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Interview conducted By Ciaran-James @TheCiaranJames
Please introduce yourself to those who are unfamiliar with you, Where are you from and why wrestling, what was the attraction? I am Brendan White; my nickname is ‘Bronco’ for those who have seen me on shows for being a workhorse in and out of the ring. I have been a huge fan of professional wrestling ever since I can remember, from being a baby watching the very first King of the Ring Tournament. I also had the huge benefit of being surrounded my like-minded people in my secondary school years such as the Wild Boar and Flash Morgan Webster. We wrestled in Boar’s garden and all around the country with no professional wrestling training and just did moves and tried to be as creative as possible. I always had the ‘itch’ to wrestle and emulate the guys that got me into wrestling. People like Jake the Snake, The Rock, Steve Austin and later guys like Shawn Michaels, Eddie Guerrero & Brock Lesnar. Wrestling is just the greatest spectacle for me, and my favourite memories of my teens revolved around travelling on trains and wrestling on shows in the ‘backyard’ scene. I was always toying with the idea of being a wrestler. I was in and out of professional wrestling training for years. I started out with Flash and Boar training under NWA UK but quickly left to pursue university and rugby and ‘normal’ things. I came back half arsed to the Dragon Pro Academy for 1 session in 2012 after like 5 years since I first trained; I was massively out of shape and gassed and that came about because I had a free Sunday and went up with Wild Boar under my first trainer Mike Bird. That literally lasted one session
How did you find Dragon Pro Academy, what were your first impressions? Personal circumstances changing, I returned to Dragon Pro as I knew Bird in mid-2014, but again had a break shortly thereafter to take up running which was a hobby that I became crazy addicted too. I was training semi regularly (once/twice a week) from the end of 2014 into 2015. My first impressions of the Academy was one of indifference, I was just going through the motions and not really ‘sure’ I wanted to do this. I thought Mike bird was extremely knowledgeable about the art of pro wrestling, but was at times very brutal and I realised quickly if you want to be a wrestler you have to really WANT it. Wrestling isn’t for the faint hearted and the half arsed folks.
How did you take to the training, what were there highs and lows, was there a certain trainer that made an impression on you? When I started taking training seriously, I actually excelled in training. I’m a very physical type of guy and I was excelling in the things I hated the times I tried before and my conditioning was never a problem when I decided I wanted to do this, because mentally I would not quit. There are always good and bad days, but I think the things I struggled most and still to this day I struggle with is my footwork, rope running and being quite erratic at times. Mike bird and Wild Boar have had a massive influence on me.
As far as people making an impression on me? Seeing Wild Boar, one of my best mates outside of wrestling carrying on with it and becoming a coach was massively humbling for me. Especially when I had brief stint training for Welsh Wrestling in late 2013 with Boar being the head coach. I met one of my good friends Nixon Newell here too (you might have heard of her). I turned up and how much better he was since we wrestled in backyard and unlike myself, he pursued his passion and to this day is successful and is going to be more successful when the world realise he’s one of the very best wrestlers in this country. Mark Andrews another of my trainers is also a great source of inspiration, he’s another guy since day 1 that I’ve met him has always being guy even now with the success he’s had, I always love a training session with the guy and the road-trips.
When did you make your debut, who was it against and where? How were you feeling heading into the match? My first singles debut was actually against Wild Boar. He was originally meant to face someone else and that didn’t materialise so I became the second choice. I’m extremely fortunate that it was against my best mate and one of the people who contributed massively to getting me to this point. I made my debut in March/April 2016 at Dragon Pro ‘Fighting Chance’. I had some time out due to being diagnosed with testicular cancer and the surgery/horrendous prognosis after it hence the gap. I was feeling extremely anxious going into this match because of everything I’d been through at that point. The highs of running a marathon, the highs of excelling in training and the lows of being on a hospital bed and being unable to walk properly for weeks. Throughout all that Boar and Flash were constant supports and to be given an opportunity like that by Mike Bird to wrestle on of my best mates was a huge thing for me. But I was also feeling confident because I knew I was as ready as I was ever going to be and I had a lot of personal friends in the audience with me. It was a real good match as far as first matches go too so I’m happy I got to make that debut.
So why the Bronco character, where did the idea originate? Bronco was a nickname I had in work and it translates to wrestling because I am the Pro wrestling workhorse in and out of the ring. I have a physical style and the look of an Arn Anderson; I like to be a unique big man from the indie style influences to the old school type of wrestling. I love the crazy high spots and the old fashioned slug fests and it’s something that was chanted at a Dragon Pro show and elevated from there. I was told a great piece of advice by Chris Brookes once that someone should be able to some you up in one word. So Bronco is ‘workhorse’.
In June this year, you debut for Pro Wrestling Chaos. You received a great ovation from the audience, how did it feel to know they already knew you and what was the experience like working with Charlie Sterling and Cara Noir? Firstly, that crowd reception was completely overwhelming; I genuinely did not expect it. But after working as much as possible and working harder travelling to shows, training, wrestling and talking to the fans after every show and making the conscious effort to go out of my way to build relationships with the fans I think it was an accumulation of all that. Chaos was one of those goals I had and I have a great relationship with Dave, Rob and Nick and for them to take a punt on me was great. As far as the match went, both Sterling and Noir hit hard and that match was physical! But I’m happy with my performance overall and as far as a debut goes, I think I did the best I could’ve. The crowd reacted to my stuff and the match as a whole and as long as they’re happy I’m happy.
Later that month you also took part in the joint Attack/Dragon Pro Club 100, how did it feel to compete with Attack performers and with fellow Dragon Pro graduates? That Thursday night throws show was LIT! I debuted a new look going into that show and I had at that point also dropped a stone in weight and I think it was evident in my performance. I think that show from top to bottom was hugely successful and for the Attack guys to come down to work with us speaks volumes of the fantastic relationship The Dragon Pro Academy and Attack have. I found out shortly before writing this at the next show I’ll be wrestling Flash Morgan Webster, and that show and THAT match is something which I feel can be a really special show. If you haven’t got tickets you really should. It’s a special hybrid show featuring the hottest present and future stars of the UK scene!
You’ve worked for Pro Evo Wrestling, what was that experience like? Pro Evo is a great place to work! I have a great relationship with Robbo up there and he’s one of the first promoters who gave me a chance outside of the welsh scene and that’s something I’ll never forget. I’ll go out of my way to help that show in any way I can because I have such a great relationship with the guys up there. I always enjoy going up there, I love the backstage environment and getting the chance to learn my craft and I did a lot of learning on those shows and I hope to be back for many more!
The relationship between Dragon Pro/Attack/Chaos seems like a happy family, how does it feel to be part of that? It’s a great feeling. People who love what they do, do it better. The group is subconsciously a collection of like-minded people with a passion for professional wrestling and it shows in the quality of shows they produce and the following they attract. We work harder and harder to never get complacent and we constantly push one another. I’m only a small part lower level guy in all of it, but everyone treats each other with respect and it’s a fantastic circle to be in.
Talk to us about Dragon Pro, the academy and promotion seem to be the breeding ground for the stars of tomorrow? Dragon Pro is now headed up by the Wild Boar. Beginners classes are on Monday and mixed classes on Tuesday/Wednesday and advanced classes on Thursday. The promotion is the breeding ground for the stars of tomorrow because the coach is well respected and alongside Mark Andrews a guy who has been signed, an excellent foundation to be a professional wrestler from the ground up. It’s also a fantastic breeding ground because simply it’s not for lazy people, they constantly push and drive you in these training sessions and some people have quit midway through training sessions. They give you a realistic take on what wrestling is like. It’s a hard slog and a tough craft. The people, who stick with it, are committed passionate and benefit from being polished- ready to have that first match.
Alongside yourself, who else at Dragon Pro do you think is ready to make that next step up? Well, Elijah is tearing it up at the moment, he’s someone who’s always working his ass off and the Chikara announcement got me as excited as anyone else. Guy deserves it! Matthew Horgan and Joe Mezinger are also killing it! Beano is also going to be huge someday. As for the less known guys are the moment, Josh Holly is currently putting the shifts in at training and I’ve no doubt he’ll excel, there’s also this guy Joshua Joseph at training and he’s another who in a years’ time people may be taking about if he carries on the way he’s going. Dean Winter is another who needs that break because that guy can move! Reg is another guy who’s starting to find himself. There’s also a wickedly talented female who’ll be debuting at the Thursday Night Throws show #2 keep an eye out for her and anyone coming up from the Dragon Pro academy.
At Chaos you played a face, at Dragon Pro a heel, the difference was amazing. Which do you prefer to play? Why thank you. I don’t have a preference, what I like being is the closest to my personality as possible and I put the face/heel spin on it. I rib a lot of people at training and get quite cocky with things and get a lot of banter back in return, I tap into that side of my real life persona when I’m heel. As a face I tap into that fighting/workhorse spirit within me that got me through the marathon, that got me over beating cancer and that never quit persona is very real. I’m very genuine in the ring and if people see that that’s because I am. The best characters in wrestling are either the ones that are completely different to their real life persona or those who are their persona turned up x10000. I’m a big personality outside of wrestling and I’m still figuring out how to apply that in the ring.
Who at Dragon Pro/Attack/Chaos would you like to face? I really want that 1 v 1 Elijah match at a big level. He’s someone I can throw around and have fun with it. Anytime I’m in there with CCK I also have a blast. But there’s three hit list people who I really want to mix it up with (Flash is one of those that’s coming up), Boar again too…I’d love to wrestle Mike Bird one on one I think that would be fantastic. The other two are Mark Andrews and Pete Dunne. Both for different reasons and different match dynamics. I think both would be a spectacle. All three matches would push me to my limit and be tonnes of fun.
For you personally where do you see this journey taking you, have you set yourself goals? WWE by the time I’m 31/32 so I’ve a couple of years to work harder, find who I am and have fun with it. As long as I work harder, keep experimenting and don’t be afraid to take chances. I have goals to be wrestling 2-3 times a week and to eventually work towards a fightclub/Progress/ICW opportunity in the next 16 months. For now I want to establish myself as an ATTACK/Chaos regular and wrestle as many new places that I can as often as I can.
From your first steps in Dragon Pro to now, what have been your favourite moments/memories? I wrestled this crazy Lucha libre type show in the Depot Cardiff which was the most random ass thing ever but it was everything I love about wrestling and I was with most of my favourite people in wrestling tearing it up. My most special one was my Attack debut. My debut was announced EXACTLY a year to the day I was told I had cancer and the show itself was EXACTLY a year to the day I had surgery. You really couldn’t make that up. What was more special was that I was in a 3 way with Eddie Dennis and Mike Bird. I walked through the curtain and at first it was like Susan Boyle in her Britain’s got talent audition. No reaction no one knew who I was, by the time the match went down and that match went down (It’s still the most brutal and hard hitting match I’ve been involved in, which included a bomb into a WALL) I got up from the canvas battered, but the crowd who were there gave me a great ovation at the end. The emotion of the occasion (Attack was always the place I wanted to wrestle) the timing of the match/announcement and the match itself was special. It was the day I lost my last anxieties about cancer coming back and it’s deep, but it was the day I told myself I can do this. I use that occasion to motivate myself when I doubt myself. It’s a day that will live with me for the rest of my life and more fondly so, because it was in front of 100 die-hard fans in a barn. Doesn’t get more indie wrestling and intimate as that does it?
A huge thank you to Brendan @Bronco_Brendan for his time and kind words, and the staff at Dragon Pro for their assistance. For further UK Independent wrestling news, previews and reviews check out @TheCiaranJames & Kayfabetoday.com
And thank you to @jim_turning face for the header image.