Here at Going Over Wrestling we love to interview the stars of Wrestling but sometimes we will shine the spotlight on someone that you may not be familiar with, someone who has started to gain attention not just here but overseas as well, he recently trained with Seth Rollins at the Black and Brave Wrestling academy and now he is here with us to share his story, his name Zeke Andino and its a name you will be hearing a lot more of in the future (Editors note this interview took place a couple of weeks ago and since then there has been a major match announcement for the upcoming IPW Ladder Wars show on 4th August).
How did you first discover the world of wrestling?
It was when my parents got Foxtel when I was 4 or 5 years old and I just started watching T.V one afternoon and it popped up on television. I was instantly intrigued and all my attention was drawn to the screen. I didn't have a sense of television programming so every afternoon I would check if wrestling was on but found out it was only on a couple of times a week. I kept watching it, never missing an episode and then went to my first live event in Brisbane with my Dad in 2007 where I got to see Jeff Hardy wrestle Randy Orton for the WWE Championship and Triple H take on Umaga in a Street Fight. After that match was over, Triple H came into the crowd to celebrate his victory and I got a high-five off him. I have just loved it since.
What made you want to take the leap from a spectator to actually becoming a wrestler?
I never wanted to live an ordinary lifestyle, I have always wanted to do something cool and make the most of my life, so I finished school and moved down to Melbourne to work with my Uncle for 4 months then I came back to the Gold Coast and thought it was the perfect time to start wrestling. So I looked up wrestling schools and found IPW Wrestling and from that moment on I went and trained and did a tryout and I have never looked back. There’s never been a moment where I've wanted to quit or give up. This is what I’ll be doing for a very long time.
So recently you went overseas to train with Seth Rollins, can you tell us a little bit about that?
Ah yes, so I went to train at the Black and Brave Wrestling Academy in September 2017 which was something I had been planning for about a year and a half prior. I went there because Seth is someone I have always looked up to and is one of my favourite wrestlers of the modern era. There's not really anything else like it. A current WWE Superstar teaching you what he learnt not only throughout his entire career so far, but at the performance centre. So I got in contact with Marek Brave who is one of the head coaches over there and got the ball rolling and committed to it. I signed up and did what I needed to do to get to the next stage, which is very difficult. I flew over there and that was that. The knowledge that Marek and Matt Mayday (2 coaches) have is second to none and they definitely have some of the best minds in the industry. I wouldn't be where I am right now without training there for 3 months. It has changed me for the better and the experience as a whole is something I’ll carry for the rest of my life.
What is a typical training day like with Seth Rollins?
It's pretty intense! You usually do session of crossfit which lasts about an hour. The workouts can consist of powerlifting, cardio and endurance. After that you head into the wrestling session which lasts about 4 hours. You do a warm up which can be like another crossfit workout, you do your 3 to 4 hours of intense wrestling training but every day is different because you are learning different things and once you have finished your training the coaches put you through another strenuous workout which lasts about another half an hour. All in all, the training days are no joke. You got to be on your A-Game 24/7.
Also while you were in the USA you attended a William Regal seminar, can you tell us about that?
That opportunity came along when one of the other trainees mentioned Evolve Wrestling were having a tryout and seminar with William Regal which I believe there was an opportunity to be signed to Evolve or appear on NXT. That was one of the most brutal and tiring journeys I’ve been on. Travis Titan, Robin Steele and myself were living in Davenport Iowa. We went and got a hire car and drove to New York which is 14 - 15 hours away. We left around 10am on Thursday and arrived about 3am Friday morning. It took us close to an hour to find parking. Eventually, we checked in to the hotel about 4 am, got around 3 hours of sleep, got ready, had a feed and went to the venue where the seminar was being held. The seminar went from 12pm Friday to 2am Saturday morning… 14 Hours! I cannot explain how much I learnt, but how sick I felt. The reason it went for so long is because William Regal’s flight kept getting delayed or cancelled due to snow. He got there at 9pm and started off with a lecture. It was a wealth and knowledge, I learned so much, I was in a lot of pain, I was tired and had a headache, I was running on a few hours sleep but just to hear and gain that much knowledge was amazing. I took 5-6 pages of notes and often go over them to keep them fresh in my mind. We then did some practice matches from midnight until 2am, that was intense, that was a great experience, people say its character building and really shows who you are as a person to get through that sort of stuff. Right after that we had to drive 10 hours to Michigan. We got to Michigan in the late afternoon, got a few hours sleep, if that, did a show and then finally back to Travis' house where we could finally get some decent sleep. The following day we did another show then drove 7 hours back to Iowa, that whole trip was very tiring but also a great learning curve. Also, I can’t take any credit for the driving as I didn’t have my U.S License. But I did stay up a majority of the time with the designated driver as I only thought that was fair.
I also believe you have a video Vlog of your trip?
Yes I have a YouTube channel its called ‘The Journey’ by Zeke Andino. It’s pretty much a mixture of what I get up to when I am on the road, training, some funny skits, I show highlights from my matches, I have my friends on there just trying to get a laugh. I like to think of it as an escape for people to watch and take their mind off things so I do hope people enjoy it, please check it out and share it around if you enjoy it.
What has been your favourite match that you have been in?
Favourite match, off the top of my head I have had 3, I had one with Jesse Love in early 2017, I believe it was February and that was my first little breakout match where we got a standing ovation backstage. I started to get noticed a little and after that it would have to have been my debut with SCW which is an American promotion connected to Black and Brave which is something I was working towards over there. I trained my butt of for that and it was the payoff for the 3 months of hard training to finally get on to one of their shows was just a satisfying feeling. Recently I got to wrestle a guy from Dragon Gate Japan, El Lindaman, in Brisbane and that was just another amazing learning experience just to see how they structure their matches and to work a different style. Every time I step into the ring I try my best to put on the most entertaining performance and give the fans what they paid for.
Who would you love to wrestle from Australia?
In Australia it would probably have to be either Robbie Eagles because ever since his match with Will Ospreay he has gone to another level. He has always been great but he has taken off now, being booked in PWG, doing NJPW Australian tour so I am now kind of looking up to him and I want to try and be like that. I feel like with our styles, we could have an outstanding match. The other being Jackson Kelly who is another Black and Brave graduate and I feel like we could put something special together. The story is already there with both of us graduating from Black and Brave, him being the first. It’s a battle that might be happening sooner rather then later.
Your dream opponent?
I have always thought that since graduating the Black and Brave school that I would love to do a teacher versus student match with Seth Rollins at Wrestlemania for a title. That would be all time I reckon. Another one is Kenny Omega. For the past few years he is the one that got me into New Japan and exposed me to that. He is one of the greatest wrestlers/performers in my opinion of all time. So those are the top picks and my all time favourite wrestler is Shawn Michaels but obviously he has retired now. Daniel Bryan would also be on the list. I can’t just stick to one haha.
Where do you see your career in the next 5 to 10 years?
As ‘The Revolutionary’, I want to revolutionize this business. My goal now is to reach Ring of Honor and New Japan. I want to become the first Australian champion for a lot companies. I want to build myself up on the independents, hopefully move back to America, do tours of England, Japan, Mexico, just everywhere. I want to become well known around Australia and hopefully make it to the WWE but I don't want to go straight there because there is so much going on outside of WWE with so many different opportunities. I just feel there are people breaking down doors and barriers for wrestlers my age to come through and take over.
For those that have not seen you wrestle, how would you describe your ring style?
I believe I have a little bit of everything, I can do mat based technical stuff, chain wrestling, I have the high flying stuff and now I have started to incorporate more power moves, I like to think I am a bit of an all rounder and I can produce different styles of matches depending on who I am working with and adapt to my opponent, so yeah action packed, exciting and entertaining. As of late I’ve been in longer matches that have required more endurance and power so I’d like to give a shout out to my Personal Trainer Lochie Stewart who has really helped and changed me these past few months. Check him out on social media folks.
What do you think of the Australian wrestling scene?
It's building, as soon as I got to America I loved it but from the time I have been back I have just seen it grow and grow, you have all these Australians on WWE, NXT, over in the UK, its just expanding and giving Australia a lot of exposure, it makes me want to stick around longer and be a part of the growth. I feel that being in Australia now is a good chance to get noticed, people are looking at us more, I am happy and stoked in the direction that its going and I hope to help build it and be a part of the bigger shows and help Australia become one of, if not the best places for wrestling in the world
Thank you for your time Zeke.
No thank you for having me. It’s been a pleasure.
Catch Zeke Andino at IPW - Ladder Wars, Saturday, August 4th.
The Battle of “The Black and Brave”
The ‘Beach Bum Booter’ Jackson Kelly – hailing from the affluent Northern Beaches of NSW – was the first Australian graduate of The Black and Brave Academy, headed by WWE Superstar Seth Rollins. He has competed internationally, as well as earning a name for himself across promotions in both New South Wales and Victoria. The invitation to come to#IPWAustralia and face fellow “Black and Brave” graduate, “The Revolutionary” Zeke Andino, was too good to refuse. Passions will be high in this one as interstate rivalry will surely take over. Not only that, but what will each man go through to prove not only to each other, but the rest of the country, who truly is the better Aussie performer to come out of the well renowned school?
Be sure to book your tickets now by visiting our website at www.ipwaustralia.com.au or by phone on 0423 244 374.