Interview with IZW Impact Division Champion Drake Gallows
“My goal every night that I step through the curtain is to be the guy that everyone is talking about when they leave.”
Very few wrestlers in history have ever made the type of immediate impact in IZW like Drake Gallows. Gallows debuted for the organization on June 1 and since then has cut a path of mayhem and destruction through several established wrestlers that culminated in him capturing the IZW Impact Division Title at “Evolution” after a hellacious Triple Threat Ladder Match against Phoenix and “Worst in the World” Copycat. Gallows earned his stripes earlier than most in a business that can chew up even the most ardent veterans and spit them out, in large part because Gallows knew exactly what he wanted to do, even as a child, and started making that a reality as a young teenager.
“I grew up in a very mellow, quiet town south of Oklahoma City called Newcastle. There I played Little League baseball for eight years, until one day I realized I hated it. When I was a teenager I played football in school, lifted weights, and I competed in amateur wrestling. That ended very quickly my freshman year when I swung at a coach and was banned from any after school activities. Throughout that entire time of my life the only thing that stayed the same was my love of pro wrestling. As far back as I can remember I have been a diehard fan. The difference between me, and most fans is the entire time I watched I would tell myself ‘you could do that’,” Gallows began.
Gallows broke out of the mold early on during his high school years as while other kids where busy goofing off and doing what most kids do, Gallows was working towards his professional aspirations and looking to break in to the business anyway he could. And he did. Although not in the ring.
“I had a golden ticket breaking in, I say this only because I never was asked to pay financial dues. Instead, at the age of 14 I would spend my mornings at The Underground Arena in OKC sweeping, mopping, stocking the concessions not to mention setting up chairs and the 18 by 18 wrestling ring they've used for a decade. The older I got the more I continued to learn,” said Gallows.
Gallows used every opportunity at The Underground Arena to absorb and learn something new about the business, even when he wasn’t getting a lot of feedback from the wrestlers.
“The biggest flaw in it [his mornings at the Underground Arena] was the fact that nobody really saw anything in me, and most refused to train me because of my age, so instead I would listen to anyone and everyone to try and gain some knowledge of the biz. It was very monkey see monkey do. At the age of 15 I had my first match in Walters, Oklahoma, on November 8, 2008 against a young guy by the name of Nathaniel Blade. I don't know if he ever wrestled again. Even though there was less than 10 fans in attendance I was very satisfied with the outcome, mostly because the dimwit promoter paid me twice by mistake, to this day the most I ever made in five minutes,” Gallows chuckled.
Just entering his 20s, Gallows has a long road ahead of him and has only just begun to make his mark on the Oklahoma territory and beyond. Getting the opportunity at such a young age to be a part of IZW is something that clearly resonates with the Impact Division Champion. “I love thinking ahead rather than just looking towards next week I like to think about next month, next year even. When it comes to IZW the sky is the limit because they are the only fed in my area, Oklahoma, which is legitimately trying to be the best. IPPVs, GFL.tv, etc. is an amazing concept for a guy like me who can’t currently travel the world, I can although be seen across the globe anyway thanks to the exposure from IZW and gofightlive.”
Gallows has ambitions and dreams like any other wrestler in his position: wrestling full-time, touring around the planet with WWE or TNA and being a world famous professional wrestler. And in a business as volatile and evolving as pro wrestling, you never know what tomorrow will bring. But Gallows also focuses on what’s right in front of him and the people watching him compete every Saturday.
“The best part of this business is the fact that anything can happen, and things change at the drop of a dime. My attitude towards being world famous? We’ll just have to see what happens. If not I will always take pride in the images I leave behind. When it comes to my goals in wrestling, whether I went on first or last, I just want them to remember Drake Gallows.”
Many wrestles have talked about the grind and the injuries that professional wrestling takes on your body year after year. For Gallows, he’s more lighthearted on those trials. “Personally some of the challenges I face are mediocre compared to the usual pro wrestler. For instance, I can’t even out my tan to save my life!”
“Concussions suck, bruises suck, the next morning when you wake up and try to roll out of bed and it feels as though someone taped you to a 2x4, that's really sucks! Surprisingly enough I’ve never had any problems with travel. Wrestlers are a lot like wolves we travel in packs, and I usually get a text or call a few days in advance from someone. ‘Wanna ride down with us?’ So, again a golden ticket,” Gallows continued.
Gallows toughest setback in the sport and of his life was the passing of his brother, who was also a pro wrestler. There is nothing that can ever replace the loss of a sibling but Gallows has kept his brother’s passion and spirit for the business close to his heart and wrestling style by incorporating his late brother’s finisher into his arsenal.
“When I started, my finish was a move I called ‘The Bid Farewell’ basically it’s a Samoan Driver, I pick my opponent up on my shoulders, jump into the air and sit down, he lands on his back between my legs and I hook his legs for the 1-2-3. In 2011 my brother, Crisstopher Crow, passed away in a car accident. Since then I've used his finish ‘The Emo Killer’ it’s simply a modified F5. I do it good but he did it great!”
Gallows also managed to pay tribute to his brother in 2012 in a set of matches and the ensuing aftermath that uplifted the entire Oklahoma wrestling scene. “The greatest moment in my career was in 2012 when I won a memorial tournament for my brother. At the end of the show, there was a curtain call and all of the wrestlers who participated lifted me on their shoulders. When they turned me around I saw that they did the same to my mother who had been asked to enter the ring. Probably the coolest moment of my life.”
For anyone who’s watched Gallows compete in IZW, it’s very clear that these first few months are only a foreshadowing of what is to come. Gallows has managed to piss a few people off in the organization but that’s part of who he is. He’s always been his own man and lives life by his own rules.
“The night of my first vignette in IZW, when everyone was introduced to Drake Gallows officially. ‘Heat Seeker’ isn't a nickname... ‘Heat Seeker’ is a way of life. Plain, and simple, I’m looking for trouble.”
Gallows soon found that trouble in the form of an unexpected foe. After Gallows won the Impact Division Title he had a quick turnaround in defending it as a week later he was once again embroiled in another Triple Threat Ladder Match with Phoenix and Copycat. Copycat and Phoenix were pulling out all the stops in trying to defeat Gallows and claim the championship for themselves. That was to be expected. What nobody saw coming was what happened near the end of the jaw-dropping bout.
“At the climax of the second Ladder Match, Phoenix and I were chasing up the biggest ladder I have ever climbed and to my surprise Kevin Morgan was below us and not involved in this match yet he pushes the ladder I’m standing on to the outside of the ring and I fall threw a table to the floor. When I finally came to, I discovered my belt was gone and my match had ended,” Gallows remembered.
Weeks later Gallows was able to liberate his belt from around Morgan’s grasp but the two are now locked into a fierce conflict over the strap. Gallows and Morgan battle each other this Saturday on “IZW Adrenaline” on GFL.tv in what is sure to pour kerosene on to their budding feud. Gallows has made it known that he’ll fight anybody anywhere and will have extra motivation to take out the “Image of War” because of Morgan’s past thievery.
Gallows knows that this is his time to make his mark in the business he’s wanted to be a part of his entire life. He’s holding one of the premier titles in North American, the IZW Impact Division Championship, a title that has skyrocketed several wrestlers who’ve worn that belt into superstardom. Gallows is on the brink of orbiting those mega powers and just has to keep doing what he’s been doing to reach that level of success in the sport. But every Impact Division Champion has a target on his chest a mile long. Gallows is fine with that reality and welcomes every challenge that comes his way. He’s already accomplished more than most wrestlers twice his age and is looking for more.
Gallows was blunt in his final response to his fans and those that have followed his career since the beginning or have just starting watching him since his IZW debut.
“Keep watching,” Gallows ended with.
Indeed, because if the next three months are anything like the past three months, fans from around the globe can expect the unexpected from Drake Gallows.
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