|NWA Mid-America X-Division Champion "Spotlight" Chris Sanders |
Talking with the fans of the local federations has brought new light into the Columbia wrestling
scene. After asking several different fans of both NWA Main Event and Columbia Wrestling Alliances fan bases what would they
like to see more of, a resounding answer of wanting to know more of the wrestlers.
So after talking to the promoters of both federations, interviews will be conducted, one federations
interview per month. So added on with the news and the special features, Belle of the Brawl will be bringing some of
the best wrestlers in the area to print.
A ten-question interview will be given to each of the workers. But that is not all, on my exclusive homepage, a follow-up
interview will be conducted with each of the individuals.
Both the NWA ME and the CWA will be choosing one wrestler per month for the spotlight. And how appropriate that the first
wrestler to hit the pages will be NWA Main Events "Spotlight" Chris Sanders.
Even though Chris is relatively young in the business, he has caused quite a ruckus in each federation he has been involved
Columbia wrestling fans meet "Spotlight" Chris Sanders.
Lekisha Oliver (LO): How and why did you get into wrestling? How long have you been wrestling?
"Spotlight" Chris Sanders (CS): Why I got in to professional wrestling is kind of a complicated answer
I suppose. I've watched wrestling since before I was in kindergarten, and I always loved it. Getting involved in wrestling
was always something I was interested in doing. Unfortunately, as I got older, my small size became a factor of letting the
air out of my balloon. I'm not exactly the stereotypical image of a pro wrestler, and growing up, I couldn't tell anyone about
me wanting to be a pro wrestler without them laughing.
It soon went from a dream to becoming a "challenge", I guess you could say. Something for me to prove to myself, and to
everyone who thought I was too small, that I in fact, could do it. I guess I've done it too, I mean, I think for the length
of time I've been in it, I've definitely realized a dream, as I've been wrestling now for around a year and a half. But I'm
far from where I want to be, and still working hard to keep turning heads.
LO: Who trained you and how long did you train before stepping into the ring?
CS: I was trained by "Dangerous" Doug Gilbert, who belongs to the legendary Gilbert family of wrestling
that includes his father, Tommy, and his late brother, Eddie Gilbert, who was my childhood favorite. We trained in Nashville
some, but the majority of my training took place out of a warehouse in Jackson, TN. NWA National Champion Ricky Murdock actually
influenced a lot of my training too as he would step in there with me a lot of days and show me holds. After around 3-4 months
of training for 3 days a week, I wrestled my first match on January 27th, 2002.
LO: What other training did you do before stepping into the ring? Sports/Arts/Acting..etc?
CS: Actually, as a kid I wasn't really involved with sports that much. I played baseball, football, golf,
and the like, but never stuck with anything for very long. Those sports just never really resonated with me, and I just couldn't
get motivated to practice after school for several hours for sports I really had no desire to play in.
As far as art and acting goes, I'm a big fan of both. My spare time is pretty much devoted to movies and drawing. My love
as a child that rivaled pro wrestling was comic books, which I believe had a big deal to do with my love of wrestling. I mean,
wrestling is comic books made over in a ring with these larger-than-life characters. So with my fascination of comic books
came the fascination with art. I picked it up and am pretty much a natural. I think drawing is probably one of my most cherished
talents. As far as movies go, I watch way too much, but I don't really care.
|Courtesy of www.nwame.com |
LO: Did you watch the sport growing up? And if so, who was your favorite? Who got you into watching the
CS: Oh yeah. My Aunt Lori was in high school about the time I was 4 or 5 years old, and she had the hugest
crush on Eddie Gilbert and Jerry Lawler both. We used to sit down every Saturday morning and watch the Memphis wrestling,
and I just loved it. I remember when Eddie Gilbert threw the fireball on Jerry Lawler, and how worried I was. My mom actually
likes to embarrass me every chance she gets by reminding me that she has pictures of me doing Hulk Hogan poses every time
a camera was out.
But I'd definitely say my favorites would be Hulk Hogan (Yes, I was a Hulkamaniac, and anyone that watched wrestling and
says they weren't, are a liar), Jerry Lawler, and Eddie Gilbert. Getting older, I found Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels to both
play a huge role in influencing me. Nowadays, I don't watch it that much anymore, as I wrestle so much, when I get free time
I usually catch a movie, but when I do have time to see it, Chris Jericho is probably my favorite.
LO: To those who have not gotten to experience your style, how would you explain your style and character?
CS: I'm definitely a cocky guy in the ring. I just don't think the fans are going to believe your going
to win, if you don't believe it yourself. As far as actual "wrestling style", I'm definitely more in to grounded, technical
wrestling, but my size limits me with bigger guys, so I often take to the air anyway. I think the biggest thing going for
me is the charisma. A lot of guys have all the athletic ability in the world, but if you don't have that "IT" that a fan can
relate too, then your not gonna grab their attention. I'm still trying to find my niche, but I believe it's slowly coming
out of me, and pretty sure I'll have my game down pat.
LO: Who would you say would be your best matches thus far?
CS: Oh I've had a ton of matches I've really enjoyed. I wrestled Chris Michaels, and for anyone that doesn't
know him, he's a pro through and through. I definitely felt like I learned a lot from him. I got a chance to tag-team with
my trainer, Doug Gilbert a few months back as well and that was an awesome experience. I also wrestled for the NWA World Jr.
Heavyweight Title about 2 months ago in Mississippi, and that was like a dream come true. I mean, in a year and a half, I
did what most wrestlers will never do in their entire careers, and I am definitely proud of that.
But I could give you a list of name of people I enjoy wrestling and always have great matches with in Nick Fury, the Misfits,
Jeff Daniels, Joey Luciano, just to name a few. I could go on, and on.
LO: Through the federations that you have worked for, what titles have you held and how long did you hold
CS: I was the youngest NWA Southern Jr. Heavyweight Champion of all time, holding the belt for around
10 months. I am also currently the first-ever NWA Mid-America X Champion, an accomplishment that means the world to me. Mainly
because, no matter where I go or how far I succeed, I will forever more have my name in the record books of the NWA, and that
is something I told everyone I was going to do, and I did.
LO: What do you see in the future of your career?
CS: It's really hard to say. God willing, my goal is the NWA World Jr. Heavyweight Championship. I definitely
think I have the talent, and the drive behind it. I'd like to, one day, get a contract with TNA or WWE, but it's hard to say
where I'll go or what shape the business will be in. All I can do is play with the cards dealt and hope for the best. Whatever
options are given to me, I'll work my butt off to make sure I can do my best.
LO: With the diverse styles in and out of the ring across the area, what would be the reason the fans
should come out for the wrestling experience in your federation?
CS: My promotion is NWA Main Event, and the answer is simple -- The talent. The wrestling. So many promotions
out there do just a half-way job of delivering action, and I can say that Mike Porter and everyone involved backstage really
turns it up a notch compared to other promotions. There are so many vital parts to a successful and entertaining promotion
other then 2 guys getting in a ring and fighting. You need that atmosphere. You need the guys that just get in there and give
it 100% week in, and week out, and I can say, without a shadow of a doubt -- NWA Main Event has that. Locally, they are the
best, and I'm glad to be a part of that.
LO: Any parting words for the fans or any comments that you would like to make?
CS: I just want to thank everyone that comes to the shows every week, and love us or hate us, you have
to respect what me and the other wrestlers do in that ring every week. We work just as hard, if not harder, then any other
sport, and the bumps and bruises that go with being a wrestler really just can't be described if you haven't done it. It's
physically and mentally exhausting. My hat's off to all my heroes beforehand that did this and made a living at it, because
it is a remarkable amount of work, and I only hope that one day my name can be etched in the memories of fans all over Tennessee.
For more information on "Spotlight" Chris Sanders, check his website at http://www.geocities.com/spotlight_wrestling