Karlifornia Infirri: 00:00:16:10 – 00:00:53:58
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Insider’s Edge Podcast here on the WZWA Network. I’m your “Host with the Most on the West Coast”, Karlifornia Infirri, it’s a joy to be with you all once again.
And speaking of a joy right here, right now, I get the opportunity to talk to a guy who is- he’s my favourite ring announcer right now, in professional wrestling. This guy’s like- he’s like a party host for Xtreme Pro Wrestling. That’s how I feel when he walks out, it’s time for a party.
That’s what I feel when I see this man right here, the legendary, the one and only Mr. Larry Legend. How you doing bro?
Larry Legend: 00:00:53:59 – 00:01:48:21
I’m doing fantastically well, and after that introduction, I am feeling even better, so thank you for that, well done, and I’m glad that you hit that. It’s a party, it’s a party when I step through that curtain and the people are rockin’, hey, it’s party time.
So yeah, that’s… that’s what, that’s my approach to it. A lot of the times, the first thing you see after the guys scurrying around the ring to set it up, and the referee kind of getting in position and the commentators sit down.
The first person that walks out that curtain that’s going to kick off the show is typically your ring announcer, your master of ceremonies, your MC! And I very much care about that moment. And every single time I am warmly welcomed and received. And that’s what makes my job all the more easy.
Karlifornia Infirri: 00:01:48:21 – 00:02:16:25
Absolutely, bro. And like, this is the thing. Like not many wrestling companies give their ring announcer an entrance. There’s a reason why they give you the entrance because you are “The Party Host with the Most”, and that’s what… that’s what makes the beginning of the show so exciting.
But, Larry, we got to go… we got to go all the way back to the beginning. All the way back. When you were a young man, how did you become a fan of professional wrestling?
Larry Legend: 00:02:16:29 – 00:03:55:56
Well, like, I’m like most fans that are my generation- I’m an eighties, baby. Saturday morning was a huge thing because there was no school you got to sleep in. And they showed the rare cartoons that weren’t shown during the week on Saturday morning. Monday through Friday, getting ready for school. Dennis the Menace in syndication. Maybe a little Denver, The Last Dinosaur, you know. You know nothing that I really was too pressed to see. But on Saturday morning is when the cartoons that only were produced and shown on Saturday morning would be on.
And in my market, right after the hours of cartoons Pro Wrestling would start, it would be WCW, on what would eventually become the Sinclair Broadcast Network that eventually owned Ring of Honor. It would be WCW on 54 and WWF on 45. The first show would start at at 11. That would be WCW on 54. And then you got right into WWF at noon on Saturday morning.
So my first love affair with wrestling was coupled with cartoons and sort of having a good, fun time watching these images of animation and then getting real life cartoon characters kind of that were- that were real men that could lead, you know, and really get messed up. So that’s really, my love affair with pro wrestling was with cartoons on Saturday morning.
Karlifornia Infirri: 00:03:55:56 – 00:04:00:14
Right. So what year would have that been in the eighties?
Larry Legend: 00:04:00:19 – 00:05:05:28
Well, I guess […] ‘90-ish? ’90-ish? I can remember distinctly now. I mentioned Saturday morning being my love affair with pro wrestling, but I can remember distinctly there would be times where Saturday Night Live would be pre-emptive for Saturday Night’s Main Event. And I do remember being excited by the fact that wrestling was on at night and I can distinctly remember trying to stay up to watch Andre the Giant versus Hulk Hogan in the rematch from WrestleMania 3. It was for the title, but I fell asleep on that match.
I did not see that match, but I can remember as early as 1990, you know, being excited and staying up to catch wrestling. But the love of there really, I’d say really in ‘90… ’92, is when I wouldn’t miss it. ‘92 was when I wouldn’t miss it. I was going out of my way to make sure that I saw it and to follow the storylines and to keep abreast with both WCW and WWF at the time.
Karlifornia Infirri: 00:05:05:32 – 00:05:45:11
Right. So, you’re very lucky to be living over there at the time because you get access to all of this stuff. I’m from Perth, Western Australia, and how long it took us to get access to any of this stuff. Most of the time, you know, we get a little bit here and there but not really enough on the level that you would get over there in the U.S. So, you know, as a fan growing up on my end, very frustrating to find anything that I’m trying to find.
For you, you got WCW, you got WWF, you know, do you find your way into tape trading? Do you buy the magazines? How does your fandom grow as you grow older?
Larry Legend: 00:05:45:16 – 00:10:17:28
So definitely, the magazines were huge thing for me in my fandom because I wanted wrestling all of the time. And of course, you know, in the eighties and early nineties, early nineties, we only got it really on Saturdays. That’s it. There was no Raw. There was no Thunder, there was no weekly wrestling. So when I would go to supermarkets or comic book stores, I would always find the Pro Wrestling Illustrated. The Wrestler, all of these magazines just to like look at the images and read the words and… and kind of see the names of other wrestlers and other companies that… I had no idea what USWA was or Triple A, you know, like all of those companies were covered. But I never I never put two and two together to realize that those were like kind of indies. I just was like, Oh, USWA, ECW, whatever. I don’t see any of the names.
And then I would see like, Oh, ‘Superfly’ Jimmy Snuka is on this ECW roster. I was like, he used to be in WWF, I remember him! So yeah, around the time through the magazines is when I realized that there was another world, but I really didn’t explore it because I was kind of still learning and immersing myself in WWF.
It was, it was a little too much, but I will tell you that at one point I was like, kind of like how your setup is there with the nWo banner, and I see a wrestling buddy there. I started to kind of adorn my walls with all of the 8×10 or 11×17 fold outs that you get from the magazines. And I remember one of the first ones that I put up on my wall when I didn’t even know who this person was, was a man by the name of Jeff Jarrett, and he was a blonde wrestler that was kind of doing the signature wrestler pose with the smile and… and the fist up, like, “I’ll knock your teeth out!” And I put them up on my wall and I was like, I don’t know who this guy is, but he’s a wrestler and he’s featured in this magazine. So up on the wall he goes.
And then by the time I left home, I just had my entire wall plastered with different posters that I pulled out of various magazines. But yeah I don’t… I don’t… the fandom grew then and then it wasn’t tape training, what it was- we used to have hardcore wrestling fans who would subscribe to The Observer. I didn’t even know what the Observer was and they would subscribe to ‘The Torch’. I didn’t even know what ‘The Torch’ was. And what they would do is they would set up phone numbers that were directly connected to a voice machine, an answering machine, and weekly they would essentially get ‘The Torch’ and get The Observer. And they read everything that Meltzer was writing about.
All of the rumours about- this is what I kind of started to realize that maybe Pro Wrestling was set up because I’ll never… I’ll never forget. In ‘93, Shawn Michaels was stripped of the Intercontinental Championship and they had a battle royale on Raw, where the last two people would then fight the next week on Raw to crown the new Intercontinental Champion. And the first episode at that Raw was live. So it was all like brand new.
But what I learned was that then they would sometimes do a set of tapings, so it would be a live Raw, then a taped Raw, live Raw, and a taped Raw. And one of the hotlines that I called to get the news reported that next week on Raw, you’re going to see Razor Ramon win the Intercontinental Championship. And I just could not fathom how they knew this, and I also was kind of ignorant to the fact that it was the same crowd that I was watching, you know, that they would- they wouldn’t say where they were live from. They would just say it’s ‘Monday Night Raw’ and the match would start, the match would start.
But of course, what was reported on the phone happened, and that’s when I kind of was like, whoa, the jig may be up because I was the kind of kid that was fighting everyone on the playground, that wrestling was real. They were… they were really hitting each other or they didn’t know who was going to win. You know, someone won the belt, it was like a big deal, you know? And of course, I had a lot of classmates that were like, you can see them stomping the mat. You know, I- my dad told me one time he went down early and saw them practicing, you know, and all types of things where I’d be like a sole, sole warrior on the playground trying to defend, you know, my favourite thing. And yeah, that’s when I kind of started to glean that this thing may be kind of a little bit of a set-up, like a movie or a TV show I was watching.
Karlifornia Infirri: 00:10:17:32 – 00:11:06:50
I love all that, I really love… I love talking to guys like you that, you know, like I’ve had guys on the show like Don Muraco and all that and like, I can’t talk to them in depth about what it was like being a fan growing- because they don’t want to go on about their fandom too much. So I like to hear about, like your experience as a fan, to compare it to mine because I believe it was like ‘92. I would’ve been like five, six years old. And at my Nonna’s house, there was WCW on television and the moment I saw it, it blew my mind and I was like “wow, what is this?” Within 30 seconds, my dad immediately made sure that I knew that it was not real. “Oh this, this is not real. son, this is not real. It’s all, it’s all pretend.” I don’t know why he was so adamant, but yet for the decade plus, Santa Clause is okay to tell me that-
Larry Legend: 00:11:06:50 – 00:12:19:44
Right?! That’s exactly what was going through my mind. They… they fool us to think that there’s a bunny that’s going to drop off eggs that there was a magical fairy that’s going to- while we’re sleeping, take our tooth and give money that there’s this big guy in a red suit. All of that is part of the course for stretching a child’s imagination.
But I guess it’s the potential for us to imitate the violence, which is very deadly if, you know, you piledrive a guy on cement they could die! They could crack their skull and they could die! So I guess maybe it’s kind of like, hey, I don’t want little Larry to go out on the Catholic school playground and dropkick, you know, a girl that he’s mad at. You know, she’s just going to bounce back up and hit him with a clothesline, you know. So I guess that’s where it is. But it’s so… it’s so ironic that our parents worked tirelessly to fool us on some regards about rewards that you could get if you were a good person or magical things that happen when your tooth comes out. But “oh, no, no, no. That’s all fake!”
You know, it’s so strange, but it is what it is, look at us now! Now it’s kind of like an accepted thing. I wonder if there even is any more wonderment in children? How far their Wonder could go, you know?
Karlifornia Infirri: 00:12:19:44 – 00:12:43:20
Yeah. You know, just a coveted memory… I’ve never spoken about this subject on the show before, but it’s so funny that my father was adamant about letting me know that wrestling was not real, but he was, he was really adamant when I started at school, like really early on, I was like five years old. He would make sure, like, if anyone tries to bully you, you stand up for yourself. If anyone tries to-
Larry Legend: 00:12:42:00 – 00:12:43:20
Karlifornia Infirri: 00:12:43:20 – 00:13:03:45
You have to stand up for yourself, right? At the very last week at school, this girl took my crayon and I punched her in the face. I was five. I don’t know what I… I just thought “this is what Dad meant.” Like as soon as someone does something that upsets me, I punch them, and he was like, “No! That’s not what I meant, that’s not what I meant!” But still-
Larry Legend: 00:13:03:45 – 00:13:36:10
Yeah, of course! It’s funny how they go on about this aspect, but Pro Wrestling, “Oh, no, no, no, no. It’s not real.” I don’t know. I just feel like the lesson, I feel like the lesson could have been a little deeper. If kind of, he went into “…and girls are going to do things to you to try to get you to punch them in the face, but it actually means that they like you!” Then maybe you would have been smartened up, as we say in the biz, that, you know, “stand up for yourself if there’s a guy that’s bullying you, if a guy and other little boys taking your money of your lunch but if a girl does it, it means she wants to smooch”, you know?
Karlifornia Infirri: 00:13:36:10 – 00:14:39:02
Exactly, he should have been- he should have given me a little bit more information on that, but- Yeah, yeah. I’m glad that you’re vibing with that, Larry.
Okay, so fandom, fandom, fandom, fandom, it grows, It grows, It grows. You’re a young man, become a teenager. I don’t know if wrestling’s still cool in school because it was cool for like, oh, a short period of time for me, like 1998, 1999, when the Attitude Era was going on and man, like everyone loved it. And you know, you walk into a local fast food outlet and the guys in front of you in line are wearing nWo, Austin 3:16 shirts, It’s cool, but there’s a point in time where it’s not so cool and people find out that you like watching wrestling and you know their thoughts on wrestling are now “well, I see these guys, The Rock and Stone Cold, but I don’t know anything about it… but they’re two guys in their underwear fighting each other that’s gay.” And that makes me gay, you know? Like, so you have to keep it quiet. Did that happen to you at all?
Larry Legend: 00:14:39:12 – 00:18:49:26
So I… it did. Okay. I have two schoolings, you know? What to call it… Machinations. Catholic School from 1st to 8th grade, Catholic school. So a lot there. A lot there’s where I was teased and called gay quite a bit because I was a fan of wrestling and I did kind of keep it a little bit on the low at Catholic school.
High school… I went to a Performing Arts High School. My parents realized that there was something inside of me that needed to get out through observing me and like, you know how in school you have like the Christmas Pageant, the Spring Pageant, those were always the times where all of my behavior problems and sort of my like learning, if I was doing bad in math, didn’t matter! When I was like featured in the school production that our parents were going to come to see before Christmas Break or Spring Break. You know, if I was in that. It was like “Wow, Larry stole the show! Larry was great! I wish they would do that again just so we could watch Larry!” And my… my mom and my grandma kind of acknowledged that, and they put me into like community theater, and that led to me eventually going to and enrolling in a Performing Arts High School. Once I got into the Performing Arts High School and I was around, you know, goth kids, Atheist, Cosmetology kids, like all types of people that were involved in The Arts and had a passion for The Arts, it didn’t matter what you wore, it didn’t matter what you rapped, it didn’t matter if you were gay.
It was such a nurturing environment and a stark contrast from Catholic school, so in high school, fandom was everywhere. If you ask anyone that I went to high school with, they would tell you I had the Shawn Michaels denim jacket, and the Shawn Michaels hat. I wore the Shawn Michaels earrings, I wore the Shawn Michaels heart glasses. I would get up on the bus in ninth grade and the girls would, like, cheer for me as I sang “I’m just a Sexy Boy, sexy-”, they would do it on the bus, and then they would, like, want me to do it during lunch period, you know?
So I was completely embraced as a pro wrestling fan, and… because I was in a Performing Arts High School, I would actually like learn acting techniques like, of course, we were like reading things about Shakespeare and Meisner and all of these great minds of, of acting… but I would like watch… like how Undertaker would pause and do his head whip around and how dramatic, how more dramatic that would make a promo, or I’d watch like, you know, Stone Cold’s gears turn in his head right before he would give, you know, McMahon the kick in the stomach and the Stunner the first time in Madison Square Garden… like the angst on his face at one point, I think he like, started rubbing his head and he goes into the corner and then he gets on the microphone and you can tell the tension’s in his body. And then he goes, “I appreciate that you could go to hell!” and- or “kiss my ass!” or whatever he said, and then the Stunner and like, you know, I pop, I had this huge moment of like, that’s what we knew what was coming. That was what we wanted to see.
But like, that kind of thing, like, hooked me more than the actual matches. The matches were almost secondary to me, to how these guys were convincing me, and women were convincing me that this is like something that was must-see TV, and… I have a Return of the Living Dead T-shirt- tank top on right now, I’m really into the style of acting that is in horror movies because it’s very true. It’s very not good, but it’s very true on some level and that is very much the same style of acting that I acknowledged was in Pro Wrestling, and by being embraced by my Performing Arts High School and, you know, just showing my true colors, I was able to learn a lot of kind of like ways that you could manipulate the audience to, like, get on your side or believe in whatever you were saying through watching Pro Wrestling, so…
Karlifornia Infirri: 00:18:49:26 – 00:19:23:00
That’s brilliant. Yeah, well, I really miss when wrestling was a soap opera. Like a male soap opera, God damn. But anyway, Larry Okay, fandom, fandom. We’re done with fandom now, okay… we really covered it in very good detail and I’m sure there’s so many people out there that will conveywith how we both feel about it… but there’s got to be a point, there is a point in time where you figure out a way to get into the business. What made you think, you know what, I have to be involved? What is it that I got to do? How did you figure it out?
Larry Legend: 00:19:23:00 – 00:27:58:24
Okay, so fandom led me to convincing my best friend, Craig Swenson, to, like, wrestle me throughout the hallways and, you know, at our high school and on the gym stage before Physical Ed or right before we had to get on the busses, we would just do like little mock matches, not even doing any real moves, just like hitting each other with our backpacks. And that snowballed into us somehow or other recruiting other high schoolers to do backyard wrestling at my… at my home, and there was another guy who had the video camera and his mom also was like “you know, it’s fine for you guys to come to my property and film yourself doing, you know, mock wrestling.”
So it was in… essentially becoming a leader in like, if I trace my origin stories, this was almost kind of like the first promoting that I ever did. I was able to kind of get a collective of guys to invest themselves enough in… dedicating time into a character, into music, into showing up and… like talking before we got together to do the backyard wrestling that really kind of just was the ignition of the flame, of “I have got to like, do this.” Like, there are people that have been doing this for years and there are people that have been making my mom’s money for years off of the fact that I’m so into this.
At this point, I’m kind of doing a very rudimentary version of it. You know, no ropes, no… no charging for tickets, just a stereo and like one of those VHS cameras, and then we got another one, so we had two cameras going at once. You know, nothing, nothing, nothing serious. And I would do this while I was undergrad in college… in New York City, I started doing it right after I graduated. By the time I graduated high school, which is ‘99, ’99, I actually graduated High School the day Owen Hart fell from the Kemper Arena, May 23rd, 1999.
By the time I went to undergrad college, my friends were still like “Hey, when you come home for Christmas Break can we, can we film a couple episodes of UWF?” And I was like, “hell yeah, we can!” And then when I’m home for the summer, we’re going to resume. We’ll just have off-seasons. So all throughout my undergrad year in college, I’m talking 19, 20, 21. I’m like coming back home as an adult, living in New York and doing backyard wrestling with a lot of guys who were still in High School… and it was around that time that I was like, “you know, I’m- I’m not getting any younger, so I’ve got to get involved” because this thing really fills me wholly even more than like doing like a Shakespeare production or fucking, you know, Law and Order, which a lot of my friends that went on after Carver to go to NYU and study in the Tisch School of Drama or Acting, like a lot of my friends were going on to some success, but I didn’t care about that. What meant more to me was getting home to like film UWF episodes, a series of tapings of UWF with my High School friends who also were really passionate about this, and… and one thing that did start happening was I would notice that as all my high school friends were getting involved with girls and stuff, like, it started like getting into a real adult things they kind of be like “oh yeah, I don’t feel like rolling around in the yard tonight”, you know, like, and that’s what I was like, “Huh, well, this is all going to be able to go for so long, so I better start doing this on an adult level”, and I’ll never forget…
I went into my guidance counsellor or whatever you call- advisor in college. I went into my adviser’s office and this subsequently was right after, right before I would go on to drop out of school, and I said to my advisor, “I want to work for World Wrestling Federation, and I know that they’re in Stamford, Connecticut, and I go to NYU, so I want an internship there”, and my advisor looks at me and he goes, “You want to work for the WWF?” And I go, “Yeah.” And he goes, “All right, I’ll go ahead and send out the, you know, contact their H.R. and get you all set up” but I did not go back. I did not enroll for my third year of NYU or I would have started an internship with WWE probably, I don’t know, editing or something, you know?
And then when I dropped out of the NYU, I was watching an episode of Raw and a local commercial came on for a Pro Wrestling Training Academy in my area of Baltimore, and the gears started turning in my head like whoa, whoever runs this place, like, was savvy enough to get a commercial during Raw, like knowing that everybody’s watching Raw, So I was like, I want to find out how they did that. Like these people know what they’re doing. Like, imagine if I could advertise my Backyard Wrestling shows during Raw? Like a lot of people would probably show up, so I kind of was like, This is, this is the business. This is a smaller business of what I’m watching, and I called the Pro Wrestling Training Academy and I was like “Hey, I’d like to learn about how you guys do this”, and they were like “well, come on down. We’ll show you the school and talk to you about some things”, and that was how I eventually got in, in, into wrestling, is by dropping out of NYU, not following through on my internship with WWF and finding a local pro wrestling company called Maryland Championship Wrestling that were advertising actively during the biggest wrestling program, you know, on TV at the time, because WCW, by this point WCW was bought.
This is 2000… I dropped out of NYU in 2001, right after 9/11. So by this point WCW’s bought and it’s the biggest show on TV and here’s a small company that’s doing an ad. I got to find out who these people are and like… you find out if there’s any way I can get involved. So they invited me down to the school, I toured it, and then they sat me down and they were like, So for what we can offer you, we’re going to need you to, like, pay the tuition for like a manager or a referee, like- and they showed me the breakdown of how a wrestler, you had to pay $3,000 for a year long’s training, $1,500 down or $1,000 down and for a referee, it was like… a manager, it was like a thousand. It was straight up $1,000, $750 down.
And I was thinking to myself “What? What? I want to learn and help you and you want me to pay?” Like, what is this? Like, this is not like what I was like… I didn’t tell them this at the time, but I was like, “I’m… in in NYU, I go to NYU, like, how dare you want me to pay money to come down and help you?” But they broke it down to me and they said “you know, you going to- if you’re good! And if you’re not like, you know, just wasting our time, you are going to make connections through us that are going to last you a lifetime and take you to a lot of places… and that’s not free. If that was free, this place would be filled with a bunch of people that look just like you that were like getting an education about the wrestling business. So show us how serious you are, put the $750 down and make your tuition payments, and we will, we will… we will assimilate you.”
And shortly after I put the money down, started like, showing up and doing things like going on flier-ing expeditions where we would just go around the town and put up posters for upcoming shows, and if WWF was in town, we would get a whole crew and we would put fliers on every car in the garage, and then when the doors were open and people were leaving, we would literally hold the doors open and like hand fliers out for the upcoming MCW show. So like a lot of like… admin stuff like that, which is true to life, what I said I wanted to learn about. And then they kind of slid me into like the merchandising and like kind of like, making the shirts pop a little bit more so that people would pay $25, or making the tapes like shrink wrap so that it was like, oh, I just bought something. This isn’t just the tape from Kmart. I’m opening it up. This is an MCW tape. Like, we literally would take tapes from Kmart, and then take them out of their packaging, and then we had these little black boxes that we would put a sticker on that would say MCW, put a sticker on the front so people would feel like they weren’t just buying like a tape, they were buying like an MCW tape.
So like all types of things like that is what I did for my first year and I know I’m going on and on and on… did I answer your question?
Karlifornia Infirri: 00:27:58:24 – 00:27:59:30
Larry Legend: 00:27:59:30 – 00:28:01:01
Did you want to interject anything?
Karlifornia Infirri: 00:28:01:01 – 00:29:08:26
No, no, no, that’s great. No, you found your way into the business and it’s really interesting to find out about how it went from backyard to, okay, you guys are noticing girls so they’re not showing up to the shows because of course… because you know what, Larry? I started backyard wrestling in 1998, I didn’t stop backyard wrestling until 2017.
I have been- I had been doing it for… geez… many, many years. I know exactly what it’s like because I ran my backyard wrestling groups and some people will just drop off here and there because wrestling’s not as cool anymore and we’re partying, going to parties, nah we’ve got a wrestling show this weekend, man, so I know exactly what you’re talking about when it comes to that.
Unfortunately, I did not have the avenue living in Perth, Western Australia, to just try and go wrestle for a professional wrestling company at the time. But that’s whyI was really vibing with that story because it’s so similar to mine. I was like, “can I get these dedicated guys, dedicated guys there every month?” But then all of a sudden they get a girlfriend, they’re gone.
Larry Legend: 00:29:08:31 – 00:30:51:32
Can I, can I share with you one of the worst, one of the worst things that happened was that like my- like my, one of my most prized wrestlers, like a big deal. We had put so much effort into making him a former champion, still in contention, and he was actually one of the better wrestlers out of all of us, he was a smaller guy and he could hit all the Rey Mysterio things.
His dad made him enrol in the Army right out of high school. And I guess he was like embarrassed, didn’t want to do it, it was kind of like, you know, under the rule of my parents still, you know, and now it’s time for me to do what I want to do, and they decided the best thing for me.
Bro, he just didn’t show up for our show, and like, we’re like, where is Tyron? Like, has anyone have his number? And everyone was like, I don’t know! And finally I called and I called his house. And finally his dad picked up and I go “Oh, hi, is Tyron there?” And his dad’s like, “Tyron’s in the Army.” And I’m like, “What?” and he’s like “yeah, he enlisted and he won’t be back for another eight months.” And I’m like “oh, okay, thanks.” And then I had to like, go out and tell all of my guys that were all geared up and waiting around, we’d been waiting for like an hour, I’m like “yo, Tyron’s in the Army.” And they’re like “what?” and I’m like “yeah, like, he’s gone, like…did anyone know?” Like, everyone’s like “I dunno, I just talked to him 2 nights ago!” And the guy was like “we were going over the match!” You know? So that was like one of the biggest letdowns early on in my career, before I was even… even a pro. But yeah, just to empathize with you running it, that’s a long time. ‘98 to 2017 too, that is an immense amount of time, but, you know…
Karlifornia Infirri: 00:30:51:32 – 00:30:53:13
Yeah, I started at 11 years.
Larry Legend: 00:30:53:13 – 00:30:54:53
I couldn’t keep my crew together, I couldn’t keep my crew together once the girls and life started happening, it was like I was out on a limb and I was the only one that cared that much about it to like, make it, make it happen and work consistently.
Karlifornia Infirri: 00:31:05:23 – 00:31:58:13
Absolutely. And I don’t want to bore everyone with my details, but maybe when we’re done with the interview, I could tell you a little bit more about my experience, but let’s keep up with your… with your story in professional wrestling.
All I thought- okay. So you came onto my radar when you started ring announcing for XPW, and I’m like “who is this guy? Clearly, he didn’t just start now, he’s been around- he has to have been around a while”, so I’m disappointed in myself with my fandom for not knowing all of you beforehand. But I’ve seen that you’ve been a ring… ring announcer for years, but then all of a sudden today I’m doing my research because as I do my research, usually on the day of the interview to keep it fresh.
I’m finding out that you actually did wrestle! You actually were a wrestler, and I thought you just a ring announcer this whole time So I’m very excited to hear about all this stuff.
Larry Legend: 00:31:58:13 – 00:32:05:13
Okay, hold on Let me stop you. If you’re, if you’re looking…I don’t know what it’s called, Cagematch.net?
Karlifornia Infirri: 00:32:05:13 – 00:32:06:02
Cagematch, I am. I am.
Larry Legend: 00:32:06:02 – 00:32:08:12
Okay. Okay. There’s… there is another Larry Legend. Okay?
Karlifornia Infirri: 00:32:09:08 – 00:32:11:07
No way! I thought that might have been the case.
Larry Legend: 00:32:11:07 – 00:32:14:59
Okay. Okay. So here’s, here’s the- here’s the Skinny Mini.
Karlifornia Infirri: 00:32:14:59 – 00:32:15:43
Larry Legend: 00:32:15:43 – 00:36:25:19
My original name in Pro Wrestling as an announcerwas Larry Kennedy Phillips. Yep. I was a heel announcer that was kind of supposed to be adjacent to the Mr. McMahon character in MCW. In as much as that we had an evil promoter who would decree things and I would be the mouthpiece, and I would relish in sort of revealing to a face that “oh, and you know who the Special Guest Referee’s gonna be? It’s gonna be me!” So…
Larry Kennedy Phillips was the original name that I was given in MCW, my alma mater, my first company. And what happened was that eventually I went out to do other promotions and… I started being the personal announcer for Ruckus in CZW with his stable,The Blackout.
When I went there I was called Big Larry K. Big Larry K, kind of like, an homage to Larry Kennedy Phillips, anyway long story short… when I finally became the CZW Announcer proper, I christened myself Larry Legend. I christened myself Larry Legend. When I first came out to CZW to be like, “Hey, y’all! I’m your new announcer. You may remember me when I was with Blackout as Big Larry K, but from this day forth, you can call me Larry Legend. And as the new announcer for CZW, I’m going to make-” you know, spiel, spiel, spiel and that’s where Larry Legend was born.
During this time, where I’m still kind of a little pebble, not really out there. Another wrestler who- who happens to be from the Maryland area, decided to start calling himself Larry Legend! So on Cagematch there’s- there’s some… it’s listing that I’ve done a lot of matches. Now I HAVE, I have done a few matches, okay? I have a few matches because let me take you back when I was the heel announcer Larry Kennedy Phillips, I was getting so much heat that in MCW where I was kind of being an admin, you know, administrator at first they were like, “we’ve got to train you to take bumps”, and they had no idea about my backyard. MCW had no idea I was a backyarder. When I came down there and I was like, I want to get into this. I didn’t say “well, you know, I do backyard!” They didn’t know that because it was frowned upon. It was frowned upon in 2001. You know, like “you’ll hurt yourself.” You know, “Don’t Try This At Home.” I mean there’s that big case about the kid who killed his sister while he was babysitting her, just doing moves off wrestling.
So I never told them anything about that, and eventually they were like “you know you get a lot of heat. you’re a good heel announcer, we’re going to have to teach you how to bump”, so eventually it can be something like “and if I beat you, I get 5 minutes alone in the ring with your- your little mouthpiece, Larry Kennedy Phillips, how about that?” And I’m like, you know, selling like “What, me?! No, no, no, no, no. I can’t do it”, you know, and that would eventually lead to, you know, a little mini match at the end of the show where it’s like… I get stripped out of the tuxedo, I’m taking shots. You know, maybe I get a shot in there real quick, and like, I’m surprised that I got that in. You know, the whole… whole Bobby Heenan heel manager-type bumping and wrestling, so I have done a few matches.
I would say over the years I’ve done… 10? I’ve done like 10 matches where I’ve been like, you know, a manager on the outside, get him in the ring to… like beat him up or like a special tag partner with someone, and I get in there at the very end and hit a Rock Bottom or a People’s Elbow, nothing signi- no full like… I can’t tell you what full- I had one full match against Scott Chong from Tough Enough 2!
He was a special guest at the MCW Shane Shamrock Memorial Cup one year, and I… I started berating him right before we went to the main event. And the reason that I did that was so that he and I could have a mini match. He tapped me out with a Boston Crab, and then the old ring announcer from MCW came out and was like “Get this piece of shit out of here! I was the original announcer. You go to the back, I got the Main Event!” and…all was right with the world, but no, that Larry Legend listed- who I have met and I have announced, I’ve announced that Larry Legend before is not me. All those matches are not accurate.
Karlifornia Infirri: 00:36:25:19 – 00:36:38:23
Sorry. No, that’s good. I’m glad to uncover what is true, what is not true. This has happened so many times on my podcast and I’ve been able to contact Cagematch and then have them fix it up for me-
Larry Legend: 00:36:38:23 – 00:36:40:23
Karlifornia Infirri: 00:36:40:28 – 00:36:41:58
So I will do that after this
Larry Legend: 00:36:41:58 – 00:36:45:23
I’ve always wanted to do that. I’ve always wanted to do that. Yeah, there’s-
Karlifornia Infirri: 00:36:45:28 – 00:36:45:53
I got you bro, I got you.
Larry Legend: 00:36:45:53 – 00:37:02:29
There’s Larry Legend that started out as Larry Kennedy Phillips, a.k.a Larry Mercer, and then there’s another Larry who- I don’t think he’s as active anymore. As a matter of fact, he may be retired. He got- started having children, and you know, again, just like with the backyard and he kind of faded away, but no, that is not me.
Karlifornia Infirri: 00:37:02:34 – 00:37:13:04
Okay. Well, I got you bro, I will get in contact with them and I’ll make that we can rectify that whole situation. It’s really just one email and they sort it out. They’re really good about it.
Larry Legend: 00:37:13:04 – 00:37:14:35
Oh, nice. Cool.
Karlifornia Infirri: 00:37:14:35 – 00:37:21:52
So okay, you’ve mentioned CZW, and you’re a Hall of Famer with CZW.
Larry Legend: 00:37:21:57 – 00:37:23:09
Karlifornia Infirri: 00:37:23:09 – 00:37:41:40
I mean, I don’t mean to give such a question that’s so broad, but what does your run with CZW and being in that Hall of Fame mean to you? Give me like… in a nutshell like, gosh… how it came to be that you’re going to be their Ring Announcer, just that whole experience.
Larry Legend: 00:37:41:45 – 00:43:12:55
Well I wanna- I wanna just say… being inducted into the Hall of Fame for CZW, in my eyes, in a career of an MC is like the closest thing that I will ever do to winning a Championship Belt, legitimately. Like not a- not a schmalz where I fall on the guy and it’s like “Larry’s the Champion!”, but actually like you have done enough to be crowned something, that’s what we know is the Championship run.
You know, like you’ve done it for a while as a tag, we’re giving you the Intercontinental Title. You’ve done that so well, now you’re getting the World Title, progression. So being inducted to me was like the closest thing, that’s why there were pictures of me holding it up like a Championship belt, because I felt that that’s… that was my title win in, in the Indy Wrestling echelon, no one will ever be able to take it away… and it’s in history, but…
I came to CZW originally as the personal Ring Announcer for a stable called Blackout consisting of Ruckus, Eddie Kingston, Joker, Robbie Marino, Chrissy Rivera and BLK Jeez, who at the time was called Sabian, and what happened was that MCW finally, after many years, booked Ruckus on one of their shows and the first time that I ever announced Ruckus, whose intro has a lot of rhyme couplets like “the Jake the Snake of getting baked, the Teddy Long of hitting the bong, the Vinnie Mac of the dime sack, the Jerry Sags of the nickel bag”, like all these kind of like weed references like before I say the “Ruckus!”, I did that and I nailed it so well. that he comes up to me in the back, he’s like “bro, you killed that intro”, and I was like “thank you!” He’s like “nobody’s ever done it that good!”, and I was like, “really?” He was like “no!” I was like “well, it’s easy ‘cause it’s kind of like hip hop, It’s like, rhymes!” He’s like, “Yeah I know, but you should see how many Ring Announcers are like, ”he is the jake the snake of getting baked. he is the teddy long-” like they’re like reading it like, you know, an announcer.
He’s like “and you added like, kind of like a flavour to it, that’s like the way that it’s supposed to be announced.” That I added a flavor to it that was like the way that he always intended it to be, and he was like, “I’m going to have to take you”- I’ll never forget this. He said, “I’m going to have to take you with me to CZW.” Now at the time, I did not know what that was, but early on in my career we’re talking 2005. We’re talking 2005, so if you’re following along my progression here, and I’m just like “oh, sure, I’ll, I’ll go with you to CZW”, whatever the fuck that is, you know? And he kept hitting me like “Yo, when are you going to come?” But I’m still very green at this time. I don’t know, like I’m supposed to get myself there? I’m supposed to ride with people? And eventually, finally, I just took a Greyhound bus from New York City to Philly, and I took a cab over to the CZW arena and I met up with him and he’s like “you got your gear?” And I’m like “of course!” He’s like “all right, Imma talk to John, and we’re going to have you announce me tonight, and anybody in Blackout”, and I’m like “okay!” And he introduced me to Zandig.
He talked to Zandig, you know, telling Zandig about me, and Zandig comes up to me after Ruckus is like “I’m going to introduce you to him, come on.” And I have my suit on and I come up to him and he’s like “this my boy Larry I was telling you about.” And Zandig looks at me and he looks me up and down and he goes… “you really want to get involved in all this shit?”
And I say “Yes, sir, I do.” And he like- He like, just goes “pfft” and shakes his head and walks away from me! Like, there is no like answer given! There is no like “all right, you know what to do”, it’s just like, me and Ruckus walked away, and he’s like “aite, you cool.” And I’m like “I am?!” He’s like “yeah!” So I started out in CZW just being the personal announcer for Ruckus and the stable, Blackout, which was actually a pretty layered position because Blackout was all throughout the show. So every time they were in a match, I would have to come out and kind of snatch the microphone from the CZW Announcer and be like, “Oh, no, no, no, no, no, you’re not gonna do it. You’re not gonna do it. I’m gonna do it-” you know and then… do the deal.
And then I, I kind of stopped coming because I did that I think three times, I was the personal announcer for Blackout, but like no one ever paid me, like at the end, like at this point, like, I’m like, having got involved in 2001, it’s now 2005. I know one lesson that I’ve learned is like, you get your money, like it cost to get places and you’re not new, so don’t let anyone take you for a ride, but what would happen was that at the end of these CZW shows, I really wasn’t savvy of who, like I went to to be like, “yo, give me my money.” I certainly didn’t want to approach Zandig, the guy who asked me “do you really want to get involved in all this shit?” Even though I knew he was the boss, I never physically saw him giving out envelopes.
So like, I kind of just like, would, like, go do it, hang out, smoke tons of pot, meet everybody, and then, like, take a… take a cab back to the Greyhound Station and- and Greyhound my ass back to New York, and it was all very exhilarating, but I was like, yeah, someone’s gonna have to pay me, you know?
Karlifornia Infirri: 00:43:12:57 – 00:43:13:28
Larry Legend: 00:43:13:28 – 00:51:49:35
You can’t just maybe, like, you know, get my haircut and get this suit dry cleaned and taking a bus and taking off work, and this is all well and good, but I can’t do this. And I kind of like stood CZW up… where they kind of like my, my…champion, Tyron, the pretty boy, where they were expecting me and, you know, I just was like… “gotta work!” The day of they’re like “where are you?” I’m like “yeah work wouldn’t let me get out of work, I gotta make this money.” And they were like “we wish you would have let us know” and I was like “well, you know, I wish I would have gotten paid sometimes!” It’s kind of like what I said, they- they were like… “you never got paid for all those times?!” And I’m like “no, dude, stop acting brand new.” Like, this is literally how this conversation went, I was like “stop, stop. You know, I never got paid.
Who? Who talked about Larry’s money at those shows when I would just show up and announce Blackout? Nobody. So I’m doing work now-” and they’re like “well, wha- can we possibly talk about this?” And I’m like “sure.” We talked about it. They were like “if money was an issue, you should have brought it up.” It’s like, I shouldn’t have had to bring it up. I’m out there performing like everyone else. Everyone else that’s on the show is getting money. Like, why should I have to bring it up? And we negotiated a price and then I stopped being just like ‘The Blackout Announcer’ and I became the CZW Announcer, because that announcer that I always used to snatch the mic from, he got a job working as an editor for WWE Magazine, which hindsight 2020, that may have been what my internship- You know, when I, when I first went to the counselor, the advisor, and I’m like “I wanna-”, that could have been my path in the WWE as an editor of the magazine.
But Ed O’Mac, the CZW Announcer when I first came in as Blackout’s personal announcer, he took a job with WWE and they were like “you know, we need you, come on down”, stood them up. They called me, they were like “why did you do that?” I was like “cause every other time I’ve never been paid.” They were like “well, if that’s the case, let’s talk money.” I was like “this is the way that you do business.” And that began my run with CZW, and that was started in 2008. 2008 was when I became the CZW Announcer full-time.
The first show that I did, I decided to kind of like show my ass, if you will. And I like worn, just like regular, like kind of like New York Street fashion, like, you know, Timberland boots, you know crisp jeans, like this, like parka, this like leather parka with all this fur around it, a Notorious B.I.G. T-Shirt. Like, I looked like I was club-ready. And this was for my first CZW show as full-time announcer, not just Blackout’s personal announcer, and everyone kept coming up to me and going “where’s your suit?” And I would be like “I’m not wearing it”, and they’d be like “why not?” And I’d be like “because I don’t want to”, like again, this is all having been there a couple of times now. I’ve never been paid. Like, I’m like, I’m gonna, I’m gonna call these motherfuckers on their bluff. And since this is CZW, Imma do what I wanna do because that’s what it seems like y’all are all about. And I got a lot of heat from it.
The crowd was like chanting, “Where’s your suit? Where’s your suit?” And at one point, Zandig came down from the crow’s nest or the eagles nest, whatever that balcony is that he used to like, watch the CZW show from. He came down from it and he cut a promo and after he gets done with the promo he goes “and the next time we see you in here, you better be wearing a fucking suit.” And he like, chopped the microphone into my chest. And I remember it hurt really bad. Like it hurt like I actually, like, was in training, like taking a chop from Keenan Creed or someone, when he like, put the mic, and I was like, Whoa, now I know what he means by you really want to be around all this shit? Because I was like, “this guy is huge, “and he just, like, pretty much buried the microphone into my chest and the crowd is like, kind of like, not with it, but I still was doing the announcements. Like legendarily. I wasn’t like, I wasn’t like telling jokes or anything. I was doing my job. I just didn’t look the part that people had remembered me as looking when I was with Blackout.
And it turns out that one of the reasons, and I learned this hindsight being 2020, 1 of the reasons that they were so adamant about me wearing a suit from going forward was that they were filming the scene from ‘The Wrestler’ at the next CZW show. They did not smarten me up to this at all, but I was the CZW Announcer and they were filming the scenes, for the, you know, 20th Century Fox, Darren Aronofsky filmed The Wrestler, featuring Necro Butcher versus Mickey Rourke in the CZW Arena during a CZW show. And I guess they just wanted to put their best foot forward and be like, “oh yeah, this is our announcer.” Like, if you don’t have one, and guess what? They didn’t.
And that’s how I ended up being featured in ‘The Wrestler’. You know, the first voice that you hear in the movie ‘The Wrestler’, when the movie first starts is kind of like a crowd, a crowd like. And then you hear an announcer go “a true American Hero, Randy ‘The Ram’ Robinson!” That was me. I went to a small studio in Brooklyn, New York, and filmed that or recorded that audio multiple times, and, you know, they did the scene at a CZW show where Necro and Randy the Ram are fighting, and they needed me for a few of those scenes, to like, be like, “okay, we’re going to do the wide shot of before this match starts. Have the announcer in the center looking like he’s about to announce.” Had to film that like 33 times or some shit just standing there.
There’s a cool picture of Darren Aronofsky, like with me standing, you know, Darren Aronofsky behind me like, I don’t know, positioning a camera or something. But that was one of the reasons that they were so adamant about wearing a suit the next time. And I was so goddamn thankful that I did, because had I been like “you know what? Fuck them, they still ain’t paying me enough, Imma do what I wanna do.” I probably wouldn’t have been featured in the movie as heavily as I was and being featured in that movie is kind of like my way of like owning the name Larry Legend because I didn’t I don’t have that name trademarked.
It’s a weird thing because it’s like when you use like an adjective as your last name, like Mike Awesome. Justin Credible. Well, who has the patent on the name on the word ‘Legend’ or ‘Incredible’ or ‘Awesome’? No one! It’s just a word in the lexicon, but when they asked me what you want to be credited as in this movie, I said ‘Larry Legend’. So forever, when you look at the credits of ‘The Wrestler’ as they’re rolling third from the bottom, ‘CZW Announcer’ Larry Legend.
So, you know, who knows where my career will go in ten years from now? There may be some litigation that I have to, you know, undergo because someone saying like, hey, you’re not that guy, you’re not that guy, which actually did happen to me through Facebook where multiple people levied allegations that I was not Larry Legend. So my Facebook was shut down for many years, actually. And I had to like I did like fight and like send them pictures of plane tickets for Larry Legend and cheques made out to Larry Legend, and mail addressed to Larry Legend and shit like that before I could get my Facebook privileges back.
But that’s kind of like my coo. My coo is that when they asked me in ‘The Wrestler’, what do you want to be called? I said “credit me as Larry Legend”, and no one will ever be able to take that away from me. For a while on IMDB, the Internet Movie DataBase, I was only listed as Larry Legend, but then I got into Ring of Honor, which was owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group, and they wanted to call me Larry Mercer, which is my given name, because they didn’t want it to appear that they had taken me from CZW, like this- this CZW guy. By the time I got to Ring of Honor in 2013, I was very much established, the CZW guy, and they did not want the perception to be that like, oh, Ring of Honor took the CZW guy and now he’s Larry Legend over there. So they, they made me go by Larry Mercer, and that’s when my IMDB magically changed from Larry Legend to Larry Mercer, parentheses legend.
Karlifornia Infirri: 00:51:49:40 – 00:51:52:10
Wow, what a… what a whirlwind
Larry Legend: 00:51:50:10 – 00:51:55:10
I talk so much, it’s 45 minutes in. I’m sorry.
Karlifornia Infirri: 00:51:55:10 – 00:52:04:17
It’s okay bro, It’s okay. This is all very interesting stuff. I love it. I’m going to have to cut out a bunch of questions. Gonna have to do a Part 2 at some point!
Larry Legend: 00:52:04:17 – 00:52:07:38
We have to! It always has a Part 2 and I am down. I am down.
Karlifornia Infirri: 00:52:07:38 – 00:52:56:44
Cool because, you know, I want to start doing that because I used to get people on the show and I just talked to for 3 hours. But now I want to start doing like a Part 1, and then a few months later, Part 2 so… I think that’ll be best. But, like I wanted to get into this question here because this is one thing I was really interested to know about as far as you and your style of ring announcing, how did you come up with your style of ring announcing because for me it seems so unique. Like if I could give an example, if you were going to introduce The Sandman, you wouldn’t say The Sandman. You would probably go The Sandman, you’d probably go up instead of down at the end there.
How did you come up with your style of ring announcing? Because it is so unique.
Larry Legend: 00:52:56:49 – 00:56:11:28
Influences. Again, like I mentioned to you, when I would be like just immersed in WWF, it would always be kind of like the drama that led to the fight and that would involve a lot of like accentuation and enunciation and pronunciations that made it lit. So like some of my biggest influences on my style of ring announcing… probably Paul Heyman. I believe that when Paul Heyman delivers words, he is the absolute best ever to do it. Jim Cornette as well. Not- not even just not even announcing. Like I don’t even know if those guys announced- like ring announced, if they did, I probably have seen it and didn’t even realize it. As a matter of fact, I do think I remember seeing Paul E. as a ring announcer once, but I just absorbed the styling of Bobby Heenan, Gorilla Monsoon, Jesse Ventura, ‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund, Howard Finkel, Mike McGuirk, all of those sounds… kind of like bled into my delivery and I’ve got to also call out the hip hop elements in Ruckus’ intro, the rhyme couplets, being able to get the license, to kind of like add a little bit of maybe something not orthodox to the intro or even like curse words, like, I love when like someone like, like… Akira used to have me call him ‘The God Damn Motherfucking Death Samurai’.
Well, you know what? All those curse words I could kind of, like, curse in, like. Like I’m actually cussing someone out. Or I could, like, work really hard to over-enunciate every, like, K and T and H to make it, like, almost sounds like, wow, this guy’s really announcing these curse words properly, like a proper fucking magistrate or some shit like, you know, like, and that kind of makes you smile. And for the wrestler, it gets them pumped up. There have been wres- there have been annou- …there have been wrestlers who have told me to say something that they did not think I actually was going to say because it was like too crass or too like- like, oh my God, did I just hear that? Like, I relish, I relish at opportunities to kind of like, interrelate something and add a little bit of Larry to the delivery, because that is what created the emotional attachment for me to even get involved is like the way that these guys would style.
I want to say one thing about the Sandman. I actually don’t think I’ve ever announced the Sandman to the ring. I think I always let the music do it. That- because nowadays when he comes out, everyone’s singing his song. So… it’s so funny. I think the last time I did something with him was, was that GCW’s Joey Janela’s Lost In New York, and he interrupted Stokely Hathaway, who interrupted me and interrupted the proceedings, and when he came out, I never said his name. And then he doesn’t like do a match. He just like canes people.
So I think at the end, maybe I- I don’t think I ever really say Sandman’s name!
Karlifornia Infirri: 00:56:08:28 – 00:56:18:58
No I don’t think you ever have, it was just an example that I- it was the first name that came to my head if I was going to do an impression of what you would do when you would announce somebody.
Larry Legend: 00:56:19:02 – 00:56:58:51
Yeah, but I know what you’re talking about. It’s like an… okay. Just to Asai Moonsault off of that, the first time that I ever heard Michael Buffer announce The Undertaker, he does the total exact opposite of Howard Finkel, just like you imitated with me doing The Sandman. He goes straight up, “The Undertaker!” Like it takes off. And Howard Finkel does what I kind of do, which is like a ride-the-rhythm of “The Undertaker!”. It’s like a roller-coaster, you know?
But again, that comes from just like influences, homages, if you will.
Karlifornia Infirri: 00:56:58:15 – 00:57:11:07
It’s so funny. It’s ingrained into our minds exactly how Howard Finkel says things, you know, “Gangrel!” “Hardcore Holly!” You know, every time!
Larry Legend: 00:57:11:11 – 00:59:10:56
You know what’s so funny? I like watching like, old times. Like, well, so I watched I watched WWF Invasion on DVD because a friend of mine, Rob Van Dam just came back to AEW, and my best friend Craig was like “Rob Van Dam’s best match?” And I just started thinking about all of them. We decided it was probably one of his ones with Jerry Lynn, but I like the first time he wrestled on WWF against Jeff Hardy, and he won a belt, the Hardcore Title, at that pay per view.
So I watch that and I listen to Howard’s intro for him This is the first time Howard Finkel was intro’ing him. It’s very different than to what Howard grew to announcing him, like he was like “Rob Van Dam”. Like it was like really sort of like, “here’s this guy” and I bet you it’s because he was an ECW guy. And I’ll bet you Howard was like, Vince doesn’t want me giving them the premium, if you will, he doesn’t want me to give him the star treatment that I give. He wants me kind of to kind of diminish them. They’re almost WWF guys. They’re on a WWF show, but “Rob Van Dam” I was like, that kind of was like, okay, “Rob Van Dam” like it wasn’t- it wasn’t, you know, But you know, so it’s interesting to me, like also Lillian, because Lillian was really not the best at first. For years. She was not really heralded as one of the best.
But by the end of her run, Oh my God, goosebumps, goosebumps by the end of Lillian’s run, her command over the intro. So it’s fun to me and- and also to do that to myself, to see, like the way I announced Ruckus, like I kind of- even though I nailed all his rhyme couplets I was kind of speeding through it because I was nervous, you know, I didn’t wanna fuck it up, you know, to then, like growing to, like embellish in it and taking my time with all of them. I think that watching an announcer’s journey is a fun thing, a very, you know, knowledgeable thing.
Karlifornia Infirri: 00:59:10:56 – 01:00:11:40
Definitely, and- and we’re getting towards the end of the interview here, Larry, and I was really happy to hear about like how you’ve kind of come up with your style of ring announcing and for everyone out there next time I have Larry in the show, what I’m going to be asking about is his experience for Ring of Honor. I’m going to ask him about his thoughts on Howard Finkel, Dave Penzer, Tony Chimel, Lillian Garcia, Michael Buffer, Bob Artes, Stephen DeAngelis, Gary Michael Cappetta and Justin Roberts.
Also pet peeves of ring announcers, also XPW talk. We’re going to talk about him being a commentary with Ron Niemi for XPW, how he feels about the state of Pro Wrestling today, and so many more questions that are not going to be asked here because we’re going to save that for Part 2.
But Larry Legend, we’re getting to our final segment here on the show where I have to find out your favorite things. I believe… I believe it’s 12 Quick Fire Questions for Quick Fire Answers, are you ready?
Larry Legend: 01:00:11:45 – 01:00:12:52
I am ready.
Karlifornia Infirri: 01:00:12:52 – 01:00:21:29
Okay. The first three are about pro wrestling. Who is your favorite professional wrestler of all time, Larry?
Larry Legend: 01:00:21:34 – 01:00:28:12
Gosh, that is such a hard question. And I’m going to go with Shawn Michaels, The Heartbreak Kid. Shawn Michaels.
Karlifornia Infirri: 01:00:30:03 – 01:00:34:11
Excellent. Over the so few times that you actually were in the ring, Do you have a favorite opponent that you got in there with?
Larry Legend: 01:00:38:27 – 01:00:58:29
Probably my first opponent ever, Mark ‘The Shark’ Shrader, who was instrumental in training me to wrestle. So just some just my- my trainer, Mark ‘The Shark’ Shrader probably was my favorite opponent because of how he took care of me. And I felt perfectly like I knew what I was doing, you know?
Karlifornia Infirri: 01:00:59:29 – 01:01:03:29
Yep. And would that be your favorite match that you’ve ever participated in?
Larry Legend: 01:01:03:34 – 01:01:59:38
Well, no not my favorite match, my favorite match probably was a- my favorite match probably was a Battle Royal that I took place in at H2O Destiny on Halloween night.
H2O Destiny when Onita fought Matt Tremont in the Main Event, the Exploding Ring Deathmatch, you know. But I say it was just the Battle Royal that I was in. But the reason that it was like one of my favorites is because I had no idea that I was going to do that. That night. I showed up with Ruckus, you know, just to ride up to see the match. And they’re like, “you’re here, you can be in the battle royal!”. And I’m like “I can?!”, they’re like, “yeah, that’d be great!”
And I actually got a few eliminations, I got 2 eliminations out of that battle royal, so not only did I show up, not only did I compete, not only did the arena chant my name at one point, like they were looking for me to win the damn thing, but I got a couple of eliminations, so that’s probably my favorite Match that came out of nowhere and it was like it was on Halloween! Like Halloween night. I wrestled like, that is that is legendary.
Karlifornia Infirri: 01:01:59:43 – 01:02:07:58
Absolutely, that’s great. You know, I want to check out that show. You know, I actually have that show on my computer and I still have not watched it yet.
Larry Legend: 01:02:08:02 – 01:02:11:43
Yep, H2O Destiny.
Karlifornia Infirri: 01:02:11:47 – 01:02:15:54
Okay, getting away from wrestling now. Do you have a favorite book?
Larry Legend: 01:02:15:59 – 01:02:38:10
Oh, favorite book? No, I can’t say that I have a favorite book. I mean, I like reading Shakespeare plays. I have favorite play. It would be Richard the Third. I do like that play a lot. I mean a play’s not a book, but I enjoy that. I enjoy that play a lot.
So my favorite play and I’ve always wanted to play Richard the Third one day.
Karlifornia Infirri: 01:02:38:14 – 01:02:47:43
That’s really cool, it’s a very different answer that we usually get for favorite book, most wrestlers say that they don’t read so it’s good to get at least something.
Larry Legend: 01:02:47:47 – 01:02:50:56
I mean, there’s no real book that I go back to you know, there are movies, of course, that I put on all the time, but I can’t think of a book that, like I’ve gone back to.
I tore through the autobiography of Malcolm X, It was a very well-done book that I just can remember voraciously getting through it because I wanted to get to the next part of the story.
Karlifornia Infirri: 01:03:09:08 – 01:03:10:13
Right, that’s cool. Did you have a favorite TV show?
Larry Legend: 01:03:13:35 – 01:03:15:23
Probably… I mean, honestly, it’s probably Pro Wrestling. Like, I can’t say like Raw or Dynamite, just Pro Wrestling on TV. But I am really, really a big fan of the HBO Prison Drama ‘Oz’. I have them all on tape. I have four out of five of the- four out of six of the DVD box sets, and that show is brilliant, just brilliant all the way through. Even when it jumped the shark. I just think the dialog and the acting is absolutely brilliant on Oz.
Karlifornia Infirri: 01:03:46:08 – 01:04:02:38
Okay, you know what? I’m going to give it another try because I tried once about five years ago, and after the first episode, for whatever reason, I couldn’t get into it. But that happened to me with The Sopranos as well.
But then I loved The Sopranos more than anything, and I gave it another try. So I’ll give it another try.
Larry Legend: 01:04:02:43 – 01:04:03:16
Please do. I highly recommend it and it is very jarring, the first episode, there’s a lot of sort of like whoa, in your face, but it only gets better.
Karlifornia Infirri: 01:04:11:00 – 01:04:12:30
Okay, I’ll give it another whirl. Do you have a favorite film?
Larry Legend: 01:04:17:23 – 01:04:25:14
I do. I mean, I have a couple of favorite films. The one that is probably my favorite ever to watch is ‘A Clockwork Orange’.
Karlifornia Infirri: 01:04:25:19 – 01:04:33:31
Excellent. That’s a good… very good choice. Do you have a favorite musical artist or band?
Larry Legend: 01:04:33:35 – 01:05:16:49
Mm, I… gosh, it’s so hard. Like, favorite. You know what I mean? Favorite, I guess. I’m really into,. I’m really into Jay-Z, the artist. Jay-Z is one of my favorite rappers of all time. I can I can kind of go back to his music.
Oh, you know what? I’m going to I’m going to call a spade a spade. It’s actually Jay-Z and the Beatles. And I discovered the Beatles through ‘The Grey Album’ by DJ Danger Mouse, where he took the Black Album to the White Album and kind of mashed them up, and that’s how I really got introduced to the Beatles music. And both the Beatles and Jay-Z are two artists that I can just go just lose myself in to really motivate me to, like, keep doing well and know my worth.
Karlifornia Infirri: 01:05:16:49 – 01:05:25:43
Great answers there, great answers. We’re getting away from The Arts now. Larry, do you have a favorite food?
Larry Legend: 01:05:24:17 – 01:05:25:43
Karlifornia Infirri: 01:05:25:43 – 01:05:30:24
Mhm. Very good choice. I wouldn’t mind some Friend Chicken right now-
Larry Legend: 01:05:30:24 – 01:05:33:48
I don’t care, I love it. It’s so good. It’s so good.
Karlifornia Infirri: 01:05:33:48 – 01:05:38:06
Do you have a favorite place to eat on the road?
Larry Legend: 01:05:38:11 – 01:06:28:10
You know, I like I am a big coffee fair coffee enthusiast. So if I can find kind of like a craft, what I call them coffee shop, like, not like Starbucks or Dunkin, but kind of a place where you can get like a bench press or pour over or something like that. Those are those are my spots. So with that said, there is a café in Brooklyn called the ‘Swallow Cafe’, Brooklyn, New York, Williamsburg. I really, really enjoy the Swallow Cafe, and I just stumbled upon one in… in D.C. called ‘Doubles’. It’s a coffee shop called Doubles, and it’s connected to another establishment that does pizza. So I love that kind of offshoot of just like coffee & pizza, right next to each other.
And there’s a dispensary like on the on the end of the corner, it’s like three of my favorite things like, in a row and you’re like, I just I just don’t have it on Georgia Avenue in Northwest D.C..
Karlifornia Infirri: 01:06:28:15 – 01:06:37:25
Well, everyone, if you’re in the area in D.C. please, you have to check that out because that sounds like the kind of area that I’d like to hang out with- hang out in too.
Larry Legend: 01:06:37:29 – 01:06:38:13
Karlifornia Infirri: 01:06:38:13 01:06:48:05
We’ve got three more to go here, Larry. I don’t know if you drink alcohol, but if you do a favorite alcoholic beverage, if you don’t drink, though, just a favorite beverage in general.
Larry Legend: 01:06:48:10 – 01:06:57:40
Well, I mean… I like beer. I like- I like a stout. Um, but I would say that my go to cocktail is a whiskey sour.
Karlifornia Infirri: 01:06:57:44 – 01:06:59:18
Larry Legend: 01:06:59:18 – 01:07:03:38
Yeah, like a little strong, sweet, fruity.
Karlifornia Infirri: 01:07:03:43 – 01:07:04:20
Larry Legend: 01:07:04:20 – 01:07:07:13
Karlifornia Infirri: 01:07:07:13 – 01:07:38:06
Very good. Next one… is this one could be, you know, kind of considered as the naughtiest one. But if could get a very meaningful answer, we’ve had very many meaningful answers, but we also had very- well on the other side of the spectrum for this answer. Your favorite female body part, attribute of the opposite sex. You know… What would you look at if Larry Legend’s gonna look at a good looking lady?
Larry Legend: 01:07:38:11 – 01:08:09:29
Definitely legs. Legs are one of my favorite things to… like play- like go on like go down on like not just the nether regions when you go down, but I just like I like, eat legs. I let my chompers go to work on legs and have a lot of fun with them in the act. So like if you have really nice legs like, if, to like kind of be analogous, to like pro wrestling- like Stacy Keibler, I thought-
Karlifornia Infirri: 01:08:09:29 – 01:08:11:29
I was going to say!
Larry Legend: 01:08:11:29 – 01:08:19:16
Because it just was like, there was just like legs walking down the aisle like, all you were seeing were legs. So I’m really into legs, yeah
Karlifornia Infirri: 01:08:19:16 – 01:08:25:10
Ah yeah. I was about to ask, what do you think of Stacy Keibler, because…god damn.
Larry Legend: 01:08:25:15 – 01:08:28:44
Yeah, she’s a Baltimore girl too.
Karlifornia Infirri: 01:08:28:49 – 01:08:43:10
Exactly. You know, that’s, that’s- that’s where it’s all that, you know, clearly. Last one here, Larry. Last one is your favorite curse word.
Larry Legend: 01:08:43:15 – 01:08:47:43
Probably ‘God damn’. Probably ‘God damn’. Yeah.
Karlifornia Infirri: 01:08:47:43 – 01:08:55:42
Yeah, That’s good. I like that. “God damn”. Every time I hear “God damn”, I hear Stone Cold Steve Austin say it in my head. So.
Larry Legend: 01:08:55:47 – 01:09:25:01
Yeah, well, I mean, it’s- it’s almost like… It’s almost like the worst curse word, again with my Catholic school background, one of the, you know, Ten Commandments is “don’t take my name in vain. You know, don’t take God’s name in vain”. So the couple it with that, just like kind of like the height of blasphemy. So it’s like my favorite.
Karlifornia Infirri: 01:09:25:06 – 01:10:34:41
Awesome Larry, well… Larry Legend. This has been so fun to talk to you. I can’t wait to get you back on very soon, hopefully, for a Part 2. It’s been very, very rare that I’ve actually had people return to the show. But now three years into the podcast, I would have started doing that instead of just tell the whole story in 1 go, how about we just take our time with it and do it in sections?
So I really enjoyed my opportunity here to talk to you here today, and you know, even though I became aware of you quite late on in your career from when you started, I think this is really cool for me to say. Like I live in Perth, Western Australia, which is the most isolated city in the world, right? So you are able to reach all the way from over that most isolated city in the world and have someone over here become a fan of you and be like, you know what, this guy’s changing the game as far as ring announcing is concerned.
I’ve been so impressed, every time I do a review of XPW, all I’m talking about half the time is what you’re doing. I’m very impressed with you, so I think it’s… it’s important for me to let you know that you’ve reached this far across the world.
Larry Legend: 01:10:34:46 – 01:11:21:16
Well, that that wasn’t the initial goal when I started doing it, but I knew somewhere down inside that there were others like me and by my compadres that were doing it in my mom’s backyard, and that one day, I mean, you sort of have as far enough of a reach to be talking to someone and learn a little bit about their story and about how we’re just so passionate about it, that now we’re doing what we’re doing. You’re reviewing it and you’ve done this podcast for three years. So, you know, that’s a testament to like just doing it, just being dedicated and doing what’s inside your heart, following what’s inside your heart. And you know, you never know when you’ll be telling your story to who and how far that reach has gone. And now after this, it’s just going to reach all that much more further.
Karlifornia Infirri: 01:11:21:21 – 01:11:25:19
I hope so, Larry. And once again, thank you so much for your time
Larry Legend: 01:11:25:24 – 01:11:27:17
Right on, thanks for having me.
Karlifornia Infirri: 01:11:27:17 – 01:11:40:13
And thank all of you out there for joining myself, Karlifornia and my new friend here, Larry Legend, on the Insiders Edge Podcast. This is a great time, and guess what? We will see you down the road, thank you.