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Interview with ‘The World Beater’ Damian Slater

January 14, 2018

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We sat down with TMDK’s ‘World Beater’ Damian Slater ahead of his Australian National Championship match with ‘Gorgeous’ Greg Graham on January 20th at WRESTLE RAMPAGE: Reloaded. Here’s what he had to say:

WR.com: G’day Damian. So January 20th, Wrestle Rampage is making its Port Adelaide debut at the Waterside Workers Hall. We have learnt that you have a lot of history in this venue. Care to explain?

DS: The WWH is where I made my debut at the age of 15, so I have fond memories of the place. It’s also where I used to go to watch local shows when I was a pre-teen as it’s only walking distance from my childhood home. Such a cool little venue and apparently it’s had a fair bit of revamping in the decade or so that wrestling has been absent from it, so it’s awesome that it’s again becoming the home of pro wrestling in South Australia. I honestly can’t think of a better place to win my 3rd Australian National Championship!

WR.com: I’m not sure how well known it is, but you moved to Perth at the beginning of 2017 and have been wrestling regularly with our friends over at Explosive Pro Wrestling. What prompted the move?

DS: A woman stole my heart *laughs*. There were many reasons for the move, none of which really involved wrestling. My fiance is originally from Perth and was living with me in Adelaide. She was about to start her own business, and when we weighed up all of the pros and cons at the end of 2016, Perth was going to be the best place for her to launch it. I was wrestling in EPW regularly since 2005, so Perth’s always been my 2nd home. I do miss Adelaide but one of the things that softened the move, is that I still get brought back regularly for Wrestle Rampage, so now I’m getting the best of both worlds. 

WR.com: In 2016 you were the only Australian to compete in the 32-Man WWE Cruiserweight Classic when you faced former WWE & ECW legend, Tajiri. How has life been since then? 

DS: Getting the ‘WWE rub’ certainly gave me a boost immediately following my time in Orlando and I gained infinite amounts of wisdom from that one experience. It’s something I’ll forever look back on with nothing but positive memories, but it has also made me hungrier for other things. Whilst I still have many goals to achieve, I have also started focusing a lot more on our turf in Australia. For a long time I was only worried about making it overseas, and while that is still the objective, I see so much potential in Australia and I think that I can play an important role in our progress as a Pro Wrestling ‘territory’. 

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Photo Credit: WWE Network

WR.com: You also recently had a tryout in Melbourne with New Japan Pro Wrestling, who have recently announced their Australian tour for this coming February. How did that go and is there any interest in bringing you into NJPW?

DS: Again, nothing but a positive experience. New Japan is a promotion that I have always dreamed of wrestling for ever since I was given some Super Juniors VHS compilations by Col Dervany in my first week of training. A cool little side note; I was accepted to go and train at the NJPW Dojo in Los Angeles in 2007 but it unfortunately shut down 3 days before I arrived. Has there been any interest in me from NJPW? I’d rather keep you guessing.

WR.com: Back to the original point of this interview, you are about to face the current Australian National Champion, ‘Gorgeous’ Greg Graham; a man you actually lost to in 2017. However a win for you would mean that you become the first ever 3-time Champion. What are your thoughts on GGG going into this match and what does the Australian National Championship mean to you?

DS: The NWA Australian National Champion was first crowned in an 8-man tournament at HBF Arena/Challenge Stadium in Perth in 2007 in which I lost to NJPW’s Rocky Romero in the first round. Just to be included in that bracket, and to then watch Mikey Nicholls [now NXT’s Nick Miller] win it in a tournament that also featured the likes of Cesaro and Australian legends Spike Steele, Jimmy Payne and Davis Storm, was an incredible experience and gave me so much pride for that Championship.

‘Gorgeous’ Greg on the other hand, shouldn’t be given the respect that I give to the aforementioned names. 10 years into his career and I tip my metaphorical hat to him for fulfilling a lifelong goal, but the way he’s done it? He’s shooting himself in the foot and tarnishing his own legacy. Trust me, I’ve been in the same boat. Leave your boys in the back, Greg. I don’t want any excuses when I bring the gold home. 

WR.com: You have certainly had one of the most decorated careers of any Australian wrestler of this generation, yet you are only 30 years old. What does the future hold for Damian Slater?

DS: I’d say ‘I wish I knew’ but I think that’s the fun of it all. All I ever wanted to do in the beginning was wrestle in front of a live crowd, just once. Each little box I ticked led to bigger and greater goals and now I can look back on over half a lifetime of learning experiences and amazing memories. I feel very fortunate that I’ve lived through the camaraderie of Australian wrestling’s building stage in the early 2000s and now I’m in the prime of my career with Australia getting eyes worldwide. 

I’ve always been a bucket lister, so if you want to know what my immediate goals are, I’d like to make my UK debut and also return to Japan. I miss that place more than anything. In Australia, I’m focusing on making The Untouchables [Slater’s team with Marcius Pitt] the #1 team in the country as I’ve pretty much been a singles wrestler my entire life. I look forward to the challenge. Of course, I also want to build the name of EPW and Wrestle Rampage up so that more eyes take notice. Oh and I need to finish Crash Bandicoot 3. It’s killing me!

WR.com: Thanks so much for the interview and we’ll see this this Saturday night at the Waterside Workers Hall.

DS: Cheers mate. I’m counting down the days!

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Tickets are on sale for Saturday, January 20th’s RELOADED event. Click on the button below to secure yours today.

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