Now more than ever, WWE is looking to the independent scene to fill their roster. AiPT! spoke with independent wrestler Randy Terrez about the current indie scene and some of his experiences.
AiPT!: How did you get started?
Randy Terrez: Believe it or not, I was never really interested in wrestling when I was a kid. I was always that big video game nerd. One day I’m running around Cielo Vista Mall and they used to have an arcade there and I came across the WrestleMania arcade game. Seeing that kind of game with that kind of style really interested me. I got hooked on playing that game and began to watch wrestling religiously. But it wasn’t until high school senior year that tried out for the wrestling team. (Laughs) Of course, I got pinned right away. My first year of college there was going to be a lucha libre show and as soon as I got there I sat in the front row and was enamored by all the guys. Every time someone came out of I asked how do I get started; everyone ignored ne or just told me to come to the next show. (Laughs) I went to four shows and finally bumped into Hurricane Hector who is one of the main trainers in El Paso. He told me to come on down and if I liked it then I should stick with it.
AiPT!: How long was your training?
Randy Terrez: Most schools around the area will train for six months and will put you out there. For some it takes a few years. Hurricane Hector told me whenever you grab it and you can defend yourself and not embarrass yourself, we will let you out there. He had put students out in a year or two, sometimes ten months. A lot of people were jealous of me since I was ready in five months. I had my first match and was nervous and my parents and brother were there. When I won and the crowd cheered it was the greatest feeling in the world.
AiPT!: What were your goals when you broke into the business?
Randy Terrez: At the time, it was just to have fun. I could already see myself making it on the big scene. After a while, I thought to myself this might be just a local thing. And then something clicked. People started telling me that I was never going to be more than a local wrestler and I began to want to prove people wrong. I started to go to seminars. I saw Dr. Tom Prichard. I started testing myself. That’s when I had the tryout with OVW. Being over there I got to work with Al Snow, Danny Davis, Jim Cornette. Jeff Jarrett came down a couple of times. The best advice I was given was to keep pestering WWE even if they aren’t getting back to you right now.
AiPT!: How long were you in OVW? What was the environment like?
Randy Terrez: I went to the tryout in December 2010 and was there for four years. The environment was completely different because everyone took it so seriously. I guess it was because nobody lived in Louisville. No one had their family there so, we ended up becoming our own family. I remember having Thanksgiving with them and it was a good feeling. The environment there versus what I was used to — there was so much drive. Everyone took care of each other and there wasn’t a problem with egos. Some people worried because I was bringing something different since they were traditional southern wrestling and my style was high flying and flashy. The crowd loved it and some wondered why I was getting so much attention. Cornette tells me I’m going to be a bad guy because I have a heelish look. I tried but everyone seemed to like me so eventually I became a fan favorite.
AiPT!: Do you prefer playing face or heel?
Randy Terrez: Honestly, I prefer being face. I like interacting with fans. I like to go out there and shake hands. We had a bus load of mentally handicapped children come down to OVW every Wednesday and they are the sweetest kids and just interacting with them was such a rewarding experience; I couldn’t break their hearts. I’m not putting anyone down but in some places people have a style that prevents them from adapting. In the back when you go over the match it has to be X X Y X Z. Everything has to be in a specific order. In those cases, I prefer heel so I can move them around.
AiPT!: Do you see yourself as more of a mentor now?
Randy Terrez: I have been in wrestling for seventeen years and really enjoy training. I’ve been invited to do seminars, which is an honor. I help with Hurricane Hector’s students. They come to me and ask questions and pick my brain. Sometimes I get calls from previous students thanking me and it feels good to get them. At OVW I helped trained the intermediate course. At the time [Nick] Dinsmore (Eugene in WWE) was doing the beginner’s class and Rip Rogers was doing advanced. I take pride in helping others.
AiPT!: Jim Cornette is infamous for his rants. Do you have any funny Cornette stories?
Randy Terrez: The most hilarious thing is to hear Cornette talk about Vince Russo. And he says, “I hope he dies a horrible death in front of his family.” He said this with complete sincerity. Other than that, backstage he was the nicest guy in the world to talk to. He would explain what he wants with camera positioning and I just absorbed everything he said.
AiPT!: How hard is it to balance road life with your personal life?
Randy Terrez: Believe it or not, I didn’t think it was too complicated. Yeah, there was a couple times when things would get rough because I was on TV and going to class while they weren’t doing anything. Or sometimes they thought that I don’t want children, but I do want children and when it happens it happens. Ultimately, the downfalls of my relationships have had nothing to do with wrestling.
AiPT!: We talked a little about OVW and WWE has given you some looks. What does the future hold?
Randy Terrez: I had a tryout for EVOLVE last June and that went well. I did a three-day camp with the Monster Factory last March and still talk to the guys there. Right now, the main focus is England. I have been talking with Andy Baker.
AiPT!: What was it like doing your first TV taping?
Randy Terrez: I was nervous trying to figure out where the camera was. [Laughs] It was different because there was no crowd where the camera was but I’m trying to pump up the section of the crowd where no one was at. You also learn really quick to never cuss again since it was a family show.
AiPT!: What is your opinion on the current state of independent wrestling?
Randy Terrez: It’s strong. Of course, some states are stronger than others. WWE watches everywhere: EVOLVE, PWG, New Japan and it’s making everyone work harder. But it’s also making people more jealous. The old school brotherhood is dying and we need to preserve it.
For anyone interested in booking Randy Terrez, he can be contacted at BookRandyTerrez@yahoo.com or found on Twitter @OfficialRandyTerrez. Randy can also be found on Facebook. Randy is also a Sponsored Athlete of Al Snow’s Collar and Elbow Wrestling Brand. They can be found at collarandelbowbrand.com. Use promo code “Terrez” for a discount.