Before getting involved in the industry himself, MLW star Dominic Garrini was, like many professional wrestlers, simply a fan of professional wrestling. One star that caught the soon-to-be-known Bone Collector’s eye was the then-Kevin Steen, now known to professional wrestling fans throughout the world as Kevin Owens.
Garrini and I recently chatted about his thoughts on why Owens is one of the all-time great wrestlers in his opinion.
Spencer Love: “A couple more I’ve got to ask you before we get closer to winding it out here. One that I really, really wanted to pick your brain on actually, and I know you’ve mentioned it a couple of times, but as a Canadian podcaster, it’s always nice for me to hear when a Canadian is on a Mount Rushmore and especially when it’s a name like Kevin Owens. Maybe just take me a little bit through and the listeners through why you enjoy him so much (and) how he got you back into professional wrestling?”
Dominic Garrini: “So when I was a young, a young lad discovering what independent wrestling was, probably about 2004, 2005 I really gravitated – I was what they would call a ghoul. I really liked hardcore wrestling and I really liked all that, but I’d also started to notice how – I was still sort of the chubby kid at the time. So the first independent wrestling tape I ever got, really, I ordered from a website with a money order was I ordered Cage of Death Six from Smart Mark Video and I bought that for the main events which were the two cage deathmatches. In the end, those were there, but there was one that stood out to me more than any of them and it was Super Dragon and Excalibur versus Kevin Steen and El Generico. I always remember how much Kevin Steen stuck out to me in that match. Just everything he did. The attitude, the way he moved, you know, the moves that he did everything stuck with me, and (he) was a guy that I followed from there on out.”
“I was following all the stuff he did in IWS. I was following his extended CZW on at that point. He had had a couple small tryouts in ROH at that point. That was one guy that, even when I was getting out of wrestling, I was always cognizant of where he was. What was he doing and Ring of Honor? What was he doing here? What was he doing there? When it came down to the fact of I was really burned out of competing in Jiu-Jitsu, it coincided that that was when his big WWE push started. I’d gotten back into the WWE about two years before my decision to be a wrestler. 2013 was when I got really back into the WWE. I got back in because Bryan Danielson, who’s my other favourite wrestler, was killing it. And then I saw Kevin Owens or Kevin Steen got signed I was like, ‘holy s**t,’ and then NXT on the Network and I was like, ‘Okay.’ So then, I’m watching Kevin Steen just come right in and win the NXT title so that was firing me up. And then, literally the week I came back from the worlds where I lost was when he had beaten down Cena at Elimination Chamber. I watched Elimination Chamber in LAX because I was flying back from the worlds and I didn’t want to miss it. And, I went to that RAW in Cleveland and him having a big part of that show and from there on out, it was just kind of like, ‘okay I’m gonna go to wrestling school,’ and you know it’s been awesome, his success since then even, you know, Universal Champion, (a) great WrestleMania moment this year, and a guy that’s gonna keep on ascending the ladder hopefully.”
Please credit Spencer Love/Love Wrestling with any transcriptions used.