The Art of Wrestling with Colt Cabana
Release Date: June 15, 2017
Guest: Jeff Cobb
Recap by: Josh Coulson
- Colt will be touring Australia with Tommy Dreamer’s House of Hardcore this weekend and flew out right after recording the open for this show.
- Even though Jeff was an accomplished amateur wrestler, he didn’t start training and competing until his first year of high school.
- Cobb competed as an amateur wrestler in the Olympic Games, representing Guam.
- He finished 19th out of the 22 competitors in his weight class at the 2004 games.
- Jeff considered also competing in the 2008 Olympics but decided to begin training to be a pro wrestler instead.
- Cobb took part in the same WWE tryout as Rich Swann and No Way Jose.
Subjects covered (with timestamps)
0:00- Sponsors and plugs
0:16- Show begins
8:12- Song of the week
11:26- Interview begins
36:12- Pro wrestling training
55:20- Lucha Underground
1:05:57- Close of show
Colt opens the show with his plugs and upcoming events before announcing that his guest for the show is Hawaiian wrestler, Jeff Cobb. He outlines that at times Cobb began to talk about sadder moments back in his early life but would pull back because he was conscious of coming across as too sad to the listeners.
Cabana lists some wrestlers that have the same impressive but unconventional body type as Jeff, such as Kevin Owens and Chris Hero, and that they wouldn’t have been given the chance they deserve if they had been around years ago.
Colt then tells the listeners that shortly after recording the open for this podcast he’ll be getting on a flight to Australia for a tour. The journey alone will take him two days.
Colt finishes the open of the show by introducing and playing the song of the week, “JBL’s Flask” by Cheap Pop.
Upbringing and amateur wrestling
The interview begins with Colt and Jeff discussing different words that are used to insult people from different backgrounds as Colt is interested in what terms there are for Hawaiians as that’s where Jeff is from.
On the card prior to the interview, Jeff won a Tag Team Championship with his partner Blaster following a run-in by Ron Simmons, something they brought up as they discuss how crazy independent wrestling can be.
The two then get on to the topic of wrestlers selling their Hall of Fame rings on eBay.
Colt brings up the topic of traveling as an independent wrestler and they compare their recent schedules. Jeff says he’s getting sick of zig zagging across the country and that he needs to book himself better. Colt says that doesn’t matter to him as long as he can make the shows.
They continue to talk about travel and Colt says that he’s been doing it the way that he has for six-and-a-half years now, and they both agree it beats working 9-to-5.
Colt then divulges that he doesn’t mind not being able to shower after a match, while Jeff says he can’t deal with that and feels too gross.
The discussion then moves on to Cobb’s roots. He’s from Hawaii and lived in Guam for ten years.
Cabana asks if Hawaii is as stereotypical as he imagines, but Cobb says that he didn’t live in the place he was envisioning and that he didn’t live in a hut on the beach but in a normal house with air conditioning in a regular looking neighborhood. The houses are made out of wood though.
Cobb was an amateur wrestler and actually competed in the Olympics. Colt asks him if it was an obsession with pro wrestling that led him to that. It was, but because of the time difference, it was often hard for Jeff to watch wrestling as a child as it wasn’t on until eleven at night. He discusses occasionally watching WWF, NWA, Global, and GLOW.
Colt asks if wrestling was popular in Hawaii as a whole. Jeff says that it was very much so and that when he was a kid WWF would come to Hawaii three or four times a year. He would go to all the shows along with most of his family.
Cabana asks why exactly he started watching wrestling and Cobb recalls having the first three WrestleManias on VHS and Betamax. Colt asks if Hawaii is behind the times as Betamax shouldn’t have been a thing by then, and Jeff can’t really explain why or how he had them in that format.
Jeff started amateur wrestling as a way of eventually getting into pro wrestling, but didn’t start until he was in high school. He didn’t have the opportunity to do it in Hawaii so didn’t know he could even wrestle at his age until he moved to Guam.
The reason he and his family moved to Guam stemmed from them losing a lot of money based on drug problems and they had family in Guam offering them a chance to start fresh.
Jeff recalls his family losing houses when he was young and having to live in hotels and even in his dad’s truck from time to time. Despite that, his parents would always do what they could to get him what he wanted.
He and his family moved in with his grandmother in Guam and things went a lot smoother from that point on.
Colt admits to being pretty ignorant when it comes to Guam. Jeff describes it as being ‘Hawaii Lite’ and that it’s so small when you look at it on a globe the word Guam is bigger than the island itself.
Competing in the Olympics
Jeff recalls sticking with wrestling because it was the only thing he was good at. At the end of his junior year, he started to notice that he was better at it than everyone else in his school.
Colt candidly asks Jeff whether he made it to the Olympics because he was actually good or if it was simply because he was competing for such a small country, to which Cobb replies that it was a bit of both. He explains that you not only had to go through qualifiers for your country but then more qualifiers for your region and that there were five different regions. He finished 19th out of the 22 competitors in his weight class at the games.
Colt then gets into the topic of the rumors that circulate about the amount of sex that goes on in the Olympic village. Jeff says if it was happening, he wasn’t getting it, but the baskets of condoms they put out always emptied really quickly. He does say that he’s a bit of a collector and tried to get one of every color.
The conversation then shifts to Jeff being somewhat of a collector, and at the moment he collects action figures. He only has three though but they’re all signed, Marty Scrull, Pentagon Jr, and Doctor Wagner.
Cobb actually considered going to the 2008 Olympic games but decided he wanted to put all of his efforts into pro wrestling at that point instead. He began training in 2009 and says that his path to pro wrestling would have been completely different had he competed in the Olympics again.
Training to be a pro wrestler
Colt questions why Jeff moved back to Hawaii to train, as he didn’t think you would be able to make it working from there. Cobb actually went to university in Missouri and considered returning to study for his Masters while also attending Harley Race’s school. Unfortunately, the women’s wrestling coaching role he was going to return for at university was given to someone else.
Following his plan falling through, Jeff became a personal trainer in his native of Hawaii. He discovered that there was a wrestling show nearby after seeing it advertised on television and asked around at the event for information on breaking into the business. The promoter of the event gave him his number but then Jeff had to save up the money so he could pay for his training.
Jeff remembers having good footwork right from the start thanks to his amateur wrestling background, and that he had his first match six months after he started training. He wrestled under his real name. He thought about characters but likes that he could use his real name as it was just easy.
Colt asks if Jeff knows the Hawaiian Lion, and the two don’t want to insult him but Cobb says he hopes he has surpassed him in wrestling ability by now.
Colt returns to the subject of it being hard to make it as a wrestler living in Hawaii, something Jeff says he didn’t realize until 2012. Around then he and three other guys were invited to an All Pro Wrestling show in San Francisco. The four of them did a best of three series for the company called the Pacific Cup Challenge and the promoter of All Pro told Jeff that he needed to get out of Hawaii.
The All Pro promoter put Cobb in touch with Oliver John in Sacramento and he said being told that in San Francisco was the big kick in the butt to get out of Hawaii and further his wrestling career.
Cobb talks about going to TNA and wowing them, only to get there and doing a three-minute match after flying all the way there from Hawaii. This was before the breakthrough in All Pro. He also applied to be on Tough Enough but didn’t quite make the final cut.
Aside from his grandfather, Cobb didn’t have much in Hawaii as his family were still in Guam, so he didn’t find it hard to leave and go to Sacramento.
Jeff discusses Oliver John helping him find a place to live in California and him being discouraged from living in all the places he was finding because of where they were situated.
Cobb describes the one on one setting he had while training with John as being key in his development of being a wrestler. He also recalls wrestling Christopher Daniels following his move to California and that Daniels told him he was doing good stuff, but it didn’t make sense, and that was an eye opener and it made him realize he maybe wasn’t as good as he thought he was.
Jeff also credits Chris Hero as being instrumental as he would always push for him to be booked in places even though they had never wrestled. He talks about a Hero show that he missed because he was participating in a tryout for WWE. He didn’t make it but Rich Swann and No Way Jose did.
He was asked by Chris Kanyon whether he would be interested in competing on a Tough Enough revival and even though he replied yes he wasn’t really going to take them up on it.
Colt asks whether it was a case of being rejected from them and giving up, but Jeff says no and the opportunities with Chris Hero came after that. At the time Jeff was also working security at a high school as well as being a personal trainer.
Lucha Underground and the future
Jeff then talks about his career taking off when he joined Lucha Undergorund and that people still don’t realize it’s him despite him being their for two years now.
Colt asks if he’s able to make a living solely on wrestling now, and Jeff replies yes and that it still shocks him that he can make enough money to survive just from wrestling alone.
The two of them then return to discussing how crazy it is being an independent wrestler as not only do you have to wrestle, but you have to arrange your own bookings and schedule.
Colt recalls thinking to himself at the age of 23 that he would see how long he could live off just wrestling, and fourteen years later he’s still doing it.
Jeff admits that he sometimes thinks about whether WWE will want him when he’s in his late 30s. Colt replies by saying when he was 27 WWE didn’t want people who were 28, but nowadays they hire people as old as 40 like Austin Aries. They both agree that it’s the way it should be and the best should be scooped up by WWE regardless of age.
They also both agree that you don’t necessarily need to get to WWE to have a great career, and Cobb equates it to Dan Marino still being considered one of the greats despite never winning a championship.
Colt tells a story about William Regal telling Daniel Bryan to go travel the world and have fun and to end your career at WWE.
Colt then asks Jeff where he and the listeners can find him on the internet and social media, and Cobb says that weirdly if you type in Jeff Cobb online pictures of Matt Hardy pop up.
The interview comes to and end and Colt closes proceedings with some plugs and upcoming events.
Rather ashamedly before I listened to this interview all I knew of Jeff Cobb was his work in Lucha Underground. Little did I know the fascinating and unique journey Jeff has taken to get to the point he’s at now. There really aren’t many in the wrestling business who can honestly say they have competed as an amateur wrestler at the Olympics. This edition of Art of Wrestling was more than just your run of the mill interview, and you would be hard pushed to find someone who took the same roads into the business as Jeff Cobb has.
About the writer
Josh Coulson is a journalism graduate from Bristol, England. He has been a pro wrestling fan since the age of 10 and truly fell in love with the business during the build to WrestleMania X-Seven, citing the rivalry between Austin and The Rock as what really got him hooked. Other than wrestling he is a keen soccer fan and a long suffering supporter of his local team Bristol City. You can find him @BristolBeadz on Twitter.