I recently had the opportunity to ask Mark Mercedes some questions about his wrestling career and his personal opinion on a few wrestling-related matters.
If you've been living under a rock and still don't know who this Australian wrestling legend is, then you can read about him here.
He seems like a really down-to-earth kind of guy, and he was generous enough to give up some of his time to answer my questions. Here's what I asked him:
Note to editors: please leave all of the content of the answers the way they are. I'm directly quoting what Mark Mercedes said.
SB: When did you decide that you wanted to be a professional wrestler?
MM: Growing up on the Central Coast of New South Wales, I was lucky to get wrestling three times a week on television. I was about 16 years old when WWF Superstars was on Channel 3 NBN every Tuesday, and Channel 10 on Thursdays and Saturday mornings (Wrestling Challenge). I knew right there and then what I wanted to do for a living.
SB: Who were your wrestling idols when you were growing up?
MM: I was always a fan of the heels such as King Kong Bundy, Big John Studd, Randy Savage, Demolition, and the Road Warriors. I never dreamed that one day I would be touring with these guys.
SB: What's the best match that you've ever had in your opinion?
MM: "Wow, that's a hard question. I have had so many great matches with different guys. In Japan I loved working with Tatsumi Fujinami and Osamu Nishimura, also working with Demolition Smash and Wild Bill Irwin was always fun.
In the USA, Rick Martel, Rick Rude, and Bobby Blaze stand out. In Australia, Billy Cole, Rob Matrix, and AJ Freely were always great matches.
SB: I read about Nathan Jones not showing for his match with you at the third Australian Supershow. What's your opinion of him now?
MM: I only ever met him at a Smackdown taping in Ohio. I chatted with him backstage for a few minutes. He seemed okay and maybe a little goofy.
I was a little pissed at the no show because I think we could have had fun. It was a great show. At the same time, I'm not surprised because it seems he has a history of that kind of behaviour.
SB: Who would you say is Australia's best up-and-coming talent right now?
MM: Being that I only perform in Australia for IWA, it's hard not seeing other performers from interstate etc., but from IWA, The Captain and Reggie Watson are stand outs. From Melbourne I'd say The Apache Warrior and Krackerjack. Also I hear that Jag from South Australia is doing good things.
SB: Were you ever involved with World Wrestling All-Stars at any stage?
MM: Yes. In the early years, the promoters and I could never reach an agreement, but I finally signed with them on the last tour and PPV. I had some great matches with Crowbar and worked the PPV with Rick Steiner. He was awesome to work with.
SB: What would you say is your career highlight?
MM: Starting and helping put together the real AWF Wrestleriot tours back in 1993. We bought out many great stars and sold out across the country.
Working with WCW Monday Nitro, the WWA PPV, and working on some huge shows in Japan at venues like the famous Korakuen Hall were also highlights.
Doing IWA (International Wrestling Australia) at the Australian Royal Easter Show, Wonderland, and the Melbourne Show are also stand outs.
SB: If a young kid from Australia wanted to break into the business and one day go international, what would you say is the best way of going about it?
MM: Find a good school and learn and travel as much as you can to get experience. You will also need luck. It's all about being in the right place at the right time.
SB: Can you share a good road story?
MM: What goes on the road, stays on the road... hehe. Too many to think to think of. Traveling with Jake Roberts was always interesting...
SB: What's your opinion on Greg Bownds' AWF wrestling promotion?
MM: Oh god, where do I start? It's so long ago now, and the sad thing was that we had many great matches early on in our careers.
I guess Greg had a different idea on what to do and went for it. He has pissed a lot of people off over the years, including myself, but these days I simply don't care.
I think he takes the wrestling industry in Australia way too seriously, and he is his biggest fan. The main difference between me and Greg is that I was paid money to wrestle international talent! Greg paid them so he could work with them.
I saw him at the Gladiator try outs early last year. It had been many years since seeing each other so we chatted. I don't think we will ever be friends again, but if I didn't see him again I wouldn't lose any sleep.
As for Greg "TNT" Bownds being Australia's most famous current wrestler? I would seriously dispute that!
I then asked a few questions to get a sense of what he's like outside the ring:
SB: If you were going to be stuck on a desert island, what three things would you take with you?
MM: Beer, Wine, and Spirits.
SB: What would you spend your last $20 on?
MM: A round of Golf.
SB: Have you got any unusual talents that most people don't know about?
MM: Other than playing lots of Golf and Snow Skiing, not really.
I'd just like to take this opportunity to thank Mark once again. I really appreciate him taking the time to share some insight into his career.
If you want to find out more about Mark Mercedes, or the wrestling promotion that he co-founded (International Wrestling Australia), you can find all the details here.
Be sure to click on that link and watch the short video on the homepage. It's well worth watching just to see what Australian wrestling is like.
Thanks for reading!