik

Philip: You have been outspoken about social justice issues and very supportive of the LGBTQ community. Tell us about your support of the community and what inclusion of this community looks like on the local scene.

Teck Tonik: All the way up until I was about 16, I had only heard of straight and gay. Then about a year later lesbian, trans, and bi. It wasn’t until quite literally, two years ago I was made aware that there was an LGBTQ+ community. Two years ago, is when I joined Twitter. That’s when I was made very aware of just how much of a blind eye had been turned to so many deserving and suffering people. I’ve always wanted to help people solve problems as best as I could, and I very quickly found out the best way to do that was to listen and learn. Just being there for my friends and any new friends I made along the way, and learning from them, educating myself and equipping my mind with the tools necessary to shutdown bigotry, and hate, and intolerance. Even as a teen I was all for personal happiness. I’d rather see people happy and carrying on, than being miserable, hiding, being fearful, or being beaten and killed because someone didn’t like that they were not straight.

Philip: Who have been the biggest influences in your life both as a professional wrestler and other areas of your life.

Teck Tonik: Definitely my mom. She always taught me to forgive people and give chances, even if you dislike someone, let them prove themselves before closing that door. My dad, for both teaching me my work ethic, demonstrating where I get my stubbornness and hard head from, and crying in front of me. My older brother for being a mega nerd because I most definitely am too. My girlfriend Allee for being the backbone I’ve needed when I really want to quit. But also, being my rock when I need it the most. My trainers Cam and Aries, for being like family, brothers, and people I can always ask anything to no matter the time of day or how difficult or risqué the questions may be. Same applies to my little brother Kaine, Burnside, and the ever so opinionated Robert Rottin. These guys have seen me at some of my worsts, and all of my best moments, and still give me the crucial feedback I need to make me do better every time I put my boots on.

Philip: Do you grind a day job to support your wrestling? Where do you want to go with wrestling?

Teck Tonik: I do work a full-time job and thank God I do because I’ve been to urgent care more times than I’d like to admit for damages done to me or just freak accidents that happen because pro wrestling is not perfect, and it’s very real. Go ahead and ask my doctor and my friggin bills just how real it is. During the day I wear a fully covered set of coveralls and I’m a trailer mechanic. Not on boats or cars or trucks or RV’s. Trailers, like ones you see backed up to loading docks and semi’s hauling up and down the freeway. I service those and make any repairs needed, as well as doing all of the shipping and receiving. I’ll do anything from full brake jobs and changing tires, to ripping out wood and aluminum deck and replacing it, welding, electrical, fiberglass roof repairs, repairing the door panels and hinges, painting and fabrication. It’s pretty fun. Dangerous as hell. But fun.

Photo / Teck Tonik

Philip: Tell us about the Oregon Wrestling Club. This is a new promotion and you seem pretty involved.

Teck Tonik: It’s funny because so many people keep telling me it’s my promotion! It’s not mine, first of all. And second, I seem pretty involved because unlike a lot of people in the PNW, I don’t have any allegiance to anyone or any certain promotion. With that being said, when I get the response back from a booker that tells me “ok we have you booked for such and such a date” I make it my job to keep promoting myself, while promoting them, because I’m an independent contractor. That’s what promotions will get form me when they book me. I will share on my social media platforms, I’ll like, I’ll tag, and I’ll keep pushing it up to and even the day of. With Oregon Wrestling Club, I took it one step further because it’s a brand-new promotion. They aren’t established. They are not well known. They don’t have all the contacts to all the workers, and the only way to get them to that point is for EVERYONE to do their damn job and network their asses off! They have a tremendous team and outstanding staff and minds, they really do, and their locker room is drama free. The trainees there are very helpful and eager and ask questions and they train every week. I know, because I train with them every week. Oregon Wrestling Club made a huge, huge impact on a large amount of people during it’s debut event on January 26th, and I know they are going to keep that ball rolling because they have everyone on the same page. There aren’t seven people all asking the same questions or people chasing others down for an answer or trying to pin people against each other. It’s all open door/DM. All anyone has to do is message the page. It’s the same on IG, Twitter and Facebook: Oregon Wrestling Club. If more people would have put the same effort into trying to shut it down and making a big mockery of it before it even opened its doors, Oregon wrestlers and fans would have a better idea of what’s in store for the wrestling community we all claim to love and support. What we do is only made possible by others hyping up Professional Wrestling, not who said what and guess what so and so did last week. I seem pretty involved because I give a damn about this business and my place in it. I’m involved because my image will always be on the line and I’ll be damned if I allow someone else to be in charge of how I’m presented to others.

Photo / Teck Tonik

Philip: Are you from Portland? Tell us about growing up, your own fandom of wrestling and what pulled you into a passion that brought you to becoming a wrestler yourself.

Teck Tonik: I was born in Wyoming, actually. When I was in first grade, I met my, still, best friend Dillon. He introduced me to watching wrestling, and we would wrestle around in his living room for hours on end. Watching wrestling and seeing all the different characters, but also being a huge fan of Arnold Schwarzenegger doing his body building competitions and watching Bruce Lee movies with my brother. I was very much so drawn to the really big wrestlers like Warrior, Lugar, Atlas, the Steiners, Bulldog, Dynamite Kid, Benoit, etc. As well as the ones who were technically gifted- Malenko, Eddie, Mysterio, Lance Storm, Benoit, Kurt Angle, Tazz, Mr. Perfect. My liking changed dramatically as I grew up. I stopped caring about the muscles and the yelling, and I got drawn into the wild entrances and colors and pizzazz. Guys like Goldust, Steamboat, Gengrel, Andre, Sting, Vader, Under Taker, and Kane come to mind. It was about the lights and the pyros for a long while! LOL And like mots kids we’d get our friends together and wrestle around in the backyard, did that for a while and got very comfortable performing in front of an audience and my friends who would tell me if I was terrible or not.

But what got me into wanting to pursue being a pro was honestly seeing a local wrestling promotion and thinking back to when I used to go watch Sandy Barr’s flea market wrestling, compare the two, and scratch my head. Then I thought, I bet I could do everything they are doing but ten times better. And sure enough I did exactly that.

* * * *

Teck Tonik is a truly fun and interesting person to interview. He was personable, and one of the most approachable talents I’ve encountered in the business. He’s down to earth and the kind of person you could easily sit down and talk to for hours about a dozen different topics. He’s a man with multiple facets and passions. A talented musician, an exceptional professional wrestler and mechanic extraordinaire!

He is also an outspoken gentleman, who cares about people in the industry and his fans. He has a fierce sense of loyalty to those who have earned his respect. Teck Tonik has demonstrated his bravery in speaking out in favor of those who can easily be disenfranchised in a business where inclusion has not always been the norm.

This is a man who has a bright future in front of him, and I’m not the only one who thinks so…

Photo / Teck Tonik

Quotes:

“Teck is the future – hard working, dues paying, open and honest, kind and hopeful. The only thing he’ll hit you with harder than his lariat is his personality.” @Alexecuted

“Teck Tonik is one of the first independent wrestlers I fell in love watching. He’s a power house that has so much more especially when it come to in-ring psychology. For a guy like this, the possibilities are endless.” -Matthew @hadmeatannyong

“When Teck Tonik enters the ring, he slams his hands on the canvas. The ring doesn’t stop shaking until the next match! Teck Tonik doesn’t just throw his weight around. He calculates the best place to throw it. He’s the only natural disaster on the planet that can aim itself on purpose. For real though, it’s fun to watch him work. Not just in the ring, where he’s a natural phenomenon in animal form, but outside the ring and when interacting with the fans. He’s all heart, seasoned with personality. He’s a musician too, did you know that? We collaborated on six tracks for my album “Art Is A Verb,” and the two tracks everyone keeps telling me are their favorites both feature his beats. In short, don’t skip on Teck Tonik. He’s a complete entertainer.” -Z. Mann Zilla

“Teck Tonik is one of the few talents coming up in the North American independent scene that I’m really excited about. He has clean and impactful suplexes, and he’s got one of the best lariats going today. Teck Tonik is poised to be a break out star who I can’t wait to see where his career takes him!” – Vinny Gabagool

Matches-

RCW Teck Tonik vs. Ares Toretto https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lgBjuO9QKNk

NWA Blue Collar Wrestling: Teck Tonic vs. Leon Knight https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_mSQ-2NUbA

RCW Kaine Jaiden vs. Teck Tonik https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zfD7_iNg4oE

CPW Teck Tonik vs. Kaine Jaiden vs. Max Burnside https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OP5UCMq3XLI

Tag Team Match: The Eh-Team (Lance Pierson & CJ Wilson) vs. TNT (Teck Tonik & Tyson Lee) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IYGGhBpQ_o0

CPW International Title Match: JaCub Soumis vs. Teck Tonik https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6A1E7RefSZc

CPW Teck Tonik vs. Harley Heartson https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XkqeS-AJyss

RCW Teck Tonik vs. Robert Von https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eC64Y0LPo_w

If you are interested in exploring his musical talents follow this link:
https://soundcloud.com/honey_badgerbeats/teck-tonik-entrance-music