Part two, and last part, of my interview with wrestler/student for East Coast Pro Wrestling, Robert ‘the Spike’ Norton…
Lucy: Back to ECPW, as a student do you get to participate in the shows they put on?
Norton: Absolutely, especially here in my home town. It’s more stress here, though, because we are given tickets to sell and it’s up to US to get the crowd. Our promoter put it in our hands, instead of bringing in top names. Those names were to draw crowds for our first shows. It’s really working, though. We’ve gone from 99 people all the way up to about 400 in the past couple years.
Lucy: When did you wrestle in your first ECPW event? What was the outcome?
Norton: My first wrestling event was back early 2009 in a battle royal. It was so nerve racking, but once I stepped in that ring it all came together for me. That crowd really sent shivers down my spine, even after I was thrown out. In June of 2009, my very first ACTUAL match, I wrestled in a 6 man tag match with Horace White and Big Country vs. Mr. X, Japanese Assassin and Ryan Roxbury. I was so nervous I turned to Big Country and said, “MAN! I GOTTA PISS MY BRAINS OUT!” He told me it was a good sign, that being nervous was always expected. He kept me calm and helped me through the match. Its been good ever since. Me and him even got a shot at the tag team titles. We got our butts handed to us, but it was still an awesome experience.
Lucy: Do you have gimmick that you wrestle under?
Norton: Everyone almost always uses their real names, because you’re told your gimmick should always be you, just blown up a thousand times. Me: I decided to do something for a man I dedicated my career to. My grandfather’s name was Robert Norton, and he worked on every railroad known in the United States from the 4th grade on. He lied about his age, of course, but he busted his butt off for 48 freaking years in that business and it was a real big honor to see all of his old buddies come over to our house and hang out with him. He was a popular man and my mom always told me how much he over-worked himself and did a great job at what he did. So I got a railroad spike from a friend and decided to call myself Robert “The Spike” Norton.
Although he passed away before he could see me wrestle, he’s up in Heaven watching me now doing everything I said I would do for him. I miss him a lot, but it makes me feel great inside to know that I can carry his very name into success in a business that he introduced me to at just 3 months old.
Twitter asks: Who/What style do you mimic your character after?
Norton: My style is mimicked after me. Sure I’ve had influences on moves, watched and learn from all those people over years, but if I want to be successful this ‘character’ is me super sized. Going out and having fun while making the crowd not only cheer, but laugh: that’s me. There is no other successful person in the business than the YOU that you can create in that ring.
Lucy: What’s been the biggest struggle getting to where you are now?
Norton: The hardest part right now for me is getting where I need to go. It’s tough being a wrestler and not having a vehicle that works so that you can go perform. This is something you want to do, so when you can’t do it, it eats away at you. After a while, though, the hardest part will be missing out on things in life. Birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, sport events for the little ones, holidays and so many more. These are sacrifices we make though, in order to go out and do what we do for the world. No one said it was easy in any way. The only thing that keeps us going back is our love for the business and that feeling of the crowd behind us.
I think the biggest struggle for any wrestler is getting around the critics. Everyday you have to hear either, “You’ll never do this, you’ll never achieve your dream”, or, “Wrestling is so fake, how can you do something so gay touching other men and fake stuff for people. It’s a disgrace.” What those people don’t realize is the more they criticize us, the more and more we work harder to prove them wrong. What makes me laugh is the time I told someone to come to the training center with me to see how fake it is, and they said, “No way man, I’ll get hurt!” It’s because deep down inside they know what we do is real in so many levels. They just say what they say because they didn’t have the balls to do it.
Lucy: Where do you see yourself in a couple of years?
Norton: I see myself on the road all over the United States with a wallet full of money. That money will be for gas, food and eventually a plane ticket over to the UK where I’ll begin my international career. It’s a long shot right now, but just as I knew I could wrestle, I know I can go out and make a name for myself. You don’t get into places like TNA, WWE or even Ring of Honor just wrestling in one or 2 states. You have go out and prove yourself as a top dog, so that scouts and other talent will know EXACTLY who you are.
Lucy: Ultimately, what are your goals for yourself and your career?
Norton: My dream was to be a pro-wrestler, and I’ve accomplished that dream time and time again. My ultimate goal, however, is just like everyone else. I would love to make it big time and be able to go from a 300-400 person crowd, to thousands upon thousands with millions watching at home. It’s the reason we all started. We want to be able to showcase our talents and entertain more than just a hometown crowd. We want to wrestle for our own United States neighbors, our friends across the seas and our troops who fight for our freedom to wrestle. It’s a goal that is only achievable if I make it. And trust me when I say, I’m making it as achievable as ever.
Lucy: Anything you’d like to say to whoever may be reading this?
Norton: My final words to either the aspiring wrestlers out there, or anyone with a dream. I’ve said it time and time again in this interview, but I’ll reiterate it one last time. If you have a dream and it’s what you know you WANT to do: DO IT. Whether your parents say they don’t want you to, friends pick on you for your decision, or complete strangers come up to you and call you a future failure; you just go do it. Don’t be afraid to fail. If you’re afraid to fail, you’ll never succeed. I’ve failed so many times doing this, but I’ve moved further along every time I do. So get your education, accomplish all that you can accomplish and then reach for that gold ring. Because even if you don’t have that stepping ladder to climb up on, all of us have the power and strength to leap for the sky, and keep soaring higher. Keep your chin up, stomachs pumped out and fists in the air. Say it loud and say it proud, “I have a dream, and I am the future.”
Also, I would love to thank my very good friend Lucy “Lustar” Luchador. Thanks for doing this with me and thanks for being a very good friend to me. If there’s anyone I could say was a big part in my life on keeping me going on my dream, it’s definitely her. Thanks for your support, and keep on rocking!
Lucy: ‘Don’t be afraid to fail,’ that’s good advice going into any situation in life. That’s good stuff.
Thanks so much for taking the time to do this with me, I really appreciate it and I really hope that we got some new people turned onto Robert ‘the Spike’ Norton and to ECPW too. Maybe sometime down the road, when you’re traveling around, doing what you do, maybe we can do this all again.
You’ve definitely proved the nay-sayers wrong and you’ve got nothing left to prove to anyone else but yourself. Speaking not as Lucha Lucy, but as Lucinda, you’re friend, I’m proud of you and most importantly I know that your mom and grandfather are proud of you and all that you’ve accomplished.
Thank you again, Robert.
ECPW is in action on Oct. 8th in Endicott, NY at Rexers Karate and Fitness Center.