Hit Me with Everything - My Interview with 88Wrestling's Rex Bedford
Some time ago Bob at 88Wrestling offered me the opportunity to interview some of the company's wrestlers. I jumped at the chance, and top of my list was Rex Bedford (5'7", 160#), whose battle against Ethan Andrews dropped last week - a Tic Tac Toe Submission contest (not sure what it means, but okay!). Bedford's calling card is his MMA background, on top of a natural instinct for pro wrestling performance. I happen to think Rex is the most exciting wrestler at 88, all due to his combustible temper and superb knowledge of submission holds. He has a mean streak, which is something I like in a guy. His remarks here I find snappy, smart, and disarming. No slight intended towards Ethan or Tito Santos (the company's current champ), but Rex is the man I most want to see with the belt around his waist. I'm a little out of practice as an interviewer, so bear with me if I fumble a bit. (I did one in March, I know, but still it's been five years since I did these things routinely.) The interview occurred shortly before his most recently released match, so there are no spoilers.
|Rex vs Ethan|
Joe: Tell me about your latest match at 88Wrestling.
Rex: I'm excited. I think I'll finally get to showcase what I'm all about. Ethan's a veteran of the sport, while I'm still relatively new, but I have a surprise in store to offset his advantage. This match will be something totally new.
Joe: Who tops your list of wrestlers you'd like to face?
Rex: I never look past my next opponent and right now Ethan Andrews is the man to beat. Beyond that, I want my shot at a title.
Joe: Hard for me to imagine what Tito Santos must be feeling right now, with you and Ethan both breathing down his neck. How do you see yourself? As a heel? Or as a hero?
Rex: I see myself as a warrior, and I always have. The fans will see me however they choose to.
Joe: How much of a role do your MMA training and experience play into your attitude and ring style?
Rex: A major one.
Joe: Care to elaborate?
Rex: I treat my matches in the ring the way I treated my fights. I come with the intention to do damage quickly and protect myself. It doesn't hurt having a few moves up my sleeve that the other guys are unfamiliar with either.
Joe: Given your pick of opponents, typically which do you prefer? Bigger, smaller, or as big as you are?
Rex: Given the option, I prefer bigger opponents. It motivates me, as the little guy. I feel obligated to put them in their place.
Joe: How about more experienced, less experienced, or as experienced as you are?
Rex: I don't care about his experience level. Veterans don't scare me, and novices deserve no mercy.
Joe: Would you rather wrestle someone you have wrestled previously or someone new to you?
Rex: Someone new. Always. How else does one climb the ranks and move forward!
Joe: I like your drive and determination. How old were you when you discovered you like to fight?
Rex: I just always have, ever since I was little and had to fight to defend myself from bigger kids. I liked it then, and I still do now.
Joe: But how did you become the strong wrestler you are today?
Rex: I'm a lifelong athlete and former MMA fighter, but I got started on wrestling after 88Wrestling contacted me a little over a year ago. They flew me out to a gym to train and have my inaugural matches.
Joe: Three years from now, let's say. Where do you want to be with all this?
Rex: Independently wealthy and carrying my title belt with me everywhere I go.
Joe: Is it better, in your experience, to love to wrestle, to love to win, or to love to hurt people?
Rex: I'm sure it's different for everyone. Me myself, I like to hurt people. Just so happens that's also how you win.
Joe: Love that answer, man. Would you ever consider forming a tag team at 88?
Rex: A tag team would be fun. With the right partner, you can inflict crazy damage, and I'm sure the audience would love it.
Joe: Who would you consider to be a good tag partner for you?
Rex: I know we've got our own match coming up, but if I were to pick a tag partner, it'd be Ethan Andrews. He's around my size physically and one of the most experienced wrestlers out there today.
Joe: He's become sort of a wrestler's wrestler, hasn't he? He's a lot more laid-back than you, though, style-wise. You're more of a live wire, I think. Have you ever totally lost your cool in a match?
Rex: If I ever lose my cool, you'll know about it.
Joe: How's that?
Rex: Because the other guy will be dead.
Joe: Damn, Rex. You are bad-ass. [Laughs, a bit nervously] What's it like wrestling in front of a camera?
Rex: Truth be told, I'm just having fun, man.
|Rex vs Jett Bentley|
Joe: In my opinion, your armbars are awesome, the best! And I love armbars.
Rex: The armbar technique has a lot of moving parts, so like any complex move, it requires hours on hours of drilling to really be good at it. [Pause] I like to think of the arm as a lever, and my hips as the fulcrum. Apply pressure to one side of the fulcrum without allowing the other to move, and the lever will break.
Joe: Your match against Chase Lundquist is one of my favorites - the drop kick, the leg lock, the chin locks, all magnificent! This is when I knew I was a fan of yours.
Rex: I always saw Chase as kind of a pretty boy, and I knew I could beat him. He earned some respect, though, I have to say, because he fought hard. I was particularly sore after that match!
Joe: Are there any holds or pro wrestling moves you dislike?
Rex: None. I don't care what it is, bring it on. Hit me with everything, and I'll be swinging back with the kitchen sink.
|Rex vs Chase Lundquist|
Joe: Philosophical question. Which is best - to be strong, to be aggressive, to be strategic, to be confident, or to have done your homework on your opponent's strengths and weaknesses?
Rex: Oigh. What, mate? [Laughs] Sorry.
Joe: Yeah, it's a dumb question.
Rex: It's best to be all of these things. To me this game is physical and mental. Fifty-fifty.
Joe: I guess what I was trying to get at is what do you consider to be your biggest advantage as a fighter?
Rex: My size is deceptive. People don't expect me to be as strong as I am. Watch any of my matches, and you'll see me use my core strength to lift and toss opponents.
Joe: What, if anything, gets under your skin? Particularly in the wrestling ring.
Rex: Sometimes people think they'll get under my skin by talking about my height or my cauliflower ears, but that doesn't get to me at all. I can't say what would, though, of course. People would use it against me!
Joe: Yeah, you're right. So, for a closer, talk some smack, just for fun. Take your best shot.
Rex: [Laughs] Easy. Sure thing. [Pauses for a second] Tanner Hill, you scrawny weakling! When are we gonna meet again? You have that win over me in a bullshit match [at Rock Hard]. No way it happens again! Have your people get in touch with 88 and let's go!
Visit 88Wrestling here.