Show: Interactive Wrestling Radio
Guest: Paul Burchill
Your Host: James Walsh
Before there was a UK Title Tournament and the WWE was hiring floods of UK talent, Paul Burchill broke from the UK to the WWE and
made quite a name for himself. From the fan favorite Pirate character to the shark-like character of ECW, Burchill discusses his entire career
in a sensational interview exclusive to the Wrestling Epicenter. Below are some key highlights from the interview.
Download the MP3 here:
On working the recent AIW show:
"I didn't know I was active. (laughs) No, I did know I was active. I kind of... Back in 2010, when I was done with WWE, I kept doing things, events would come up... I was doing more schooling, I was working. You kind of start changing your priorities. I didn't really have an interest in doing anything else full time, say Japan or anything else. I kind of stepped away from full time. I was always planning on doing that. We'd always made plans of doing that and eventually walk away from it. It got to about 2014, maybe 2013, and I was kind of like, "I'm not feeling it." I came home and said to my wife, "I'm not feeling this as much. Maybe it is time to finish up." I did. I didn't really pay attention to too much. Then, Luke Gallows got re-signed and it sort of inspired me. I was so happy for him. I always knew he'd get his... The day he was gone from WWE, I knew he'd be back there. I thought I'd quite like to do some wrestling. Nothing serious. But, my 6 year old never saw me wrestle. My oldest grew up, being in the locker room was normal for him. It was kind of for that. So, I thought I'd get myself back into ring shape. Back last summer, I started doing some local things. I was actually talking to Billy Corgan at TNA about doing some things about coming in there. I was going to go down and see what was what. I couldn't get the dates to work for me. We missed the summer and headed into the fall, my wife was expecting in November so we said we'd hold off until the new year. How do you say to your wife, "Good luck with the 3 kids and the newborn, I'm going to go to Universal Studios for 5 days. Have fun!"? I've actually been contacted by some promotions in England. I never went back there after WWE and did the English wrestling thing. It was kind of the same thing, lets see in the new year. I have. I started doing some local things. I was contacted by AIW, the dates worked. Myself and Devin Driscol who was briefly in OVW and we did some shows in Knoxville... We've sort of been tagging. We're seeing what's out there for a big 250 - 260 pound tag team. We're in the process of doing that right now."
On if talks with TNA are continuing:
"We're just seeing. We're in the process... I think with there, there's quite a few changes going on and everything. Any change like that, it is usually for the better not that there was anything wrong before. But, you bring in new people like that, it is for the better. We're looking at it. I never got to wrestle in Ring of Honor either. I never did. Their product and their tag team stuff is fantastic. They've got so many teams to work with... War Machine are amazing. We're looking at that. It seems like the growth in wrestling, it wasn't there in 2010. If it were, I might not have been so quick to get out if there were the opportunities there are nowadays. I wrestled last night, I felt great. I'm getting some snap back into my moves. I'm looking forward to getting back to having some hard hitting matches. The rest, the time off has done me some good. I'm like 260 pounds and feeling good!"
On dawning the pirate gimmick again:
"It was a total one off. Not that I don't enjoy doing it... I've worn it for Halloween a few times. I always have the best Halloween costume walking around with my kids."
On what he did after leaving wrestling:
I'm currently a Firefighter, an EMT, and an Emergency Room Nurse. I'm currently finishing my Masters Degree. I'm keeping myself busy."
On his take of the current UK wrestling scene:
"The scene over there is crazy. Like, really, it is impressive. Everything I've seen, I've been like, "Oh my God, there's a depth of talent!" Some of those guys are the best in the world. It is no surprise WWE has taken notice of it. The UK tournament, I saw a couple bits of it. I saw that final match. it was pheomenal. These two were going back and forth and it was like watching a World fo Sport match, and then he hits the flip, backflip dive. I'm like, "Are you freaking kidding me?" It was excellent. It was really impressive. Pete Dunn impresses the hell out of me anyway. I've watched him for like a year and a half, I am like, "Oh my God, this guy is so good!" He's like the reincarnation of Dave Finlay. He's just like watching the same person. I haven't seen the World of Sport stuff or anything like that. But, they're running some really impressive shows. I mean, Will Ospreay, you can't even... Marty Scurl is killing it. There is a bunch of them. You can't even name them all. There's a promotion, I believe, Alex Shane is involved in. I know him from back in my FWA days and if he's involved, it is going to be good. He's got a good mind for it. Nigel McGuinness going on board with the NXT brand... I don't think there was a person in wrestling who wasn't happy for him! It has been long overdue."
On the culture shock of moving to the US and adapting to a WWE scale audience:
"To an extent. I mean, it only hit me when I was standing at the airport. I've got 2 bags and I'm moving to a new country by myself. I got in the (WWE) system pretty quickly, I did something on OVW TV like 3 weeks before I debuted. I was already on the road, tagging with William Regal, getting my feet wet. There was really no planning. It was like 4 o'clock and they'd tell you, "You're debuting." You're kind of like, "Oh, ok." Now it seems like there's these long, long programs for getting people in. It worked differently for different people. Some people had that, some people just got randomly debuted. Gosh, there was a time there that there was a lot of talent that didn't get utilized properly because they just got randomly debuted on ECW or something and that opportunity was missed. Going in front of the crowd, it was kind of natural. Over time, I kind of became the guy who could go in there with the a new guy or an established star and have a good match. That is kind of the role I found myself in."
On if he made the right choice coming to the US in 2004:
"Career wise, I kind of zigged when I should have zagged. I kind of look back and think, maybe another 3 or 4 years. I'd have preferred them have had a couple of other British guys come in and kind of already had it down pat by then. But, I was the first guy in a while from Brittan. So, I was kind of the crash-test-dummy a little bit."
On William Regal as a mentor and tag partner:
"Every time he speaks and everyone who knows him knows this... He speaks, you listen. He doesn't mix hisi words. He doesn't sugar coat things. But, things like his tagging. I tagged last night, I used things that he taught me. At the time, it was very, very good for me to be put with him. I wish we had gotten to tag together longer. At the time, it was a fairly saturated tag team division. We were 1 of 7 or 8 teams. We were one of those utility teams that could bump real good. There were 1 or 2 teams that were ahead of us. In a different time, I think we could have been a rea force. But, it was really enjoyable. I really did enjoy working with him."
On the pirate character:
"When they came to me with it, I was kind of upset with moving away from Steve (Regal). I enjoyed working with him. I felt like we had the porential to pick up some steam. When you're there, you're kind of in that hurry up and wait kind of thing. We knew we were solid. We knew we were good. I was hired because I could do some cool airial moves. They were going towards more kids characters. The movie (Pirates) was kind of hot and the whole British thing. One of the agents came up to me and said, "Hey, talk to Vince this weekend." It was Royal Rumble weekend. I went up to the boss and said, "You have an idea?" He said, "Yeah, you're going to be a pirate." I was like, "Oh, kind of like Pirate of the Caribbean." He said, "Yeah." I was like, "Kind of like Keith Richards" and he was like, "Yeah, but you're a pirate." that week on TV, we did the split. It was out of nowhere. At the time, pirate stuff wasn't easy to find. It wasn't out there. So my wife spent the week, while working, calling museums She got the whole thing together. I showed up the next week to TV in full gear and we shot the first promo. The first promo involved midgets, Ken Anderson, and all that sort of thing. I remember filming it, I swing through paper and Taker and Vince are standing there and they're laughing their butts off. Vince said, "It's too funny. You're too funny. Our scene was series and this was funny." I go, "I'm dressed like a pirate." We did like 6 weeks of pre-tapes. The day I was going to debut it, someone came in to the locker room and said, "Hey man, your entrance is awesome! You've got a rope!" I was like, "What?" You had no one even tell you this stuff. You just kind of were told. I walk out and there's a rope and I'm like, "Oh, cool. I actually am swinging out over the crowd. Ok." So, i did it, and I learned that first time to wear gloves after sliding down that rope. The funny thing is, each and every building's ceiling are different heights. You coudln't get on the rope until you did it. So, each and every week was a lottery. So, I'd swing out and you'd have to kind of judge it so you'd fast rope down so that you came down over the aisle because it would swing out at different speeds. It was always a crap shoot doing it. The first time I did it, I was just kind of showing the boss my entrance. I stood on the top rope looking out to the corwd like I was looking off a boat and kind of stepped off the top rope into the ring. I'd done it a million times. This time, the knee that I tweaked felt like a bomb went off in it. I tore my MCL and my PCL right there. He was like, "Are you OK?" I said, "Um, yeah. I think I just blew my knee out." He said, "Oh, crap. You'd better get that seen to." I ended up getting cortisone injections, getting it wrapped so crazy just to wrestle. I'm wrestling my mentor that night and I'm literally one-legged. And, I'm left footed and it was my left leg. If you see me, I'm basically hopping and I'm wrestling one-legged. I basically had it very strongly implied that I could go and get it seen to but my spot might not be there when I get back. So, basically, when you're told that, you strap it up and you get on with it. And, of course, you're on every house show so you're not getting a recovery. I actually never got it fixed. It just kind of repaired."
On the rumor that Vince McMahon killed off the pirate character because he was convinced nobody saw the movie:
"No, he wanted me to be like that. But, he wanted me to work like a heel. I believe it was Disney that didn't like the likeness. That's how that ended. Everything was kind of too much. It is a case of, who are you going to take on for a mid-card guy? So, that's how that went. Timing is everything. They were happy with how it was going. But, it just couldn't go on."
On working with Katie Lea:
"I think anyone that you ask that worked with her would have anything bad to say. She's just nice. She was good at what she did. I had been killing it down in OVW. When we got ECW, I was like, "Ok, this could really be a good thing for me." I came up with the Ripper. It was a great time. We were in OVW with Paul Heyman writing the show. And then, Al Snow writing the show. You know, NXT is excellent. It really is. But, before that, OVW was really hot. It really was. We were really doing well. I was just in the wings waiting to be moved up. The plan was to be part of ECW and be part of the New Breed. Things didn't sync up, there was no need for that 5th person. So, they wanted to see me and Katie together. It was good. It gave her something She was really talented. You've just got to get someone there in the first place. We were going to come in and be siblings and be entitled Nothing creepy... People always say that. I'm like, are you kidding? It was just brother - sister, but nothing like creep bags. We were there to do what was a dark match and at 4 o'clock, they were like, "Oh, you're debuting." We're like, "Oh, ok. Thanks for the warning." We did that and the next week, they had a share holders meeting and they decided to go completely PG, nothing edgy. We were just there. We were like, "Are you freaking kidding me?" The rest of the time, I was trying to get moved off RAW because when you're not a main guy, you're just kind of there. Meanwhile, there was ECW there and it was this really cool show."
On if ECW was viewed as just another WWE show:
"No. It was an hour show that had a lot of up and comers with a few established talents thrown in there. You got longer matches. You used your promo time. It was a great way to debut. It was a lot like NXT before NXT almost. It was a product that kind of got you established. Like, you start at ECW and you might get moved up from ECW. Every week, I was having a 10 to 12 minute match, a backstage promo at least. It was great! It was very much you wanting to be there and wanting to do something. I wanted to have people see me work. I could really cut it loose. The best compliment Mr. McMahon ever paid me, I came back and was at the Gorilla position after just wrestling Evan Bourne at Wembly 02 Arena. He goes, "You look like a shark attacking in there!" I was like, "That is exactly what I was going for!" It really just gave you the opportunity to let fly. I never, in WWE, really got to wrestle and do what I can do. Rarely people do."
On if they were going to push the incest angle with he and Katie Lea:
"No, it was more like entitled. No, just, no. I wouldn't... It was more like anything she wants, Big Brother does. We didn't get to do anything with it. We didn't get to follow through with anything in terms of non-wrestling stuff because they kind of squashed anything interesting. We were just there."
On why he didn't follow Katie (Winter) into TNA:
"I wasn't feeling it. But, it wasn't just that. I was more focussed on not wrestling. I don't know that there would have been a ton of interest there to be honest. I had kind of been flogged, quite a bit, on WWE TV. It had gotten to the point where, you know, you fall into that role. Jobber."
Plus, Burchill discusses his view of local guys being used as jobbers, his debacle with Zero-1 that liekly did not earn him any points, and more. The whole interview goes roughly 50 minutes. Check it out!