The wrestling industry is changing. All Elite Wrestling is happening this fall on TNT, WWE is moving their NXT developmental brand to the USA Network to compete them, New Japan Pro Wrestling continues to make inroads into the United States, and the independent scene is more vibrant than ever. Ring Of Honor, 17 years after its founding, is still here as well, and they are bringing its Global Wars Espectacular Tour to Potawatomi Hotel & Casino on Sunday, September 8.
This company has been through a lot in their short history with many regime changes and more roster turnover than the Packers’ practice squad. Their latest change has lead them into a partnership with CMLL, one of the top lucha libre companies in Mexico, who are sending some of their top luchadores to Milwaukee for this show. Stars like Caristico (formerly Sin Cara in WWE), Triton, Barbaro Cavernario, Volador Jr., and others will be making some rare appearances stateside and, for most of them, their first ever Milwaukee appearances. Bringing in high-level luchadores to a company that already has such an athletic roster is sure to make for some entertaining shows in Ring Of Honor’s future.
In advance of this Sunday’s show, Milwaukee Record spoke to Ring Of Honor star (and Milwaukee local) Beer City Bruiser about his place in the changing landscape of Ring Of Honor, CMLL, his trainer Harley Race, training wrestlers in Milwaukee, White Claw, and much more.
Milwaukee Record: You come to the ring with the keg, cigar; I think it’s pretty clear to the people of Milwaukee what you are trying to invoke there: The Crusher. Have you had a chance to go out and see the statue?
Beer City Bruiser: Yeah, I was actually there for Crusher Fest when they did the unveiling of the statue and everything. I represented Ring Of Honor at the festival, and I got to see the unveiling and got a couple pictures with it.
MR: That’s awesome, they did a really great job with that.
BCB: Yeah, it looks amazing.
MR: Like The Crusher, you’ve got a real AWA style. But I know when you first started you were Dinn T. Moore.
BCB: Yep, I was a lumberjack from the north woods. [laughs]
MR: Named after canned beef, right?
BCB: Yeah, we were trying to figure out what lumberjacks eat and we didn’t want to go with like the normal route of like pancakes and flapjacks and stuff, so we went with, like, a beef stew.
MR: Hey whatever works, right?
MR: After you got your start, I know you went to that sort of professional wrestling finishing school with Harley Race. I know he had a big effect on your career. Sorry to hear about the news with him, is there anything you could say about him and the effect on who you are today?
BCB: Yeah, Harley was an amazing, amazing person. He was a mentor. He was a legend in the ring. He was like a father figure to all of us guys that lived down there because I lived down there four years with him. My closest family was eight hours away and Harley was always there to help us. He really taught me the business side of professional wrestling and what it means to do this as a career and not just a hobby. How to make some money and support your family and stuff.
He truly is one of the greatest, not just professional wrestlers ever, but one of the greatest human beings I’ve ever known and it’s sad that he passed away.
MR: Yeah, I would definitely agree with you there. There was definitely some wild sort of drinking stories about Harley Race. I imagine you two were able to bond over that though.
BCB: Yeah, he…whenever we’d go out to bars and stuff like that he’d be like “you’re from Milwaukee, you can drink” and he’d pay for all the beers and we’d drink and drink and drink.
No matter how much you drank, coming from the Midwest, we’re used to drinking a lot, you could never out drink Harley. He never, I don’t think he ever got drunk. [laughs] He just… he could pound and put ’em away. You know, you think you can drink beer then you go and drink with Harley and realize you’re just an amateur. [laughs]
MR: That’s amazing.
BCB: Yeah, we had a Fourth Of July party at his house one time where we went through, there was about twelve of us. We went through four cases of beer, two bottles of Crown Royal, and all of us are kind of hanging on at the end, you know passing out left and right. There’s Harley as happy as can be, wanting to light off fireworks and stuff like that, like “how are you not affected by this?”
MR: That’s great, thanks for saying all that. He was your trainer, but I understand you do some training yourself here in Milwaukee. How does it feel to give back to the city and the business like that?
BCB: It’s amazing. When I first started, I trained with Trevor Adonis and he always told me that “wrestling owes you nothing, you owe wrestling everything.”
Then when I went and trained with Harley, one of the things he always put into us is, “wrestling was here long before us and it will be here long after us, so if we can make a little bit of an impact while we’re here and pass that knowledge forward, the wrestling business will survive.”
So training the future is a rewarding process. To see guys come in and know it’s their dream, and then help show them how to accomplish that dream and have an impact on them like Trevor had on me or Harley had on me is great. I have a few students now that came from the Thumper’s Den that are well on their way to be very successful and already making a name for themselves in professional wrestling. I thank Frankie DeFalco for opening the school and choosing me to the be the head trainer.
MR: So, I want to kind of transition to your career now. Wrestling has changed a lot. Twenty years ago, you’d look a lot like the other wrestlers in the game, but now you’re kind of a big man in a smaller man’s world. You’re drinking beer while everyone else is drinking White Claw. How is that working out for you, working with these younger, smaller guys and different styles?
BCB: I like it. I’m a tag team with a guy named Brian Milonas. We’re the Bouncers in Ring Of Honor. He’s 350 pounds, just a big, big guy and we always tell people “we’re unique” because, like you said, it’s not the big man’s game anymore. It’s small men. We’re unique because we’re able to adapt to their style, but still keep our style of the brawling and the big man.
You know, the matches that I’m having nowadays compared to when I first started my career are amazing. In order to survive in wrestling, you’ve gotta kind of adapt to the styles. As the business evolves, you’ve gotta evolve. You know, I’m a big guy, but I’ve evolved to be able to wrestle with the little guy’s style and keep up with them, which makes me a really unique persona in wrestling.
MR: I would definitely say that you are a unique persona in wrestling. Have you tried the White Claw yet?
BCB: No, I refuse to. [laughs] I can’t wait for that to go along the lines of Zima and just get out of here. [laughs]
MR: I know you did a tour with New Japan. That was probably huge for your career, but Ring Of Honor seems to be transitioning a little bit and they’re teaming up with CMLL. Bringing some true luchadores to Milwaukee for the show coming up, are you ready to adapt again to that style and work with those guys?
BCB: Yeah, I’m excited to work with the CMLL guys. What I’ve always prided myself on my whole career is I’ve watched videos from all over the world. I’ve watched Japanese wrestling, I’ve watched English wrestling, and I’ve watched Lucha Libre. And I’ve worked a couple lucha libre matches, like styles, but I’m real excited to really jump into it with all the guys they’re bringing up because they’re bringing up some legends from down there up here. Hopefully, it leads to a tour of Mexico, which would be a lot of fun.
I’m really excited for the Global Wars Tour to show everybody that, because everyone associates Ring Of Honor with kind of like a Japanese style wrestling with the Honor and stuff, so it will be fun to bring up the lucha libre and show everybody, hey, not only can the Beer City Bruiser wrestle lucha libre style, but Ring Of Honor can also kind of adapt and evolve and show you another side of Ring Of Honor.
MR: Ring Of Honor is coming back and they haven’t been here since 2017, but they are coming to Potawatomi for the first time. How excited are you to be back?
BCB: I’m really excited. Everybody in the Ring Of Honor locker room always talks about how Milwaukee is one of the best crowds to wrestle in front of, and I’ve been privileged for the last 20 years to wrestle in front of the Milwaukee crowd on the independents.
Some of my favorite moments happened in Milwaukee as far as Ring Of Honor. Silas Young and I winning the tag team tournament in Milwaukee was amazing, and then hosting the Unauthorized show in Milwaukee was amazing.
There’s nothing like the rabid Milwaukee fans. They love their professional wrestling, they love their beer, and when you put the two together it just makes a fun, fun, fun night. So it will be interesting to see how that goes in the new venue. It goes from Turner Hall, which was like a club setting, to more of an arena setting at Potawatomi.
MR: You usually are traveling all around the country. This is going to be you back in Milwaukee sleeping in your own bed. Is there any place or anything you plan to do with any of your friends or the other wrestlers, things you want to show them in Milwaukee?
BCB: A lot of the wrestlers are asking to go see The Crusher statue ,so that will probably be on our list before we even go to the building, We’re probably all going to stop by the Crusher statue.
And then afterwards, we’re going to go to The Vanguard which is a little bar, I think it’s on Kinnickinic. They always take care of the wrestlers really good. They’ve got some amazing food, real cold beer, so a lot of the Ring Of Honor guys are excited to go there too.
They want to experience the true brats and cheese curds and everything that is Wisconsin, and I’d be happy to show ’em. Wisconsin, Milwaukee is one of the best—it is the best state and town in the nation. So, I’ll take them to the The Crusher statue and I’ll take them to get some brats and cheese curds and some of the best beer they’ll ever have.
MR: Well, thanks so much for doing this. Do you want to talk anybody into the building before I let you go?
BCB: Yeah, they should come out to Ring Of Honor at Potawatomi. If you’ve never seen a Ring Of Honor show live, you’re missing out. It is truly a fun fan experience. We pride ourselves on getting the fans into the shows. It’s an all-ages show, so bring the kids, bring the family. It is true, true excitement. I always tell everybody when you come to a Ring Of Honor show, you are going to look at professional wrestling in a completely different light just because of the spectacle that we put on.