Indie Watch is our regular series that looks at all of the amazing talents working the independent circuits around the world. Some are veterans revitalizing their careers, some are indie prospects hitting their peaks, while others are names to be on the watch for! In this edition, we will be taking a look at one of Canada’s top comedic wrestlers in Toronto’s “Psycho” Mike Rollins.
In 2007, lifelong wrestling fan Mike Rollins started training under former IMPACT X-Division Champion Johnny Devine in Oakville, Ontario. Debuting with Ontario’s Great Canadian Wrestling (GCW) in March of 2007 against a future Smash Wrestling roster mate Carter Mason, it was the first step in a career that has seen him emerge as one of Canada’s brightest comedic wrestlers, and the timing couldn’t be better. While comedy has always worked in professional wrestling to a degree, the past few years have seen the rise in cult favorites like Joey Ryan, Orange Cassidy, and Kikutaro. Comedic wrestling – when pulled off well – has created some memorable moments in the wrestling world (even if it still infuriates Jim Cornette).
A year into his career, he found himself working more Ontario indies, as well as dipping his toes into the US indie scene, making his IWA Mid South debut in 2008. Over the next couple years, he would make debuts in some of Ontario’s top promotions, such as Windsor’s Border City Wrestling (BCW), Ottawa’s Capital City Championship Combat (C4), and Hamilton’s Alpha-1. He also worked briefly in St. Louis with the late Harley Race‘s World Wrestling League, gaining extra training under the 8x NWA World’s Heavyweight Champion, as well as with Scott D’Amore at Can-Am Wrestling School in Windsor.
His transition to “Psycho Mike” was somewhat understated and far from grandiose. “My ring name was given to me by Big Daddy Donnie [Abreu]. He was a booker at the time for a small Toronto promotion,” he told SLAM! Sports in 2012. “I was working with him for a while, one night a bar Big Donnie just kept repeating ‘Psycho Mike,’ for his own amusement. The next day I received a call from him about the name addition and I did not hesitate. I was on board 100% with the idea.” But instead of going the evil psychotic direction that most “psychotic” characters deviate towards, Rollins went a little more on the fun, neurotic side. “”I think what makes what makes me stand out more than most is that I don’t try to be too serious as a wrestler to the point where it would hinder me,” he continued with SLAM! Sports. “I just go out there with a one of kind of look and I give my best efforts in my characters performance and in ring work.”
By 2010, he was starting to make the regular circuits of Ontario indies, even gaining the attention of Ring of Honor and WWE, wrestling dark matches for ROH and appearing on a 2011 episode of WWE Superstars in a loss against Brodus Clay. In 2012, he made his debut with EVOLVE Wrestling, at EVOLVE 24 in New York City.
In 2013, he debuted with Smash Wrestling, where he’s been one of the top stars for much of the past few years. He formed a tag team with Braxton Sutter from IMPACT Wrestling (now back to being Pepper Parks), along with Allie as their valet, called The Well Oiled Machines. The contrast of the ultra-serious grappler Pepper Parks and the neurosis of Psycho Mike made for a popular tandem – in early 2018, they became the inaugural Smash Tag Team Champions.
He’s continued to be a solid singles performer as well. In 2013, he won the Alpha-1 Alpha Male Championship, and in 2016, won the Destiny Wrestling Championship. He’s also been a top star with Toronto’s Superkick’D, where his “conscience” first came into play. It was due to a booking issue, when an opponent withdrew from a Superkick’D card last minute, that Psycho Mike’s conscience – pre-recorded vocal snippets that carry throughout his matches, helping to direct him out of (and in some cases into) trouble. “I didn’t really know what to do with (having to wrestle myself),” Rollins told SLAM! Sports earlier this year. “But we were brainstorming ideas, and I thought it would be funny to have me talk to myself, but have it be something where we pre-recorded my responses ahead of time, and it would just be this back and forth, this pre-planned back and forth.”
The popularity of Rollins and his conscience only amplified over the past year, and suddenly Rollins found himself in dream matches, against the likes of the aforementioned Orange Cassidy and Kikutaro. His match against Japanese legend Kikutaro made him a new fan in the Japan icon, so much so that it helped Psycho Mike make his debut in the East. He spent April and May in Japan working with Dramatic Dream Team (DDT Pro), where his comedic talents and ring skills were a welcomed addition.
Psycho Mike continues to win new fans with every show, recently competing in a huge match against NXT UK Superstar Trent Seven at Smash vs PROGRESS over SummerSlam week (which Mike won), and then joined forces with another Canadian indie star, Brent Banks, to take on SCU (Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian) at OWE Toronto.
The skies the limit now for Psycho Mike Rollins and he’s taking his game to international levels. And as long as his conscience permits, we’ll be seeing a lot more of Psycho Mike in the years to come.
Check out our full list of previous Indie Watches, showcasing emerging talent from around the world!
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.