The Art of Wrestling with Colt Cabana
Episode 281 – Abyss
December 17, 2015
Report by Chris Davidson
– Abyss talks turning down wrestling the Undertaker
– Abyss gives a retrospective of his career on the independents and in TNA
– Colt Cabana reconnects with the man that introduced him to podcasts
0:00 – Introduction
8:02 – Song of the week
11:57 – Abyss Interview
20:10 – Abyss talks training and growing up
32:35 – Abyss talks independent wrestling and odd jobs
39:39 – Abyss talks TNA and Puerto Rico
46:35 – Abyss talks hardcore wrestling elements and injuries
54:30 – Abyss talks TNA stars and his favorite match
59:12 – Colt wraps up the show
0:00 – Introduction – Colt Cabana opened this week’s episode thanking Joey Ryan for being on podcast last week and vaguely mentioning an upcoming project he cannot talk about. Colt brought up the Wrestling Road Diaries and mentioned that there would be more information coming out shortly. Colt met up with the referee, David Barnett, who introduced him to comedy podcasts, which led to The Art of Wrestling. Colt speculated on what life would have been if he had gone into business or teaching, while only wrestling on the side, which is a big part of today’s episode. Colt told a brief story from WWE developmental where a post-wrestling counselor spoke with the roster members and what may come after wrestling. Colt mentioned, for context, this episode was taped after Abyss was on Jim Ross’ podcast, but covers different material.
8:02 – Song of the week – The song of the week this week is “Socko’s Modern Life” by the Slobberknockers.
11:57 – Abyss Interview – Colt and Abyss opened the interview joking about microphones and Bob Barker, and discussing how long they have been trying to get together. Colt asked Abyss about the big headline from him Jim Ross interview, that he was scheduled to face The Undertaker at WrestleMania in 2006. Abyss told Colt that he decided to stay with TNA, so he figured it wasn’t a big deal that it fell though. Abyss and Colt discussed podcasts and how they have become treasure troves for news websites looking for headlines, but sometimes the stories are ones well known in the locker room. Abyss specifically mentioned Christian as someone who thought he was crazy for turning down a WWE opportunity.
20:10 – Abyss talks training and growing up – Abyss started training in Cincinnati in 1995. He talked about his trainer, Roger Ruffen, not putting himself out there, and having Les Thatcher’s wrestling school competing for students. Abyss talked about Ruffen’s history and about his size. Abyss said he viewed his size as an advantage, but he received a lot of ridicule growing up. Once he was able to play sports, Abyss was able to see his size as something that could lead to success. Abyss talked about his college football career at Ohio University and getting his Master’s degree in Sport Administration and Marketing. After college, Abyss moved to Atlanta and worked for a minor league hockey team before taking a job with another minor league hockey team in Cincinnati before signing up for wrestling training. Abyss got fired from the team in Cincinnati because he “was addicted” to working independent shows to the detriment of his career.
32:35 – Abyss talks independent wrestling and odd jobs – Colt asked if WWE was always in the back of his head, and Abyss said that it was, but he didn’t care as long as he could be successful in wrestling. Abyss credited a tour of Puerto Rico as the turning point, because he was getting paid weekly just to wrestle. Colt asked about other jobs, and Abyss said that his last non-wrestling job was for the DNA testing center used by Maury Povich, and he got fired because he missed work for the first TNA PPV. Abyss mentioned that he could have taken a great job where he wouldn’t have any free time, so he took less than optimal jobs that would give him opportunities to be off work.
39:39 – Abyss talks TNA and Puerto Rico – Abyss said that TNA came before Puerto Rico, but he didn’t yet have any traction due to the amount of ex-WCW wrestlers trying to get into TNA. Abyss broke into TNA as Prince Justice, before Dutch Mantel sent him to Puerto Rico for one year and came up with the Abyss gimmick. Abyss talked about changing his gimmick from a goofy heel to a killer, and talked about some of the wrestlers he worked with in Puerto Rico. Abyss said that wrestlers in Puerto Rico were being really physical with him and, not wanting to hurt anyone, he had to learn how to give back physically to not be taken advantage of. As soon as he fought back, Abyss started having incredible matches and became a better wrestler.
46:35 – Abyss talks hardcore wrestling elements and injuries – Colt asked if using tacks and other hardcore elements were developed in Puerto Rico, and Abyss agreed that the physicality of his matches really helped him stand out when he came back to TNA. Abyss wished that he would have done less hardcore spots now that he’s older and more mature, but he’s still proud of the crazy things he was able to do with Mick Foley, Rhyno, and Sabu. Abyss said that the first televised match with barbed wire instead of ropes was on TNA PPV between him and Sabu. Abyss got over 130 stitches on his arm due to Sabu hitting him with an ice pick, and he had a bruise from a match with the Dudleys where he went through a flaming table and hit concrete that the doctor said he had never seen as a bad a bruise on a living person. Abyss said that TNA has always taken care of him and he never feared losing his roster spot if he got hurt. Abyss mentioned that he doesn’t quite have a tough mindset where he will constantly wrestle hurt, like Necro Butcher and Ian Rotten among others. Abyss ran through a list of all TNA’s past bookers to Colt’s amusement.
54:30 – Abyss talks TNA stars and his favorite match – Colt asked if Abyss knew anyone “home-grown” in TNA that he felt was a phenomenal talent and Abyss praised A.J. Styles and Samoa Joe as amazing wrestlers. Abyss said his favorite match was against A.J. Styles in the main event of the first Lockdown PPV. Colt thanked Abyss for coming on the show, and Abyss joked that he is a huge procrastinator, but he wants to do a part two. Abyss plugged his Twitter and website, and gushed over being able to wrestle independent bookings while with TNA. Colt thanked Abyss again and signed off.
59:12 – Colt wraps up the show – Colt plugged TNA on the Pop TV network, since that news broke after recording this episode. Colt thanked his fans, Abyss, and his sponsors, and plugged his upcoming appearances. Colt teased his shows the next two weeks (Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve) as being different, but fun. Colt then signed off.
OVERALL SCORE & REVIEW
7.5: This was a great episode of the Art of Wrestling. Colt and Abyss had a good chemistry, and as a lapsed TNA fan, it was great to hear Abyss talk about his career and open up in a breezy interview. Colt didn’t ask about basically the last 10 years in TNA, but learning about how a TNA original came up through the ranks was to make it as a star as very interesting. There were some minor production issues, as a cop car could be heard for a brief time, but other than that the quality of the show was great. I would recommend this podcast to anyone who is a fan of TNA, or anyone who wants a peek into the life of a non-WWE superstar.