Today we bring you a special interview, conducted by Mary from Honour Magazine, with another star on the way up. Derek Cornell is hoping to take his natural talent and charisma to the next level in the coming year. Already a standout in buzzworthy Midwest promotions like Magnum Pro and Adrenaline Pro, expect to see him trash talking into a camera near you, sooner rather than later. Until then, check out his numerous matches on Youtube, follow his hilarious twitter, and read this in depth interview.
Were you a lifelong fan of wrestling?
I grew up absolutely infatuated with the sport. It’s the one thing a lot of my family could come together and talk about; I just fell a little more in love with it than them and became a part of it.
What made you decide to start training to become a wrestler?
There was never really a “big moment” that made me decide that I was going to become a wrestler. I wish there was some big heart-felt moment that I could tell you about, but honestly, I just knew I was going to become a wrestler, like it was what I was meant to do. The showmanship, the athleticism, the prowess– I loved it. So after high school, I packed my things and left Pittsburgh to go to Iowa for college and to start training. The Midwest was where I was told to go, not for the booming scene, but where the hungry young guns go, and so I did.
Where and when did you get your initial training?
Training for me started in 2008 in a cold ass brick building with a few other guys, some there longer than me, some just starting. I remember that first day being fast and I was in there with guys who’d been around six months or longer and keeping pace. It just clicked for me.
Were there any wrestlers influences you had in mind as you trained?
I tried modeling myself after Chris Hero and Josh Prohibition. Two of my all-time favorites, never got bored watching their tapes, and after months of trying to be like them, a light went off, “There’s already a Prohibition and a Hero, but there isn’t a Derek Cornell.” So I started patterning myself after them instead of trying to copy them, and so far it’s worked out pretty well for me.
Was there skepticism from your peers and family with your decision? Looking back, would you have changed anything?
My family hated it. My mom hated the idea of me getting hurt, and my dad wouldn’t have anything to do with it. Friends back home expected it; I think they knew this was what I always wanted to do, so they just supported it. Looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m too good at what I do; I wouldn’t take back what makes me happy to make someone else happy.
Tell us about your first match.
My first match was Donnie Peppercricket in Wellman, Iowa in that cold ass brick building. Donnie had been around for about seven years at the time, had a hundred pound weight advantage on me, and hits like there’s a god damn ball bat attached to his elbow. I’ll be honest, I impressed myself. I kept on him for most of that match, cut the big man down, and if that big bastard didn’t jump off the top and damn near broke my nose, I probably would’ve had a win.
Were there anyone who mentored you as you were training?
The big “X” factor in my career when it came to a “name” that took me under his wing is Jaysin Strife. Former NWA Midwest X-Division champion, internationally traveled, and by far the most underrated wrestler in this business. He and I have had our wars, but at end of the day, I owe everything to him. Donnie took me in as well, and together, those two helped me get even better.
Do you feel it is difficult to balance wrestling with having a normal life?
No, nothing’s hard unless you make it that way, and I’ve been climbing mountains for as long as I can remember. Maybe for any other guy it’s tough. Call me cocky, but I’m a natural with anything wrestling related.
What aspirations did you have when you started wrestling? What are your current goals?
My main goal when I first started wrestling was and always will be to go to WWE and take my spot at the top. Anything else was just a stepping stone. Winning belts, beating the big names– all just fuel and reason for me to be there.
What is Derek Cornell all about? What makes him tick?
People ask me that a lot, and quite frankly, it’s as simple as pride and keeping it. I will take three punches to give one, and I’ll exploit something on whoever I face. I refuse to lose due to not giving 100%. If his best is better than mine on that day, then so be it, but every night, every match, I bring everything I have to the table, and I walk away with all the marbles in Chinatown. Anything less is failure. I don’t fail. If that means I have to kick you in the face until you’re unconscious, then your face and my foot are gonna become worst enemies. If I have to screw with your head, plug your ears or I’m already inside. Failure is never an option, I simply won’t allow it.
Which promotion do you call home?
If I were to pick a home, I couldn’t. I’m like the kid with divorced parents, I have two homes. Adrenaline Pro in Milo, Iowa and Magnum Pro out in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Both have groomed me, both have given me matches that I would not get anywhere else, and both gave me an opportunity when no one else heard me knocking on the door.
Do you enjoy singles wrestling or tag team competition more?
Tag team wrestling I feel pushes me more, because it’s more intricate. However, singles competition has gotten me further in my career.
We’ve heard you say in the past that you respected former SHIMMER Champion Madison Eagles. Tell us about that.
Let me tell you why I respect Madison Eagles as much as I do. She has a look that no one else does, she’s very charismatic, and she’ll fight. Not one other girl her size can go like she can, she’s the total package. She stands head and shoulders above the majority of the women out there.
Name 5 dream opponents.
Chris Hero, Josh Prohibition, Johnny Gargano, Jerry Lynn, and James Storm. In no particular order.
How was it working with Joey Ryan, Jimmy Jacobs and Arik Cannon? Did you feel pressure working the more high profile guys?
With Joey and Cannon, the pressure was huge, because they have mass followings, and people flock to see them. With Jimmy, I didn’t feel as much. I was excited to wrestle him, don’t get me wrong, but I didn’t get “that” Jimmy Jacobs. I’m not gonna run him down, but I didn’t get the Jimmy Jacobs everyone loves.
Who do you feel has been your toughest opponent so far in your career?
By far, hands down, no god damn doubt, Arik Cannon. That son of a bitch busted my lip, my mouth, my chest has scars, I got a black eye, and then I couldn’t see straight for three days without the room spinning. I beat him, so he wasn’t that tough, but he definitely let me know I was in a fight.
Would you ever consider relocating for more opportunities? What companies would you like to work outside of your regular ones?
Relocation is always a possibility. I never rule it out because I never know where this crazy sport will take me; I just know I’ll succeed wherever I might end up. Right now, my big one that I would love to make a regular is AAW out in Berwyn, Illinois. I know a lot of their talent out there, I love the environment, it’s phenomenal.
What lies in the future for Derek Cornell?
And ruin the surprise? How about you just keep following me and I’ll keep you posted on everything.
You can follow Derek on twitter: @ChampCityDC also like his Facebook page: Facebook.com/DerekCornellSCS. For booking inquiries you can contact him at email@example.com. Below, see him take on “Magnum” Joey Ryan for the APW title.