Ring of Honor top prospect finalist, John Skyler recently took some time out of his busy schedule to participate in an interview with Marc Madison of The Wrestling News Hub Magazine. In the interview, Skyler opens up about his passion for the business, working in NXT, how everything clicked for him during a match with Johnny Gargano, and how the business has changed. He discusses his future in wrestling and how his character continues to evolve over time. Check out excerpts of the interview below and the interview in its entirety here.
Regarding a career highlight match to date:
There was this one particular match against Johnny Gargano that I had in Charlotte, North Carolina for PWX, which was probably about two years ago now. It was kind of a cold match, there was no rivalry, he was coming in for one-time appearance and I was working my way up the system at the time, just getting hot. The bell rang and we stood there in our respective corners and the crowd was going ballistic. We hadn’t done anything, we were just standing there and staring at each other from across the ring, and they were chanting “Johnny Wrestling, Skyler Sucks” and then it became a 50/50 thing where people were like chanting “Johnny Wrestling” “Let’s go Skyler.” We took a couple steps closer to each other, we went nose to nose with one another, and then the crowd started chanting ‘This is awesome.’ We had never touched each other! This was a cold match, and it was literally us just taking a moment to acknowledge the people and the people were acknowledging us. We were letting the people, in a certain way, dictate what we were going to do next, but they didn’t have full control, we were still trying to figure things out. So, we were like, okay.
On his experience with Kyle O’Reilly:
We crossed paths only briefly, it was in the NWA Future Legends cup, I believe and that was about 7 years ago. He was still on the rise with Ring of Honor, but my experiences with him were great. He was such a mild-mannered, very nice young guy just like me and a lot of guys in that locker room, but I think we had both had matches earlier on in the day. It was a one-day tournament, and I wrestled Reid Flair earlier on in the show and he wrestled maybe Tony Kozina, I believe. I know we didn’t have a lot of time to put a match together, and we didn’t really know each other. So, we had to go out there, and again, feel it out in what I think was Carlton, Georgia, near Atlanta. We had to look at the type of crowd we had, and again, this is the sign of two pros going out there and getting it done. Kyle was always great, and he was a very polite and very professional guy. I’m glad to have worked with him the few times that I did.
On how the WWE has changed their mind about independent wrestlers:
Where now, wrestlers are starting to embrace it, as, like, the new regime there, they want to know where you have been and your accomplishments on the independents and where you have been, and they almost embrace that independent background, where they turned up their nose to it a couple of years ago. That’s changed in a good way, and there are a number of guys making great livings on the independents outside the WWE. There is a world outside the WWE that people may think maybe a little bit untapped. There are people going out, and celebrities showing up at PWG shows in Rosita, California, and it’s this hotspot where people want to go and see what is going on. I also liken what a number of the American fans will see on the independents to college football. They are playing for the love of the game, and aren’t making millions of dollars yet, they haven’t made it to the NFL yet. The NFL is like WWE, and people are doing it for the contracts or the money, and when they are playing college ball they are doing it for the love of the game. I think fans come out to independent shows and see that, we are making good money, but not necessarily WWE money. It isn’t life-changing money, but we love performing and we love the business.