in ,

Wrestling The Bruiser Way: The Will Kroos Interview

Credit: Wrestle Carnival

Some people know him as ‘The Krooserweight.’ Some people know him as ‘The Headline.’ But most people on the British scene know Will Kroos as one of the premier athletes in the country right now. A big heavyweight bruiser who wows audiences with his hard-hitting offense, Will Kroos has made big strides this year and is set to be one of the big faces of British wrestling in 2022.

He is currently the holder of four (!) different titles, a testament to the work he puts in outside of the ring and in it. In a scene where it’s fair to say, there are quite a lot of wrestlers with athletic builds and styles (not a criticism, by the way), Kross stands out like a beast in the ring, putting fear into the hearts of his opponents and awe into the fans.

We spoke to Will Kroos about the current atmosphere on the British wrestling scene, his goals for the future, and where his love for wrestling began.

*

Sports Obsessive: Thank you very much for speaking to us today, Will. For those of our readers who haven’t come across ‘The Headline’ before, can you tell them a little bit about what Will Kroos is all about?

Will Kroos: So, I’m a heavyweight wrestler; I’m 6 foot, about 280 pounds. I’ve been described as having the agility of a cruiserweight and obviously the power of a heavyweight. So that is probably me down to a tee. 

SO: You’re currently the Tidal Championship Wrestling champion, and—correct me if I’m wrong—the World War Wrestling Heavyweight champion, the British Wrestling Revolution Underground champion, and the Preston City Wrestling Tag Team champion with Iestyn Rees. How does it feel being the man with all the gold?

WK: (laughs) Always want more! (I’m) never quite satisfied, really. No, it’s great, you know. Companies have had faith in me and wanting to put faith in me and letting me do my thing. But you know, I’m ever-learning and I’m always hungry, hungry for more. and hopefully, this is just the beginning.

SO: Awesome. I seem to recall reading recently that you’ve only been wrestling for four years—is that right?

WK: Yeah, so I started training, I think in 2016, but I had my first match in January 2017, I think.

SO: How was that experience?

WK: Yeah, it was interesting (laughs). I feel I’ve come on a long—I’ve still got loads to learn, obviously, but I feel like I’m miles ahead of where I was when I first started, but you know, I’m ever-grateful to have been given the opportunity to start.

SO: Who did you train with?

WK: So I started at a company called Fight Factory Wrestling which is based in Lincoln. And then I started branching out, going to as many places as I could. I’d travel up to Rampage Brown, before the pandemic anyway I’d be traveling up to Newcastle to learn from Rampage Brown; I’d be attending as many guest seminars as I could around the country. So yeah, that’s it really, in the short four years—it feels like forever—but in the short four years.

SO: Well, you’ve got a big match with Brady Phillips coming up for British Wrestling Revolution’s ‘The Last Stand’ show on December 3rd. I understand that it’s your third match with him and Brady won the last two back in 2019.

WK: He has, yeah.

SO: You just tagged with Brady actually at Wrestle Carnival. Is this the time where you finally beat Brady?

British Wrestling Revolution Will Kroos vs. Brady Philips title card
Credit: British Wrestling Revolution

WK: I think so, yeah. I mean, I’ve learnt a lot in the two years since wrestling him last, so I think I’ve got his number this time. However, I’m very good friends with Brady outside of wrestling as well, so we know each other extremely well, so it’ll certainly be very interesting on the day.

SO: What was it like tagging with him at Wrestle Carnival?

WK: Yeah, it was good. I mean, (Powerhouse) Blake as well, he’s also one of my best friends in and out of wrestling so, you know, just being able to get the opportunity to do something I love with my close friend, as well as great talents as well, it’s very humbling and I’m very grateful for it.

SO: Brilliant. Well, British Wrestling seems to be getting back on its feet after the difficulties of the pandemic. You’ve got the likes of Wrestle Carnival, CATCH, Tidal Championship wrestling amongst others making some big strides this year. Obviously, Tuesday Night Graps has just announced it’s coming back at the Frog and Bucket (comedy club) in Manchester—I’m in Manchester, so that’s handy (laughs) I’m looking forward to that. You’ve got new faces like Luke Jacobs and Charles Crowley actually appearing on the WWE Network as well via PROGRESS. What’s it felt like to see the British scene get back on its feet this year?

WK: Oh, it’s been nerve-wracking, however, it’s been amazing at the same time. Obviously, with the Speaking Out movement and COVID, you know, everyone had their doubts on how we’d return; who’d come back, what would the state of the scene be in. But the guys really banded together and worked together to make it what it is. I feel like it is going to be better than ever. 2021, from starting back after lockdown, it’s been great so far, but I feel 2022 will be massive as long as we don’t have another lockdown. 

But with how all the boys—I say boys, but I’m just talking in generality of workers—in how all the workers have banded together, you know, staff as well, and made it what it is, I feel like it is gonna be bigger than ever, and rightly so with how hard people have worked to make it a safe place for all.

SO: Well that’s the other thing; you mentioned Speaking Out. How’s it felt in the locker rooms since the return after Speaking Out. Has there been a noticeable difference?

WK: I think the noticeable difference is everyone is just a lot closer. There’s no stigmas in the air, you know, it’s just such a friendly environment and everyone is there to help each other so the locker room environment is better than ever. Yeah, it’s great, that environment is great, but obviously, that change did need to happen, and rightfully so.

At which point, Will takes a moment to introduce me to his cat, Gene Simmons, who bears similar distinctive patches of black fur on his face to the facepaint rocked by the iconic KISS frontman. The cat’s a cutie, even if he answers more to Will’s partner, who uses the cat’s real name, Eric.

SO: You’ve been regularly tagging with Powerhouse Blake—you mentioned before how he’s one of your best friends in and out of the ring—I’ve seen (the partnership) in the flesh and it’s a force of nature.

WK: (laughs)

SO: Would you like to see you and Blake holding tag team gold like you are with Iestyn Rees?

WK: Definitely, yeah. I never really focussed on tag team wrestling before the lockdown, so yeah, being able to add another string to my bow after lockdown by being versatile in tag team wrestling is great, and getting to do it with tremendous athletes such as Iestyn and obviously Blake as well, of course, I’d love the opportunity to hold gold with Blake, and I’d love to take it as far as we can. Any invitations, anyone wanting to scrap with two big lads is more than welcome. 

Will Kroos and Iestyn Rees are staring you out!
Credit: Preston City Wrestling

SO: (laughs) That’s it, absolutely. I wanted to ask you, what are your earliest memories of wrestling? When did you realize, ‘that’s it, I’m a wrestling guy, it’s wrestling for me?’

WK: So this is something I get targeted a lot for because of my knowledge…before I started wrestling, my knowledge of wrestling was very minimal (laughs). Anything pre-2005/2006 WWE, I had no clue. So my earliest memories were DX, but this isn’t like old school-DX; this is Triple H and Shawn Michaels feuding with The Spirit Squad. That’s my earliest memories, you know, and the CM Punk pipe bomb, they’re like my earliest memories of it. 

But then obviously, once I started wrestling, and then the Network coming out, there’s so much material on there to study and learn. Then I started discovering…obviously I knew who The Rock was, because who doesn’t know who The Rock was, but like, The Rock, Steve Austin, you know. Then I was actually on YouTube one day and I just randomly fell across Japanese wrestling. So, I stumbled across Misawa and Kobashi from the early nineties in All Japan.

So yeah, that is where I really fell in love with wrestling and was like, ‘Wow, I wanna do that,’ you know. It was Japanese wrestling that made me fall in love and want to be able to try it out and see where I can go with it.

SO: Yeah, and those names you mentioned—Misawa, Kobashi—

WK: The Four Pillars, yeah.

SO: Yeah, to this day, two of the greatest to ever do it, to this day.

WK: Definitely. 

SO: You could have worse influences than those two, definitely (laughs). It’s mad that nowadays…back in the nineties, New Japan and All Japan were kind of on similar footing. Whereas now, All Japan seems to be more like a cult thing almost, like, ‘those who know, know,’ whereas New Japan’s the big thing.

WK: Yeah, and then Misawa made NOAH, didn’t he? Misawa made it in the late 90s, was it, late 90s/early 2000s? 

SO: Something like that, yeah.

WK: Yeah, I started watching a lot of NOAH as well. But, you know, like you said, New Japan has just skyrocketed in comparison to NOAH. Obviously, NOAH and All Japan are big within themselves and within their reason, but you know, how New Japan skyrocketed is tremendous, really.

SO: Absolutely! Well, I know in America, the goal for the longest time for a lot of wrestlers was to get to WWE, especially when there was less competition; you might have had Impact or Ring of Honor. But now, obviously, AEW is probably a massive goal for a lot of talent in America. What would you say is the biggest goal for British talent generally? Is it to make it to some of the bigger British promotions like PROGRESS or RevPro or even NXT UK? Or is it to make it to America or even to Japan?

WK: I think it’s individually specific to the performer. For me, my end goal would be the big WWE contract, you know. But I’d want to go the AJ Styles route. I’d wanna do it all, all before, you know. I wanna be King of the Indies; I wanna take over Ring of Honor; New Japan. I wanna do tours whilst still working the indies, so I wanna do tours of Japan, tours of America, whilst still being big on the indies. And then, once I feel like I’ve earned my way and done my bit, that’s when I’d like…obviously, it’s all scenario and hypothetical but, you know, that would be my dream way of doing it because…for the dream, for many, only a few years ago there was no NXT UK, there was no AEW. So the dream still would be that big WWE contract, you know, ’cause that is the dream. 

But that is all performer-specific though. There’s some performers here who may be happy just working their local indie shows, and that’s great, you know.

SO: You mentioned AJ Styles; there’s been Bryan Danielson at the moment as well. I mean, he went to Japan, Ring of Honor, WWE. Now he’s having a second life almost.

WK: That’s it. It’s great! I love how the scene is at the minute. There’s so many possibilities for everyone, and everyone just seems to be working together and that’s just better for everyone.

SO: Yeah, and the British scene seems good at the moment; promotions are talent sharing, and what have you. Obviously, there’s been concerns in America with AEW, (they’ve) been taking on a lot of talent; WWE are releasing lots of talent; Ring of Honor released all of their talent—

WK: Yeah, yeah. That was a big one, wasn’t it?

SO: That was a big one, yeah! Do you find the British scene is quite healthy at the moment with promotions?

Will Kroos and Powerhouse Blake strike a 'big hard lads' pose
Credit: Oli at Ringside Perspective

WK: Yeah, I mean, whilst people are working together still, there’s only one-way British wrestling is going, and that is growing into this massive…like, there’s a reason why you get talent from all over the world wanting to come over and work the British indies, and that’s because of the scene and the performers before, like Pete Dunne, Drew McIntyre, Stu Bennett. All these people before have built the scene up and made it what it is today. Obviously, Doug Williams, you know. The list goes on forever.

There’s a reason people want to come and work here and that’s because of how good the indie scene is here and (how) the indie fans are. Yeah, I think it’s great for all the companies to work together how they are doing, and as long as they do continue to work together, it’s only going to grow and get better for everyone, so yeah fingers crossed that’s how it keeps going!

SO: Yeah, definitely, definitely! Like you said there, with the American talent wanting to come over and actually work in Britain…I mean, there was Jonathan Gresham and Jordynne Grace at Wrestle Carnival’s Pure last month, and it seemed like such a big compliment, not only for Jonathan Gresham to have that great match with Chris Ridgeway—from a fan’s perspective, it was absolutely mind-blowing—but for him to then offer Chris Ridgeway a position in The Foundation and what that meant, that felt like a big deal.

WK: Exactly! Those opportunities, it is just better for everyone. I keep saying it, and I will keep saying it, as long as people work together and don’t spite each other’s nose to…you know…whatever the gimmick is (laughs)—you know what I mean!

SO: (laughs) I do.

WK: It is better for everyone, and hopefully, like I said, 2022 will be massive for everyone and it’ll keep skyrocketing.

SO: That’s it, that’s it. Fingers crossed.

WK: That’s it.

SO: Well, I wanted to ask you, there’s been a shift in pro wrestling in the last few years, in that bigger sized wrestlers now feel that they have to be able to do more athletic moves in the ring; I’m thinking of the likes of Lance Archer; there’s Calvin Tankman, I don’t know if you’ve seen him in America for MLW.

WK: Yeah, yeah.

SO: And the idea is that it obviously grabs attention in that you don’t usually see bigger wrestlers necessarily doing those kinds of moves. But I’ve spoken to an American wrestler before, Papo Esco, don’t know if you’ve come across him at all…

WK: No.

SO: He’s very much in that Bam Bam Bigelow mold, and he’s much happier to lean into being like a bruising old-school big man, like a Bam Bam Bigelow. What’s your take on being a big man in modern wrestling? Do you feel any pressure to be more athletic, or do you prefer to lean into that bruising style?

WK: Yeah, so, especially pre-lockdown, I for one definitely fell into a trap of thinking that to break out more and to be noticed and to be on more shows, I needed to do stuff like that. So every show I’d be doing a moonsault, a dive, a hurricarana, a reverse rana, a Canadian destroyer, you know, all these moves. And like yeah, it’s great, and you get a couple of hundred views on Twitter and stuff, but in the grand scheme of things, no one cares. Say I wrestled Blake in a match, hypothetically, nine times out of ten the crowd are just going to want to see me and Blake hit each other really hard. And, you know, you get the generic chants of “big lads wrestling!”

Especially now, after COVID, back to the point, I’m now trying my hardest to revert back to the bruiser style and, you know, just being that big dominant force in the match and like, having people work to me, rather than me work to them. I’m not saying that it’s bad to do these things, but personally, I just feel, especially since coming back, I feel it’s been way more beneficial for me to wrestle like that, rather than doing the moonsaults and the dives. 

Don’t get me wrong, I probably will end up doing them, but it’d have to be for a big occasion now, I feel. Especially when the cruiserweights do it much better than me (laughs). Why does someone want to see a big lad do it half-decently when you’ve got some, like.. the British scene at the minute, for the lack of really big, good heavyweights, is so full of tremendous cruiserweights. It’s phenomenal. Yeah, why would anyone want to see me do a flop over the rope when you can see Robbie X do a 790, spinny-whizzler over the rope and look amazing.

SO: (laughs)

WK: So for me personally, and I’m probably being a big hypocrite as well, ’cause you’ll probably see me at the next show doing a dive (laughs), for me, I feel like it is slowly reverting back to the bruiser way, and the big lads to be just a bruiser.

SO: I think for me, speaking as a fan, I like variety. I like watching it cruiserweights, and I like women’s wrestling and I like hardcore wrestling—deathmatches are a bit…depends what mood I’m in—but then sometimes, I just want to see two meaty lads smack each other (laughs). But as a fan, that variety’s great, and for a promoter, I suppose, if you can give people a bit of everything on your card, you’re laughing. Mick Foley had a theory about a three-ring circus; he said that, in his head, you should book a card like a three-ring circus. You know, if you don’t like the clowns, you’ve got the jugglers. If you don’t like the jugglers, you’ve got the trapeze artists.

WK: Yeah, definitely. It just makes sense, and everyone’s happy. If you have six matches of the same stuff, the crowd are most likely going to get bored by the fourth or fifth match. That’s another thing that I feel Wrestle Carnival’s done really well in giving fans that variety. Every show, I think, they’ve had three or four different types of match. It’s great.

Will Kroos & Powerhouse Blake vs. Reese & Rogan title card
Credit: Wrestle Carnival

SO: Definitely. Well, I know you’re traveling around the UK a lot at the moment, wrestling for different promotions, I wanted to ask, what are some of your favorite venues to work in? Do you have some particular places where you think, ‘aw, that audience is going to be mental tonight!’ or like, ‘this is a good venue?’

WK: In terms of coming back from COVID, or just in general where I’ve worked?

SO: Just in general.

WK: So, Temple of Boom; I don’t know if you ever went for Tidal. It was a really small vegan cafe, could fit maximum 80 people in maybe? But every time we had a show there at Tidal, I just knew that all 80 fans were gonna be up for it. Because of how small the room was and it was filled, it created such a great environment. It didn’t matter that there was only 80 people there, it felt like there was 800 people there, you know, with how loud it was.

There’s a place called Engine Shed in Lincoln. It’s the (university) student union venue, like, they have loads of music bands there, like, Enter Shikari and stuff play. That’s probably my most favorite venue that I’ve worked in, to date. It’s such a stunning venue. When you’ve got all the lights up, because obviously it’s used for music gigs as well, you can probably fit about a thousand people in there as well. It’s great. They’re probably two of my favorite venues.

North Wrestling coming back, The Brewery, (the venue) they run in, that’s a really good compact venue. Every time I go up to North and wrestle, I just know there’s going to be a good crowd there, a good, lively crowd. But since coming back, I know everyone had their doubts about how fans would be and rightly so, and the reception towards the wrestlers and to the wrestling, but everywhere I’ve been this year, the reception has been great from the fans and I’m very thankful for it, especially how the fans have taken to me this year.

SO: No, listen, certainly the two matches that I’ve seen you wrestle this year at Wrestle Carnival, I really, really enjoyed, they were great matches. Absolutely.

WK: Thank you.

SO: Right. I’m going to end with a Quick Fire Five.

WK: OK.

SO: What’s your favorite band?

WK: Bring Me The Horizon. I’m a big Metalcore man.

SO: Ah ok! I’m not massive on metal, I’m more of a punk (laughs).

WK: That’s cool.

SO: What’s your favorite film?

WK: Oh…I’m gonna go with Anchorman. I’m a big sucker for Will Ferrell.

SO: Anchorman’s brilliant, yeah! There’s something that pops in my head on a semi-regular basis, which is Brick when he goes, “I love lamp, I love desk.” “Do you really love the lamp or are you just saying it?” (laughs)

WK: Honestly, the comedy’s great. Anything with Will Ferrell—well, I say anything, there’s some films which he’s done that are horrendously bad, but nine times out of ten, like… I can put Anchorman on and Step Brothers on and, you know, Talladega Nights, I can watch them over and over. I don’t get bored of them. And I laugh every time.

SO: Yeah, Anchorman’s definitely a good shout. Alright: What’s your favorite food?

WK: Ooh…I’m going to say Italian—I love pasta and carbs. I’m a big sucker for pasta.

SO: Ooh yeah! I love a good Italian myself, I have to admit, yeah. I mean, it’s bread, it’s meat, it’s tomatoes, cheese—what more could you want? (laughs)

WK: Yeah, garlic. It’s tremendous. 

SO: Yeah. What is your favorite wrestling match of all time?

WK: Of all time? I’m a big sucker for Michaels-Flair at WrestleMania whatever it was. The storytelling in that match was second to none. Japanese-wise, there’s Misawa-Kobashi, you know, Kawada. There’s so many I could name, but yeah, I think from a story point of view…mind you, though, I’m a big fan of Austin and The Rock at ‘Mania 17. That media package they put together is the greatest thing I’ve ever seen.

SO: With ‘My Way’ (by Limp Bizkit)?

WK: Yeah. I’m a big Limp Bizkit fan, I’m going to see them next year. But yeah, I know that didn’t answer your question, but yeah, they’re a few of my highlights.

SO: No, no, that’s cool! Last but not least: What has been your favorite match that you’ve wrestled yourself this year?

WK: This year? Hmm…probably with Luke Jacobs at Tidal. We had a good little scrap, so probably that one. I had lots of fun against Karl Newman at Tidal as well.  I imagine Brady Phillips at BWR will be one of my favorites. Ethan Allen at BWR was really fun as well. I’ve got Chris Ridgeway as well in a couple of weeks at Tidal, so that will probably be up there as one of my favorites. And I wrestled Robbie X last weekend as well, that was super fun. There’s so many good moments, but I think the one that sticks out the most and the one that probably got the most reception was against Luke Jacobs.

SO: And he’s such a good wrestler as well.

WK: Oh, they’re tremendous yeah, they’re going places, the pair of them.

SO: That match with Chris Ridgeway at Wrestle Carnival…maybe because it was a smaller room and it echoed, but I’ve never heard someone get hit so hard (laughs)

WK: (laughs) Great, right?

SO: You feel bad for them, but then you think, ‘I want more!’ (laughs)

WK: Yeah, give us more. 

SO: That’s it. Well, do you have any last words for our readers or anything that you want to promote?

WK: Not really, just, if you ever see me at a show, come and say ‘hi,’ as long as I’m not in the middle of a match (laughs). Yeah, if you see me, please feel free to come and say ‘hi.’ Thank you everyone who’s supported me so far; I do really appreciate it, it means the world to me. But yeah, hopefully, I’ll you all very soon.

*

And see him soon, I’m sure we will. Currently appearing up and down the country and gaining new fans everywhere he goes, 2022 in Britain is going to be the year of Will Kroos.

Try to tell him any different. I dare you.

 

If you enjoyed this interview, be sure to check out: 

Anthony Henry Has Done it All…and He’s Not Done. (Exclusive Interview)

Austin Green is Here to Stay(Exclusive Interview)

Interview with Taylor Hollohan, Fitness Trainer and CPA Bikini Gold Winner

Written by Chris Flackett

Wrestling obsessed since '91. Lived through the Monday Night Wars and is still here to tell the tale. Major fan of Strong Style, technical and Super Jr. Wrestling, as well as big versatile hosses smacking the hell out of each other. Lives in Manchester, England.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

2020 NFC North Predictions

NFL Week 12 Point Spread Picks

Jamie Hayter vs. Britt Baker is what's best for business

Jamie Hayter vs. Britt Baker Is What’s Best For Business