Killer Kross is one of those performers it seems like can only rise higher in the wrestling world. The pro wrestler and martial artist is currently a staple in Impact Wrestling and Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide and performs on the independent circuit, sometimes alongside his girlfriend, Scarlett Bordeaux. Kross has been rumored to have been looked at by just about every major wrestling company, and with his athletic ability, technical skills, and dedication to character work, it’s not hard to see why.
With Spandex spoke to Kross at Starrcast II in Las Vegas about his career and views on other goings on in the wrestling world. That conversation is below and has been edited for length and clarity.
With Spandex: Okay, so a question we always like to ask people is who was your favorite wrestler as a kid, or who inspired you to become a wrestler?
Killer Kross: My biggest inspiration and my favorite wrestler as a kid was Ultimate Warrior. Quite honestly, the very first memory I can even recall having as a child, an infant, was Ultimate Warrior pinning Hulk Hogan. That was ingrained in my mind. His energy was very manic and crazy like mine as a child, and at times when I have too much coffee right now as an adult. There was something about him that just spoke to me. His energy was magnetic, and I think he was part of the reason I was pre-programmed as a child to be in love with sports entertainment and pro wrestling.
Okay, and then when you became a wrestler, how did your persona develop?
I looked to comic books and films and video games more-so rather than trying to mirror or mimic anyone in the business that I had previously always liked, you know, growing up, because I think that flattery is one thing, and then ripping someone off is another. You can put in respectful nods to people who inspired you, whether it’s a move or a coat or an outfit or a color, but I wanted to take things that I knew very well and create something original with sincerity.
And a lot of what I was inspired by getting into this was films like Bronson, American Psycho, Dark City, Jack Nicholson as Jack Napier… in Tim Burton’s film, Batman, and then I kind of allowed the crowd and the narratives that I was organically given from writers to automatically narrate the direction of Killer Kross, and that’s kind of how we got to where I am right now with this character presentation. Narratives that I had done and my inspirations through things I enjoyed and what the crowd really wanted to see out of me really developed me into who I am today.
In working for larger companies, you pretty much always have been a heel. Did you expect to be a villain pretty much all the time in wrestling?
I didn’t really have an expectation as to how I was going to be booked or how my character presentation would go in terms of being a babyface or a heel, but I can do both. I’m comfortable in any skin and I enjoy them equally because at the end of the day if I have the option to be a maestro of the audience and elicit an emotional response and make them feel things through the presentation or violence itself in the ring, I’m happy. I work in all gears very comfortably.
Okay, and in AAA you’re in MAD now. How did you get involved with AAA?
I had left AAA for a variety of reasons that are too long to list in my first run. I was told I was going to receive things and I never received them, which was very disparaging, so I thought it might be best for me to move on to other things. And Konnan called me one day and said that he was going to be taking things in a stronger, healthier, more lucrative direction, and I’ve always had an excellent report with him. He’s always looked out for me professionally and personally. He’s always been good to me and has followed through with everything he’s always said, so I had no reason to question his motivation or his work ethic and yeah, that’s basically how that happened… Konnan asked me to come back and said that he wanted to rebuild this character and do things the right way.
Working with other wrestlers and playing off the crowd, do you work any differently in Mexico than in the States?
I do. Lucha libre is a totally different, other animal versus pro wrestling and sports entertainment. Their psychology is completely different. Their timing is different. The way they react with the audience is completely different, so you’re getting a very different version of me while I’m down there.
I’m a huge fan of lucha libre, which I would assume would be pretty obvious, that I’m working in lucha libre, but I was always asked to be a refreshing alternative to lucha libre, because if there’s nine matches on the card, in all nine matches you’ll get lucha libre – with the exception of mine. You’ll get a little bit of pro wrestling, a little bit of MMA, a little bit of power shots and striking and such. You’ll get a little bit of hardcore violence. I’m kind of put in there as the variance for the rest of the entertainment on the show, so I would say it’s different in that regard.
So you’re in Impact in the U.S. right now, and there was a report that went out pretty recently – I don’t know if you want to talk about it – that you were unhappy with your situation at Impact, with the creative direction and other things. Do you want to talk about that at all?
I’ll talk a little bit about it. I’ve deliberately ignored everything going on in social media regarding it because I was really, really f*cking furious that the article broke because it’s like my personal information and, to be frank, no one outside my immediate family and the company really had access to that information, so attempting to understand how that happened really frustrates me, and I’m trying to create a character for people to enjoy and now there’s this thing hovering around my presentation.
For me, just saying, it feels like it takes away from what I’m trying to give to people and I feel like there was a malicious intent for that information to get out there. Against who, I have no idea, but at the end of the day, all I did was ask to be paid on the same scale that other people I’m working immediately and directly next to are getting paid, and there are other inaccuracies in the article. One of them is I was never angry or upset with creative. I have an excellent working relationship with the people I deal with creatively. They essentially let me do whatever I want and that’s, you know, priceless to me. As a performer, as an artist, that is not extended to everyone.
So I try to be as political as possible discussing this because I don’t want to piss off my employers, but I am pretty angry about the situation and I’m hoping that with what I’m looking for to stabilize my personal life and my family and my finances I’m hoping that we are able to come to a common ground on that. That’s really all I can say on it.
If you were to go work for other companies that you’re working for right now, are there any, like, dream matches you would like to have out there in the wrestling world?
I would like to get a match with The Rock before he is completely and totally retired if that’s even possible. My goal has always been to become a household name in professional wrestling and eventually the entertainment industry. I think I have a lot to offer across the boards through entertainment. I’ve wanted to get into films. I’ve always been a huge Martin Scorsese fan, Ridley Scott, I’m a huge movie and television nerd. I was classically trained in theater arts.
I would like to transition back and forth between pro wrestling and film and, you know, I think The Rock has set a really fascinating course for people in pro wrestling to entertain, pun intended, and I would like to try to not copy that, but pave my own path, so to speak, in terms of being able to engage in entertainment, a mainstream entertainment demographic, and let them know that I exist out there, and then show them that, hey, this is pro wrestling, this is where I started.
I think there’s an amazing parallel between getting new fans from elsewhere and then they find out who you are and what you do, and then bringing them back to pro wrestling. I think it does pro wrestling a great service if you can get involved in entertainment in multiple spectrums…
On WrestleMania weekend, I feel like, at least people I was talking to felt like they saw a different side of you when you worked on Bloodsport. What was your experience like working on that show and how did you get involved in it?
I’ve always wanted to do a show like that. I was a huge fan of a company called UWFi in Japan, which was a shoot work style, and I never thought I’d get that opportunity because that platform is not very – how do I put this? It’s not drawing a lot of money. It doesn’t have its own giant demographic for people to finance a show and get a good return on, so I thought there was no shot in hell I was ever going to get to play on that canvas, for lack of better words. Josh Barnett reached out to me and asked me to be a part of it and it was a no-brainer for me.
I originally moved to Las Vegas seven years ago to fight pro. I wanted to fight professionally, and I got involved with pro camps full time, and I discovered I wasn’t in love with it enough to commit my life to it, and I always wanted to be a professional wrestler. I just was financially very secure, and I was at a point in my life where I realized that being financially secure doesn’t always equal fulfillment. And this was a boyhood dream, so I decided to go to a pro wrestling school instead.
But when Bloodsport came around, I had zero trepidation about getting involved with it because I’ve been a martial artist my entire life. So was my father, so was my grandfather. And I came up with the old guard of a group called Chute Box, who originally started in Brazil and then Mauricio Veio, who was one of my lead coaches, he moved to Toronto, Canada, and I trained with him for a while, and when I moved to Las Vegas I joined to Wanderlei Silva’s gym and I was training there and another gym called Syndicate.
So I’ve always been involved with this stuff and I thought it would be cool to take real catch wrestling and martial arts and incorporate that into a story of striker versus grappler, which was a very common theme during the early nineties. So when Harry [Davey Boy Smith Jr.] and I talked about it and put it together, we were both on the same page and it came off tremendously, and I’m really glad people enjoyed it. I think a lot of people even felt that it was the best show of the week and we were – Harry and I were brought up as one of the best matches they had seen that entire week, with all of the saturation that was going on and WrestleMania, so I was very, very flattered.
There was a picture that went around of William Regal at that show. Do you feel like there were maybe new eyes in the wrestling business on you because of being on that show?
Yes, I do.
While you’re in Impact, is there anyone you haven’t worked with yet who you’re hoping to work with?
Fenix and Pentagon. People have been asking me to compete with them and against them for five years and no one has ever booked it as a one-on-one. It happened in a dark [match] in Lucha Underground and it happened briefly in Lucha Capital in Mexico City with Pentagon, but the three of us have wanted to work against each other, but no one has put it together, and I am absolutely positive I will have one of the greatest matches of my career with Fenix and I know Pentagon and I will literally blow the roof off of any place we go into. Our chemistry in the ring would really compliment each other and it would be very violent.
So you’ve mentioned a couple times you bring more violence to wrestling than other people. Do you feel like wrestling in general right now would be better if it was more violent than it is?
Not necessarily, no. I think that each match has the ability to offer a variance versus the last match that was on. So I think the different flavors of wrestling right now is a good thing as long as we’re not insulting the intelligence of the audience.
Is there like a line in wrestling where you get to the point where they’re insulting the intelligence of the audience, or is it just you have to feel things out?
I think there’s a line, but I couldn’t tell you what it is because I don’t pay enough attention to it, and I’m not one of those guys who does that. I think the story of the night every night is there’s a match and there’s a winner’s window and a loser’s window and that is first and foremost of every story you’re telling, and I focus the most on that, I suppose. I know what people want to see out of Killer Kross and I make sure they get that every time no matter what the story of the night is.
And we’re at Starrcast, which is next to the first AEW show today, and people at AEW have talked about having a more violent or sports-like product. Are you interested in working with AEW at all?
I would be more than happy to do business with them if the terms were correct, and by terms, I mean legally being allowed to openly discuss that without getting in trouble. (laughs) I’m really glad that AEW exists and they’re doing what they’re doing. I think more places to work for all of us is good for us and more content out there for people to watch is the best for business and I’m just really happy for everyone involved. I’m not directly involved with AEW as of right now, but I’m just happy for my friends that have work that really deserve it and I’m really happy that they got that TV deal because everyone involved in that company has something to offer the industry and I think people are going to be really surprised when this – this situation has the potential to surpass even when people think it’s going.
I’m excited for everyone. I really am. I like seeing people succeed. I’m not one of the people who’s like, “This is the ‘me, me, me’ show.” This is a “we” show. This industry is supposed to be a family. It doesn’t always work like that, but I’m not a jealous person by nature whatsoever at all. I’m happy for everyone. I really am.
Correction: The original version of this article said Kross trained with Mauricio Rua in Toronto. That has been corrected to say he trained with Mauricio Veio.