At the time I interviewed Larry Valentine, his last name says it all, when it came to his characters persona. There was a sweet babyface in the NWA Main Event who worked hard to get where he is. After facing demons in his past, Larry has succeeded. However, that babyface persona would not last and Larry "The Love Machine" Valentine was born. Check out this interview and then go check out his bio on nwamainevent.com.
Lekisha Oliver: How are you doing, Larry?
Larry Valentine: Fine. How are you?
LO: Good. Enjoying all these matches tonight. You might want to explain to my readers, explain your whole character.
LV: Background and all that stuff?
LO: Sure. Hey Tony. **Note we had a surprise visit by Tony Falk.**
Tony Falk: Y'all interviewing?
TF: Don't you be knocking all of us. You used to hang with us years ago.
LO: I'll get him back later. (laughs)
LO: So how long have you been wrestling?
LV: I started training in 1992 at the USWA wrestling academy.
LO: Who was your trainer?
LV: Jeff Jarrett and Tom Pritchard.
LV: I had my first match in 94 in McMinnville, Tennessee, with the Sheik. Second match was with Stunning Steve Austin.
LV: About 97, I had some personal problems at home. So I didn't wrestle. I didn't come back in until the end of 1999. I guess I started with the NWA (Main Event) about a year ago. Something like that. Basically I'm just Larry Valentine, a babyface.
LO: Well, is Larry Valentine your real name?
LV: I try to keep all that, my personal life, away from the wrestling stuff.
LO: That's fine. You gotta keep your personal side away from this business or its going to come back and bite ya.
LV: Right. I've always loved wrestling, love this business. Basically its all I've ever wanted to do. Now I'm not worried about where I'm going or how I'm going to get there, I'm just having fun. That's it. I'm just following the road to see where it takes me.
LO: Who was your toughest opponent thus far?
LV: Probably Flash Flanagen and that was also probably my best match. That was probably back in 96 in the Louisville Gardens. We had one hell of a match. I really enjoy working that style, a more upbeat style. I tend to be a little "old school" but I prefer working with guys that are more upbeat.
LO: Kind of a mesh together.
LV: Yeah. I'm not so much offensive, I'm more of a bumper than I am an offense guy. I just enjoy guys that have great moves that way they look good and I look good.
LO: Since you got to wrestle Steve Austin, truthfully, how was he in the ring?
LV: Basically I just started. I was extremely, extremely green, and I honestly thought it was a great match. It wasn't a squash, it was basically a good match until the end. But I enjoyed it and met a lot of guys and I was really in awe of most of them. Some of them that you think are the nice guys ardent so nice and the guys you would think would be mean ones are normally the nice ones.
LO: I've noticed. Who was the absolute nicest person you've met that would surprise anybody?
LV: Ric Flair. I showed up at the building, which was down in Gainsville, Georgia. I showed up at the building about two and half-hours before I was supposed to be there. I was just standing there watching them set up the ring with all these big lights and stuff like that. Next thing I know, this guy comes and stands next to me and starts talking to me, and its Ric Flair. He took about 45 minutes of his time to just sit and talk with me. It really surprised me.
LO: Did he teach you anything that you didn't know?
LV: People see the ring part of the business, but they don't see the behind the scenes type of thing.
LO: Like this.
LV: Yeah. That was more of what I wanted to learn at that time. When you're trained by somebody like Jeff or Tom, you basically know the moves, but you don't have the brain to go with the moves. Most of the questions I asked him were more along the lines of the brain part of the business. Wrestling is something you'll always learn. You re always learning. You'd rather work with somebody who has been around more than you, that's when you're learning. I don't really like matches where I'm the favored one. Id rather work with somebody who has been around a long time and I can learn from.
LO: That's a good attitude. The more you learn about this business, the better you can get at it.
LV: Yeah. You re not going to improve at this business unless you go in there with someone who knows more than you, who is better than you are. I've had opportunity to be in there with guys like the Sheik, Tony Falk. Basically when I first started, Ashley Hudson was just starting, Corey Williams was just starting. The independent scene, or the outlaw scene, whichever way you look at it, was a big deal back then.
LO: Would you like to see yourself up there and wrestling Steve again? I mean full-fledged going up there and whopping some tail. Just to be nice. (laughs).
LV: I think that's everybodies dream. Id like to face Austin. The way the structure is, only the best of the best are going to make it there. I think I have the talent to be up there, but I still have a lot of improvements to make.
LO: Like how?
LV: Interviews. I'm at that point now. There are so many people and only so many spots that you have to be able to wrestle, to look the part and talk the part, you have to be the total package. I still have a long way to go.
LO: You are doing very well.
LV: Well, thank you very much.
LO: Anything else you wanted to say?
LV: Just come out and support the NWA. All the small promotions because we need your support.
LO: Thank you.
LV: Thank you.