Ladies. Gentlemen. It is with great pleasure that I’m introducing you to our exclusive interview to one of the most talked-about wrestlers in Britain – or rather, in the whole of Europe.
He is the legend of hardcore, the man who wants YOU to suffer, one whose words are clear as glass and cut like knives… he is JIMMY HAVOC!
I suppose I should open by thanking him for accepting to be interviewed by us, but I think he may smell my fear and pounce – so we’ll just get started.
WtW: You are mostly renowned as a deathmatcher: why did you become one?
JH: I just really enjoyed watching that style of match growing up. I loved Foley, and the HIAC match is still one of my favourite things to watch. I think the big thing for me in getting into the more extreme hardcore stuff was when a friend bought me an ECW tape that had the Sabu vs Sandman Stairway to Hell match on it, and that got me really hooked on that style. From there I got into CZW, FMW, BJW, all those sort of promotions.
WtW: You worked both in PROGRESS and in ICW: what do those two revolutionary feds have in common, and what separates them?
JH: I absolutely love working in both places. The fans at both are incredibly loyal and vocal, and there is nothing that we appreciate more as performers than people actually giving a shit about what we’re doing in the ring to entertain them.
WtW: Is there anything you ever refused to do in a match? And is there anything that you suggested to do in a match, that was refused (by your opponent or the bookers)?
JH: Someone wanted to pour lighter fluid on my bare feet and set them on fire once. I think that’s the only thing I’ve ever refused. Most of the fucked up stuff you see in my matches are probably my idea. I rarely come up with ideas of stuff for me to do on my opponent, I’ve never liked people coming up to me and going ‘Oh, we’re going to do this to you today’. No, no you’re not. I’ll choose what happens to my own body, thanks, not you. The main thing that gets refused by bookers is fire, but that’s more down to building regulations than them actually caring about my well being.
WtW: Who is the second most hardcore wrestler on the scene after yourself?
JH: Jack Jester.
WtW: From the #BookHavoc hashtag to your heel turn in one of the most controversial storylines of the year to winning the title becoming the longest-reigning champion in the federation, to a thunderous fall from grace: could you tell us about the story of Jimmy Havoc and PROGRESS?
JH: That was the first time in a long time an independent promotion had done a truly long term storyline, and I think that is why the fans of Progress got so invested in it. Very rarely now do you see that definitive good guy/bad guy dynamic where people genuinely seem to want the bad guy to lose. And every time they thought I was going to lose, we kept it going longer. I think the other thing about the story that worked was that, from the moment we started the program with Ospreay, everyone wanted him to beat me, and believed that he would. There is nothing wrong at all with giving people what they want. It doesn’t mean it’s predictable or it’s boring. Sometimes the fans don’t want to be constantly swerved and surprised. The way I looked at the whole thing was like a season of a TV show. It lasted just over three years, and personally I think it is the best thing that I am ever going to do. Both in terms of creativity and match quality.
WtW: What is in the future for Jimmy Havoc? Do you plan to stay in the UK/Europe or are you hoping for a move to the US or Japan?
JH: I don’t know. I don’t think I’d do a permanent move to the US or Japan, but I’m definitely not against wrestling over there and doing a couple of tours. Watch this space…
WtW: You can wrestle as a merciless deathmatcher or as a refined in-ring technician; which style do you personally prefer?
JH: Somewhere in between maybe. Haha. I do enjoy the hardcore style, and that is my favourite type of match to do. But I’d happily not wrestle on broken glass and barbed wire every night. The morning after is pretty shit.
WtW: How do other promoters approach your character?
JH: However I tell them to. If I don’t like what I’m being asked to do as a performer, I’ll happily just not work for that company anymore.
WtW: What is the difference between the character Jimmy Havoc and the person you are outside the ring – besides the liberal bleeding of course?
JH: Very little I think. The biggest difference is that Jimmy Havoc the character can get away with saying and doing all the things I want to do in real life, but know I’d never be able to get away with. Swearing at kids when you’re walking around Marks and Spencer (yes, that’s where I shop) is really looked down upon.
WtW: How does it feel working as a trainer for the ProJo? How are you as a trainer? Have you already seen “the future”?
JH: I enjoy it. It’s nice to be able to help the next generation to follow their dreams. I am an absolute piece of shit as a trainer though. If someone if shit, I’ll tell them they’re shit, and not let them move on until they get it right. That’s missing a lot from schools these days I think.
For me, the top three to come out of the ProJo are The GZRS (Sebastian and Tom) and Pastor William Eaver. Those three get it.
WtW: You’ll be wrestling in Italy, for ASCA, at the Super8 Cup. Anything you want to tell your opponents? What do you know about Italian wrestling?
JH: I am very much looking forward to coming over, I’ve never wrestled in Italy before so it will be a new experience for me. My opponents should know who I am already anyway, so they don’t need telling anything they don’t already know.
WtW: A question everyone gets: what do you say to people who insist that “wrestling is fake”?
JH: I’d say yes, it is fake. In the same way that a TV show or movie is fake. You know that what you’re watching isn’t legitimate competition, but you can still get drawn in by the characters and the stories being told.
WtW: How can we follow your career (Twitter, Facebook, websites…)?
JH: @jimmyhavoc on twitter. @jimmy_havoc on Instagram. Search for Jimmy Havoc on Facebook.
Well, that didn’t hurt. Much…