Scottish star “The Prestigious One” Joe Hendry discusses the advice given to him by Hall of Famers Goldberg and Kurt Angle, the process of writing his infectious entrance theme, his relationship with Dalton Castle, and more.
1. What’s the best advice you’ve been given about the wrestling business and who gave it to you?
I’ll give you two. Goldberg told me that if I was going to use moves executed by other people that I should always put my own spin on it so to make it my own. This combines rather nicely with another fantastic piece of advice given to me by an Olympic hero. Kurt Angle told me that I needed to have a submission if I wanted to have main-event level matches. Neither of us spoke for a while until he said, “You want to use the ankle lock don’t you?”
Kurt gave me his blessing to use the hold, which I now proudly use with a little twist of my own where I will step over into a single-leg Boston Crab position, which I have humbly titled, The Hendry Lock.
2. What’s on your bucket list?
Become Ring of Honor World Champion; become Ring of Honor World Television Champion; become Ring of Honor World Tag Team Champion; become Ring of Honor World Six-Man Tag Team Champion … at the same time. Holding all the belts on the way to the ring. Basically, I should be completely covered in titles head to toe.
3. What’s something popular that you just don’t see the appeal of?
The U.S. version of “The Office.” America, I love you, but that version of the show just does not exist to me.
4. Who is your celebrity crush?
Joe Hendry doesn’t have celebrity crushes. He’s everyone else’s celebrity crush.
5. What (non-wrestling) TV shows do you never miss?
“South Park,” “Peep Show” and, of course, “The Office” -- the British version! I’m also a big fan of “Nathan For You.” These comedies have been a huge influence on me when it comes to putting together custom entrances. People may not realize it upon initial viewing, but there’s actually a huge amount of planning that goes into each. When I saw the documentary “6 Days To Air: The Making of South Park,” it definitely struck a chord with me when it comes to unveiling a new entrance theme.
6. Your entrance music is so damn catchy. Can you walk us through the process of writing and performing it?
As mentioned previously, I have created a lot of custom entrances. I think around 60 or 70 now. However, most of these are parodies, which requires me re-recording and satirizing the lyrics of an existing song. Writing something catchy from scratch is far more challenging and taxing. With my current theme, I knew I wanted to have something at the start that announced my arrival and gave the audience something to participate in, for example, the two claps. Then I knew the perfect beat to get people clapping along is 120 beats per minute, so that would take up the bulk of the track.
However, when I set out to make the track I knew I wanted to do a mashup of different styles and thought, “Would it be possible to split the song into two distinct sections for pre- and post-entrance? For example, an electronic dance beat to build anticipation and then a slower, Queen-style rock solo that would make the audience feel like someone special had arrived.
For two weeks I’d say I tried to find examples of songs that had completely separate sections and used “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Knights of Cydonia” as a reference point of what might be possible. I wasn’t at any point convinced it would work, as it seemed a little ambitious, but my gut told me it was the way to go.
Previously I had recorded a video package to announce my signing with Ring of Honor and I kept humming this guitar line … after [the video] had been published, and after a while I really regretted not putting it in. About 10 days passed and I still couldn’t stop humming that line to the point that people around me started humming it as well.
I thought, “If this is infectious enough to find it’s way into people's brains even when they haven’t heard it, then this should probably be the rock section of the song.” Due to scheduling difficulties I actually had to record it in two studios over the Saturday and Sunday the week before my debut. I only had access to the mics on the Saturday and instruments on the Sunday, so it was actually reverse-engineered, and somehow against all probability seemed to turn out well when myself and Neil, the producer I work with, had finished with it on Sunday.
I’ve always believed entrances are so important, and I’m glad we took the extra time with this one.
7. Who are some of your musical influences?
I’d say my main musical influences in terms of writing are Weezer and Fleetwood Mac. Weezer are a great introduction to how songs are put together. They structure their songs in a very paint-by-numbers way that is extremely simple but equally effective. I pretty much have them to thank for learning what I know about writing. If Weezer are primary colors, then I see Fleetwood Mac as secondary colors. There’s a reason their songs are continuously covered. If you listen to “Rumours,” most of the songs have become hits once again after being covered by someone else. Even if you haven't heard “Rumours,” you will have heard “Rumours” courtesy of someone else
8. Why did you decide to compete in amateur wrestling a few years ago at age 26?
I think it was 26. 2014, I believe. Quite simply, I ended up going to the opening ceremony for the 2014 Commonwealth Games at a stadium in Glasgow, Scotland. I thought about how great it would be to be one of the athletes representing your country and thought to myself, “Maybe I could do this.” I have a black belt in Judo from my teens/early twenties, so knew I had some grappling background and was a good athlete. I started to think about the steps it would take to get to the Commonwealth Games and reverse-engineered it from there.
My goal was to get to the Games, which I did in 2018, but I also achieved something I didn’t think possible: I became a two time British Amatuer Wrestling Champion at 97 kg in both freestyle and Greco within four years of starting the sport. Another part of my motivation was that I wasn't satisfied with being seen as just a comedian in wrestling. I firmly believe that if you’re not happy with where you’re at, it’s up to you to show the world that you are who you say you can be. It was up to me to legitimize myself as an athlete
9. How would you characterize your relationship with Dalton Castle?
Myself and Dalton are the two biggest entertainers, the two biggest egos, the two biggest personalities in Ring of Honor. At first it was a battle to see who was No. 1, which Dalton and I each have our opinions on -- mine being correct -- but then we realized that if we joined forces we could become the most entertaining team in the history of pro wrestling. Let’s be honest, it should be illegal to have that much charisma in a ring at one time, but somehow, humbly, we manage.
10. Do you have any final words for ROH fans?
The Prestigious One would like to thank the fans who clap twice after my entrance begins. You know who you are.