A renowned name on the UK circuit since his debut in 2013, Joe Hendry boasts not just a successful professional wrestling career, but one in amateur wrestling also.
However, Hendry adds something a little different to your average wrestler, he is also a content creator and musician.
Joe sat down with Dom Smith to talk about his musical background, his wrestling career, and much more.
The Scotsman is known for his catchy entrance themes, whether that be covers of Adele, Miley Cyrus, or his own songs, but where did his musical talents start?
He began doing amateur productions at the age of 15, attending Saturday classes, before aiming to be on BBC as a young presenter. The two-time British Wrestling Champion was selected to do a music act alongside his cousin and friend on BBC Two show, Smile.
“It was hosted by Fern Cotton and Reggie Yates and we were doing these performances, and we were covering (songs), we did a Nirvana one and a Blink 182 song – it was just terrible.” said The Prestigious One.
At this time he was only playing guitar, but Hendry explained how he moved into singing.
“It was just fun looking back, but I was 15 at the time, and I wasn’t singing, my friend was singing, and then he didn’t want to be in the band anymore, so I was like, well, I guess I’ll start singing.”
Despite being told he wasn’t a very good singer, Joe was determined to better his craft.
“I was horrible when I started, but I just really worked hard on breathing exercises and stuff like that, and just got practice, and just like any other instrument, you really can’t improve it.”
We all tend to have a favourite singer or band, the Scotsman is no different, listing Weezer as “undoubtedly my favourite band”, but he is yet to incorporate this style into his wrestling character.
The two-time British Wrestling Champion also mentioned Fleetwood Mac, Nine Inch Nails, and Tenacious D as bands who he likes.
Once he left school and university, The Prestigious One went on tour with his band, despite him doing “a lot of cool stuff”, his main aim was still to become a professional wrestler.
“I got to 24, about to turn 25, and I was like, it’s now or never, man, you got to do it, and I just went into it with, with no backup plan, no, nothing.”
Learning to wrestle is one thing, but being good on the mic, acting, and other aspects of being a wrestler is another.
Hendry explained that the way that a wrestler “gets over” isn’t always down to just their in-ring work.
“If you really think about wrestling, who gets over and why, a lot of the time it’s the skills that they had outside of wrestling that they then combined with the wrestling to get over, and that’s certainly been the case.” he said.
“There’s loads of people who have come through the UK who are just phenomenal at wrestling seemingly right off the bat, (Will) Ospreay or Ben Carter someone like that, so every path is different.
“But my path, in particular, had a lot to do with the skills that I had got before I got into wrestling.”
The Corona Virus pandemic has hit both musicians and wrestling massively, stopping bands and singers from touring, but also wrestling promotions from doing shows around the world.
Joe compared what it is like touring in a band, to being on the road as a wrestler.
“Being in a band is your squad, so no matter what drama you have to deal with, you go through it together, whereas wrestling, it’s very much an individual journey.”
The Scotsman is currently signed to Ring of Honor, where due to COVID-19 he has not been able to wrestle for a while, when he’s able to travel back to America, what are his goals there?
“I want to reach my potential, I want to be the best version of me.” he said.
Confidence is key to being a successful wrestler and the Scotsman backs his abilities on the mic.
“I genuinely feel there’s no one in this business, that I couldn’t step out in front of those cameras and go toe to toe with our on promos.”
Another aspect of being a top performer in the ring is to be in great shape, the two-time British Wrestling Champion has used lockdown to bulk up by putting on 60 pounds.
The weight gain has potentially opened a door for him to feature in Ring of Honor’s Pure Division, or Tag Division, with his main goal to “really stand out and steal the show.”
However, the lockdown has also had its knock-on effects to The Prestigious One’s preparation for going back to the promotion, preventing him from using his own ring, but when the time comes to return, “I want people to go, oh, god damn, right, ok, the statement has been made.”
Although Hendry hasn’t been able to feature in the ring, he is still producing content for the promotion.
“Now that I’m not there, what I’m doing as a show called Technique Tuesdays, which is on the Ring of Honor YouTube.” he said.
“I break down professional wrestling in a way that I don’t know that we’ve seen that much in wrestling, so it’s really exciting, I really enjoy it.” he added.
Hendry went on to praise the work Ring of Honor has done during the pandemic, saying the work they have done has been “phenomenal” in terms of their safety.
With restrictions still in place, Joe might not be able to get back to America for some time, but when he can, what is the pinnacle of his future aspirations?
“So the pinnacle for me is just to be the absolute best professional wrestler in the business.” he said.
“All things considered for someone to go he’s the best and, again, for me to say I need to win Ring of Honor World Title by this day or that date, that’s putting a variable out there that I can’t control.
“But don’t get me wrong, that is a goal of mine, I want to do that, but I’m on my path, and hopefully, by me improving and getting better and working harder,
“I know that those opportunities will become available, but I’m not going to make any claims about when it’s going to happen,
“All I’m going to say is, I’m going to get better and good things are going happen.”
Interview: Dom Smith / Written by Aiden Beswick (@ABeswickSport) / Image: RING OF HONOR/Zia Hiltey