"3-G" Eric Wayne
By: George Wren
GW: When were you born?
EW: May 30, 1986
GW: Where were you born?
EW: In the Sunshine state...Pensacola, FL
GW: With you being a third generation wrestler how did you get your start into professional wrestling?
EW: I started traveling with my dad or grandfather Buddy to different shows from small venues in places like Forrest City AR to the Fairgrounds in Nashville TN when I was really young, like 5. I would sit in the balcony at the Mid-South Coliseum with Jerry Jarrett or whoever else and even went to Puerto Rico with my dad when I was 9. But I finally starting refereeing when I was 15 and it went from there to my first match five years later.
GW: You and Kid Nikels was the first two to graduate from "The Ken Wayne School of Wrestling". Do you feel like you get more special treatment with your last name and with your dad running the school as well as New Experience Wrestling (N.E.W.) ?
EW: Not one bit! I put a lot of pressure on myself and being in that building is no different than wrestling anywhere else. I work just as hard to get where I have, which isn't far...yet. Even though some people feel I get special treatment, it's just in their heads. I consider myself lucky to have had the opportunities I've gotten and I don't think my name helps as much as everyone thinks.
GW: With your dad "Nightmare" Ken Wayne being a well known wrestler as well as your grandfather Buddy Wayne what was your training like?
EW: No different than everyone else's. I had a handful of workouts before the school opened in 2006 but nothing consistent til then. A lot of what I learned came from being in dressing rooms at such a young age but the in-ring was just as tough for me as the rest of the people that came through.
GW: You and Nikels also had your first match billed as "The Graduation Match". Tell the readers a little about the match and when you made your professional debut?
EW: I debuted November 11, 2006 against Kevin Nikels(before the name change to Kid) in front of about 50 people. Downtown Bruno was also our referee. Most "schools" don't have a lot of requirements when it comes to finishing training. My dad, however, will not consider you graduated until you can wrestle for one hour. Obviously you can't be pinned or lose the bout in any form or you fail the test. So far only myself, Kid, and Greg King Jr have attempted as well as passed.
GW: There was two incidents that happened in New Experience Wrestling (N.E.W.). The first incident happened when you worked a guy by the name of Scott Fury, and then the second incident happened 5 months later with Greg King Jr. (who was also a graduate from "The Ken Wayne School of Wrestling"). Both incidents was said you worked stiffed kicking both in the face and even injuring King. Many blew it out of proportion and thought you botched a spot both times where you even got "heat" from several people over it?
EW: And rightfully so. I made two mistakes within a year. The thing with Scott was a running boot in the corner, that actually NEVER made contact with him. I had been watching a lot of ROH, specifically Kenta, and decided to use one of his spots. Everything was fine until I pulled my foot off the top rope and caught Scott's mouth. He had some issues already with his teeth and needing to make a dentist visit...after it happened Scotty joked that I saved him money and we've been fine ever since. On to Greg, this was just bad timing from both of us, mainly me. He had just went for a pin and I kicked out. As he covered me I said "stay there, watch the enziguri" well Greg stayed on his knees and I went for my spot. I'm not sure if he leaned back but I'm fairly sure I misjudged the distance and the toe of my boot hit him directly on his orbital bone. The match ended when he rolled out screaming. As it turned out his orbital bone was broken in 3 places and he also had a fractured sinus bone. Horrible, I know. Unfortunately not many people have spoken to him since then but we all miss him and want him back. He was one of the best and I hate that he's only visited NEW a couple times since 2009.
GW: There was a backstage disagreement where you and a few of the other guys worked World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) when it came to Memphis, Tennessee in June 2009. There was some type of disagreement with you and Randy Orton would you like to shed some light on what actually happened between the two of you?
EW: Oh Gotch!! This story again. Ok Dustin Starr had a blog when this happened and he wrote his version of the story. Even though he was sitting 10 feet away, he says he heard his version from others...who those others were I don't know. Here's the REAL story: I'm in catering and had just asked Jim Ross if I could sit with him as we simultaneously picked the same table. Before I know it Lawler has joined as well as my dad, Nikels, and some of the other "extra" talent. Steve Lombardi is an agent and knew me through my dad so he had been very friendly making us feel welcome and when he spotted Randy Orton he looks at me and says "Hey there's Randy, he's a 3rd generation wrestler too. Hold on I'll introduce you to him." I believe Orton was world champion at the time and besides already being nervous, the incident with Greg had just happened a few weeks prior. So he introduces me by saying "Randy this is Eric Wayne, he's a 3rd generation wrestler too...he did your kick on the indies a few weeks ago and broke a guy's orbital bone" I felt about 3 inches tall. Randy looks at me and asks why I did that. I proceeded to explain it was an accident, bad timing, etc. There was an awkward silence and in a pitiful attempt at humor, I used a line Nikels said after a fight with his roommate "well he had it coming" and Randy walked away leaving me embarrassed and wishing I would've been quiet. THAT is the real story.
GW: What do you feel New Experience Wrestling (N.E.W) is lacking as far as drawing weekly crowds which I touched on a few weeks ago in a interview with Dustin Starr that works the promotion as well?
EW: I love the atmosphere and talent but the biggest problem is advertisement. We just don't do it enough or consistently whenever we do. However, there are some things happening that I think will increase attendance significantly.
GW: Why don't you feel New Experience Wrestling hasen't picked up a tv syndication already for the talent to be seen more on tv?
EW: That's not the goal of the company. Sure everyone wants to be seen but the company is more about improvement before exposure. Wrestling Society X got exposure for a few guys but it didn't help wrestling at all, it damaged it if anything.
GW: Are there any plans for the promotion to get tv syndication?
EW: There are plans for a few different things, I can't discuss that so you'll have to find New Experience Wrestling and Eric Wayne on Facebook to keep up with all the news.
GW: Why does New Experience Wrestling concentrate more on a smaller crew of 3 or 4 guys then a larger crew or even using some big names for the shows?
EW: NEW stays away from using bad talent. Go to almost any wrestling show and you'll find 15-20 guys that think wrestling more than 10mins is an accomplishment! Much less look or act like professionals. You might have one or two standouts but NEW is complete opposite in that everyone understands they can have fun but they also have a job. The guys know what they're doing and if they aren't quite up to par then they're wrestling someone who is.
GW: You worked for Jerry Lawler's short lived creation of Memphis Wrestling where you and Nikels was the first ever Southern Tag Champions for the promotion. The promotion wasen't able to get off the ground. What do you feel like happened as to why the promotion couldn't survive?
EW: I'm not really sure to be honest. I enjoyed my time there and the opportunity we were given. I can't say they were just pushing the same talent as always either so it goes back to the advertisement problem. Not many people knew about the show and that's never good for any company. I also had several people that did know about the show and while some liked the booking of having different movie monsters challenge Lawler, others hated it. So it's hard to say what went wrong.
GW: There has been talks of Memphis Wrestling coming back on 5/7 that will air weekly on WHBQ, and has also been talks of Lawler having a hand in this promotion as well. What do you feel like this promotion will have to do to succeed and how will it be any different then last time?
EW: Memphis has seen so much over the years. It's hard to know what will work now. I feel like you have to give them a little of what they're used to and more of what they haven't seen. Copying WWE isn't going to work because the fans can watch that at home for free. It's just finding a good blend of everything and being able to adapt and keep things fresh.
GW: Have you been contacted on working for the new Memphis promotion?
EW: Not directly but I've been told there is interest. Fans can Like Eric Wayne on Facebook to keep up to date with everything going on though.
GW: You come from a well known family in the wrestling business The Wayne/Peal Family. Who does all the Wayne family consist of which several in the family has had a hand in Memphis Wrestling in the past?
EW: I'm the only one left that's active but here we go: Buddy was the patriarch. My dad's childhood was no different than mine except the business was booming. From there you have my uncles Greg and Aubrey who both wrestled and refereed. My aunt was Vicious Vickie on Memphis tv. I think my other aunt Kathleen also had a few matches. My cousin actually trained for a summer but an injury and other things forced her to quit before ever having a match. My step mother also wrestled as Brandi Wine and her dad was a promoter/wrestler as well. I think that's everyone
GW: There was a fallen out or disagreement with you and New Experience Wrestling where you left the company the first of the year, and stayed gone for a few months, and just recently returned back to the company. Would you like to shed some light on why you left the company?
EW: I wrote a column for rronews.com about this. I had just finished a public appearance at a local school and after telling him the details(which I thought he already knew) we saw things differently and I quit. The time off was coming anyway because I had a lot going on at the time and needed a break. I didnt wrestle at all for four months and took the time to clear my head and refocus. I hate the way I left but I feel a lot more refreshed and am having more fun since coming back.
GW: Why wasen't there a angle ever in place when you returned for you to turn "heel" and face your father where you could went out and cut a promo stating you left the company of a disagreement you had with your father?
EW: Nobody wanted to do anything like that. My return was actually a surprise to everyone as someone couldn't make it and I was there visiting everyone with my girlfriend because she hadn't been to an event in a while.
GW: What kind of affect do you think this angle could have had on New Experience Wrestling and do you feel like this could have boosted the crowd on a real life angle?
EW: I don't think it would've helped because the only thing we could've built to was a match with my dad and he's retired.
GW: Have you ever thought about branching out to places like Puerto Rico, Japan, and Mexico?
EW: Of course! That's my ultimate goal. I would love to work for WWE but I'm a fan of all the different styles too. The thought of traveling has never bothered me at all so going to any of those places would be a dream come true.
GW: With you growing up in the wrestling business you have seen the wrestling business change in many ways. How has it changed in your eyes and what do you feel it's lacking today?
EW: Training. 95% of the guys I see do this because it's fun, not because they have a goal. Which means they know just enough to call themselves a wrestler. Almost no one takes the time or puts in the effort to look or perform like they should. I can stand in a garage but it doesn't make me a car.
GW: What do you feel like has hurt the business as a whole?
EW: I can't pinpoint that. We're all fans but it doesn't mean we can't still conduct business. No one treats wrestling like a business anymore, it's just a hobby for most. Internet didn't help but losing the business aspect of wrestling definitely didn't help.
GW: Why do you feel like certain people still tries to live in the "kayfabe" era?
EW: Why not??? It's hard to kayfabe on the internet but a lot of fans actually do still believe in what we do and the stories we tell. So why ruin it for them? And why make your product a joke? Here's a perfect example of just how far wrestling has fallen since I was a kid...company had a big college group come one night. Post show the promoter not only allows all of them in the ring but the crew is out there doing flips and spots for the college group. Now you got heels and babyfaces hanging out talking like old friends being marks FOR the marks!! Nikels and myself stood backstage as each one came through the curtain and literally went off on each one for being so disrespectful and stupid as to hang around the marks and ruin the mystique of wrestling
GW: New Experience just started branching out in West Virginia are there any other future states?
EW: You never know.
GW: How would you describe New Experience Wrestling style?
EW: Very athletic. It's a fast paced, tv style show. What that means is you can't sit in a hold or spend your time yelling at the crowd. You have to be able to wrestle and make everything look good. It's a blend of a lot of different styles but you have to be able to take criticism because even the smallest mistake is going to get pointed out.
GW: What was the reason for giving it more of a old Memphis studio look?
EW: Working with what we had. We remodeled the building using the same boards and nails that we deconstructed. And got lucky when a sponsor came along to help with building materials and labor too. But making the building functional for a tv taping, training facility and business office was the main priority..the look just came as a coincidence.
GW: What are some of the highlights in your career that stick out?
EW: My first match for sure and my graduation. Wrestling Bobby Eaton/Brickhouse Brown since that was the first "names" I'd been in the ring against. Tagging with Jerry Lawler. Wrestling Greg King on a random show and having what we felt was the best match on the card, we didnt do a lot but had a blast and even ended up with me as heel getting a "tuck your shirt in!" chant started at the ref. Working out in front of Arn Anderson, Dean Malenko, Fit Finlay, Jamie Noble, etc and having Tyson Kidd walk away from a conversation to compliment my work. Working for Lawler's Memphis wrestling. My matches with Austin Lane because it's always fun and we've won local awards for match of the year two years in a row. Also wrestling Eric Young and returning to NEW.
GW: What are your thoughts on the wrestling fans?
EW: I love them. I wouldn't have a career if it wasn't for them. I've had kids yell obscenities at me, throw stuff, old ladies spit mountain dew on me too. But I've also been surrounded by people while I sign autographs as fast as I can. It's a great feeling no matter what emotion I can draw out of them. Whether you cussed me out or was scared for my safety, thank you all!!
GW: What are your future plans?
EW: To keep wrestling and get as much exposure as possible. I've only been at this five years and don't see myself stopping anytime soon. I know I have a long way to get to where I want but it's been worth it so far. I have a lot of things in the works but this is an unpredictable business at times. If everything works out then a lot more people will know who Eric Wayne is before 2011 is over
GW: Are there any closing words?
EW: Yes. If you are a fan, don't stop supporting wrestling..the local scene might suck but there are guys and girls out there that work their ass off for you. We want and need all of our fans. If you want to pursue a career in this business, don't get excited and give your money to the first person that offers their help. Chances are they can't do much for you. Get in the gym and look like an athlete. Buy actual gear and be a professional. This business is severely lacking in people that treat it the way it should be treated. Other than that, keep up with me on Facebook by liking Eric Wayne and on Twitter(@3gericwayne)
GW: Eric I want to thank you for your time and wish you much success.
EW: Thank you and everyone else for taking the time to read this.
*VH1's Matt Riviera (5/20)
*Mad Man Pondo (5/27)
*Allan Funk (a.k.a. Kwee-Wee/Chi Chi) (6/3)
*Reno Riggins (6/10)
*Mark Starr (6/17)...
*Scott Putski (6/18)... This will be my last 2 final interviews entitled "Back 2 Back" with The Wrestling Observer which both interviews will post on Friday(6/17) and Saturday (6/18) as there will be no more interviews not even in the future. I want to thank everyone that took part in all the interviews the last few weeks, I also want to thank Dave and Bryan for allowing me to work along side of The Wrestling Observer to do these interviews the last few weeks, and for all that sent me messages stating how much they enjoyed the interview feature on The Wrestling Observer as it is very much appreciated. Be sure not to miss the last several interviews as they all were great as well.
Photo Credit: Eric Peal Collection
George Wren is a professional photographer for New Wave, Toxxic, and Wrestling World Publications. He has also done correspondents for The Wrestling Observer in the past. He is currently doing interviews on a weekly basis with the superstars of the mat.