My name is Lewis and welcome to the fourth BWF interview with one of the best managers in the business James R. Kennedy. If you haven't heard of James R Kennedy then where have you been? Every time that ICW and WCPW is televised you can bet that Kennedy will show up!
Be sure to follow Kennedy on his very fitting Twitter handle: @topclasskennedy
For the first time ever we will actually start with a fan question!
FAN QUESTION: (Via:@stardustfaire)
How does one become a manager or a commentator in professional wrestling. Did you need previous wrestling training, acting training or both?
I never wanted to be a pro wrestler, which may sound strange to some. Ever since I first viewed Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan on WWF television, I wanted to be a manager. Instantly, I was drawn to his role, his ability to sell things by using nothing but his voice. Of course, once entering the industry via ICW in late-2010 – I'll always be thankful to Mark Dallas for giving me a shot – I had to learn how to bump and do some other basics. Aside from that, my training has been watching pro wrestling since I was a young kid. I've wanted to do this virtually since I can remember. It excites me.
We have been graced with your presence all over the UK. As our site is all about British wrestling, which wrestler currently working the British independent scene would you most like to work with that you have not already?
Simply put, Primate. He gives me the same feeling I had when I first laid eyes on Joe Hendry back in 2013. Instantly, I knew I wanted to manage Joe, because I could see the amount of potential he had. It wasn't an immediately popular request to some others, because he was so new, but look at where he's at now. Primate gives me those same goosebumps, he's a special performer. That kind of talent doesn't come along too often, and it motivates me to become better myself. When you're working with people who possess that raw magnetism, it's sink or swim. That is the kind of thing I thrive on.
In your opinion, how important are managers such as yourself in professional wrestling? Back in the day we witnessed countless great managers but nowadays the art unfortunately seems to have almost vanished.
The entire industry will always ape what happens in WWE, there's no avoiding that. As the number of managers decreased in that company, so they did across the globe. I often believe the role of a wrestling manager is overlooked or perhaps even misunderstood by some wrestlers. Of course, the actual wrestlers should be the focus, you can't run a show without them. In my humble opinion though, it's not an insult when a promoter puts you with a manager. It's a chance to hone your act together, there are mutual benefits for everyone involved. To answer your question succinctly, good managers are vitally important, just as good referees, ring announcers and cameramen are. The whole show needs talent in every area, that's how I see it.
Let's talk about Prospect. The four of you are taking over WCPW. Does it give you a sense of security knowing you can say whatever you like with all the other members of Prospect having your back?
Drake, Alex Gracie and Lucas Archer are exciting to work with, we all share the same kind of vision. As performers, they have yet to hit their peak, maybe we'll do so together. I certainly haven't achieved everything I want to accomplish either. There's something inspiring about that shared mindset. To your point, it's definitely true that the wrestlers a manager works with decides what level of confidence he/she has. My business is verbal, and it's crucial that I have something worth verbalising. The members of Prospect represent that, I could talk about them all day.
We would love to talk about Prospect all day!
Back to the managers of the past. We sadly lost one of the all time greats in Mr Fuji this week. Did characters such as Mr Fuji and Paul Bearer have any impact on you wanting to be a manager yourself?
I put a short message on Twitter regarding Mr. Fuji once I found out he had passed, thanking him for giving me so many magical memories. That was genuine, growing up he was definitely somebody who inspired me. Paul Bearer was the same, largely because he had such a divergent character, abnormal yet utterly captivating. My main inspiration was Bobby Heenan, but every manager I have seen has rubbed off a little on me. For example, 'Sensational' Sherri was well-named, she was phenomenal around ringside and on the microphone. I would have loved to have met her, solely to pick her brains about the little things that make a great manager.
I hate to ask this but everyone I've spoken to before this interview pleaded me to. How does it feel being compared to George Michael every time you're out there? And do you have any words for 'The Local hero' Joe Hendry regarding this?
The whole George Michael comparison was completely organic, I really didn't see it coming. ICW fans take credit, they come up with some of the most original chants I've ever heard, although thankfully they've stopped with the 'Fat Johnny Knoxville' and 'Young Jimmy Saville' ones! Joe Hendry exploited this for use in one of his entrance routines, and it was hard to keep a straight face. If you can't poke fun at yourself, you won't get very far. I'm learning guitar so I can pen a rebuttal, but unfortunately he looks like a Hollywood star so insulting him might be tough. The handsome bastard.