Ring of Honor star Steve Corino recently appeared on Vince Russo’s The Brand podcast, which you can listen to in full at this link, and below are some interview highlights:
On His Son, Colby Corino Being a Character in Pro Wrestling:
Believe it or not, I think a lot of influences of him trying to be different is Dustin Rhodes. Being a second generation wrestler, you have that little bit of shadow with his father Dusty; Colby was worried that he was always going to be “Steve’s son,” and smartened up enough to realize that he needs his own niche, and with dying his hair a certain way, with his tattoos, and living a different lifestyle that he does, I think it makes people go, oh wow, he’s “Steve’s son,” but I can be “Colby’s dad” within a year or two because he’s doing what he needs to do. He’s getting out there and in a world in pro wrestling that is filled with “wrestlers,” he’s trying to be a character and, you know, he has that wrestling style to fall back on just in case they say, “hey look, we don’t like the Ugly Duckling thing,” and it’ll be there where he can show his wrestling skills. Rob [Killjoy] and Lance [Lude], the other members of the Ducklings, are all great supporting characters, and fit well with each other. And you can see, depending on where they’re at..there’s one leader and two supporting players, but it depends on where they’re at. In each state one becomes the leader, and I’ve never seen a three man group like that, where there’s one leader and two supporting players, but these guys are different, which is why they’re a success. They’re trying to do something different, but in professional wrestling there’s that never-ending battle of what is going to work. I just came back from a four day tour of New Japan Pro Wrestling. The heel was supposed to be Naito, but he’s got such a Stone Cold Steve Austin following right now, that is he not only NOT getting any heat, but he’s a superstar where they’re hoping that he was going to be the next big heel to go against Okada and Tanahashi, now it’s like, man, what do we do with him now? He can take a crap and everyone is going to cheer, so it’s all that character development that he has. When he was just Naito, the babyface, they could care less about him. I believe it’s a character-driven business because I believe people need something to fully believe in, or not believe in, or not believe in; something that is over-the-top. I like that balance: you have your wrestlers and you have your characters. I like the different body styles because I look at wrestling as a TV Show that should have all this comedy, drama, action, and you look at it like a movie; it’s like three movies on one TV Show, so I think guys try to think outside the box. I read something a few weeks ago where it said, “what if we just eliminate the box?” I think that’s what Colby is trying to do. He’s trying to eliminate the box, and try something that might work. If the Ducks don’t work, he’ll only be around 20 years old and doing something else.
On Whether He Wanted Colby to Get Into the Wrestling Business:
Yeah, I think it’s because he grew up in the wrestling business. He’s seen a lot of stuff that he probably shouldn’t have seen as a kid. You’ve seen second generation guys come and become messes. Whether it’d be drugs, or that wrestling craziness, but Colby has always been grounded; he’s wanted to be a professional wrestler since he was 3 years old, and I look back at some of the stuff I did; As I came back from Japan, I’m talking to the younger guys, and would say to them, “man, when I was here during your age,” but then I remind myself that I can’t tell Colby some of the things I did, and I consider myself pretty laid back. I understand what you were saying about, what some people call, the bitterness. I don’t think it’s a bitterness, it’s like, you just want wrestling to be good and people ruin it for you. It’s not a bitterness that you have, it’s a constant want for it to get better, because if you really hated it, we wouldn’t be talking about it right now; you would be doing something else right now.
On His Professional Wrestling Experience:
I agree with you. I think that’s why I have been laid back over the years. I don’t speak up publicly, or cry and complain on Twitter. You’ll see guys who have been in the wrestling industry for over twenty years, never done anything, begin to cry and complain and say that they were this or that, and I’m sitting there like..look, just because you never made it to WWE doesn’t mean you weren’t any good. It’s like, for example, there are probably a ton of actors that are better than Robert DeNiro, but they never got that shot. So, just be happy that you were able to do something that you loved. I had a career that, you know, of course I would have loved to be paid by Vince McMahon every week, but I didn’t, and instead of being bitter, I created my own brand. I spent years in Japan, I have been with Ring of Honor off and on since the start. I evolved my character more than 5 or 6 times because I didn’t want to be that old guy. I wanted to be that guy who was trying other things. I don’t want to be that ex-ECW guy who couldn’t get on the horse. I have loved this business since I was 8 years old. I always look at it as an opportunity to enjoy it. I was that nerdy kid who used to go to the wrestling shows, and if you would have told a 13 year old Steve Corino that he would do 1-100th of the things I have done with the 22 years of experience, I would laugh. I told Shane Douglas this; Shane Douglas exposed the business to me. He always laughs, but he wrestled Playboy Buddy Rose in a dark match of Summer Slam 90. I somehow scored front row tickets. I was 17 in 1990. I always knew wrestling was a work, but I didn’t know, and Shane is about to make his comeback to Buddy Rose, and I hear Buddy tell Shane to give me a backdrop, and instead of the magic being gone, I told myself that I wanted to be a Magician. I wanted to be a part of that “secret society” that they’re in. I’ve enjoyed every bit of it. Eight months ago, I was told that my in-ring career was over and I needed that neck surgery was going to put me out for a year. I worked hard and made changes in my life, I was back in 4 months, feeling better at 43 than I did at 27.