The Brick City Boyz (J. Cruz and Victor Chase) recently participated in an exclusive interview with PWMania.com.
Below is the complete interview:
How old is your son? Is he into wrestling?
J. Cruz: He’s 5 and 1/2. He likes watching me wrestle, but he doesn’t necessarily watch WWE or AEW with me when I watch.
Victor: The funniest thing is when his son suggests that he do moves.
J. Cruz: I’ll come home and he’ll say something like, “I want you to do this triple backflip kick.” I can try, but it won’t be successful. And he’ll have me be Eggman and wrestle his Sonic plushies.
Sonic hasn’t beaten you yet, has he?
J. Cruz: Oh he beats me all the time. But if I’m facing Knuckles, I usually win.
Does your son have a ring name?
J. Cruz: Yup. It’s El Hijo de J. Cruz.
Let us know a little about yourself:
J. Cruz: I’m J. Cruz, one half of the Brick City Boyz and I’m from Newark, NJ.
Victor: I’m Victor Chase, the other half of Brick City Boyz, also from Newark.
Who came up with the name?
J. Cruz: It was a group effort with the guys that we traveled with. Brick City is the nickname for Newark.
How long have you guys been wrestling for?
Victor: 5 years.
J. Cruz: 4 years. But we’ve been teaming for 2 years. I had actually started earlier than Victor, but I wasn’t fully committed the grind. I had my son on the way. I wasn’t physically ready for it. So I had to take a step back to be there for my girlfriend and kid. And then I decided to bet on myself. 4 years later, I’m here!
And that’s really inspiring. It just shows that when you’re passionate about something, it’s better to dive into it.
J. Cruz: You definitely can’t half-ass it. That’s what I learned in my first year before I committed. You have to put all your time in it and make sacrifices. It was tough doing all of that and raising a kid the first two years.
What would you say was the hardest part of the first two years?
J. Cruz: The time away, knowing you have a one year old, and you’re building a ring and networking and trying to do all this just to be noticed and then you just feel guilty. But I think I made a good decision starting at the age that he was because he was too young to remember. But now, he appreciates all the time has with me. And he has my undivided attention as well.
Victor, what made you commit to wrestling?
Victor: I would play basketball with my friends and we’d talk about life and how I wanted to wrestle. He said “don’t talk about it, just do it.” And I agreed and thought if I didn’t like it within a couple months, I’ll just quit. And that didn’t happen. As soon as I stepped into the ring, I knew I was going to do this for the rest of my life. It was at Wrestle Pro in Rahway, NJ.
Who were your trainers?
J. Cruz: Mario Volcara, Dan Maff and Pat Buck.
What were some takeaways that Maff gave you?
J. Cruz: Intensity and storytelling. Every moment matters.
Victor: Especially the physical side of things.
Did he give you a Burning Hammer as an initiative?
Victor: He gave us a couple of things. Like a bunch of chops. You gotta see Cruz’s match with Maff. After the match, everyone was clapping for him, his chest was purple!
I hear stories about people throwing up after their first day training. Was that the case for you guys?
Victor: We didn’t throw up, but my back was so stiff the next day. Walking straight was impossible.
J. Cruz: My neck was jacked up. You gotta be some type of masochist to wrestle.
Everyone wants to be a wrestler until they have to take a chair shot to the head.
Victor: Or a toaster. We had a match with Bear Bronson and Luke Gallows that turned into a street fight. A fan brought a toaster and dropped it right in front of me. I tried hiding it, but Luke Gallows found it and hit me over the head with it. And the fan asked me to sign it after the match!
What’s your favorite match you’ve had so far?
J. Cruz: One of my personal favorites was us and Bear Country w/ Smart Mark Sterling vs Shook Crew (Bobby Orlando, Bryce Donovan, CPA and Dan Barry.
Victor: I liked our No DQ match with Main Event.
How many miles do you put on the car, driving to shows?
J. Cruz: A lot. When we first started, I had a 2016 Hyundai Elantra. Now we have a 2021 Chevy Spark. And we’ve been going back and forth to Worcester, MA since Thanksgiving and we put 20,000 miles on those trips alone. Now I have 157,000 miles on it. And when we go up, we come back to Jersey the same day, because either we have to work or I have to get my son to school.
What do you guys do for work when you’re not wrestling?
Victor: I’m in Essex County College now.
J. Cruz: I’m an Uber driver. So I drive home from a match just to do more driving. And let me tell you all, these drives don’t get easier! They just get longer!
What keeps you guys going?
Victor: I just love wrestling in general, especially tag team wrestling. I love connecting with the crowd. I love the energy that we exchange.
J. Cruz: I’m always ready to get to the next show and see the boys. They’re like family. We see these guys more than we do our own families. To know that we have a good crop of guys and we have the same values and we’re lifting each other up, it’s like therapy. Wresting is everything. Even things like spending hours on the road and taking bumps on the head, it’s like at least I’m not taking these bumps by myself. It’s the friendship and brotherhood that we all have.
Victor: We all just want to see each other succeed.
Let’s talk about your matches on AEW Dark. Walk us through that process.
J. Cruz: We got in contact with the person who handles the booking. After the Super Bowl ended, we got the email saying that we could go to Orlando for the Dark tapings. Victor was next to me too, so I saw his full-fledged reaction. He thought I was lying till I showed him the email.
It was so surreal being there. We took it all in. The weather was amazing because we were there during the winter time. They checked us out and we find out we were facing The Gunn Club. I couldn’t have asked for a better match.
Victor: They kept it really simple. They didn’t do anything crazy. But they are VERY animated.
J. Cruz: I had wrestled Austin before at WildKat, Luke Hawx’s promotion.
How was Tony Khan?
J. Cruz: Very personable and energetic. He loved the match that we had.
What are the goals for The Brick City Boyz?
Victor: We want to give it all we have and whatever company picks us up first, we’re open to it.
I feel like a long time ago, people would say they wanted to be in X company or Y company. Why do you think it has changed?
J. Cruz: There’s more opportunities now than 20 years ago. You’re able to make a sustainable living as a pro wrestler and not have to work for WWE.
Victor: I feel like back then, people said they wanted to be in WWE because that was the mainstream company. But now there’s so many different companies. And it’s a great time to be a wrestler, because of that.
J. Cruz: If you want to watch any independent wrestling, it’s all on IWTV.
Which promotions can we see you in?
J. Cruz: You can see us at Northeast Wrestling, Chaotic Wrestling, Beyond Wrestling and Wrestling Open.
Thanks again for joining us guys! Can’t wait for your future matches!