Meet The Wrestler: ’Man Of Steel’ Mike Verna
(Feature photo credit should go to Speedy)
“Man Of Steel” Mike Verna joins Dominic DeAngelo for episode two of Meet The Wrestler, a series hosted by Dominic DeAngelo in which you get a full-on scope behind one of today’s major notable talents on the independent scene.
Fresh off the heels of his AEW Dark debut against Peter Avalon on Tuesday, Verna shares his very unique journey into the wrestling business and discusses how his love for baseball and competition bridged the gap to him stepping into the squared circle.
During the conversation, Verna said the wrestler who got him hooked as a kid was The Rock, but once he started training, he found inspiration to four wrestlers who all shared a very strong bond with one another.
“Kurt Angle, 2006, was one of my favorite wrestlers of all time. The intensity, the work-rate, everything he did was just to me, I was like, ‘I am so drawn to him.’ So his aspect, his in-ring ability, forget about the Olympic side of it because I’ll never be that type of athlete, but the performer, I’ve never seen anything better than that. Kurt Angle is one.
“The second one would be Dean Malenko because again, same size, similar style. I don’t do much lucha, but I do enough lucha and enough flippity-do-da that could kind of suffice me enough to match up with Malenko. The other one would be Eddie Guerrero in a way, because again, I’m trained by Joel Maximo so I do have a lot of lucha experience, a lot. I mean more than I think I should ever have based on my stereotype of what you see, you know? I shouldn’t know any of it, but I know lucha. I know that style. And the last but not least and probably the most obvious but the one that is the toughest to say is Chris Benoit. Just strictly from a wrestling standpoint, it’s hard not to emulate him. We’re very similar body types, very similar style, strictly in ring. Let’s make that clear. Strictly in ring, so I mean those four guys right there. I try to look at them and say okay, ‘They’re a mix of power, technical, intensity.’ Just the stuff that makes wrestling look real and feel real to me. Especially Angle. Angle and Benoit, when you saw them in the ring, you thought it was a fight, a real fight.”
“They may have not been the biggest guys in the room, but try and pick a fight with them. See what happens.”
— AEW Dark (@TheAEWDark) December 22, 2020
As far as outside of the ring influences of Verna’s persona, Superman is an obvious influence, but Mike looks forward to adding a Soprano-like layer to himself without jumping the “paisano” stereotype shark.
“I’ve been looking at Tony Soprano and The Sopranos and those old gangster movies and I say okay, ‘What kind of things can I do that they did that popped the crowd where I don’t have to be Little Guido in the FBI?’ I’m not trying to go that route where it’s totally gimmicked out…
“How can I be this GQ, Clark Kent, Tony Soprano hybrid and people buy into it? So when I post those things on Twitter, that’s what I get and I’m like ‘Okay, I’m starting to get to where I want to be. It’s like they see this Henry Cavill with the three-piece suit, but then they see that big gold chain hanging out and they’re like, ‘Alright, there’s Tony Soprano.’ So it’s like I’m starting to get that little branding blend which is what I’m looking for, but to translate in the ring, that’s gonna be the interesting thing.”
Follow “Man Of Steel” on Twitter @ManOfSteelMV.
(Transcription credit should go to @DominicDeAngelo of WrestleZone)
Check out the video above or listen to the full audio interview with Mike Verna below: