WRESTLER AND POP ROC - COLIN DELANEY
"If you're actually putting your everything into something, you're going to succeed. You have to. When there's no other choice, that's all there is." Colin Delaney, pro wrestler, and owner of Pop Roc comic and coffee shop
ABOUT COLIN DELANEY:
Colin Delaney always wanted to be a pro wrestler and he worked hard and became the Extremely Cute Wrestler in the ECW. He still wrestles today and joins the show to talk about his career and his new business. Along with his business partners, he opened Pop Roc in Rochester New York - a revolutionary new take on the traditional comic book shop. Cereal is served all day long aside caffeinated cocktails and Death Wish Coffee, and comic books, video games, and more pop culture treasures fill out the shop. Find out more at poprochester.com and visit the shop for yourself. Plus, Colin tells us of a brand new move he invented that is gaining traction in the wrestling world and invites us to a match later that evening.
ON THIS WEEK'S COMPANION TV SHOW:
Dustin is full of puns this week as Jeff describes some really cheesy science. Ancient cheese remnants were found in pottery in Croatia, pushing back the origins of cheese thousands of years. Plus meet Stephen Youker, the Death Star of the Week. Then on The Roast - are robotic kitchens the future of cooking, or just a giant failure? Finally, hear about some new products from the World's Strongest Coffee including a mug hook and the upcoming mug to benefit the Special Olympics.
Jeff: Oh, my god. I can't thank you enough for sitting down with us on the show. We are in your shop, Pop Roc, in Rochester. I can't stop looking at all of the amazing things.
Colin: Yeah, you have the look that a lot of people have when they walk in here, especially here in Rochester. We're the first thing even close to this around.
Jeff: Yeah, is there any other comic shop in Rochester?
Colin: There's comic book stores, sure.
Jeff: But nothing like ...
Jeff: With comics, coffee, and cereal.
Colin: What made us come up with this was the fact that all the comic book stores or toy stores around here aren't like this. There, you go in, you get your stuff, and you leave, right?
Jeff: Yeah, right.
Colin: That's how a lot of them are. You go in, you get your books. They're kind of cluttered. There's stuff everywhere. Comic book stores, there's just boxes and boxes of comics everywhere. We didn't want that. We didn't want that cluttered look.
Jeff: That overwhelming feeling when you walk into the shop.
Colin: Yeah, they're visually assaulting sometimes, and same thing with collectible and toy stores. It's just, "Look at this, look at this, there's things here." But we think that right now, with how big all this stuff is, pop culture is, with Marvel, all these Marvel movies, they're the hottest thing. They make a bit like ... They put one out, billion dollars.
Jeff: Billion dollars, yeah.
Colin: In the pocket of Disney, like that. Naturally, people would want to hang out and enjoy these things together, right?
Colin: They should have a place where they can get together with similar, like-minded people and enjoy these things, so we've tried to create that, I guess.
Jeff: I think one of the coolest things is cereal all day. I am a huge lover of breakfast cereal. Was that in the beginning of the idea of this show?
Colin: No. Not even close. Once again, it was just, "We need a place where people can hang out. We need a place where people who enjoy this stuff can come and enjoy it together." We wanted to do coffee. More specifically caffeine was our thing, because calling ourselves a coffee shop seems disingenuous, because I feel like there's a level of expectation that comes with that, that we would have lattes and frappes and all this other stuff where we didn't really want that. We wanted some coffee and some energy drinks and caffeine was our thing. It happens.
Jeff: Hey, it's a shop.
Colin: We realized if we wanted people to be able to hang out here, we should offer them some kind of food, and I always wanted to do Saturday morning cartoons with cereal, which is great.
Dustin: Yeah, perfect.
Colin: And then we were like, why just stop at Saturdays? We can do it all the time. And then it started, we can mix and match them, and then we added toppings, and then it just grew from there. We make them into milkshakes now. It's easily the most popular thing here. Easily.
Dustin: Yeah. It's so nostalgic. It's crazy. It's just a shop full of nostalgia. Even with the music playing, you got '80s, early '90s music playing.
Colin: It feels like if Saturday morning was a location, here it is. You can get that Saturday morning feel. You can watch cartoons, which are usually on at least two of the TVs. You can listen to that music. You see things that are from your childhood.
Jeff: What made you want to start something like this?
Colin: I call it a life hack. It's just take a bunch of things that you like and just put them in a location, open it up, and hope that other people like them too.
Jeff: That's cool.
Colin: So far, it's been pretty cool. People are really digging it.
Jeff: Outside of the cereal and the cartoons, the comics. Have you always been a comic book fan?
Colin: I have, on and off. Throughout my life, I've always dug comics. I fall in and out of them because they are hard to keep up with.
Jeff: They are, definitely.
Colin: And now they're so expensive, so we try ... We have a membership program here where for $20 a month, you're a member. You get 20% off everything. That includes coffee, cereal, comics you buy, but you can also read them for free while you're sitting here.
Jeff: Wow. Whoa.
Colin: So if you actually read comics and you plan to come here regularly anyways, the membership just makes sense. You can sit, enjoy a bowl of cereal, have a coffee, and read a couple books, which are $4 apiece nowadays. Man. And the print industry, they're like, "The print industry's dying." It's like, "Yeah." Can I swear on this? No shit.
Jeff: Oh, yeah. We're Death Wish fucking Coffee.
Colin: No shit. You're charging $4 for 30 pages of book. Come on, man.
Jeff: No, I'm with you. I remember as a kid, I remember when they went from a $1.50 to $1.95 and begging my parents for a little bit more in my allowance, and my dad looking at me like, "I don't know, you could mow the neighbors' lawn." He was like, "What am I going to do?" The comics are ... And they've constantly went up since then, so it is something like that. Go-to superhero?
Colin: Really. 100%.
Jeff: 100%, why? Because he talks to fish?
Colin: I don't know. I got really into him during the '90s Peter David run of Aquaman, was my era, my era of comics. I don't know. Everyone always ragged on him, but I always thought he was cool, and he was cool. He is cool. People are like, "He talks to fish." No way, man. He's the fucking king of the sea. Are you out of your fucking mind? He's the king of Atlantis.
Jeff: He rules Atlantis. What's your thoughts on Jason Momoa, then?
Colin: Hate it.
Colin: Hate it. Hate it. Aquaman is Nordic, right?
Colin: He's a Nordic, blond-haired, blue-eyed ... That was his thing. I get it, eventually he got the beard. That does not make him Islander. They made him Polynesian. It just doesn't make sense. I'll roll with it, but I'm not, I mean ...
Jeff: I'm with you.
Colin: He's not my Aquaman.
Dustin: Do you have somebody that you had in mind?
Colin: I don't know. No, I don't, because I never thought they'd make Aquaman into a movie.
Jeff: Right, exactly.
Colin: As much as I love Aquaman, I know everyone else hates on him, so it's never a thought in my mind, like, "Who would play Aquaman?"
Dustin: I think maybe Skarsgard. What's his name?
Jeff: Oh, yeah.
Colin: There's 18 of them.
Jeff: Alexander Skarsgard.
Colin: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Dustin: The one from "True Blood." I think he would have made a good Aquaman.
Colin: Yep, that's a good one. The Hemsworth's already a Thor, but what do you think? Once again, it's a Nordic feel.
Colin: That's more of what I think of when I think of Aquaman, not Islander and the Polynesian Island look. Which I get what they're going for, and it does make sense, but Aquaman's been the same way for so long.
Jeff: Yeah. I got to say, congrats on the shop, because it is that feeling, the thing where you get all of your favorite things together and then you just are like, "You know what? I'm going to make it happen. I'm going to do this. I'm going to make something from all of my favorite things."
Colin: Yeah, and we've had a bunch of people come in and say things like, "I've had the same idea," or "I had an idea just like this." I was like, "Yeah, I'm sure everybody did at some point."
Jeff: But you didn't do it.
Colin: Because it's a bunch of cool things that you like and you know a bunch of people who like them, so it only makes sense to open it, but we got up the balls and just said, "You know what? Let's do it."
Dustin: I think there's a void of this kind of thing.
Colin: Oh, my god, yeah.
Dustin: Also a demand for it. We're always going back to the things we loved as kids, and you always see this revolution of things becoming popular again, because the people who loved it as kids are now adults, and they're producing things and they're in charge of starting businesses and making films and stuff.
Colin: Right. "Incredibles 2" just came out. That movie's not for kids.
Jeff: Not at all. It's for us.
Colin: I don't say that because there's any adult undertones or it's very adult-oriented, but the first one came out 15 years ago. You do not make a sequel 15 years later and say it's still for kids. No, if you were a kid 15 years ago, you're in your 20s or 30s now.
Dustin: That was 15 years ago?
Colin: Something like that. It's over 10 years ago, yeah.
Jeff: But look at the same thing with the "Toy Story" franchise. When "Toy Story 1" came out, sure, that was for children. It had its adult overtones, too, but by "Toy Story 3" and 4, it's like those children have grown up. It's the adults that are going and seeing the nostalgia that they love.
Colin: We are all Andy now. We are all Andy.
Jeff: Yes, we really are.
Dustin: Don't make me cry.
Colin: Pixar is just a ... They'll get you. I love Disney movies. Disney's my thing, my jam.
Jeff: Me too.
Colin: Disney-Pixar, they're on my heartstrings at all times. Have you seen "Coco"?
Jeff: I have not yet.
Dustin: Dude, I can't believe how trippy it was. Very psychedelic, right?
Jeff: They're so good at that.
Dustin: I didn't expect that. Like, "Whoever made this took a lot of drugs."
Colin: Pixar, you did it again.
Jeff: Yeah, they have.
Colin: Rare do I watch one of those movies and there's not a moment where I'm like, "I'm fine. I'm a grown-ass man. I'm not ..."
Jeff: They know what they're doing.
Colin: Rare a time.
Jeff: They know what they're doing. That's the culture. There's comic book culture, there's pop culture, which is so exciting, and that's my segue into another culture, which is wrestling. Which is funny, because again, it's one of those cultures that ... I mean, when I was a kid back in the '80s, it was everything. These were the superheroes that I would watch on television.
Colin: Right. It was the action figures you were buying.
Jeff: Yeah. Then it's had its ups and downs and now we're seeing it again, where wrestling has got this appeal, and it's that surgence of the culture again.
Colin: It goes through waves, and it has forever, which is why, when it gets down and people jump off, it's like, "Fine, jump off. It's going to come right back. It does this all the time." Yeah. I grew up on the Hulk Hogans and the Randy Savages.
Jeff: I was going to say, what was your first take into wrestling? The first thing that really sparked your interest into ...
Colin: I had a VHS tape, and the main event was a cage match with Randy Savage and the Million Dollar Man.
Dustin: Oh, that's a good one.
Colin: I remember watching that VHS till it burned out, because wrestling wasn't as readily accessible back then. It was on Saturday mornings. "Monday Night Raw" wasn't around yet. I remember I was still really young when "Monday Night Raw" debuted. I just remember begging my parents, "Please let me stay up late, please," because it was on at 9 PM and it was way past bedtime. They were like, "You can stay up for the first match." I was like, "Yes, one match of wrestling."
Jeff: It's incredible the culture ... Not just the culture behind wrestling, but wrestling as a form of entertainment, because to the layman, you watch these larger-than-life characters on screen battling it out with each other, and again, to the layman, you're like, "Well, this is fake, and anybody could do that," kind of thing ...
Colin: Right, good luck.
Jeff: Exactly. These people, especially our heroes, we were lucky enough to have the Million Dollar Man on this very show.
Colin: Oh, really?
Jeff: And we were talking to Ted ... We were talking to him about those early days, and it's like, the amount of work and preparation and just drive and focus that these guys had just to make the thing that appeared on Saturday morning that all kids like you and I would sit there and go "Oh my gosh," it's incredible to me, this culture.
Colin: At this point, "Monday Night Raw" is the longest-running episodic television show in history, because it's been going every Monday ... It's not a seasonal show. They've been running every Monday since 1993.
Dustin: That's insane.
Colin: And then think about that as any show, any show. There's writers, there's producers, there's all these things that have been running this show since 1993, every Monday.
Colin: That's just such a monumental, mammoth thing that people don't even think about, all that goes into it, let alone the in-ring product, but the behind-the-scenes, the backstage segments, the writers, the producers, all those trucks, all those cameras, all the setup, all the tear-down.
Dustin: It's a traveling circus. It's intense.
Colin: Since 1993, every Monday, and now they do it on Tuesdays also. Once "SmackDown" came around in the late '90s, early 2000s, then you added just another one of those, plus pay-per-views, plus live events. It has to be the most intense travel schedule, TV schedule, just it's grueling.
Dustin: Yeah, the logistics behind it must be just insane.
Colin: So when anybody says, "Oh, that fake stuff," it's like, "Are you out of your mind?"
Jeff: I know. I know.
Colin: Some of the hardest-working people on planet Earth are doing this, and the ones who are in the ring are beating the shit out of their bodies night in and night out, sometimes 300 days a year, and it's like, "Fake." But you can watch a fucking movie and be like, "Give that man an award for what he did in one fucking movie that took him three months to film," and you want to give this motherfucker an award, but you're like, "Oh, these dudes are fake." You are fucking out of your brains, man. You know what I'm saying?
Jeff: I'm so with you. Walk us into this moment in your life where you want to pursue this.
Dustin: Yeah, I want your origin story.
Jeff: You want to become a professional wrestler. How does that come into your life?
Colin: It was always a thing in my life. Like I said, I stayed up late. I begged my parents to stay up late. I was obsessed with it. It was all I wanted to do. You know when you're a kid and you have a thing you want to do, and most kids fall off that thing?
Jeff: Right. "I want to be an astronaut. I want to be a ..." Yeah, yeah.
Colin: Sure. An airplane pilot or a fucking football player or whatever you wanted to do. I wanted to be a pro wrestler, and that was it. Straightforward, here I come. I'm going for it. I grew up. I was 135 pounds, 140 pounds. I was 16 years old, and I said, "I'm going to wrestling school." That's it.
Colin: I found a wrestling school nearby, and I went to wrestling school. There was tuition you had to pay. I returned cans and bottles. I got my first job so I could pay for wrestling school.
Dustin: What is wrestling school like? What does that entail?
Colin: You learn all the basics, like how to fall and not break your neck every time, a lot of the basic movements and stuff, footwork, running, hitting the ropes, coming off them. You learn a lot of the basics in wrestling school, so you got to do that first, and yeah, at 16 years old I just started doing it and then started traveling around with other local guys who were doing it or trying to do it.
At that point I would travel with a bag of VHS tapes with my name on it and my phone number in case a promoter wanted to use me, and I'd give them my VHS tape that they could watch, to try and put me on shows.
Jeff: So it's a lot of just self-promotion, just trying to make it into the industry.
Colin: Yeah, nowadays there's Facebook and YouTube, so you can just email some guy and say, "Hey, I want to do your show, here's some videos of me." Man, back when I was coming up, I had a flip phone and two VHSes hooked up that I could record one to the next and I had a bunch of blank VHS tapes that I had to write my name on and pass out to promoters.
Dustin: When did that start to pan out for you, and when ...
Colin: It was going fine. I was still young. I was 19, 20, 21 years old, and I was wrestling around the northeast, going to Philly, going to Boston, going to Pittsburgh, going to Cleveland, wrestling on pretty decent shows with guys who I looked up to and knew, and I thought that was super cool.
Then WWE came to my town, and a friend of mine who now wrestles there, he goes by the name of Luke Harper, he was backstage and they needed a smaller guy to get beat up on TV that night. Just, "We need a small guy," and he said, "I know one."
Jeff: I'm just picturing the producer in the background. "We need a punching bag. Get me a punching bag."
Colin: Yeah, basically. Everybody they had was too big, apparently. Because my buddy, Luke Harper, he's 6'7".
Jeff: Which is a big guy.
Colin: He was backstage there, and there was a bunch of other guys who were 6'3", 6'4". They needed someone to get tossed around, and they didn't have anybody that size. My friend stepped up and he called me, and I wrestled a guy named Shelton Benjamin on ECW at the time, it was, WWE's version of ECW, and I just went out there and got thrown around by him, and I got to the back, and they loved it. They thought I did amazing, they thought I did great, and they brought me back next week.
At that point, I'm a 21-year-old kid who has never ... I was working at a factory. When my buddy called me, I literally ran out the door of this factory without saying a word to anybody. I was just like, "See you. Going to wrestle." Drove straight to the arena with nothing but work boots and some beat-up jeans, a pair of knee pads and some wrestling shoes in my car. Had someone bring me my wrestling gear, and I wrestled on TV that night and they loved me. They brought me back, gave me a $1,000 bonus, which at that point, I'd never seen $1,000 for anything in my life.
Colin: I was a kid. They started flying me city to city to wrestle for them on TV on a weekly basis.
Jeff: At this point in your career, you're going from working hard and going around the country and wrestling, and now you're wrestling on television. Do nerves ever come into it?
Colin: No, I don't think they had a chance to. There were some times where I would be standing in the ring and looking around, where they were on commercial break, and I'm waiting for my opponent to come out, and I'd look around and go, "Holy shit. I'm doing this. This is weird."
Dustin: A surreal moment, yeah.
Colin: Usually it was just, once I go out through the curtain, it's like any time. Whether there's 10,000 people or 100 people, it's all kind of the same thing, so it doesn't really ... I don't get like ...
Colin: At one point, I was in the main event of the sold-out Staples Center.
Jeff: Oh, my gosh.
Colin: The Staples Center in LA. Sold out to the fucking top, and I'm in the main event with Bautista, who plays fucking Drax in the "Guardians" movies, wrestling against Edge when he was world champion, and it's like this crazy moment where it's like, "Am I really here?" I look back on it, it doesn't even feel like it's a real memory of mine. It feels like it's something that I watched on TV, but it's like, "Oh, I actually lived that."
Dustin: That's insane.
Jeff: Have you ever gotten injured?
Colin: Oh, yeah. Yeah. I have three metal plates in this side of my face now.
Colin: That was just a couple years ago.
Jeff: What's that from?
Colin: My face was coming down, a guy's knee was coming up.
Jeff: Oh, my god.
Colin: I rolled out of the ring and the ref comes out. He's like, "Are you okay?" I said, "Pretty sure he broke my face." He goes, "Are you serious?" I said, "I don't know, but I think so."
Dustin: "It feels broken."
Jeff: "I've never had a broken face before."
Colin: He's like, "What do you want to do?" I go, "I think you should ring the bell and just say the match is over." He's like, "Really?" I said, "Oh, yeah, 100%." He goes, "I'm going to count you out." I go, "No, no, no. Don't count me out. Just ring the bell and I'm going to go to the hospital." And I did.
Dustin: Oh, man. Was that your worst injury?
Colin: Probably, yeah.
Dustin: Yeah, it doesn't get much worse than breaking your face, right?
Colin: And putting three plates in it, yeah.
Dustin: Yeah. That's intense. Any other memorable injuries?
Colin: No, not really. Other than pretty whatever, like sprained foot, sprained ankle, broken hand, little whatevers. I worked through most of them. I've wrestled in a walking boot. I've wrestled in a hand cast. I wrestled six weeks after breaking my face.
Dustin: Oh, my god.
Colin: Yeah. I asked the doctor, because I thought for sure six months to a year.
Colin: I shattered my face. They had to cut me here, peel my face down, and put three metal plates in there.
Dustin: It looks good. I can't tell.
Jeff: That's so brutal.
Colin: Yeah, good plastic surgeon, right?
Colin: Got three plates put in my face and I was like, "How long till I can get back to normal activity?" He's like, "You can probably get back in the ring in about a month." I was like, "What?"
Colin: He was like, "Six weeks. Let's call it six weeks." I was like, "Hey, you're the doctor. Six weeks is just fine."
Dustin: Did you wait the whole six weeks?
Colin: Yeah, I did.
Dustin: Were you chomping at the bit the whole time?
Colin: Kind of. Not for the first couple weeks.
Dustin: Yeah, I guess you were in pain.
Colin: For the first couple weeks I had to sleep sitting up and wearing this thing over my face. I was like the Phantom of the Opera.
Dustin: Oh, man.
Colin: I was watching cartoons and just hating my life. But this is a true story. So I'm sitting on the couch. I have to sleep sitting up the whole time. I'm just flipping through the channels, and this was when I fell in love with the show "Teen Titans Go."
Jeff: Oh, yeah.
Dustin: So good.
Colin: Because it was on all day and all night.
Dustin: It's a great one.
Colin: The first episode I turned on is Beast Boy breaking his face. I was like, "It's me, man. It's so me."
Dustin: "I relate. This show speaks to me. Literally is speaking to me."
Jeff: Oh, my god, that's amazing. Also in wrestling, everybody dons a persona and has their character, or at least what you exude. I know you have been referred to, the "Extremely Cute"?
Colin: "Extremely Cute Wrestler."
Jeff: Where does this come from? Other than what I'm seeing in front of me.
Dustin: Other than this vision in front of me.
Colin: Now I've got plates in my face, so I'm the extremely presentable, extremely "He's all right" wrestler. When I was on TV, I was on their version of ECW, so "Extremely Cute Wrestler," ECW. After I got off, I was still a 21-year-old kid. I was a baby-faced kid, so people would always say that I was cute and I would say, "Extremely cute."
Jeff: Oh, that's right. Perfect.
Colin: Then it just rolled from there. I got on that Twitter game pretty early, so @ExtremelyCute is my Twitter handle. They'd be like, "How did you get that?" I was like, "Man, I've been on this Twitter thing for a long time."
Jeff: That is excellent.
Colin: The first tweet WWE ever put out on Twitter was about me wrestling Mark Henry, so it's like if you go back to their very first tweet, it's about Mark Henry beating me on ECW.
Jeff: Oh, my gosh. You should get that framed.
Dustin: "Those are the things you can't take away from me. I was your first tweet."
Jeff: Speaking of things you can't take away from me, you have your own action figure.
Colin: Yeah, I have an action figure.
Jeff: What does that feel like, to have yourself immortalized in an action figure?
Dustin: I got to take a closer look. Sorry, I'm going to try not to make it weird.
Colin: It was a lovely parting gift, because I was fired by the time that even came out. The story behind it is actually someone told me, they announced that they were going to put out an action figure of me, and then I think I got fired a month later. I got fired just because they were just ... Every once in a while they'll clear house a little bit. They'll do a little spring cleaning. Some guys they weren't doing anything with, they get rid of, and it is what it is. It's not ...
Jeff: It's the industry.
Colin: It happens. I was like, "I bet they don't put that action figure out now," but they did. I was so excited that they were actually still going to put it out. Then I found out later that it was because they had to make a whole new body mold without muscles, and so for them to not put the action figure out, they would have lost so much money, so they were like, "Fuck it, let's just put it out and try and make a couple bucks off of it."
Jeff: Oh, my god.
Colin: Try and recoup the body mold for the no muscle.
Jeff: Oh, my god, that's so cool.
Colin: Yeah, you're welcome.
Dustin: I wouldn't say no muscle.
Colin: I mean, yeah. It's very, very little. But if you've ever seen a wrestling action figure, they're just abs and huge pecs.
Jeff: Oh, yeah. It's abs on abs. Yeah.
Colin: If they were going to make an action figure of me, they were not going to. They were going to make it just like this guy right here.
Jeff: That is awesome. I mean, again, I grew up not only watching wrestling, but obviously playing with wrestling action figures and stuff, and that's just so cool, that you have one now. No one can ever take that away from you.
Colin: No. No, they can't. Except for ... No, they can't.
Jeff: They can't. So you still wrestle constantly.
Jeff: In fact, you were just on television.
Colin: I was just on television on Tuesday.
Jeff: What is that like? Do they call you up and are like, "Okay, we're going to have you as part of this act," or ...
Colin: Yeah, when they're in the area, we usually talk, and if they're interested in using me, they'll tell me to come to TV. They were in Boston and Manchester, New Hampshire, which is kind of far from me, but close enough that it's within a drive, so I went down and did "Raw" and "SmackDown" on Monday and Tuesday, and they have a show now called "205 Live." It's all lighter guys, under 205 pounds.
Dustin: Oh, interesting.
Jeff: Okay, yeah.
Colin: It's on their network, and it's on after "SmackDown." Yeah, so they put me on on Tuesday on "205 Live," and I wrestled the new kid they have there called Leo Rush, who is fast as lightning. He's 22, 23 years old, probably weighs about 130 pounds. He's fast as lightning.
Colin: I would turn my head and he was already just long past me. I don't often feel slow, but I felt slow.
Jeff: Oh, wow.
Colin: I'm on my game. I know where I'm at. I know where I'm going, but man, that kid was fast as lightning.
Jeff: Wow. Somebody to watch, then, for sure.
Colin: Yeah. The game has changed. These kids are fast.
Jeff: Damn. So not only just doing it when they call you up, you're wrestling a lot locally.
Dustin: Sure. Yeah, we're going to an event tonight. Can you tell us about tonight's event?
Colin: Sure. The local promotion here is called UPW, Upstate Pro Wrestling. It's actually the school that I trained at. It's coming up 15 years ago. 15 years ago, I trained at this school, and they're still running, still running shows.
Jeff: That's awesome.
Colin: Yeah. It's at a bar called Pineapple Jack's tonight here in Rochester. It's a small setup. They put the ring in the back concert area, so the ring is up on ... The ring is actually on the floor, but right in front of the stage, there's seating on the stage where concerts usually go.
Dustin: That sounds intense.
Colin: It's pretty cool.
Dustin: It's got to be electric in that room, right?
Colin: Yeah, it's a very ... If you've never been to an independent wrestling show, it's a whole different atmosphere.
Jeff: I can't wait.
Colin: Because you can only put 100, 200 people in this room all together, so there's only four, five rows on each side, a ring in the middle.
Dustin: There's got to be a strategy behind putting on a show in a room like that.
Dustin: Is it more dangerous?
Colin: Kind of, yeah, because there's not as much space. Yeah, because there's not a whole lot of outside space between the ring and the fans.
Dustin: I feel like there's a floor to hit and ... What about the people watching? Are they in danger?
Colin: There's a barricade.
Colin: But ...
Dustin: The barricade doesn't save you.
Jeff: It is wrestling, come on.
Colin: If there's not a whole lot of floor space, because you're trying to get as many people as you can in this room, so ... It's fun, though. These independent shows are a lot of fun. I wrestle here and I wrestle Buffalo, Syracuse. Like I said, sometimes over in New England or Philadelphia area, over in Cleveland a lot, down in Pittsburgh a bunch. I still try and keep active. Sometimes I'll go a little outside that, like fly out somewhere to Texas or somewhere outside the area.
Dustin: Do you have a pretty intense training regimen?
Colin: I do sometimes. It depends. Since opening this place it's been kind of lax. When WWE called me, I had about three weeks till TV so I started working with a personal trainer, because since we opened this place I might get to the gym two times a week, maybe three, and I'm not getting the best workouts of my life because I'm trying to juggle 100 things at once. Yeah, I've been working with a personal trainer in the last couple weeks, which is the craziest thing. I've never worked with a personal trainer before. Holy fuck.
Jeff: You've got one.
Colin: Yeah, that dude beats my ass.
Dustin: Yeah, it's pretty brutal. Yeah.
Colin: There are times where I don't think I could lift my arms, period, paragraph, with ...
Dustin: I don't know how I drive home sometimes.
Colin: Right, with no weight in my hands, and he's like, "Three more." I'm like, "Three more? Three more what? I don't even think I could lift my arms with nothing in them, let alone these two 50-pound dumbbells."
Dustin: I feel, I don't know, it's so character-building when you find your bottom and then you go a bit deeper.
Dustin: I don't know. It's fun, though.
Colin: Yeah, and when you work out by yourself you can't hit failure that hard. Failure, to that point, would be like dropping large weights on top of yourself at times, or I don't know, falling or dropping yourself or something like that. But when there's a human being there to push you and push you to that limit, and you know he's going to make sure you don't die, you can push a little harder. You can try a little deeper, and it's crazy.
Jeff: We are so excited to see this event tonight. It's going to be a lot of fun. I got to ask, from a wrestling standpoint, do you have a favorite move? Do you have a go-to move that you like? Not necessarily that is, I'm saying, a signature move, but something that is your favorite when you get to pull it off, kind of thing?
Colin: Yeah, I don't know. No. It depends.
Jeff: It depends?
Colin: I've been doing this for a long time, so it changes with the day. I just invented a move recently, which is pretty cool, because at this point, wrestling's been around for so long, so when you invent something that is all your own, it's a good feeling. It's crazy, because now the wrestling world has caught ahold of this move, and I'll see it on other things, but it's like, "Oh, that came from my brain. I came up with that."
Dustin: That's so cool.
Jeff: That's so cool. Can you talk about it?
Colin: I hang the guy up so he's seated on the ropes, and he's facing outside of the ring, and I run and I slide out of the ring under the bottom rope and grab him at the same time and rip him off the ropes, so like a baseball sliding German suplex.
Jeff: That sounds so cool.
Dustin: How do you develop something like this and not kill somebody?
Colin: I don't know.
Dustin: "I don't know, we lost three people."
Colin: Far less concerned ... No. Yeah, once I'm under the ropes and I hear a big loud bang behind me, I'm like, "All right, well, it worked."
Dustin: "He didn't die."
Colin: "I feel like he didn't die. Sounds like he's all right. No one's died yet."
Dustin: Will we see this tonight?
Colin: Probably. It's been a favorite of mine recently.
Colin: It gets a good reaction. I'm not overly athletic, but I can do some athletic things, and any time I get to bust out some of the more athletic things ... Because the match doesn't always call for it, and I'm not that kind of guy. I'm not a guy who does a bunch of flips, so my matches don't necessarily always call for them, but any time I can bust out a backflip or two, I'm into that life.
Jeff: Awesome. You have such just an infectious spirit about the sport.
Colin: Thank you.
Jeff: You really do.
Colin: Like I said, I've wanted to do it since I was yay high and I just went for it. I just did it. I dropped out of high school to start going to wrestling school. I was like, "Nope, this is not for me. This is not what I'm trying to do with my life. I know what I'm trying to do with my life, and it starts here." That's it.
Jeff: It's very inspiring. The final thing is, we ask this of all of our guests. Through it all, with the business that you have now, which is incredible, your wrestling career and everything else, what fuels you to keep going out there and doing these things?
Colin: Oh, man. I don't know. That's one of those deep-thought questions. Yeah, I didn't know we were going to get deep like this. You guys are trying to Pixar movie me here. You guys, you're Pixar movie-ing me. I don't know. I guess, like I said, for the wrestling, it's just always been what I've wanted to do, so no matter what, I always just had that goal in mind and I just kept going towards that goal. Still today, I still keep going towards that goal.
I mean, getting back to WWE is still a goal, so I will just head down and just barrel towards it. Same thing with this. I think this place could be huge and could be the coolest thing, and we could franchise this and we could have a bunch of these all over the place, and the only thing stopping us would be us. That's the cool thing about this place. If we want to have an event or something, we don't got to throw it by anybody. If we want to get a new product in here, if we want to make a new something, if we want to do something different, we do it.
As long as we keep putting our all into it, it's going to work, because that's how places fail. Someone will go, "Oh, I bought a bar, and these people are managing it, and this person runs it, and these people work here." No, we own this place, we run this place, we work here, we put our all into it, and if you're going to ... If you're fully putting your all into something ... Don't lie to yourself. If you're actually putting your everything into something, you're going to succeed. You have to. When there's no other choice, that's all there is.
Dustin: And when it's something that's your own, or something that you have control over or can make something happen, the feeling of achievement is really next level. I don't know, just that freedom to decide and shape the future of an idea is ... There's nothing like it.
Colin: Yeah. It's cool to watch it. Every day when I watch this place grow, when something new happens, it's like, "Man, it's happening. This is cool. It's a thing. It's real."
Dustin: That's cool, man. I can't wait to see how everything turns out with this and what you do with it.
Colin: We're still only three months in.
Dustin: That's crazy, you're only three months in. That's nuts.
Jeff: You guys are killing it already.
Dustin: What are the next steps? What do you plan? What are your big dreams for this place?
Colin: Originally, this place was supposed to be a little bigger, I guess, event space. We wanted to have bigger events here. We wanted to be able to have wrestling shows inside of Pop Roc. We wanted to be able to have concerts and comedy nights and all that stuff.
Dustin: Right. Oh, that's cool.
Colin: So eventually, possibly a bigger space, or expanding to more spaces, because we've got to figure out our menu and how things work, because we've just been ... I promise you, we opened up on a Friday at 8 AM. Till about noon, none of us had a fucking clue what we were doing.
Dustin: That's always fun, man.
Jeff: That's the best thing.
Colin: We opened the doors and there's human beings coming in, asking us to do things, and we are just like, "Yep, here it is. We're doing it." You just got to act like you fucking know what you're doing.
Dustin: You just got to take it one step at a time, you know?
Jeff: It reminds me of Death Wish Coffee. It's kind of like how we started.
Dustin: Fake it till you make it. We say that all the time, man.
Colin: If you act like you know what you're doing, no one's going to question you. Use that advice for trying to sneak into a sporting event or something like that. Just act like you're supposed to be there. No one's going to fucking question you. Just walk right in.
Dustin: I live by that sometimes.
Jeff: Yeah, no. We really do. We really do.
Dustin: What gives me confidence is that, more and more, as you start to do a thing like this, you find out that that's what everybody's done before you.
Dustin: Nobody really actually knows what they're doing, they're just going for it and they're just taking it one step at a time until they have an empire. It's amazing. It's amazing to see things like that unfold.
Colin: Yep. We're doing it.
Dustin: That's cool, man.
Colin: We're doing it.
Jeff: That's so cool. I mean, with all of it, I can't wait to see where you go. With wrestling and with the shop.
Colin: And mixing them together.
Jeff: Yeah. It's so inspiring hearing you talk about these things, because it's what you really love.
Colin: Thank you, yeah. Yeah, hell yeah.
Jeff: I think that's really great.
Colin: It's why we're here.
Jeff: It's why we're here.
Jeff: Finally, for our listeners and fans, to follow you, would the best way be Twitter?
Colin: Sure, Twitter, you can ... Follow the shop. Pop Roc Culture, @PopRocCulture on Twitter, on Instagram, on Facebook, all of it. You can find me on Twitter @ExtremelyCute, on Instagram at ExtremelyColin, because ExtremelyCute was taken by the time I got to the Instagram game.
Jeff: Those bastards.
Colin: Yeah, the Instagram game I got to a little later. But yeah, no.
Colin: Check us out. If anyone's in Rochester, New York, come on through.
Dustin: I highly suggest it. Anybody in the area, just ... I would want to be here every Saturday morning just to relive my childhood a little bit.
Colin: Yeah, mix and match some cereals.
Dustin: It almost seems like a good way to turn off the noise for a bit, sit down ...
Colin: Yeah, except for Men at Work, which is on currently. You turn off all the noise except for Men at Work.
Dustin: That's great.
Jeff: Colin, thank you so much for taking time to be on the show.
Colin: Yeah, thanks, guys. It's been fun.
Dustin: Great, cheers.
Dustin: Did it.