Cheeseburger reveals who originally gave him his moniker and opens up about his most embarrassing moment in pro wrestling (it involves Rhino and a lap dance), his passion for training aspiring wrestlers and more.
1. For those fans who have never heard the story, how did you get the name Cheeseburger?
When I began training at the ROH Dojo in 2010, I weighed maybe 107 pounds at the time. Rhett Titus would come in for training and say, “Wow that guy needs to eat some cheeseburgers!” The name Cheeseburger just stuck after that. Nobody in the locker room knew my actual name and just referred to me as Cheeseburger.
January 2013, while I was cleaning out streamers in the ring, Charlie Haas yelled at me to get in the ring for interrupting his time. He berated me on the mic and called me Cheeseburger. Suddenly the entire Baltimore crowd of 600 people began chanting in unison. After that day my ring name was officially Cheeseburger. I absolutely hated it at the time. “What kind of career can a guy named Cheeseburger have?” I thought to myself.
2. If you weren’t wrestling what would you be doing for a living?
Growing up I always wanted to be a videogame designer, mainly due to my love of gaming. As I got older and began college, majoring in digital film, I began to love video editing. I’d likely be doing something involving creating and editing my own videos.
3. What is your earliest memory of pro wrestling?
I’d spend the night at my dad’s house while growing up and we’d watch wrestling together. My dad was always amazed that Ric Flair was still wrestling. This was around 2001-2002. My parents took me to a live event around that time. The first piece of merchandise I ever bought was a Road Dogg bucket hat from that event. No idea whatever happened to that hat, however.
4. What is the best advice you’ve been given in the wrestling business and who gave it to you?
Be polite and respectful to everyone you meet. It seems cliche but this advice alone has gotten me further in wrestling than anything else. It got me a job at Ring of Honor, opportunities to be in the ring with legends, and even got me to Japan. Just these qualities alone can open up so many doors for a young aspiring wrestler. This advice was given to me by my trainers and mentors Delirious and Daizee Haze.
5. What is the highlight of your career thus far?
No question, wrestling in the Tokyo Dome. Not only once but getting to go three times in a row! My second and third time were my favorites. My first trip to Japan was a blur and almost like a dream that didn't actually happen. I was much more confident and relaxed the next time I went. The NJPW Rumble is such a fun time for me as a wrestler and a fan. I’ve been lucky enough to share the ring with so many legends throughout these tours. Legends like Great Kabuki, Haku, Fujiwara, Billy Gunn, and of course, Scott Norton.
6. What is your most embarrassing moment in pro wrestling?
I was gored by Rhino while in my underwear in an ROH ring. What began as a talk with Truth Martini and a lap dance from the Hoopla Hotties suddenly evolved into me being carried out with rib injuries, pants around my ankles and in my boxers! It was in Columbus, Ohio, in 2013 or 2014 if anyone wants to send me a GIF on Twitter.
7. What’s a subject you’d like to know more about?
I’d love to know more about grappling and striking. Whether it be amateur wrestling, BJJ, Muay Thai or kickboxing. I really wish I went to a high school that had amateur wrestling as I would have loved to try that out. I’ve taken a few BJJ classes at Daniel Gracie’s gym in Philadelphia, which has been a lot of fun. My next goal is to learn some form of striking to help improve my offense in the ring. The idea of being able to use my entire body as a weapon is very intriguing.
8. Do you have any hidden talents?
I don’t know if this is exactly hidden, but I speak Japanese. Sometimes you can catch me posting textbook pages on my Instagram. I’ve been studying seriously for about two years now. I’m at the point now where I can hold a conversation for a few minutes. Currently I’m studying for a test known as the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test). I’ll be taking the lowest level JLPT N5 to see where my knowledge is currently at. It’s been fun seeing my progression from the beginning until now.
9. How did you and Sumie Sakai become such good friends?
I always refer to her as いじわるさん (Ijiwaru-san). Ijiwaru is a Japanese word that means cross-tempered or an ill-natured person. However, she is the exact opposite, one of the kindest and most genuine people you’ll ever meet. I don’t remember how we first met or even when we became friends. It just seems to have always been that way. Now she is training the next generation with me at my wrestling school every week, passing on her 20-plus years of knowledge.
10. What made you decide to get into the training end of the business?
I had been an assistant trainer under Delirious at the ROH Dojo in Bristol (Pa.) for several years up until it closed down and moved to Baltimore. The Bristol facility was closing down and a lot of my students that lived in the area would be left without a place to train. I decided to begin my own dojo in Bristol in an effort to provide a stable place for my students to continue learning. In May, the Worldwide Wrestling Dojo officially opened. Training is truly a passion of mine. It was always my goal to eventually open my own school once I was old and retired. I didn’t think I’d be doing it at 25 years old while still an active wrestler.
I can’t put into words how happy I am. I may never become a big star or main event Madison Square Garden, but my legacy will live on through my “kids” as I call them. Several of my students are on the ROH roster and already making big impacts. Ryan Nova wrestled then-ROH World Champion Cody in his debut match. Eli Isom pinned Christopher Daniels. Stella Grey is becoming a regular of the WOH division and improving every match. Many of my other students are spreading their name out on the independent circuit. The joy I get from watching these guys and girls grow before my eyes is the most fulfilling part of my career right now. I want the Worldwide Wrestling Dojo to be associated with excellence in pro wrestling. Aspiring pro wrestlers, this is the place to be!