Gregory Bownds, better known by his ring name TNT, is an Australian professional wrestler and promoter, currently owning and promoting the Australasian Wrestling Federation (AWF). TNT is one of the more experienced active wrestlers in Australia, being the owner of the AWF promotions and headlining for many other independent promotions across Australia. He has also wrestled in Japan, where he has worked for Pro Wrestling ZERO1-MAX, and Dragon Gate, one of very few Australian wrestlers to do so. He also has studied Mexican lucha libre wrestling whilst in Mexico. He also organises wrestling shows Australia wide for the Supanova Pop Culture Expo. So whether you love him or hate him, there's no denying TNT has done a lot for Aussie wrestling. We caught up with the man himself and asked him a few questions about his illustrious and rewarding pro-wrestling career. Read his an-SAAAA's below...
What's your earliest memory of wrestling and how did you get into the business?
I recall seeing a clip on TV as a 7 year old in the lead up to WrestleMania 1 with Hulk Hogan and Iron Sheik, and I thought to myself, what is this? A few years later after much persistence my Dad took me to my first live event at the Sydney Entertainment Centre which was WWF headlined by Junkyard Dog vs. Brutus Beefcake. I was into the wrestling from a young age as a fan. I got into the business at 17 after starting training and debuting with World Wide Wrestling at Ingleburn in New South Wales.
At what age did you want to become a wrestler and when/where did you start training?
I wanted to be a wrestler since 7 years old! At 17 years old I started professional training with Australian Champion ,Shane Fenton, and I debuted in April, 1995.
What's been your biggest accomplishment to date?
There have been many, so it's hard to nail it down to just one. Some include, running the day to day operations of the Australasian Wrestling Federation since 1999. Training and mentoring many students and hosting their first bouts in AWF. Headlining many successful shows as a wrestler. Representing championship belts for AWF, and even holding the AWA Worlds Title and wrestling in Japan for Zero One, Dragongate and Gojappe Pro and also headlining a show at Shinkiba Ring in Tokyo.
What's been your crowning achievement of your pro wrestling career so far?
Being able to wrestle many styles at a high level, while also promoting AWF events and staying in wrestling for 23 years.
Do you have a certain match that you consider your best work or favourite?
There are many great matches and moments so it is hard to nail down to only one. Some are found on my 'Best of TNT' DVDs Volume 1, 2 and soon to be released Volume 3!
What's your opinion on the current Australian pro wrestling scene? Is it stronger than ever?
There are many shows and the quality of wrestlers for the most part is pretty good now. It has been strong in other periods in the 80's and 90's drawing just as well, but with the internet now we hear more about it. Internationally independent wrestling has some buzz, so it is good when that filters to Australia also.
Was it ever a dream of yours to end up wrestling in the WWE or NJPW?
I was in consideration for a WWE contract in 2009 but severely injured my shoulder at the WWE training camp and that ended any full time wrestling contract as I was 31 years old at the time. I had a meeting with New Japan about 4 years ago, but things did not line up due to my obligations with my son. But I am very happy running AWF and calling my own shots.
If you could wrestle any current WWE Superstar, who would it be?
I would like to wrestle Finn Balor, Seth Rollins, The Undertaker or Daniel Bryan again.
You're the head trainer for the AWF Wrestling School, what's it like training so many kids that want to learn about wrestling and the business in general?
It is very rewarding on many levels, and a way of contributing to the wrestling.
Tell us a bit about the upcoming AWF - August Armageddon show, what have you got planned for this one?
August Armageddon is this Sat 4 August at Penrith PCYC and will feature over 2 hours of wrestling in an up close environment. TNT will defend the AWF Commonwealth Championship against The Misfit in an Anything Goes Bout, Albie and DJay Sonic will defend the AWF Tag Team Titles against Goran Nikolov and a mystery partner, Niki Nitro will battle Alyna Limin, plus Abaddon Vs Jack Pain, Shane Saw Vs Kasai, Mr Mortis Vs Whiskey Sixx and more surprised on the night. Tickets at http://awfwrestling.com.au/events/
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 appreciate all the Detonation Crew Saaaporters and thank you from the bottom of my heart for allowing me to be working my dream job in pro-wrestling and to in part support my son.
I look forward to more good days in ring for the short term, and to help deliver excellent AWF events into the future. Thanks for caring about TNT and AWF and an extra big thanks to all who have bought tickets, merchandise and helped out TNT and AWF with events along the way. Let’s bring more respect to Australian wrestling and be proud of being involved with wrestling and make quality times for those who enjoy it! Saaaaaa!