The kimono cladded trio were currently finishing up a stint in Japan and they were gracious enough to take the time for the following conversation in which we cover a wide range of topics: how they became fans, how they got their start into the wild world of professional wrestling, who their biggest influences are and much more. Below are a few quotes from The Rascalz, but you can hear the entire interview below via WrestleZone Radio (interview and transcription credit should go to @DominicDeAngelo of WrestleZone):
The Rascalz on how they got their start in the business:
DX: Honestly if it wasn’t for wrestling we never would have met each other and Ohio’s is kind of, it’s a big small state. It’s possible for you to run into people or know people that know other people, but for us to be as close as we are, we have to advocate wrestling for that reason.
I started training out in Maryland at Gillberg’s Pro Wrestling Academy. I went to his school, I trained out there in Maryland and then I moved back home to Ohio, stopped wrestling for a bit and then I ran into the crew at Rockstar and ran into this son-of-a-bitch right here [points to Wentz].
ZW: There was a company in my hometown Lima [OH] and I always helped set up the ring and everything and they promised me like ‘oh we’re gonna get a school, we’re gonna train you, we’re gonna train you.’ Two years of this and then finally one of the wrestlers was like ‘you know there’s a school in Dayton, OH called Rockstar Pro Academy, why don’t you down there? Dave Crist is the trainer. He’s been all around the world, ROH and all that, so me and my friend Clayton Gainz we ended up going down and training and the rest is history. Met these guys.
DX: After we punched each other in the face a couple times.
TM: Zach and I had the weirdest connection ever. So I’m from Toledo, OH and I was helping train at a school called NOW and they were doing pretty good shows at the time. They started booking Dave Crist and of course he brought Zach everywhere he went. The first three times Zach and I met I mean from head to toe, we had the exact same outfit on. I think the last time it happened Dave was just like ‘….are you guys f*cking with me?’
One time I was supposed to wrestle Dave and he goes ‘nah, I think you should wrestle the kid’ and then Zach and I had a match and just afterwards (we were still in matching clothes) and something just clicked. And we used to always go to this restaurant called Nick & Jimmy’s after the shows in Toledo, it was a tradition, and we just kept hitting it off and then before I knew it Dez came up to a show. Dez and I had a match and same thing happened with us.
ZW: And then Dez and I had a match at a seminar actually. Had no clue who each other were and had that one match and then afterwards we were like ‘yo, this is something special. We have something here.’
DX: “Ohio Is 4 Killers” [OI4K] is kind of where we really cut our teeth. We were under the wing of Dave, Jake [Crist] and Sami [Callihan] and they taught us a lot. They really did. They showed us the ropes, they showed us how you should be inside and outside the ring and as they started to kind of get back into their groove and do their thing, we had not choice but to start doing it on our own and everything just started clicking. We started figuring out what works and what doesn’t work for us. Now we’re just having fun. We’re just really having fun and we’re trying to continue push the envelope in a safe way and make sure we continue to be a unique team, whether it be singles or a tag team or trios.
The Rascalz on what they learned from participating and showing face during WrestleMania weekend in New Orleans:
DX: I think that’s something that a lot people don’t realize is that you really have to start taking chances in wrestling. Actually go out of your comfort zone. There are a lot of people that lost a lot of money WrestleMania weekend, but they gained so much in networking and just being able to make face with promoters and other wrestlers that are on a different platform than they are and gave them that opportunity to possibly blossom into something that’s bigger than what they currently are.
ZW: WrestleMania weekend that’s like the first time I actually got to talk to people from IMPACT during the show. I made it a point to be there so I can do that and luckily I got to go backstage and got to really converse with people. Being able to show face right there definitely I feel like helped.
TM: Showing face is like so important and so many people just overlook it like ‘oh if I’m not booked why am I going? I’m not going to make money’, but just showing face, maybe helping out a little bit, shaking hands and having a smile and just showing that you genuinely care about where you are and the people that are surrounding you, so much can happen from that.
ZW: Dave & Sami always hammered it in, like that’s something you need to do, is be a good person, show face and don’t expect anything because this business doesn’t owe you anything so if you want it you have to go out and get it. I’m so thankful for that they really hammered that idealogy in our heads.
DX: There’s a lot of people that will get put into those positions where they have the opportunity to make a name for themselves but they don’t know proper locker room etiquette, or they don’t know how to address people with tact without offending anybody and causing heat, and luckily we were able to be underneath the wings of people that have been to the levels that we wanted to get to. They passed along that knowledge to us and now we’re in a position that we can be able to helping out that next generation.
The Rascalz on the creation and of their instant classic “That 70’s Show” style vignette:
ZW: It was all of us collectively really, man. Like that’s our baby. It’s our style.
TM: A lot of our ideas start with ‘you know what I think is funny?’ That’s the gist of a lot of what we do. Is like ‘you know what would really pop the boys?’
DX: I mean, honestly, if we’re having fun, it translates over into whatever it is that we’re doing and I feel that that’s one things fan love about us is that we’re always having fun. Even if we’re even like in a gritty, disgusting, fight style match, we’re still having fun because we all like that, but at the same time we love to have those comedy matches and we like to show our personality and things like that.
On why Zachary is the ‘badass’ of the group:
ZW: I did amateur wrestling for years even in college and ju-jitsu for years and I was also in MMA, I did MMA fighting for a little while. That’s basically it.
DX: He got told that he could not do it any more because he was too violent so…
ZW: Ref pulled me off too many times. I was an angry teenager, alright?
On Trey being at ringside for The Rascalz IMPACT debut:
TM: I Flavor Flav’ed The Public Enemy when I have to be, bro. There was no ill will, we’re here for a set amount of days, I have my matches, I’d love to be out there. When they told me that I could do I was like ‘sweet! I’m gonna kick it with my bros and when they win I’m gonna hop in that ring with them.’
Dez and Zach are two of my favorite wrestlers to watch so if I wasn’t a professional wrestler, being at ringside is an unaffordable ticket to anyone. So the fan in me was like ‘I get to lean against this IMPACT Wresting ring and watch my two favorite wrestlers wrestle,’ there’s nothing to be upset about.
DX: We’re all fans of each other. Outside of Pentagon and AJ Styles, these guys are my favorite wrestlers. I love watching their matches. I love seeing the creativity that they have and just the pure athleticism and charisma that they have it’s awesome. I love watching them.
On what they’ve learned from one another:
ZW: Dez has helped me with like, not so much like saying the choreography, but making everything groove and click just so crispy. And Trey helped me find that swag.
DX: Zach’s taught me how to bring out a bit of aggression because again, he’s the wild one and then again, Trey, he’s that natural charisma. No matter what he does, whether it’s a dropkick or stepping into the ring you just keep your eyes on him no matter what it is.
TM: For me, Zach taught me how to make things stick. If it doesn’t stick it doesn’t count. And Dez is a finesser. He taught me how to put that finesse on everything that you do, that groove, exactly what he said, like everything is smooth sailing. As smooth as it could be.
DX: We’re also each other’s biggest critiques as well. Like we have no problem sitting each other down and being like, ‘yo, you need to work on this, you need to work on this, maybe try this’ because again, we want each other to continue to grow and we all feel that each one of us has something special to add to professional wrestling and we want to make sure that everybody can see what it is that are going to be adding to professional wrestling.
The Rascalz on what they want to contribute to the wrestling business
TM: Bringing fun back to it. I don’t feel there’s not enough people that have as much fun as we do and it’s not a knock on anyone. It’s a business you should definitely take yourself seriously when you need to be, but you were always a fan first. I feel like people lose that aspect sometimes of being a fan of the product and they look for what’s wrong in the business all the time instead of what’s right about the business.
On repackaging different movesets and making it your own:
TM: I feel like we have an energy and a perspective that can kind of dumb that down [the negativity and anger] a little bit and make people more appreciative of the fact that we’re able to repackage gifts and give it to people in new ways and stuff like that but it’s just wrestling, it’s what we do. John Cena’s “Five Moves of Doom.” He doesn’t switch that up. He gets his reactions from people. He makes that connections with kids in the crowd.
DX: Many times we have wanted to quit, but we had people that have talked us off of ledges, we’ve had people that kept us on the straight and narrow and taught us the proper ways of doing things.
We want to leave behind a legacy of motivating others to continue to do this because never, ever want to see this beautiful beast of professional wrestling die. It’s something that has given us an amazing life. We can pay our bills, we can take trips, we can pay for things for our girlfriends because of professional wrestling and that’s something that a lot of are not able to do.
TM: We can buy kimonos.
Listen to the entire interview below where we talk about the significance of a good wrestling theme, our shared love for Billy Gunn, Japanese food and the necessity for hot sauce.