"Bad" Brad Michaels Interview
by Drew Archer
That was the sound of Randy Price’s head and neck being jammed into a steel chair courtesy of a spike piledriver by Bryan Cruize and the returning, self-proclaimed CEO of the Old School Assassins, “Bad” Brad Michaels on last Saturday’s IZW Adrenaline show on GFL.tv. Michaels made an immediate impression on the landscape of IZW with that one gruesome act. As Price lay motionless and finally carted off on a stretcher to a waiting ambulance, Michaels put the world on notice that he was back and 100% committed to spreading his particular brand of Old School wrestling.
As the ambulance pulled out of the Impact Arena, with a neck-braced Price strapped to a wooden board, having still shown no sign of movement, it sent a shiver down my spine as I remembered Michaels’ words to me only days earlier.
I interviewed Michaels the day after March Mayhem where he was cryptic in nature and unfortunately for Price, succinct in his actions. When I asked Michaels about his return to IZW, he was blunt in his response. “The Old School Assassins--Bryan Cruize and myself, made it very apparent at March Mayhem that we have a problem with Randy Price and how he has claimed to be ‘Old School’. He is nothing more than a punk kid, pretender to my Old School throne. The OSA doesn't take well to posers. Although I don't anticipate our ‘feud’ with Randy lasting very long, as we don't get paid by the hour. We plan to dispose of him in short fashion.”
This callous, twisted outlook by Michaels was developed and honed over years and years of learning the ins and outs of the wrestling business from every angle and he’s determined to make others in IZW meet a similar fate as Price and feel the wrath of what true Old School is about.
Michaels grew up in Moore, Oklahoma with professional wrestling consuming a huge part of his life early on and giving him a respect and admiration for the business that is lost on many of today’s fly-by-night wrestlers who are popping up all over the country. “I was always a fan of professional wrestling. I started attending live wrestling when I was 10 years old--including a weekly independent show. By the time I was 13, I was traveling around the state with this independent wrestling company, Power Zone Wrestling. I was doing anything I could to be involved--ringing the bell, carrying the jackets to the locker room, working security, playing music, video taping the shows...you name it, I did it. Finally, when I was 16 years old, I had sat on the sidelines long enough. I had watched others living MY dream long enough. It was time for me to step in the ring,” Michaels remembered.
Still a teenager, Michaels was not dissuaded by being the youngest student in camp. In fact, he thrived in the role and was set on a course that has found him back in IZW today. “I broke into the business in November of 1998 at ‘Mr. Ebony’ Tom Jones wrestling school. He gave me a great opportunity, taught me the fundamentals, and the OLD SCHOOL aspects of this business. From there I hit the roads with fellow IZW Hall of Famer Gary Tool. He fine-tuned me and made me the wrestler I am today,” Michaels said.
With a decade plus of experience in the marvelous world of professional wrestling, there isn’t much Michaels hasn’t done, making him one of the most respected and knowledgeable wrestlers on the independent scene. Through all his bravado and swagger, Michaels is truly about as Old School as they come. “I have been in the business nearly 15 years. I have achieved most of my goals in this business. I have traveled the country, won titles, I'm a Hall of Famer, I’m one of the most respected veterans on this level. I even spent some time in Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW), which was WWE's Developmental territory at the time. I learned so much from so many talented guys in this business. I’m doing exactly what I want to do right now. I’m giving back to the business and those who have come after me. And I am happy riding this crazy wave known as IZW.”
Through those nearly 15 years, Michaels has continued to round out his knowledge of the business by being involved in every aspect of the business. “I've pretty much done it all. I've wrestled, refereed, done commentary, been involved in various creative aspects, trained students. Right now I am enjoying what I am doing. I still have a lot to offer,” Michaels remarked.
That’s an extraordinary statement as Michaels has met the demands of one of the most grueling professions in the world and still has a body and mind ready to take on new challenges. But even for him, it has come with a cost. “People who are not a part of the wrestling business will never truly understand what we sacrifice. We spend countless time away from our families, whether it be on the road, in the gym, or studying tape. And people think they know, but they really don't know the true toll that wrestling takes on your body. When you can barely squat down to pick up your kids, that's real.”
Michaels’ career is one long highlight reel equal to the list of nicknames he’s earned over the years. Michaels longevity and impact in the business as “The Old School Assassin”, “The CEO of the OSA”, or “The IZW Hall of Famer”, all come with the respect and admiration of not only the wrestlers in the locker rooms scattered across the country, but also any fan who has ever watched a Brad Michaels match.
Through his countless tours and road trips across America, Michaels is crystal clear on his career highlights thus far. “I have traveled the country. I have won numerous titles. But the accomplishments that I am most proud of are that I am an IZW Hall of Famer, a three time IZW Tag Team Champion, and a two time IZW Impact Division Champion.”
Along with Michaels’ accolades, longtime fans will also remember the last time they saw Michaels compete in an IZW ring before he made his comeback last month. He was embroiled in a bitter feud with former 3-time IZW Champion O’Malley in an unforgettable battle. “When people think of Brad Michaels in IZW, they think of O'Malley. I broke him into the business. The story is very well documented. The last time I was seen in IZW, I was being hauled away in an ambulance after a Last Man Standing Match with O'Malley. It doesn't get much more memorable than that.”
When Michaels left IZW due to injuries, the promotion was just starting to blossom on GFL.tv and he couldn’t have picked a better time to return to the trailblazing organization, which produces a 2-hour live, weekly show every Saturday night at 8pm EST. “Broadcasting on iPPV is huge! It exposes IZW, literally, to the world. Anyone, anywhere can see ‘Bad’ Brad Michaels now...the way it should be.”
Along with weekly iPPVs on GFL.tv, IZW continues to increase its national footprint by adding IZW Adrenaline, on The Comcast Network, covering the East Coast and Mid-Atlantic regions every other Saturday night. “IZW Adrenaline on Comcast is another great opportunity to expose IZW to new markets that haven't seen us before. Cable TV opens up so many possibilities with viewership, advertising, merchandise. You name it. The possibilities are endless,” Michaels continued.
“I have never worked for a promotion that is as dedicated & focus-driven [as IZW]. If you were to look at IZW nine years ago when it started, you wouldn't recognize it. It has come so far and grown so much. I am very proud to have been a pretty integral part in many years of IZW's growth and expansion. Again, the possibilities of where we go from here are endless.”
After recently dispatching Price in brutal fashion, there are still plenty of goals Michaels has set for himself in Lawton and he’s not afraid to make bold assessments of where he sees himself in the IZW pecking order. “I absolutely will not be ‘proving myself’ or ‘working my way up’ in IZW anytime soon. I am a ‘Hall of Famer’. I start at the top. Titles are definitely in my future. Anyone who is not Old School, anyone who doesn't understand Old School, anyone who doesn't live Old School, will be left lying, wishing they hadn't gotten in our way.”
Wrestlers in IZW would do well to take notice as Michaels has also been clear and already shown by what means he plans on dishing out his form of Old School justice by using one of the most deadly, but effective finishers in the business, the Piledriver, because in Michaels’ words “it doesn't get much more Old School than that.”
For fans looking to stay even more connected to Brad Michaels you can follow him on Twitter @OldSchool_Brad, and like him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/badbradmichaels.
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