Knockout Nation sits down with Ron Killings, aka WWE Superstar R-Truth, to discuss how he got started in the wrestling business, his take on Blacks in wrestling and some of his favorite hip-hop peeps.
Knockout Nation: How’d you get started in Pro Wrestling?
R-Truth: I got started by a guy named Jack Crockett. I was trying to get into the music business and he saw more than just music in me. He thought I could make a good wrestler. I was just at the point in my life where I was just pretty much ready to change the way I was living and pretty much change the direction my life was going in. I was ready for someone to put me under they wing and let me fly.
Knockout Nation: How long did it take you from beginning your training to having your first match?
R-Truth: I think I trained for six months before I had my first match. That’s not the average, some have their first match sooner, some later than that time. Each individual has their own determination of when they’re ready to get in that ring.
Knockout Nation: Being a lifelong wrestling fan, was there any particular move you saw growing up as a kid that when you started training you said “Show me how to do THAT!”
R-Truth: I was ready to to learn every aspect of doing professional wrestling. I had seen it all my life and now I was ready to just do it. And every move you see I wanted to learn how to do.
Knockout Nation: For us wrestling fans, we see it as sports entertainment. But it’s not all fun and games. For example, when you take a bump on that mat and fall down on it, it hurts. Tell how hard is it to take a bump and what does it feel like?
R-Truth: It’s like being in a car wreck when you have that first impact. As a matter of fact, when I first started training, just taking a bump, you have to learn that. There was times where you had to take 15 in a row. There were times that after I was done training I would get nosebleeds and headaches. Getting up, taking it and again, over and over again, you have to build up a tolerance to take that type of impact constantly.
Knockout Nation: Now you’re not a small cat, you’re pretty swole. Does having the muscle mass that you possess help with taking that impact?
R-Truth: Shoot, not at all! (Laughing) Only thing having that extra muscle does is give you that extra bit of look good.
Knockout Nation: You grow up in what was once a wrestling hotbed, the Carolinas, where they had Mid-Atlantic Wrestling, Jim Crockett Promotion NWA territory. Growing up, what wrestlers were you influenced by?
R-Truth: Man, I was a huge fan Nikita Koloff, Magnum TA, and especially, Ricky Steamboat, he’s one of my favorites. Ricky Steamboat had the best arm drag in the business. He was like a maestro in the ring. His whole aspect of ring awareness and psychology, he just made it look very easy.
Knockout Nation: Besides coming out rapping your entrance music in the WWE, you have a strong passion for Hip-Hop. How did you keep your passion and continue pursing rapping despite starting a wrestling career?
R-Truth: I had a love for both. I was into music prior to wrestling. Crockett told me that since I rap, write and produce it, I should just come down to the ring to. I’ve been doing this since day one. I feel like it sets the pace and the tone. I feel music is a great way to introduce yourself to the people.
Knockout Nation: Do you feel you’ve converted hip-hop purists into respecting you rapping ability?
R-Truth: I’ve definitely done that. You have to acknowledge “Ok, he’s on beat. Well damn, the guys is rapping pretty good. He’s not cheap.” There’s no gimmick where you see they had to put my music together.
Knockout Nation: Do you have a preference of being a heel or baby and as an African-American do you feel pressure to perform as a babyface to show a strong positive image of a black man?
R-Truth: I don’t worry about that but do understand that line of thinking. But people forget what they’re watching. We’re the biggest entertainment company in the world. And I can entertain somebody as bad guy or a good guy. If I’m a bad guy and I can make you that mad to where you want to create controversy about the fact a African-American man is playing the bad guy, I’m doing my job. As a good guy, I’m doing the same thing vice versa. I think it’s all on the individual to be their own maestro and shine within their character. Yeah, and there’s this stigma that all Blacks are supposed to be the bad guy, that’s not true. My first time debuting in the WWE, I was the good guy. Anyone complaining can join the haterade crowd.
Knockout Nation: Speaking of your in ring persona, one aspect of your character that’s been received very well by the masses is the creation of lil’ Jimmy. Where did that get the inspiration to create him?
R-Truth: That was just something I decided to call all the John Cena fans. That was all of them that wanted to go and live the straight and narrow. Those are who I consider the little Jimmy’s to me.
Knockout Nation: If you gave lil’ Jimmy a physical representation would he be: JJ from Good Times, Arnold from Diff’rent Strokes, Webster, Rudy from The Cosby Show, or Jordan from the Bernie Mac Show?
R-Truth: I’m going to say he looks like Jordan from Bernie Mac with a lil bit of JJ’s attitude from Good Times.
Knockout Nation: If you were asked to drop a hot 16 for your favorite artist who would it be?
R-Truth: How much time you got? Wayne, T.I., Wiz Khalifia, just met him. Lil boosie, Trick Daddy, Mystikal. I could go on and on.
Knockout Nation: If you could do a cameo on your personal favorite rap song, what song would it be?