Topic/Subject: Today, I will be showing an interview that involves New Zealand’s Strongest Man.
Wrestler: “New Zealand’s Strongest Man” Russell Walker (Reuben de Jong).
Background Information: Born in Waitakere, West Auckland, New Zealand, he began working out while attending Waitakere College. In one of his first strongman performances, he won notice at the 134th Waipu Highland Games and put pressure on the two lead contenders Pat Hellier and Australian Craig Reid. Brian O’Brien, committee secretary for the Highland Games told the New Zealand Press Association that he had competed well in a number of the strongman events and would be one to watch in the future.
He would eventually win the New Zealand’s Strongest Man competition two years in a row, in 2004 and 2005, and was able to pull 17-tonne trucks without breaking a sweat.
On April 1, 2006, he was among the strongmen invited to compete in Freddy Hooker’s Strongest Man in the World Ever — Aotearoa 2006 at Mount Maunganui.
In July 2006, he was featured in the Western Leader following his appearance as a Viking in a popular television advertisement. After joining Background Talent, a New Zealand-based talent agency, he landed roles in a number of feature films and television series including Maddigan’s Quest, Narnia, Legend of the Seeker, and Spartacus: Blood and Sand. He was then in training as a Mixed Martial Arts fighter and studied under Karl Webber and Ray Sefo.
He began his K-1 and MMA career shortly after graduating from Ray Sefo’s Fight Academy. In the summer of 2006, he entered the K-1 Kings of Oceania, a qualifying tournament for the 2007 K-1 World Grand at the Trusts Stadium on June 24, 2006.
Here’s his match between him and Simi Tai in the 2006 K1 Kings of Oceania:
In January 2009, he and fellow New Zealand strongman Mick Cottrell represented the country at the 110th Browns Athletic Society’s sporting carnival in competition against Australia’s Craig Reid and Aaron Monks, and Scotland’s Alastair Gunn and world champion caber tosser Malcolm Cleghorn.
The next month, he was interviewed by the Howick and Pakuranga Times while training for the upcoming Highland Games on March 1, 2009. He was specifically preparing for the farmer’s walk in which competitors attempt to walk as far as they can while carrying 125 kg weights in each hand and stated his intention to break his own national record. He had previously set the national record in this event at 251.5m as well as holding the New Zealand record for stone lifting.
On July 24, 2009, he appeared on the first episode of NZ Smashes Guinness World Records where he broke the Guinness World Record for running through the most panes of glass in under one minute. The record was previously held by Czech footballer Martin Latka who smashed through 11 panes of glass on German television earlier that year.
After nine months of training, he made his debut as a professional wrestler for one of the country’s three major promotions Impact Pro Wrestling (IPW) debuting in a Rookie Battle Royal match at IPW Nightmare Before Xmas 09 winning a contract with the company. His first match was against Les West defeating him at an IPW live event in Auckland on March 20, 2010; he made his television debut on IPW Ignition several weeks later.
Here’s a match between him and Vinny Dunn on IPW Ignition in 2010:
Throughout his IPW career, he became an IPW New Zealand Heavyweight Champion. He competed with IPW until he signed a contract with WWE.
In February 2011, he signed a developmental contract with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and began training at WWE’s Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW) developmental territory. He is listed on FCW’s roster under the name Russell Walker.
In June 2011, he was released from his WWE contract.
After his release from WWE, he returned to IPW at Nightmare B4 Xmas in December 2011 defeating Tykade and Dominic Le Fauce via DQ in a Land of The Giants match.
He still competes in IPW to this day.
My Thoughts: Russell Walker is a man that I thought had potential to a star in WWE. Even though he lacks in the charisma department and is kind of green in the ring, he has a great look, he has a great presence about him, and he has a solid character with being him being New Zealand’s Strongest Man. He’s going to walk through the competition!
Video: This video contains an interview with Russell Walker by Eden in 2011.
My Thoughts: Even though Russell Walker is not really good in terms of mic skills, in terms of this promo, he got the words that he needed to say, but the delivery in a way kind of felt flat as it was due to his heavy New Zealand accent.
Russell Walker told Eden to raise the mic a little higher for him since he’s 6 foot 10 and not 5 foot 8. He talked about how they’re a lot of international stars that came to FCW that made a name for themselves that have success in WWE such as Wade Barrett, Drew McIntyre, and Sheamus.
He then talked about how people have never seen him before, he’s going to make a name for himself because he’s going to have a banner on that wall. He then talked about how he has a huge announcement to make in two weeks and that one day, he will main event Wrestlemania because Wrestlemania will soon be Russellmania because he’s going to walk through the competition in FCW and in the WWE.
Again, the words have meaning, but the delivery was kind of flat as his accent kind of pulled that down for him. If he had a manager speaking for him while Russell Walker just speak a few words, it would have been a more effective promo in my opinion.
A promo that could have been good, but the delivery was flat due to Russell Walker’s accent.
It’s a shame that FCW didn’t give Russell Walker a chance as I thought he could have been something in WWE. Even though he was not the best in-ring wrestler, he can always improve for spending in developmental for a couple of years. Not only that, since he’s not good on the mic, give him a manager like how he did in New Zealand before he got signed with WWE.
Russell Walker may didn’t do well or never got a chance in WWE, but luckily, he’s doing fine in New Zealand so it’s all fine and good. He’s going to walk through the competition!
After watching the video, give me your thoughts on the video or the wrestler himself. Thank you.
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