When I interviewed Bad Influence for Journey of a Frontman last year, they were so funny and entertaining that I knew I just had to have them on again. Luckily, I was able to connect with Frankie Kazarian for a special one on one interview with a lot to discuss. He’s been up to a lot since the last interview. We chatted about Ring of Honor, Mayhem Fest, TweetSecret, Christopher Daniels, and much more!
Alex Obert: With your appearance at Ring of Honor this upcoming Saturday, what memories do you have of wrestling in Philadelphia?
Frankie Kazarian: It’s a very rapid fanbase in Philadelphia. This is where the old ECW held their events for fans of Philadelphia at the ECW Arena. There’s a lot of very, very passionate fans that appreciate good wrestling. That’s what Ring of Honor brings. When I think of Philly, I just think of the fans.
Alex Obert: And I understand House of Hardcore was in Philadelphia.
Frankie Kazarian: Yeah, we did a show in Poughkeepsie and show in Philadelphia. It was great, man. It was a really cool experience working for House of Hardcore. I’ve known Tommy a long time. He’s a good guy, very passionate about the wrestling business and really knows what he’s doing as a promoter. The shows are great. The houses are great. The matches were solid top to bottom. I only wish Tommy ran more shows, I would work every one of them. As a promoter, he’s doing everything right. I would work for Tommy at the drop of a hat.
Alex Obert: Being a part of Ring of Honor, what do you see in the new wrestlers that weren’t around during your original run?
Frankie Kazarian: There’s a lot of really talented guys there. There’s a lot of guys that have been with the company for a while. Guys like Roderick Strong, BJ Whitmer, and Jimmy Jacobs. They’ve been there a while and they’ve managed to stay relevant within the company. And you’ve got guys like the Briscoes that have been there since almost day one and they’re still two of the best and one of the best tag teams. The crop of new guys that I’ve gotten to know recently like Bobby Fish and Kyle O’ Reilly and Adam Cole and Tommaso Ciampa, those guys are really doing their part to bring this new generation of Ring of Honor to the forefront. They’re just kickin’ ass and having great matches. This is helping Ring of Honor to be the really unique bran that it needs to be.
Alex Obert: Do you see a younger version of yourself in the new generation?
Frankie Kazarian: I like to think I see a little bit of myself in every young guy who’s climbing the ladder, we’ve all been in that position. Some of these guys need to learn to slow down a little bit and not take so many crazy bumps because I was in that position. I took a lot of stupid bumps that I shouldn’t have. On the flipside of that, a lot of these guys have a really good head on their shoulders. I think they’re ahead of the game to what I was when I was their age. They’re on the right path, but maybe some of these guys are doing things a little too fast or a little too high risk. I know we all hate being told to slow down, but some of these guys can benefit a lot from that.
Alex Obert: Which wrestlers from TNA would you like to see come to ROH someday?
Frankie Kazarian: That’s a tough question, man. As far as TNA goes, they’ve got a lot of very talented wrestlers. I was there a long time and I pretty much wrestled all of them. Selfishly because they’re friends of mine, I’d like to see Ken Anderson or Gunner, I’d like to see what they can do. I think bringing their style to the company would be pretty unique. The Wolves are good tag team and already had a huge run in Ring of Honor.
Alex Obert: You mentioned Ken Anderson, when you made appearances in WWE on Velocity, was he backstage at all?
Frankie Kazarian: I think he was just coming up and starting around that time. I think he was doing dark matches. I know he got signed or something. Our paths crossed a little bit, he probably said hello once or twice. But when he came to TNA, we became really good buds. He became one of my better friends in the business.
Alex Obert: And Christian was backstage at that time too.
Frankie Kazarian: That was actually right when he was basically headed out. He left in October 2005. I remember him being there and I remember him being really, really over. I remember him doing the Peep Show. He was doing really, really good and entertaining segments. He was having really good matches. I think he was a heel at the time, but he was just getting really great reactions. I thought he was gonna be that next breakout guy. And then they just weren’t gonna do anything with him and I guess he made the decision to leave.
Alex Obert: What are some of your favorite matches of your tag team partner, Christopher Daniels?
Frankie Kazarian: The Unbreakable match, triple threat. That’s been talked about to death because it was such a great match. Anytime him and AJ wrestled in TNA, it was an entertaining match. They’re both pretty good friends of mine and just phenomenal wrestlers, no pun intended. Even some of Chris’s early matches in Ring of Honor with guys like Bryan Danielson and Low Ki were just outstanding. I’m a fan of Chris Daniels, he’s a guy that can make anybody look better than they are. That’s the sign of being a really good wrestler. I’m a fan of watching him, just like everybody else. It was a treat every time he was in there. With guys like the Danielsons and the CM Punks and the Low Kis and the Samoa Joes and those type of guys, I think Daniels really thrived in those situations with guys were on his level.
Alex Obert: How was Bad Influence proposed in TNA?
Frankie Kazarian: It was our idea. Fortune had just broken up. AJ and Chris started feuding. Bobby and James started feuding. With the Machine Guns, I think Shelley was hurt at the time. So there were no tag teams. I was doing nothing in Fortune, I was just another guy there. Chris and I knew that would be a good tag team, we’re best friends, so we pitched the idea. We started the angle to get us to be together and we knew it’d work. We put a lot of hard work into it.
Alex Obert: What’s it like traveling together?
Frankie Kazarian: We’re both California guys, so I’ve been traveling with him basically since we both started in TNA. That was around 2003 or 2004. We’re on the same schedule. It’s been ten years now, so it’s a well oiled machine at this point. Everything’s second nature. We know what each other wants to do, going to the gym, going to eat, it’s a routine thing. In this business, that’s very good. It’s being in the road and on a routine and having someone you can rely on, someone that wants to do the same things you do and eat the same places you eat. It’s important. If it wasn’t for him, I’d probably travel by myself. A well oiled machine is the best way I could put it.
Alex Obert: With your TweetSecret, what type of videos you have on your account?
Frankie Kazarian: Literally everything and anything. I have some videos backstage at shows. Ring of Honor shows and independent shows all over the country. I film stuff in airports. We taped an episode of the Kroll Show recently, we filmed from the set there. I’ve filmed from concerts. I’ve shown people my motorcycles. I’ve shown people my bass guitar collection. If I think it’s entertaining or funny or silly, I’ll film it. It’s just uncanny access. If you’re a fan, there’s nothing like it. It’s really cool.
Alex Obert: How are you made aware of it and encouraged to get one?
Frankie Kazarian: I was actually approached by Chavo Guerrero. He told us about it last year. He thought that we would be perfect for it because Chris and I are guys that are entertaining. We do funny stuff on our own. We were kind of the guinea pigs because we were on board from the get-go. And it’s gone through a lot of changes already. It’s in the very, very early stages of it. Apple had never seen anything like it, so getting the app set up with a little bit difficult. It’s really cool and it’s a slow burn, but there’s some really entertaining guys on there. The folks in charge are really, really passionate about it. And I think if it catches on like I think it’s going to, it’s gonna be one of the next big things in social media.
Alex Obert: And how about Celeb Video Messages?
Frankie Kazarian: We met with a gentleman in Europe when we were over there and we got on board with that. Again, if you’re a fan, it’s very cool. If I was a kid and I could get a message from Ricky Steamboat or Tito Santana or Ultimate Warrior or someone like that, I would be thrilled. And that’s what this is giving to these fans, the opportunity to get those kind of special messages from myself and Chris Daniels and a handful of other wrestlers and celebrities. It’s a cool deal for occasions like weddings, cutting goofy promos, anything. It’s something that is now available because we have all this social media and we have all this instant access that we didn’t have years ago.
Alex Obert: Getting into music, what did you think of Mayhem Fest this year?
Frankie Kazarian: It was great. I have a buddy, Marty Elias, who was a referee in WWE years ago, but I’ve known him for years. He’s a California guy and he’s involved in Mayhem Fest and involved in Metal of Honor, so he was actually gracious enough to hook me up for that out here in California. It was really, really cool. It was very warm, so I spent a lot of my time under the Rockstar tent. Good lineup, I was psyched to see Body Count back on the stage, Ice-T’s heavy metal band. I was a fan of them back in the day. They’re back and they’re cool and they tore the house down. Good to see Korn. I was a Korn fan back in the day when they first started. I wasn’t as big of a fan of their last albums, but they still are very good live. And of course, headlined by Avenged. I’m an Avenged Sevenfold guy and they kicked ass. Their stage show was amazing and the sound was awesome. So it was cool, man. A cool day of heavy metal.
Alex Obert: What was the first concert you ever attended?
Frankie Kazarian: First concert I ever attended was in 1994 at that same amphitheater in San Bernardino, funny enough. The original lineup was supposed to be Metallica, Suicidal Tendencies, Alice In Chains, and Candlebox. But Layne Staley overdosed on heroin I think the day before or a couple days before, so they got replaced by a band called Fight. Fight was Rob Halford’s band, his side project away from Judas Priest. But Metallica was headlining, it was my first time seeing them. It was the summer of ’94. It was great. Suicidal was great. Metallica was awesome. First time seeing them, so I was blown away. Yeah, it was cool, man.
Alex Obert: Which bands are you really into these days?
Frankie Kazarian: While I always like to throw these guys up there because I hope they really break big and I think they will, it’s a band called Scorpion Child. They’re from Austin, Texas. They’re very much a throwback to just dirty seventies rock ‘n roll, kinda Zeppeliny. Also a band called Kadavar, which is on the same label, Nuclear Blast. They’re a three piece band from somewhere in Germany. They’re a very, very blues-based Sabbath style. Just really cool, really loud and rockin’ guitars. Mastodon’s new CD is really good. As I mentioned, Body Count’s really good. I’m waiting for a couple of albums to come out, but that’s what I’m into right now.
Alex Obert: How did you discover That Metal Show?
Frankie Kazarian: Just watching VH1 Classic one day. I recognized Eddie Trunk from being a guy that hosts a lot of shows and his radio program. Jim Florentine, I’m a big fan of his comedy. I clicked on and saw them talking about heavy metal and interviewing Lita Ford or someone. If it’s heavy metal or hard rock, I’m interested in it. Documentaries, interviews, anything. This is just them shootin’ the breeze about metal for an hour. So I became a fan. They have really cool guests. You can watch for bands you don’t know about. They have a real broad range of folks on the show. I dig it, man. I’d love to go on the show and talk metal with them one day.
Alex Obert: Would you bring Christopher with you?
Frankie Kazarian: If you wanted to come, I would be happy to have him. He’s not necessarily a heavy metal guy. But if he were to go on a show to talk about Marvel comics, he might leave me home because I don’t have the knowledge on that that he does. I know we may seem inseparable, but with certain things, one of us should take the helm and the other take the backseat.
Alex Obert: Throughout the years of being in locker rooms with wrestlers, what are the music tastes of some of the wrestlers that you’re friends with?
Frankie Kazarian: I’ll talk music all day with anybody. When I was in TNA, guys like Gunner and Bully Ray are into the same music that I’m into. Hard rock and heavy metal. Pat Kenney also, he’s a big Van Halen guy. We would talk about Van Halen. I’ll talk to those guys about music that I like. I gravitate towards them because I knew they were into that. It’s the same with Garett Bischoff, he’s a big hard rock and heavy metal fan. Always got along really well with him. I’ve actually gone to concerts with Bully at times. With those guys, we’re always asking each other about new music. “Have you heard this new music?” “Have you heard this new song?” A lot of the younger guys just tend to be into hip-hop and rap and stuff like that. I’m not necessarily a fan of that, especially newer stuff. But hey, that’s their stuff. There’s a few guys that I know that are big metalheads. I’ll play my iPod on some speakers and play music that me and a couple other guys will like. If other guys don’t like it, they can leave the locker room.
Alex Obert: In closing, what are some of the wrestling dates ahead that readers can attend?
Frankie Kazarian: Philly this Saturday for Ring of Honor against the Young Bucks. August 15, we’re in Brooklyn, New York for Ring of Honor. It’s the Field of Honor show at MCU Park. We’ll be wrestling for the Ring of Honor tag team titles against reDRagon, Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish. We’re also gonna be at the ComicCONN on August 16th in Bridgeport, Connecticut. And then the 23rd and 24th, we are in Milwaukee and Chicago for Ring of Honor. And then the 29th and 30th of August, we are here in California for PWG for the Battle of Los Angeles. We’ve got tag matches both nights. If you’ve ever been to a PWG show, you know how awesome they are. If you haven’t, it’s something you have to check out. But if you don’t have tickets, I don’t think you’ll be able to because they’re sold out. That’s our August schedule and we’ve got a lot in September and October, basically until the end of the year.
Alex Obert: Sounds good! I’d love to thank you so much for your time.
Frankie Kazarian: Cool! Thanks, man!