“They wanted me to quit, I don’t know if it was the Puerto Rican in me or the pride. I wouldn’t quit. I wouldn’t let them win.” Will Gray of Botched Spots and Chair Shots got to sit down with the “Colossal One” Mike Law, lead trainer, and coach at the Fall Out Shelter, a wrestling school in New York City. When discussing where wrestling started for him, like many others in New York, it started at Madison Square Garden.
“The Colossal” Mike Law
An Interview With New York-Based Pro Wrestling Trainer
“Steamboat versus Savage in a steel cage. It’s the only match I’ve wanted to do, and in 20 years plus in the business, I haven’t had the chance.” Law spoke on the stronghold the then WWF had on the Northeast territory of the United States.
“Titan had the stronghold, especially in the North East. I would watch a lot of WWF. Later, NWA and AWA then later ECW.”
Law would tell a story from his childhood when his uncle was the referee for an underground wrestling show in Brooklyn. “Arena Puerto Rico, I believe at the time, I really don’t remember what they were called.” In the story, Law says his uncle got into a legitimate altercation with another worker at the event and had a beer bottle busted over his head. “After that, he didn’t want to referee anymore.”
This same uncle was the one who got Mike into the business even after everything he had seen. Law started training in 1998 at the peak of the “Attitude Era” and wrestling was at an all-time high. Law talks about some of the lost nuances of the business now that we live in an almost digital age. “I’d take a VHS tape, if you remember what that is, and a hard copy of my resume to a promoter or promotion… Getting a call from a promoter to work a show, was a big deal.”
“I didn’t have my first pro match until 2001, for NWA “Over the Top” in New Jersey. Law tells Gray about a story where he is hung upside down on the turnbuckle and the locker room took turns chopping him almost in a “conga line.” He said this was a way for them to test you and break you into the business. This little friendly hazing or a rib however would not get over with today’s locker room, Law said, “I don’t think they’d let you get away with this stuff now.”
— The Fall Out Shelter (@TheFallOut_101) June 17, 2022
When asked how things were at the Fall Out Shelter, Law’s wrestling school, he said it was hot. “I love training all the time, but I love training in the heat.” At his school, they are training the next generation of superstar pro wrestlers and sports entertainers. “We have a lot of personalities. A lot of characters, lots of big personalities, I’m enjoying the ride.”
“I like people to get uncomfortable. You’re a fantastic ring worker, I’m looking to push you to give me a 30-45 second promo to get me invested in you… if you’re a big personality and your in-ring work is lacking, we’ll expand on that.”
The biggest thing Law pushed during the conversation was stepping out of your comfort zone. During the early stages of the careers of his students, he encourages them to wrestle with people that are better than them.
“We are at a time and age where you have to be the total package. You have to be able to talk on the mic, you have to sell people, you have to have some physical feature to yourself that makes you different, from everyone else. You obviously have to be able to perform in the ring at a high level.” Mike tells Will that in today’s wrestling you have to be able to do it all, to stand out in a climate of athletic in-ring workers. There are things that Law teaches his students that he feels makes them stand out, “the importance of knowing the crowd and the story you must tell them, knowing the crowd.” In reference to knowing details down to the wild Philadelphia crowd expecting hardcore showcases or
southern territories expecting technical showdowns. Either way, Law referenced the importance of knowing the crowd.
Another important part of his student’s journey is learning to build and tell a story. He says he reminds them “the story you’re telling now, might be different a week from now or two weeks from now.” The importance of being versatile in an ever-changing business was something else Law spoke about during the interview. Being able to jump from heel to baby face and back and knowing when to make those changes in your character to keep up with what is needed is a learned trait. Living in a time of social media, everything you do can be spread with the click of a button, so he speaks on being professional and carrying yourself as such.
When asked how he helps a student build a finish to a match Mike said that he always starts with the reversal of the winner’s finish. He explains that during the match if you go for your finish and the opponent counters how it builds anticipation in the crowd.
“You want to build, try it once and they counter, then when you hit it, it means something.”
During the conversation, Mike took a turn towards safety in the business. This was an important topic to him, especially in reference to his school. “I saw some s*** man! Looking back at ECW, no way we could get away with that now.” With the advances in the science and studies of CTE, Mike Law says it’s more important now than ever to “protect ourselves better.”
Are you located in the Tri-State area and aspire to be a pro wrestler? Join the Fallout Shelter today and make that dream a reality. Train under coaches @mashaslamovich, @COLOSSALMIKELAW, @innercity_Santi and @TheStevePena. For more info email us at FallOutShelterLIC@gmail.com pic.twitter.com/Nxcun6N89o
— The Fall Out Shelter (@TheFallOut_101) November 11, 2021
Mike Law is billed as someone who “takes his barbells everywhere with him.” He speaks highly of his versatility in the ring to be able to jump from traditional matches to death matches, but one thing is for sure. The next generation of superstars is safe being trained by the “Colossal One.”
Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world.