I had the distinct pleasure of speaking with indie sensation “Speedball” Mike Bailey, a 4th-degree Taekwondo black belt who is best known for his work in PWG, CZW, WCPW, DDT Pro, and a number of other independent circuits throughout Europe, Japan, and his home-country of Canada. Bailey and I discussed a number of different topics, including his love for teaching wrestling, his new Twitch which helps him stay connected with fans, what future promotion he sees himself landing at, his epic PWG encounter with Kenny Omega and more. Highlights and video interview can be found below.
How he loves using Twitch (@SpeedballBailey) as a way to reconnect with his fans:
I absolutely loved it and I completely regret not doing this whenever we went into lockdown like 10 months ago or whatever it is now. It’s been so much fun. It’s been such a good outlet to reconnect with a lot of people that I haven’t gotten to see that I met in the world of professional wrestling through traveling, which is something I can’t do anymore, and getting to reconnect has been lots of fun. It’s a great community that we’ve been building, all of us together on my channel and discord. It’s been really nice.
Talks about the number of options he has for his future, including NXT, ROH, IMPACT or AEW:
That is something that I have been asked many times and I ask myself as well…I think there is no answer. I have friends right now and people I want to work with in all the major promotions. Of course there’s a lot of pros to AEW and there’s a lot of pros to NXT..there’s also a lot of pros to Ring of Honor. Same with IMPACT, who I think have been putting out a phenomenal product for the past several years, and everyone I know that works there seems happy. Everyone who is wrestling at a major company seems happy right now. I’ve never been one to shut my doors or limit my options. Over the last five years I’ve had to redirect my career and I’ve been traveling internationally…I’ve spent a lot of time in Japan, in Europe, doing indies in Canada. I’ve been teaching wrestling as well and that is something I love to do. So I consider all those perfectly perfectly cromulent options going forward. I could teach full-time or I could keep traveling, or I can go to Japan full-time, or I can sign with any major company. Whatever makes the most sense at the time is what I will do.
Says his time at PWG was something special:
It was one of those things where if you were at PWG, if you were even booked for the show it’s because someone already there wanted to work with you. There was not that many options for big contracts and whatnot at the time. So you really had the top notch indie talent all concentrated in one promotion and it really made something special.
Believes his work has only gotten better since his PWG run:
The one thing however…I struggle to look back at my work then because one of my greatest accomplishments as a professional wrestler is that I’ve continuously gotten better. I believe that even now, with the pandemic and my limited access do doing actual pro-wrestling I’m still getting better. A lot of people know me most from there, they know me from PWG and that’s where they recognize me…and I think that’s sad because I’ve done such better work everywhere else. I’ve had some awesome opponents…
Says Kenny Omega thinks about wrestling on a different level and how he hopes to face him in the ring once again:
If you look at the match with Kenny Omega…that’s a very special one to me because it was one of those moments where I realized, “Oh…his level of thinking of pro-wrestling is levels above mine.” We were still able to have a great match despite my shortcomings, but since then…what was missing I learned in DDT. I went to the same place in Japan that he want and I learned a lot there and I’ve stepped my game up a lot just learning from the same people that he did. It’s kind of hard to rewatch knowing what it could be now, but I just wanna run it back. That’s the main thing.
On the original PWG venue being sold:
I’m never sad. I feel the same way about break-ups. When relationships end I know very VERY few people that have broken up with their partner and then regretted like a year from then. Usually you move on to better things. I think the new venue is cool…I think the old venue had its charms, the American Legion Hall certainly had lots of charms and lots of great things, but that’s the way it is. Things end and then you move on to probably something better. I feel like it’s good that we can keep that venue associated with that era of PWG. There will be no mistake when you see that venue that, “Okay this was this and it conjures this feeling of the time we had the greatest independent wrestlers all over the world all concentrated in one building to put on a sick show.”
On his method of teaching professional wrestling:
The way I think my teaching is different from a lot of other people is I think the beauty of professional wrestling is that it is so multifaceted right? There’s many different aspects to it and there’s never one thing that makes someone a good professional wrestler. You will hear people say that a lot. “Oh the pro-wrestling business is failing because people aren’t in good shape, can’t tell stories, don’t know how to strike, don’t know how to grapple,” when in reality it is and will forever be a mix of all those things that make up beautiful professional wrestling. In order to be a successful wrestler you need to be pretty decent at many different things but where I think a lot of wrestling schools and trainers make a mistake is that they want everybody to fit a certain mold. I’m the kick and flip guy, so if I wanted all my students to do kicks and flips that would be a recipe for failure. The same thing goes for grappling. I can certainly teach kicks very well but I’m not teaching people from six years old and then they will wrestle ten years from now…I’m teaching people who will learn a lot from being on shows. So I think my approach is really based on finding people’s strengths. Finding what they’re good at, what their thing is, and as soon as we’ve figured that out…focus on that and make sure they stand out in their own way. Fix everything else along the way, but really always keep track of where the focus should be instead of spending too much time for trying to cover up for weaknesses because in pro-wrestling…you’re mostly in control. If you have a weakness you can mostly hide it as long as your strength shines brighter than that.
Teaming up with his now life partner Veda Scott:
Teaming with her is already the most fun I have because I think she’s an excellent professional wrestler. We look and think about pro-wrestling in the exact same way so teaming with her is always fun, and deciding to just go all out and have the craziest match…shooting star knees off the top rope and bunch of dives, but also hitting each other with paddles and eating hot dogs mid-match. So much fun.