I recently had the opportunity to interview former WWE Spirit Squad member Mikey Mondo. You will learn how Mikey found his way into the ring, leading him all the way to the WWE. Aside from the break up of The Spirit Squad, Mikey is still training very hard to make it back into ‘the big time’. His optimism is contagious, he inspired me and I am not even a wrestler!
Melissa: First off Mikey, I wanted to thank you for being with us, and spending some time with our WrestleZone readers. And it is a pleasure to have you with us.
Mikey: Oh, thank you, the pleasure is mine.
Melissa: Would you mind telling us how you got your start in the Indy Circut, and how it led to you being discovered?
Mikey: Oh yea, sure. It actually began when I was eighteen years old, I was going to Suffolk County Community College in Long Island New York. And I always knew that I wanted to get into the professional wrestling business. (laughs) Of course, I didn’t know when that was going to happen. But with some turn of events, I actually started in the business when I was eighteen, and I went to a school called Critical Mass Pro Wrestling, which is now called NYWC and is also located in Long Island New York. I enrolled in a professional wrestling school there, and that is pretty much where it all began. At the time, I was being trained by a guy by the name of John Curse and also Mike Mayhem, and I trained there for two or three days a week. And after about six to eight months of training, thatâ<80><99>s when I had my first professional match. And that is where the world sky rocketed from there, I booked on the independents mostly, in the majority of the Northeast section (in New York and the New Jersey area). And shortly within a year to a year and a half, that is when I got my ‘big break’ I like to call it, when I got the opportunity to go down for a week long tryout with Ohio Valley Wrestling, which is WWE developmental territory, and I would like to think that it was pretty successful. Because I got a call back a week after the tryouts from Jim Cornette, he wanted me to come down and relocate to Louisville Kentucky, which is what I did, and from there I spent the next four and a half years of my career working for Ohio Valley Wrestling. Which was one of the best times of my life, it’s a great place to train and learn the craft and it was a really great experience. And then from there, I took my game up to the next level and went to the WWE, which is now known for The Spirit Squad.
Melissa: What was it like for you, not only being in The Spirit Squad, but also being apart of the WWE?
Mikey: The experience was tremendous. I got to work with great talents such as Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Ric Flair, just the best from all around the world. And it was a great learning experience, and I had alot of fun in the meantime, it was definitely one of the best times in my life and I definitely would not trade it for the world.
Melissa: Who would you consider to have been your number one mentor during your time in the WWE?
Mikey: When we were really buckling down, as far as The Spirit Squad, I mean everyone was such a really great help and everyone really took us under their wing and helped mold us to what we needed to be in the WWE. But I gotta say, when we worked with DX, we spent a lot of time with Shawn Michaels and he really took the time out and talked with us before the shows and after our matches, and he would explain to us what we had done wrong and what we could have done better. And he was really a great help and a good guy to be around with. And it was definitely a great thing for all five of us.
Melissa: Now, I know that you can’t really answer for anyone but yourself, but do you ever think that there was a time when you wanted to wrestle as an individual instead of being apart of a five member stable?
Mikey: Well, definitely all of our passion it’s actually getting in the ring and wrestling. And of course, eventually we all knew there would be a certain time when we would shine individually. I think all five of us were happy in the spots that we were in. We were there for a year, we were really pushed to the main event level in a very short amount of time. We were really happy and very thankful for the opportunity that were presented to us. We knew that we wanted to take the characters and opportunity that were given towards us and get the fullest out of it. But eventually down the road, we all wanted to go our separate ways and all have our own time to individually shine.
Melissa: What was the true reason behind the break-up of The Spirit Squad?
Mikey: Actually, that is pretty much unknown to all of us. I don’t have a fact answer for that, but I guess the creative minds that were behind the WWE at the time, I guess they felt that they had gotten the most out of us at the time and pretty much (laughs) disband us I guess. I wish I had the right answer for that but I really don’t know.
Melissa: What did you do career wise, after your WWE departure?
Mikey: The original idea, from what I know was to make me and Nicky a tag team, such as the Frat Pack, with Mitch being our manager actually. They wanted Johnny to be a singles baby face and they wanted Kenny to be a singles heel, which obviously he is doing on Smackdown. So, pretty much we were not brought back to TV right away
Melissa: Are you still with OVW?
Mikey: I am not at the moment, but I currently have plans to relocate back to Louisville at the end of December, they are on TV during the week and run house shows on the weekend. And I like to consider OVW a second home to me, because I have spent so much time there and I have a great relationship with the owner, Danny Davis, he is like a second Dad to me, he is a really great guy. So yea, I will get back to working and keep improving my craft and creating more opportunities for myself.
Melissa: If you were given the opportunity again would you return to the WWE, or if TNA were to give you a call first, would you consider wrestling for TNA?
Mikey: Well, I always like to keep my options open and you know, I don’t have an exact correct answer for that. I have to weigh out the pros and cons and the situation, and see what each company has to offer and make the best individual decision for myself.
Melissa: I was recently reading in a previous blog that you had posted, you were commenting on the end of The Spirit Squad era, but through all of that you seem to keep a very positive and really optimistic attitude. What words of wisdom would you give to Indy wrestlers who are wanting to pursue their dreams of being in the WWE or TNA?
Mikey: I think the best advice I can give is to never take no for an answer. And if your dream is to make it in this business and your goal is to be the best that you can possibly be, just give it everything you have and make wrestling your life. And every time you step foot into that ring, pretend it could be your last match and make sure that you give every effort possible to be the best that you can be and to learn something from each match that you go into. So that ultimately, you will be a better wrestler and worker at the end of the match. But I have been told my whole life, “you’re not big enough,” “you will never make it,” (laughs) “you’re not seven feet tall,” but I took that as motivation to stick it to them for when I did make it. The best advice I can say is don’t quit and always keep a positive attitude and just give it all you’ve got every time you step into the ring. I get lots of questions everyday on my email and on my MySpace page such as, “What do I have to do to make it in this business?” And by the way, if anyone has any questions for me, they can feel free to email me on my Myspace which is www.myspace.com/mikeymondo, I get a lot of questions everyday but I will be happy to answer each of the questions that I receive.
Melissa: Is there anything that you would like to say to your fans that have supported you throughout the years?
Mikey: Well, I just wanted to definitely say thank you for being there for me, and for your support when I was with OVW and WWE. There is one thing I wish I could have changed, with being on the road all of the time and having a very busy schedule in traveling with the WWE, I was I could have spent more time with the fans and get to know them and hang out with them more. But, like I said, this is a new chapter in my life and I am taking it in a positive direction. And I am very thankful for what the WWE gave me and the opportunity. On the other hand, I have the opportunity to travel the world, and hang out with the great fans from around the world and keep doing my thing and definitely taking my game to the next level and create more opportunities for myself and see what happens.
Melissa: Well, I surely do appreciate you spending some time with our WrestleZone viewers and I wish you nothing but the best in your career.
Mikey: Oh, thank you very much and I appreciate it.
Mikey also added that he is currently taking independent bookings. If you are a promoter and are interested in booking Mikey, you can contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.