MLW World Heavyweight Champion Alex Hammerstone has a very full plate as he heads into SuperFight night this Saturday (Feb. 26) in Charlotte, North Carolina. Not only does he have a tough title defense against Davey Richards, but he’s still coming to grips with the fact that his long time friend and former Dynasty partner Richard Holliday recently turned his back on him.
These two men have traveled the road together and stayed in the same hotels for years, but with one good right hook to the nether regions from Alicia Atout, it was all over. Holliday quickly followed up with a few cheap shots on the Champ, making his intentions clear as day. He’s coming for the MLW World Heavyweight Championship.
Sid Pullar III of the Bleav in Pro Wrestling Podcast recently had a chance to catch up with Alex Hammerstone, and the champ didn’t hold back on his intentions should he come face to face with his old buddy Richard one day.
“There’s this old saying, it’s lonely at the top. It definitely feels that way right now. I’ve roomed with Richard and traveled with Richard for the last three years. Charlotte’s gonna be the first time that changes. It’s weird. It’s unexpected. You know, a lot of people say you should have saw it coming, but I guess hindsight’s 20/20. But at the end of the day, you’ve got to look for the silver lining. And the silver lining is this, now there’s a whole lot of wrestling fans that want to see me kick ass. And they want to see me kick Richard’s ass. And I got a whole lot of motivation to do it. So if that’s a match that comes to fruition, you’re gonna see a little bit of extra aggression from your boy Hammer.”
As to whether or not Ms. Atout is the driving force behind Holliday’s sudden change of heart, your boy Hammer couldn’t say for sure.
“Who’s to say? That was part of the thing that was definitely out of nowhere. That was the last thing I expected. But you know what, if she went to the Dynasty and she couldn’t get her pick… she probably wanted the top dog, but she had to settle for second place. Now she wants her man to be the champion. I guess there’s only one way to get there.”
Before these former friends, now rivals, can square off for the top prize in all of MLW, they have separate dates this Saturday at SuperFight. Alex Hammerstone will defend his championship against Davey Richards, a man that Hammer says has been a tough out for many men on the MLW roster.
“He is different. His ring IQ, his conditioning, his stamina, his flexibility when it comes to a wide range of styles and the places he’s traveled and the different styles he’s picked up, it’s a little bit intimidating. There’s a part of me that started thinking, you know, man I got to drop 15 pounds for this match, so I can come in and just go and go and go with him. Or I got to really get back on the mats and start practicing jujitsu and all these things. So I can roll and keep up with him. But here’s the thing, you watched guys like TJP try to out wrestle him. It didn’t work. You got guys like Bobby Fish, tried to outlast him. It didn’t work. But what he hasn’t had to face to someone who’s just gonna out muscle him and that’s just gonna outpower him. That’s what I bring to the table.”
It’s been a long road to this level of success for Alex Hammerstone and he predicts he’ll smash Mr. Richards this Saturday to keep his seat atop the MLW mountain.
Please watch the full interview with Alex Hammerstone in the video above, or check out more of the Q&A below:
Bleav in Pro Wrestling: What do you think MJF’s reaction is to everything that’s going with Richard Holliday and what’s your reaction to all the success Max has been having in AEW?
Alex Hammerstone: I think his reaction is summed up with a single tweet he left out, which was WTF. I think he is equally disappointed in Richard as I am, which says a lot when you’re talking about Max’s character. But I digress, you know Max… it’s incredible to see what he’s doing over at AEW. He truly is one of the absolute best guys going today, not just on the microphone, in the ring as well. He’s phenomenal. I’ve always thought that. And he just continues to prove it.
BPW: Meantime, you’re proving yourself in MLW but a lot of people in the wrestling world are always talking about this forbidden door. What are your thoughts on all these companies interacting with each other and what do you think MLW’s place in all of this is?
Alex Hammerstone: You really have to be careful how things are approached. Yeah, at the end of the day it creates its buzz. It creates suspense. But you’re talking about two companies working together and a company’s sole interest is always gonna be themselves first and foremost. To work together in a way that you both walk away benefiting, you both walk away taking away more than what you came in with, it’s a hard thing to figure out some of the finer details. So as far as MLW doing that in the future with some of these companies, it’s definitely not something that’s off the table. I don’t know of any immediate plans of anything, but never say never. I know for me personally, if I have it my way, the door is open to anyone. Come on. Walk through if you think you can take out the champ.
BPW: What are your thoughts on Killer Kross coming into MLW and do you anticipate that the two of you will cross paths?
Alex Hammerstone: I’ve known Kross for a long time. I knew Kross from basically the moment he got into the business. He’s been something special since day one. As far as if I see myself having to cross paths with him, if he sticks around for more than a cup of coffee, then that’s inevitable. He is just going to tear through everybody in his path until he inevitably gets to me. So, depending on the length of his stay, I think that’s more of when, not if.
BPW: I really am inspired by your story. The kind of the risk that you took to take up a career in wrestling. How do you look back on your journey now that you’ve hit this milestone of being a World Champion?
Alex Hammerstone: It’s crazy because it’s a blur, man. It goes by so fast. I was talking to a friend over the weekend. I was on a show and we were talking we’re like, ‘When was that match?’ We’re like, ‘Oh my God, that was like six years ago.’ And then a fan came to the merch table to a show I was on Saturday, and he is talking to me, ‘Hey, I remember seeing you here. It had to be like three years ago.’ And then he came back, he pulled up the picture and he goes, ‘Oh, actually it was eight years ago.’
You start to look back and realize how long the journey took and how many times there was those really low spots. So, to be where I’m at right now, I feel extremely grateful. I’m very privileged. I’m very lucky. I’ve had a lot of good people help me to be where I’m at and it’s phenomenal. But that being said, I’m not taking anything for granted. You know? So, when these big fights come up, I’m not relaxing because I feel like I’ve made it. If anything, I kind of take a look in the rear-view mirror and realize all the B.S. I had to deal with to get here and say, ‘I’m staying here.’
BPW: Your journey to becoming MLW Heavyweight Champion including multiple tryouts with WWE. And their tryout systems, their developmental system have been a big spotlight among fans and people in the business. What would you say was the biggest positive that you saw from that experience?
Alex Hammerstone: The first time I went there was very, very early on in my career. I basically got the tryout based off of them seeing my picture and thinking, ‘Hey, this kid looks good.’ It wasn’t that I had earned it from having good matches or anything like that. I kind of got lucky. They liked the way I looked, and they said, ‘Hey, let’s see what he brings to the table.’ But that being said, the intensity of the workout… man they try to break you. A lot of guys get out of those tryouts and they’re going on their social media and they’re like, ‘Oh, it was a great experience. I gave them my everything.’ And I’m sitting there like, I was there, and I watched you break. I watched you crack. I watched you go sit on the sidelines and fake an injury because you couldn’t keep up with the blow-up drills. It happens to a lot of guys. It’s rough. And I was just about there. Getting out of that tryout so young, I realized like, man, that’s what they expect at the top level. Like, I thought I was taking it seriously before then, but I just kicked it into a whole other gear. So that’s probably the best aspect I was able to take away from it.
I don’t really have anything bad to say, you know? There was a time that I had like really sour grapes over the way the situation was handled. Being told I’d basically had a job and then kind of having it feel like it was pulled away from me after I had already set up my life to move out there and move out of my house and all these things. I remember being like, ‘That’s such BS. I can’t believe they do that to people.’ But at the end of the day, you got to realize it’s a huge corporation with so many moving parts. You are not the most important thing in the world. The universe doesn’t revolve around you. And… I was able to get out of it, kind of change my approach to things and find success where I’m finding success now. And I’m very fortunate that way.
BPW: So you were able to use that experience to help catapult you to the success you’re having today. What advice would you give to someone who’s in a similar position now, to where you were before your first tryout?
Alex Hammerstone: There's so many things other than skill and effort required. There’s luck, there’s timing, all that plays into it. But if you just focus on being the best at your craft, if you take this seriously and approach all the angles of pro wrestling, which means, being in shape, having a look, being able to cut a promo, being good and sufficient at pro wrestling, studying those who came before you… I dropped out of college to do this. So, I like to look at it like I was taking different college courses. You can’t skip one of them and still expect to pass. It’s not gonna work that way.
Try to be honest with yourself. Which is a huge thing in pro wrestling. A lot of people are very delusional. They don’t face the facts about what they’re lacking. If you do those things, the cream rises to the top, eventually.
A lot of people like to pretend that they just didn’t get their fair shake, but I can’t think of anybody who’s actually in great shape, looks great, has great matches, has a great promo, has a great character and doesn’t have a job. That doesn’t exist. Someone will say, ‘Oh yeah it does, look at this guy.’ Meanwhile he’s a fat slob. Do you have to be a bodybuilder to be a wrestler? By no means am I saying that. But that guy knows he has at least one area he could work on, that he’s not working on. Maybe there’s a guy who looks like a million bucks and has good matches and has a cool character and a cool entrance, but you give him a microphone and he doesn’t know how to cut a promo and he doesn’t try to get better.
There’s nobody who has all the skills, and their sufficient in every way, that’s not getting recognized for it. It doesn’t exist. So, if you take an honest look in the mirror, just work on everything you can. Don’t leave any stones unturned and that way there’s no excuses but to get what you deserve.
Rick Ucchino can be reached at Rick.Bleav@gmail.com. You can follow him on Twitter @RickUcchino and follow Sid Pullar III as well @TruHeelSP3. Also, make sure to subscribe to the Bleav in Pro Wrestling YouTube Channel.