Ted Caldweller note: Due to the impending demise of GeoCities, E-Wrestling Torch is proud to repost some classic Schmucks material on our site. Enjoy!
Schmucks correspondant Jeff “The Mark” McMichael recently met with pro-wrestler Spikyjim at a BSCW event. Spiky was kind enough to take the time to become the first “Shooting Star” interviewee for the Schmucks. And so, without further ado, let’s get right to it.
James Barnett Jnr. Same name as my dear old Daddy. They didn’t give me a middle name because they knew I’d become a wrestler and have nicknames with a space needed for them in my name.
How the hell are you?
Stoned. Again. Naah, I’m cool, I suppose. Waiting for my phone to ring, waiting for my paycheck. Enjoying life on the road with Travis LaGrange and Despair… raising hell and leaving each arena like a tornado went through it. No gold, but life is pretty sweet… ruining the days of many a BSCW / NEO / DWF fan, as I like to do for shits and giggles. Saying all that, I’ll feel better when I’m home again with my wife and kids. Not seen them for three weeks, and they change every time I’m away.
The Schmucks are buying, so what are you drinking?
Anything and everything. Normally, the drink of choice is Jack Daniels… but if you bitches are buying, I’ll take whatever is going. They say I’ve got a drink problem… but I don’t have a problem with any drink. Seriously, I’m not as dry as my wife would like me to be… but it’s a long road we travel and I’ve got an aching head. A little drink never hurt anyone.
What was the first wrestling event you ever went to?
I watched a lot of wrestling on TV with my dad… mid south and NWA stuff, early 80’s… you know the thing. I never went to an event until my tenth birthday, in 1983. It was a combined Florida Wrestling / NWA card… got to see Dusty Rhodes, Abdullah the Butcher, Ric Flair, Ricky Steamboat… it was pretty cool. I met Flair once too, at the age of… I dunno, 14 or so. I pretty much idolised Flair, Abby, Steamboat… and Bruiser Brody, Tiger Mask and the Dynamite Kid. From that first event in a dusty Jacksonville Armory… I was already thinking about ripping off their moves for my benefit. My dad was just as transfixed as me… shame his love of wrestling has waned a little since his two sons went into the game… I guess it’s too “extreme” for my Dad now.
What were you like at school?
An unwilling jock. I wrestled and played football… in fact, I was pretty damn good at football. I played wide receiver for my high school and Ohio State… until I broke my leg and went for wrestling instead. I was a pretty good amateur wrestler, although not as good as Damien (Spikyjim’s brother) was at the same age. Academically, I guess I wasn’t too bad. I had to act dumb to fit in with the jock crowd, but I was a bit of a study freak… I enjoyed English literature, and even wrote the odd poem and short story as a pimply teen. My grades were pretty decent, but all people ever saw was the sport side of things. I wrote a punk music fanzine that I penned under a pseudonym to preserve my jock status. That whole split personality thing… hehe, how prophetic was that?
What’s your most treasured material possesion?
Got two – my wedding ring and my necklace that my kids bought me for fathers day. I never take either off, and never will. For all the shit people give me, and for all the crazy shit I do… I’m still a loving husband and doting father.
What’s in your pockets right now?
$47 in used bills… two packets of Lucky Strikes… a half eaten packet of wintergreen lifesavers… various loose change… the keys to Travis’ rented car… my watch, which I broke earlier today and won’t stay on my wrist… painkillers and lint. I have many pockets in my trusty shorts.
What was the last record you brought?
I bought “The Ramones” because I lost my old copy on the road. I’m a punk fan, always have been. I kinda like my new music… “Fiend” by Coal Chamber… but I didn’t have to buy that, they gave it to me. I’ve got a pretty damn decent music collection… I’m a bit of a loser when it comes to music, an obsessed nut. But PLEASE don’t tell me that Blink 182 and so on are punk, and Limp Bizkit are metal. They’re not. The Clash, The Ramones, The Slits, The Buzzcocks… proper old school punk from 77 – 78. The last non replacement purchase of mine was “White Blood Cells” by The White Stripes… which was OK.
Who’s the wrestler you most looked up to during your early years?
I’ve got a few guys that I respect, and have done for a while. When I first broke into the so called “big time” in Texas, my current agent “Union” Jack Worth was a road partner and despite being the same age as me, he seemed more experienced… heck, he WAS more experienced and he helped me out a lot. And now, he’s my agent. When I first went to Japan, I met a guy called Danny Graham and he was… still is… 15 years older than me. He’d seen it all, done it all and told me it all. He was awesome… and guess what? Now he’s my bodyguard. Because of my accident, my return to the USA in 1998 was pretty much like starting over… and then, my idol was Loaded. When we teamed, I was ecstatic… it was like learning from a master. I’m still proud of the beating from him that I withstood at MotR 4.
Who was the last person you punched in a non-wrestling context, and why?
I punched a guy the last time I wrestled in Canada… he kept hassling me at the airport, so I punched him in the mouth. Completely away from wrestling? My brother, for upsetting my Mom last thanksgiving and “turning into me”.
What was best match you ever had?
There are a LOT of good ones… vs Despair, vs The Scrayper, vs Neil McDougall, vs Wes Coleman, vs Chris Courtade, the Rudeboys three way, vs Stevie Ray Murdoch, vs The Wasp, vs Mike Waldrop…. all greats. But the daddy? Spikyjim vs Loaded at MotR 4. It was a retirement match… and I was ready to retire after 72 minutes of the nastiest bumps I’ve taken in my life. Loaded kicked my ass, I kicked his ass… it was evil stuff. I still get asked about that match, and people still ask to see my scars from the bump I took through that pane of glass. In retrospect, everything I’ve done since that match may have got me more exposure, but feels anticlimatic after that one match.
And the worst?
My first back in the states. I’d had an operation, but I thought I was rehabbed properly… and I wasn’t. It was in the CAWF, against Monty Miller. I got disqualified for using a chair, and it was ten minutes longer than it should have been. The match ran 11 minutes. I really, really sucked. It took me a good few months to get back into my stride.
What’s your pet hates?
I hate cats. Keiko (Spikyjim’s wife) loves them, but I think they look at me funny. I also hate people who moan about people smoking in public places… tough. I don’t see you waving your hand in front of your faces when a car drives past you, dumbasses. And Shawn Viper. Only about three people get that.
What’s your culinary specialty?
My Mom is Italian, so I’m pretty handy with pasta. I make a mean marinara. I’m pretty decent at oriental stuff too, what with the wife’s influence and all.
Have you ever been arrested?
Yep. Do I have to talk about it? OK. Twice. First time was in Japan, for assault… charges were dropped, but it was for excessive force in a wrestling ring and the police didn’t like me carving up my opponent with a sickle and barbed wire. I’ve been in more brutal matches, but I was competing in a non garbage organisation at the time. The second time was four months ago, for posession of narcotics… like marijuana is considered a narcotic these days, for crying out loud. Got fined, big deal.
What’s the greatest film ever made?
Casino, Apocalypse Now, Goodfellas, The Godfather Part 2, Taxi Driver, La Haine, Dobermann, anything Jackie Chan has ever been in, like, ever. It’s too damn hard to choose.
What waas the last film you watched and hated?
I got Lord of the Rings on DVD, as a victim of hype. Five minutes in I remembered why the the book bored me so damn much.
What’s your most unpleasant characteristic?
Need you ask? Mood swings. I’m happy and smiling one minute, miserable as sin the next. At home, that really sucks for my family. In the ring, sure… it’s fine and dandy… but it doesn’t end there. I’m sure I piss Travis and Despair off all the damn time, but they hide it pretty damn well. Chain smoking is pretty annoying for others too, although I tend to try and curb it a little at home, for the kid’s sake.
Do you like reggae music?
Yeah. Marley was a king, and early Trojan ska stuff ruled all… Desmond Dekker and so on. The early days of whine and grine reggae… how could you not like that? Sure as hell beats the shit that people call ska nowadays anyway.
Can you recite a line of poetry?
Sure. I can recite a whole poem, one my dad told me years ago.
That mother-fucking smoke stack
See those clouds
Old time fleecy pillows,
Like they say, whites and grays,
on the street,
there’s a swimming pool
out front –
And the trees
It’s the fall”
Robert Creeley, “Blue Skies Motel”.
Spikyjim at home with his family, not wrestling.
Where are you off to right now?
Whip Travis with a towel… naah, off to Wendy’s for a late snack and then to call my wife and check my messages back at the hotel. You never know just WHO wants to get hold of you, y’know…
Thanks for your time, SJ!