Kyle O'Reilly is one of the best young talents on the independent wrestling scene today. He's appeared for all of the major indy promotions, and currently makes his home in Ring of Honor, alongside his trainer and training partner, Davey Richards. O'Reilly sat down with Two Spot Monkeys to talk about his career, his "Hybrid Rules Match" coming up against Adam Cole on iPPV this weekend, and so much more!
1. Tell us about your earliest memories of wrestling, and what made you decide to pursue it as a career?
O'Reilly: My earliest memories of wrestling consists mainly of early 90's WWF. I didn't watch wrestling regularly but I knew the characters synonymous with the sport like Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior very well. When I was finally old enough to watch wrestling my favorites included Bret Hart, Owen Hart, Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker and Steve Austin. I think like a large majority of wrestlers, one decides at an early age that they want to be a professional wrestler, then as time goes on people tend to outgrow the notion. I just never outgrew the desire that I wanted to be a wrestler, so when the time was right I pursued it.
2. For fans not aware, how did your relationship and the growth of that into being Davey's protégé' come about?
O'Reilly: Davey had been wrestling regularly at the promotion I trained under (ECCW based out of British Columbia), I guess he saw some potential on my end and he would book me for a promotion he and Tony were running (Pinnacle based out of Washington), we traveled together a few times and became friends. When Davey moved to Saint Louis the invite was open to move down and continue training and taking my career to the next level. So I jumped at the chance and would pack my car and drive down to Missouri, haven't looked back since.
3. Davey Richards stated recently that you train in BJJ along with him 5 days per week. Do you have aspirations in MMA as well as pro wrestling?
O'Reilly: Yeah, absolutely. The training regimen that involves elements of mixed martial arts is something that I enjoy very much, I also consider myself to be a somewhat competitive guy. I'm sure somewhere down the road I'll opt for a MMA fight but for now I'll stick to grappling tournaments and pro-wrestling.
4. How does your disciplined training help you to grow as a pro wrestler and strive to be one of the best?
O'Reilly: I've found since I've been training in MMA my ability and confidence in the ring has heightened immensely. I feel more fluid and polished incorporating MMA inspired techniques into my repertoire. I also feel my wind and stamina has greatly improved so there has been nothing but positive impacts. I grew up playing almost every sport but I feel martial artists are probably the most elite and uniquely trained athletes around.
5. How does or has being so closely linked to Davey and Tony Kozina helped you in your early career? Is there any ways you feel that it has hurt or had less than positive effects?
O'Reilly: They were really the driving point behind having to get out of the northwest to gain exposure. They were right, and I'm thankful for everything that they've done to help me in my career. I'm very proud of the fact that I've gained success based off my own merits, trials and persistence, but both Davey and Tony helped fuel the fire inside me that would have me seek the opportunity to do so.
6. Your career thus far has been closely tied with Adam Cole’s, from your pre-show match for Dragon Gate USA, to your team as Future Shock in ROH, and now your first big single’s feud. What are the main similarities or differences you see with yourself and Adam Cole?
O'Reilly: I feel both myself and Cole have a very strong work ethic and desire to succeed. We're both confident in ourselves and believe in everything we do inside the ring. We each followed completely different paths to get to this point, yet our paths crossed at opportune moments. It will be interesting to see how our paths continue to cross or separate in the future.
7. As we mentioned, you started your ROH career off in a tag team with Adam Cole as Future Shock. The knock on the team was that you never quite got the “big wins”, but always had outstanding matches. Is not winning the ROH Tag Team Titles with Future Shock something you look back on as a disappointment in your ROH career?
O'Reilly: I think we're both a bit disappointed that "Future Shock" never gained the success that it had the potential to. Wrestling has a way of surprising everyone though so perhaps the book isn't quite closed on what "Future Shock" could bring to the table.
8. At ROH's "Best in the World '12" you get to face Adam Cole in a match where you've seemingly got the advantage with "Hybrid Fighting Rules." If you feel Cole is truly only one-dimensional as you mentioned on ROHWrestling.com, is this a matter of you wanting more than just to settle the feud/issue and prove something more?
O'Reilly: I absolutely have the advantage in this match, that much is true. I train every day in Muay Thai and submission grappling, so considering the rules, yeah I'd say Cole doesn't have much of a shot. The statement about Cole being "one-dimensional" is simply a doctored quote. I consider Adam Cole to be far more dimensional than myself as far as pro-wrestling standards are concerned. He has a superstar aura and quality look, impressive mic skills and a unique mat based/high flying repertoire of maneuvers. Adam Cole will outclass me any day of the week from a traditional pro-wrestling standpoint. However, when it comes to striking, submission ability and strait up toughness I'll destroy Adam Cole, hurting and embarrassing him. This isn't about ending a "feud" or an "issue", I made a challenge and Cole accepted. We may never see to eye again, we may have 100 more matches before the dust is settled, but when it comes to this Sunday June 24, I will dominate.
9. How would you deal with Adam Cole defeating you in New York City and cementing himself as ROH's "Breakout Star" - would it be a breaking point for you and what would come next for you?
O'Reilly: A breaking point? I've been an athlete my entire life. I've won and lost at both the provincial and national level, losing just means re-evaluating and coming back stronger, tougher and hungrier. Losing is just part of an athlete's journey, I'm sure that's something Cole and I can agree on, we lost more times as "Future Shock" than I can count. That being said, there's no way I'm losing to Cole this Sunday, I simply cannot allow it, I've trained too hard for this match and I need to backup everything that I stand for.
10. Davey Richards also stated recently that he will retire from pro wrestling in August 2013. What would it mean for Davey Richards to publicly pass the torch to you within the next 13+ months? Is that something you would hope to have happen, specifically in ROH and have it be the next step in your ROH career?
O'Reilly: I don't think Davey will be "passing the torch" to anyone if and when he walks away from wrestling. The proverbial torch isn't something I consider possible to be just handed away. I'm just thankful to keep being given good opportunities to perform at the best of my ability. When I'm ready I'll take the torch and I'll run with it. A lot of things can factor if and when that will be, may or may not be when Davey retires. When the time has come I'll know and you'll know, and there will be no question.
11. Beyond thinking that a feud or series of matches with Davey might be at the top of your professional "wish list," who else within ROH or elsewhere would you really like the opportunity to wrestle?
O'Reilly: There's so many talented guys in the ROH locker room and all over the indies for that matter. I feel Eddie Edwards really brings out the best in me that I've come to realize so far, but like I said at the end of the day I'm just thankful to be getting opportunities to wrestle. I'm fortunate to be a part of such a hard-working locker room and everyone inspires each other to perform to their top potential.
12. What are your goals in the next year? How about the next 3 years? 5 years out?
O'Reilly: I try not to look too far into the future as far as wrestling is concerned. I keep focused on the present and trying to improve myself to be the best wrestler I can be day by day. It's always been a goal and dream of mine to wrestle in Japan so perhaps one day, but I cannot predict when and where that will be. I will say that I hope to become a Blue belt in Jiu-jitsu within 2 years.
13. How can fans stay up to date on where you’ll be appearing, and how can they be in touch with you for merchandise, etc?
O'Reilly: @ROHOreilly is my twitter handle. I don't think anyone would buy merch from me. Can I have some money?
Two Spot Monkeys would like to thank Ring of Honor and Kyle O'Reilly for this interview! Be sure to catch ROH's next iPPV, "Best in the World 2012: Hostage Crisis" this Sunday, June 24th at 5pm Eastern live on ROHWrestling.com!