Two months ago, I welcomed former CTWE Heavyweight Champion Vladimir Joseph to my wrestling radio talk show, SAVE US GSM, for an exclusive interview to get the inside scoop on the life of an up-and-coming star. Hailing from Stamford, CT, Joseph has made quite the name for himself since arriving on the Indy circuit scene in early 2009.
As an inspirational aspiring pro wrestler, "First Class" Vladimir Joseph shares the same dream as any other in-ring competitor hoping to make a name for themselves: being signed by the WWE. However, it was his early beginnings as a young fan of the business that really helped set the tone for his future as a pro wrestler.
"What got me hooked was watching WrestleMania 6 for the first time live on pay-per-view. I couldn't remember exactly who else was on the card besides The Hart Foundation defeating The Bolsheviks, and Hogan vs Warrior for the titles. I've watched that tape over and over until I finally caught it on TV on a weekly basis."
Similar to most up-and-coming in-ring athletes, Joseph idolized Shawn Michaels whilst growing up. He was fortunate enough to meet the Heartbreak Kid just recently at an autograph signing in New York due to his association with Northeast Wrestling. He went on to explain what qualities and attributes of Michaels captivated him the most.
"I was/am a huge Shawn Michaels guy, and obviously, I'm a lot bigger than he is! But Shawn had that charisma at the time that nobody else had. When he spoke, you believed everything he said. When I was a kid, there wasn't a such thing as 'work rate,' you just knew who was good and who wasn't. You couldn't put your finger on it, but you just knew."
Since his start a number of years ago, Joseph has had the privilege with working with a number of established stars and seasoned veterans. That being said, First Class found it difficult to name just one opponent he enjoyed stepping in the ring with.
"I've given it some thought since we last spoke, and I've got to say that I don't really have a 'favorite' opponent, per se. Each one of my matches is a great learning experience for me. Working with guys like Frankie Arion, Brian Anthony and Slyck Wagner Brown in the last couple of months has really helped me elevate my game, so to speak. They each bring something different to the table, which allows me to be diverse in the sense that we could tell different stories. My style clashing with theirs is always a treat to the fans. I believe the past nine months have been an enjoyable ride for the fans who watch me do what I do in that ring."
Undoubtedly, Joseph has set several of his own goals and ambitions he's aspiring to achieve. Of course, the ultimate destination he's currently working towards is the WWE.
"Of course it's to get a chance to entertain the masses in WWE. I've had the great opportunity to work there in their studio and actually see how much goes into the company as a whole. It gave me a greater respect for not only the WWE in ring action, but the business as a whole. People don't understand how grand of a scale WWE is on, and I'd love to be a part of that family in the ring."
However, WWE isn't the only place he's striving to make it to. His primary focus is to make a name for himself, even if it isn't within the Stamford-based organization.
"I ultimately aspire to someday make it, and I don't mean 'make it' in the sense of just getting there, but 'making it' in the sense of achieving all the small goals I've set out for myself. Not just WWE but on the independent circuit as well. I'd love to have the opportunity to work in Japan, Mexico, Canada and all the major independent companies around the world. I want to soak up and learn as much as possible because I'm obsessed with wanting to be considered one of the greatest of all time. It's attainable; it's just a matter of willpower and self-belief."
On Election Day 2012, Joseph had the fortunate opportunity of crossing paths with Vince McMahon and Triple H in Stamford. First Class chatted it up with the former WWE Champions and stated that he couldn't have asked for a better night.
"It was pretty cool to get a chance to talk to someone who has entertained me for the better part of 20 years. People have given me crap about it, but that could have been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Not many people will ever get a chance to meet Michael Jordan, Derek Jeter, Wayne Gretzky and certainly not Bruce Lee or anyone someone who they admire and have looked up to. I've had that opportunity, and I'm beyond grateful for that."
You can find Vladimir Joseph on Facebook, Twitter and Tout, as well as on YouTube. He is also now working on a website where people can buy merchandise, watch matches, post their daily inspirational words and more.
Visit my website at Next Era Wrestling, like me on Facebook and listen to my SAVE US GSM radio show every Wednesday night at 10/9c for more of my thoughts and writings, along with WWE/TNA news, reviews, recaps and more.