I saw Mark Andrews at the NSW show a week and a half ago – in my report, I called him “a sparky little face” and made a note of his name.
After the show, I asked whether he’d be interested in doing an interview with me. He said yes, we swapped phone numbers, and then the next day my phone exploded at the Smackdown house show.
So I dropped him a line on Facebook, and he said he’d still be up for the interview, although he was very busy with his university studies at the moment. These British indy wrestlers and their academia…
First of all, what are you studying at university – and how are you getting on? Is it tough to combine study with your wrestling commitments?
I’m currently studying creative technology at the University of Glamorgan in Cardiff, and it’s going pretty well! In my second year now, and only occasionally missing lectures for matches!
How did you get in to wrestling in the first place?
Everyone loves pro wrestling as a kid, and I think I was the only one out of my childhood group of friends who never outgrew it. At age 13 I found that NWA Hammerlock ran local classes every other week, so from then on it was a big priority in my life, trying to get in as much training as possible, and travelling up to Kent three times a year for five-day camps to learn off of other trainers, including Zack Sabre, John Ryan, Paul Tracey and Andre Baker.
And how did you start developing your character?
As I started wrestling so young, by the time I had debuted on shows I just didn’t look old enough to be in the ring, so I wore a mask to hide the obvious age difference between myself and other workers. With the mask on, my trainers and I decided on the name “Lightning Kid” – yep, it’s been used a hundred times already… Once I got to 18 years old and wanted to drop the mask, I figured a name change was in order too, so I used “White Lightning” as a reference to my previous work.
Your ring gear definitely makes you stand out – do you design that yourself?
I design most of my gear myself, and I always try to use vibrant colours to match my character. With the peroxide blonde hair, and what I hope is a classed as a decent tan, I try to stand out on every show I’m on with my appearance, so the crowd are invested in me before I’ve even stepped into the ring.
Haha, I’m glad someone’s noticed! I’ve always been interested in the marketing behind pro wrestling, and ever since I debuted I’ve been producing merchandise to sell at shows. Instead of getting a part-time job at school, I’d just sell foam fingers and masks at the local shows I worked on. DEFEND is a project that myself, Eddie Dennis and Pete Dunne have been wanting to start up for a while. It’s gotten off to a great start with 50+ shirts being sold within the first month of sales, and we plan on keeping this ball rolling with more designs, merchandise and general promotion to get the brand more well known.
And you’re all over the social media thing too – do you see that as an important tool for younger indy wrestlers to get noticed?
Definitely. I think that the internet is literally the best way to market yourself in pro wrestling in this day and age. I used to get totally ripped on backstage for filming all my matches and making little music compilations of them to put online, but I figured that the local match I would have had in front of 50 kids could be viewed by thousands of wrestling fans around the world online. It all helps gain exposure, which is what’s needed in pro wrestling to be successful.
Who are your favourite colleagues to work in the ring with?
I always love getting in the ring with Andy Wild from Scotland, as we began training together years ago at the Hammerlock camps in Kent, so it’s always nice to see how far we’ve come since then. It’s always a privilege to have a match with either of my trainers, Mike Bird and Zack Sabre, and I feel I have good chemistry with both Mike Hitch and Pete Dunne whenever we lock horns.
And who would your dream opponent be?
I would love to get in the ring with some of my idols, such as Kota Ibushi, El Generico, Johnny Saint, Mike Quackenbush and Taiji Ishimori. However, I would only like to be thrown into a match with one of these guys if I knew I was ready to keep up with them in the ring.
So what’s next for you?
The rest of the year is full of ATTACK! Pro Wrestling bookings – the three-day weekend in Birmingham, and the show in Cardiff, which will hopefully be something special in my home town!