In the most positive of ways, Speedball Mike Bailey is one of the most terrifying men in professional wrestling today.
That’s not to say that Speedball isn’t one of the nicest people you’ll meet in professional wrestling; far from it, in fact. However, whether it be his prowess as a Taekwondo expert or as one of the world’s most technically gifted professional wrestlers, no one would argue that Bailey brings a certain legitimacy to any professional wrestling match or event he takes part in.
However, in previous interviews, Speedball has reminisced on his first memory of professional wrestling being wildly askew of the reality-based character he presents, recalling his first memory as a specific instance of the Brood setting Kane on fire.
Err, kind of.
“Well, [he was] trying!” Bailey laughed when I brought up the attempted arson of his memories. “I don’t think he actually did set them on fire. That only happened recently. I think the Fiend was the first time someone has actually set ablaze in the WWE ring.”
I had to laugh at the comparison.
“The first actual victory by inferno?” I chuckled.
Bailey agreed. “Correct. I think Kane was only trying, but it was still enough to get me hooked.”
As I continued to laugh, I also continued my line of questioning. While certainly not a supernatural character like the Kane’s or Gangrel’s of the world, he’s certainly someone who’s established and excelled at playing his character. With his first experience in wrestling based so wildly out of the realm of reality, was there ever a point where he looked to the supernatural for character inspriation?
“So, no,” he was quick to assert, “because that’s honestly, that is the first thing I saw in professional wrestling. But, that is not the side of professional wrestling that really got me hooked.”
“It was when I was a lot older, honestly, and I saw – like, I always wanted to do it, just because I thought it was so cool. But it wasn’t until much later and I saw guys like Amazing Red and AJ Styles and Matt Sydal and Low Ki do the kind of wrestling that they did that I was like, ‘oh, wow, okay, this is really cool. This is what I would really like to do.’ Right? I couldn’t – I liked the Hardy Boyz and X-Pac when I was a child, because I felt like I could relate to their style a little bit more. There was no part of me that was watching Kane or the Undertaker, The Big Show, or Bradshaw being like, ‘oh, I could do that,’ because I realized that I was never, never going to be eight feet tall like they are.”
“Well, and it’s pretty hard to bring thunder from the sky,” I replied half-jokingly. “I figured that would be something that’d be pretty difficult to train in.”
“Correct, I don’t have control of that,” Bailey retorted. I can’t have control of that. So of course, that’s not really helpful, is it?”
We shared a laugh before Bailey continued.
“I appreciate that side of professional wrestling and the supernatural, super theatrical,” he explained. “I think that’s all fantastic. I think the idea of a gimmick and giving someone a gimmick, or a character, is kind of passe. I think we’re beyond that. I think mostly because pro wrestling now is a fully immersive experience, where you must live as your character through the internet 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Whereas before, if it was contained within a weekly television show, you could be a vampire then, and then just be a normal guy the rest of the time, and it wouldn’t matter. But now, it does. So, if you want to be a supernatural character, you really have to commit. Otherwise, it’s better to just be yourself. And that’s fully what I’ve chosen to do with my pro wrestling character and career is to just be myself and then adapt it to have better matches. If I need to be a little bit more on the bad side bad guy side or need to fully lean into being a good guy, I can do that. But, I appreciate people who don’t. I appreciate people who chose to go hard on the gimmick and present themselves that way and go all-in with it. I think that’s amazing.”
Of course, every great interviewer loves a great segue, and thankfully, Speedball provided one for one of the questions I was most excited to ask him about.
“Well, and it’s definitely something that you’ve done at least once in your career and one of my favorite things that I’ve watched,” I began.
“Tell me about your experience wrestling as Shrek!”
“Yeah, that was the dumbest thing!” Bailey commented, bemused. “I just made – okay. I make a lot of really, really dumb tweets. Most of them are so dumb that they’re not even worse worth tweeting, and they just live out in my drafts, and I show them to my partner, Veda Scott, and I just show them the tweets and they just go ‘haha, that’s funny. You can’t tweet that,’ and then it just dies. I wrote one that was, the tweet was just ‘if this gets 2,000 likes, I’ll wrestle in full Shrek cosplay,’ or something. And it was like, ‘haha, tweet it.’ And then, I did, and then it rapidly got more likes than I had asked. I was like, ‘Okay, I’ll do it. I don’t care.’ There was this place called Good Wrestling in England. They were like, ‘Hey, we saw your tweet, and we know you’re booked on this show. You should do the Shrek match!'”
“’We’ll book you as Shrek?!’ What a fantastic phone call to receive!” I chuckled before asking the million-dollar question. “Are we going to see it again?”
“I have no idea. No clue. I have no plans to wrestle as Shrek again, I have no concrete idea of when that could or could not happen.”
“It might! I mean, if people ask for it, I wouldn’t be opposed.”
Please credit Spencer Love/Love Wrestling with any of the above quotations used.