Monday, 27 November 2017

Interview // Adam Maxted

Source: Twitter/@AdamMaxted
ATPW recently got the opportunity to chat to Irish independent wrestler and former Love Island star, Adam Maxted. We talk Love Island, wrestling for Southside, IPW:UK and OTT, social media controversies, misconceptions, bad matches, his WWE tryout this May and a whole lot more in an honest and revealing chat that I hope you all enjoy.

Across the Pond Wrestling // When did you initially become a fan of professional wrestling and what drew you to the medium? 

Adam Maxted // When I was younger, I was in foster care for a few years and I would've been about six or seven and I vaguely remember the couple who looked after me, the guy who used to go and visit his Mum, I don't know what night of the week it was, but I think it would've been WCW that on TV in the background. I remember just being hooked by that. I think they just put it on the TV so that I'd be occupied, watching something, while he visited his Mum. I remember being hooked by it, watched it, started getting the figures. I had this big Hulk Hogan stuffed teddy thing, it was massive. That's my first memory of seeing wrestling. Then obviously growing up we didn't have Sky, so I'd only be able to see wrestling, if it was on the WWE Experience, which was on every Sunday, I think. They did a recap of the week and I just wanted to watch that. 

To be honest, when I started getting into my early teens, I kind of grew out of wrestling. I didn't watch it religiously. I started focusing more on football and sports. Then it was only when I started going to the gym, when I was maybe 16/17, that I started watching it again and I was getting really engrossed. I was making good progress on my body, which lead me going to the training school in Belfast. I thought "I'm really loving wrestling again, I'm watching it all the time" and also I was working abroad the summer of 2012 and I saw that Joe Cabray, whose independent name is Luther Ward and he runs OTT, he had been signed by WWE and his girlfriend actually got signed at the time to developmental. I remember being in Marbella, where I was working, [looking] on the Sun website and I saw two Irish wrestlers being signed and I'd really only heard of Sheamus being signed to WWE. I was like "Wait, so guys from Ireland can actually make it to WWE?" and I was just astounded because I had this mindset of "Oh, you've got to be American or you've got to be some big, jacked dude from America to be in the WWE" and the fact that I was seeing these guys from Ireland, I was like "This is awesome". 

Source: Internet Wrestling Database

Time went on, Joe left developmental, came back to Ireland, started his own school, it was Main Stage Wrestling at the time, it's still going down in Dublin. I remember just contacting him and went down there. Then I started training at Pro Wrestling Ulster as well, which is based in Belfast, they're still going as well. I would train at Pro Wrestling Ulster in Belfast and I would travel for four hours to Dublin and back to train with Joe with one session a week. I was working on the trains in Belfast, just for money because times were hard then. When I went for that job interview, they asked "Where do you see yourself in five years?" and I said "I'm going to be in WWE, I want to be a wrestler" and they looked at each other like "This guys no all here!", but I just knew when I decided that I was going to do it that it was definitely what I wanted to do with my life and I was hooked after my first couple of training sessions. That's how everything started off! 

ATPW // You mentioned that before you started wrestling training, that you'd already been hitting the gym pretty hard, did that help you when it came to training to wrestle? 

AM // Yeah. I put it down to my Mum as well, because my Mum had been a personal trainer all her life. I've always grown up in a fitness environment, a fitness background. We didn't buy gadgets or materialistic things and instead my Mum was making sure that we had organic food and proper food in the fridge. For example, people today some of them struggle with their diet and making the right choices, but I didn't struggle with being tempted by bad food because my whole life, I've been bought up to eat well, so it's never really been a problem. Then I got bullied quite badly at school, which lead to me going to the gym. I got beat up one night by these two guys and the next day I said "That's never going to happen to me again" so I started training really hard then and it's been five years now of constantly being in the gym training and I definitely think it helped me with wrestling. On the first day of training I had the mindset that I always wanted to build my body up first before I started training, so that when I walked through the front door people's heads would turn and they'd be like "This guys got a bit of a look about him" or "At least he looks like an athlete". I was always very athletic, very sporty, I was always into sport at school, rugby, football, which then helped me when I began to start wrestling training.

ATPW // If there was someone who hadn't seen your work, how would you describe yourself? What could someone expect to see if they came to see Adam Maxted? 

Source: Twitter/@AdamMaxted - Photo Credit: Robyn Goding

AM // I've been wrestling now, consistently, for just over a year and a half, but I feel it's been these last couple of months that I've started coming into my own and starting to feel more comfortable going out there and we'll get onto the TV show I'm sure that through me in at the deep end. I feel that opportunities came that I wasn't ready for, but it was sink or swim and I just had to go for them. But I've really started to work on, it's not even a character, it's more of a persona where I'm the most handsome guy in wrestling and I'm really drilling that in and doing these weekly videos in the gym. If people were coming to watch me, as soon as I walk through the curtain I expect all eyes on me, I'm cocky, a narcissist, full of myself, think that I'm the most handsome guy in wrestling with the best body in wrestling, think that I'm better than everybody else, think that I look better than everyone in the crowd and just playing up with that whole character. Which is completely opposite to what I'm like in real life, because I'm a nice guy. I'm a personal trainer as well, so I had sympathy with people who struggle with self esteem and have body issues and I help people like that. People message me all the time, people come up to me in the gym, I spend time trying to speak to them, giving them advice. But then as soon as I walk through the curtain, it's completely the opposite, I'm disgusted by people who don't go to the gym, I'm so full of myself, I believe I look better than everybody else, better than every other wrestler and it's fun. It's what I'm feeling most comfortable with at the moment, doing the heel role. I feel like when I was face, I struggle because I'm coming out, pumped up, baby oil on, hairs done and most guys in the crowd are going to be like "Look at this guy, he loves himself", so I was struggling to feel comfortable in the ring as a face and get sympathy from people, especially with my size as well. Obviously, it's part of it and to be successful you have to do both, but at this moment I'm definitely feeling more comfortable in the ring and in myself, being vocal as a heel character.

ATPW // We kind of have to talk about Love Island! So what was your decision behind going on that show and how did it all come about? 

AM // Basically, some random guy added me on Facebook, a casting director for TV shows and asked me to do an audition for Take Me Out. I went for an audition for that in a hotel in Belfast and it was so cheesy. I had to pretend I was coming down the lift on Take Me Out and had to pretend to dance. They liked me and they got in touch with me after and said "We'd like to take you further" and the more I thought about it I was like "I just don't think it's the right thing to do" so I declined that and didn't think anything of it. I was training in Belfast at the Uprising school, which is the new school in Belfast, I was there three nights a week, busting my ass, making sure I was there and I was lucky if I was wrestling a match two or three times every couple of months for kids shows in Belfast. I was getting frustrated because I didn't feel like I was making any progress or building any momentum and I wasn't consistently in the ring every week and being able to learn. I just felt like that maybe that the bad habits and the inexperience that I had, I wasn't able capitalise on being in the ring every week, because people would give me feedback from a match I had and then two months later it would be "Okay, you're still doing those little things" because I just wasn't in the ring. 

Source - Daily Star

So, then they offered me to come for an interview for Love Island and I'd watched it the year before and I knew a guy that was on it and I was like "You know what, this could be a really good way to get my name out there as a wrestler, if I just go on and talk about my passion and my ambition and aspirations to be successful" and I thought "I'm gonna be on TV every day for six weeks straight and what better way". I went to the interview, they liked me, said they'd want to use me at some point on the show. Obviously I didn't start of at the start of the show, they bought me in as one of the bombshells. It was me against four other guys to see who would actually get voted into the  house and the public voted it down to two, me and another guy, then the girls on TV show chose which guy they wanted in and I ended up getting in. I didn't really think anything of it while I was in. On the first night they were like "What do you do?" so I said "I'm a wrestler, it's what I want to do for a career", so a couple of them were probably like "This guys a bit odd". 

As soon as I come out from the TV show it was crazy. Everything just took of then. 

ATPW // How was the experience on Love Island? Outside of wrestling, was it worthwhile? 

AM // It was different for me, not that I went in with a game plan, but I went in with a different agenda to everyone else. People went in and they actually did find somebody they really liked. The whole point of the show is, it's Love Island, you're supposed to meet someone. But there was girls in there and I just wasn't attracted to them or I didn't feel I was clicking with them and the whole point of the show is you've got to try and get into a relationship with someone, so the public can follow your journey and they're invested in your journey and they want to tune in and see you. I was just floating along. A couple of times the producers took me out of the villa, during the day, off camera and said "Adam, you're coming across as a bit boring here, because you're not making any effort with the girls" and I said to the guy "I'm not on this show to fake it or pretend that I like someone, just because I want to be a reality TV star or I feel like I need to be on TV. I'm not here to be famous or to be the next big star who goes on to do loads of reality TV shows because it's not my agenda. I came on this show to boost my profile as a wrestler, to get my name out there, hoping that someone would see that there's a wrestler on this TV show and something might come from it". I was true to myself, I ended up making it to the final, because I think that the public could see that I wasn't in there and desperate to be on TV or being fake trying to make effort with the girls so that they'd like me and pick me. It's the best thing I did, because everything's sky rocketed since then, but I definitely had a different time in there. The couples that were in relationships were flirting with each other, starting to get to know each other, sleeping in the same bed at night, obviously doing what couples do, which again was never a big thing. I was like "I'm never going to be doing anything like that with a girl on TV" because if you want to work for WWE, which is such a child-based market, being like that on television is not going to go down well with a company like that. I always had that mindset in the back of my head, focused on the future, focused on the career and just using the show as a stepping stone. 

Source - Huffington Post UK

ATPW // When you finished Love Island, what was life like? Who was the first to contact you in wrestling? 

AM // So I came out of the show and I think it would've been the start of August 2016 and it was crazy. Everywhere you went people knew you, social media was crazy, we couldn't go anywhere, we were getting escorted places. That was fun at the start, I was doing a couple of nightclub appearances as well. I was touring around England doing those, making a bit of money, when I look back I should've had an agent and I should've made a lot more money, but I was naive and people maybe pulled the wool over my eyes. Whereas the rest of the guys had that all set-up before. Here's a perfect example, people that were on the show, had people back home, running their social media, posting photos of things that were happening on the show. They were already bringing up a big following on social media, before they even finished the show. Whereas that wasn't my agenda, so I left my phone pretty much off and I didn't leave my social media account to anyone. So I had the lowest following on social media, by the end of the show, because I wasn't putting myself out there. That wasn't my mindset, I was literally in there to get the wrestling profile over.

The first show I did when I left was for Southside in England. It was against Joseph Conners, they bought me in as the reality TV star guy that's breaking through and Joseph Conners came out and did a promo slating me and then we had a match. Since then every weekend pretty much I've been wrestling all over the country. The way I see it people obviously thought "Lets book this Love Island TV guy, because he might sell a few tickets, some girls who watched the TV show might want to come watch it, just so they can see Adam from Love Island". I worked well for me because I was getting the experience in the ring and I was consistently wrestling every week. So it was a win-win. There were times when I thought "I'm not ready to be on this show" or "I'm not ready to be in the ring with this person, because they've been wrestling for years and now they've got to get in the ring with a guy who's green as everyone says and try and get him through matches". But I'm so glad, everything's just gone from strength to strength. 

ATPW // I feel like that you don't really get the chance to improve without having to perform with people that are better than you. 

AM // Yeah, because at training school back in Ireland, we'd have training matches, in front of no crowd, there was maybe seven others guys just standing around the ring. You're trying to have a match and you're trying to sell, but the atmosphere isn't right so you don't learn, how to react to the crowd, if they're not going for a certain thing in the match how to switch it, things that you just don't learn until you're in the ring consistently. When I first started in England and we'd be going through the match and I'd be like "So when you hit me with that move, where do you want me to go? Which part of the ring?" and I could tell the guys were looking at me and were like "Well, that will just happen" and now looking back, you just learn how to become natural in the ring. When you take a move, it's just whatever feels right, whereas then I had to know everything, from start to finish. For example, if someone said they were going to hit me with a clothesline and then a suplex, if they hit me with a clothesline and then didn't hook me for a suplex after and did something different, my head would be frazzled, like "Oh God, what's going on? What's going on? What do I do next?". Whereas now, because I've been in the ring consistently, you just learn to relax and to go with the flow.

Source: Facebook/SWE - Southside Wrestling Entertainment - Photo Credit: Brett Hadley

ATPW // Around the time when you started appearing on the UK scene, do feel that there were any misconceptions about you? Whether that was the fans or fellow performers. 

AM // I remember being really nervous going into the first few locker rooms, because I didn't know anyone. Maybe it would've been different if I had been a wrestler that had been working for years and built up a good reputation, built up friendships with wrestlers and then gone on to a TV show for more exposure. At least when I came off it I might have had a big buzz around me, but I was coming off it not knowing anyone, cold turkey. Testament to myself and the kind of guy I am, I went in there humble, respectful, very grateful for every opportunity that I was given. A few guys after have said "I expected you to be a complete dickhead, when we met you, you were this TV guy, but you're the nicest guy ever who just wants to learn" and they can tell how passionate I am about it.

The fans, I guess they were like "Here's this TV guy, who thinks he can be a wrestler". I don't think many people knew that I was training for a year before I went on the TV show. I think they just thought "This guys been on a TV show and now he thinks he can come into our world because he's got a bit of celebrity status and he thinks he can start being a wrestler". So there was a bit of a stigma, but then I think as fans have seen how hard I'm training and the fact that I still train every week with Rampage for example and that I haven't got complacent and thought "I'm on shows now, I can relax". I'm still busting my ass every week, travelling to Marty Jones school, travelling to seminars and just doing as much as I can, because although I've made improvements I know I've such a long way to go and so much to learn, until I can be considered as one of those guys who's going to go out and nail a match every time. I feel like I have a good match, and then the next ones gonna be like "Meh". I really hope that next year I can start building momentum and make a bigger name for myself and phase away from being a TV guy and people start seeing me as "That's Adam Maxted, who can go in the ring and has got potential." 

ATPW // Did you get any advice from anyone at that time that stands out? 

AM // Well Joe Cabray, he's always had my back he's always looks out for me he gave me opportunities at OTT with me and two other guys he tried to make a faction of us it didn't really work because I don't think we were all fully invested in it. Again Joe gave us the opportunity when space we probably weren't ready for that either because OTT is the biggest company in Ireland, but he was just, for example, when I was applying for love Island I sent him over the contract that they've sent me and I said "Joe, what do you think about this? Do you really think it's a good idea?" and he said "Obviously, it's going to be a risk" but I always run things by Joe, because I respect his opinion a lot  and he said "Look be respectful, go in and keep your ears open and just learn". I would've done that anyway, it's the way I've been bought up and I'm a very respectful guy. It's amazing, you learn every time, just watching people's matches. Even just how some people behave backstage in locker rooms and other guys I'm training with in England, you see people's attitude and sometimes I'm just thinking "This guy just doesn't have the right attitude". I think it all comes down to attitude and respect and just knowing your place, especially when you're at the level that I'm at. For example, there's wrestlers that are established who would ask me "Can you put me in contact with this company?" and I'm in no position to be going to the promoter and saying "Hey dude, would you ever think about using this guy?". That would be so rude of me, at my stage and my level to think that I'm of the level where I'm judging somebody else work in the ring and saying "Yeah, they should be on a show". So I have to watch how I word my reply, because I don't want the wrestler thinking "He's not going to try and help me" but then I shouldn't be put in the position because I'm not of the level or the experience or the reputation, where a promoter would appreciate my input of who he should be booking. 

Source: Twitter/@AdamMaxted

ATPW // A big part of being a professional wrestler in 2017 is social media. We've seen, this year in particular, quite a few wrestlers end up in hot water for things that they've said online. You had your moment last year, which was kind of tame, compared to some of the ones we've seen this year, but because of the Love Island connection it got blown up on more mainstream sites. Can you talk about that just a little bit? 

AM // I remember that day! Basically, I was doing shows and people obviously watched the show and saw that I was a nice guy and then I was trying to come out and be this guy in the ring that's the celebrity. I just felt like the crowd weren't buying into it, because some of them have watched me and they know that I'm a nice guy. So, we were going to wrestle that day in Belfast, I'd just been to the gym with Curtis Murray, who's a guy coming up in Ireland and he's very good. We were sitting in McDonald's, waiting to get picked up and I had my protein shake and I was like "This'll be funny. Let me take a photo of me in McDonald's with me and my protein shake, saying how I look better than everyone because I don't give in to fast food and maybe it'll get me some heat. Maybe I could be a cocky heel character, maybe that's something I could work on." Pretty much the persona that I have now. I took the photo, put a little captions saying "In McDonald's, making everyone feel bad about their diet, while I look good" or whatever. I even hashtagged "heel", so I was trying to make the post wrestling related and within minutes it blew up and people were being negative and slating me. I had people in America messaging me saying "We would beat you if you lived over here", just all these hate messages. Then I would go on Facebook and I saw people had been sharing it and all the comments about me and again, I've been bullied enough, people can say whatever they want about me, it really doesn't bother me, I've learnt how to be comfortable in my own skin and who I am as a person. It was like "Meh, people can say whatever they want, I'm not bothered! I'm off to the gym again!". But yeah, it just went crazy! 

ATPW // Did you learn anything from that experience? 

AM // Yeah, definitely now with social media, it depends what your aspirations are in wrestling. If you're happy doing it as a hobby or doing it at the weekends around England and yes you're passionate about it but you've no aspirations to go to WWE or work for a big company, then you probably don't have to watch what you're doing on social media, as much as others, because it's not going to effect you. But if you have real goals and aspirations to go to the top then people at the top, especially if they're keeping an eye on you, they're going to be watching everything that you're doing and I've definitely learnt, through watching other wrestlers as well. There's times when I'll see something written or people put a status up about their opinions on something and I'll think about replying with my opinion and then I'm like "You know what? I'm gonna bite my tongue here and not write what I want to say because it could backfire". I've definitely learnt that you've got to be mature on social media and think "Is it worth me saying this? Is it worth me posting this? Am I going to post this with a swear word? How am I going to word this? Am I going to offend anyone?" and I think WWE and big companies will look at all that and think "Is this the sort of guy that we would want representing our company" because social media is huge now in the world and it's only going to get bigger. 

Screenshot: Mirror Online

I'm trying to use it as a positive now for my character, which is why I'm doing these weekly videos, anywhere I go. For example, I was in the gym last night, took my top off to get a couple of photos with the guy in the gym for my supplement company that I'm sponsored because we have to post every week and I was about to walk out and then I was like "Wait a minute, the gyms empty. Perfect opportunity to go another one of these videos and post it on social media". Gave the phone to the guy, one take, improvised, did the video and posted it. It's just keeping me out there. You can use social media to your advantage. I've got the following thanks to the TV show, which has obviously helped get me out there. If you have a good match you can link it through social media, if you get highlights you can put it out there and tag promotions which can help you get seen, but like you said, if you're not careful or if you do write something or give your opinion or start getting involved in debates, it can definitely backfire on you. 

ATPW // We have seen over the last couple of years, where WWE has decided against signing someone because of social media posts, as well. 

AM // Lio Rush, as well, so recently. It's the perfect example of a guy, probably should have thought "Is this worth it? Yes, I might find this funny in my head, but is it worth me putting it there for the world to see?" and he'll have learnt a sorry lesson. He's obviously still there, I believe, but he'll have matured and grown up and learnt his lesson from that.

ATPW // You had your tryout with WWE in May this year. Who contacted you in regards to that? What did you make of the experience? 

AM // Well, there's a good story about this. So, I did a show for XWA in Colchester and Big Damo was on it. He's from Belfast, I hadn't met him before. It was me and Sid Scala, against...I want to say Hornswoggle and two other guys. It wasn't very good, I don't think. A lot of character work, Hornswoggle chasing us round, whatever. Big Damo had watched it, Tommy Dreamer was there, MVP and a couple of other guys and they said "You've got potential" and gave me some feedback. I ended up staying somewhere that night with Kay Lee Ray and Big Damo, we got pizza, we chilled and had a laugh, we just talked about wrestling and then we went our separate ways the next day. 

I didn't here from him again, obviously he got signed and went over. I messaged him saying "Best of luck, I hope everything goes well". I was in England doing a nightclub appearance, because I was still doing a couple at the time. I was having a few drinks, having a good time, another guy from the TV show was there. I felt my phone vibrate and it was Big Damo on Twitter messaging me saying "I've spoke to William Regal about you. He's given me permission to give you his e-mail address, if you could send him the following information." I was just sitting there in a nightclub like "Is this happening right now? This is one of the best moments of my life" that I'm possibly going to get a tryout. 

Source: WWE

I contacted Regal, sent him all the information, sent him some photos and he said that he would be in touch for the November ones of 2016, which Pete Dunne and all those guys were on. It didn't happen, I kept my head down, didn't message him again saying "You didn't use me, when am I getting my opportunity?". That's not the kind of guy that I am. I said "Okay, maybe it's not the right time, maybe it's meant to be yet, I'll keep my head down" and I did. I kept training and wrestling. 

Then Damo messaged me again saying "Adam, William Regal's lost your e-mail address. Could you e-mail him again?" I sent it all again. I had booked tickets to go to WrestleMania last year, I was on the way to Orlando to fly out for WrestleMania and my phone vibrates with an e-mail saying "You have been invited to the May tryouts". That's another one of those moments. I was sitting in the car thinking "Am I reading this e-mail right now? I was then sitting at WrestleMania thinking "I could potentially, one day, be living my dream. I've got an opportunity in a few weeks to show myself and hopefully work for this company!". It was just amazing to have the tryout!

ATPW // Are you still in contact with WWE? Has there been any communication since the tryout? 

AM // I'm in contact with Regal, I've got his e-mail. He actually came to a wrestling session two weeks ago at Marty Jones school, because I think his son is starting to train. He came in and was shaking people's hand and straight away said "Hey Adam". I took that as a positive that he wasn't looking at me thinking "Ahhh you're that guy...what's sent me some matches before" but he knew me straight away. I did this training session and at the end, he said to me "Don't be in a rush to get to WWE. There's so much talent at the Performance Center, there's ninety guys", he said "You're twenty-five you've got time" and I think he was just saying be patient and just keep working. Which sends me mixed messages because when I did the tryout there was guys there, like CJ Banks and people who had been wrestling for years who said "When they see how you look and that you're athletic, they're gonna sign you". Even Morgan Webster said "If anyone on this tryout is going to get signed and move to Florida, it's going to be you Adam". Not that I was cocky or going in thinking "I've got this", but in the back of my head it was obviously nice to hear. I thought "This could happen", because I'd only been wrestling for a year, so to them it's like "He's not got too many bad habits yet. We can take him away before he makes a name for himself, train him how we want and then make him a star ourselves". I kinda felt like that might have been what was going to happen and as time goes on, I feel now, maybe that's not gonna happen and maybe I'm going to have to go away and spend a couple of years making a name for myself on the independent scene. Which is fine, I'm in this for the long haul, I'm completely dedicated and it's what I want to do. So if that's what I've got to do, then it's what I'm gonna have to do. 

Source: Twitter/@Luke_Menz88

But yeah, I'm still in contact with them, but it's not...You know, they've signed Luke for example, Big Luke Menzies, I train with him sometimes. He's supposed to be going over the start of next year and fairly deserved, he is a lovely guy and extremely motivated as well. A great athlete and a big fella, I'm sure he'll do well in developmental, but part of me was like "Meh, that could have been me as well", not "Why not me?", like I'm bitter about it, but when you get told by people that you're gonna be a guy that get's taken because of how inexperience you are and it doesn't happen it's kind of given me that mindset that I am going to have to work really hard and make a name for myself, make myself more attractive to them and make them like "He's made a name for himself now, let's pluck him from the pile and bring him over to us." We'll see what happens. 

ATPW // I think maybe five or ten years ago, then they might have signed you straight away. How it's kind of shifted over the last few year and how many "body guys" have gone to WWE and fallen by the wayside. 

Yeah, people have said that also. The positive for me is that the business has changed as well. There's so many opportunities to make money and make a name for yourself outside of WWE, so I was think maybe I shouldn't be in a rush to get straight there. I should have my eyes set on other places. I watch a lot of New Japan stuff and I love their product and part of me thinks it would be amazing to go there some day. It is a positive that there is life in wrestling and that you can make a career and make a comfortable living and it doesn't just have to be WWE. 

ATPW // In preparation for this, I popped your name into YouTube and a match popped up from Pakistan. I had no idea that you'd been over to Pakistan to wrestle, I had no idea that there'd be promotions in Pakistan flying guys in to wrestle. Can you explain a little about what happened there and how that came about? 

AM // I hate that match! I wish it wasn't on YouTube. I don't even know how to get it down. It is woeful. That is so annoying that you type in [my name] and that comes up! 

Again, I was training in the gym one night and Joe Cabray messaged me and said "Do you fancy coming to Pakistan with me to wrestle for week?". Joe knows people like Jordan Devlin, the Kings of North, guys like that, but yet he'd picked me to come. I feel like Joe's always looked out for me and I think he sees something in me and wants to help me, because why not pick a guy that's really good like those guys? Why pick a guy like me who's still learning? Obviously, maybe he thought it would be a good experience for me to learn and it was. We flew together, it was unique experience. People were like "Oh Pakistan is a dangerous country", but I can't say enough good things about how we were treated. You'd think we were WWE. We'd get off buses and they'd have flowers for us, they'd have drinks, they'd have food prepped, we stayed in beautiful hotels, we were taken to the gym during the day. It was just amazing to be there. The crowds were good, the set-up was good, the production was good. Another surreal moment to be standing there in Pakistan, this early into my career and be getting opportunities to go and do stuff like that, thanks to Joe putting my name forward. I'm away to wrestle in two weeks in France for the same company, so it's been good. It was a great experience. 

Source: Twitter/@Luther__Ward

ATPW // I think whilst Pakistan might not be the top of most people's lists of place to wrestle, I feel like anytime you get the opportunity to go out in front of a different crowd is a helpful experience. 

AM // Yeah, for me, I just want to wrestle. I would wrestle every day if I could because I know that's how I'm going to learn and get better. So if someone says "You're gonna have to fly ten hours to do our show", it's like "Right, okay, it's what I want to do". It comes down to again, how bad you want it and if you're willing to make sacrifices. If you want to work for WWE you're on the road all the time, so if you're starting out in wrestling and you're already complaining about having to drive three or four hours to a venue and then having to set-up a ring, is this really the business that you want to be in? 

ATPW // There's been a few companies that sort of jumped on you from almost as soon as you came out of Love Island. We've spoke a little about Southside, but there's also IPW:UK (and FIGHT! Nation before the merger) and OTT. At the moment do you feel like you have a home promotion? 

AM // As a heel and for my character, definitely OTT. Although, it's a mixed reaction because I kinda feel like I'm not part of the Irish scene anymore, because I live in England now and I'm wrestling most of the time in England. Joe has to pay for me to fly back to work OTT, so I'm almost like an import, even though I'm an Irish wrestler. When I see Twitter and Facebook talking about the Irish scene and Irish wrestling, my name isn't brought up that much because there's a lot of talent guys in Ireland that are wrestling consistently and I've spent so much of my time this past year in England, that it's almost like some of the Irish following has forgotten about me. Which is great for me as heel in OTT, when I do promos because I can be like "Where were you guys when I was coming up? You weren't behind me. I did it all on my own." It gives me even more material to go on, but I can see how that happens, I live in England now, I'm travelling all over England, I fly back maybe once a month to wrestle in Ireland, so I'm not as much of a part of the Irish scene anymore.

ATPW // How much has being involved with those three companies helped your career? Both from a learning perspective and in terms of branching out and getting extra bookings elsewhere. 

AM // IPW, OTT and Southside they're definitely the main three that I've been doing shows for and it comes down to the promoters. I've gotta thank them because they could've just used me to make a bit of money, booked me once or twice and used the buzz of the whole TV show thing, but again I think they've seen how dedicated I am, how focused I am and they've said "This guy has potential, lets invest in him now and hopefully in the future he'll become something". I've just gotta keep saying thank you for those opportunities every time that I get them. They're three well known companies, they bring in big names, well-established names, they draw good crowds. IPW's been on the Fite app, it gets exposure online. Obviously OTT brings in huge names from around the world, they've worked with Mick Foley, they've got connections with WWE, so there's eyes on that as well. The fact that I'm getting to work for three big companies consistently is great. Obviously, I've got my sights set on other things next year and I hope through building a reputation of consistently having good match after good match, then more opportunities will come.

Source: Facebook/OTT Wrestling

ATPW // I spoke to IPW:UK promoter Billy Wood a few months ago and I asked him which IPW guy could be the next breakout star and he mentioned your name. Now, there would've been people who read and perhaps weren't expecting your name to come up. So what do you think Billy has seen in you that perhaps other people haven't? 

AM // Probably the potential. I feel I look the part, I feel like I have one of the best physiques in UK wrestling, not being cocky or anything, but I bust my ass in the gym to look like a wrestler, because in my opinion when you walk through the curtain you should look like you can handle yourself. You should look like you could beat up anyone in the crowd. If I'm walking out and there's a huge big stocky guy in the crowd and I try to square up to him, that guy realistically would destroy me. But again the business has change so much now, you don't have to be over six foot and jacked to be a pro wrestler and to be successful, like 205 Live and all these small guys, amazingly talented, everything's changed. I think Billy just sees "Okay, this guys tall, he's got a good look, he's got a good physique, he's athletic and when he gets it right and starts becoming comfortable then"...that's like when I say I'm going to have consistent match after match and that's when I'm gonna start coming into my own. There's been glimpses of it already I think, but I feel like I have one good match and then maybe I get set back on the next one or two, where it wasn't as good as it could've been, which obviously comes down to me as well and the people you're in the ring. But Billy has been real good to me, as well. 

ATPW // Do you feel that a bad match is perhaps more of a learning experience than if you go out there and everything goes right? 

AM // Yeah, but I get really frustrated. I get really hard on myself. I dissect the match, like when my girlfriend's driving me back up to England, she gets so annoyed because I'm literally going over everything in my head, like "Could've done that better, could've hit that quicker, could've fed up for this move better, could've hit this move smoother" but I feel like that's my passion, because that's how much I care. I see some guys come backstage and they're like "That was alright". For me, at my level as well, I haven't established myself as having a reputation of being one of the top guys in England, so if I have a bad match, it's like "Argh", because fans who maybe haven't seen me before are like "Here's this Adam Maxted guy, we've heard a bit of buzz about him on social media. Lets see" and then they're like "Meh, that was alright". I need to be getting to that level where crowd after crowd sees. But then I guess it's cool for people to follow my journey as well and see me make improvements, but I'm just really hard on myself and feel like the crowds are going to judge me and be like "This guys got a WWE tryout and he's only being doing it for a year. I've seen him in the ring and it was alright", but it's just how hard I am on myself. 

Source: Twitter/@AdamMaxted - Photo Credit: Brett Hadley/Southside

ATPW // I've seen lots of the big names on the UK scene have bad matches over the last few years from time to time and they've got up and learned and improved. So I think, it's not always the end of the world. I think, people are very quick to judge, especially when it comes to you, because of the perceived history of how you got into it, from what I've seen online.

AM // If I'd have been a guy at a wrestling school in England that had trained three or four years, finally got an opportunity on a couple of trainee shows, at least people would've been like "This guys put in the work from the start, he's put in years" but people don't see the work that I've put in and years that I've put in. Not only to train, but to invest in my physique to look the part. The money I've spent, even though I don't have it, having more than two or three pairs of trunks, so that every time I walk out of the curtain I'm looking good, investment in new boots and getting a cloak made, money that I don't have, because as you might know there isn't much in wrestling until you can start making a name for yourself and you can start selling your merch. I've worked literally full-time the last year just wrestling. I get by week to week. I'd get paid, for example by Billy on a Saturday for doing an IPW show and that money buys me my food shop for the next week. If I've done another show that weekend, that'll pay for my gym membership that week. I have no problem saying this, my bank account at the moment I have -£32 in it, I haven't paid my phone bill this month, because I'm waiting on money still from a wrestling show, which I should probably get in today or tomorrow. But people don't see that, because obviously I go on holiday a lot, because my girlfriend, Carly, books these holidays, because basically her Dad died last year and left her a lot of money, so instead of sitting in England she's got the mindset now of "I could be dead tomorrow, so I'm going to spend the money". It's like people are seeing on social media "Adam's got this fantastic life, he wrestles and then jets off and goes on holiday" but people don't really know that I'm still grinding it out every single week, still spending money to go to training school and seminars to keep learning and keep getting better. 

ATPW // Another company that you worked regularly for was Pro Wrestling Pride, they ended up with quite a poor reputation towards the end. What was your experience of working there? Why do you think they ended up with such a poor reputation? 

AM // Darren, the guy that runs it I can't say a bad word about him or how he runs it, because, to be honest, they treated me perfect. They paid me on time, they paid my expenses there was never any problem. He always tried to have me on with more experienced people. He was another guy who was like "You've got potential, stick with this. I can see you going somewhere". He was motivating me, he was speaking positively. I then did, obviously, hear a few things, that people hadn't been treated right. David Starr, for example, I think put out a tweet, but I can't say a bad word about them, because nothing negative every happened with me. I was enjoying their shows, they drew good crowd, but if bigger names weren't being treated with the respect they deserve, then that's disappointing. I think, Darren was in a relationship with Naomi, the girl that was helping out and then they broke up and I think it then went to a mess in the end. I did the last shows for them and nothing negative from me, all good, but I definitely know that there are a few people who have very negative opinions on him and how they were treated. 

Screenshot - Twitter/@TheProductDS

ATPW // If someone had never seen Adam Maxted, what would you show them to get them into your work? 

AM // I'd probably push them towards my social media, because this last couple of months I've really been making the videos and pushing the "I'm the most handsomest guy in wrestling" things, because let's face it who's going to argue with, I'm joking! It's something that I think I definitely want to run with, because I think it can get, not boring or old, but I just feel like it's going to work everywhere. Anytime I walk through the curtain and start saying that I'm better looking than everyone in the crowd or start being full of myself, automatically they're not gonna like me. I compare myself to The Miz, in a way, because he did the reality TV stuff and then you look at his persona now and I want to be a blend of Bobby Roode heel with The Miz as well. 

ATPW // I feel like character work has become a lot more important in the UK over the last few years. Martina is a great example of that. 

AM // Oh absolutely! With these videos it takes me maybe two minutes to film and put it up on social media. A couple of guys over in Ireland were using me as an example to other trainees to say "Look at what Adam does. He goes out of his way to make a video whenever he can to push himself through social media" because I know how important it is and how good it is for exposure. For example, I did a video last night, put it on Twitter and Matt Riddle liked it, so he's sitting in America and sees that. Maybe he's sitting in a locker room and someone sees it and goes "Who's that guy?". Opportunities can happen from something so simple, just from taking your time and investing the effort to spend five, ten, fifteen minutes doing something once a week and you never know what could come from it. Nothing could come from it, but you never know. Riddle could be like "Look at this guy" and you never know what could happen.

ATPW // At the very least it'll help get the fans more invested in the character and make more people interested to see what you can do in the ring.

I think these next two questions are quite lame, but I'm going to ask them anyway! It was Survivor Series last night, so if you had to assemble a team which four guys would you pick and why? 

AM // I watched Survivor Series last night actually, with Tucker and Joseph Conners in Belfast. A team...I would have to go with...The Rock..."Stone Cold"...Kane...Undertaker...and myself. There we go! 

ATPW // The other lame questions is...we're just over a month away from Christmas, so if you could ask Santa Claus for a match, what would you ask him for and why? 

AM // Hmmm, who would I wanna wrestle?...Brian Cage! Because I think we could have a good chemistry and a good story and a good brawl. Kind of like "I'm bigger than you and I'm better than you" type thing. There could be a hint of that possibly next year in OTT, I think he might be in talks with them. I remember when we were in Pakistan, Melissa Santos, his girlfriend, was there and Joe was trying to get his information. So maybe that could be something that could happen in the future. 

Source -

ATPW // I think that'd certainly make people take notice, because of the way Cage wrestles, you can't really not. 

AM // I had that match with Drew Galloway in OTT and that really put on the map, especially in Ireland. To then watch him go on to NXT is amazing. When I see him in the ring as NXT Champ and it's like "I've been wrestled that guy". That's so motivating for me as well to be able to say I've been in the ring with that guy already, the NXT Champion. Little things that have happened this early in my wrestling career have really pushed me and because wrestling it's the hardest thing I've ever done, because you're in the ring trying to portray emotion, character, be safe, have a good match and again I'm so hard on myself and I'll say "That could've been so much better, I wish I'd have done this" but again if I was coming through the curtain like "We're both safe, it doesn't matter", it comes down to how much I want it and how much I want to impress and how much I want to be good. I want people to be like "That Adam, he's not just a body guy, he can hold his own in the ring". 

ATPW // Where would you like to be this time next year? Is there any promotions that you'd like to work for or any locations you'd like to wrestle? 

AM // I hope next year through more hard work, that possibly ICW or PROGRESS. They're kind of the two that I feel have the most eyes on them, in terms of WWE. I know they work with them, so I feel like if I was given an opportunity with them that maybe I could start breaking through there. I really feel like next year I'm going to come into my own. It'll be two years since the TV show and hopefully people's memories will be not so much of "Here's that TV guy again", as soon as I walk through they're like "That's Adam Maxted, this guy can go in the ring, he has the best dropkick in wrestling". 

ATPW // So where can people catch in action next? 

AM // This Saturday (Editor's note: This was 18th November and unfortunately we couldn't get this up in time) actually I'll be at Southside, I've got a match against Bram. So that's going to be hard hitting, that'll be in Sheffield. Then OTT at the start of December, I'll be in Belfast. Then I'll be in Scotland on the 16th December against Charlie Sterling, another guy I haven't worked with. I'm looking forward to working with him because he's great. So those are my next three big things coming up. 

ATPW // Where can people find you on social media? 

AM // Facebook, I'll got my page, Adam "Flex" Maxted. Twitter is just @AdamMaxted and the same on Instagram @AdamMaxted

Source: Twitter/@AdamMaxted - Photo Credit: Tony Knox


A massive thanks to Adam for taking part in this chat and giving us an honest and insightful interview. 


Interview conducted by James Marston 

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