If there is a true king of independent wrestling, a strong case can be made for Colt Cabana.
The multifaceted performer has traveled the globe and built a solid reputation that allows him to work regularly.
Cabana just returned from a three week tour of Japan for Pro-Wrestling NOAH. The journeyman heads down to Miami and the Miami Airport Convention Center for the upstart RONIN Pro Wrestling on Sunday, Nov. 16. No matter what country he is in, his goal is always entertaining the crowd.
“I had some of the best matches I’ve ever had in Japan, which is cool because I have been going there since 2006,” Cabana said. “It was really good for NOAH. Everyone is really supportive. NOAH is really behind me, as well as other Americans going to Japan on a regular basis. So I was really proud to be a part of it.
“My style of wrestling is a hybrid of a lot of different things. I feel it’s very unique and what makes me, me. Obviously, I’m not able to be very verbal with the crowd over in Japan. In saying that, I try to stick with what got me there. For the most part, no matter where I am, I try to go with what got me to where I’m at.
“They seem to really dig it. It’s a lot more physical there. I’m me and outgoing and charismatic and put humor in the correct places during a wrestling show for the entertainment aspect. However, it’s very physical in Japan. I’m not afraid to go toe-to-toe with any of the guys, but that has always been the case with anyone I’ve wrestled when the scenario called for it…”
RONIN got a nice start earlier this year in a somewhat challenging South Florida market. For Cabana, there will always be wrestling fans who love wrestling. The independent scene has been the alternative to the mainstream.
“I think it gets better for independent wrestling because we are coming in as a society where it’s becoming niche oriented. With the internet, the power of the internet, the more it grows for consumers. The directness to a consumer, it’s the best it has ever been, and it’s going to get better.
“Gone are the days in the music industry of buying a giant album from the giant labels. It’s such a direct market now, where it goes right to the consumer. Because of that, it’s the power of the independents right now. It will be interesting to see in five years. Now we can go to the consumer, aka the wresting fan, through the internet, social media and podcasts, YouTube. We are able to find our own audience and people who like us.
“Everything has its pros and cons. It’s great I can make my own schedule. It’s great that I have the freedom to do whatever I want. However, you can sit here with Dolph Ziggler and The Miz, and they’ll tell you reasons why it’s great to be in WWE. It’s all perspective and how you look at it.”
Cabana has competed in a variety of companies worldwide. This includes his brief run as Scotty Goldman in WWE. Since his release in 2009, he most recently had another tryout for the company in 2013. Needless to say Cabana is open to business inquires, but isn’t waiting for the phone to ring.
“As unsecure the independents are, I’ve almost built myself a secure position in this world,” he said. “I’m always happy to listen to what people have to say. It’s not like the big guys are climbing down my doors, so in saying that, there is nothing right now. Though if the opportunity arises, of course I’ll listen to it.”
WWE has made numerous changes to its developmental program since Cabana was under contract. Among them is the way the company handles name changes for talent with an existing reputation or persona.
“As a wrestler’s wrestler, I think of course you should keep their names,” Cabana said. “The ones they built up through the years of hard work. As a corporation, I can understand how they want their own guys. I think they are going about it the right way. Compared to times in the past, where you say Low Ki is Kaval, and that’s all he is.
“I like how they presented these guys where it’s now, ‘Hey, Prince Devitt is coming. Kevin Steen is coming in. Hey, Kenta is coming in. Kenta was this in Japan. Now he is going to be moving forward and creating his own legacy in WWE.’ For so long WWE pretended things in the past didn’t happen. I think it is important, and I think now they are at least acknowledging that they have a past and stuff outside of their universe.”
When it comes to building a brand as a pro wrestler, Cabana can be seen as a trailblazer. He launched his “Art of Wrestling” podcast before the likes of Bill Goldberg, Roddy Piper, Jim Ross, Steve Austin and Chris Jericho.
“I started my podcast in 2010,” he said. “At that point, I thought maybe in 2011 this explosion was going to happen. Luckily, I got basically a four-year jump on everybody. I saw it happening. I knew it was going to happen, but didn’t expect wrestling to take so long. I’ve always known wrestling to be five minutes behind the times, but didn’t expect it to take this long. However, it’s the same with anything and any kind of concept. I think it’s great that if they need an outlet.
“I needed an outlet. WWE had fired me. Ring of Honor fired me. TNA brought me in for a tryout and didn’t see anything in me. I needed an outlet because I thought I did have something to say and did have an audience and found that audience through podcasting. If there are other people, and that’s the way they need to find their audience, I think it’s great.
“Just like anything, the cream will rise. It’s also not just the cream. I’m not fighting to get the most listeners. I’m fighting to get the right listeners. I really just want people who understand me and like me and enjoy me. This is my way to talk to them. Hopefully, that is what the other podcasts are doing. Hopefully, they find the people that appreciate them.”
Good friend CM Punk has been a frequent guest on “Art of Wrestling” from Cabana’s famed studio apartment. The Chicagoan remains a hot topic of discussion regarding his future after leaving WWE earlier this year.
“When Punk wants to talk, he will talk,” Cabana said. “That’s not for me. I enjoy seeing him being happy right now. So that’s where I’ll leave it. I know he is very happy. Things are going well for him. When he wants to talk, I’m sure he will do it.”
The wrestling star looks forward to his first match ever in Miami at the RONIN show. He remembers taking a trip down from Tampa to South Florida with Trent Barreta for a few day jaunt.
- Visit http://www.coltcabana.com for everything Colt Cabana.
Follow him on Twitter @ColtCabana.
- Follow me on Twitter @smFISHMAN.
- See Colt Cabana at RONIN Pro Wrestling Sunday, Nov. 16 at the Miami Airport Convention Center, 711 NW 72nd Ave., 33126. Joel Gertner, Leva Bates, Joey Bricco, Alex Chamberlain, Solo Darling, Donovan, Edward Malken, Mikaze, BJ Murdoch, Shawn Prime, Justine Silver, Maxx Stardom, Jonny Vandal and more will also appear.
General Admission starts at $10 advance, $15 at the door. Purchase tickets at https://register.growtix.com/e/animate_miami.
RONIN Pro Wrestling is organized by the team behind Florida Superconwww.floridasupercon.com
and Animate! Miami www.animatemiami.com
which includes their very popular Florida Super Championship Wrestling events www.facebook.com/FSCWrestling.
Free general admission to RONIN with Animate! Miami ticket. V.I.P. upgrades also available.
Go to https://register.growtix.com/e/animate_miami to get an Animate! Miami ticket and upgrades.
A Weekend Pass or Sunday ticket to Animate! Miami also gets free general admission to the RONIN show, and the option to purchase first, second and third row upgrades.
- Check out Colt Cabana at the Hell Yes Fest! Saturday, Nov. 15 in New Orleans.
Visit http://www.hellyesfest.com/for details.
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