Papadon Talks About WWE, Vince McMahon, Extreme Rising, His Greek God Persona & More
The Greek God Papadon recently participated in an exclusive interview with PWMania.com. Papadon has wrestled for almost 15 years and currently wrestles for Extreme Rising. During the interview he covers topics including WWE, the creation of his persona, his experience on the independents and his goals for the future. Here is the interview.
Thank you for taking the time to do this interview, Papadon. My first question is how did you decide to become a professional wrestler?
I lost a bet. Nah, just kiddin’. I’ve been a fan since I was a little child. I had two loves when I was a kid, one was comic books and the other was pro wrestling. One day I was watching a match between Ric Flair and Sting and then I went to my mom and said when I grow up I want to be a professional wrestler. And she gave me a look and was like “Ok, go play with your toys.”
Who was your trainer and how did he help to motivate you and help you grow as a wrestler?
I was trained by Homicide and Mikey Whipwreck. Now initially, I didn’t know about the independents. All I knew was the AWA, NWA and WWF. But I heard about Killer Kowalski’s school up in Boston. Unfortunately, the internet wasn’t what it is today, so I couldn’t find an address or phone number connected to the school, so I was trying to look around for some means of getting trained. I was in a magazine store and picked up an issue of PWI and inside it said Guide to the Independents. I was like “What are the independents?” So, I looked inside and it listed all these different companies across the globe and I came across a company in Queens called the Long Island Wrestling Federation and it was led by Bobby Lombardi. And I said to myself “Queens is a lot closer than Boston, so I’ll check it out.” So I went to the school, met Bobby Lombardi and Homicide. Homicide told me that he would train me, take me under his wing and show me what he knows and see if I was any good. He taught me bumping, holds, etc. Unfortunately, the building that they were running in lost its lease, so Bobby Lombardi shut it down and I started going to the NYWC Academy in Hicksville. Mikey Whipwreck took me under his wing and polished me up.
You have worked for WWE in the past doing some small work for them. How was that experience compared to working on the indies? And have you met Vince?
WWE is a well oiled machine. They’re very well organized. They have the pyrotechnics in one place, catering in another, the writers in some other area. Everyone knows what they have to do without stepping on each other’s toes. Way different from independent shows. I’ve been to indy shows where I show up and the ring’s not there yet. Or the shows start a half hour late.
I have met Vince once. I shook his hand, said hello and that was basically it. But if I were to see him again, I would definitely try to strike up a conversation with the guy. I know some guys in my position that go to WWE and they walk around on eggshells. They are afraid to piss off the wrong people or shake peoples’ hands. You need to have confidence in this business. Just like picking up ladies at a bar or a job interview, you have to be confident. If you want to be in WWE and you don’t believe in yourself, how are you going to entertain millions of fans?
I’ll give you an example. If WWE were to call me and ask me to wrestle John Cena, I would not be nervous to the point where it will affect my ability to perform. I do not get star struck. And that’s not to say that it would not be a big deal to wrestle Cena, because it is. But I come in with a cool head into every match no matter whom I am wrestling. Even in Extreme Rising, where I’ve wrestled people like Stevie Richards and Perry Saturn, I don’t get nervous. I go out there and try to put on a good match.
But I plan to be in WWE one day. And I know it’s going to happen, because I will make it happen no matter how long it takes. I want to be in the main event of Wrestlemania. I want the Papadon action figures. I want the world to know the name Dimitrios Papadon.
You’ve been a mainstay for Extreme Rising. What drew you to compete for them?
I was drawn to them because a couple people including Luke Hawx and Jerry Lynn dropped my name to Extreme Rising because they needed young talent. John Finnegan, the referee mentioned my name to this guy named Cody Michaels who was involved with the company. So I walked into the Queens show in the summer and met Cody Michaels and he asked if I brought my gear and a DVD and I said yes. I give him the DVD and he comes up to me five minutes later and says “Guess what, you’re working with Sabu tonight. Good luck kid.” So I went out there and wrestled Sabu, tore the house down and then I wrestled Perry Saturn the next night in Philly and I got my spot on the roster.
Before Extreme Rising, you worked for ECWA. How was your experience there?
ECWA gave me an opportunity to showcase my talent on a main event level. They allowed me to get in the ring for long matches that help to tell a story. I recently dropped the belt in a 42 minute match. There are not too many wrestlers on the independents that can go for that long and tell a good story simultaneously. I would get in the ring and do 20-30 minute matches like it was nothing.
How did you come up with the concept of the Greek God character?
Well, first of all I am Greek. So, it’s not a gimmick, it’s actuality. People ask me how I came up with the name Dimitrios Papadon and I tell them that’s part of my name, which is Dimitrios Papadoniou. Sometimes I use the first name and other times I don’t. Back when I was with JAPW (Jersey All Pro Wrestling) with Havoc in The Solution, people always told me to come up with a gimmick. And I thought it over and it hit me: Reality is the best thing for an angle or storyline. An extension of one’s self is the best kind of character. So I sat down and told myself, “I’m Greek, so what can I do with that?” Well, I speak Greek fluently. And plus Greeks were the forefathers of sports-entertainment because they invented the sport of wrestling and the entertainment factor of theatre. That’s the recipe for sports-entertainment right there, because sports-entertainment is a combination of theatrics and wrestling. And not just that; Greeks invented democracy, the Olympics, astrology, philosophy, etc. And I put that all together to give my persona a God-like complex. I use that in wrestling and promos where I call the fans peasants and commoners and that they shall bow and stuff like that. I put a lot of thought and time into this character.
And just like anything else in life, whether you’re a butcher, athlete or rocket scientist, whatever you put into your profession is what you’re going to get out of it. And I tell these young kids who want to be wrestlers looking for advice: 1. Look the part. 2. Shut up and listen as much as you can. 3. This is a lifestyle. When you become a professional wrestler, you don’t “play” wrestler on the weekends for your girlfriend or your family because if you are, you’re not doing the business or yourself any favors. It’s not something you turn on and turn off. You always have to go to the gym every day, you always have to eat right, you always have to train and you always have to get better. Every time you step in that ring, you have to learn something. The day you stop learning is the day you should hang up your boots. I still train two to three times a week at the NYWC Academy and I’m in the gym at least 5 days a week. This all goes back to my creation of the Papadon personality. I have thought of ways this could work and have put a lot of effort into it just like I do with everything in my daily life. I also think the name Papadon is marketable enough for WWE, because they like having their hand on the pulse of pop culture. In a few years, the Olympics will be on and the elections as well. Both have Greek roots and if I am in WWE during that time frame, there’s a ton of money to be made by incorporating my character and those two events into an angle or promo. With that, they would be creating a link between reality and entertainment.
What’s next for Papadon?
The fans can expect nothing less than greatness from me. I will keep getting better and better with every match, promo and show. I’ve been wrestling for almost 15 years and I am constantly honing my craft. One day I am going to take my talents to the main event of Wrestlemania and all my hard work will pay off. Every time, I am going to give 100% and make sure you get your money’s worth.
You certainly have a lot of aspirations, Papadon. Thanks again for your time and we look forward to your future success.
You can follow Papadon on Twitter @greekgodpapadon.
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