Pro wrestler Trevor Murdoch's run in Kansas City-based indie Metro Pro Wrestling will come to an end Friday night. The 32-year-old grappler is headed back to WWE, but first he'll make the announcement during Metro Pro Wrestling's TV tapings at the Turner Rec Center (831 South 55th Street in KCK).
Murdoch spoke with The Pitch via phone from his home in Eldon, Missouri, about his imminent return to WWE, what he'll remember about Metro Pro Wrestling, and the seven hours he sat on a plane in Japan during the tsunami this past March.
The Pitch: How did you initially get hooked up with Metro Pro Wrestling?
Murdoch: I heard this company was getting started in Kansas City and I got a
call from [promoter and Metro Sports anchor] Chris Gough, who had known a couple of my friends. I talked with Chris, and he told me what was going on. But they had told me what they were doing. My concern was that they were going to bring me in and basically use my name and use me to make everyone else look good and then toss me to the side. I told them that I wanted to be a part of this but I also wanted to be a part of the creative end, not only for myself but the other guys on the show. Chris was very open to that. They brought me in for the first show and went from there.
How do you look back on your time in Metro Pro? Did you accomplish everything you wanted to accomplish?
In the wrestling business, there are so many companies that spring up and then shut down. They all have high hopes and they want to do great things, but I really didn't get too super excited about Metro Pro. But I was just
expecting them to have some shows and be like a lot of the other
companies and shut down -- high hopes but no staying power. So I never
really went in there with a lot of expectations. But through the last
year, they've blown my expectations away.
How do you feel about returning to WWE?
I've been doing this since I was 18 years old. So I'm at an age where when I went to WWE the first time, I was 25 years old, and I'm really excited that I'm still at a young
enough age that I'm going to be able to go back and do some good things
on TV. My [5-year-old] son is now old enough to see me and understand
that daddy is on TV, and he loves pro wrestling. So I'm fired up to be
able to get back to working on TV again for sure.
You recently had a tryout with WWE. How did that go?
They went great actually. The first night I wrestled Evan Bourne. The
second night I wrestled Jey Uso. My concern going back wasn't the
wrestling part. It was, there's a lot of new faces on the WWE roster.
They're almost all new faces. And I was concerned that I was going to
get back there, and one was going to know me, or everyone was going to
snub me a little bit. "Who's this guy?" and "He's just going to try to
take our spot." But when I went back, everyone was super nice and were
extremely respectful and excited to see me. It was a very welcoming
experience. Not to mention that I had two really good matches.
Had you worked with Evan before? He's from St. Louis, right?
He's from near the Columbia area. No, actually. I had wrestled his
brother [Mike Sydal] on Metro Pro but I'd never wrestled Evan. I'd
actually never met him before that moment.
Do you have an indication of what WWE wants you to do when you get there?
No, actually. I'm kind of an open book and can do whatever I gotta do to have a good time but also to put on some good matches and also focus more on the sports entertainment side rather than just the pro wrestling. When I went in the first time, I wouldn't say I was naive, but I was
more focused on just the wrestling part. Whereas, now that I'm a
little bit older and I look back on it ... I'm going to focus just as
much on the entertainment part as I am the wrestling part. The last time I was there, I was like, I was trained by Harley Race. The cream will rise to the top. I'm a pro wrestler. As long as I have great matches, everything will be fine. That's only one part of it.
This time, I'm going to focus on having a good match, but what time I have, using it more wisely and try to get more out of it on the character on it as well.
Do you get the sense that this is your last Metro Pro show?
Possibly. In the wrestling world, especially in WWE, the one thing I
realized last time and this time as well, there's going to be a time
when I get the phone call and they're going to let me go. It's just the
reality of the situation. It's just the reality of the business. And I'm
hoping whenever my time with WWE is over the second time that Metro Pro
will be around, and I know that Chris and the staff at Metro Pro will, with open arms, welcome me back.
What are you most looking forward to doing Friday night?
To thank the fans for being there from the beginning for this crazy ride that we've had. And I hope to see them again.
What goals do you have left in the wrestling business?
On the title end of it, I would really like to be Intercontinental
Champion before it's all over with.
On the personal end of it, this time I'm not going to put so much on
what I'm not getting, and I just want to have fun and enjoy the fact
that I'm getting to travel all over the world. The first time I was
there, I was always focused on why aren't we doing this? And why is this
person getting pushed above us and we're not? And I didn't enjoy the
fact that I've been in every state in the lower 48. I've been to so many
countries that I can't tell you all of the ones that I've been to
because I don't remember. But I've been to a ton. And I want my kids to
be able to meet and spend more time with dad. Not just the guy who
always thinks about pro wrestling. It's important for me to be a good
father and a good husband.
I'd heard that you were on a plane for two hours during the tsunami and earthquake
It was a lot longer than that. Took me 15 hours from Chicago to Tokyo. As soon as we landed, maybe about 10 minutes, we were literally about 40, 50 feet from the terminal and the earthquake hit. I'm looking out the window, and the wings are maybe a foot from touching the ground, they were shaking so bad. Looking at little Japanese people running out of the airport with their
hands in the air. Windows are shaking. I sat on the plane for another
seven hours after that. Maybe I was on the plane for a total 22 hours in
one seat. They finally let us off the plane because they were concerned
the airport wasn't safe for people to be in. We got off, got our bags
and got on the bus to go back to our hotel, which was 45 minutes away,
and it took us another five hours from there because all of the main
roads and the side roads were shut down.
We got to the hotel at 5:30; we were back on the bus at 10:30 to head to
our first show. And that's how my last trip to Japan started. Eighteen
days ... after the earthquake, after the tsunami, the nuclear reactor. All that bullshit.
What was it like for you? Were you rolling with it or were you freaked out that you had to be there at this time?
It was a 50-50 kind of thing. We didn't realize the extent of the damage and didn't even know about the
tsunami until we got off the plane and got to our hotels and talked to
some of the NOAH Pro Wrestling staff the next day. At first, I was
really freaked out because I really didn't want to be around all of that
Really, all of the people were extremely upset. You couldn't
drink the tap water because they were worried about radiation poisoning.
Food was a little bit scarce. Two or three days after we got there, you
start realizing that I'm going to eventually have a chance to go home
and these people aren't. This is their lives. This is what they're going
to have to deal with for the rest of their lives.
You start thinking about the bigger picture and who's got it worse? Me
or them? So you start thinking about the fact that you're there to put
on a show. I had a chance to wrestle for the GHC World Heavyweight
title, which is a pretty big deal. Something I never thought I'd be able
to do. You're there to entertain and put on good matches for these people so hopefully for the two, two and a half hours that they're there, they can forget about
what's going on around them. You know that they're not, but you do what
you can to try to take them to a different world, a different setting, just to have a little bit of relief. And you start to focus on the fact that you're there to help them. You're not there for yourself; you're there to help them.
Did you see any of the carnage?
We didn't go all of the way up toward Sendai, which was the
major part of the earthquake, but it hit three quarters down through the
country, and I saw houses toppled over. At one point, we seen people
praying over body bags. Water was extremely scarce to the point that the
Japanese people were buying the bottled water from the convenience
stores. At one point, I had to walk about two miles before I could find a
12-ounce bottle of water for myself. I've seen things most men see in
war, and I've never been in a war. I've never been in the military. A
lot of the wrestlers were worried about their families. Some of them
lived up north. A lot of them hadn't even heard from 'em. By the end of
the tour, I found out all of the wrestlers were able to contact their
family, and they were safe. A couple of them, their grandparents had
My biggest concern coming home was I didn't have enough knowledge about nuclear radiation, and I didn't know if that was something that I could bring home and give to my wife and children. I didn't want to bring anything home to them. I wasn't as concerned for myself. Everything was fine. They did the little radiation beep-beep-beep thing on me, and I was OK. I was excited. Of course, when I got home, my friends asked me if I glowed in the dark.
It's almost been a year since your tag team partner Lance Cade's death. How has his death changed your approach to the wrestling business?
It hasn't really changed my approach to the wrestling business; it's changed more of my personal life to what we were doing. Without going into so many details, as a young guy on the road, you make certain choices to do certain things. And just because you're not on the road doesn't mean you don't bring those things home with you. It's changed my lifestyle personally at home, the way that I look at my kids. Just last night, my son came up to me crying, and I said, why are you crying? He said, because I really miss uncle Lance. It's just really hard to explain to a 5-year-old that he's gone and that he's in heaven. My son knows that, but it still really bothers him because he was his uncle Lance.
And anytime he watches wrestling DVDs of me, it was always me and uncle Lance. When he seen daddy, he seen uncle Lance. And it's made me appreciate more of what I got, and made me more thankful for what I've got at home. It's made me focus more on the health of my body because even though we're wrestlers and we work out, we're not indestructible, especially when you look at Lance. That guy from the outside in was physically in 10 times better shape than I was. He had everything and died at 29 and left two little girls at home who are not going to have their daddy.
My wife used to call Lance the other woman because on our off time, we'd be talking to each other every day while we were at home. We were more than just business partners. We were friends, brothers.
My kids called him uncle Lance. He was just an extremely treasured
friend who a lot of times I wish were still here today. A lot of times, I
catch myself dialing up his number, like holy crap. He's not going to
be on the other line. It just sucks. I miss him a great deal.
There's a lot out there about wrestlers dying young. Are you concerned about going out on the road?
No. I'm in complete control of my life. I'm the one that says yes or no to things. Granted, being on the road, it does get hectic. It does play tricks on your mind. The difference between then and now is then I didn't know any better. I didn't know what to expect. I didn't know what to do. I didn't know what was going to happen. At one point, I thought, am I always going to be on the road? Am I always going to be away from my family? It really drives you crazy. And you start to separate from your family because you don't want to hurt anymore from being away from them.
But now I know what to expect. I know what's ahead of me. I know that's not going to be my life forever. Granted, I'm going to miss out on some things with my kids, but you can't be there for everything. I come from a broken home and I always told myself that if I ever had children, I was never going to put them through what I went through, which at one point was being one parent, and then it got to be without both parents. And I had a lot of guilt personally because I felt like I was doing it to my kids. But I was doing it intentionally. I was making the choice to walk out that door to leave for the week and come home for two days. I was a weekend daddy.
God love my wife, she was extremely supportive. She knew that I wasn't a part-time dad, that I was trying to take care of my family and follow my dream -- something that I'd been working for since I was 18. But it really wore on me after a while.
When I finally did get the call and was released, a part of me was extremely relieved. Having my son was one of the greatest things. I always wanted to have a son. I always wanted to have a mini me. And I had found out that my wife was pregnant three months before I got my job with WWE.
But I was able to coordinate my schedule that I was there for his birth. I came home off the road, picked up my wife, went to the hospital, had my son. I was at the hospital with my wife for three days. I brought them home, put my son in the crib, packed up my bags, gave my wife a kiss and left for my first 18-day Europe tour. That was how the first two and half years with my son began. I would come home on Tuesday and I was out by Friday. And the time when I finally got released, I was able to focus on building a relationship with my son. I already had a daughter, and she knew who daddy was, but my son knew me only two days a week. So I was really happy that I was able to hang out with my son and do things with my son and get to know him and him get to know me. We created a bond, and we have that now. He's daddy's boy, and that rocks.
Are there guys in Metro Pro standing out to you?
There are quite a few guys who are standing out to me. Guys like Mark Sterling, Derek Stone, Michael Strider. Guys that are going out there and leaving it all in the ring every night. Jeremy Wyatt. Guys that are going out there and that are really trying to make Metro Pro more than an independent. They're trying to make it a place to be.
Trevor Murdoch's farewell show with Metro Pro Wrestling at the Turner Rec Center is Friday night. Doors open at 6 p.m., and the matches start at 7 p.m.