Interview - Talking The Joy Of Violent Movement With Australian Wrestling Legend KrackerJak

  • Interview - Talking The Joy Of Violent Movement With Australian Wrestling Legend KrackerJak
    POSTED 10 Feb 2022

    CLP - KrackerJak
    Credit: Cory Lockwood Photography

    Australian wrestling legend 'The Mad Bastard' KrackerJak goes deep on the connection between metal and wrestling. 

    The physicality, the extremity, the theatricality, the obsessive audience, the pyrotechnics, the emotional investment and violent expressionism;  when you think about it, metal and pro-wrestling were made for each other.  So it should come as no surprise that the worlds have long been entwined. From the local indie scene to the big leagues of the USA, Europe and Japan, the influence of metal on pro-wrestling can be seen, heard and felt at pretty much every wrestling show. 

    Thanks to the injection of an embarrassment of young talent worldwide and the arrival of some much-needed competition for the WWE in the form of AEW, as well as the ongoing global expansion of New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) and Impact, and the significant growth of promotions GCW, MLW and the Billy Corgan helmed NWA,  the pro-wrestling industry has been experiencing a significant upswing of late, with promotions crushing it all over the globe. 

    Australia is no exception. Thanks to the hard work of our top talents both at home and abroad,  the tireless effort of a new breed of promoters and the commitment of a fiercely loyal fanbase, pro-wrestling is having an unprecedented moment down under right now. With a thriving scene birthing and supporting a growing number of quality promotions and shows all across the country including the likes of MCW, DMDU, Renegades Of Wrestling, Mayhem Pro, PCW, WRESTLEROCK, Wrestle Rampage, Riot City Wrestling, PWA, Newcastle Pro Wrestling, AWF, IWA EPW, SHWA, NHPW, Pro Wrestling League, QWA, UPW and many more, the industry is an exciting place to be, and we're stoked to say that metal is providing the soundtrack.

    One man that has been there for the highs and lows of the local industry is Australian wrestling legend and OG metalhead KrackerJak. With over 21 years of experience, there's arguably not a squared circle or moshpit worth being in that KrackerJak hasn't dominated. Currently working with Deathmatch Downunder (DMDU), MCW, WRESTLEROCK and exciting Destroy All Lines associated newcomer Renegades of Wrestling, ' The Mad Bastard' was gracious enough to join us for an in-depth chat on the connection between metal and wrestling,  dazzling us with his gift for the written word in the process.  This is the joy of violent movement. 

    The world’s of metal and pro-wrestling seem to be deeply entwined, as an icon of Aussie pro-wrestling and a noted metalhead, why do you think that is? 

    I think metal and wrestling both have that “joy of violent movement.” It’s not always angry, but there’s a violent intensity in both media that makes for crossover fans. 

    Do you remember what came first for you, the love of pro-wrestling or the love of metal? 

    I think maybe wrestling was first? I got into wrestling in 1992, via the SNES game, then magazines, then renting PPVs on video (a kinda odd path to fandom.) That was maybe a year or so before I started moving from classical music and eclectic oldies to alternative, grunge and then Metallica re-released 'One' as a single which got lots of airplay and I was hooked. 

    Both worlds are full of outsized characters engaging in different methods of brutality, which probably explains the crossover between audiences. I’m curious though, do you take influence from the metal that you love into the persona that we see in the ring? If so, how so?

    Yeah, heaps. All of my entrance themes have been heavy,  Iused to come out headbanging hard until I realised that stamina was better saved for the match itself. There are dozens of little metal Easter Eggs scattered throughout my shtick. Occasionally someone will notice and ask: “did you say “die a thousand deaths” when you did that elbow drop?”. Which is cool.

    Watch the video for One by Metallica below. 

    As alluded to in the above question, the connection definitely seems to seep into the respective audiences, we often see metal fans at wrestling shows and wrestling fans at metal shows, do you feel like there’s potential for more crossover events? Would you like to see that type of thing become commonplace in Australia?

    In my experience, while the “variety” model of putting wrestling on events with other stuff like bands, burlesque, comedy, pop-culture stuff... The Variety gimmick is as old as live entertainment itself but I think I prefer them separate. (I understand the hypocrisy since I’m currently Wrestlerock champion and that whole company is based around wrestling + bands.)

    Promoters always think both the bands AND the wrestling will draw their own crowds so the show is TWICE as successful but what usually happens is that all the bands and other performers save their own fanbases for their own shows and rely on the wrestling to draw and you just end up with a room full of wrestling fans who just aren’t that into the other acts.
    Also, good wrestling totally levels most other acts and they can’t compete (especially not in front of a wrestling-centric crowd.)

    In shows that mix the two, I think switching back and forth between wrestling and music is less successful than just doing all the matches in a row then all the music (or vice-versa) Both arts rely on very different styles of audience engagement so the momentum and consistency gets fluffed when a show jumps back and forth.

    Now as an Aussie pro-wrestling legend, you’re more than qualified to answer this question, how do you feel about the state of pro-wrestling locally right now?

    Pre-pandemic I woulda said: “great!” Plenty of competition, a few dominant feds providing a solid backbone of the scene then lots of smaller feds doing their own thing, kicking back against the big boys and providing vital diversity for fans and talent. 

    2021 was so stop-start that it’s hard to get a read on the scene health and lots of longstanding talents have found their priorities shifting during the break and gone on to do other things instead of wrestling. But even with recurring lockdowns, what shows there were sold all their tickets and were warmly received by fans. I think, coming into 2022, as long as the dominant promotions are able to build stability while coexisting with the smaller promotions and startups, there could be lots of places for talent to work and a healthy diversity in the presentation of wrestling. I’ll probably hate most of it but I’d be even more mortified if every show in town was solely in accordance with my own vision. Nobody owns wrestling- so get weird with it, kids. .

    What about the state of the local metal/heavy scene has there been anything new capturing your attention lately?

    I’m like, a hundred years old, so I have no idea what the fuck is cool and coming up. Developmentally, like most middle-aged metal fans, I’m locked into the late 80’s/early 90’s with most new music I follow being from starkly different genres. So I’m more excited about a new Exodus album than being properly up to speed with what the kids are listening to today. Blood Duster and Damaged are still cool, right? Right?

    Watch the video for The Beatings Will Continue (Until Morale Improves) by Exodus below 

    We ran an article a while back on the 10 best metal moments in wrestling, which included moments from the WWE, AEW, WCW etc. As an expert on the topic, what are your favourite wrestling/metal crossover moments?

    Remember WWA? That promotion consisted of most of the WCW refugees who didn’t get hoovered up by the WWE when they bought the company? They ran a show in Australia (like, 2002ish?) with AJ Styles using 'Threshold' by Slayer as his music. He won his match and the following encounter was a cage match and the cage was hanging above the ring. So after he left the ring, they kept his music playing while they set up the next match and the lowering of the cage timed perfectly with the grind of the guitar at 1:45 and it was fucking badass. 

     

    I guess I’d also cite every time RVD would have a really long entrance to Pantera’s 'Walk' in ECW and they’d extend the outro- that was cool. Finally, I think the pivot WWE/F did to heavier stuff when they had new music with a bunch of metal guys like Scott Ian (and hilarious shouted chorus by WWF Superstars.) They used it for the intro sequence to 1997 Raw is War with the burning warehouse and flaming ropes and it was such an instigator of violent excitement. 

    Watch AJ Styles make an entrance to Slayer's Threshold WWA Eruption in 2002 below.

    Let’s talk about the metal side of this for a moment. You've been into the genre for about as long as I’ve been able to walk, so who are the metal acts that have had the biggest impact and influence on your life?

    I’d say longer.  I got into metal around... 1993? I woulda been 14 or 15, had just pivoted from the heavier parts of grunge, Metallica had just rereleased 'One' as a single cos they were SUPER famous by then and it went from there. I was introduced to the classic titans of the era, Pantera, Sepultura... Slayer and Megadeth came a bit later for me cos I loved the guitars but struggled with the vocals. Then I saw the lime green perspex cover of Morbid Angel’s 'Domination' on the shelves and my primitive brain was lured in by the novelty package and I got into deathmetal from there.

    My first gig was Pantera, supported by Biohazard in I think 1994. Shortly afterwards I found Mr. Bungle, which was the most amazing mash of metal and the kinda avant garde prog stuff I enjoyed from Zappa and Roger Waters and that’s been the structure around which my tastes have colonised ever since. The last few years, I’ve gotten into synthwave in a big way (which seems suspiciously like it was designed in a lab specifically to hook children of the 80’s and now here I am, mainlining Perturbator.)

    Pro-wrestling has some amazing metal-inspired or just straight-up metal entrance themes, do you have any favourites? 

    When mainstream wrestling adopted metal I loved it. Looking back now, much of it is cringe-inducing (which is common for wrestling appropriation of broader culture) but I loved it in ‘98 when Undertaker started coming out to that metal version of his music. Motorhead getting involved in wrestling was awesome and for in-house entrance tracks, I was always a fan of Hardcore Holly’s first heavy theme (that was passed on to Crash.)

    Watch Motorhead play Triple H to the ring at WrestleMania 17

    As a wrestler, you’ve got quite the reputation for hardcore match wrestling.  What is it about that type of wrestling that speaks to you? It’s definitely the most metal! 

    When I’d be looking at wrestling mags in ‘92, beyond the official ones, it was the independent mags with bloody pictures of Cactus Jack and Eddie Gilbert that caught my eye. I’d always loved horror and violence so seeing wrestling in that zone was a powerful hook. The second wrestling tape I ever rented was Wrestlemania 8 which has Piper mashing Bret’s face to a bloody pulp (actually my favourite match) AND a classic Flair bloody mess on the same show.

    So when I started getting my hands on those early Eastern Championship Wrestling tapes, seeing Cactus vs Sabu and Terry Funk and so on, I knew I wanted to get in on that. Wrestling is at its most powerful when it moves people and something about the extra layer of undeniably reality that hardcore wrestling brings would elicit a type of reaction I became obsessed with replicating. 

    And I’m a total blood fiend. Even in my art practice, away from wrestling, I do a lotta bloodshed in my performances. It’s beautiful, but also, all that blood sure does smell like old iron monkey bars.

    Not to blow smoke up your ass here (that’s probably a DMDU gimmick match waiting to happen though), but you’re my pick for the most gifted promo in Australia, which makes me ponder who in metal do you think cuts the best promos?

    Oderus, man. RIP.  Also, he’s not really metal but Henry Rollins is an amazing orator, especially at that point where he was just starting to break through to the mainstream so he had this spectacular, eloquent rage while also being very funny and self-deprecating at times.

    Before I let you go is there anything else you’d like to share about the metal/wrestling connection or your upcoming bookings etc? 

    Aha! Who knows when any of my upcoming bookings will actually happen!?

    I’m sick of announcing dates and being proven a liar, so instead, I’ll just say that Melbourne City Wrestling, Deathmatch Downunder, Wrestlerock, Renegade and any other promotion else keen on throwing money at the most brutal, horror-inspired, most metal wrestlers in the scene, Brother Gore and I... that’s where you’ll see us.

    Watch KrackerJak announce the arrival of himself and Brother Gore in DMDU below.
    Explicit language warning

    To see KrackerJak (and Gore)  in action, keep your eyes peeled on upcoming cards for DMDU, MCW, WRESTLEROCK and Renegades of Wrestling 

    Listen to Metal Maniacs now

     

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Submitted by wordsbybrenton on Thu, 02/10/2022 - 09:00

CLP - KrackerJak
Credit: Cory Lockwood Photography

Australian wrestling legend 'The Mad Bastard' KrackerJak goes deep on the connection between metal and wrestling. 

The physicality, the extremity, the theatricality, the obsessive audience, the pyrotechnics, the emotional investment and violent expressionism;  when you think about it, metal and pro-wrestling were made for each other.  So it should come as no surprise that the worlds have long been entwined. From the local indie scene to the big leagues of the USA, Europe and Japan, the influence of metal on pro-wrestling can be seen, heard and felt at pretty much every wrestling show. 

Thanks to the injection of an embarrassment of young talent worldwide and the arrival of some much-needed competition for the WWE in the form of AEW, as well as the ongoing global expansion of New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) and Impact, and the significant growth of promotions GCW, MLW and the Billy Corgan helmed NWA,  the pro-wrestling industry has been experiencing a significant upswing of late, with promotions crushing it all over the globe. 

Australia is no exception. Thanks to the hard work of our top talents both at home and abroad,  the tireless effort of a new breed of promoters and the commitment of a fiercely loyal fanbase, pro-wrestling is having an unprecedented moment down under right now. With a thriving scene birthing and supporting a growing number of quality promotions and shows all across the country including the likes of MCW, DMDU, Renegades Of Wrestling, Mayhem Pro, PCW, WRESTLEROCK, Wrestle Rampage, Riot City Wrestling, PWA, Newcastle Pro Wrestling, AWF, IWA EPW, SHWA, NHPW, Pro Wrestling League, QWA, UPW and many more, the industry is an exciting place to be, and we're stoked to say that metal is providing the soundtrack.

One man that has been there for the highs and lows of the local industry is Australian wrestling legend and OG metalhead KrackerJak. With over 21 years of experience, there's arguably not a squared circle or moshpit worth being in that KrackerJak hasn't dominated. Currently working with Deathmatch Downunder (DMDU), MCW, WRESTLEROCK and exciting Destroy All Lines associated newcomer Renegades of Wrestling, ' The Mad Bastard' was gracious enough to join us for an in-depth chat on the connection between metal and wrestling,  dazzling us with his gift for the written word in the process.  This is the joy of violent movement. 

The world’s of metal and pro-wrestling seem to be deeply entwined, as an icon of Aussie pro-wrestling and a noted metalhead, why do you think that is? 

I think metal and wrestling both have that “joy of violent movement.” It’s not always angry, but there’s a violent intensity in both media that makes for crossover fans. 

Do you remember what came first for you, the love of pro-wrestling or the love of metal? 

I think maybe wrestling was first? I got into wrestling in 1992, via the SNES game, then magazines, then renting PPVs on video (a kinda odd path to fandom.) That was maybe a year or so before I started moving from classical music and eclectic oldies to alternative, grunge and then Metallica re-released 'One' as a single which got lots of airplay and I was hooked. 

Both worlds are full of outsized characters engaging in different methods of brutality, which probably explains the crossover between audiences. I’m curious though, do you take influence from the metal that you love into the persona that we see in the ring? If so, how so?

Yeah, heaps. All of my entrance themes have been heavy,  Iused to come out headbanging hard until I realised that stamina was better saved for the match itself. There are dozens of little metal Easter Eggs scattered throughout my shtick. Occasionally someone will notice and ask: “did you say “die a thousand deaths” when you did that elbow drop?”. Which is cool.

Watch the video for One by Metallica below. 

As alluded to in the above question, the connection definitely seems to seep into the respective audiences, we often see metal fans at wrestling shows and wrestling fans at metal shows, do you feel like there’s potential for more crossover events? Would you like to see that type of thing become commonplace in Australia?

In my experience, while the “variety” model of putting wrestling on events with other stuff like bands, burlesque, comedy, pop-culture stuff... The Variety gimmick is as old as live entertainment itself but I think I prefer them separate. (I understand the hypocrisy since I’m currently Wrestlerock champion and that whole company is based around wrestling + bands.)

Promoters always think both the bands AND the wrestling will draw their own crowds so the show is TWICE as successful but what usually happens is that all the bands and other performers save their own fanbases for their own shows and rely on the wrestling to draw and you just end up with a room full of wrestling fans who just aren’t that into the other acts.
Also, good wrestling totally levels most other acts and they can’t compete (especially not in front of a wrestling-centric crowd.)

In shows that mix the two, I think switching back and forth between wrestling and music is less successful than just doing all the matches in a row then all the music (or vice-versa) Both arts rely on very different styles of audience engagement so the momentum and consistency gets fluffed when a show jumps back and forth.

Now as an Aussie pro-wrestling legend, you’re more than qualified to answer this question, how do you feel about the state of pro-wrestling locally right now?

Pre-pandemic I woulda said: “great!” Plenty of competition, a few dominant feds providing a solid backbone of the scene then lots of smaller feds doing their own thing, kicking back against the big boys and providing vital diversity for fans and talent. 

2021 was so stop-start that it’s hard to get a read on the scene health and lots of longstanding talents have found their priorities shifting during the break and gone on to do other things instead of wrestling. But even with recurring lockdowns, what shows there were sold all their tickets and were warmly received by fans. I think, coming into 2022, as long as the dominant promotions are able to build stability while coexisting with the smaller promotions and startups, there could be lots of places for talent to work and a healthy diversity in the presentation of wrestling. I’ll probably hate most of it but I’d be even more mortified if every show in town was solely in accordance with my own vision. Nobody owns wrestling- so get weird with it, kids. .

What about the state of the local metal/heavy scene has there been anything new capturing your attention lately?

I’m like, a hundred years old, so I have no idea what the fuck is cool and coming up. Developmentally, like most middle-aged metal fans, I’m locked into the late 80’s/early 90’s with most new music I follow being from starkly different genres. So I’m more excited about a new Exodus album than being properly up to speed with what the kids are listening to today. Blood Duster and Damaged are still cool, right? Right?

Watch the video for The Beatings Will Continue (Until Morale Improves) by Exodus below 

We ran an article a while back on the 10 best metal moments in wrestling, which included moments from the WWE, AEW, WCW etc. As an expert on the topic, what are your favourite wrestling/metal crossover moments?

Remember WWA? That promotion consisted of most of the WCW refugees who didn’t get hoovered up by the WWE when they bought the company? They ran a show in Australia (like, 2002ish?) with AJ Styles using 'Threshold' by Slayer as his music. He won his match and the following encounter was a cage match and the cage was hanging above the ring. So after he left the ring, they kept his music playing while they set up the next match and the lowering of the cage timed perfectly with the grind of the guitar at 1:45 and it was fucking badass. 

 

I guess I’d also cite every time RVD would have a really long entrance to Pantera’s 'Walk' in ECW and they’d extend the outro- that was cool. Finally, I think the pivot WWE/F did to heavier stuff when they had new music with a bunch of metal guys like Scott Ian (and hilarious shouted chorus by WWF Superstars.) They used it for the intro sequence to 1997 Raw is War with the burning warehouse and flaming ropes and it was such an instigator of violent excitement. 

Watch AJ Styles make an entrance to Slayer's Threshold WWA Eruption in 2002 below.

Let’s talk about the metal side of this for a moment. You've been into the genre for about as long as I’ve been able to walk, so who are the metal acts that have had the biggest impact and influence on your life?

I’d say longer.  I got into metal around... 1993? I woulda been 14 or 15, had just pivoted from the heavier parts of grunge, Metallica had just rereleased 'One' as a single cos they were SUPER famous by then and it went from there. I was introduced to the classic titans of the era, Pantera, Sepultura... Slayer and Megadeth came a bit later for me cos I loved the guitars but struggled with the vocals. Then I saw the lime green perspex cover of Morbid Angel’s 'Domination' on the shelves and my primitive brain was lured in by the novelty package and I got into deathmetal from there.

My first gig was Pantera, supported by Biohazard in I think 1994. Shortly afterwards I found Mr. Bungle, which was the most amazing mash of metal and the kinda avant garde prog stuff I enjoyed from Zappa and Roger Waters and that’s been the structure around which my tastes have colonised ever since. The last few years, I’ve gotten into synthwave in a big way (which seems suspiciously like it was designed in a lab specifically to hook children of the 80’s and now here I am, mainlining Perturbator.)

Pro-wrestling has some amazing metal-inspired or just straight-up metal entrance themes, do you have any favourites? 

When mainstream wrestling adopted metal I loved it. Looking back now, much of it is cringe-inducing (which is common for wrestling appropriation of broader culture) but I loved it in ‘98 when Undertaker started coming out to that metal version of his music. Motorhead getting involved in wrestling was awesome and for in-house entrance tracks, I was always a fan of Hardcore Holly’s first heavy theme (that was passed on to Crash.)

Watch Motorhead play Triple H to the ring at WrestleMania 17

As a wrestler, you’ve got quite the reputation for hardcore match wrestling.  What is it about that type of wrestling that speaks to you? It’s definitely the most metal! 

When I’d be looking at wrestling mags in ‘92, beyond the official ones, it was the independent mags with bloody pictures of Cactus Jack and Eddie Gilbert that caught my eye. I’d always loved horror and violence so seeing wrestling in that zone was a powerful hook. The second wrestling tape I ever rented was Wrestlemania 8 which has Piper mashing Bret’s face to a bloody pulp (actually my favourite match) AND a classic Flair bloody mess on the same show.

So when I started getting my hands on those early Eastern Championship Wrestling tapes, seeing Cactus vs Sabu and Terry Funk and so on, I knew I wanted to get in on that. Wrestling is at its most powerful when it moves people and something about the extra layer of undeniably reality that hardcore wrestling brings would elicit a type of reaction I became obsessed with replicating. 

And I’m a total blood fiend. Even in my art practice, away from wrestling, I do a lotta bloodshed in my performances. It’s beautiful, but also, all that blood sure does smell like old iron monkey bars.

Not to blow smoke up your ass here (that’s probably a DMDU gimmick match waiting to happen though), but you’re my pick for the most gifted promo in Australia, which makes me ponder who in metal do you think cuts the best promos?

Oderus, man. RIP.  Also, he’s not really metal but Henry Rollins is an amazing orator, especially at that point where he was just starting to break through to the mainstream so he had this spectacular, eloquent rage while also being very funny and self-deprecating at times.

Before I let you go is there anything else you’d like to share about the metal/wrestling connection or your upcoming bookings etc? 

Aha! Who knows when any of my upcoming bookings will actually happen!?

I’m sick of announcing dates and being proven a liar, so instead, I’ll just say that Melbourne City Wrestling, Deathmatch Downunder, Wrestlerock, Renegade and any other promotion else keen on throwing money at the most brutal, horror-inspired, most metal wrestlers in the scene, Brother Gore and I... that’s where you’ll see us.

Watch KrackerJak announce the arrival of himself and Brother Gore in DMDU below.
Explicit language warning

To see KrackerJak (and Gore)  in action, keep your eyes peeled on upcoming cards for DMDU, MCW, WRESTLEROCK and Renegades of Wrestling 

Listen to Metal Maniacs now

 

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Interview - Talking The Joy Of Violent Movement With Australian Wrestling Legend KrackerJak

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