The Art of Wrestling with Colt Cabana
Episode 317 – “War Beard” Hanson
Release Date: September 8, 2016
Report by Chris Davidson
– Hanson talks about his WWE tryout, New England wrestling, and becoming a performer
– Colt Cabana reflects on an entertaining trip to Costa Rica.
0:00 – Introduction
7:12 – Song of the week
10:03 – Hanson interview
17:18 – Hanson talks his early wrestling career
29:41 – Hanson talks growing up
41:47 – Hanson talks being a performer and hitting rock bottom
46:31 – Hanson talks WWE tryout
53:23 – Hanson talks wrestling full time
57:31 – Colt wraps up the show
0:00 – Introduction – Colt opened the show plugging some new merch after his return from Scotland. Colt teased an upcoming live episode that he’s sitting on, as well as an interview with Curt Hawkins. Colt gave a brief recap of his time at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and his recent weekend tour with CMLL Costa Rica. Colt praised the crowds in Costa Rica for being excited for independent wrestling. Colt mentioned an American fan in Costa Rica on business who tracked him down and found the show. Colt mentioned “Warbeard” Hanson as someone he forgot he worked with previously in ROH because he looks completely different. Colt said he likes having “those guys” who hang around wrestling and eventually make it big on the podcast.
7:12 – Song of the week – The song of the week this week is “The Lariat” by Thunder Driver.
10:03 – Hanson interview – Colt opened the interview talking about Hanson’s tattoos, which are flags from all of the countries in which he’s wrestled. Hanson noted that the tattoos are new because nothing he’d done in his career really took off until recently. Hanson talked about his beginning in NWA New England, after the passing of Tony Rumble. Hanson discussed the makeup of the wrestling scene in New England when he was getting started, as well as some of the talent in the area. Colt asked about “Lobsterman” Jeff Costa, and Hanson mentioned Costa’s trend of having knock off wrestlers, such as Kevin Nashua and Homozuma, at events. Hanson recounted a story of Costa promoting “3-D wrestling,” where he sold 3-D glasses to wrestling fans and wiggled his claws in fans faces.
17:18 – Hanson talks his early wrestling career – After starting in NWA New England, Hanson worked his way up to Chaotic Wrestling. Hanson detailed various wrestling camps going on at the time, and the connection Chaotic was able to get with WWE. Hanson said Chaotic started as a mismanaged “money mark” promotion that signed wrestlers to contracts (at first) because the owners thought it would be the next ECW, but the management today is much better. Hanson went intO detail about his early training with Tommaso Ciampa, where getting signed by WWE was the goal.
Hanson talked about trying to get his body to WWE standards despite that not being his body type. Hanson did a few spots as an extra in WWE, and he talked about extras being “screw-ups.” Hanson said that it was WWE or nothing for a long part of his career, and he didn’t consider a career as an independent wrestler. Hanson met Todd Sinclair, which eventually led to some opportunities with ROH. Colt asked if Hanson didn’t want to be in ROH because it wasn’t WWE. Hanson said that the note he kept getting over his career was that he needed to get in better shape, and he discussed a back injury that he had for over a year without knowing it. While taking a year off, Hanson worked at a lingerie and sex toy warehouse and briefly booked for Chaotic Wrestling.
29:41 – Hanson talks growing up – Hanson talked about growing up in New Hampshire and Lynn, Massachusetts. Hanson called it a “terrible, terrible place” and cited his straight-edge lifestyle for helping him get out of a rough town safely. Hanson’s parents were alcoholics so he didn’t want to be like them. Hanson’s mom passed away of a heart attack when he was 12-years-old, and his dad has stopped drinking and is now his biggest fan. Hanson talked about his brother and step-sister, particularly his brother being hit hard when his mom passed away. Hanson’s parents were separated and he lived with his father, but he was able to spend some time with his mother before she died.
Hanson was a “bad” backyard wrestler, where he would do a lot of hardcore spots during his matches to imitate Mick Foley and ECW. Hanson eventually met a referee at the mall who helped get him into NWA New England, where he began training during his senior year in high school. Hanson joked about the money he’d wasted on hardcore weapons. Colt asked a story about Hanson’s dad. Hanson’s dad got laid off from his job, so he started working part time as Jimbo the Clown and undercutting the prices of the other clowns in town. Occasionally, Hanson and his brother would work with their dad as little clowns and do some slapstick bits. Hanson mentioned that he wasn’t into wrestling until he saw 1-2-3 Kid beat Razor Ramon. Hanson’s grandfather was a Santa impersonator, so technically Hanson is a third generation performer. Hanson said that his dad was in a band that kicked out a few members that eventually formed the band Boston.
41:47 – Hanson talks being a performer and hitting rock bottom – Colt mentioned that he doesn’t really come from performers, and asked if Hanson considered himself an entertainer when he got into wrestling. Hanson said that he didn’t think about that, because he wanted to be the best possible wrestler. Hanson credited the psychology of wrestling for turning his desire to wrestle into a love of the art of wrestling. Hanson brought up his Handsome Johnny gimmick that no one would let him change. When he had to have shoulder surgery, he hit rock bottom and finally made peace with not working for WWE. Hanson decided to pursue ROH, stopped shaving his beard, and changed his ring gear to cover loose skin around his stomach. Eventually, he was able to become the Hanson character and began performing as a “big, burly ass-kicker” rather than a chain wrestler.
46:31 – Hanson talks WWE tryout – Right after Hanson came to terms with not going to WWE, he got a tryout in one of the first groups at the WWE Performance Center. Hanson was glad it happened at that point because he would have been nervous otherwise, and he was able to look at it as more of an audition than anything. Hanson realized that a failed tryout just meant he wasn’t right for the role WWE had at the time. Hanson said that it’s “right place, right time”, specifically referencing Kofi Kingston getting signed because Dean Malenko remembered that Paul Heyman wanted a Jamaican character. Colt asked if there was any bitterness because Kofi was a relatively new wrestler at the time. Hanson said that they were training so hard that they were close and able to be happy whenever anyone in their group got success. Hanson called his WWE tryout “wonderful” because of some of the “amazingness” that happened during the tryout, and detailed some of what happened.
53:23 – Hanson talks wrestling full-time – Colt asked if Hanson was still working outside of wrestling. Hanson said he is now wrestling full time, after leaving his job as a supervisor at a plant. Hanson briefly mentioned his girlfriend, but said she was in wrestling so she understands his lifestyle. Hanson plugged his social media, mentioning his cats, of which one female cat is named Juventud. Hanson told a brief story of being at a WWE show where this “beautiful diva” showed up in the entryway, and when “she” turned around it was Juventud Guerrera, which is why his female cat is named Juventud. Colt then wrapped up the interview.
57:31 – Colt wraps up the show – Colt praised Hanson, and said he would make a great live guest. Colt plugged his upcoming events, thanked his fans, Hanson, his tech help and sponsors. Colt said that he would do the Fringe Festival year-round if he could, but he’s still happy to be back before signing off.
Score: 7.4 – This episode of the Art of Wrestling was a great way to get back into the rhythm of a typical episode. Hanson is a great talker and his storytelling made the episode feel like it was moving at a great pace. Colt is a sucker for obscure local wrestlers and promoters, so he seemed very happy to talk about some of the characters Hanson had worked with in the past, which led to some entertaining stories. Once Hanson started talking about his family, the episode started going from good to great, as Hanson told some very personal stories alongside some very silly ones as well.