The freight train ferocity of Braun Strowman continues to leave a path of destruction in every city the WWE rocks up into. This week on Raw, as per his request for “real” competition, Strowman was in action against three guys — a Denver-based group calling themselves the Mile-High Trio. Undeterred by the thorough beating he received, one of the unfortunates, local wrestler Curtis Cole, was physically intact enough for a short chat with Today’s Powerbomb.
Today’s Powerbomb: Curtis, thank you for your time. You’re the latest enhancement talent to do the job. But you also got onto Monday Night Raw. How does that feel?
Curtis Cole: So unreal. I used to watch this show with my mom (who has now since passed) when I was a kid. It meant a lot to me for that, a lot for the progression of my career, and lastly it was solid validation; to prove to people that I can do this, even though I’m a small guy. Wrestling to me hasn’t always been about who the biggest is. I just hope there’s some kid out there that could connect with me because of my size, the same way I did when I was a kid. I never thought I’d have a match with WWE solely on the fact that I”m not a big guy. I guess I even proved myself wrong.
TPB: Was there some sort of process before you got selected for that spot, or were you already known to WWE?
CC: My boss Matt Yaden at Rocky Mountain Pro/Mercury Pro Wrestling Academy has ties to TNA, ROH, and WWE, and knows just about half of the wrestling staff in the country it seems. He reached out to WWE months ago like he always does when they come to town, and offered talent he’s confident in. I was chosen this time among a lot of other really great dudes from RMP. When we got there, Arn Anderson came up to us and said, “gear up, let’s see who we’re going to use for Braun today.” I walked out and he said “boy, you look like an 8-foot caveman, ain’t no way we’re not putting that face on TV.” I looked back at all of my friends and just said “F–k!” It was such a complex blend of nerves, happiness,anxiety and pride.
TPB: Folks like you are usually referred to as “local jobbers,” but often have a pretty strong name on the local scene. Does being used for a fleeting enhancement match undermine your confidence, or have you found that the exposure has helped?
CC: That’s an awesome question I’m still answering. In Denver, I’m not a huge name. There’s four promotions that run here, and honestly a lot of talent in the area bounces around to all 4. I’m exclusive to Rocky Mountain Pro, where I’m the Charged Champion (it’s like our TV title). So I think the exposure has helped our company more than myself. We’re on the cusp of turning heads. We have great talent, great facilities, amazing trainers. Hell, we even have Vince Russo as our writer. I hope that’s where the exposure goes. RMP is like this little family. It reminds me of how ECW was when it started, and I’m 100 percent in on this. And lastly no my confidence has never been higher. Being backstage taught me a lot about where I need to be with my look. Being onstage taught me that there’s no difference between working a show in front of a few hundred, or 10 thousand, with millions watching at home.
TPB: Are those matches heavily planned backstage with the agents, or were you, your pals and Braun given a time limit and told to call it in the ring?
CC: They worked with us a little more I think, because they didn’t know if we could even bump, ha! They picked us because of our size. Then walked us through what we were doing, and that was it. Collectively it was 20 minutes of talking. I think we actually worked on the promo more than the match itself, probably because they knew Braun would bump us regardless of if we could or not. There wasn’t any calling in the ring because there were four of us. The only thing that was called, was Braun was told to back off of me when my head slammed into the post, and I rolled out of the ring and started bleeding from the back of my head. That altered the finish, but Braun and the ref were pros, and adapted perfectly.
TPB: How much traction with the WWE did you gain from last night’s showing? Are you confident that you’ll receive a tryout at some point in the future?
CC: Well, just about everyone from my hometown wants to be Facebook friends now! The Denver Post wrote about us, as did a few other sites, and I’ve had podcast and blog interview offers etc. I’m happy about it more for RMP than anything else. I don’t travel around to promotions or anything like that, because we run shows almost every week, some of them are tapings for our show Charged, and I train at our school two to three times a week for hours at a time. That’s where I want the traction. And honestly, I don’t see a WWE tryout in my future. Not based on ability, but because I’m a 6-foot-2 185-pound guy. I’ll be hitting the gym like crazy, and you’ll see changes, but I’m just not the type they want. The only reason I had a match was because of my body – it made Braun look bigger.
TPB: You sound like you’ve been building quite a body of wrestling work. Why don’t you tell us a bit about yourself, history, where you trained, who you’ve faced, and what you’ve accomplished in the indies?
CC: I started training last year in September, and had my first match in late January 2016. Since then I’ve had probably 30-35 matches, which really is a huge amount for an indie guy that doesn’t travel, in that little time. In July I won my first title, and have defended it since. Our training facility has been dubbed “The Quarry,” it’s in Golden, Colorado and houses The Mercury Pro Wrestling Academy, which is run by Matt Yaden, Ryan Hood, and Vince Russo. You’ve got to be 100 percent in with this place, or you won’t last. Just this year, our talent has had matches in WWE , ROH, some Japan promotions, and lots of domestic appearances in other promotions. We run tons of clinics with guys like Bob Evans, Kevin Kelly, Chavo Guerrero, Al Snow, Mickie James, Nick Aldis and tons more.
TPB: Have you and the other two worked as a tag team before, or were you thrown together for Raw?
CC: Tyler Stinson helped train me. He’s been a guy I’ve respected since I started, so it was awesome being his equal on Raw. I’ve always know who Johnny Proof was, but he wrestles everywhere else in Denver, and we haven’t crossed paths yet. It was great to meet him, he’s a really nice dude, with a good look. We’re hoping to take the Mile-High Trio on the road someday.
TPB: Usually, a squash match involves one guy getting thrown all over the ring. I don’t think we’ve ever seen three enhancement dudes in the ring against a mainstream talent before. How did the three of you work out how to make Braun look strong?
CC: It was all about the spacing. If you watch it again, the three of us are never really together. It was literally him individually squashing three dudes. A match like that has to be spot based, unfortunately, but it worked out really well. Also, everyone has to get rid of attitudes and be 100 percent on a team together. Fortunately they picked three dudes who didn’t mind looking weak for the greater good. We got some great pops from the crowd, so our job was accomplished. Hearing the crowd is everything for a wrestler, so they gave back what we put in. And for that we thank you.
TPB: “Jobbers” used to be faceless guys who were never heard of again. But the enhancement talents have been resurrected in the age of social media, and all of a sudden, jobbers are really over with fans. How did the three of you strike a balance between being utterly flattened, and making an impression on the WWE universe?
CC: Selling is everything for a match like this. That’s why Ellsworth is so over. The fans can sympathize with us, because they’d be in the same position if it was them and not us. No one can sympathize with Braun. When we came out, fans were screaming to us to be careful, and yelling good luck. I’m sure it was a bit of a rib from them, but it was still awesome. Having a look is another part. I don’t look normal. Even Graves made fun of my look, and I’ve seen some memes of myself already online. Also in my opinion, all of the WWE talents are huge. These jobber matches really bring things down to earth for fans, while elevating their talent. It’s actually kind of a win for everyone.
TPB: And finally, any advice for the guys out there who want to walk your way?
CC: Professional Wrestling is a full-time job. When you start, your life is going to change drastically. It won’t happen fast, and it absolutely won’t be easy. You’ll want to quit every morning, and you’ll feel like an outsider at first. This happens to everyone. It’s not just you, you aren’t weird. Show respect to everyone, not only because they deserve it, but because even Triple H used to be a no-name. Yes sir. Yes ma’am. Thank you. Please. Slowly you’ll start to realize how great it is. The friendships you’ll make will last the rest of your life, the impressions you put on crowds will last for years. If you love professional wrestling, it will love you back. Lastly, keep a great positive attitude. I’d rather work with a crap wrestler with a good attitude, than a great one with a bad attitude. Thank you for your time.