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Interview with “Amazing” Nate Mattson

As I reported a few days ago the amazing career of “Amazing” Nate Mattson came to and end after fifteen years. I had the opportunity to interview Nate on his past, present and future in regards to pro wrestling. I’d like to personally thank Nate for taking the time to answer my question. Without further delay, ladies and gentlemen I give “Amazing” Nate Mattson

Growing up what made you want to decide to want to be a pro wrestler and who were your influences?
N8: I started watching WWF on Saturday morning when I was 10 years old. I caught Saturday Night’s Main Event and I was hooked. I didn’t have cable TV so I would go to my friend’s house to catch WCW Saturday Night at 6:05 and AWA was still on then also. In High School I saw a commercial for a local independent promotion (Midwest Territorial Wrestling) and started going. Al Snow was the champion, but the undercard wasn’t that impressive. I saw those guys and said if they can do it, so can I! I found an ad by Percy Pringle III promoting a book about getting into the business, so I ordered it and found a list of pro wrestling schools. I almost went to Al Snow’s Body Slammer’s Gym, but found the Can-Am Wrestling School through a former boss of mine. From the beginning, my top 3 influences have always been Randy Savage, Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart.

Describe your training and some of the people you trained with?
N8: The Can-Am Wrestling School was like Boot Camp! Hundreds of squats, sit-ups, push-ups, bumps, and ring torture every session, twice a week for almost 7 months. That was before you even learned to lock-up. The exercises weeded out the ones who weren’t cut out for the business. Eventually we learned all the basic holds and moves, taught to us by Coach Scott D’Amore, “Irish” Mickey Doyle and the late “Canadian Destroyer” Doug Chevalier. I came in on my own, but I remember Chuck Wagon and Gutter coming in later on. I trained mostly with the established guys like Bobby Clancy and Otis Apollo and sometimes Rhino would come in to show us new stuff.
When did you feel like you knew you were going to be successful?
N8: It took a number of years to get to that level of “success” on the independent circuit. I was 19 starting out and most of the top guys back then were mid to late 30’s. I paid my dues and lost every match for over a year. When it was time for me to move up the card, when the promoters and veterans felt I was ready, then I started to get a push here and there. That was to keep me humble and prepare me for the big matches down the road.
Who was your first match against and decribe what it was like being on a show for the first time?
N8: I wrestled my trainer the Canadian Destroyer on 11/24/1996. It was a TV taping for Border City Wrestling in a small gymnasium in Canada. I remember it being very cold in the building and hard to warm-up. I was a clean-cut babyface with Kurt Cobain-like hair in my eyes. We chain-wrestled, I gave some armdrags, a cross bodyblock and threw a few dropkicks. In the end, I got caught with his Canadian Dream sleeper hold and he put me out for real! Doug was hard to hear while wearing his mask, and I missed a few things, but overall I felt like a pro wrestler.
In the state of Michigan, who were your top five wrestlers that you enjoyed being in the ring with and briefly describe why?
N8: Some of my best matches have been in Michigan. The DBA and I go way back, and we’ve wrestled each other about a hundred times! I loved working with him and his dad “Sweet Daddy” Malcolm Monroe (RIP) early on. CK3, although from Ohio, is probably my toughest opponent, hands down. Our feud in the IWR days was a highlight for me. Jimmy Jacobs is easily my favorite to work with. I first met him when he was 15 and started out as a referee. Zach Gowen and I have had many good matches over the years. My heel work and his handicap made for some interesting stories. My student Chris Sabin was always a pleasure doing business with. I will always be proud of what he’s done, he’s so good it’s sick! The best part is watching these guys start out and see them progress as performers. They are all tough as nails and true professionals.

Outside of Michigan, who were your top five?
N8: I have wrestled all over the Midwest, down South and on the East Coast. MDogg-20 Matt Cross, Johnny Gargano, Jason Bane, Nigel McGuinness and Mr. Insanity all gave me super good matches. There’s really a lot of talent out there who I had a blast working with like CJ O’Doyle, Kirby Mack, Robbie E, Ricky Landell, Monsta Mack, Aaron Draven, Gregory Iron, John McChesney, Tyler Black, the list goes on.

Who was your favorite WWE/TNA wrestler past or present that you got to wrestle?
N8: So many to choose from, really. Chris Sabin and I wrestled the Road Warriors Hawk and Animal 3 times in one weekend. I worked with CM Punk in TNA. I learned a lot from Sabu, Jerry Lynn and Christopher Daniels. If someone came in and really felt like tearing the house down, I enjoyed working with them.

Just a couple of the many titles Mattson won in his 15 year
You had 40 plus titles in your fifteen year career, is there one that stands out the most?
N8: All the singles titles meant different stages of my career. The NWA Michigan Jr. Heavyweight title meant that I was ready to be a featured act. I was able to work with Logan Caine, Ricco Rodriguez, Tommy Rogers and Marty Jannetty early on and learn. After that I started getting more exposure and working outside of Michigan. The CAPW Jr. Heavyweight title opened the doors to more opportunities. JT Lightning started booking me against top guys like Bobby Blaze, Chris Hamrick and Julio Dinero because I was starting to get it. After that the IWR started up in Detroit and took over. I wrestled everyone on the roster as IWR Champion and even held the King of the Indies title 6 times. In XICW I held the Midwest title twice, beating guys like Spike Dudley and Buff Bagwell. I defended the World-1 Great Lakes Openweight title against the likes of Shark Boy and Colt Cabana. The one title that meant a lot to me was defeating Petey Williams for the BCW TV title. It meant that my mentors thought I was decent enough to represent their promotion, which was a huge honor.
The Phenomenal AJ Styles and Amazing Nate Mattson
If there is one match that stands out as your favorite which one is it?
N8: I would have to say my match with AJ Styles in 2002 was possibly my favorite. I was really coming into my own and developing my heel character, and I had a pretty solid cruiserweight style. My confidence was growing and I felt very comfortable working with someone as talented as AJ. We had never worked before, and we tore it up for 15 minutes, going back and forth. My second favorite match was with Rhino just recently, and everything just flowed. I’ve had a number of matches with Sabin that stand out as well, including a tag match with Truth Martini versus the Motor City Machineguns that went 30 minutes in Chicago.

Do you have any favorite road stories?
N8: One night Sabin, Truth and I were going to work for Ted DiBiase and do a run-in on Sting. After the event, Sabin won a Spider-Man plush doll from a toy crane machine at a restaurant. We went to the hotel, and Sabin decided to challenge Spidey to a match. It was a wild brawl that went all over the room, until Spider-Man, all 6 inches of him, hit a Tornado DDT on Sabin and pinned him 1-2-3!

Name Association: Describe the person in a sentence or less. 

Truth Martini: Brother. So many great memories, he’s the only wrestler I want speaking at my Eulogy.
Scott D’Amore: Reality Check. He never sugar-coated anything and offered no guarantees, I respect his honesty.
Jimmy Jacobs: Passionate. One of the hardest working talents in our business, always adapting to change. Zach Gowen: Inspirational. One of the best to ever step foot (see what I did there?) inside the ring, my hero. The Motorcity Machine Guns: Sabin and Shelley are seriously the best to come out of MI, proud to call them my friends.
How hard was the decision for you to retire?
N8: I came this close to quitting 2 years ago when I broke my ankle. Injuries affect real life, you can’t work you don’t eat. I still felt I had a lot to accomplish at that time, and I think I achieved what I set out to do. I have had some of my best matches since then, worked for major companies, been on TV and made a music video. I wouldn’t say that I’m retired, I’m just not wrestling any more. It’s not like I’m getting a gold watch or a pension. I wrestled for 15 years, almost every weekend, working hundreds of matches with some of the best wrestlers in the United States and Canada. The only time I took off was when I broke something. I loved every second between those ropes, and the good outweighs the bad. Everyone has to call it a day at some point, might as well go out before a serious injury affects my health, family and future.
What are your future plans in pro wrestling?
N8: Thankfully, I still have a bright future in wrestling. PWO Wrestling out of Ohio has hired me to work as a backstage agent, assisting with the TV product. I’ll also maintain my on-screen persona as well, managing my good buddy “Big Bear” Benjamin Boone. CLASH Wrestling has asked me to stay on as an advisor and possibly do some commentary on their DVDs for Smart Mark Video. I will most likely be working with Metro Pro Wrestling, running their locker room and mentoring young wrestlers coming up.
Do you have any advice for the young guys in pro wrestling right now?
N8: Be yourself, personality goes a long way. Don’t burn bridges, be professional and learn proper etiquette backstage. If you don’t know how to do something, it’s okay to ask for help. Know your limitations. Arrogance and cockiness do not belong in the locker room, check your ego at the door. Keep your ears and eyes open, pay attention and LISTEN. Respect is huge in our business and it can only be earned by hard work and humility.
Any final thoughts?
N8: I’d like to thank Scott D’Amore, Gene Austin, Doug, Bobby Lee, JT Lightning (RIP), Jeff Kavanaugh and all the promoters that encouraged me early on. Guys like Jimi V and Steve Nixon for showing me the ropes. Veterans like Tommy Starr, Mike Kelly, Woody Lee, Rock Stevens (RIP), Skull Ganz and Professor Maxwell for all the pep talks and welcoming me to the business! Friends like CK3, Brian Gorie, Eddie Venom, Gutter, Bump-N-Uglies, Danny Daniels and so many others for all the fun times, ridiculous moments and matches. I have done way more than I ever imagined I would, and my time in wrestling was the most fun I’ve ever had. Thank you all for caring about what I have to say, it really means a lot. Now that was AMAZING!
Nate Mattson said it best, his career was indeed amazing! However just because Nate is no longer wrestling that doesn’t mean you can’t see his great in ring ability. You can watch matches, interview and promos of Nate Mattson at his YouTube which is Thank you once again Nate for your accomplishments and all that you gave to pro wrestling especially the state of Michigan.

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