ROH’s Sledge Talks Overcoming Addiction, ROH Taking Care of Talent, more

Dec 5, 2020 - by James Walsh

Show: Wrestling Epicenter
Guest: Sledge
Date: 12/01/20
Your Host: James Walsh

ROH’s new monster “Metalhead Maniac” Sledge joined us for a Thanksgiving special. So, we chat with the well-traveled young veteran who is just now ready to show the ROH fan base what he’s capable of in a revealing and fun conversation.

ROH returns to pay per view on December 18th with Final Battle! Check out for more details!

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On inking his deal with ROH just before the COVID-19 Pandemic shut everything down:
“It was amazing. I went to Ring of Honor, I went to the Dojo, on a non-guarantee – On a handshake I guess would be the best way to put it. I went and did a tryout and I was told, “Welre inviting you to the Dojo to learn our system. We’ll get you on the ring trucks and get some money in your pockets. But, we’ll see how it goes.” Sometimes when opportunity knocks, you have to go through it. Finally, after about 6 months of training, they signed me! You work so hard and once you sign on that dotted line, you expect fireworks and explosions. “Yes, I finally made it!” Then, you realize, your hard work just started! Now you have to work harder and give them a reason to keep you under contract and you’ve got big dogs you’ve got to go after. So, it was like, “Ok, work’s got to start!” Long story short.”

On if signing before the pandemic was a blessing of sorts:
“Yes! 100% a blessing! Ring of Honor and Sin Clair have taken care of us and made sure we’re close to our families. When this whole thing started, we were in Las Vegas. They turned peoples flights around really quickly. I tell people all the time, I could not work for a better company like Ring of Honor, like Sin Clair. Yes, 100%. It was a blessing. It is really bad to say this but this whole COVID thing has been a blessing, for me, through this whole thing. I guess we’ll get to that.”

On his recovery from addiction:
“I am a recovering addict. When i went to the Ring of Honor Dojo, I left everything behind on an opportunity. I binge eat a lot. So, I got rid of the alcohol and drugs. But, I was binge eating. Don’t get me wrong. I was had friends. But, I just wasn’t me. So, when this pandemic hit, they sent me home. They sent me back to California. I had two homes. I had my Baltimore place and my California place. That is when I was able to really hone in on my diet… Everything I needed to do, emotionally and physically to get to where I needed to be to be on TV. And, I was home. And, they want me to stay home. They told me, “We like what you’re doing so stay at home” and they fly me in. I like being at home close to my support system.”

On the link between Heavy Metal music and Pro Wrestling:
“Just listen to all the entrance music. A lot of the major names have metal theme songs so of course you’re going to gravitate to it. I grew up on metal. My sister is who got me into metal music. I actually listened to rap back in the day. (laughs) But, my sister is the one that got me into metal music. I actually started playing drums and got into a band. Metal, I don’t know man, there’s just something about it that just drives you and it feuls you. That is all I listen to at the gym. It is that and motivational stuff. Metal music and wrestling just go hand in hand. There’s no way around it.”

On writing his own theme music:
“So, I went to the (ROH) office and I told them I really would like to write my own entrance music and have someone perform it. They loved it. They were like, “Great, so we don’t have to pick something generic for you.” So, I got with a friend of mine named Wes who is the lead singer of a band called Death in Motion, DIM. They have a real Killswitch Engage, real metal sound. And, they wrote me an excellent, excellent entrance theme that will be making its debut really, really soon. We’re going to put it on ITunes, Spotify, and they’re putting it on their upcoming album. It is something that was written for me about demons and overcoming adversity. It is just a really, really cool tune.”

On his favorite wrestler theme songs:
“Geez! Well, I’d have to say Triple H! The Game! I also really enjoyed CM Punk’s Killswitch Engage theme song from when he first came in to the WWE. Baron Corbin, Rhea Ripley’s new entrance theme is freaking amazing! In ROH, Silas Young has an awesome theme. Matt Taven… I think Brody King’s entrance theme is actually his band? I might be mistaken. Don’t quote me on that. But, his awesome. There’s a lot of great entrance themes that you don’t even have to watch them come out to, you can just put it on Spotify and be like, “Yeah!” They’re total bangers.”

On his unique ring name of Sledge:
“They called me Hammer when I was playing drums in a band because I’d hit the skins so hard. So, I kind of just took that and made it Sledge.And, it took! I couldn’t be the Hammer because, obviously, of Greg “The Hammer” Valentine and Hammerstone. And, nobody had it! I was shocked about that. Nobody had the name Sledge before which is surprising because it is such a wrestler name. There were a few guys that, like, worked in the indies in the ’90’s that used it. But, never anything like Sledge with Ring of Honor. So now, when you hear it, you think of me and not someone, you know, from New York.”

On being on the “Stone Cold” Steve Austin Podcast years ago and how it helped him:
“I just talked to Steve a couple of months ago – Texted back and forth. I was traveling, in Arizona, with AJ Kirsch. And, AJ was going to be on Steve Austin’s podcast which he totally kayfabed me on! He was going to drop me off at Starbucks or something when he went and did this and I figured he was going to an acting audition or something because he’s an actor. Steve Austin called him on our way out of Arizona and was like, “What time are you coming over, kid?” AJ asked if I could tag along. Steve said “absolutely.” Well, he originally told me to kiss his ass first. (laughs) Yeah, man. We met and … I have 2 dogs now. But, I have a deathly fear of dogs. I know that sounds weird because I have two dogs but I have a deathly fear of dogs. I walk into Steve Austin’s house and he has 2 dogs and they’re jumping on me. I’m trying not to freak out because Steve Austin is right in front of me. So, I’m keeping it together and keeping my composure and I get invited into his house, meet his wife, and I’m sitting on the couch and his dog comes over and puts his head in my lap. Steve says, “Man, Cali’s never done that with anybody.” I think it was Cali? Anyway, we go in and during a break, we started talking about metal music. Steve says, “What’s your story?” So, I told him I’m a recovering addict. He says, “Can I podcast you?” I was like, “Yeah, man!” We did the podcast and all of a sudden mmy Twitter, my Instagram, and my email start blowing up and off to the races we went!”

On if the Bouncers’ talking to him about beer is why he hung up on them during their podcast:
“(laughs) Not at all! What they do with their extracurricular activities is up to them. The Bouncers are the largest human beings in Ring of Honor and they can drink some beer! I’ve seen it first hand! But, what made me end that podcast with them was they started talking to me about nutrition and they kept asking me what else you drink. Honestly, right in front of me right now, I’ve got a big gallon of water! (laughs) When I started talking to them about nutrition, the conversation went south real quick! I was like, “I gotta go. I don’t have time to teach you guys about nutrition! We’re athletes! We can know nutrition!””

On the trend of smaller wrestlers away from large men like him:
“It just takes one punch. They can be as flippy, as acrobatic as they want. It just takes one punch. One clothesline! Me getting my hands on you, you’re not flipping anymore!”

On ROH’s current roster:
“Ring of Honor is known for smaller wrestlers but have you seen our roster lately? We’ve got some big guys on there! We’ve got Brody King! He’s 6’5, 300 pounds! We’ve got Shane Taylor! He’s 6’2, 300 something pounds. We’ve got Vinny and (Matt) Taven. Those aren’t small guys. Those are fairly large human beings. We have Tyler Bateman who is 6’3, 6’4. I fit right in there with thse guys. We have been trending, fr possibly being for the smaller guys – yes, but we have a lot of big guys. Our World Champion, Rush! He’s not a small individual. So, like I said, once we get our hands on you, it is over. But, when I start getting in the ring with big guys like that, expect a slug fest! Expect us to beat the bejesus out of each other! Sweat is going to fly! Blood is going to fly! It is just going to happen!”

On what he hopes to prove when he is regularly on ROH TV:
“I’m chomping at the bit, man. I’m super excited to show the world what I can do. It is one of those things where give me the opportunity – Let me have the ball and run with it. I see that happening very, very soon. Don’t blink! You never know where I’m going to pop up. They debuted me here and there. They let the fans kind of get familiar with my face. Now it is time to get people familiar with my work.”

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