You know the face. At Rock Hard Wrestling, he's known as the "Street Punk," a die-hard scrapper who likes to take on the muscle studs and pretty boys and cut them down to size. Ethan Andrews, 6', 155#, may not be the typical cover boy for underground wrestling, but he's evidently striking a chord with a lot of fans. He's become something of a phenomenon, in fact. He stands for the regular guys who like to fight and who won't take shit from anybody. He's a guy who's had to fight for everything he's got. You underestimate him at your own risk. The good folks at RHW put me in touch with Ethan, in part to publicize and promote his latest knock-down drag-out, a doozie of a battle against Jake Jenkins, who shares Ethan's toughness and interest in the martial arts, so this one promises to be quite an event. We conducted the interview over a period of six weeks or so, as schedules permitted, and what comes through is a picture of a hero who doesn't give a shit about being noble and good and a heel who's never beat up anyone who didn't have it coming to him, or so our man would say. He's a "walking contradiction," and if you have got a problem with any of that, you had best just keep the opinion to yourself.
Joe: Well, Ethan, thank you for talking with me today. You wrestle at Rock Hard Wrestling and elsewhere, under different names of course. Both your personas have been successful for you, even though they are different from each other--"Axel," the nemesis of bullies, versus "Ethan," the bully of muscle hunks.
Ethan: I have no idea what you are talking about. [Laughs.]
Joe: Then how would you describe your character at Rock Hard?
Ethan: Character? Dude, this is how I am. What you see is what you get. I say what I mean and mean what I say. When I'm in the ring, I'm in there to kick every last one of those pretty-boy, douchebag asses.
Joe: But what's more fun for you, as a wrestler, being nasty or noble?
Ethan: Each one's got its perk and brings on its own challenges. You gotta be able to represent and make people relate to you. Otherwise, you are just some guy in spandex, getting tossed around in the ring. I'm complex, and value the fact I can swing the personality in multiple directions. I mean, let's be honest: who doesn't like playing Jekyll and Hyde? [Laughs.]
Joe: That's true. None of us has just one way of being. What then, besides the opportunity to explore another facet of your complex makeup, drew you to Rock Hard?
Ethan: The ring! That's what drew me to it in the first place. I had seen a few other sites like Rock Hard Wrestling, but the other sites didn't have a ring to fight in. It's a totally different experience and gives you a new set of moves to use against your pussy opponents. I can't use a wrestling mat to choke out my opponent or use the mat to bounce my opponent back to me for a clothesline!
Joe: What's the atmosphere like there? I mean, behind the scenes, what we don't see on camera.
Ethan: It's a small gym behind those black curtains. Everyone, including myself, is listening to their iPod or looking up moves on their laptop. At least I am. The douchebags and the pretty boys are pumping the iron or spraying on the self-tanner to look good for the camera. The room stinks of egos and testosterone. I'm surprised more fights don't happen behind the scenes, but I know we'd all rather it be caught on film in the ring. At least I know I would. [Laughs.]
Joe: You have had a very, very good year, Ethan. Seven matches in 2011, and that's just at Rock Hard! Where does the energy come from? What drives you these days?
Ethan: Yeah, it was a busy year for me. Honestly, I just love to fight. In that ring I can take out all my anger on guys who represent all my frustration and hate. The guys who are richer than me, had more opportunities in life than me, who are bigger than me, better looking than me, the guys who think they are better than me. I love taking the proverbial silver platter and bashing them in the face with it, then knocking them out of the spotlight and off their high pedestal. That, and eating right is where I get the energy. Yeah, it sounds lame, but, seriously, people, it works. Eat your fucking spinach!
Joe: What's your sports background?
Ethan: I've got some experience in boxing, various forms of wrestling, MMA, karate, taekwondo, judo, jujitsu. Basically I train or participate when I have the time and money. I don't own a car like these rich boys, so it's hard for me to travel to a gym. I bike a lot, too, lots of trails and nature around the city I live in. I don't play many other sports, especially sports with balls because ... well ... I suck at them.
Joe: Me, too. I don't have much interest in sports that require teamwork or sticks or balls. [Laughs.]
Ethan: I kinda live by the old credo: "Others play with them, wrestlers have them." "Them" referring to balls.
Joe: How far have you taken your martial arts training?
Ethan: I am a red belt in taekwondo and a yellow belt in karate. I started doing MMA ... "mixed martial arts" for you dumbasses who don't keep up with the times ... for a couple of years now, along with the taekwondo and karate. I have been training for about four years now, off and on, again whenever the bank account allows me to do so. I've done a little bit of training in judo and jujitsu, but not enough to earn a belt ranking. The only competing I have done in any of these is with friends in the backyard or in the back alley in the city or the occasional abandoned building. I would like to earn some honest cred and take part in some sanctioned matches this year.
Joe: Everybody you have wrestled up to now has been bigger than you, sometimes by 25 to 30 pounds heavier. What's your strategy for taking on bigger guys?
Ethan: Tire them out. I laugh at how many guys I've fought who come at me with all that bodybuilding muscle. They only lift weights to show off. They forget to do a little cardio and put that muscle to some serious use. They get into a fight, and their body can't throw around that much weight for an extended period of time. Their body runs out of gas, and that's when I go for the kill. Yeah, I take some nasty hits in the process, but it's all part of the strategy.
Joe: What do you focus on in workouts?
Ethan: Definitely my abs. They may not look like much, but these guys can take whatever shit these pussies here can dish out. I work on my abs almost every day, even if it's just a few dozen sit-ups before bed. Besides sit-ups, I try to look for new ways to work the muscles. Lots of gut-punching. I have my gang tie my arms back and take turns punching and kick my gut.
Joe: Hey, now, there's something I'd like to read in Men's Fitness some day. [Laughs.] Do you have a signature hold yet?
Ethan: I don't have a finisher that I have decided on just yet. However, I did use a move on Zack ... "All-American Douche Bag" ... Johnathan, called the seated senton that seemed to do the trick. I might be incorporating that into my arsenal in future matches. The move is done by Rey Mysterio in the WWE, and it's a pretty simple but badass move for us smaller guys.
Joe: You said once before that you looked up to Rey. Any of the other WWE guys make the cut, as far as you're concerned?
Ethan: The Miz. I have been watching him since he was on Real World: Return to New York. I remember seeing him turn into The Miz when he got drunk and would boast about how he was bound for the WWE. I thought, "Yeah, right, he's living in a fantasy." Now he's been a WWE champion. Talk about going from nothing to something!
Joe: Anybody you met at Rock Hard strike you as having the potential to follow Miz's footsteps to the WWE? Not counting yourself.
Ethan: I plan on putting these boys out of the modeling business and into physical therapy. However, if I did have to pick someone ... Zack "All-American Douche Bag" Johnathan. The guy's got connections in the biz and knows his shit. Plus, I can't turn a corner or log on to a fucking web page without seeing his shit-faced smile. Seriously, the guy is everywhere. So when and if he actually does make it, people will want to get rid of him right away, because they are, like me, sick of looking at him.
Joe: Just how comfortable are you fighting in the skimpy trunks Rock Hard puts you in?
Ethan: Dude, I will fight in anything, or nothing at all. Yeah, I said it. I used to get jumped in the locker room all the time back in school after gym class. I'd be bare-ass naked with my junk hanging out, and it didn't stop me from kicking the shit out of the assholes that jumped me.
Joe: But when "junk hanging out" is not a dress option, unfortunately, what sort of gear do you prefer?
Ethan: If I had to pick favorite gear, it would be square cuts or vale tudo shorts. They are somewhat similar, but they offer just the right amount of coverage and support to show off in a fight.
Joe: So what have you got to say about your new match against Jake Jenkins? That guy's pretty amazing.
Ethan: Let's just say I was satisfied with the outcome, not to spoil anything.
Joe: Who at Rock Hard do you want to fight next?
Ethan: Hmmm. As much as I like beating on these big, dumb brutes, I gotta love a good scrap with guys my size and smaller. So I'm calling out you, Eli "Justin Bieber" Black, Gunner "Token Asian" Bayani, Jeff "Skeletor" Hollister, Nick "Fabio Wannabe" Collins ... and a rematch with Brody "Midget" Hancock.
Joe: That's about everybody. You scared of anybody?
Ethan: Nobody. I say bring on all the dumb-ass muscle boys! Plus, I have a special bone to pick with Zack "All-American Douche Bag" Johnathan for that two-on-one attack. Then there is Cody "Tweedle Dee" Nelson; I want to avenge my loss against him. Finally, I want a one-on-one match with Austin "Ginger Freak" Cooper, and not some lame tag-team matchup.
Joe: Any celebrities you'd like to see get their asses kicked?
Ethan: Oh fuck, that's a lot of celebrities. Hmmm. Well, first and foremost, everyone on Jersey Shore, and any of the Kardashians. They are the current shit stain on this country's image. Why the fuck are they popular? They are just a bunch of no-talent posers who make a name for themselves for being rich and shit-for-brains stupid!
Joe: Rich and stupid. Isn't that the new "American dream"? Rich and stupid and on TV.
Ethan: Oh, and not to get all political. I try to be an Independent, but the majority of Republicans need a good ass-whooping too. They want to fucking get rid of MMA in my state. And Governor Walker and his cronies ... that's a story for another time. Also, Republicans, seriously, what's with the hate? I'm bi ... what did us LGBT people ever do to shit on your day? Okay, moving on!
Joe: Back to wrestling. Two months ago, I asked Eli ... What's that you just called him? [Laughs.]
Ethan: "Eli 'Justin Bieber' Black."
Joe: Yeah, I asked him about what other styles of combat he'd like to see Rock Hard add on. I was thinking stuff like boxing, cage matches, inter-gender wrestling, rip 'n' strip, live shows, MMA, oil and mud wrestling, that sort of thing. Any of those interest you?
Ethan: Let's do all of that! [Laughs.] More ways to humiliate my opponents. Seriously, I'm open to anything. The more versatile we become, the more we separate ourselves from the other guys. We got a ring; let's toss in some gloves and duke it out! Throw down some plastic and lather on the oil! I won't say no to some sexy ladies, but I can't say I will be the nice guy in the ring. Live audience might be interesting, but hard to do in our present space.
Joe: What would your entrance music be?
Ethan: "Ain't No Rest for the Wicked" by Cage the Elephant. The song is so much like what I go through on a daily basis. Not saying that I rob people at gun point, whore myself out, or steal from the Sunday church collection. But I gotta do some not-so-good things to get by on the streets. Working minimum wage doesn't get you very far nowadays.
Joe: I hear you. What makes you see red? What brings up the fight in you?
Ethan: Anytime an opponent calls me poor, it pisses me off to no end. I'll beat their ass, then take their money from their wallet in the locker room. A lot of people assume that being called scrawny would set me off. They got it all backwards. I take pride in the fact that I don't look like those prima donnas. When they boast about how buff they are, I can stand over them with my foot on their chest and gloat how a skinny punk just beat their ass.
Joe: You've got a huge fan base now. Obviously a lot of guys think you look just fine as you are. Slim, but tough, boy-next-door-ish. How do you deal with fans who proposition you? Does that happen?
Ethan: I occasionally get fans asking me to post nude pics on my Facebook page, jerk off on camera, or wrestle them for stakes. Look, I am no fool. I know most of the dudes watching the site are guys who are looking to bust a nut, or picture us in their deepest fantasies. I appreciate the business that keeps me wrestling for Rock Hard, and I am flattered by their fan mail and appreciation. However, there can be some real creepers out there. No offense. I know I've got my kinks too, but sometimes they should really keep that to themselves ... or talk to other likeminded people.
Joe: So, let's say there's an after-life, and it's all about wrestling. Which is the only kind of after-life I'd care two cents about ...
Ethan: Damn. Getting a little deep, are we?
Joe: Hey, I'm approaching my twilight years. These thoughts come up. Trust me. Anyway, let's say that in one's life after death, you get to replay continuously five minutes of any match you have ever participated in. I got this idea from a Japanese movie I saw, years ago. What five minutes would you pick?
Ethan: Hmmm. I would have to say the one I would replay continuously is my third and soon-to-be-released bout against Zack Johnathan.
Joe: "The All-American Douche Bag"?
Ethan: I don't want to spoil anything, but I kinda exact my revenge and make him my bitch. The fans will have to buy the vid to find out how I do it.
Joe: Where do you see yourself and Rock Hard Wrestling in 2017?
Ethan: When 2017 rolls around ... assuming the Mayans were wrong about this year ...
Joe: Pretty safe assumption. The Mayans worshipped corn.
Ethan: I still wanna be kicking ass at Rock Hard Wrestling. And if not me, some of my fellow punks. I am not getting any younger. Doesn't mean I can't train the next generation of ass-kickers and douchebag destroyers. The world is never gonna run out of pretty boys to humiliate, and neither will my desire to do so.