While at a New York Wrestling Connection show on Long Island, New York, I interviewed former WWE Superstar, manager, and current Lucha Underground commentator Matt Striker.
Striker got his break in WWE when he took on Kurt Angle during the Hall Of Famer's series of invitational matches. He almost lasted the entire time with mere seconds to go on the clock. After that, WWE signed him to a full-time contract.
The audio version of the interview can be found at the end.
SK: How did you feel when NYWC invited you into their Hall of Fame?
Striker: Well, this is is technically my home outside of Gleason's Gym with Johnny Roddz and The Dog House in Brooklyn, New York. This is where I trained. The night I found out I was signing a WWE Contract, I was wrestling a match at NYWC.
To be welcomed into their Hall Of Fame, it's almost like your family saying, "You're in the house hall of fame."
It certainly was an honor and a privilege.
SK: You made your WWE debut against Kurt Angle in his invitational match in 2005. You had only two seconds left to last. Did you expect the mainstream attention you received for also being a teacher at the time?
Striker: Growing up, my Grandmother always used to say, "If you want to hear God laugh, tell him your plans."
That stuck with me all my life.
I don't have any plans for anything. I believe that especially in wrestling that the organic, natural moments are the ones that will last forever.
The ones that people feel, so, I didn't expect anything, and when it all unfolded I kind of just looked up to the stars and nodded and said, "I'll go wherever this journey will take me."
And evidently, it was here talking to you.
SK: Did you enjoy the Matt Striker Class Room segments?
Striker: I enjoyed it quite a bit because at the time, they gave me a bit of creative freedom. If you go back and watch some of the things, it's prescient, because I was talking about things that people are talking about today.
Here we are now, that was eight-ten years in the past. I just found a way to antagonize and irritate, and I've kept that ability to this day. I certainly did enjoy it.
SK: Did you enjoy being a manager in ECW with Big Daddy V aka Viscera?
Striker: He was a kind, wonderful soul. For as large as he was, his heart was even bigger. I learned so much from being around him and traveling with him.
So, to be able to work with him professionally, and get to know him personally, it enriched my life. It made me a better person because I knew Big V is. God rest his soul.
SK: Did you like working with the revamped ECW?
Striker: Sure, anything that gives you an opportunity to be on television, don't, poo-poo it so to speak. You have to be happy with the opportunity. When Vince McMahon comes to you and says, "You're gonna have a great opportunity on ECW," you smile and say, "Yay."
SK: Your commentary has been some of the best as you include wrestling's rich history. Do you feel the WWE Network helps with reliving the history of wrestling?
Striker: When I was growing up it was about wrestling magazines, and for you young folks out there that was words printed on paper that you could actually take with you.
So, I think the WWE Network is this generation's version of the magazine.
For me, I had to read about Dusty Rhodes and Kevin Sullivan in Florida. Now, you can watch it. So, I think that just by reading, and I'm a former school teacher, you tend to retain more.
So watching, I don't know if the fans will retain as much, but the network is fantastic for history.
SK: Your part of the Lucha Underground Commentary team. What's it like to sit next to Vampiro?
Striker: He is legitimately insane, he really is (laughs). He walks that fine razor line between genius and madman.
I believe in energy, and sometimes when you meet someone you've never met before, and you just don't like them, or you meet someone, and you feel like you've known them forever.
There's something about Vampiro's energy that really connects with mine. We make a great team.
SK: Lucha Underground has such a diverse talent in Lucha Libre that many of us fans weren't exposed to it until WCW and WWE. What's it like to commentate Lucha Underground and tell the Lucha Libre history?
Striker: I grew up in New York, and we were fortunate enough to have UHF. I got to see a lot of wrestling from Mexico as a kid. I would watch it with my father, so it stayed with me. I never stopped being a fan, and I think that's how it comes across.
A lot of people will believe the character Matt Striker that they see on TV, and I've heard, "Oh, I hate Matt Striker."
Then when they meet me, they go, "I gotta be honest with you, man, you're not the guy that I see on TV."
So basically, I'm fooling everyone that sees me on TV essentially doing a good job with my character.
I'm always a fan. I love the style of Lucha Libre. I'm a firm believer that variety is good. If all human beings were the same, this world would suck more than it does. I like variety, and Lucha Libre is a great flavor of variety in wrestling.
SK: Could you see yourself stepping in the ring at Lucha Underground?
Striker: You could, I don't know if you will. Hi to all the fans out there.
I want to thank New York Wrestling Connection for allowing me to interview Matt Striker. Below is the audio for the interview.