My name is Michael Kohlweg. I have worked as "Kay Jutler" for 12 years but am known by both names. I work around the UK and Europe as an independent professional wrestler. Outside of the ring I have won 8 drug tested bodybuilding awards in the Natural Physique Association. I own two businesses, my personal training company MK Total Fitness and my landlord housing company MK Rental Properties.
What made you want to become a professional wrestler, has it lived up to your expectations? And if not, why?
Like with most things in life, you are moulded by your childhood. As a child, I would sit with my dad and watch the super heroes of professional wrestling on our little TV.
Have you made your debut outside of the UK? If so how do the British crowds compare? And if not, where would you like to go globally?
I have worked in more countries outside of the UK than most on the circuit. I have worked in Ireland, France, Germany, Denmark, Canada, America and Japan. I would have a story for each country but out of everywhere I’ve worked, the biggest crowd was Japan but oddly the best money was France. Try to make sense of THAT!
In wrestling you have a bit of everything, strong style, high flying, storytelling and even comedy. What do you believe is the most important factor? Or is it indeed a combination?
If you were hoping for a long and detailed analogy of what makes a great performer or performance I’m afraid the answer couldn’t be simpler. Connection with the crowd is the only thing that matters in professional wrestling. Someone might argue that strong style is the most important because it retains the realism of the profession, however if you’re doing a show on a Butlin’s holiday camp in front of children then this level of violence is not appropriate. Some might argue technical grappling is the most fundamental basis of wrestling, but if you are in front of a crowd who have had a few drinks and want to enjoy themselves then a comedy approach may better suit.
There’s no one style that works. The way to transition from a wrestler to a great wrestler is to be able to walk into a town you’ve never been to, go on stage and understand what works in front of your audience. There’s plenty of people in the spot light at the moment being praised for being the next best thing in British wrestling, but they work the same way on every internet smart mark show they get booked on. The true greats like James Mason and Doug Williams can get a feel for their crowd early on and shape a performance to fit. You are a wrestler when you can do wrestling moves, you’re a worker when you can work a crowd.
What would you say is your biggest inspiration for being a wrestler and how do you cope with your everyday life in regard to training, travelling and performing in front of crowds?
By cope with it, what are you asking? Is it difficult to cope with, or what is it like? You cope by just getting on with it. I train 5 days a week at the gym, I have competed in bodybuilding contests and won eight drug tested bodybuilding awards in the Natural Physique Association. So my gym work is incredibly important to me as I am known for my shape. Travelling is a part of the job. Usually several workers who live in the same area will share a car down to the venue at the request of the promoter to save on travel costs. When I work abroad I usually buy overnight parking at Gatwick online for my car and my flights are always paid for by the promoter so when I land wherever I’m working I give the receipt to the promoter and they reimburse me for my parking fee at Gatwick. I never have trouble with my diet in the UK, but due to baggage restrictions I do find my diet slips when I work abroad. I’m unsure where the shops are and what I can ask for in each language.
The performance in front of a crowd is great. I used to get so nervous before shows I would be sick but once you understand the trick to figuring out what the crowd want to see, you have the power to turn any crowd in your favour. I haven’t been nervous in a very long time because I know that I will be able to understand what type of crowd I'm working with and how to give them what they want. I poor wrestler will plan what they want to do and rigidly stick to the plan, a worker will decide what needs to be done when they are out there. James mason taught me that.
Did you ever have anything else lined up just in case? Or did you always know you were destined to be a performer?
I started paying into a pension when I was 21. Not many kids in their 20’s think about getting old but I have always been careful with money. It’s a common expression yet no one ever lives by it; “It’s not about how much money you make, it’s about how much money you save.” As a result of living by that rule I own two houses. I bought my first in 2012 and my second in 2016. My second house I rent out as a landlord to a lovely woman and her two little girls.
So that is a long term business investment that will always return. On top of that I started my own personal training business which I run out of several gyms around Swindon. It has grown incredibly and I have been fortunate enough to host fitness weekends and week-long seminars in as far reaching as Denmark. Being self-made man with his own businesses I am free to wrestle whenever the work comes my way, whereas most people on the British scene don’t manage to make wrestling their sole income, they have to subsidise their life with a 9-5. I don’t have that confinement.
What advice would you give to someone who is training, or due to start training, to be a professional wrestler?
Get your diet right first. Before you even worry about the gym. Eat right and eat enough to put on muscle.
However much you think you should stretch, double it. The day you tear a muscle these words will be thundering in your ears… “Stretch.”
Do neck bridges. You will never know how important they are until the day comes when you are dropped on your head. Davey Boy Smith was in a car crash in Canada and went right through the windscreen. Bret Hart writes about the incident in his book and states the only reason Smith wasn’t killed was because of how thick and strong his neck was.
Finally, try speaking to people you’ve never spoken to before. Strangers on the street, shop keepers, pretty girls, anyone you see. Get comfortable striking up a conversation with total strangers. Because if you can’t do that, you can’t get on stage.
What are your thoughts on the current state of British wrestling compared to American or Japanese?
We don’t have British wrestling anymore. It is American wrestling filmed in England. That was made evident by the recent rekindling of World of Sport on ITV. Everyone on that show did a fantastic job and showed how great the wrestling scene is in this country…. But it wasn’t British wrestling because I’m afraid there is no longer a market for British wrestling. American wrestling is the dominant televised force in the industry, when you hear the world “wrestling” you think of American wrestling and everyone has followed suit. That’s not to say the ITV show wasn’t a great and entertaining event. But from what World of Sport used to be, to what was shown now, there are no similarities. The British technical wrestling style has been removed from our shows and replaced with a more Americanised product. But that’s what sold it to the fans. That’s what they wanted to see and they did a great job giving them what they wanted.