Mad Man Pondo
By: George Wren
GW: When were you born?
MMP: June 24, 1969
GW: Where were you born?
MMP: In a small town of Flora, IL. Population about 5,000.
GW: Where are you currently residing at the present time?
MMP: Charlestown, IN
GW: Who trained you?
MMP: A man by the name Bud Chapman's in Onley, IL started. Then I went to Chris Champion in Hohenwald, TN
GW: How did you get your start in the wrestling business?
MMP: I wasn't the best student in school. So a man named Roy West Jr., R.I.P., would take the boys to wrestling if they were good in school. I loved it ever since. Later, I worked near a man named Milton Smith who was a collage teacher. He came to me one day and told me he had a wrestler in his class. That wrestler was "Hillbilly" Terry Runyan. I asked Milton to get his telephone number for me. I started that class the same weekend, and my first match was June 24, 1989.
GW: You was actually in your early 20's when you first broke into the business. Is that correct?
MMP: I was actually 20 yrs old exactly to tell you the truth.
GW: Who gave you your first big break in the business?
MMP: I would have to say big things for me wasn't happening for Pondo until I started working for IWA Mid-South for Ian Rotten.
GW: How did the Mad Man Pondo name come about?
MMP: There is a movie called the Party Animal. As cool as that might sound, there was a character named Pondo Sinatra. A 7 year collage student who never had been laid. So that became my nickname in High School. So it was either hear that name and the fight would be on, or get used to the name. Then of course my favorite types of wrestlers growing up was the crazy, bloody types. All names like that was used. Except Mad Man. So put it all together and you have Mad Man Pondo.
GW: You actually did some enhancement work for Jarrett/Lawler in Memphis. How long did you stay in Memphis?
MMP: Not long, but it was a dream come true why it lasted.
GW: How did it come about you working for Jarrett/Lawler?
MMP: I talked to a wrestler named Mr Clyde, who was doing some enhancement work down in Memphis, and he knew Kevin Lawler who got me some shots.
GW: Now during this time you haven't went full time during the hardcore gig. Do you feel like if you had already had the hardcore gig under your belt that you would have been used differently in Memphis?
MMP: At that time hardcore wasn't as popular as it is today. I would have friends over at my house to watch WWF pay per views. During the pay per views we would lose interest and talk a lot until the main event or a cool part of the program. After it was over I would put in my Japan Death match tape and the whole room wouldn't take there eyes off the screen. That's when I knew I wanted to do hardcore. But that was after the shots in Memphis.
GW: Where did you go after you left Memphis?
MMP: To any company that would say yes. I was bound and determined to make it somewhere in this business other then just wrestling locally in my area.
GW: You pretty much worked for Ian Rotten's IWA Mid-South for years that ran shows throughout Kentucky and parts of Indiana. What are your thoughts working for Ian?
MMP: There would be no Pondo without the IWA Mid-South. I loved the crowds and the workers. So working there was fun as hell.
GW: You participated in several of the King of Death Matches. For the readers that has never seen a King of Death Match tell them a little bit about those type of matches and what they consist of?
MMP: Any sick little thought you ever thought of in a match could be the highlight of the KOTDM. Barbed wire, Thumbtacks, Broken glass, Mouse Traps. Basically a lot of stuff your not supposed to land on or get hit with is exactly what we do in the KOTDM.
GW: Have you ever seen seriously injured in one of those type of matches?
MMP: Of course. But you will probably never hear me complain about it. Kinda like Rodeo Cowboys. We get hurt but you'll never know.
GW: While we are on the subject of IWA Mid-South many people has had their share with Ian Rotten as far as stiffing them on pay. Did you ever have that problem out of him?
MMP: Fact of the matter is, if it was a problem I would have not kept going back. But I did again and again. You take that for what its worth.
GW: Throughout the years the Athletic Commission stepped in on Ian. What was all that about?
MMP: It was called the Ian/Pondo style. Thats what the Kentucky Athletic Commission called it back in that day. So I was as guilty as anyone. But I would never go in front of the board and fight it was the difference. Low profile baby! (LOL!)
GW: He pretty well continued his rep by announcing 2 different times (August 26, 2009) that he was ceasing operations to only quickly announce his return. A second time came when he announced on November 3, 2009 that he was ceasing operations but quickly announced his return. Stuff like this not only hurts your fan base but is bad for business as well. What are your thoughts on all this hoopla?
MMP: I would look him in his eye and tell him straight, Ian your full of shit. I can't talk for what his reasons was, but when I stopped doing IWA East Coast I didn't tell anyone. Cause it's not done just for a well deserved break. That way when we start back up we aren't not BS anyone.
GW: What made you decide to chose that style of wrestling as far as the hardcore style?
MMP: I didn't have a great body like Paul Orndorff, the high flying skills of Rey Mysterio Jr,. or the technical skills of a Dean Malenko, But I can take pain and bleed all over the world. Jack Sparrow put it best when he said "I may be the worst pirate (wrestler) you have ever heard of, but at least you heard of me.
GW: By the time Eastern Championship Wrestling (ECW) first came along you had many years under your belt why didn't you try to work with ECW?
MMP: I did try on 4 different occasions I can think of. Tommy Dreamer seemed to really like me but to Paul Heyman I was still Ian Rotten's boy.
GW: Now you have worked over in Japan. How did all that come about you getting dates over there?
MMP: I wrestled Abdullah the Butcher for a company called MRW ran by Mike Rodgers and Big Ben. He was very impressed with me. I asked him about getting in Japan. He said he was leaving in 4 days to go to the land of the rising sun, so I sent him a tape and he took it over. I went right home, made it, and over-nightened to his restaurant. One of my friends named Tony was in Japan when he arrived. They had a talk about me and it took off from there. Shortly CZW went to Japan and I got put in there clique.
GW: How long was your over in Japan?
MMP: July 2000 to July 26, 2008. 42 trips back and forth. Some wrestlers dreams was WWF or WCW, mine was always Japan.
GW: You have also worked for Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW) as well as Juggalo Championship Wrestling (JCP) where both are hardcore type companies as well. What are your thoughts on both of these companies and what did you most like working for both?
MMP: I had a great time at both. I had good times with Wifebeater, Trent Acid, Nick Gage and all the guys. JCW I still work for today and I consider it my wrestling home. I'm the longest wrestler to keep going back to JCW, and I don't see me stopping any time soon.
GW: Do you feel like the hardcore type is still big til this day like it was like several years ago or do you feel like it's taken a dive as well?
MMP: Definitely a big dive. Not sure the reason. Maybe they think there's nothing else to be done. But I got news for everyone. The death match workers I run with are always thinking!
GW: As far as the hardcore style how does a person adjust to such a bizare style?
MMP: Not possible to adjust. Its a way of life. You either have it in you or you don't.
GW: Who has been some of your toughest opponents?
MMP: Bull Pain, Necro Butcher, Tony Falk.
GW: What titles have you held that stick out the most?
MMP: JCW Heavyweight (2 times), JCW Tag (2 times), CZW Ironman (1 time), Fighting Ultimate Crazy King in Japan Champ (1 time), IWA Mid South Heavyweight and Tag (2 times).
GW: You been in some prtty bizare matches which are some of the ones that stick out the most?
MMP: Bed of Pencils, Barefoot Thumbtack, Circus Death with JC Bailey.
GW: What has been some of the highlights in your career that come to mind?
MMP: I did a movie with Robert England called 2001 Maniacs,Was on The Jerry Springer Show(2 times), 3 video games for Xbox and Playstaion, Had sex with a Hooters girl. Hey lets face it, I'm a small town boy, that last one is a biggie. (LOL!)
GW: What are you currently doing at the present time?
MMP: I am doing JCW every other Wednesday, Evansville Coliseum Wrestling for Sam Cosby the other Wednesdays, New Focus Wrestling for Master Rich, and starting a tv piolet in California for a company called Deathmatch Tournament, and other then that sitting at home playing the new Mortal Kombat. My gamer tag is Mad Man Pond0 but the last o is a zero. Join me on Xbox live so I can legally tear your head off!
GW: Have you ever been in a riot with the fans during a match where they just try to take matters into their own hands? MMP: Yes I have. Lucky for me there's always a weapon close in my matches. Problem solved.
GW: What do you feel like that has burnt the fans out with just wrestling in general with the crowds being down?
MMP: Wrestling has always been a up and down sport. Yes sport... I said it. But with WWE, TNA, ROH, and JCW all being on tv and pay per view I still see fans coming out to see and support there favorites.
GW: What are your thoughts on the fans?
MMP: I love the fans. If it wasn't for them there would be no wrestling. Some big, some small, but wrestling needs them all.
GW: Where do you see the wrestling business in the next 10-20 years? MMP: Something will happen were wrestling will get huge again. Look how long it has lasted now.
GW: Do you have any regrets about your career?
MMP: I been so busy wrestling that the only regret I have is not seeing the Beastie Boys live in concert yet. Or Andrew Dice Clay. But I will someday.
GW: What are your future plans?
MMP: I want to wrestle in more different countries. I been to Japan, Germany, England, Australia, but would love to wrestle in Mexico, Italy, or somewhere I haven't been.
GW: Are there any closing words?
MMP: A lot of people ask me if I will train them. I'm not a trainer. I respect the business enough to not do that to it. But if you do decide to get trained make sure the school you go to can help you out in the future. If someone ask you who trained you and you say Billy Bobs School of Wrestling it will be hard to get a fair shot. Or if you say I was trained at Florida Championship Wrestling, ROH, JCW, stuff like that promoters will take more notice. Any fool who buys a ring can start a school, but think if that school will help you? Also if you see I'm on a card somewhere come out and see me. I do my best to give 110 percent where ever I go. Search my facebook, Kevin Canady.
GW: MMP I would like to thank you for your time and wish you all the best in your future accomplishments. MMP: Thank you.
Photo Credit: Mad Man Pondo collection
*Mark Starr (6/3)
*Matt Cappotelli (6/10)
*Scott Hudson (6/17)
*Scott Putski (6/24)
*Scott Bowden (7/1)
*Bull Pain (7/8)
*James Beard (7/15)
*Scotty Riggs (7/22)...Last interview
George Wren is a former pro wrestling photographer/associate editor 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.
MEMO: My last day with The Wrestling Observer will be on 7/22 (as it was scheduled to be 6/23 but a few more interviews came in that I would like to run before I step down) as there will be no more interviews after this point not even in the future. I want to thank Dave, and Bryan for allowing me to work along side of The Wrestling Observer for the last few months, and for everyone that took part in the interviews.