Last Thursday night, Ben Gartland and I had the pleasure of speaking to WWE Tough Enough's own Luke Robinson on our Internet radio show entitled Spoilers. Topics in the interview included getting his start in professional wrestling, thoughts on Andy Leavine, his recent feud with fellow Tough Enough competitor Martin Casaus and much more.
To kick off the interview, we asked him to familiarize himself to the listeners who didn't watch the Tough Enough program last year. Robinson responded:
"When I was 15, I starting watching The Rock-Makind storyline, fell in love with it. Went to college, got my business degree. Didn't want to do that, so started training with Tony Atlas, to become a professional wrestler with 'Mr. USA' WWE Hall of Famer Tony Atlas as my trainer.
"Started doing shows in the northeast region, made a name for myself. Did a couple WWE tryouts, auditioned for Tough Enough. Made it and got to be introduced to a much larger scale audience.
"Unfortunately, again if you didn't watch the show, I was one of the finalists and did not win after really outperforming everyone on the show pretty consistently."
To elaborate on his experience by training with Tony Atlas, Robinson would go on to state that he trained with Atlas five days a week for three months straight at the young age of 21. Atlas would also grant access to the gym for Robinson in order to fully perfect his wrestling skills on the weekends.
When asked about that one moment when he knew he wanted to become a professional wrestler, he quickly answered with The Rock vs. Mankind Empty Arena match during the Heat Halftime Show for the WWF Championship. Robinson said it was that one match that really got him intrigued in the product.
"I was more excited for Halftime Heat to watch Mankind and The Rock than I was for the game, and it was that moment at 15 or 16 years old I was like, 'You know what? Beyond little kid dreams like being an astronaut, that was the first time as a young adult that this was seriously what I wanted to do.'
"I started taking the steps then towards what I started calling a goal instead of a dream, because dreams can sometimes be too far-reached and I wanted to make this happen."
In his high school years, he and his friends would do basement wrestling on the weekends with entrance music, strobe lights and all. Looking back on it now, Robinson said that many of those friends are surprised as well as proud to see that he actually went on to accomplish his childhood dream of becoming a professional wrestler.
As he stated thereafter, many kids may have a dream as a kid but don't continue to pursue it as they grow older. It certainly takes commitment and dedication to go through with something you once saw yourself doing, and those are the exact characteristics that Luke Robinson possesses.
On an interesting note, Robinson finds the popular wrestling term “mark” to be offensive to the up-and-coming athletes. He noted:
"They (veterans) have never stopped to realize they loved this so much as a fan that they wanted to do this. So, us 'workers' are the biggest marks of them all. People need to remember that we're workers before throwing around that word like it's a derogatory thing.
"Ultimately, no matter where you are, whether in TNA/ROH/WWE, you don't work for Eric Bischoff or Vince McMahon or whoever the promoter is. You work for the fans because without them, your boss doesn't get a paycheck and you don't get a paycheck."
For those ever hoping to one day become a professional wrestler, Robinson said that being a fan of the business at heart will certainly help you achieve your goal. If you want to become a professional, you have to act like you belong as a professional.
Further commenting as his original aspirations to become a wrestler, he mentioned Tough Enough winner Andy Leavine as a prime example of someone who didn't want to wrestle from the start:
"As I said, this wasn't my backup plan, you know? I've been pretty vocal about Andy and the whole decision of everything, and it's no secret that we don't really get along, but that's exactly why it bothered me. Wrestling was his backup plan. Football is what he wanted to do."
Unlike any other competitors on last year's season of Tough Enough, Luke Robinson developed a character that had people loving him or hating him, with no middle ground. His ability to improve his character over the years really shone through throughout the course of the show.
Don't believe me? Check out this video Robinson posted regarding his thoughts on Martin Casaus. While he may come off as a cocky heel, he is the same guy who visits sick kids in the hospital every Friday in Maine.
However, Andy Leavine had previously performed in FCW as Kevin Hackman, meaning he had an edge over most of the participants in Tough Enough. After asking Robinson if the contest was completely fair in that sense, he responded:
"I'm no conspiracy theorist, but it seems pretty clear that they ultimately wanted to use Tough Enough as a big commercial for FCW in the long run."
The last time we saw Andy Leavine acknowledged on WWE television was on the July 4th episode of Raw, where a video package aired hyping his "Silent Rage" persona. Nearly a month later, Leavine was suspended for 30 days for violating the WWE's Wellness Policy.
When asked if Leavine was as a nice of a guy as we saw on Tough Enough, Robinson said he in fact wasn't. Apparently, he secluded himself in his room, had a homophobic-panic attitude and didn't get along with most of the other athletes. Robinson further commented:
"Ultimately, we saw that he was a liar and a cheater, so where is the good guy in that?"
Robinson continued to rip on Leavine by stating he "screwed up" at the young age of 24 by already having two kids. To redeem himself, Leavine would look for an easy job that keeps him away from his family that might stress him out in order to make money. While some Robinson's statements may sound harsh, they also ring true as a common issue among today's adolescents.
As part of out next topic, we discussed his friendship with fellow indy star Matt Taven. Both wrestlers compete for independent organization Northeast Wrestling, where Robinson had his most recent match against John Morrison this past Saturday night in Waterbury, Connecticut.
In recent weeks, Robinson has filmed numerous videos over YouTube calling out Martin Casaus to fuel the feud between the two going into their anticipated match this Saturday night at NWA's UCW Zero event in Salt Lake City. Robinson had the following to say regarding his thoughts on Martin:
"Here's the thing: everything I say is 100-percent true. There is nothing that I'm saying in any of those videos that is not 100-percent true."
One famous scene comes from when Robinson refused to shake Martin's hand following one of the challenges, thus giving him the "selfish" trait that many tagged onto him. However, he backs it up by saying that his charisma is what made him superior to Martin and others:
"On an international television show, here's an idea: if your real-life personality is boring, don't be you. If you suck and you're on international television, don't be you. People would do that."
Adding more fuel to the fire, his controversial words on Martin sparked even more heat between the two. Robinson said that he was the source of anything interesting on Tough Enough, hinting at envy from all of the other competitors.
"In other words, they're all footnotes to who I am. Martin is a footnote to Luke Robinson. Without Luke Robinson, there's no relevance to who Martin is."
Regardless of Martin's unfortunate injury at the conclusion of the program, he was indeed not tough enough to withstand the pain. Would Martin have won the competition had he not been hurt? That's a question we may never know the answer to, but Robinson knows for a fact that he wouldn't have.
Robinson also questions the choice as to why he wasn't chosen as the winner, mostly since he was the ideal victor. While Leavine might still be down in FCW training, Robinson said he could have been reinserted into a storyline on television immediately after the show ended and become a success.
"I could have stepped onto that road, into that ring the day after I won and been a valuable player for the WWE. Yet I would not have submitted to the curse of the pressure of the winner because everybody else wasn't ready for that. This season that had someone that would finally be able to handle that pressure and step right into a high-end storyline.
"I mean, think of all the possibilities you can run with, where even as a runner-up they could have ran with so many things bringing back right away that I'm resentful towards Steve Austin, and there are so many ways to create a monster, monster heel that would have made money because the fact is this: here's what a good heel does: people want to pay to see you get your *** kicked, and that's what I do.
"People love to hate me. I mean, it's insane how much hate is bred for me. That's what a heel does. People want to pay to see you get your *** kicked.
"I'm perfectly okay with that, When the time comes, I will take my beating with a smile on my face all the way to the bank knowing that I did my job."
At the conclusion of the interview, Robinson would make note that since he attended OVW seminars and was trained by a WWE Hall of Famer, he would have made the perfect Superstar, since he was made by the WWE. Hopefully, we can see him take his rightful place on the WWE roster sooner rather than later.
You can listen to the full exclusive interview with Luke Robinson below. We'd like to thank Luke Robinson for appearing on our show as well as promoting it, as we wouldn't have been able to get so many hits for it.
Personally, I've met Robinson before at local wrestling events and can truthfully tell you that he is indeed sincere and genuine as he comes off as in the interview. Also, listen to our April 5th edition of Spoilers at 11 p.m. eastern time for a candid interview with Martin Casaus and his rebuttal to Robinson's remarks.
Don't forget to buy your tickets today to NWA's UCW-Zero tenth anniversary show on March 31st where Tough Enough rivals Luke Robinson and Martin Casaus finally square off!
Thanks for reading and listening, Bleachers, and be sure to drop a comment below with your thoughts on Luke Robinson. As always, your overall feedback of our interview and article is greatly appreciated.