WF: Thank you „Hannibal“ for accepting an interview.
H: It is always a pleasure to speak about HANNIBAL and Great North Wrestling to fans around the globe.
WF: Your „Hannibal“ gimmick is really unique. How did you acquire it? Is there a story behind it?
H: The story of how I acquired it is actually in the -This is Hannibal- documentary that can be found on Youtube but basically in 2005 when I first came to wrestle for IWA Puerto Rico one of the matchmakers there was WWE Hall of Famer Bushwacker Luke Williams. Luke had seen a bunch of Stampede Wrestling matches I did and told me that he thought I had a vicious style and my facial expression reminded him of Anthony Hopkins in the movie Silence of the Lambs. He said they would like to change my name to HANNIBAL when I came there and I said that I actually liked that idea. I think the name actually fits my personality very well so I kept it.
WF: You have been a professional wrestler for some years now. How did you come to this decision?
H: I had always wanted to be a pro wrestler from the time I was able to speak. I began putting on backyard matches in front of neighbours when I was about 5 or 6 years old. By the time I was 13 we sometimes had up to 80 fans in my parents backyard to watch the events I put on and they finally told me I had to stop. By that time I was getting into amateur wrestling anyway so that gave me a different outlet to indulge in my wrestling passion and I ended up becoming a National Champion and eventually an Olympic Qualification trials Silver medallist.
WF: I only know you as heel and in my opinion that role suits you perfectly. Could Hannibal actually work as a babyface?
H: I am actually not a full heel in Canada because I have too many fans here that know I’m Canadian and are too proud of that to boo me. I am also a promoter so you can’t very well be a full heel in the ring and then go around asking businesses for sponsorship money.
I will say my real personality is heelish and when I wrestle in other countries I hope to return to that role. I believe I could be the best heel of all time if I am ever able to truly dive into that role. Even Abdullah The Butcher himself once told me that he thought he was vicious and had a mean streak until he met me and I believe it is true and I am more vicious than any other wrestler out there today.
WF: Over the years your looks changed from time to time and every time you seem to reinvent your appearance, like your dark eyes lately.
How would you describe the recent „Hannibal“ to our readers?
H: I am Gothic and I am just letting that side of my personality come out more. It was former World Champion and WWE Hall of Famer Superstar Billy Graham that suggested to me that I darken my eyes as he is my mentor in wrestling.
WF: Among others you trained with Bruce Hart and Jacques Rougeau (The Mountie). Especially the latter is often seen in your interviews and many of the stories he tells a most interesting. Is there a favourite story of Jacques you would like to share?
H: Yes they both had 2 totally different training styles but I am proud to say that I have been trained by the 2 most famous wrestling families in Canada, The Harts and The Rougeaus.
For Jaques the one thing I always found funny about him is he liked to give me privat ideas and advice when he was going to the bathroom at the place I used to train with him. If he was heading to the bathroom stall he would often ask me to follow him and I would sit on the sink while he would talk from one of the stalls. Some people are shy about bathroom stuff, Jacques certainly was not and that was a completely normal thing for him to do. I appreciated the advice he would give.
WF: Did you train in the legendary ‚Hart-Dungeon‘ and by chance were able to meet Stu Hart?
H: Yes I started training there in 2001 and Stu was there all the time in the kitchen usually. He was in a wheelchair a lot by this time and was pretty sick. He would not watch the dungeon practices due to difficulty with stairs but when it was nice out in the summer and we practiced in the ring out on the lawn he would watch. He would also go to the occasional event. I was there at the time of his death and remember the day of the funeral well.
It was a really bad time for the Harts in general when I was there with the WWE politics related to Owens death and Brets departure fresh in everyones mind, the deaths of Davey, Stu and Hellen and the release of Diana Harts controversial book causing division amongts the family but I am honoured to have trained in the Dungeon and I believe they trained be very well and taught me respect for the wrestling business.
WF: In videos on Youtube and other social media you seem very up-to-date but I have the feeling of you thinking, acting and being rather oldschool – most notably relating to stories around Terry Funk, Lanny Poffo or Billy Graham. What do you say?
H: I do not enjoy watching the current wrestling TV products if that is what you mean and certainly do not model Great North Wrestling after anything on current television.
WF: During a preliminary talk you mentioned that the videos of GNW (Great North Wrestling) on Youtube get a lot of hits from Germany, especially the ones about Hannibal and Terry Funk as well as Lanny Poffo. How important is it for you to involve legends and tell REAL stories?
H: I think that the real life stories about wrestling are more interesting then the made up stuff a lot of the times. To be a real wrestler you have to have a unique character because it is a hard and unusual business to be in. Having all these unique and unusual personalities together on the road, sometimes in isolation creates a lot of drama to say the least.
WF: Be honest, how real was the „fight“ between Poffo and you? Was there real previous trouble?
H: The thing with Lanny Poffo and I is a long story but basically we were friends and I guess you could sum that night up to a bad night for both of us. We realised we were both emotional at the time and got passed that.
Lanny was very offended that I eventually released the video of the altercation and demanded that I take it down. He had agreed to be on camera for that entire tour and was well aware that there were cameras running in the dressing room to take footage for my documentary so it is not my fault that he decided to act that way in front of them. I find the footage entertaining and so do a lot of other people so I will not remove it. We are no longer friends and I think it is pathetic that he defied his brothers wishes about the WWE Hall of Fame.
WF: Many wrestlers dream of being in a WWE ring and get signed under contract. As we heard you had a great (WWE) future ahead of you.
You told the story before so I´ll sum up:
During a bloody match against „Abdullah the Butcher“ you got infected with hepatitis (you successfully filed a lawsuit). This is why you didn´t get a contract.
Did I get that right?
H: After about 14 try outs and several TV matches for WWE as well as numerous matches for their old Deep South Wrestling Development Territory I was offered an open ended contract by the company that had the potential to make me a star and financially secure for the rest of my life. Unfortunately the contract was rescinded 3 months later due to me being positive for the Hepatitis C Virus at the time.
The situation with Abdullah The Butcher (real name Larry Shreve) is that he cut me in a match numerous times without my prior consent with an unsanitary razor blade that had his Hepatitis C infected blood on it. Hepatitis C is a blood to blood disease mainly passed by sharing infected needles or razor blades because they put one persons blood directly into another bloodstream. It is not common practice to purposely cut another wrestler without permission in a match and is certainly not acceptable to cut someone with a Hepatitis C infected razor blade. Abdullah was found guilty of negligence assualt and battery in the Ontario Superiour Court of Justice for this incident.
WF: Today you´re healed, we dearly congratulate. How long was your way back and what did you have to do?
H: It was a long and horrible journey back to good heath but I made it. I underwent my first chemotherapy-like treatment for Hepatitis C in 2009 and 2010 and despite suffering terrible side effects it was unsuccessful. After going through a lot of tests and searching the world for new treatments I was able to get on a second treatment that was experimental for my Genotype in 2012 and 2013. The 36 week long treatment cost almost 80k Canadian and was not covered by the government. It was full of awful side effects that were so bad at times it took all that I had not to end my life just to stop the suffering. The side effects of this treatment were so bad that the medications have since been taken off the market however on a good note the treatment worked for me and I have been declared pertinently cured of the disease.
WF: Did they ever test Abdullah positive on hepatitis c?
H: Yes we eventually got Abdullah’s medical records and they indicated that he had a history of Hepatitis C, the same Genotype as me and is suffering from something called Hepatic Coma which is a liver related issue that you would not get from just having the disease for a short period of time.
WF: Are you a supporter of regular blood tests in professional wrestling (including independent wrestling). Can that be realized?
H: I actually think professional wrestling should be regulated by an athletic commission just like boxing and MMA is with a governing body overseeing what is going on in all companies. Right now it is up to the companies to police themselves which you can never trust. Because wrestling is not considered a real sport there is nobody overlooking it and that is how bad stuff can happen. Will this every happen? I do not think so. As of now I think there is less than 5 states that still regulate wrestling and as far as my research has shown it is not regulated anywhere else in the world.
WF: You are more than 30 years old now. Do you think there is another chance for you with WWE, are you „too old“ or is this already behind you?
H: I am 32 years old. Is that too old for WWE I don’t think so because I am a well experienced wrestler with no physical injuries that would still have 10+ years of good athletics ahead of me in WWE. Age is not the reason they are not taking me back. I had a try out last July in front of WWE talent scouts Gerald Brisco and Jim Ross that seemed to go very well and Mr. Brisco told me he was going to recommend that the company recruits me, despite this I never heard back which leads me to believe It is likely a political reason related to the Abdullah situation or someone in the office just plain doesn’t like me for some reason as Billy Graham suspects.
I am going to be joining a new US based pro wrestling league called CCW (www.ccw.rocks) in May that will have a National Television deal. I think this could be the break I have been looking for to get more exposure in the US which will lead to more popularity worldwide.
WF: You stood in the ring with legends like Kevin Nash and modern top stars like AJ Styles. Who of current „stars“ had the most positive impact on you?
H: For current stars nobody at this point.
WF: Our readers love road stories. Will you give us a personal (maybe funny) one?
H: Too long to write!!! Anyone who wants to hear road stories from me I suggest they buy my Rfvideo shoot interview at this link: KLICK
WF: What does Hannibal do outside the ring? Does wrestling pay your bills?
H: My company Great North Wrestling is my main job so I guess you can say wrestling does pay my bills. Outside of that I do concert and special event security, personal training and do group home jobs working with violent people with psychological issues (it gives me a lot of ideas for wrestling.)
WF: Do you have some personal words for your German fans?
H: Thank you to the fans in Germany that help support my Nicholson Productions (HANNIBAL TV) Youtube Channel and follow Great North Wrestling. I have yet to wrestle in Germany but I certainly hope to come there one day!
WF: How can we find and book you?
OFFICIAL YOUTUBE CHANNEL:
GREAT NORTH WRESTLING OFFICIAL WEBSITE
GREAT NORTH WRESTLING OFFICIAL FACEBOOK PAGE:
GREAT NORTH WRESTLING OFFICIAL TWITTER:
HANNIBAL OFFICIAL FACBOOK PAGE:
HANNIBAL OFFICIAL TWITTER: