Interview: Billy Damiana
By Joseph Feeney III
Name: Billy Damiana
Weight: 230 lbs
Experience: Monster Factory Pro Wrestling, New Jersey Wrestling Hall Of Famer, Six Time Wrestling All-American
Today I had the pleasure of speaking to Monster Factory Pro Wrestling blue chipper, Billy Damiana. Last month at the Monster Factory Pro Wrestling live event, I saw Damiana wrestle and defeat international superstar, Rhett Titus. He puzzled Titus from the start, outwrestling him, and finally muscling him over with a picture perfect Northern Lights suplex for a win that was surprising to some of the audience. But it wasn’t surprising to Billy Damiana. He made it clear during our interview that he is the picture of confidence, and he will accept nothing less than a rise to the very top of the wrestling world.
On September 20th, Damiana hopes to continue his successful ways, as his victory over seasoned veteran Titus has gotten him a Monster Factory Pro Wrestling Heavyweight Championship match against the current champion, Luis “The Punisher” Martinez. Martinez himself is on a winning streak as well, defeating “Benchmark” Bill Daly in convincing fashion last month. A huge fan favorite among the Monster Factory faithful, Martinez is a big powerhouse of a wrestler, who is always one big move away from victory. Damiana remains cocksure, and convinced that when the match concludes, the championship is going home with him, to add to his list of accolades and his wall of trophies.
JF: Good afternoon Billy. Thank you for spending some time with me, and with sharing your story and views with the wrestling world.
BD: It’s my pleasure.
JF: Ok, I will start you out with a standard first question; Were you a big wrestling fan growing up?
BD: Yes, I have always been a huge wrestling fan. The first match that I ever saw was 1-2-3 Kid wrestling Owen Hart on Monday Night Raw and I was hooked. I became a huge Owen Hart fan, as well as Bret Hart and Mr. Perfect. My dad used to tell me stories about when he was a kid and watching Bruno in the Garden and that was his hero. I actually got into amateur wrestling because of professional wrestling. I haven’t missed a Monday Night Raw show since I started training at the Monster Factory.
JF: Ah, very nice! So who stands out to you on WWE programming today?
BD: Well I am big into promos, so Dean Ambrose and Bray Wyatt stand out to me. I really enjoy watching Jack Swagger due to his amateur style and I enjoy seeing them showcase all the young talent.
JF: So you got into amateur wrestling because of your love of professional wrestling. Your accolades are well known among your peers and fans, but would you like to explain some of your accomplishments to the readers?
BD: Well, I was highly upset when I learned amateur wrestling was not what I saw on TV. So I worked really hard to earn six All American honors, five in high school, and one in college. I have the most wins in Lower Cape May Regional history as well as Cape May County history with a career record of 140-17. I was also a national finalist and champion in high school. I All American’d in all three styles in amateur wrestling, which are folkstyle, freestyle and Greco Roman. I was a two time New Jersey state placer and I was an All American in Greco Roman in college. I also competed for a World Team spot at the Olympic training center in Colorado Springs.
JF: Wow, that’s awesome, congratulations on all your accomplishments! So how did you go from the amateur ranks to training to enter professional wrestling
BD: Well it was always something I wanted but I didn’t know it would be a possibility. I got hooked up with Nick Comoroto at a different school for a short period of time until I made the transition to the Monster Factory which is the best school outside of NXT in my opinion. The history and track record speaks for itself as well as the prestigious alumni who have left the school for careers with WWE and other major promotions. I’m in the right place right now.
JF: It’s history and track record does indeed speak volumes. So what were your initial impressions of the Monster Factory?
BD: Honestly, most people say they were blown away when they walk into the doors for the first time, and gaze at the pictures of history on the wall. I, myself expected to see all of the history. I’m a believer in showing the past its proper respect in wrestling, so the history and homage at the Monster Factory, I was expecting. The one thing that I was in awe of was the access to an extensive weight room and the amateur mats. I can almost guarantee that the Monster Factory is the only school that has access to world class facilities like that.
JF: Coming from an amateur background, do you think the training came easier to you than it may to others? Was it what you expected? And how did you initially feel about the bumps?
BD: You would think that it is. In some aspects yes, but the biggest thing is, as an amateur you are used to moving so fast with the mindset of trying to score. In pro wrestling you have to slow down. But when it comes to learning the basics and how to apply holds and moves I feel that it may have been easier because of the amateur background. It has been everything I expected and more. People really have no idea or clue how physical professional wrestling truly is and the bumps on that canvas are unforgiving. For whatever reason there’s this notion that it doesn’t hurt or there’s a trampoline spring under the ring. I invite anybody to come to the Monster Factory and put those theories to the test.
JF: In your experience, who would you say you’ve seen in the business with the most natural talent?
BD: I would say the most naturally talented guys I have ever seen were Owen Hart and Kurt Angle. That may be a biased statement, but they epitomize what I think a professional wrestler should be. Their fluidity and charisma were on point, as well as their ability to bump and sell. They were also masters of getting a crowd to believe in and invest themselves into their matches. Those two are the most naturally talented in ring performers I have seen.
JF: So other than your trainers at the Monster Factory, Danny Cage, Blue Meanie, Bill Wiles, who would you say has taught you the most?
BD: I would say a lot of it you learn from trial and error. You get a feel for what a crowd wants to see and what captivates their minds and attention. You see what works and what doesn’t, try to do things to the best of your ability and kind of learn by being thrown into the fire.
JF: Which areas would you say each of the different Monster Factory trainers specialize in when it comes to teaching yourself and the other students?
BD: Danny Cage tells you straight up if something sucks or looks weak and calls you out on bullshit and lack of productivity or lack of focus. He’s there to be tough on you while Bill Wiles offers more of a feel for amateur type things as well as the behind the scenes aspect of wrestling. He has vast knowledge of production, to getting booked and backstage etiquette. The Blue Meanie is there and gives great perspective on promos and character creativity. His presence and sense of humor also help to lighten up your day when training or the wrestling business puts you down. It’s a great system created by all three of the guys, and they gel perfectly.
JF: I’ve noticed you heading a few drills and taking an interest in other students. Are you interested in being a trainer yourself, down the line?
BD: I just like to help people. I coach high wrestlers and pee wee wrestlers so it’s almost a natural thing for me to help people who need it or are looking for it. But who knows, right now I’m just trying to get signed!
JF: Haha, right! So, what advice would you give anyone who aspires to become a pro wrestler, and who plans to enter the doors of the Monster Factory?
BD: Be prepared for sacrifice and hard work. You will push yourself to the absolute limit and you be hurt. You will be sore and you will miss time with family and friends. Instead of going out and partying, you will be cutting promos, eating right, and training as well as traveling. Days will be long. You will question why you do this and how much you really love it, but if you’re tough enough you will last.
JF: I was recently in attendance for your match with ROH superstar Rhett Titus. You defeated Titus, in what many saw as an upset. Would you consider this your biggest victory so far, and what did you learn from being in the ring with a master like Titus?
BD: To other people it may be an upset, but I live up to my name, which is the Wrestling Machine! I learned that I have a lot to work on, but I’m not far off from my goal and I learned I can hang with people no matter how experienced they are. I competed on a world level in amateur wrestling, so professional wrestling competition isn’t any different in my eyes.
JF: Ok, in a perfect world, this Saturday night, you are headlining at Madison Square Garden, and you have the ability to choose any opponent you want? Who do you choose?
BD: John Cena. I would want to wrestle John Cena. He is the biggest name in the industry right now and the main eventer for WWE, regardless what fans want and think. It’s a business and if you want to generate a name for yourself and buzz around the world you put yourself in the ring with John Cena. We are all in this business to be a main eventer and that’s what he is, so that’s who you would want to work. Of course my other choices would be Owen Hart and Kurt Angle. But when it comes to current wrestlers in the “World’s Most Famous Arena,” Cena would be my number one pick. I love the guy.
JF: So where would Billy Damiana like to see himself in five years? Ten years?
BD: In WWE, out working my competition whether it be in the ring or in the gym or anywhere else. A quote from Dan Gable is something many amateur wrestlers live by and it goes, “1st period is won by the better technician. The 2nd period is won by the person in better shape. The 3rd period is won by the person with the biggest heart.” When you train as hard as an amateur wrestler, you prove that you outwork the competition, and that’s what I plan on doing.
JF: Next month, September 20th at the Monster Factory, you have an opportunity to become the Monster Factory Pro Wrestling Heavyweight Champion. You will challenge the current champion Luis “The Punisher” Martinez. This is a big chance for you, rather early in your career. How do you feel about getting this coveted shot, and do you feel you can overcome Martinez?
BD: I feel great about this shot. It’s a prestigious championship and Luis is a very tough opponent. He has been in the business for some years and has accomplished much. He is in the best shape of his life. He’s not your normal big man, Luis is agile and quick and his athleticism is superior. His strength is where he excels as well as his in ring presence. He also has a martial arts background. He was a martial arts champion and has many years of training under his belt. But like I said before I competed at the absolute top world level in wrestling. If you look at MMA the amateur wrestlers are the dominating force and I plan on continuing that tradition. I respect Luis but that doesn’t change my goal. He can consider this his warning.