Exclusive Interview : Marty Scurll said on his first NJPW tour “I think time will tell that The Villain is the true #1 wrestler from the UK”



Exclusive Interview : Marty Scurll said on his first NJPW tour “I think time will tell that The Villain is the true #1 wrestler from the UK”

Q: Since this is your first time in Japan, how do you like it so far?

Marty: So far it’s been a very humbling experience. A lot of people may not know this, but I’ve been in wrestling for a very long time now. I started training when I was a 14 year old boy. It had always been a dream of mine to come to Japan. So doing it after 14 years of wrestling is obviously kind of bittersweet.

But so far I’ve enjoyed every aspect of Japan. Obviously the wrestling, the people, the fans, the food, the culture…it’s been a really good experience.

Q: Any favorite food you’ve enjoyed since coming out here?

Marty:The thing where you cook the meat on the thing…”Yaki”….something! I’m not good with names! [laughs]

Q: That would be yakiniku!

Marty:Yes, that’s it! Great stuff! Also, Pepper Lunch has been good to me. But I’ve also been trying lots of other things. I’m not too great with names, but it’s important for me to embrace Japanese culture while I’m here.

I’ve always had a deep interest in travelling. I’ve travelled all over, either for wrestling or for my own interests. Australia, Thailand, the United States, all over Europe…And so when I travel to these places it’s important for me to take in the culture and learn new things. So obviously food is a part of it. I’ve been experimenting with lots of Japanese food while I’ve been here and I’m quite a big fan!

Q: What were your impressions of New Japan Pro-wrestling before joining?

I’d always been a big fan of New Japan. What I like about New Japan is obviously it’s big-time and mainstream wrestling, but it doesn’t forget its roots. It’s still the “King of Sports”, and what happens in the ring matters. I think there’s something beautiful about professional wrestling because it’s these guys who can tell a story in between those ropes. They create emotion in the crowd watching. They can give them something to believe in, something to become emotionally invested in, and I think New Japan is by far the best place on Earth to do that. I don’t think there’s any place better than here where you can create that organic, authentic response, that emotion in the crowd. So that was a big part of why I wanted to join the New Japan roster.

Q: Some might say Will Ospreay had a breakout year when he debuted in New Japan last year. Have you followed his career much?

Marty: There is a difference between myself and Will Ospreay. Will is obviously a hell of an athlete, can do things in the ring no one else can do, and is an out-of-this-world talent. In that sense, I respect him. But at the same time, Will is not a great representation of my country. I may not be able to do half of the things he can in the ring, but the truth is, if the fans are given the choice to watch Marty Scurll or Will Ospreay, they’re going to choose to invest in me. Because I am authentic, real, organic. Those words I mentioned before about New Japan are also true for The Villain.

When they see me, they know what they see is what they get. Do I have a chip on my shoulder? Absolutely! But people like that. With Ospreay, once you get passed how amazing and athletic he is in the ring, there’s not a lot of substance or depth. But with The Villain, there are a lot of layers. New Japan fans are just starting to see it now.

And even though I came to New Japan with the goal of winning the Best of the Super Juniors, even if I don’t, I’ve achieved something far greater. And that is putting The Villain on the world stage for everyone to see. Now The Villain is worldwide, and to me that is very important.

See, myself and the Bullet Club, we want to make wrestling cool again. We want to bring people out, to fill up arenas like the Tokyo Dome on a regular basis. It’s already started in America, with our shirts being sold in the biggest stores, Cody on TV in Arrow, and I’m constantly doing commercials in the UK… We’re making wrestling cool again for the fans. And again, that’s why it was important for me to come to New Japan. To be on this platform to display my talents. I don’t want them to go to waste! (laughs)

Once you’ve seen a Will Ospreay flip or two, there’s not a whole lot to him. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that Ospreay is an embarrassment to my country! Yet fortunately, while there is an Ospreay, there is also a Scurll. There is a Villain. There is someone there to represent my country the way it deserves.

Best of luck to Will in his future, but I think time will tell that The Villain is the true number one wrestler from the United Kingdom.

Q: What do you think about the fact that more and more British wrestlers are coming to New Japan recently? For example, Zack Sabre Jr., Will Ospreay, and now yourself.

Marty: Britain has always had amazing wrestlers that have gone on to make a name for themselves. Especially here in New Japan, there were guys like Dynamite Kid, Steven Regal, and the original Black Tiger, Mark “Rollerball” Rocco, who actually had a hand in training me. They made a name for themselves here because they excelled in that European style, which no one in Japan had seen before. But British wrestling went into a slump for a while when it was taken off TV. It’s taken a long time for the previous and current generation to build it back up to what it is today. I’ve wrestled in front of 10 to 20 people for very little money (laughs), so I’ve seen it all! That’s how I started out. So it’s very humbling for me to be given such a platform here at New Japan to do what I love.

The UK scene has been thriving recently though, and it’s down to talents like myself, Zack Sabre Jr. and Will Ospreay…but of course it’s also thanks to the generation before us who opened the door. Guys like Doug Williams, Johnny Storm, and Jody Fleisch. Those guys kept the scene together when it wasn’t as good as it is today.

I think it’s great that British wrestling is getting the recognition it deserves. Like Japan, we’re a very small island that’s produced some of the greatest talent in professional wrestling. It’s something I’m proud of and hope it continues to get more recognition.

Q: You faced Will Ospreay in your first New Japan match at Korakuen. Did you feel any pressure?

Marty: I was nervous, but it was a good kind of nervous. Obviously I’m confident in my abilities to beat Will Ospreay, as I’ve done it on multiple occasions. No matter the country, I’ve beaten him: England, Europe, ROH, PWG… Will certainly likes to think of himself as the British Superman. Well then, I’m certainly his kryptonite.

So I was more nervous about how the crowd would respond to me. I was aware that a large number of them probably had never heard of me. Back in the UK or the USA, I’m more confident that I’ve established myself with fans. But it’s almost like reestablishing yourself coming here to Japan. I have to let them know what The Villain is all about, what I do. But it was a good feeling. Obviously I knew many people would be watching back home and all over the world on NJPW World. So there were lots of eyes on me, and that’s exactly what I’ve been looking for. I can’t tell everyone I’m the best in the business if I’m not on this platform.

So even though I’m no fan of Will Ospreay’s, I’m glad I could face him in my debut and defeat him in spectacular fashion on his home turf.

Q: What did you think about the fan reaction at your debut match with Ospreay?

Marty: It was pretty crazy! I was aware I had some fans here in Japan, just from social media interactions. But it was great coming and seeing them bring gifts and wearing my shirt already! It was a little shocking!

And then to debut and see the crowd “woop wooping” along to my entrance song… That really warmed my heart because that’s not traditionally how Japanese fans react to new talent. So it was really cool to see the fan’s response and show that they’ve been aware of me.

I think it just proves that the world is a much smaller place in this day and age. These fans have clearly seen me before, whether it be from Ring of Honor, Revolution Pro back in England, online, or in DVDs. Wrestling is widely available now, and it should be, because it’s for everyone. And while there were some who knew about me, the ones who didn’t quickly got on board because when it comes to New Japan, there’s no one like The Villain. No one looks like me, wrestles like me, or talks like me! (laughs) So they definitely took note and probably wondered, “Who’s this guy coming out here with an umbrella, wearing a bird mask?!” I appreciate that they gave me the response they did.

Q: This has been your first time competing in the Best of the Super Juniors tournament, so what have you thought about it so far?

Marty: It’s been my chance to showcase what The Villain is to New Japan, so they can finally see what the rest of the world has been raving about. If you look at past competitors in the tournament, Jushin Thunder Liger or Chris Jericho for example, they’ve all been great Super Juniors, but I think New Japan has found the first superstar in The Villain. While all those other guys have been great wrestlers, I think now they’ve finally found the complete package.

Like I’ve said before, I’ve come to New Japan, Ring of Honor, and other big companies in order to make wrestling cool again. I want it to be something that fans can be proud of. So this tournament really is a showcase to the fans about what The Villain really is, and who I am. You have the best Junior Heavyweights from around the world: Europe, Japan, America and Mexico. We all compete to see who really is the best. I don’t think you can argue about the beauty of such a competition, especially when it’s at the absolute highest tier here at New Japan. But selfishly, this is my showcase to the country of Japan. To show them what the rest of the world already knows.

Q: What match has impressed you the most in the series so far?

Marty: Coming into the Best of the Super Juniors tournament, I faced a lot of challenges. I originally flew from England to the United States to participate in the War of the Worlds tour. So I already had the jet lag from the UK in America, but before I could even adjust to that I flew straight to Japan. While I was in the States I had a lot of big matches as well: a title match with KUSHIDA, a title match with Matt Sydal, a match with Adam Cole, etc. These are a lot of very big matches in a very short time, along with meet and greets, interviews, photos…then I flew from Philadelphia straight to Japan! I jumped into a press conference and wrestled the next day.

So I feel like I came in with a massive disadvantage coming into the tournament, especially compared to the New Japan wrestlers that live here. But given all that, I came in on my first match and beat last year’s winner. I came in incredibly driven for my debut, of course. But also, wrestling Jushin Thunder Liger was something obviously quite exciting for me. He’s been someone I’ve watched since I was a young lad. This was, I think, his 21st tournament? And it was my first, so it was really cool! He is a man I respect as a visionary in the junior weight division.

But in terms of what’s impressed me the most, I feel quite lucky I was in the block that I was in. It’s a hell of a stacked lineup with guys like Takahashi and Ricochet as well. It speaks volumes of the wrestling community that exists today, with how good everyone is. I love it because it means I need to step up my game even more.

I would say all my matches have had something special. My debut against Will, wrestling Jushin Thunder Liger, and also facing TAKA Michinoku. He’s also someone I watched as a lad on TV and it’s been a great experience. The matches have all been big challenges and new experiences, which is exactly what I came to New Japan for. And to be honest, I think the fans also wanted something new as well. A new challenger, a new winner of the Best of Super Juniors, and a new Jr. Heavyweight champion. That someone new is The Villain, Marty Scurll. I’m going to give the people what they want.

Q: Your costume has made quite an impression here in New Japan. How did you devise the gear combination of the mask and umbrella?

Marty: The umbrella is a token of my country, which I am always proud to represent. If you look at Will Ospreay’s gear, or especially Zack Sabre Jr.’s gear, you’ll see they’re covered in the Union Jack, the British flag. I didn’t want to be as obvious as that, I wanted to be more subtle. Just like my whole approach to wrestling, I wanted to be different. To do things others haven’t. So as you may know, the weather is pretty miserable in the UK, as it often rains. The umbrella is a nod to that, and it allows me to remind people where I’m from.

The masks on the other hand, started off as a representation of my “demon”. I often say, “If I got rid of my demons, I’d have no angels.” Meaning, that despite my struggle in professional wrestling, it was all necessary to get to the point I’m at now. You can’t have success without hard times, or achievement without struggle. It didn’t come easy to me…I didn’t make it into New Japan because I could do amazing flips. I didn’t have some magic connection I called that got me in just like that. I had to work hard to get here and be a part of this company. And the mask is a good representation of those struggles and demons, but it’s something I’m proud of and like to put on display. I like explaining to people that nobody’s perfect, but you can still go on to find happiness and substance in life.

That’s kind of the deeper meaning behind the masks, but also, like I said, I also like to be different. The umbrella helped me stand out, but could be easily copied. So that’s when I added the mask. No matter which country I went to I wanted people to see me and go, “Wow, I’ve never seen someone like that before!” It’s an ever-evolving thing for me, so I’m sure in a couple months I’ll have something else crazy added to it! I’m sure people saw me with a top hat, birdman mask and umbrella and thought it’d look stupid. But I was daring to be different, because I feel art is about taking risks. It’s not about copying something that’s already popular. I don’t care about looking silly, because I want to be an artist and take risks.

Q: You joined the Bullet Club in New York at the invitation of Kenny Omega. What do you think about the Bullet Club so far?

Marty: It’s been an exciting ride joining the Bullet Club. Obviously it’s been an institution in New Japan for many years now, and seen its popularity grow here quite considerably. And now it’s started to gain mainstream interest from all across the world. For example, shops like Hot Topic want to stock Bullet Club merchandise. Like I keep saying, together we’re making wrestling cool again. At my shows I would see half the crowd in The Villain shirts, and half wearing Bullet Club, Kenny Omega or Young Bucks shirts. I figured together, we really could own the wrestling world!

Obviously being good friends with the Young Bucks has helped, but it’s really our shared desire to make wrestling something fans can be proud of. We literally are the collection of the coolest wrestlers coming together, and it’s put not just the wrestling world, but the whole entire world on notice. People on the streets now, they know what the Bullet Club is. It’s about a group of guys with a shared vision of how they want wrestling to be. To innovate and revolutionize the sport. To rip up the script of what pro-wrestling should be and re-write it with our vision. We’re doing that not only in New Japan, but in Ring of Honor as well. And soon, all across the world.

Joining in the spectacular fashion I did back in New York was a great start, I think. So far I’ve had nothing but good times being a member of the Bullet Club.

Q: What would you like to show the world at New Japan’s upcoming G1 Special in Los Angeles?

Marty: It’s going to be a great homecoming for a lot of us. I’ve spent a lot of time wrestling in the area for companies like PWG, where I won The Battle of Los Angeles in 2016. That really helped me skyrocket into the position I’m in now. I feel like a lot of the Western audience in America or Europe only see one or two New Japan shows a year. A casual fan will watch Wrestle Kingdom, and they may watch the Best of Super Juniors final or the G1 final. So this will be one of those shows that the casual fans will watch. What will be super cool for us wrestlers coming here to wrestle in Japan is we are bringing the company over to our turf now. Our fans know who we are there, so with events like this some really special moments are going to be created. The talent are going to get some great reactions I think. I believe the audience in America are grateful the wrestlers are coming over there, and they’re grateful for the Bullet Club connection as a part of bringing it all over to the United States.

It’s going to be an event that will be talked about for many years, and the start of something very special. This company has something special, and it needs to be seen on a worldwide platform. So I want to be one of the guys that makes that happen. This will be another showcase for guys like myself and the Young Bucks. We have a product that is so white-hot, we know the people are going to love it when they see it. So the key is to get eyes on it, because while there’s a lot of wrestling out there, I do think a lot of it is trash. But maybe it’s a lot of people’s only option…however this truly is the greatest wrestling in the world. The G1 Special in LA is going to put a lot of eyes on this product, which means a lot of eyes on The Villain and the Bullet Club.

It’s a very exciting prospect…And we have some surprises in store. That’s all I’m going to say for now.