Dominic Garrini On Training With Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae, His Relationship With Tom Lawlor and more

Dominic Garrini On Training With Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae, His Relationship With Tom Lawlor and more

MLW star Dominic Garrini recently spoke with WCSN’s Spencer Love to talk all things pro-wrestling. Highlights from the interview can be found below.

On staying busy during the COVID-19 pandemic:

Well, I’m still I’m still here, still living. I got lucky enough that here in Ohio, we opened up a little earlier than some states, so the gyms have been open now for about a week. So, I’ve been hitting the gym pretty hard, but otherwise just spending a lot of times studying wrestling and just really taking the time that maybe in a different time I wouldn’t have to recover my body. My 2019 was pretty tumultuous, a lot of high-impact matches. My body’s not the freshest coming into 2020, so really, deep down, getting that time off is really a godsend when you look at it.

Training under Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae:

My first day of training, and I got Candice later on, I said, ‘What did you think on the first day,’ because she told me that Johnny and her had always made kind of the decisions on how the kids had done the first day, they said they knew I was going to make it because I came in wearing wrestling shoes, because a lot of kids come into their first day of wrestling training in, you know, Jordans, or they come in with a pair of really ratty tennis shoes. I had full wrestling shoes and like I had cardio above anybody they had seen at that point. Now, my cardio ended up getting eclipsed by a couple of our newer trainees that came in after me, but they knew that. So, then, when brass tacks came down, they ended up finding out about my martial arts background. Johnny was really keen, (because) he’d been working a lot with Drew Gulak in Evolve. So he was really keen on to ‘you need to start watching Drew, you need to start watching Tracy Williams, watch what they do, because you’re gonna wrestle like them.’ He goes ‘you’re not gonna wrestle like me.’ He wrestles a much more super-indie style. The only difference – the only similarity that Johnny and I have is Johnny and I I are both self-admittedly not athletic. We both feel non-athletic, and then everybody else looks at us and calls us assholes because they’re like ‘no, you’re athletic.’ So my biggest joke is always that I’m 20% athletic. My thing is like that’s always been my joke. When it came to training Johnny was the nice guy, and Candice was the mean one. It was never Johnny being mean to me, it was always Candice being mean to me. Mom was the mean one, one dad was the nice one. Dad would let you sneak off with dessert while mom took out your hand and said no. But no, I mean, they shaped all of us into what we’ve become. And one of the things that I really always respected about Johnny and Candice was a lot of people who are higher profile wrestlers, they end up being able to give their students everything. And then I think those students grow up a little less grateful for it. Johnny and Candice always – we say this. Johnny and Candice laid a cement foundation for a house, but they didn’t build the house for us. They made us build our own house. So, however we wanted to live, it was up to us to build that. And that’s how honestly me and Dr. Daniel C. Rockingham feel that they trained us.

Transitioning from combat sports to pro-wrestling:

Yeah, and that’s one of the things you got to learn how to do. I think for jujitsu, since the object usually is a trigger point, it helps me a little more. The MMA guys, it’s probably a little bit more difficult, you know, for the Tom’s and the King Mo’s of the world. But, I think anybody who comes from mixed martial arts over to pro wrestling probably had an affinity for pro wrestling, so they kind of have that idea of where to turn that switch off. You know, Tom’s been a massive pro wrestling fan for years. He actually did a little bit of pro wrestling before he did MMA. King Mo has openly spoken about how he loved wrestling for years and years years. So I think that disconnect of being fans of pro wrestling before we did our combat sports probably helps us where we know how to draw that line. But, you know, you sometimes see red, you got to remember to dial it back. Like, I can’t say how many times I might have had a guy in a choke and I get the whisper in the ear ‘lighten up,’ or something like that. Sometimes, it’s just you’re in that moment and you got to know to dial it back just a little bit.

On his relationship with “Filthy” Tom Lawlor:

So honestly, I talk to Tom almost daily, which when I started pro wrestling, I would have never told you I was going to become pretty much really good friends with Filthy Tom Lawlor. When Tom was facing his USADA suspension from the UFC, I noticed that he was taking independent bookings and I reached out right away to John Thorne and Chandler Biggins and I said, ‘Hey, Tom Lawlor is taking independent wrestling bookings. He is a massive pro wrestling fan and I believe he’s trained before so I think he’s got a really good crossover potential.’ And I believe I said, and I quote, ‘he’s got Matt Riddle-like potential,’ because at the time that was when Riddle was really breaking out, and they were really interested in them. And the best part about that story is when Chandler messaged Tom, he actually thought it was Robbie. The first message was, ‘hey, Robbie are you available on these dates?’ and Tom thought it was a joke. And then, you know, they had to apologize and it all worked out. So we brought Tom in that weekend. Right away, the idea was to get to Tom and I. So we did a lot of trash talking to each other. We met each other that weekend, we hit it off right away. And then we ended up having a match in, I want to say September of 2017. Tom was really rolling and he was killing it. The main thing we were waiting to see was where – he was still trying to fight the USADA suspension. Then, him and I had a rematch in February of that year. And it’s really famous for – he gives me a clothesline to my back and his arm actually slipped up my back and snaps his arm in half. He breaks his arm on my head!

Full interview is below.

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