Monday, 12 May 2014

Interview with Martin Stone (FKA WWE NXT's Danny Burch)

Yesterday afternoon I had the pleasure of chatting to Martin Stone, who you may know as Danny Burch from WWE's NXT developmental show, but a lot of European fans may know him as Martin Stone, from his days before WWE working for the likes of IPW:UK, wXw and FWA amongst others.

It's been a while since we've had an interview on ATPW and hopefully we'll be seeing them a lot more regularly, I feel now that we are slightly more established and I am more confident at interview, we can aim a little higher than an e-mailed #FiveQuestionsWith interview. Hopefully you will agree! Of course, as usual I present below a quick profile on Martin Stone, the interview will begin below! 



Current Ring Name: Martin Stone
FKA: Danny Burch, Joe Riot, Mark Harris
Age: 32 years old
Height: 5' 11''
Weight: 242 lbs
Promotions Competed For: IPW:UK, wXw, FWA, 1PW, GSW, SAS, WWE, RQW, PWF, LDN and many more!

Titles and Accomplishements:
FWA World Heavyweight Champion, 1PW World Heavyweight Champion, Two Time IPW:UK Champion, FWA British Tag Team Champion (with Stixx), RQW Heavyweight Champion, Two Time LDN Champion, wXw World Tag Team Champion (with Doug Williams), GSW Tag Team Champion (with Matt Vaughan), 1PW Openweight Champion


The old classic #FiveQuestionsWith First Question, of course.

ATPW: How did you first get into professional wrestling as fan, and what lead you to becoming a pro wrestler yourself? (Okay I tweaked it)

Martin Stone: I first started watching wrestling when I was seven years old, with my cousin round my nan's house, cos she had Sky when it first came out. So we used to watch [WWF] Superstars and Wrestling Challenge on a Saturday and then I'd also watch the NWA stuff that was on TV as well. 

Then kind of lost touch with wrestling when I was about ten-eleven, because I'd been boxing for quite a few years anyway, so I started doing a lot of Martial Arts and got into cage fighting. Then it wasn't between 2000, there was match between [Chris] Benoit and [Eddie] Guerrero on Raw when The Radicalz split (Editors Note: Either their 3rd July 2000 bout over the European Title or possibly their 12th March 2001 bout, both on Raw) That was the match where I thought it'd be really good to get into wrestling, so I found a wrestling school! It was 2003 that I started training. 

ATPW: How did you signing with WWE come about? 

MS: I went down for a tryout in November 2009. Went down for two days with Kenneth Cameron or Bram as he's now known in TNA. There were a few people that were quite big on the UK scene at the time. I worked a match with Bram, then Arn Anderson called me over and said "I think you've got something. Can you come back in April?" I went back in April 2010 in the O2 Arena and got signed on the spot. Pretty much. They were like "This is your deal" 

And the it kinda went pear shaped. I didn't realise but I'd actually torn my ACL. I'd been wrestling on a torn ACL and a torn meniscus for eight years! So when I got to Pittsburgh and they did the tests and all the stuff they do, I failed the first time round with my knee. So I came back from there and went through hell trying to get it fixed, so I could take the test in Pittsburgh again and pass. Got all that sorted and went back to Sheffield in 2011 for the TV tapings and retried out, but didn't really have to. Then flew over here (Florida) 2012. June 3rd 2012. 

ATPW: It seems like a really long time, between WWE showing the interest and you finally getting over to the US. How did you find that?

MS: It was a real rough time trying to get that fixed. I went to a private surgeon and he basically charged me for just opening my knee and telling me what I'd already told him. Because of that I got put on the fast-track list on the NHS, because I'd just gone through the surgery the first time, I had to wait at least six months for the anaesthetic to leave my system. 

So, the whole process was about a year, which was really, really bad. To wait to get it fixed and then the uphill battle with ACL Rehab. ACL Rehab is horrible. What made it worse was that when I reported to FCW, I was here for four weeks and then my knee re-blew out, because they'd not fixed it properly. I was on the shelf pretty much straight away. I was out for six or seven months. 

ATPW: I can't imagine how frustrating that must have been at the time!

MS: Oh, at that point, obviously I'm away from home. I'd had all my family around me when I went through the rehab process last time. For ACL it's real long battle. It's horrible. There were a few times when I was like "You know what, I'm gonna go home", because I didn't know if I'd be able to do the rehab. On my own pretty much, because I hadn't made that many friends here yet, because I'd here for four weeks. But I got through it. 

ATPW: So once we got the knee sorted, how did you find your time in NXT?

MS: I had an absolute blast, for the last two years. I've met so many people, I've got real close to a few friends. Norman Smiley is the greatest trainer, I've ever had the pleasure of being with. Such a great guy, just a real, genuine, human being. You really don't meet many people like that. An absolute fountain of knowledge. 

People see him doing the Wiggle and the Hardcore matches, that's not who Norman Smiley is. If you can get a chance and you can look him up, go on Youtube and type in "Black Magic" and you'll see his stuff in Mexico and he is an absolute mat wizard master. He is so, so good. I had a good time here for sure definitely. 

ATPW: Do you feel you've improved as a wrestler or performer over your time in FCW and NXT?

MS: Funny enough, I can't really answer that until I start wrestling shows again. That might sound stupid, but it's then I'll really know. The main thing that I learnt from Norman was how to call matches on the fly, on the spot without the crowd seeing it. That's one of those key things that he's so good at.

So, I'm looking forward to putting that into practice. There's a lot of stuff that he does that's a way of thinking outside the box, rather than just thinking "Ok, this is a wrestling match. His whole teaching is on reaction, rather than selling. Just reaction to stuff. I'll know if I've improved because I'll be thinking things differently. Which is obviously to make you stand out and to make you different. So I'm looking forward to coming home and working shows with that kind of outlook now. 

ATPW: Do you have a particular favourite moment or moments from your time over in Florida?

MS: Training wise, I got going with Norman pretty much in the last year, so that's been great, because I was training every day, which with Norman is phenomenal. Before he was Tyler Breeze, he was Mike Dalton, he's one of the best workers down there by far! We had a month run of shows together and they were absolutely fantastic matches. The match before I blew my knee out, I worked Sakamoto, the guy who used to come out with Tensai, we had a real good match. That was really really good. It's been fun. 

I wouldn't say there's a key moment, because days tend to blur into one, your training all day long, then you hit the gym, then you come home and then your trying to get some sleep. Then obviously you're doing it all again the next day. Then you're travelling to shows. The weeks go really quick, it's kind of like being in limbo really! You're up, you're training, you're wrestling, you're lifting, you're then trying catch up with sleep! Then on top of that you're trying to work out you're promo class for that week and stuff like that. 

It's been a fun time and I don't feel like it's been a waste of time. It sucks and it's not the way I wanted to go out, but it has changed me in a positive way. 

ATPW: How did you actually find out about the release?

MS: You get called into the office and they're like "Right, we've gotta release ya."  What people forget, especially when you're on the Indies, this is a business. Obviously, independent wrestling is completely different to corporate America. Even though it's not a job, it's like if you're working in Tesco's and you get fired. Exactly the same thing. 

ATPW: Moving things back towards this side of the Pond. You were booked for a Revolution Pro Wrestling show in Birmingham on 10th May, what happened there?

MS: I was supposed to fly back and last minute paperwork deals and money hadn't come through yet that I'm owed. My hands are tied. Which was the worst thing in the world, because I was so excited about coming back. Especially now, because I'm kind of just in limbo, waiting for my flight to come through and to get the rest of my money. I don't really want to be here. I wanna come home! It's very frustrating. It is really, really frustrating. So I can only apologise to the fans. But I will be back for the 24th and 25th May Rev Pro Shows. 

ATPW: From what I've heard it seems like it was another good show for Rev Pro and I'm sure that'll continue on 24th and 25th.

MS: Oh, obviously when I left it was still IPW, and Andy Quildan is bar none, one of the best guys in England for shows. He's always tried to put on real good shows. So I've got all the faith in the world that Rev Pro will just keep getting better and better and better. I looked at the clips for the York Hall show and that looks absolutely amazing! 

ATPW: If there's anyone looking at this that hasn't seen your work over here in the UK or in Germany, is there any particular matches that you'd say they should go and check out?

MS: There's not really much, I was the worst self promoted wrestling in the world. I had one batch of t-shirts and I had one set of 8X10's, throughout my entire UK career. I've always believed that you should always go by word of mouth, on how you work, rather than pimping yourself out there.  That's just me though. If you can get hold of the discs some of my best stuff was at the 16 Carat Tournament (wXw 2009 and 2010), especially the first time I worked Chris Hero (Quarter Final bout 2010, available both Chris Hero's Best of (Vol 3) for 15 Euros and the full wXw 16 Carat Gold 2010 8 DVD Boxset for 39 Euros) I actually found out later, that that was voted European Match of the Year, that was an absolute classic. A really really good match. 

There's a match with me on Youtube against Nick Riley which is pretty good from FWA. (Part 1 - Part 2) There's some stuff with Johnny Moss (Part 1 - Part 2-Part 3) but it's real old stuff, I didn't really start getting into my stride, and really starting to get good, probably about 2006 onwards.

 I had a match with Kid Kash for IPW and it completely changed my way of thinking with wrestling and that was when I really started to get a lot better. Unfortunately, you might have to try and find some old discs! I mean the stuff that I did with IPW just before I left, I had a match with Finlay, which was good and a match with Sha Samuels that sticks out a lot. I've worked a lot of guys and all the matches have been pretty good, but the one that stands out if fans want to watch is Chris Hero.

ATPW: What's the plan for Martin Stone going forward?

MS: I'm not done with wrestling. I know a lot of people get here and they say right I've been to the top of the mountain, there's nothing left. There's life outside of World Wrestling Entertainment in terms of wrestling there really is. I'm going to try and travel the world as much as possible and do stuff that I've never got the chance to do! I'd love to get the chance to go to Japan. I've worked quite a few Japanese guys and always had real good matches. I'd love to go, there's a guy who runs shows in Ireland, his shows look pretty good. I just want to get about and travel now, which is something I only really got to do with Germany and England, so it'd be nice to France and places like that. I literally just want to get back to wrestling, I'm really really excited about it. I'm ready to come home. 


I'd personally like to that Martin Stone again for chatting with us at Across The Pond Wrestling. It was a pleasure to sit a speak to someone that clearly loves the wrestling business. I wish him all the best for the future, you can book tickets for the 24th and 25th May Revolution Pro Wrestling shows in Portsmouth and Sittingbourne respectively at

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