Welcome back to another Game Changer Sports Network Indy Spotlight! Where we talk to some of the hottest independent wrestlers in the professional wrestling industry. This go-around we had a chance to speak to Mike Orlando, a larger than life athlete who knows his way around the squared circle.
Join us for a frank and raw conversation about his career, where the industry is, and the future of the Mike Orlando brand!
Let’s get into it!
Describe your character and in-ring style!
It depends on who you’re talking to. Currently, I’m doing something I’m yet to show off called being myself. I’ve been through tons in the last two year, made it to multiple finish lines and at every one was injured before getting my chance.
Yet, I see so many I’ve helped get their chance and forget about me because of my injury. So currently ? You’re not gonna enjoy what you see. If you’re looking for a fairytale- go watch some of my Green Machine material. It’ll give you a false hope as it did me, maybe.
How long have you been a Professional Wrestler? What was the moment you knew you wanted to be in this industry?
Since I was about 4 years old I’ve collected wrestling action figures and stared at the television engulfed in the idea I could do this. My whole life, from friends to (especially) family telling me how when I’m “grown up” wrestling wouldn’t even be a thing anymore. Think bigger. All that nonsense to deter me. However I found out whatever I had to do on my own to excel.
I played football in high-school into college and almost professionally- for the sole idea of being in shape and making the right connections. It wasn’t until 2011 I was able to get in a ring though and train through Old Time Wrestling in Williamstown, NJ.
Since then, I’ve been mentored by people like Booker T, Shannon Moore and even Jake Hager. I’ve trained with some great schools to get better over time such as Reality of Wrestling, Monster Factory and ACE in NJ.
Do you remember your first match? What was it like?
The first match I ever had was against Justin Pusser at OTW In Williamstown. I trained for about 8 months prior, in the summer, after football (college) practice all day – which was about two hours from my college as well. I’d sweep floors, take bumps and occasionally do a move.
My first match, went exactly how the booker at the time wanted it, until I stupidly did an unplanned leapfrog over my opponent, and crotched him right to the head. The match was to get me over and well, it did (in my eyes) until I went to the back and was absolutely ripped for F’in up the ‘entire’ match with the leapfrog. I learned a lot that day.
Who/What was your biggest inspiration to become a Professional Wrestler?
Too many to name but I’ve always loved Bret Hart and The Ultimate Warrior for the exact reasons you would think. Bret was so badass and talented which I wanted to be – yet Warrior was so eccentric and over the top; like the Green Machine. So I took a lot over the years from both. Along with RVD. Chris Jericho is one of my all time actual favorite wrestlers though.
Rob Van Dam- FOR SURE. I’ve tried multiple times to make this happen and honestly one time recently, it almost did. However it was Impact’s Turning Point – and I wasn’t healthy enough returning from the injury for that caliber match. However ; he’s one of the best. And I know it. And want to prove to myself I can go with someone I’ve watched my whole life and ‘omg’d about everything he did. It’s time to ‘OMG’ about myself.
The wrestling industry has gone through so many changes in the last few years. It could be argued that Professional Wrestling is in the strongest place it’s ever been? Do you agree or disagree? Why?
It’s obvious, for sure. Wrestling is booming. It’s amazing for guys like me to not be labeled to one major company and have options. The idea years ago was the athletes are on the indies and the muscle heads were in the WWE. Now? Everywhere has everything. It’s like a circus. If every clown looked and acted the same throughout the whole thing; you wouldn’t care by the end. Now, there is a spot for every act.
What are the future for goals for Mike Orlando?
Staying healthy. I’ve faced two major knee injuries in freak accidents in the ring in the past two years. I want everyone to see what I’ve been through- through my actions.
I’m a former NCAA Champion, NFL prospect, state champion wrestling champion in 2010; I’m the realest athlete out here and it’s time to see what I can do for me and ONLY me. I’m not your brother, brother- and now you’re all going to see why.
We thank Mike Orlando for taking the time to speak with us! His next match will take place on Sunday, March 8th. Where he will compete at Revolution Wrestling Authority’s: Night of Champions II in High Point, North Carolina! He will be challenging for the RWA Heavyweight Championship in a triple threat bout against The Living Legacy Timothy Zbyszko, and former WWE Superstar Shannon Moore!
You can follow Mike Orlando on Social Media:
All Photos courtesy of Mike Orlando’s official Social Media pages
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