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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

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Future Of Wrestling Series: Darius Lockhart

Welcome to the brand new "Future of Wrestling" series, where we will interview the newest stars on the independent scene, get into their heads and see what motivates them. Our first edition features Darius Lockhart, a young upstart from North Carolina who is breaking into the business in a major way. Without further adieu....

1. For those who don't know, tell us where you're from and who you are. 

A: My name is Darius Lockhart, I am 18 years old, from Charlotte, NC and I am an Independent Professional Wrestler. 

2. What's the driving factor that led you to want to become a wrestler? 

A: When I was a kid, I was never really into Pro-Wrestling. I just sort of liked it because my older friends liked it, and I wanted to be cool too y'know? So as I got older, it phased out of my life and it was totally irrelevant until around the age of 12. There were two kids at my church who were 7 and 9 that looked up to me and they really wanted me to watch Smackdown with them. I mean, for WEEKS these guys bothered me, so eventually I had to say yes. I tuned in one Friday night and I remember two things stood out to me. Matt Hardy & MVP, and Batista saving Rey Mysterio from Khali. I don't know what it was about that, but it just clicked. I watched Raw on Monday, saw Jeff Hardy and that was it man. It was a wrap. By the next summer, I decided it was something I wanted to do. All my life I loved to entertain and make people happy, so it just seemed natural. I was 13. 

3. You're one of the younger wrestlers in the Carolinas, do you ever feel any pressure to go above and beyond due to age? 

In terms of in-ring work, I actually don't. I'm a patient person and I've always been taught that if you work hard, and you're patient, the right things will come at the right time. So going out of the way to do stupid things that might put myself in danger just to "steal the show" sounds a little unnecessary. Besides, with everyone doing 6,000 moves a match nowadays, I feel like less is more. It makes you stand out really. That's what I really worry about and focus on. How do I stand out? How can I make myself different? I really pay attention to that. That's what I go above and beyond to do. I also go above and beyond to learn. I'm always listening. You can never learn too much. 

4. What's it like training under George South? 

Training under George South is such a treat really, because you can take so much away. I know a lot of people have opinions on the way George teaches, but I'm telling you, they couldn't be more wrong. Like I said, you can never learn too much, and anybody who goes to George learns something every week. There's a reason Caleb Konley and Cedric Alexander still come to training on Tuesdays, and it's not because they don't have anything better to do. George can take the most amazing wrestler and still see something they can tweak to make better. And he cares. George is just an amazing individual all around.  He makes people better. 

5. Take us back to your first match.... What was that feeling like? 

My first match. It's an interesting story really. I actually had my match the same day I moved into College. I moved into Greensboro that morning (I attend UNCG), and drove RIGHT back to Charlotte for the match. It was for a church George was involved with, and a program for children. HOWEVER, there was one problem. No ring. We ended up having to wrestle in the grass, with four sticks in the ground and a car lot rope with flags around it as the ropes. It was humbling. Hilarious. Much different than I imagined. But I appreciated it just the same. It was a real "acceptance" moment y'know? Having my mom come up after and tell me how proud she was, was just amazing. And to be wrestling Cedric Alexander - the ROH Star, with the history and relationship me and him have, it was just a great moment. And not a bad match for the grass either! 

6. Who are your influences and have you been compared to anyone since starting out? 

I've been compared to Kenny King, but I am 99.9% sure it was just because I'm black and have a mustache too, haha. But seriously, I haven't gotten any in-ring comparisons yet, and I'm thankful for that. I pride myself and trying to be an original so technically, not reminding you of someone else is a good thing in my eyes. You watch me and you know who I am, not who I like, so that's a positive. As far as influences, I've always liked well rounded wrestlers. So a lot of guys from the past 12 years have been huge to me. People like Samoa Joe, Daniels, Punk, AJ Styles, Alex Shelley, Chris Jericho, those guys kind of influence my style I suppose. I want to be able to thrive in any situation and those guys definitely can. Of course I'm also heavily influenced by Jeff and Matt Hardy. Not by styles, but by their storytelling ability. 

7. What are your goals? 

My goals are pretty huge. I want to be big. I want people to know who I am. I'm talking bigger than Rock, bigger than Cena. I want to be able to make Wrestling mainstream again. I'm talking GQ covers simply because I'm wrestling at 'Mania. I'm talking interviews just because. And that's not just for me, that's for US. I want to be that guy. 

I also want to be that face for African Americans in wrestling. A non-stereotypical, kick-ass, #1 guy, who just happens to be black y'know? I want kids like me, who grew up being told "You can't be John Cena when we play wrestling outside, because you're black," to see that they DON'T have to be the stereotype to thrive. People see you how you MAKE them see you. You're an individual and while your color is important, it does not define you. I'm trying to take stuff to the next level in that aspect as well. I'm the day CM Punk met Donald Glover. I dream big. 

8. Finally, can you give us a list of who you worked for and what promotions you'd like to work with that you haven't? 

I've only been really active for about a little under a year, but so far I've wrestled for CWF Mid-Atlantic and I've had fun up there. I'll be there this weekend for their "Kid's Night Out Show." You can also probably catch me at most of George South's shows throughout the Carolinas. I'll actually (cheap plug) be wrestling September 14, in Charlotte, NC, at Gethsemane AME Zion Church, 531 Campus Street, at 2:00 pm. It's a free show with free food, so please come out if you're in the area!  

In terms of places I want to work for? Of course I want to make it to the big dance, and do all the big indies, but my honest answer is anywhere and everywhere! Any experience is good experience. From John Smith's backyard, to PWX Wrestling, to Japan, to little Susie's birthday party, I want to be everywhere. People need to know my name.

Follow Darius on Twitter @DL_Hart and keep your eyes on the future of wrestling. 



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