Carl Hella, a Singapore based Pro-Wrestling manager talks about his love for this business and how he sees working with other wrestling promotion as a great learning opportunity.
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Q. Currently which wrestling promotion are you managing?
I am currently the General Manager of Singapore Pro Wrestling (SPW).
Q. One of my questions was going to ask if you watched wrestling as a kid and what was your first wrestling memory?
Yes, the first memories of pro wrestling in my youth were when WWF was on TV, I believe around 1993. I could remember PPVs were extremely delayed and shown late at night. I used to sneak out when everyone was asleep to get my wrestling fix. I remember wrestlers like Yokozuna, Bret Hart, British Bulldogs, Giant Gonzalez, The Undertaker, etc.
Q. How did you fell in love with wrestling?
The norm when I sneaked out to watch wrestling, my family members used to check whether I was sleeping as the heard sounds from the hall. I used to run to the bed and act like I was sleeping and when the coast was clear, I would go out again and continue watching.
One night I believe it was Wrestlemania XI, I would watch a bit then, I could hear someone open their room door and I would scamper to my room, this happened a lot that night. I could never watch a match in its entirety. As I was watching Bret Hart vs Yokozuna, as Yokozuna hit Bret to the turnbuckle for the “bum” attack. As Bret reversed and Yokozuna ran straight to the empty corner with a loud thud, at that moment I heard a loud scream “AAAHHHHH, MY HEART! I THINK I AM GOING TO GET A HEART ATTACK!!” Startled I turned quickly and saw my dear old grandmother with her hands clasped on her chest. At that split second, I smiled, thought to myself if those emotions ( a near-death experience) can be invoked by just one move. At that moment it clicked. I wanted more.
I got scolded that night but still continued to sneak out at night to watch wrestling. That was the beginning of my love of pro wrestling. My grandmother is fine and is still alive.
Q. On a scale of 1 to 10 how hard the wrestling mat is, and then how hard are the ropes when you are running off them?
10 – Mats are unforgiving no matter the type. Tuck your chin and bump flat.
The rope is also unforgiving. If you do not hit the ropes hard enough without enough speed it may look weak. Ropes are tight in the ring so your back will get bruised if you hit the ropes hard often. It is an indicator you are hitting the ropes well 🙂 You get used to it.
Q. How is it managing a smaller crowd than an average wrestling event?
It is same. If you go to a mindset of thinking you are speaking a fully packed arena and you have given your all. Then size does not matter. You have to make your mannerism big and speak short and concise. Firstly, you have to believe in what you are saying to make people believe you. A lot of trial and error also practice knowing what you need to improve. Then change it, see the response. When you get the desired response with maximum interaction. You know you got something. Mic work helps to elevate your gimmick and shadows your wrestling ability.
Q. Have you ever travelled to other countries to promote wrestling?
Yes, my debut singles match was in Thailand against EK Baki. He was the top face and it was an honour to wrestle him. The Great Emi Sakura was my referee in that match. Both gave me great advise that night. Much Respect!
I have gone to other countries for wrestling shows and meet wrestlers such as Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan and India. I am always promoting wrestling not only for SPW also for the Asian market. People need to know that we have something different.
India was a special moment as I performed with Wrestle India Network(WIN) for Discovery Sports. It was an episodic show and I learnt a lot from the crew and more about myself. TV taping is a whole new ball game from a single Live show. It was an endurance test. Long hours and you have to be on point. I am used to that so I stuck through. Thank you for the opportunity.
Q. Where’s the weirdest place or what’s the strangest events wrestling has taken you?
So far there hasn’t been a weird place or strange event. The most unique experience so far was when we performed in a dormitory where migrant workers stay. I had a blast to interact with individuals. I changed my style and went to interact more with the crowd. Used words that they were familiar with to get a reaction and also used body language to communicate. True enough that got the reaction for the crowd.
For example, there was an individual who was on a video call with a friend. I sneaked behind him and he realized I was in the video call too. With my actions, I thought he will turn off the video call out of embarrassment. Instead, he was excited and so was his friend on the video call. After the match, I went up to him and realised that more people joined the video chat with him. Much later after the show he came up to me and thanked me for entertaining him and his family in Bangladesh, it was a sign for his family that he was keeping well in Singapore. That was a special moment. I am happy I could give back.
Q. What are your career aspirations in terms of wrestling?
Continue to hone my skills and bring something unique to every show.
Q. What’re your favourite matches of all times, if you could pick one or two?
I have a few but 1 stick to me because of the story they told.
For this current period, it would be Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Bret Hart, Wrestlemania 13 in a Submission Match. From entrances, you knew something special is going to start. When the bell rings the pace of the match, in the beginning, was fast and if I can remember correct Steve Austin did 1 submission throughout the whole match.
At the end it was spectacular, Bret placed Austin in a SharpShooter and he did not tap out but went unconscious. That cemented Steve Austin with his gimmick as a tough SOB and Bret Hart winning a match against a very difficult opponent. Great wins on both their terms in character building.
Q. If you would wrestle then what could be your finisher?
Learnt this from one of my favourite wrestlers is Jake the Snake Roberts, I wait for the chance to hit the DDT quickly with full force to drive the head to the ground.
Another option will be from another one of my favourite wrestlers is Terry Funk. I use the Spinning Toe Hold if I have an opportunity to injure the base of the opponent. I keep my options open.
Q. To wrap things up is there anything that you would want to say to your fans, or anyone thinking about becoming a wrestler or a wrestling promoter?
To a fan: I will continue to hate you and entertain you.
To someone new: Keep an open mind, heart and be humble. Always learn and want to grow as a performer.