BARRY, MICHAEL


MICHAEL BARRY "Mr. Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting"

 


Interview by Dr. Abner Mality

"It's a long way to the top if you wanna rock n' roll", sang Bon Scott of AC/DC. Truer words were never spoken and they apply not only to the world of rock music but many other endeavors. Such as the rough and tumble world of professional wrestling. The comparisons between rock and wrestling are many....long bouts of travel, crooked promoters, groupies, loneliness...and the burning desire to succeed.

That brings us to Michael Barry, also known as "Mr. Saturday Night". This hard-working wrestler is part of the fastest growing promotion in the US, Traditional Championship Wrestling. I've written about it before here at Wormwood. For an incredibly long time, Barry was one half of the TCW tag team champions, Genetic Perfection. Today, title reigns last about as long as a Middle East peace talk. But Barry and partner/cousin "All That" Alan Steele held their titles for one year plus, which is phenomenal. Now Barry, who formerly heard the catcalls and jeers of the crowd, has suddenly found popularity as he has decided to split with Steele and manager Rich Rude and head out on his own. He recently won the TCW International title after beating Steele durng a grueling tournament.

TCW's TV presence is growing every week so now "Mr. Saturday Night" is getting face time on the tube all the time. It was a pleasure to talk to this up and coming wrestling talent and I think you'll agree his answers show he is really sharp and on top of things...



 

WORMWOOD CHRONICLES: Thanks for taking the time to talk to us here at Wormwood! First, let’s get a basic question out of the way: how did you get your start in the pro wrestling biz and were you a fan growing up?

MICHAEL BARRY: I had always watched Wrestling, some of my earliest recollections are watching it with my father. It was a real life comic book, and I know this is so cliché to say that but for me it was true. You had the larger than life Hulk Hogan (Yes, Hogan haters, I was a fan...you know you were ,too.) and the evil likes of Jake “The Snake” Roberts, evil personified “The Undertaker” and other colorful characters like that made me gravitate to them and their personalities. They were superhuman, something 8 year old lil'MSN wasn't but wanted to be one day, and promised himself he would be...my journey began when I went to Wrestlemania 17 with my father in Houston, TX. I knew no matter what I achieved in life I had to try this. I had a terrifying thought that one day I would  be old and wondering “What if...?”. I couldn't live with myself and that thought. So I got on this fledgling high-fangled thing called “the internet” at the time and searched forums and sites for someone, anyone that would train me or even talk to me.

WC: Who gave you your training in the biz and just how hard was it?

MB:  I got my foot in the door with some guys in the Southwest Missouri area called the “Midwest Wrestling Federation” MWF. From there I networked all the way to St. Joseph, Missouri and learned from NWA Champion Sonny Meyers...rough? It was a lesson in perseverance. Forget bumping in the ring, you started out on concrete for six weeks!!

WC: Until recently, you were part of a great tag team, Genetic Perfection. Now you’ve gone solo. How big of a transition is this for you?

MB: Not so much a transition as one would think... more like down shifting or shifting gears. I worked predominately as a singles wrestler for the better part of my early career. So it was more of a revert.

 

WC: I was kind of sorry to see Genetic Perfection break up, because there’s a real lack of definite tag teams with chemistry in today’s wrestling world. Was the break-up something you did with reluctance or were you really itching to cut loose as a singles wrestler?

MB: You and me both! We were setting on a cash cow with “Genetic Perfection” Merchandise!!! It was just kinda something that happened, and A LOT of people said we got the “Hollywood Blondes” treatment on the deal and I don’t know if that's the case but it is what it is. The book's not finished and there are still chapters to be written. They can't miss ya unless you're gone, right?

WC: Traditional Championship Wrestling is the fastest growing promotion in the country right now. How exciting is it to go from a small indy promotion to something that’s a real force?

MB: Talk about a roller-coaster ride like no other, Things change daily so to look back over the three years that I have been a part of this is amazing in retrospect. I've worked for A MILLION promoters that have said “oh, we are gonna get this and oh, we are gonna get that” or “We are looking at TV, Big network stuff” or “yada, yada, i'm gonna buy you a solid gold calf and make you a pagan god, etc”. You get the point. This has been one of the very few times the office tells you something and you bank on it.

WC: What are some of the pitfalls of TCW’s rapid rise? A lot of promotions have made noise, then crashed and burned. Will you be able to avoid that fate?

MB:: Not so much the pitfalls of the company but I have certainly watched people suffer growing pains. In fact ,I look around the locker room and there are about 4 or 5 individuals that are still there from my first day and it boils down to work ethic plain and simple. I'm going to make it and be successful because I'm in charge of my own destiny and I'm going to work to do whatever I need to do to make the company a success and myself a success. It's pretty simple but a lot of guys don't get it.  you apply the principles of success and hard work to anything you can make it work. A lot of people will make excuses to why or how they flame out and maybe it's easier for them to cope if they take the victim's stance... but the bottom line is how bad do you want it and what will you do to achieve the success you want?

WC: You’ve had the chance to work with a lot of great veterans in TCW. Is there any one guy in particular who stands out as a favorite or inspiration?

MB: There is a reason guys like Tommy Dreamer, Scott Steiner, Carlito, Jerry Lawler, Jackie Fargo, DDP, Mickie James and others are where they are at...they are smart..Dare I even say Steiner is “dumb as a fox”? In the game of human chess these are the Bobby Fishers. Lawler though is my favorite, because he would always make time to tell me to check out the “giant jugs on the chick third row” in a lock-up. You can't write experiences like that.

WC: Who’s been the most fun for you to work with over the years?

MB: Love my local boys “Krow” Kraig Keesman, “Spacecowboy” Jason Jones, Dustin Heritage, and even good ol'cuz Alan Steel. Sometimes you just dance better with certain partners. This is the case with these guys....wait, did I just say I dance with guys? Scratch that.

WC: If the call came from WWE or TNA, how would you respond? Isn’t it kind of a plague on the indies that the best guys get cherry-picked by the “big boys”?

 MB: I would respond with “let's talk money” plain and simple. It  may be  considered a plague but I call it smart business. If you ran a company, wouldn't you want the best workers you could have...and want them AWAY from your competition? The ones that bitch are the ones they aren't interested in or will never hire.

WC: You are now the fan favorite in your feud with former partner “All That” Alan Steele. Does the adulation of the fans make a difference to you? Or do you wrestle the same way regardless?

MB:  Deep down everyone likes the sound of the crowd, and it's human nature to want adulation but it's also fun to have them on your side. I've said it before and I'll say it again, it doesn’t change a thing. Now i'm just having fun with everyone rather then at their expense.

WC: I understand you’ve got a life outside of “Mr. Saturday Night”. What do your family members and co-workers think of your ring life?

MB: Mr. Saturday Night doesn’t get me anywhere with them...to them its good ol' Barry. Especially my wife, most particularly in fights. If I get a little sideways with her she is quick to break out the “ Don't pull that “Saturday Night” Bullshit with me!”. To sum it up, no matter how many fans I get or titles I win, I better make sure the trash is at the curb on Thursday Mornings. My Coworkers think it's cool, they have been around me long enough to know that's just something that comes with me. They do know not to push me too far in inner office turmoil because the wrestling persona peeks through sometimes in an argument. Middle management never likes a promo cut on them...just saying. I think in a way they appreciate it because i'm very even natured most of the time Monday-Friday 8-5.

WC: Is there any one talent in TCW besides yourself that you’d say is waiting to break out?


MB: You will have to ask them, I'm too busy taking care of my own business to pay much attention to someone else. Now with that said, if there is something they are doing professional wise or other wise and are successful at it ,I will gladly ask them or study it. For me ,though,its a lot like that Kenyan Runner: never look back, never look at the other racers, just look towards the finish line.

WC: I understand Alan Steele is your cousin. How long has this professional rivalry been brewing and does it extend beyond the ring?

MB: Alan has always had in inferiority complex, I think it's all from our days of youth when I used to sit on his head and fart...(little known fact:  he is now deaf in his left ear) or when I used his pillow case as a jock strap and he caught pink eye. I don't think he has EVER let it go. Geez, cuz, learn to take a joke! All kidding aside, we are showmen, we are one-uppers so it's good to have a measuring stick as good as Alan for me to go “Nope, no way am I letting him be better than me”. It works because I KNOW he is doing the exact same thing. Only problem? We have been around each other so much that we know each others plans. Sometimes we have to head back to the ol' drawing board.

WC: What would you say TCW brings to the table that other Southern promotions don’t?

MB: Intelligence, Brains and Class, I hate to use a running analogy but ' a marathon to success not a sprint and we are in it for the long haul.

WC: I like the fact that there are managers in TCW. Rich Rude handled your career for a long time. Do you feel kind of free being out from under his influence or do you miss having a guy in your corner?

MB: Life is a lot easier with him on my side than it is going against him...the only problem is easier isn’t always right or the best. He is a great manager and has a vicious appetite for success. Business wise, I hold him in the utmost regard...personally ,he is a slimeball, just the worst...he's Bernie Madoff rolled into Lance Armstrong topped with Simon Cowell and a side of Chris Brown. He oozes the pink slime from Ghostbusters 2.

WC: Speaking of managers, Boyd Bradford is one of the most bizarre I’ve ever seen. What is he like to work with?

MB: Deceptively smart. Oh myG, people have no idea. Not only in wrestling but in world issues, politics, a very gifted musician. Love him. There are certain guys when you see they are achieving success that you are happy for and he is one of them. He deserves it.

WC: Moving to outside of wrestling, what are some of the other interests you have? Any artistic or musical talents?

MB: I have lots of irons in lots of fire, I work in advertising, do consultant work and run a freelance design business so I stay busy. Some would say I can draw but I hold myself to a very high standard on that talent. I consider good to be Alex Ross or someone like that. You can see my commercal online portfolio at www.zenfolio.com/barrylinduffdesigns though.

WC: Who are some of your favorite actors, musicians and films?

MB: I have such a large range of tastes when it comes to film, I try and study anything popular because you can take successful elements of anything in pop culture and apply them across the board and achieve success. So I try and catch a little bit of everything. I LOVE "Citizen Kane", Love the background and story behind it. As far as actors go I have discovered as I age, my tastes vary. Music wise LOVE Social Distortion, Van Halen, Ramones, Love the Sex Pistols and Pink Floyd's “Gimmick”. All successful musicians can be learned from, though...dare I say it even the Bieber?(That makes you Heel #1 in my world!--Madman Mality)

WC: What’s the long range goal for “Mr. Saturday Night”?

 MB: To Sum it up:

      Pinky: Gee, Brain, what do you want to do tonight?

     Brain: The same thing we do every night, Pinky - try to take over the world!

Just take it one day and a time, one challenge at a time. I'll let you know how it turns out for me when its over.

 WC: Any last words to the fans out there?

 MB: Thank you, thank you so much. Please follow me on the social media at www.facebook.com/mr.saturdaynightmichaelbarry or twitter @MSN_Barry, hope to see you if TCW comes to a town near you, please support us, our product...and BUY MY SHIRTS! Thanks.