Tuesday, 31 May 2005

Interview with April Hunter

Some of you may know of April Hunter through her modelling work, but a great deal of people visiting this web site will know April Hunter through her career as a professional wrestler, a short career that has taken in tours of Britain, Japan, Puerto Rico, Mexico and a brief stint in World Championship Wrestling. I had the opportunity to talk to April recently.
April, thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule for this interview.
Hi-thanks for being so patient about getting it back!
Let's start at the beginning, some background info, where you're from, that sort of thing.
I was born in Philadelphia, but have lived all over, including a stay in London England for a short bit. Currently, I live in Connecticut.
Your association with the wrestling business began when you worked for World Championship Wrestling, as one of the NWO girls. What was it like working in WCW at that time?
Disorganized, but fun.
We've all heard the stories about the locker room unrest in WCW at the time. Where any of these stories true?
From what I saw, I'd say yes.
After appearing as one of the NWO girls, the plan was to send you to WCW's training facility, The Power Plant. But this plan fell through. Why?
One of the people I was to go train with got injured, so it was put on hold. A short time later, I had an interview with WWF(E) and was referred to Killer Kowalski's Wrestling School in Boston.
Why did you leave WCW?
I think it was Feb or March of 2000. I was off TV-they didn't know what to do with me-and I had what I call a "centerfold mentality". Which is, to always current...in print or on TV. My thoughts were if they weren't using me, I could be doing something else. I didn't know anything about paying dues at the time, so it wasn't the smartest thing I've ever done.
When did you decide that you wanted to try and find another wrestling school, and how did you come across Killer Kowalski's school?
Oops, answered that one already.
How would you describe Kowalski as a trainer?
He was the mainstay at the school, but Slyk Wagner Brown was actually the trainer there. The combination of both was great, because we students got both old and new school training. Kowalski would watch every session, and if you didn't catch on quickly enough, here he'd come...up to the ring, while yelling, "Hey, STUPID!" You knew you were in trouble if you saw Killer getting out of his seat!
How hard, or easy, was the training?
It's the hardest thing I've ever done. You hurt, and I was unprepared for just how much. You hurt in your muscles from the work outs, and you hurt topically from being bruised and battered. And your ego hurts, from not being able to get things right the first time. It's extremely hard.
How long did you train before your first professional match?
About 6-7 months. I worked as a manager every weekend, but couldn't get much work wrestling. Mostly because there weren't many opponents available, but also because I think people looked at me and just saw boobs! They didn't think I'd be able to do anything in the ring but catfight, so I wasn't given a chance until I did an NWA TNA ppv vs. Alan "Bruce" Funk, which was one of my first matches. He beat the crap out of me, but it was good for me. People saw it and knew I really did want to do this.
What were your feelings going into your first professional match?
A combination of being extremely nervous and psyched up at the same time. I still feel the same way most nights!
Who was your first match against, and how would you rate your performance in that match?My very first match was against fellow Kowalski student, Amanda Storm. Then a mixed tag vs. Dawn Marie and Simon Diamond. Then 'Tough Enough' Taylor, and then live ppv TV vs. Funk.
You not only work as a wrestler, but as the manager for "Slyk" Wagner Brown as well. When did you meet Slyk, and when did you decide to form your team?
I met Slyk at school and managed him on my very first indy show. It worked with the crowd so we kept working together.
You've both achieved a great deal of success as a team, even becoming the first inter-gender team to win a recognised tag-team championship, for Jersey All-Pro Wrestling. How would you rate Slyk not just as a wrestler, but also as a tag-team partner?

Slyk gave up a full scholarship he got from amateur wrestling to pro wrestle instead. He's one of the most underrated wrestlers around, solid from the mat to the air, can work a variety of styles, and is one of the only 6'2" / 235 lb. guys who can do a shooting star press. Don't take my word for it, though...check him on videos or his site.
Your career has taken you on several overseas tours as well, most notably to Japan and Britain. What were your experiences of wrestling in Japan, and who were your toughest opponents while there?
Japan is VERY difficult. The style of match is much harder hitting, faster paced and with the language barrier, it's a real challenge. I'm very happy to have been asked back so many times. All my opponents were tough. They don't make it as wrestlers there unless they're willing to give up everything at a young age, including school, and move into the dojo to train full time, so they take wrestling very seriously. Mima Shimoda, Momeo Nakanisi, Akino, Hotta, Mariko Yoshida & Leo-na were probably my favorite opponents.
Last year your toured Britain with Brian Dixon's All-Star Wrestling company. Brian gets quite a lot of hassle over here in Britain for his promotion methods. What was your relationship with Brian like, and how would you describe him as a promoter?
Brian's always been professional towards me. As a promoter, he seems to do well enough because his venues seem to draw a good crowd. We didn't see eye to eye on his back stage pass thing...I think part of the allure of the indies is that the fans get to meet their favorite wrestlers. Plus with the lack of money on this level, being able to do meet-and-greets really helps financially and he's eliminated this yet not really made up for it in the pay check. Aside from that, I've always enjoyed working for him. He's always provided me with solid female opponents, which I appreciate.
What other experiences did you take from wrestling in Britain, and who was the toughest Brit you faced during your tour here?
I love the fact that there are shows several days a week. In the US, we only get to work the weekends. I enjoyed all the girls there, from Klondyke Kate (who is an amazing worker) to Lisa Fury to Ashely Paige. I'd have to say Sweet Saraya was my toughest opponent, though. I also enjoyed working a young girl named Jetta who seems to have a lot of potential.
Were you able to adapt to the different styles of wrestling while touring in Britain and Japan, and did you learn anything from these styles?
Yep, definitely. I love traveling for that reason.
Do you have any plans to return to either of these countries in the near future?
I'm supposed to be in Puerto Rico and Mexico soon, possibly China as well. No immediate plans for Britain or Japan as of yet, but I think Slyk may be in Ireland soon.
Of course, wrestling isn't the only career you're known for, you've also carved yourself a career as a model. What sort of response have you had from those inside the modelling industry with regards to your wrestling career?
Luckily, it's the other way around. Modeling doesn't follow wrestling; wrestling follows modeling, so it's worked to my advantage.

Do you find it difficult to juggle both careers, or are you planning to concentrate on one career, forgoing the other?

I'm a wrestler first now. The only modeling I do is for my own web site. My fans stay in touch with me that way or come to the live shows. I occasionally will take a modeling job if I'm traveling for a show...most recently, I shot an action movie called "Battlefield" in Japan opposite Shinya Hashimoto. That should be out soon. There's a 'behind-the-scenes' video of it posted on my site in the free "Wrestler" area.
How do you prepare for your matches, what sort of training regime do you go through to prepare?
I just warm up, pray no one gets hurt and go!
Many of the other wrestlers I've interviewed have had embarrassing stories to tell from their time on the road. Do you have any you'd like to share with us today?
Well, I've already been naked, so there's not much more embarrasing than that.
Who would be your dream opponent, and why?
Jacqueline. She's one of the women who influenced me to get into wrestling and I find her amazing. She has the strong-yet-sexy look down and wrestles like a man in the ring. I'd also love to face Dean Malenko. He's always been one of my favorite wrestlers.
A lot of wrestlers have commented over the past couple of years about the supposed negative effect the Internet has on the wrestling industry. Do you think this is the case, and have you had any experience of the so-called "smart marks" during your wrestling career?
I have...there's nothing quite like the "you [censored]ed up" chant...I think the 'net is both good and bad. It's bad for storylines and keeping suprises. It's good for promoting, reaching fans and getting your name out there when you don't have TV exposure.
Looking at the overall picture, what's your opinion of the current state of the wrestling business, and what would you do to change it?
There are a lot of little things that could be changed, but I think if it were run more like a business-with the end goal to make money-then it will do all right.
Where do you see yourself in five-to-ten years time?
I have no idea. I'm an opportunist and just tend to run with the ball and see where it takes me.
Where can wrestling fans see you in the upcoming weeks and months?
I'm all over the place. Check my site, www.aprilhunter.com, sign up for my free newsletter, too!
Anything else you'd like to plug while we're here?
Nope, but thanks!
April, it's been a pleasure. Thank you for your time, and good luck with your career.
Thank you!!