On July 14th, Southern Pro Wrestling (SPW) is putting on the biggest independent show in New Zealand’s history at the ILT Stadium: Southern Rumble 2018, featuring Will Ospreay, Bea Priestley, and Tenille Dashwood. This event however, is not main evented by any of these stars, but by two home grown Kiwis, Kane Khan and JK Moody, in what is presumably the climax of their two year long story.
A year after debuting with Kane Khan, making up the Deadly Sins, at Southern Rumble 2016, JK Moody won the Southern Rumble Match in 2017, by eliminating Khan, and earning himself a SPW NZ Heavyweight Championship match. At Halloween Haunting 2017, Moody got that match, and defeated T-Rex to become the new champion. As Khan, who won a Number 1 Contender’s match earlier that night, came out to celebrate with him, Moody decided that he didn’t want to share the spotlight. He whacked Khan over the head with the belt, and The Antidote character was born.
At Fight for Gold this past March, Khan got his title match against the Antidote, only for it to be thrown out due to interference. Now, after months of them turning away challenger after challenger, Khan gets one more shot, this time in a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match. Ahead of the biggest match of their careers, both Kane Khan and JK Moody did an interview with Last Word on Pro Wrestling:
Where are you from, how did you break in, who trained you?
Khan: I was born in Auckland but pretty much raised in Southland so I’m a Highlanders fan at heart.
I first got involved with wrestling after going to the first SPW show. Had a few too many beers and made a bet with a couple mates that I would join or I would shave my head (before I went bald by the way). Ever since then Troy Crosbie and Marc Perry [SPW Founders] have trained me and helped me to get to where I am today.
Moody: I’m born and raised in Invercargill in Southland, New Zealand, which is a relatively small, rural city of about 50,000 people where not much happens outside of rugby and farming.
I broke into the business almost by accident, the first live wrestling I ever saw was SPW’s first show. I went with a group of mates (one of which was Kane Khan) to watch and have some beers, I wasn’t expecting much, but was immediately blown away by a match between Travis Banks and Johnny Idol.
A few months later (February 2016) I saw an ad on Facebook saying there was an open day for SPW so I skipped out on a Saturday rugby training and went to the open day instead, thinking I’d go for a laugh and a bit of cardio, and was hooked immediately from the first bump I took.
I debuted as part of the Deadly Sins tag team at the 2016 Southern Rumble (15 July) in front of 300 people at the Invercargill workingmen’s club and was completely and totally in love with the sport/show.
I was trained by “Powerhouse” T Rex (Troy Crosbie) and “Hooligan” Marcus Kool (Marc Perry), who I’ve been lucky enough to main event two separate SPW Shows against each. They are both amazing at making a more complete wrestler, Troy’s understanding of basics and technique is infallible, while Marc’s knowledge of psychology and how to connect to a crowd has been amazingly helpful.
Moody, what was your time tag teaming with Kane Khan like? Who came up with the Deadly Sins gimmick?
Moody: As much as my character will say how much he hates it, I loved my time teaming with Kane and travelling the country with him. We are legitimately best friends in real life, and have been so for over half a decade, we’ve even been flatmates on a couple of occasions.
We both love wrestling more than anything, and have always had similar mindsets when it comes to doing whatever needs to be done to get better: we push each other in the gym, in the ring, we even compete with each other when it comes to drinking.
The Deadly Sins gimmick really came about organically. Realistically we are two idiots who love drinking beers and taking the piss out of everything, then we starting getting ourselves over doing silly videos together, and our characters evolved along with them. We were determined to do something different, and we hated the standard, down-the-barrel “Friday, 7:30 at Wherever” type promos, so we decided to have fun with it and tried to make people laugh, give them something we’d want to see, something we could show our mates even if they weren’t into wrestling. We are lucky to have a very talented video producer in Ray Scott from Elevate Media who adds real polish to our products and is almost a mind reader when it comes to making our weird and wacky ideas come to life.
As far as who came up with the gimmick name, I have no idea, we just sat there and brainstormed together one night when we were flatting together, more than likely over a delicious, delicious Export 33 beer.
Khan, what was your favorite part about the Deadly Sins?
Khan: My favourite part about the Deadly Sins was it worked for all the wrong reasons and it was great. It was just us being us, doing whatever we thought was funny acting like we were at a party and I think the crowd could feel that.
Whose idea was it to split up the team? Were you pleased with the execution of the split and your new position as the chasing babyface?
Khan: It was always the goal to split going into this, me and JK Moody are great together. We just know each other so well but when we face each other we bring out the best in each other.
Moody, whose idea was your heel turn, and how did that come about?
Moody: We always knew that we would split, so it just made sense for one to go one way and one to go the other. Kane has such great fire and intensity, so he makes a great baby, whereas I have a face you want to punch so it was a natural shoe for me to slip into.
Do you prefer working as a singles performer now?
Khan: Yes I do miss the glory days of just being an idiot and being a sinner. But to evolve and become better in this business as a singles was the best option. And I think it’s working out pretty well so far.
Moody: I think I do prefer working as a singles performer now. It’s just easier that way, I feel like the stories you can tell when there’s less moving parts are a lot easier and clearer.
On top of that I love being able to go out there and do my own thing, be as weird as I want to be.
There is a sense of added pressure though, if you go out and have a bad match (and there has been a couple) it’s all on you, and it comes down to you not playing your role well.
But on the whole I do like working as a singles wrestler, the opportunities I’ve had on my singles run in SPW have been a dream come true, getting to work with some of the best talents NZ has to offer!
How did you come up with the Antidote character?
Moody: The Antidote was almost a natural progression from the Deadly Sins character, with a few minor tweaks. I kept the scumbag-ness, but added a touch of arrogance and insecurity.
In terms of the character itself, I felt the only way my heel turn would really work is if I portrayed the idea that I was too good to be in a tag team anymore, then when I won the belt it all sort of came together. Then it’s almost grown and grown from there. I’ve gone on to get more and more arrogant and more and more insecure as I go, rationalizing it as an “anything you can do I can do better” mindset.
The Antidote name was an amalgamation of things. Firstly, I loved the song Antidote by Travis Scott, and was originally going to use that as my theme music, but thought it wouldn’t fly with a family crowd. Secondly, I work in a pharmacy, so people were kind of joking that my character would have to be a wrestling pharmacist, so I sort of took the idea and twisted it to where I needed it. Lastly, I like the idea of being a counter wrestler, because it means you can work against everyone no matter what style they bring to the table, so the name antidote sort of implies that I have the answer to any question I get asked.
Does the Southern Rumble hold a sentimental spot for you, considering yours and Khan’s history with it?
Moody: The Southern Rumble is the Marquee event of the SPW calendar, so I don’t think there’s anyone in SPW, be it wrestlers or fans, that doesn’t have a soft spot for it.
Kane and myself have definitely had a great history with it though. We debuted in the first one, I won the second one eliminating Kane last (and being in the final four with Will Ospreay and TK Cooper was a huge buzz too), and now two years after our debut we get to headline it, in a stadium I’ve been going to since I can remember, in the biggest independent wrestling show in NZ history, it’s mind-blowing. It’s hopefully the culmination of a two year long story that in a strange way, centres around the Southern Rumble.
Southern Pro Wrestling is obviously growing. How much of that do you credit to this current angle with you and JK Moody?
Khan: SPW is growing and yes I think having two homegrown talents that work so well together helps. But there is so much work and effort going into this product that a lot of people don’t see. So I would like to think we help but we can’t take full credit.
This year’s Southern Rumble will be the biggest event in SPW’s history. How does it make you feel to be main eventing that show?
Khan: To be the main event in SPW’s biggest show is a great honor; it feels a little surreal.
And it just makes me want to put that much more into everything to prove I belong in it.
Moody: I am honored. The trust that has been put in Kane and myself to tell our story, and the stages we’ve been given are more than any wrestler can ask for, but this is by far the biggest.
I’d be lying if I were to say I’m not nervous, but I have trust in Kane to do the job, and thank the SPW bookers for the opportunity.
Have you ever done a TLC match before? How are you preparing for it?
Khan: Thankfully I haven’t, and to prepare myself I’m praying twice as much as usual.
Moody: This is my first match involving weapons of any kind. I use the belt almost every chance I get, but outside of that it’s always been regular, good old fashioned wrestling match.
I’m not sure there’s a lot I can do to prepare for it, outside of making sure I’m in the best possible shape I can be in!
Khan, what was it like working with Travis Banks earlier this year? Any chance you’ll have another PROGRESS title shot in the future?
Khan: Travis Banks lives up to the hype. He has been an idol of mine since I started. And going toe to toe with him was the most nerve racking thing I’ve ever done but would do it again in a heartbeat. Who knows if I will ever get another chance at the PROGRESS championship, but like Hulk Hogan said, “Never say never.”
Moody, what was it like working with Will Ospreay a few months ago?
Moody: Madness. Finding PWG and NJPW were the two companies that really re-ignited my passion for pro wrestling, so facing a man who is an integral part of both of them was crazy. He’s a great dude and a phenomenal athlete so I was happy to work alongside him, even if it was only for a few moments, in the Southern Rumble last year, so when I learned I was getting to face him one-on-one I lost it!
He’s truly world class, so I made sure I watched and studied his matches as much as I possibly could leading up to the event, but honestly it made me more nervous than anything else.
I have never been more nervous in my life than the day leading up to it, but once I actually got in the ring, everything felt more like home.
The match itself was wicked, the crowd was super hot for it and me and Will just went out and beat the s–t out of one another. (I get that he’s known for being a high-flying mastermind, but his strikes are super underrated, he hits as hard, if not harder than anyone I’ve come across)
If I had to put it down to one sentence though: The man is a world class act, that brings the best out of whoever he wrestles, he certainly did for me.
Khan, apart from WWE, which promotion would you most like to work for, in addition to SPW?
Khan: I would love to work for PROGRESS and NJPW. Both have very different styles but they are at the top and I’m always aiming for the top.
Who would be your dream opponent if you could work with anyone?
Khan: The Rock because he’s the great one and I would love to hit him with a People’s Elbow.
Moody: I could write about 500 answers to this one. The main on would be William Regal, in my opinion he’s the most underrated wrestler of all time. His ability to control a crowd is second to none, and his flashes of comedy are absolutely brilliant. Everything he does is crisp and full of intent, he’s one of the few men you truly believe when he puts a headlock on, he’s trying to rip the thing off! In terms of current day, it would have to be Okada. He’s just amazing. No words would do it justice. He works an intelligent style and every match he’s in immediately feels special!
Honorables would be: AJ Styles, Walter, Naito, Robbie Eagles, Jericho……… I could go on forever.
What’s your favorite match that you’ve worked?
Khan: The Deadly Sins vs the tag team of Mr. Burns and the Hooligan Marcus Kool.
We had all had a big night in town the night before, so the Hooligan got on the mic before the match and told the crowd to be quiet cause of his hangover. Of course, the crowd started screaming. Then JK Moody does Joey Ryan’s famous you-know-what flip to Mr. Burns and I do a double People’s Elbow to finish the match. So yeah that was fun.
Moody: There’s three. The first is The Ospreay match, it was a match that was a dream come true, working against the IWGP Jr Heavyweight Champion, and one of the best in the world, is pretty hard to top.
The second was my most recent match in Queenstown against Marcus Kool, never in my life have I heard a crowd like it! We were the main event and it was Marc’s hometown crown. I got given some mic time before the match, just to get a bit of heat on me, but I didn’t need it at all. That crowd was hot from the minute Marc walked out until the end of the night and they never let up for a second. The match itself was great fun too, we fought all over Memorial Hall and the near falls were the cause of some of the best reactions I’ve heard from a live crowd. It was absolutely insane! It was another example of Marc’s uncanny ability to connect with a crowd!
The third was a match between Kane Khan and myself at SPW Fight Nights (which is an event we hold, almost a training show, in our training facility The Barracks where it’s all word of mouth and we generally get 50-100 people all friends and family). This was our first big singles match and we went in big time! We went almost 40 minutes a got to work a nice story, with Kane eventually winning, and claiming the inaugural Barracks Cup. We received a standing ovation and it was a moment that I will never forget as long as I live, getting to put on a match I could truly be proud of with my best mate. Hope we can do the same at the Southern Rumble!
Anything else you’d like to say to the readers?
Khan: Why do cows have hoofs not feet?
‘Cause they are lack-toes-intolerant.
Moody: Book me! Please! I’m not really such a bad guy! Promise! Haha nah, just please keep supporting SPW, NZ/AUS wrestling and Indy Wrestling as much as possible, it feels like we’re on the verge of something great here, let’s make it happen!