Interview With WWE United Kingdom Championship Competitor Trent Seven
WWE announced a 16-man tournament to crown an inaugural United Kingdom Champion at a press conference in London back in December, giving the cream of the crop of the British wrestling scene the chance to show the world what they are all about on a WWE platform.
For those who have been honing their craft on the independent scene for a number of years, it is an unbelievable opportunity.
One of those men who has been afforded that wonderful opportunity is Trent Seven. A 35-year old from Wolverhampton who has only been wrestling for eight years and went full-time last year, Seven is all about British Strong Style and is a tag team champion in promotions PROGRESS and CHIKARA.
A man with a marvellous moustache who oozes charisma and can go in the ring, Trent is one of the leading candidates to go all the way in this tournament.
We had a chat with him about bringing British Strong Style to WWE, his influences in wrestling, attempting to teach New Day member Xavier Woods to play the bagpipes, being able to combine his independent commitments with working for WWE, his dream match and what it would it mean to be the first ever United Kingdom champion.
TheSPORTbible: We spoke to you recently before the Fight Club: Pro weekender in October and just months later you are going to be competing for WWE, how surreal is that?
Trent Seven: That's probably the perfect word to be honest, it's surreal on every level. When you're a kid you always think "How cool would it be to wrestle for the WWE?" or being on Wrestlemania etcetera and you kind of carry on doing your thing and it's always in the back of your mind - like "Wouldn't it be cool if you made it?!" and then when it happens, you're like "Oh wow!" and it happens like that. No matter the gradient that you are going up to, with the crowds that you are wrestling infront of; I got the opportunity last year to wrestle at the Brixton Academy and the Hydro for ICW and that was obviously amazing, but when that call came through from [William] Regal... shock factor!
TheSPORTbible: And it's interesting because you are still able to keep up a fair bit of your independent commitments as well as be featured on the WWE Network. As someone who enjoys the different products and the different match-ups you can have being an independent wrestler, how great is that for you?
Trent Seven: It's perfect. Obviously when the WWE offer you a contract or start sitting down with you and talk about potential things and you've got crazy things like this WWE United Kingdom Championship tournament, getting the opportunity to wrestle on the [WWE] Network is just ridiculous at any level but the fact that it gives us the chance to keep our current independent roots and stay in the UK as well and continue to build our name for ourselves and help the WWE brand in the UK grow, it's a massive opportunity for us and I'm really, really happy that this was the kind of deal that was sent through to us.
The fact we can represent the WWE and still represent the independents that we've got: the Fight Club: Pros, the ICWs, the Progress's and the Rev Pros etcetera, it's wonderful. It's great for us in the UK and I think it's going to be a great thing for the WWE as well - broadening their horizons and giving the 16 guys in the tournaments some exposure.
TheSPORTbible: We've learnt that Mark Andrews will be competing in the tournament - another talented wrestler added to the mix. How well covered do you think the British scene is in terms of the competitors in the tournament?
Trent Seven: I think it's represented phenomenally strongly. There's always guys that will be talked about in the United Kingdom who have obviously got contracts and deals and there's guys kind of working all over the place and there's so many different things popping up in America to televised UK stuff with WWE, I think it's phenomenal that we've got such a strong presence throughout all of those spectrums. As far as the UK scene goes, we're ticking so many boxes all over the place - the depth and talent pool of UK talent to be able to be strong enough to have competitors across Japan, America, national television, the WWE Network - an entire UK based championship tournament, I just think that speaks volumes for the guys over here.
TheSPORTbible: This will be your WWE debut but it won't be the first time you have been featured on a WWE platform as you appeared in a little clip on WWE's YouTube channel with a certain Xavier Woods. What was all that about?
Trent Seven: It was during the tryouts in Glasgow, obviously Smackdown and Raw was being recorded and I was in the back, doing a bit of extra work and I'm standing in a corridor when Xavier Woods walks past. I don't think he's going to mind me saying this but he was struggling to come to grips with the bagpipes. Don't get me wrong, I can't play the bagpipes but if you are trying to do something, there's only one way round it isn't there? So I said to him "Why don't you go and do your thing for half an hour or whatever and come back, then we'll do some Googling and YouTubeing and we'll work it out?" and he's like "Yeah, cool".
So he went off for twenty minutes or whatever and got changed, we went outside - a TV camera guy backstage decided to follow us, and yeah we stood in the parking lot in the freezing cold watching YouTube videos and trying to figure out how to play the bagpipes!
TheSPORTbible: Back to the tournament, we've got people from all corners of the UK and Ireland and a number of different promotions covered as well. For you personally, how great is that there are four Fight Club: Pro in there with yourself, Pete Dunne, Tyler Bate and Dan Moloney?
Trent Seven: It's massive. It's so huge just for the independent scene in general but to be a bit selfish with the interview time, there's nothing that makes me more proud than to see four guys from a 20 mile radius who have trained together for the last four or five years and to see us on the WWE Network, it's just madness!
I was only having a conversation with someone about it the other day - you've got Tyler who's 19 and I've been training with him since he was about 15, you've got Dan who's 19 who I've been training with since he was about 14, maybe even 13, and then you've got Pete who I think is 23/24. The fact that the talent is so high at that age just speaks volumes for these guys and the heart and effort they have put into training, trying to ply their craft and perfect their trade really.
The fact that the Midlands is being represented so strongly, it just says a lot about those guys. If you'd had said five years ago that there's going to be four guys from the Midlands wrestling in a WWE Championship tournament on the [WWE] Network, I think people would laugh you off. They are incredible talents, this isn't selected regionally, it's the best guys from the UK and Ireland and I think the fans are going to get an absolute pearler of a tournament.
TheSPORTbible: You're all about 'British Strong Style' - that meaning hitting hard and hitting fast. With that being said, who were the wrestlers you gravitated towards growing up and getting into the wrestling business?
Trent Seven: Just to kind of like roll it off the tongue, as far as the strong style element, I was a huge [Mitsuharu] Misawa fan, a huge [Kenta] Kobashi fan - I really loved those guys coming up and they were the ones that got me interested in the Japanese style of things. Samoa Joe as well, from his Ring Of Honor days, obviously still now but his Ring Of Honor run was something that captivated me, especially as his style went. I'd say the match with Kobashi vs Samoa Joe is arguably my favourite match of all-time.
Other influences that lead to the 'British Strong Style' - I'm a huge fan of Rollerball Rocco, I really think as far as on a UK scene, he was the one that gravitated towards me from his transition from the 'catch as catch can', escapism style to the sports entertainment style, I really feel like he was the first one that I saw and went "Wow, this guy isn't only a phenomenal wrestler but he's got every single person eating out of the palm of his hand".
And then when I was a kid, I grew up watching Ric Flair, Randy Savage and those guys were just first class. British Strong Style is just a mix of everything; I'm an entertainer, there's a massive level of showmanship - you'll see a lot of moustache twizzling and beard-shaping during the match but when push comes to shove, I need to be able to kick into second and third gear and hit harder, hit faster, hit stronger, throw further and take a heap of punishment that I can only imagine is definitely going to come my way.
TheSPORTbible: You've competed at a sold out Brixton Academy for PROGRESS and fought for the ICW World Title at Fear and Loathing at the Hydro, how will the WWE UK Championship tournament experience compare to your previous achievements?
Trent Seven: There's no doubt about it, it's weird! Throughout my wrestling career, there are always moments that you can kind of pluck back to and be like "Wow, that was really something else". Wrestling infront of 6,000 people is indescribable, especially in a cage match for a World Title - it was ridiculous. Just coming out there and seeing so many people, it really was a wonderful opportunity. To be able to do what I think was the first ever wrestling show at Brixton Academy was another incredible moment. Coming out there and seeing a sea of people supporting independent wrestling, it was very humbling.
This however, is a different kettle of fish. You've got about 2 million subscribers for the WWE Network, something like that I think, the tickets sold out in an extraordinarily short time for the live event and we're going to be going live on the Network on the 14th and 15th of January, I don't think it's been done on the Network before - a live tournament, so to be able to the first people to do a live tournament in the United Kingdom, two days, to be able to have that opportunity to be broadcast on an enormous platform if just incredible.
As far as it being the biggest thing I've ever done, of course it is. It's the biggest wrestling company that has ever existed and me and 15 other guys have the opportunity to go out there and not only show the world how good we are but show how strong the United Kingdom scene is right now.
TheSPORTbible: Fans seemed to love the Cruiserweight Classic where all these great independent wrestlers, a few from the UK, were able to be themselves and project themselves as the performer that they are. How important is that in this tournament?
Trent Seven: It's massive. We've lived through so many different eras of programming as far as independent wrestling and WWE goes and over the course of the last two years, with 205 Live and the Cruiserweight Classic, the real birth of NXT and it becoming the third brand, to see that growth and to see guys being brought in on the merit that they are, not necessarily just the namesakes and not having to change anything about their personality and their name, I think that just shows that wrestling is evolving, as everything does.
The styles are evolving, the talent pool is getting bigger and the quality is just getting so high at the moment, to be able to go into this tournament as me and to be able to project my character and for the other 15 guys to get the exact same opportunity, I think that speaks volumes of the direction that professional wrestling is going in. The guys are performing at such a high level as their created characters that the WWE is looking at them and going "Let's manage this" and "Let's take this bit and catapult it to the next level". Let's take your Tommy Ends, your Jack Gallaghers, your Noam Dars and let's just give them the platform that they need. They are now making names for themselves infront of 2 million people and I think that's just wonderful.
TheSPORTbible: With that being said, can you confirm or deny whether or not your entrance music will be anything close to "The White Stripes - Seven Nation Army" and whether or not you will be rolling into the ring as you normally do?
Trent Seven: Well, I'm planning to have a little slow roll and a little shake of the hand - I don't think I will be able to get round to everyone, however we'll see what comes out of the speakers on the night.
TheSPORTbible: Who are you most looking forward to mixing it up with or have you not really got a preference?
Trent Seven: Arguably I haven't really got a preference, just the chance to get in there with any of the 15 guys I think is going to be pretty magical anyway. I've never wrestled Tyler [Bate] one-on-one so that would be pretty exciting, me and Pete [Dunne] have clashed heads over the last year but he's an extraordinarily talented professional wrestler, Wolfgang as well, me and him have clashed heads a couple of times and to be able to get in with him in a WWE ring would be rather exciting but I don't necessarily want to leave anyone out, I think the opportunity to get in with any of those 15 guys and represent the United Kingdom and put across my style then that's all I can possibly ask for.
TheSPORTbible: What would be your dream match in WWE?
Trent Seven: Common sense, with the roster they've got at the minute, it would be John Cena because in all reality he's the best wrestler in the world right now. I've had the opportunity to get in there with the current Universal Champion Kevin Owens and a rematch would be lovely - especially if he wants to put the Universal Champion on the line! I've had the very blessed opportunity to get in the ring with AJ Styles as well and a rematch, once again if he wants to put the WWE Championship on the line, that would be lovely.
When I was a kid, you dreamt of wrestling at Wrestlemania so to get in there with the Undertaker at Wrestlemania would probably tick every box I've ever wanted.
TheSPORTbible: And finally what would it mean for you to go all the way and be the inaugural WWE UK Champion and fly the flag for British wrestling?
Trent Seven: I'm not necessarily that cocky, I'm just confident in the fact that if you set yourself a goal then no matter what happens between now and that goal, as long as you keep it as stepping stones, I think you can stay focused. So as huge as this thing is looking from the outside of the box, when the bell rings on the 14th, no matter who's standing across the ring, I have to win. I want to be the most famous professional wrestler to come out of the United Kingdom. To do that, I need to get into this tournament - tick the box. The next step is to win the first round, the second round, the semi finals and the final - tick those boxes.
Then I can stand there at the end of the day as the WWE United Kingdom Champion, the first ever - that is another tick of the box and from then on, whether it's representing the WWE here, going over to America, travelling the world as the WWE United Kingdom Champion, defending it wherever and doing whatever they wanted me to do, against the best wrestlers on the planet, that's another boxed ticked.
To win this and to go on to things like Summerslam, Wrestlemania and the Royal Rumble and maybe have the opportunity to defend it on that level, that's what I'd love. When I close my eyes and I think of my goals regarding 2017, that's what I can picture and that's what I can see. As far as winning this thing, I need to.
Watch the first-ever WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament LIVE on WWE Network. Subscription is 9.99 a month, and the first month is FREE. Go to WWENetwork.com.