There are times when a wrestler comes along on the indy scene, and all it takes is for you to watch one of their matches to know that they're destined for something special.
I think Uhaa Nation is one of those special talents.
If you just look at that picture, what type of wrestler are you expecting Uhaa Nation to be? I've asked this question to a lot of people that have never seen him work, and these are the answers I've received..
- Bobby Lashley
- Ryback/Skip Sheffield
- Ezekiel Jackson
- Ultimate Warrior
However, those names don't really fit. In actuality, we're talking about a man that possesses one of the most amazing combinations of size, speed, power and athleticism that I've ever seen in my years of watching wrestling. Ever. Not just in the last few years. Ever. On top of that, he has a natural presence and charisma about him, and it draws your attention in when he speaks. If you follow me on Twitter, you might have seen me make mention of him a couple months back, where I boldly predicted that he would be either the WWE Champion or the (WWE) World Champion within three years. Even though he suffered a torn patella tendon, and could miss up to a year of action, my prediction doesn't change much. Instead of predicting that he'll be WWE/World Champion within three years, I'm just predicting that he'll be WWE/World Champion within three years of his return from injury. He's that good, ladies and gentlemen.
Recently, I was lucky enough to have an interview request granted, and I got some nice questions answered with someone that a lot of you won't know right here, right now, but you'll all know him soon enough. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you.. my interview with Uhaa Nation..
Let's start with the early stuff. Where did you grow up? What was Uhaa Nation like as a child?
I was born in Sacramento, California, and left there when I was like 2 or 4 something like that. Moved to Atlanta after that... so I really can't even call Cali my home, because I dont know much about it. Atlanta is my home. I've been here for some time so it's where I call my home. I love it, and like they say, there is no place like home. As a kid I was bad... always getting in trouble, and dragging my little brother into it with me. As I grew older, I stopped getting into so much trouble because I found sports, so I focused my attention on that.
What is your first memory of wrestling? Do you remember the first match you saw on television or in person?
My first memory of wrestling... my dad was watching it, I had to be like 5, maybe 6, and I remember seeing the Ultimate Warrior vs Undertaker, and I was hooked ever since then. Up to this day, one thing me and my dad do together when he is in town is watch wrestling!
How long did it take for you to realize that you wanted to become a professional wrestler?
It didn't take long. I knew it was something I wanted to do, but didnt really make the decision til about 10th grade in high school. After that, there was nothing that was going to stop me from doing what I wanted to do. I had my mind made up.
Tell us about your training. Who trained you? What was that like?
I started training August 17th, 2009. 1 1/2 months later, I was having my first match. Mr. Hughes trained me, and still does. When I first started, he said he saw a lot of promise in me, and saw how dedicated I was to learning, so he focused a lot of his time on training me.
What do you remember about your very first match as a pro?
My first pro match was at the school I train at. October 14th, 2009. I think it was against AR Fox. When I look back at it, I laugh because its amazing how far I've come as a wrestler in such a short time. I had on some baggy basketball shorts, with some long old soccer socks, and my amateur wrestling shoes that I used while I trained because I had no gear! Haha.
With your current injury, what does your rehab schedule look like as you work to get yourself back into the ring?
I haven't started rehab just yet, and that is killing me. My life is the gym, and not being able to do that and also be in the ring doing what I love, due to something that is out of my control, kills me. What is worse is that I can't do anything about it. But I will work hard to overcome this, just like every other single thing that has been placed in front of me.
Before your injury, what was a normal workout routine for you like?
Being in the gym is what I love. I've had people follow me through workouts and drop out in like the first 10 minutes! Haha!! That is the warm up, and others that have shadowed me and not even said anything to me. Just do everything that I am doing. I work out 6 days, sometimes 7 days, a week, depending how I'm feeling. One major body part a day such as my back, then I'll hit a smaller muscle group like my triceps. Usually people like to do bi's and back together, but by the time I'm done with a heavy back workout, I can't put all I need into my bicep workout because these are both pulls. Most of my lifts are heavy. I lift to get big. It's what I enjoy to do. It's what made me who I am today.
What are your thoughts on the Dragon Gate system, their focus on stables, and how that differs from the way most promotions approach things?
I actually like it a lot. It's something different then what people are used to seeing. I've gotten to be in the ring with some of the greatest wrestlers today because of it.
In your brief time with Dragon Gate, you've already been aligned with two of the strongest stables there. What are your thoughts on that?
I loved being a part of Blood Warriors. Got to tag with some GREAT wrestlers and had matches against some GREAT wrestlers. It was really an honor more than anything.
Did you have any preferences between the two stables?
Between Blood Warriors and Mad Blankey, I actually do not have a preference.
Many people have openly referred to you as "the future of wrestling". I've even gone on record in saying that you'll be a WWE/World Champion within three years of returning from your injury. What does it feel like when you hear/read things like that about you?
It's funny because I had started saying I was the future of pro wrestling in my promos when I first started, and just kept saying it and saying it, to the point where I started to believe it, and in my eyes I am the future. I would not work and train as hard as I do if i did not believe this, and when I hear other people saying it, it gives me that much more motivation to make sure that happens.
To play off of the last question, where do YOU see yourself in three years?
In 3 years, I hope to have wrestled on a few different continents, and hopefully be signed to the WWE.
You possess one of the most unique skill sets that wrestling has seen in a long time, but if you had to compare yourself to another wrestler, past or present, who would it be?
If I had to compare myself, I'd like to go between a mix of Benoit, Angle, and AJ Styles. Maybe some Lesnar, and Lashley in there, too. Don't think I can choose just one.
Describe what it was like to defeat Jake Manning and become the FIP Florida Heritage Champion. Correct me if I'm wrong, but that's your first major title, isn't it?
Yes, it was my first major title. It was an amazing feeling, definitely one of the highlights of my career so far.
To this point, what would you say your top career highlight as been? Would it be the aforementioned title victory?
I'd say signing a contract with DGUSA and making it to JAPAN. Also, the Aerial Assault match at CZW. My four-way match with ACH, Facade, and RSP at AIW.
Ring Of Honor. Pro Wrestling Guerrilla. CHIKARA. Have there been any feelers sent your way from any of these companies to bring you in?
To be honest, haven't heard anything from any of the 3.
That doesn't say much about the people in charge of those promotions, if you ask me. What are your thoughts on integrating social media like Twitter into the wrestling business?
I think it's a good thing. Helps wrestlers stay connected to their fans.
What's your favorite wrestling match?
I have way too many to name. It would take me forever to just narrow it down to one.
Wrestling has often been referred to as an industry where it's difficult to get and maintain real friendship. Who's your "best friend" in the business?
I got a few guys that I train with in Atlanta that are close to me. My boy, Navy Blue, who is like a brother to me. Ar Fox, Black Baron, Stitch, Eli Evans, Ousi, and a few others who I have been on the road with, who I know have my back through anything, and they proved that to me when I was injured in Miami.
It's somewhat of an obvious answer to some, but what do you feel are the main differences between American wrestling crowds and Japanese wrestling crowds?
American crowds are a lot louder!!! Whether they are cheering for you cause you're tearing it up, or they are booing you out the ring, they are louder.
If you weren't wrestling, what do you think you'd be doing right now?
I'd be pursuing a career in my current JOB which is La Fitness. Fitness Director.
What do you like to do in your "down" time?
PS3!!! Watch tv, workout, hang with my family and friends, stuff the regular person likes to do... haha... cause I'm a regular person.
If you were to introduce someone to your work, what three matches of yours would you recommend they check out first?
Me and AR Fox in Indianapolis at CZW, Me and Ricochet vs PAC and Rich Swann from Kobe in Japan, and my tryout match at DGUSA in Indianapolis.
What song would you use to describe your in-ring style?
Patiently Waiting by 50 Cent!!! He says "I've been patiently waiting for a track to explode on." I was patiently waiting to show the world my skills in the ring on a bigger stage, and I got that opportunity.
I'm going to turn the floor over to you now. Do you have anything you'd like to say? Any messages to anyone? Take as many, or as little, words as you need.
Follow me on twitter @UhaaNation, and Facebook Uhaa Nation, check out WWA4 wrestling school in Atlanta. It's where I got my start. That's about all I can think of at this moment.
First and foremost, I would like to take this time to thank Uhaa Nation for the interview. I do encourage people to follow him on Twitter, as he's one of the more "real" wrestling personalities on the site, just being himself instead of trying too hard to play some sort of internet character.
Second, if you'd like a brief sample of what the man is capable of in the ring, here's a music video highlight package of one of his matches with AR Fox from an AIW event last year (I'm just sorry that it's a highlight package of a loss, big man. Haha)..
Writer's Note: When I did my two collaborative columns with Brie, people kept asking me if she was ever going to branch out and write solo columns. Well, the answer to that is "yes", and she just posted her debut over at the LoPForums Column Forum, so go check it out and make her day by giving her some feedback as she continues on her quest to expand everyone's horizons a bit..