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Exclusive Interview: Mike Verna

Recently, I reached out to “The Man Of Steel” Mike Verna for an interview and he was kind enough to take the time to answer a few questions to help educate fans on his career. He’s been wrestling for a handful of years and is rising up the ranks on the independent scene. Here’s getting to know Mike Verna a little better.

Verna tossing David Starr across the ring.

Verna had two loves growing up, baseball and professional wrestling. Exiting his teenage years, Mike came across a crossroads. Would he play college baseball or would he chase his dream and become a professional wrestler? At the age of 19, he made his decision. “I always had access to baseball but never knew wrestling schools existed so when I was 19 I learned about The NYWC academy, and chose to pursue pro wrestling over college baseball.” Verna said.

There wasn’t any one wrestler or moment that inspired Verna into getting into professional wrestling. Instead, it was an entire era of pro wrestling that inspired him. The Attitude Era can take all the credit for inspiring Verna to try his hand in pro wrestling.

It wouldn’t take long for Verna to become a champion in professional wrestling. Less than a year into his career, Verna won the Fighting Spirit Wrestling Heavyweight Championship. Verna talked about the moment. “Although I knew the day would come, I definitely didn’t see it happening so quick.” Verna said. “I debuted back in 2013, in a time where the indies were scorching hot and there weren’t a lot of an independent “body guys”, so I knew when I broke in even at a young age, I had a presence that was different from what people were used to in this market. I think that and my sports background, and love of the business as well as being a team player early on, helped me take the ball and run with it early on.”

Verna is a regular competitor for Five Borough Wrestling. While there, Verna formed a team with Big O known as the Mega Muscles where they won the tag team championships. “Big O was my first friend on professional wrestling and one of my closest to this day, so tagging with him made everything come full circle. I met O back in the summer of zack Ryder, I had went to the old Nassau coliseum as a fan with some of my buddies and filmed a vignette to try to be broski of the week. In the arena halls we found O, and he was so down with hopping into our promo and was just an overall good guy.” Verna recalled.

Verna with his tag team partner, Big O.

“The next month I signed up for NYWC where he too was training and our friendship began. Teaming with him is unlike any other partner I’ve ever had. Adam has an unmatched presence, his breathes intensity and charisma, and together we gave NYC something they weren’t used too ! A great memory was actually in July of 17, when we returned as a team as a surprise at FBW, the company that made us.” Verna fondly recalls.

Verna was trained by Joel Maximo, who was one half of the innovative tag team the Spanish Announce Team (SAT) with his brother Jose Maximo. In January and April 2016, Verna defended the FSW Heavyweight Championship against his trainer. “One of the matches I’ll always value, wrestling one of your trainers brings out a different edge in you, you’re giving back to them what they taught you. So it’s a mix of comfort as well as pressure. They know you better than any opponent you’ll ever have so because of that alone you need to bring your A game to the table to make sure that at the end you officially get their stamp of approval, which is hard in this business. Joel is my brother he’s taught me so much, but his most valuable lesson, is be fearless.” Verna said.

Verna diving onto Stockade.

One of the biggest moments of Verna’s career came on April 29th, 2016 when he competed in a heavyweight championship match against Eddie Kingston, Anthony Gangone and current WWE superstar and then FBW Heavyweight Champion, Brian Myers (Curt Hawkins). Verna shared his mindset on that night. “That was another great match in my career, it was one of Brian’s last matches before going back to WWE, so that was special in its own respect. Eddie Kingston is just straight up fun to wrestle regardless the circumstances and Gangone is a guy that doesn’t get enough credit, he was trained by amazing red, who along with Joel were part of that innovative style of today, so I knew we’d have good chemistry. Best part about that title win was it was a passing of the torch moment, Brian was going and the company needed a new face of the franchise. When Brian dropped it the title that night he let the people know that it was my time now, and that was a pretty cool moment.” Verna said.

Verna (left) as Sloane Coprice in CHIKARA.

Verna has expanded his presence on the independent working for the popular wrestling company CHIKARA. In CHIKARA Verna goes by a different name, Sloane Coprice. Verna took the time to explain his involvement with the company and the character. “CHIKARA is the most unique brand of pro wrestling out there today. It’s literally its own universe, galaxy, world, whatever you want to call it. The legendary Mike Quackenbush found the perfect blend of wrestling, comic books, cartoons, and drama. The characters are over the top and the action is unique. Every single guy on the roster is so good in the ring that it only brings more credit to the company. My character, Sloan Caprice, is the body guard/hitman along side Rick Roland (Rex Lawless) for Hornswoggle, where in CHIKARA he goes by The Big Deal.” Verna explains.

In November 2016, Verna had one of his favorite and biggest matches of his career competing for the company, Dynasty. “Well, to begin dynasty calls it, the biggest main event in company history, and that’s exactly how it felt while being a part of it. I’ve wrestled Eddie before in a tag match early in my career so I knew how good he is and how much those chops were gonna hurt (laughs). We went about 25 minutes and whenever you go toe to toe with someone as good as that you know you can hang with anyone. The match went great, we were both happy with it, so we’re the fans and that’s all I can ask for ! It will always be one of my favorite matches going forward. I’ve learned when an opponent like that shakes your hand and thanks you after a match like that, and doesn’t have anything to say, that’s another way of giving that stamp of approval.” Verna recalls.

Currently, Verna is the FBW Heavyweight Champion and he doesn’t have specific opponents that he’s looking forward to competing against. He’s excited to compete against, well, anyone. “ I look forward to anyone that is going to challenge me professionally and continue to push me to my limits.” Verna explained. He does have a few favorite matches that he’s had in FBW. “I have a huge list of favorite matches in the company but my favorites would have to be my one on one with Hanson, the 4 way match that won me the heavyweight title, and the 4 way match I had with JT Dunn, Brian Cage and Bull, three guys I happen to have a real friendship with and respect hugely.” Verna said.

Speaking of JT Dunn, Verna mentions him as one of his favorite opponents as they have recently been feuding in both FBW and Chaotic Wrestling. “Every match just gets better and better, he’s so good and so underrated. The chemistry were getting makes me believe that there’s some magic brewing down the road.” Verna believes.

As for where Verna sees himself both short and long term? “Short term is to keep climbing up the ladder, and stay the course. In four years I’ve done some good things and every month things get better and better. So short term I’d like that pattern to continue to get me to a place where I can live off wrestling. Long term I’d like to go down as one of the best guys inside the ring and out side the ring in this business, as well as allowing wrestling to open doors in other fields of entertainment.” Verna explained.

Verna manages to remain quite busy working for promotions such as FBW, CHIKARA, Chaotic, Beyond Wrestling, Dynasty, NYWC, XWA, Championship Wrestling From Hollywood, and Tier 1 Wrestling. Check out any of hose companies if you’d like to see Verna live in action!

Mike has a message for the fans out there. “Thank you for your continued support. I know that’s vague but you guys are the reason for my success, and without you I’d be nothing!”

If you’d like to follow Verna on social media you can do so on both Twitter and Instagram. He’s @ManOfSteelMV.

As per usual, I’ve included a few matches that you can check out on YouTube.
versus Eddie Edwards
versus Joel Maximo
versus DUSTIN (Chuck Taylor)
verus MJF

Thank you to Mike Verna for taking part in this interview. If you are a wrestler or promoter and are interested in having an interview, you can reach me at bobcolling@gmail.com

Thanks for reading.

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