Photo Credit: Cory Lockwood Photography
He was spat forth from the heart of a volcano, KrackerJak entered the world fully formed, dressed in spandex and with a foot genetically engineered for arse-kicking. Ever since, he has strode the world defeating men, seducing women and taming animals. Curious? I know we are. That's why we tracked the one and only KrackerJak for an interview. With a list of accomplishments, awards and championships longer than a shopping list, we knew we were going in to this interview speaking with Aussie wrestling royalty.
What's your earliest memory of wrestling and how did you get into the business?
I don’t remember when I first became aware of the existence of pro wrestling. I came of age during Australia’s Great Wrestling Drought where they’d stopped screening WWF on TV besides the odd match on Wide World of Sport and Australian wrestling had vanished from television altogether. So like lots of people who don’t see wrestling, my understanding of it came more from other shows featuring or parodying wrestling than from wrestling itself. But I first became a fan in 1992 when I rented the Wrestlemania game on Super Nintendo. It was pretty basic- everyone had the same moves and attributes, but the sprites and music was unique to each guy and at the back of the game manual were these cool little wrestler bios. It was those characters that first hooked me in. I was a pretty solid fan from then on, as much as you could be before the internet was invented and your only wrestling news came from the magazines and videos turning up in local stores three months late. Oh, and super-expensive wrestling information lines. I got involved in the sport in 1999. I’d happened to meet a fan of the local stuff, Sue Chuter, who’d put me onto some local product that I followed for a few years before joining a school.
At what age did you want to become a wrestler and when/where did you start training?
I wanted to wrestle as soon as I became a fan, back in ‘92. I would have been 13. But back then I only knew about WWE (then WWF) and they were just starting to push smaller guys into the main event, and even then “smaller guys” were still 6’2” and a hundred kilos. I only grew to be 5’10” and 90 kilos now, so back then it seemed impossible that I’d ever be big enough. But by the mid-90’s, things like the Lightning Kid (who’d go on to become X-Pac) and WCW’s Cruiserweight division were normalising the kind of smaller, faster wrestlers for Western audiences who’d been stars in Mexico and Japan for years. Suddenly, I wasn’t too small to be a wrestler. I went to local shows, figured: “pfft... I can do this...” and then joined a local school in 1999 under “Red Hot” Ricky Diamond and then George “Hitman” Julio, where I learned that I was an idiot and that wrestling is actually very hard and very painful
What's been your biggest accomplishment to date?
The three stories that I felt worked the best were my feud at Warzone with Lord Mark Williamson, my Presidency of PCW and my mentorship of Lochy Hendricks.
What's been your crowning achievement of your pro wrestling career so far?
Well now I think about it, all three of those things ended up being completely disastrous for me so instead I’ll say it was introducing my family to the sport.
Do you have a certain match that you consider your best work or favourite?
Since 2000 I’ve had so many matches I’ve forgotten more of them than I remember. But some proud picks would be my MCW Championship match with Carlo Cannon a few years ago and my second deathmatch (a four corners of hell) with Mad Dog McRea. I’d also cite my feud with Australian Idol/Vega FM’s Ian “Dicko” Dickson for WRESTLEROCK. It was my first big thing working with a famous entertainment professional, carrying them through wrestling but also holding my own in terms of public verbiage. There’s lots of different ways it can go when wrestling tangles with the mainstream media- most of them not good. I’m really proud of how I represented wrestling to the broader entertainment industry while protecting the sport for those that love it. A lot of the boys wanted me to mess Dicko up but he was actually great. Once he understood that, as the outsider attacking wrestling, he was always going to be booed, he embraced the role and spoke highly of our craft in the press afterwards.
What's your opinion on the current Australian pro wrestling scene? Is it stronger than ever?
If you look at the top local products, the shows and talent are the best they’ve been in my wrestling lifetime. Some of our best wrestlers have been signed by the WWE and many are able to hold their own in the ring with the finest independent wrestlers in the world. Live production and video production is on a par with our overseas independent equivalents and attendance is better than ever. It’s not all good- it’s never been ALL GOOD, here or overseas. But the best of our stuff is world class. Something else indicative of the health of the Scene is a thriving mid-tier of promotions and talent. There are wrestlers who, at this stage in their development, would struggle to hold a spot on an MCW show or with an international veteran. But those guys are constantly working smaller shows, striving to make that next step.
Was it ever a dream of yours to end up wrestling in the WWE or NJPW?
I didn’t watch a lot of New Japan when I was starting out. I was a big Vader mark so I watched a lot of All Japan stuff, and loved seeing him and guys like Misawa and Jun Akiyama kick the shit out of each other. I never thought I’d ever work there though (although I did do a stint with Big Japan about 12 years ago.) Of course now, you’ve actually got New Japan talent appearing on local shows and local talent appearing on New Japan shows, which I never thought I’d see. But I think I’m possibly at the wrong end of my career to start looking at starting out at the bottom of a company like New Japan. I used to want to work for the WWE and yes, of course I’d seize any opportunity and squeeze it til my fingers came off. But I’m not a huge fan of the product these days. My tastes range in the unusual (that sounds more erotic than it was meant to) and while WWE talent is spectacular, as television it tends to skew pretty low and broad. When I was starting, the other side of the world really was THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD. We didn’t go there, they didn’t come here. But now, between cheaper flights and the connectedness of the internet, independent Australian wrestlers mix with the rest of the world, and the matches they produce can reach a second audience online. There are actually options now for the indie wrestler who isn’t signed.
If you could work with any current WWE Superstar, who would it be and who do you think you'd have the best feud or chemistry with?
You know, I realised I had no idea who most of their roster is right now but in checking it, I’ve actually already wrestled quite a few of them! But I’ve never wrestled the Big Show, and he’s so massive it’s just stupid, so I’m going to say him. Another guy I’d love to work with is Paul Heyman because, besides Bobby Heenan, he’s my favourite at that sort of thing and I’d learn a tremendous amount. But seriously, it’s awesome whenever you get to wrestle a WWE guy. They have experience with a machine more massive than anything you’ve ever worked in, and they bring with them not only their own experience, but the acquired knowledge of the veterans they themselves have worked with.
Have you been getting involved with training up and coming wrestlers when you're not kicking butt in the ring?
You mean besides training my protege Lochy Hendricks so well that he rose up and retired me? Besides him, I’ve been training rookies on and off for over a decade. For the last couple of years I’ve been refining my Promoclass system which focuses specifically on ideas about promo and character and tying that back to what we do in the ring. It’s something I’m very excited to be bringing to the new MCW Academy when it opens this year.
What does KrackJack like to do when he's not wrestling? What hobbies do you have?
Film, art and masturbation. (especially artfully-filmed masturbation.)
You've been around wrestling for a long time now, can you tell us the wildest or craziest story you've got from your wrestling career?
No. But I did once wake up lying on a traffic island surrounded by thousands of people in the middle of Tokyo rush hour.
What's next for KrackerJak? Anything on the horizon?
All sorts of things! I was pretty devastated by my forced retirement in December. I just kinda moped about in my slippers, drinking heavily and passing out in the bushes. Which is pretty much what I was doing DURING my wrestling career but I never wrestle under the influence. So without regular matches to sober up for, things were getting grim and my manager, Colby Toggenburg was really worried about me. But things are turning a corner. In collaboration with Clem Bastow, I ran a hugely successful death-match wrestling show at the prestigious Dark Mofo arts festival. We’ve just released the film of the show and everyone seems to love it. I’ve got other film and online concepts I’m developing, and I’m really keen to get into that MCW Academy and start forcing my wrestling beliefs on the next generation of Australian talent.
Do you have any words for your Aussie fans that have been following your career and those that support you at shows all over the country?
I have four words:
I am not done.