Interview with Maryland Championship Wrestling Heavyweight Champion Nui Tofiga
Recently Mr Main Event had the opportunity to catch up with the brand new Maryland Championship Wrestling (MCW) Heavyweight Champion, Nui Tofiga
MEBW: First and foremost congratulations on your MCW Heavyweight Championship victory, what was it like when the bell sounded the ref raised your hand?
NT: Appreciations on that. When the moment occured, it was REALLY and still is surreal. It hasnt sunk in as of yet. 6 years ago around this time i was the big kid in the front row other fans were asking “when are you gonna get in there and tussle”, and now i’ve made sacrifices and set out on a journey thats lead me to goals there were just dreams a bit over a decade ago. Any major achievement i’ve had in wrestling, theres always a few seconds that occur where my great-grandmother is in my thoughts, and also JT Roberts, who was my tag partner up @ NWA Force 1, who passed last June 18th, 2011. I started thinking of every sacrifice i’ve made and even those around me have made for me. Little bits of advice here and there from the locker room over the years. In life, you’re never promised the next day, so that night was something rare to where you just live it up.
MEBW: In 2011, you won the WXWC4 championship can you compare that victory to your MCW victory.
NT: Both were def great honors and learning experiences. There are some similarities, but for me, each place had its own unique meanings.
At WXW C4, to be in matches with The Great Samu, Afa Jr, Lloyd Anoa’i, Billy Dream, Cobian, Guapo were huge honors. Even when i was just showing up in the begining, being able to watch many of those mentioned were amazing learning experiences. Also winning there brought about a great inner feeling of earning respect. Being of Samoan heritage as well, just made it sweeter. The amount i’ve learned up there over the past 2-3 years from is truly priceless.
At MCW, the same feelings are virtually echoed. Learning from The Holy Rollers, McDevitt, Tom Brandy, Adam Flash, and EVERYONE i have the opportunity to train with every week at Gillbergs Wrestling Academy, it all was a culmination to that moment. Starting from being a fan while in college, then working and learning for almost a decade and earning my way to MCW with a bit of luck and opportunity… that”s something i’m proud to say it was a goal and i stuck with it.
MEBW: Who would you say has been your toughest opponent to date?
NT: There have been many tough ones over the years. Danny Havoc in CZW is honestly just one of those guys that keeps comin at ya, he’ll wear ya down and considering some of the matches he normally does, he can take some abuse and keep going.
In MCW most recently, the Shamrock Cup last year, i squared off with Ronnie Zukko… he’s been around a while and another who has a lot of smarts and will power. That was easily one of those matches where you are sore for days, but cant remember why in some places.
WXW C4, hands down Afa Jr. when you have two 350+ lb Islanders beatin up on each other, over a course of a few months, its something you dont forget. mentally or physically. Taught me good lessons in agression!
MEBW: What was the best advice you ever received and who was it from?
NT: Ive recieved all kinds of excellent advice from many in many different feds. The one everyone always quotes me saying is what i got from Necro Butcher (Dylan Summers) before i even had my first singles match ever in Dec of 2007. I was still doing security in most of the bigger feds:
“Hey Big Man, i’ve seen you been comin up here a lot. You know, showing up is 90% of success”
Honestly, between that and Les Thatcher saying “it is what it is” those two quotes kinda have stuck with me so far my whole career. I just take it as you gotta show up to even be thought of for an opportunity, and if you dont get one that time, dont get bitter, it is, what it is… just keep making effort to get on that show or get somewhere else, or where ever… Sitting at home playing on facebook is less likely to get you ON a show than actually showing up and maybe them finding you room, or someone NOT showing up.
MEBW: I read that you played football for Towson University, how would you describe your career
NT: -Another good learning experience. Being a Student-Athlete was definately a step up from high school sports. Granted i’ve played since i was 5 years old, playing on a D1 college level and managing your own time and social life was a tough but rewarding experience. There were some good times and bad times, but it was overall a good life lesson i got to experience. The 6am runs, the Spring Football practice and spring games, travelling with the team. All in all, it was another step towards what i currently do.
MEBW: What are some of your plans for 2012?
NT: -Just to keep on plugging away and learning and improving in the ring and out of the ring. Same as i’ve done over the years hopefully. At least by my own view, i’ve seen things i used to do, but now know when and not to do certain things. its all a process you never stop learning. Maybe in the future i may get some opportunities to travel abroad. just never give up on any of the goals and keep pushing ahead.
MEBW: What was your biggest mark out moment since being a professional wrestler
NT: -To be honest, i’m not sure… Theres been plenty of WWE/WWF/WCW guys i’ve met over the years, and i didnt get hysterical as some fans may do. I’ve always viewed em as the higher ups that paved the way, but still saw them as human and i guess from growing up in a military family, you were “trained”/taught to keep your composure (well i was) when meeting famous people. Inside i may have been like “oh wow, thats wild that XXXXXXXXX is right in front of me shaking my hand” but never let it out.
I can say, i wrestled for WXW C4 the day after my birthday last year on a saturday. Rowdy Roddy Piper was at a Horror Convention locally which one of my closest friends worked at, and i would miss attending the convention saturday. Usually i dont wake up early after the 3 hour drive home on sat night/sunday morn. So they mentioned me to Mr Piper and he said, well call him up. So that sunday morning after WXW C4, i was woken up to a phone call by Rowdy Roddy Piper, which was truly an honor. It wasnt something he had to do, but he took time out of his day to talk to, ask questions, and give advice to an indy wrestler he never met or knew. To me, that floored me and humbled me to no end. Still does when i think about it as i write this. The main focus of his advice (which prob I should have included in question #4) was “Give em your heart” when we’re out there in the ring. He explained its one of the lost links of wrestling today vs back when i was growing up. This honestly, was some of the the best advice i have been given to date. Something so basic and simple, but still a main ingredient by far.
MEBW: Have you ever felt that there was pressure to leave up the Samoan Dynasty in the professional wrestling world?
NT: -To a degree yes. The Anoa’i, Fatu, Maivia, and Snuka names are some of the most recognized polynesians in the world without question. They’ve been around for decades and WILL be around for decades if not centuries more. There have been wrestlers i’ve followed from VHS tapes from Hawai’i to where most avg fans have never heard about that never made it to the WWF/WWE. In the begining, my whole goal was just to make my name known. that would be a great accomplishment for anyone. Then as i got older, i became more comfortable with being ME. This is something that really occurs for most everyone as we grow up. growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional. As we do grow up, we become more confident in ourselves and who we are. With that being said, more and more the pressure dropped as much of my wrestling is a tribute to my family, and how i was raised, etc. Living in Maryland, when you tell someone you are of Samoan heritage, 9 times out of 10, they ask, “oh well thats a part of Hawai’i, right? So you’re Hawai’ian?” As a kid living in Bossier City, Louisiana when we were at Barksdale AFB, telling someone the same info, the replies were “well what part of Mexico is that from?” or “What type of Creole did Samoans stem from?” Visiting Miami, FL back in 2004, i was asked was i Puerto Rican when someone asked about a shirt i was wearing that said “Seki a Samoa”. At times its was frustrating, even now… But overall, if i can leave behind any memories that show my honor, pride, and love for the business, my family, and my heritage, i feel theres not as much pressure. Theres a song by Nesian Mystik called “Just Be Me”… and thats all i really can do. Never want to tarnish whats been set down by those that paved the way before me, just add to it positively if at all possible. The Samoan Dynasty has already cemented their names in the books. They’ve earned it.
MEBW Anything in particular you would like to say to the fans?
NT: -Fa’afetai tele lava…. by far, which means thank you very very much. Whether you love me or hate me, thank you for coming out, cheering, booing, writing, etc. thank you and i hope to keep you all entertained as long as i can do what i do.