London looks up to Hart's legacy
by Michael Dworkis
More emails are coming in about comparing today’s tag teams to the teams of yesteryear. June Neal from the UK was one of many who believe that the Basham Brothers are similar to Demolition, with the illegal switch maneuver during their matches. Wonder if Danny and Doug would consider donning face paint?
There was an outpouring of support for the Best-2-of-3 falls at No Way Out 2001 between Steve Austin and Triple H, where the first fall was a traditional match, the second was street fight and the third was held in a cage. A rare occurrence in the history of 2-out-of-3-fall matches. The first fall featured Austin beating the hell out of Triple H, but The Game came back, nearly ending the first fall with a Pedigree, but Austin escaped it. After 20 minutes of brawling, Austin pinned Triple H after a Stunner.
The second fall was far more brutal. With the stipulation of it being a street fight, each man used every weapon they could find, minus the kitchen sink. In the end, Austin went for victory, but Triple H blocked a Stunner, waffled Austin with the chair, and hit the Pedigree to score the fall.
The cage then lowered entrapping the two combatants. Tired and beaten, both men slugged at each other hoping the one would fall first. First Triple H tried scaling the cage wall, but Austin pulled him down. Austin stomped away at The Game, but Triple came back by bashing Austin’s cracked cranium into the cage wall. When no fall could be decided by holds, once again the arsenal of foreign objects came into play. Austin swung with a chair, Triple H swung with the barb-wire 2x4, simultaneously, with Triple H falling on top of Austin to get the third and final fall.
Now onto this week’s topic. Many of you have emailed firstname.lastname@example.org asking why Kidman is exhibiting a phobia of executing the Shooting Star Press these days. The SSP is probably one of the most dangerous moves in sports entertainment. Don’t take our word for it, read it from Kidman himself, by reading this article.
While many people know about Kidman’s decorated past, London’s history is not as common knowledge. So read on loyal fans, get out your notebooks, and hear the history from London himself as he discusses what motivated him to launch his career in sports entertainment and who inspires him the most to continue to do what he does best.
London didn’t just cross a short bridge to make it to WWE, he spent years competing in the independent scene, making his name known throughout the country before he came to WWE. At a young age, London made the choice that we would become a star in sports entertainment.
“I made the decision when I was 11. I wasn’t one of the kids who stayed up late to watch it on TV, I actually came across it at a grocery store. I picked up a WWE magazine, and thought it was the coolest thing I had ever seen. I started watching the shows and got into it, and I got everything I could get my hands on. When I was around 16, I was figuring out how to get into the business. These days, it is easier to find a place to start out. I found a listing for tons schools to train at. There are so many out there these days. I realized that my dream could be reality. My parents weren’t high on it. They thought it was just a phase… but I showed them.”
Paul was involved in amateur wrestling while attending West Lake High School, and was instrumental in starting the wrestling program there. The school had a program for every other sport except for amateur wrestling.
“I was like ‘what’s up with this?’ They had just about every sport there. I got 10-15 signatures of people who wanted it. I only could do it for one year because it was in my senior year, but I was the first varsity letterman and first varsity captain (obviously, since I started the thing), and had the fastest victory of 6.2 seconds. It was a lock up and small package.”
After a number of years searching for a college that would be near a training school, Paul wound up at Texas State where he participated in club wrestling. That wasn’t enough for him. He wanted the intense action of sports entertainment. A friend of his informed him that Ivan Putski was opening a school and welcoming aspiring students to come train.
“I first broke in with Ivan Putski in Austin, TX. He really taught me the physicality of wrestling. He would tie up and beat the crap out of me. He taught me holds, and the roots of it. From there, I trained with Dory Funk Jr. and Rudy Gonzalez, who took over Shawn Michaels’ academy. Rudy taught me about the psychology and timing in the ring, where Dory taught me a whole lot about technique, and how to be a crisp performer in the ring. I just listened and learned from all of them.
They all were great to learn from, I learned a tremendous amount from them, and that is what influences my style in the ring. I aim to mix old school techniques with new school, giving a great performance in the ring.”
When asked about which past WWE Superstars inspired him, he named two past stars that brought new styles and variety to WWE.
“I knew I definitely I wanted to be a high flyer. I was a big fan of Curt Hennig and Owen Hart. Hennig wasn’t a flyer, but Owen was. I loved what they both brought to the ring. I figured, why just specialize in one area, why not try to do everything. I knew that in order to make it to the big time, I had to learn both the mat game and do the high flying too, so that I can have matches against anyone.”
Owen Hart’s legacy paved the way for how London would want to be. He chose to emulate Owen not only because of his dynamic personality in the ring, but also for his personality outside the ring as well.
“I looked up to Owen Hart. Not just because what of what he brought to the ring. He was so great in the ring. He could take it to anyone, he was so versatile, and great mind skills too. At the same time, he was a great person. I never had the pleasure of meeting him, but I always heard great things about him. He had strong values, he always made time for his family, and I think as great as a wrestler he was, he was also a great person to have been able to hang out with. Sometimes that is rare to find a guy like that. I admire those who are great people in and out of the ring. Owen Hart was a role model for me. I want to have a family too one day, and he set a perfect example of being a great person.”
London watched many other past and present WWE Superstars use such techniques in the ring, and he was determined to be able to showcase that ability as well.
“You have Benoit, who can do both high flying and mat work, and you always get a great match. Eddie Guerrero and Dean Malenko in WCW were looked at as cruiserweights in the beginning there, but they did high flying and also worked great on the mat. Look at them now and you realize all the great things they accomplished in their careers because of their style in the ring.”
Flying high and moving fast, London recently enjoyed a WWE Tag Team Championship reign with partner Billy Kidman. Both individuals have a similar style of taking to the air and showing of a vault of mat techniques.
Their talents compliment each other to the extent that they both can adapt their various skills in any match.
“We have been teaming on and off since February,” London says. “I never worked with him before until WWE. But he is someone I enjoyed watching in WCW. As we teamed more and more, it became much more fun. The more we work together, the better we get. When we were announced as champions, it wasn’t just a shocker to the people, but a shocker to me. I take a step back and say to myself, ‘wow, did I make it this far?’ I think of us as the Detroit Pistons of WWE. We came in, and shocked everybody. We know we will always be the underdogs, but we’re going to keep coming up with new ways to perform and surprise the fans, and continue to open people’s eyes.”
Paul London plans on going beyond anyone’s expectations, turning heads and continuing to strongly rise to the top. He dedicates all his career accomplishments to his brother Daniel who was killed in a tragic car collision caused by a drunk driver.
“My oldest brother is very close to my heart. He is three years older than me. We would dream that we would be tag champions one day. He died in 1996, and I was 16. He and his girlfriend were killed by a drunk driver. I told myself, ‘I’m not going to quit’, because he would have wanted to see succeed. Being WWE Tag Team Champion is something I dedicated to him. My brother really made me feel that I can do this. I miss him everyday.”