Mike Da Silva's Indy Interview: Pelle Primeau Talks About Training Under Bryan Danielson and CM Punk, Being Compared To Mikey Whipwreck, ROH Fans, and More
By Mike Da Silva
Pelle Primeau is a graduate of the ROH Wrestling School who trained under both CM Punk and Bryan Danielson. After a long time wrestling pre-show matches and being used as cannon fodder for main show talents, Primeau has recently made a big splash in ROH pinning both Jimmy Rave and Tank Tolland in recent encounters. I recently had the opportunity to interview Primeau via e-mail about a variety of ROH-related subjects.
You graduated from the ROH Wrestling School. Why did you choose to learn wrestling at this school?
At the time I graduated high school in 2004 there were a few choices already for wrestling schools. I know some of my friends had chose to train with Rockin' Rebel, there was the Chikara Wrestle Factory being headed by Mike Quackenbush and the CZW Wrestling school as well along with ROH. The primary reason I went to the ROH school was to learn from CM Punk. A lot of people would say the reason to go to the ROH school is simply to benefit from the exposure the ROH name provides, but that wasn't the case for myself at all, because I if I wasn't good enough to be in an ROH ring then I simply wouldn't be in one, regardless of where I trained or who I was trained by. The best way to find out if you're capable of competing in ROH at a young age is by training with the wrestlers who are in the company and putting on the matches that give ROH its notoriety. Punk gave me the opportunity to train at the school and I'm thankful for that.
What did you learn at the ROH Wrestling School that you would not have learned at other schools?
After my initial training at the ROH school I made a lot of trips to other schools around the area, and the differences are obvious from the start. The conditioning drills and exercises done for warm-ups prior to getting into the ring are a real step down from what I've done at the school training under both Punk and Bryan Danielson. People think the thought of doing 500 Hindu squats isn't necessary, but when you're trying to go full-tilt 10 minutes into a match you'll thank yourself for pushing your body a little past the norm of what's considered 'good exercise'. The in-ring training is a lot more precise and hands-on under Bryan than other trainer, simply because Bryan has been around the world not only to perform in front of the fans, but he also puts extra hours in the ring by himself to perfect every technique he uses when not wrestling a match and the difference shows in comparison to other wrestlers. A lot of people in this new age have easily forgotten that pro-wrestling is a discipline as much as any other form of professional fighting, and the rigorous training that came with the sport has vanished in a lot of places these days.
How did training under Danielson differ from training under Punk?
Since I had no previous training before getting in the school with Punk, a lot of what we learned outside of cardio was very basic techniques and ideologies on the sport and how it should be presented to fans. There was a strict training schedule that had to be followed every day and Punk always had a certain routine for every day. About a year later when I started training with Bryan, I had perfected a lot of basic things so he was here to teach us more advanced techniques and situations to perform in matches. The cardio is a lot more intense as we've trained our bodies for a while and have already perfected things we did in Punk's class like 500 squats, so we'll end up doing something like 500 squats broke up into sets of 100 with 3 minutes of jump rope or wall sits in between each set. When it comes to getting into the ring Bryan will show us some things, but mostly he's there to teach us things we've seen in matches that we would like to learn for our own personal benefit, and he's been really helpful with every aspect of my game with the way he
I've got the chance to watch most of his stuff in the new ECW and I've liked it. I think he's getting a chance to work with a little bit of freedom and he's really becoming a major a star in the company. You can ask a ton of people and they'll tell you that Punk was destined to be a star in the business so none of his success in ECW has shocked me.
I don't directly keep in touch with Punk, although Hagadorn often stays in contact with him and we did invite him to the big Halloween Bash I had at my house (where Hagadorn got drunk and spilled beer all over the house before we kicked him out), this is before anyone knew he was doing the Ghost Hunter's special that night so he broke the news to us. I'm sure he's been paying attention to ROH and he's keeping a close eye on everyone's progress though, and I know how to get a hold of him if I ever need advice so it's a really good channel to have open. The best part about ROH is though, when someone like Punk leaves, there's so many others backstage who will be there to make sure you're still taken care of. Bryan, Jimmy Rave, Christopher Daniels, and a lot of others behind the curtain have helped me to improve by leaps and bounds of where I was a year ago and I'm very grateful for it.
You spent a long time in ROH as fodder for other names to destroy. Abyss and Adam Pearce both made notable impressions by beating up ROH Students. Did you fear that this would hinder your ability to move up the card in ROH at a later date?
Honestly the thought of my progress being hindered never crossed my mind, I was honored to be able to get in the ring with Abyss and Adam Pearce, along with a lot of other beatings I took earlier in my first year, most notably Jimmy Rave in New York City. I showed that I could withstand a lot of punishment and I think in those beatings I earned not only the respect of the fans, but also everyone behind the curtain that has been keeping a close eye on all the graduates from the ROH school.
You were given more time to wrestle on pre-show student matches than you were on the main shows. Which matches did you prefer?
While I enjoy wrestling on any spot given to me for ROH shows, I've enjoyed my matches on the main show a lot more than the pre-show matches, simply because I feel when the lights are on you during the big show, your intensity is amped up that much more and it's really easy to get into a zone to perform during your match. The pre-show contests are more of a place to exhibit your technique and basics to advertise yourself as a trained professional to the fans, whereas the main show allows you to go out there and perform in a far more competitive fashion and win at whatever cost necessary.
You recently had your first major win in ROH in a 4 Corner Survival Match against Colt Cabana, Tank Tolland and BJ Whitmer. How did it feel to finally get the big win?
A lot of people have been talking about my win in Philadelphia, and I hope they're not forgetting the victory I scored over Jimmy Rave in Detroit also. Granted it may be that Rave is struggling in ROH right now, I consider him an opponent whom has brought out the best in me, in the same vein that Shane Hagadorn has during my time in ROH. The match in Philadelphia was a lot tougher for me however, and I really absorbed a lot of punishment from those 3 guys, and BJ and Cabana really did a number on my chest with knife-edged chops. After taking a severe beating from Tolland I was able to slip in and apply a Flying Stunner to him, and used my momentum to roll him up for a 3 count. I had crowd-surfed in Detroit after defeating Rave, so I figured with the crowd as excited as they were, I would throw myself onto them again this time in Philly. Upon further review it appears as if I fell in the bleachers at the end, however I must assure fans that I did not come crashing down, I broke my fall and landed on all fours, haha. I must admit that being lifted up to the bleachers was as big of a surprise as winning the bout; I was really surfing for a while there!
Tolland apparently got a rather rough reaction from the crowd at this show. He is one of many former WWE superstars to have received harsh reactions from the ROH crowd. Jeff Hardy is another notable example. Why do you feel this is?
It's no secret that the fans of Ring of Honor are some of the toughest around, especially the Philly crowds. While Tolland did receive a sour reaction, I feel he proved he was capable of competing in the ROH style by standing toe to toe with BJ Whitmer earlier on in the contest and trading blows. Tank did refuse to shake my hand after the match and of course there is some tension between the two of us, but I feel he is a great competitor who is worthy of the success he's achieved in his career from the WWE to ROH now, and the fans will come around to him at some point. There are other examples however, such as Jeff Hardy, where they come in not really grasping the concept of ROH and what it's fans desire, so I feel a bad reaction from the crowd is certainly justifiable in that sense; they pay good money to see fighters who honor what this company stands for, and expect nothing less.
Given how hard you have worked to make the ROH roster, do you support bringing in big name talent like Tolland, Brent Albright and Zach Gowen to the company in place of homegrown talent?
I'm all for new competition, wherever it may come from. ROH could bring in Godzilla for all I care, I'd take him on and I'd beat him too. I'm looking forward to locking up with the influx of new talent brought into the company, ROH has always been about the best competitors in the world, and whether they're homegrown or not doesn't weigh on my mind in the least bit.
Your win has been compared to Mikey Whipwreck's ECW Tag Team Title win alongside Cactus Jack in ECW. Do you agree with this comparison?
It's honor to be considered in the same sentence as Mikey Whipwreck, however I feel I have a bit of way more to go in terms of performance and crowd support to achieve a status near to his in ECW. I remember watching Mikey as a kid on a local TV Station in Philly and cheering for him like mad after defeating the Sandman for the ECW World Championship. I'm trying my hardest and improving by the day so hopefully it won't be long before I'm up there with the Whipwrecks and Spike Dudleys of this business.
Whipwreck went on to win his company's World Title. Do you feel that you feel that this is a realistic goal for you to set for yourself or is the Top of the Class Trophy your next step?
While I would love to get in the ring to compete for the ROH World Title, right now I have other issues I need to tackle. My primary focus is on competition, whether it be for the Trophy or the Title makes no difference to me at this early stage in my career. I'm still on a campaign to prove my toughness and tenacity to the world, and as soon as I convince pro-wrestling that I am a legit threat to the Title, I'm sure my shot will come in due time.
Speaking of the Top of the Class Trophy, many ROH school graduates are no longer wrestling. Until recently, they had a hard time being taken seriously by the ROH crowds. Recently both you and Top of the Class Trophy holder Shane Hagadorn have received big opportunities on the main stage. What has allowed you and Hagadorn to have the success that had eluded other ROH School graduates?
This is a good question in which I can explain a lot of things. First, yes it is true that a lot of the graduates have left pro-wrestling. Davey Andrews is one of the most talked about. Davey was one of the best friends I made in my early stages of this business and to see him go was very tough and made me question my decisions for a moment. After a lot of thinking I decided to stick with it. Davey left for personal reasons and right now he is enjoying life without pro-wrestling, so more power to him. Antonio Blanca is another one, he tore his ACL in one of his first matches and hasn't fully recovered yet, so until he's ready to make a comeback he's on the IR. What a lot of people don't know is that Blanca and I knew each other since 4th grade, and he constantly bullied me until 7th grade when we became best friends, to make a very long story short. Derrick Dempsey decided he needed to take some time off to finish school, amongst other things, he will be back sooner or later I feel. I miss all 3 and hope to see them again soon.
The fans have been tough on the graduates at times, what they have to understand is that yes, while we may have improved working shows in other companies before doing ROH pre-shows, it's difficult sometimes to get bookings outside of ROH when they know you can't commit full-time to their dates if they involve shows on days of ROH shows. ROH is our top priority at all times and when they have a show, we'll be there and nowhere else unless there are extreme circumstances.
As for Shane Hagadorn and myself, I consider the two of us the most improved under the tutelage of Bryan Danielson, and it really shows in our matches. However, while my rise to success in ROH was brought about by hard work and dedication, Hagadorn took the easy way out and sucked up to Jim Cornette to get his spot. I know by doing this he agitated a lot of the other graduates and the tension backstage is real. Believe me when I say that Hagadorn is not a well-liked person behind the scenes.
Hagadorn has defeated you in your many attempts to win the Top of the Class Trophy, often using dubious means. How does wrestling Hagadorn compare with wrestling other ROH School graduates and why has he had such success in the Student Division?
While I haven't gotten a chance to watch the tapes of the bouts, or get a clear line of sight during my matches against him, I'm starting to think that Hagadorn's fist is loaded with a foreign object, just like the fans are claiming after the matches. The competition between myself and Hagadorn is as real as it gets, from in the school with Bryan to in the ring in front of the fans, this past show in Boston Hagadorn nearly crushed my ribcage and right arm on a springboard fist-drop, and cut my mouth open severely with what seemed like an intentionally misplaced splash to the face. The intensity is a level or 5 above any match with other graduates from the school and myself, and it's a testament to how far along Hagadorn and myself have developed under Bryan's teaching.
Many ROH Students have had success in other promotions like CHIKARA and IWA-MS. How does wrestling in those promotions compare to wrestling in ROH?
While I haven't competed in IWA-MS yet, I wrestled my first match in CHIKARA November 18th and had the time of my life! Mike Quackenbush runs a great family-oriented promotion and the crowds are tons of fun along with the locker room. I hope that I will be brought back in 2007, as it's a great place with a lot of young talent who are very hungry to achieve success in pro-wrestling. It's a place where you can let your hair down a bit so to speak, as the fans aren't so much looking for a match to call a "MOTYC", as they are looking for the match that will make them jump up, shout, laugh, and have a great time in an intimate atmosphere. I even saw Green Lantern Fan crack a smile or two while in attendance, haha.
On November 24th, you will participate in a gauntlet series with Nigel McGuinness, BJ Whitmer, Jimmy Jacobs, Brent Albright and Jason Blade. How do you prepare for a series of this kind?
LOTS of cardio. Nigel and BJ are proven competitors and Pro Wrestling NOAH gaijin, Jimmy Jacobs seems to have snapped thanks to Lacey, Brent Albright is someone who does not need an introduction with his accolades and experience from the WWE, and Jason Blade is a tragically under rated fighter who's going to be putting it all on the line to prove himself worthy to be in this match. It's going to be demanding and will take every ounce of strength, will, and determination to come out on top in this contest.
How does a match like this compare to other multi-man matches like the 4 Corner Survival, 6 Man Mayhem and Survival of the Fittest tournament?
The catch with this Gauntlet series is that you can't pin just one person and be over with it like you would in a 4 Corner of 6MM match, you have to defeat every opponent one at a time, and it gets tougher with every new entrant as time and punishment wears you down, and unlike SOTF, you don't have a long period to recover before the final bout of the series, it's in your face and nonstop fighting until a final winner is decided.
The participants in this match are from many different levels of the ROH roster. Some could argue that this makes the match result too predictable. How do you respond to this?
I don't blame for the fans for thinking it's too obvious that I'll come out on top.
In all seriousness, if the fans haven't learned about the power of the upset then when will they? ROH is a company with new talent rising to stardom, and you never know when the next name is going to be born in front of their eyes. This match could be Jason Blade's breakthrough performance, it could be BJ Whitmer's resurgence from ankle surgery, it could be a lot of things to a lot of people and there is so much on the line with this contest. The fans should expect the unexpected, it is a cliché thing to say maybe, however it holds very true with this coming weekend.
We here at World Wrestling Insanity like to ask the same question whenever we book an interview: If you could wrestle any wrestler from any era in their prime, who would you choose and why?
At this point in my career my dream match would be to take on Spike Dudley/Brother Runt. A lot of comparisons are made to my beatings in regards to his, and I'd like to get in the ring with him to see just which one of us is tougher. I'm sure whether win or lose he would bring out the best in my fighting and I'd learn an immense deal from the bout.
Before we let you go, are there any websites or promotions you would like to promote?
MySpace is the hotness these days, so I'll plug mine at www.myspace.com/pelle31, I'd also link to thank World Wrestling Insanity for the opportunity to answer their questions, and I want to thank all wrestling fans, whether you love me or hate me, for supporting independent wrestling!
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