by Tez Frehley
He is “The Godfather of Perth Wrestling”. A man whose legacy in Australian wrestling cannot be questioned, and a man who is highly respected by his peers. “The Messiah” Davis Storm had different plans for 2018, but this year has turned out to arguably be the biggest of his career to date. Tez chatted with Storm to talk about his year so far, his thoughts on the current state of Australian wrestling, his plans for the future, and more.
Tez: I’d like to start the interview by talking about the amazing stuff that’s currently happening for Davis Storm in 2018. I’ve seen you mention 2018 was going to be a year that your schedule was going to slow down. That certainly hasn’t turned out to be the case!
Storm: No, it certainly hasn’t, Tez. I honestly believed that I’d be riding the pine more often than not in 2018. The past few years have been tough on my body. I’ve had some niggling injuries that I haven’t really taken great care of because of my need to be in the gym or in the ring preparing for my matches. I was hoping for some respite in order to get those sorted, but it appears that there truly is no rest for the wicked.
Tez: 2018 kicked off with Hot Summer’s Night where we saw you lose a hard-hitting battle to The Warship, and along with it, the dissolution of the Solution – a group you had been the “leader” of for the past 4 years. What are your thoughts on what the Solution achieved in EPW?
Storm: Leader was not what I intended to be but it certainly was what I became. I’m disappointed that it had to end although in hindsight, I blame myself for that. This group reenergised me at a time when I was at my lowest with wrestling. I lacked purpose, and this union with Richter and Warship gave me that back. This team brought me two EPW Championship reigns and yet another EPW Tag Team Championship. But it also caused my ego to spill completely out of control & it wasn’t long before it started ruling my decision making. I stopped thinking about what was best for the group and was obsessed with the idea of staying on top. The more the fans despised me, the more important it was for me to maintain my grip on that EPW title.
Despite all that, I’m proud of what we achieved. Our mantra was to ‘be great or be gone’. While our methods may have seemed extreme, we were obsessed with EPW returning to its former glory. It felt like those in the EPW locker room had stopped caring and, like it or not, we forced people to start caring again. I’d like to think that the standard in Explosive Pro Wrestling has improved dramatically in the past five years and that The Solution played a strong hand in the revival.
Tez: With the Solution now in the past, it’s a restart of sorts for you. Do you have a clear direction of where Davis Storm is now heading?
Storm: There isn’t one. And this is why I’m struggling so much mentally. I don’t know where I belong in this modern EPW. I hope that doesn’t sound like it’s filled with bitterness because that’s not it at all. The loss to ‘The Don’ at ReAwakening wasn’t like any other defeat I’ve suffered in the past. I’m a wrestler who gets by on gritting his teeth, taking your best shot and getting back up for another. In Michael Morleone, I met a man of the same ilk. And after we gritted our teeth and gave our very best shots, he was able to get up one more time than I could. I didn’t just lose a match or a championship that night. I lost a part of my identity and right now I’m fighting just to find it once again.
Tez: A dozen years ago you travelled to Los Angeles to join up with Hartley Jackson and Mikey Nicholls to train at New Japan’s Inoki Dojo. In that time, you wrestled a couple of house show matches. And fast-forward to February 2018, you’re facing a man you admire in the IWGP Intercontinental Champion, Minoru Suzuki, in front of over 1,200 fans in your hometown during New Japan’s first tour of Australia. Can you tell us your thoughts leading up to the match and afterwards?
Storm: Now it’s in the rear-view mirror, I can say what an overwhelming experience it was. To shake the hand of Yuji Nagata. To meet Kazuchica Okada. Just to see that lion on the big screen prior to show starting. Most importantly, to share that experience and stand side by side with some of the most amazing talents to ever come out of this country.
When I got the message to ask if I was interested in being on the show, I mentally told myself to take this opportunity and there was nothing that could be offered that would possibly shake me.
Message back says ‘Minoru Suzuki’.
I legitimately laughed out loud. I was so sure wrestling couldn’t scare me anymore & then it quickly slapped me in my arrogant face.
But while I was in it, I honestly felt like I belonged. I stood across the ring from a man I’ve idolised for years but I wasn’t overwhelmed. I was in my element. I was present. Am I the best in the world? No sir. But can I hang with the best? I feel like I can.
Tez: You recently headed over to Melbourne to challenge “The Business” Slex for the MCW Intercommonwelth Championship, but unfortunately came out on the losing end. Could we possibly see a rematch in EPW during 2018?
Storm: In 2018, who knows? But am I done with Slex? Not by a long shot. There are some guys that you just bring out the best in each other and you want to fight them ‘til the end of time. After our recent battle for the MCW Intercommonwealth Championship, you can add Slex to that list. Any time, any place.
Tez: Only one day after your match with Slex, you returned to Perth to come out the victor in the 10-man Progress Dream Match Battle Royal. On April 18th at the Vasto Club in Balcatta, you will face the current WWE UK Champion, the “Bruiserweight” Pete Dunne, in the main event of PROGRESS x EPW. What are your thoughts leading up to the match and what do you think of Dunne as a talent?
Storm: I think of Pete Dunne to be a young man who could be considered an all-time great before he’s done. What an amazing body of work and he’s still only 24 years old. The fact that I respect him and rate him so highly is why I challenged him.
At a time where I’m struggling to find myself, my need to know where I stand in the world of professional wrestling has never been greater. I’ve not always won but, at that moment when the lights shine the brightest, I have always prided myself in rising to the occasion. No one believes I can win. But what if I can?
What if I can win?
Tez: EPW has worked with a number of big companies over the years, but with one of the biggest independent companies in the world, PROGRESS Wrestling, coming to our shores, is this the biggest opportunity to get the name of Explosive Pro Wrestling out to the world?
Storm: No doubt, Tez. PROGRESS have built themselves a cult following with hard-core wrestling fans all over the world. They helped expose us all to names like Dunne, Tyler Bate, Trent Seven, Travis Banks and Jimmy Havoc. Knowing this show will make its way to their online streaming service, Demand Progress, we know the wrestling world will see it. It’s time for The Untouchables and the Street Gang Hooligans to show everyone else that Explosive Pro Wrestlers can get it done against the best in the world. It’s time for the entire EPW locker room to bring out their very best. It’s time for the EPW fans to stand up and be heard on a world stage. What a time to be a part of this company!
Tez: You have helped train some of the most successful talents to ever come out of Perth including current WWE NXT stars Nick Miller and Shane Thorne, five-time EPW Champion, Marcius Pitt, and the man currently smashing his way through Japan, Chris Vice. I’d like to get your thoughts on who you see coming through in the next few years heading to the main event level.
Storm: If heart, ability and effort alone were the deciding factors, Gavin McGavin would already be an established main eventer. The question now is whether his ego will prevent him from taking that final step.
As I look down the roster I see so much talent. How Jay Taylor has not transformed into a full-time main event player is beyond my level of comprehension? Scotty Ryan is a star just waiting for ascension.
And the entire EPW roster had best hope that Richter never gets back to full health because if he does, heads will roll.
Tez: In November, you have been in the business for 17 years and have seen Australian wrestling go through some low times, to where it is today. What are your thoughts on where the business is currently at, and how close are we to reaching that next level?
Storm: We’re in an incredibly exciting time but we’re also in a very precarious moment. Australian wrestling has always been such a low stakes proposition. Good or bad, no one was really going to care outside of our immediate fan base. The way that people consume wrestling has changed the game. Streaming services have opened us to new audiences we could never previously reach.
Now we have the IWGP Champion main eventing at Melbourne City Wrestling, Australian wrestlers in every major corner of the wrestling world, & a major independent wrestling company staging a high-profile tour in conjunction with three of the best groups in this country. Yeah, it’s exciting, but we all need to rise to this moment. Fans, staff, wrestlers. Let’s show the world what we’ve got together.
Tez: Yourself and Tyler Jacobs are the last two EPW Originals still competing. Will we still see “The Godfather of Perth Wrestling” in three years’ time competing at ReAwakening XX? Is it something you have given any thought to, and if so, is 20 years in the business a goal you would like to achieve?
Storm: Time served is not something I set out to achieve. I will wrestle for as long as my body permits & I have something I feel the world needs to hear. When the body gives out or the voice goes quiet, I will walk away. That could be in 10 years or that I could be after I shock the world and pin the WWE UK Champion in my hometown.
Tez: Thank you for your time, Dave.
Storm: Always a pleasure, mate.
PROGRESS x EPW VIP Ringside (including Meet & Greet) and General Admission tickets are available at https://epwperth.com/event/progress-x-epw/