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MWR Special Interview by Jared Smith with CCW Star Jason Vaughn

Posted by flairwhoooooo on May 5, 2017

Interview by Jared Smith
Photos courtesy of Jason Vaughn

It seems rare these days that you come across someone who has a thirst for life, an accelerated drive for success but also a soft, humble ability to connect with any person on any level. However, professional wrestler Jason “The Fury” Vaughn meets all of that criteria, and more, and is truly one of the faces of the wrestling scene in and around the bootheel of Missouri and beyond. Throughout the years and the miles, one thing always remained inside The Fury, and that was a love of professional wrestling, which he has now turned into a decade plus long career inside the ropes. I had a chance to talk with Jason last night and learn about his career, his humble beginnings, as well as where he sees himself going in the near, and distant future.

Jared Smith: Jason, first off, thanks for taking time to chat with me! So let’s get down to it and start from the beginning. Who were your favorite wrestlers as a kid that got you interested in the world of wrestling?

Jason Vaughn: Hey Smitty thanks for having me! Oh man, I was a little Hulkamaniac back in the day, just like most any kid who grew up in that time in the 80’s but then when the Ultimate Warrior came around, he was my guy! I loved the Ultimate Warrior. I would go out to the barbwire fence in the yard by the field and grab it and shake it like the Warrior shook the ropes. I loved his energy.

JS: As you got older, during the Monday Night Wars, were you a RAW guy or a Nitro guy? I was a Nitro guy myself.

JV: Me too, Nitro all the way! I was all for Goldberg! He was my guy back then! But I also liked what the cruiserweight guys did, guys like Dean Malenko and Juvi were exciting and they brought in a different style over here to the States. It was a really good show back then.

JS: So you’ve been a lifelong wrestling fan, but what was it that got you to want to get into the ring?

JV: I was around 16 or so and I went down to Malden, Missouri, to the old skating rink where they would have matches once a month or so and I met a guy named Mike Anthony, who lived in the area, and after we talked, said he would train me. He had an old ring in his back yard that was only a little bit off the ground, had old carpet for padding and then steel cables wrapped in garden hoses for the ropes! That thing was rough and man it hurt! So the first day I show up, we train for something like 5 hours doing squats, running the ropes, things like that. After we were done, he asks me if I still wanted to do this and I said yes I did. So he said that was just to try and break me. After that, I trained for about two and a half weeks and I just about knocked myself out on my first bump he had me do! I landed hard and it made my teeth chatter. I thought I knew everything and that I was tough and everything else, but I didn’t stay with it.

JS: So you quit your early training after just a couple weeks? Then what happened?

JV: Well, I enlisted into the Army where I went overseas a few times, then I came back in the Reserves once I got back. I went down to the Memphis area at that time when I came back and one day I was in the gym with some friends of mine, working out in my Hulk Hogan sweat pants of all things, and in walks one of the biggest men I’ve ever met. He saw my pants and asked if I was a wrestling fan, and I said yes then it dawned on me that I was talking to King Mabel, who at that time was going by Viscera, Nelson Frazier, God rest his soul. So here I am, talking to Viscera in this gym and he asks me if I’m interested in training for wrestling. So I told him that I was, so he gave me his information and told me to call him. Now, at this time I was getting into MMA fighting, when it was starting to make its big boom and I was doing some MMA training. Well, I thought that wrestling wasn’t really what I was interested in but then after I learned that I HATED getting punched and kicked, I decided to call Viscera up and tell him that I was interested in his training. So I show up in the building he had his ring set up in and it was just the two of us, I got one on one training with Big Daddy V. So he asks me if I’ve ever had any training and I told him about the backyard training I’d gotten several years before, that I knew how to take a back bump and run the ropes. He had me get in the ring and run the ropes and as soon as I hit those ropes, it just felt right. It didn’t hurt like that old backyard ring, it was a comfortable ring and everything just seemed right.

JS: Wow so you were trained by Big Daddy V? How tough was he on you?

JV: You know, he was never really super hard on me. I mean, he would chop sometimes just to get me ready for that sorta thing, but he never took advantage of me and beat me up. He was kind of a gentle giant, though. But he was really patient and encouraging with me, which was great, because there were times that I would get so pissed off in the ring when I wasn’t getting things right that I would just start yelling and screaming in the ring. In fact, that’s how Bobby (Mo) gave me my nickname, The Fury.

JS: So they gave you that nickname? Too cool!

JV: Oh yeah! I was trying to do a moonsault because I thought that was cool and I wanted to look cool in the ring, but I was afraid of landing on my head, so I never got it right. Well one day I turned the wrong way and landed weird on my shoulder, close to my head and everything and I just erupted. I was kicking the ropes, yelling, cussing, screaming, all that. It took Bobby and Viscera a bit to calm me down, but that’s when Bobby said “that’s your name…that’s who you are. You’re just a fury in the ring…you’re going to be The Fury.” So that’s what started it and that’s where it comes from, and I still use that today. I build up that fury and unleash it on people now.

JS: So that was how The Fury was born! Too cool, and given to you by former WWE guys, so that had to feel awesome.

JV: It did, although I didn’t go by “The Fury” for a couple years. When I first got started, I was using a military gimmick where I’d wear fatigues and a tan shirt, had some cheap volleyball player knee pads and I’d tape my wrists in electrical tape. And I did that for a while before I finally became The Fury.

JS: We’ll get to that in a bit, so now you’ve trained with Viscera and where did it go from there?

JV: I got my first match down in Lepanto, Arkansas, through the MCW group with Big Daddy Lafonce, that you may have seen on Wrestling With Death. That was my first intro in. My first match went ok. I’m sure it probably sucked since it was my first match hahaha but it went ok. The biggest thing for me, though, was that Viscera was working that card too and they scheduled me to do a run in on him in the main event. Viscera was over big down there and I was working heel early on, so I come running out at the end of his match and I slid in as I was planned and he just lifts me right up like I was nothing and dropped me down with a Samoan Drop. But you know, I didn’t feel any of his weight coming down on me! He was light as a feather on me! I thought I was about to get crushed! So that was a cool way to get started. After that, I worked a in the bootheel in places like Poplar Bluff, Kennett, Malden and Caruthersville, among other places. One of the coolest things was working a benefit show here in Cape Girardeau with Eric Young, who was Showtime Eric Young then, on the card and having him compliment my match. That was huge! He was one of those early on that really told me that I had potential and I had something going on. So I worked some great matches with Rodney Mack down in the Mid South area after that, I went up north to Indiana once to be an extra for ECW a few times through Viscera, I did SICW a bit and met Flash Flannigan, and I met James Arnez along the way. James and Psycho were doing the Asylum then and I was actually the one who pinned James in his last match at that time, he picked me to be the one to retire him in that match. So that was a great honor, being handpicked like that.

JS: That is huge and James Arnez was a big name in the Bootheel/NE Arkansas/NW Tennessee, too! I remember him, Psycho, The Inhumane Society and a lot of names working together in the late 90’s/early 2000’s, just wrecking havoc around the area. What are some of the other big names you’ve worked with?

JV: Oh wow, that’s quite a list anymore. I’ve been fortunate to network with a lot of people and form those bonds of brotherhood all over. My Grandma, who recently passed away and God rest her soul, I love you Grandma, actually helped with booking Colorado Kid, Mike Rapada, when I was younger, so I got to have a match with him where she was in attendance down south in USA Championship for Bert Prentice. This was when he was starting to work as The Joker, but when he found out Grandma was there, he came out as Colorado Kid in his robes and his hair fixed the way it used to be, he even let me go over that night for her! Which made Bert lose his mind!! He came out wondering what was going on!! But Mike handled it all and it was a great memory. I also got a lot of help from guys like Motley Cruz, Van VanHorne, Derrick King, Pokerface, Sid, Johnny Rotten and Rodney Mack, among many others. I was able to work a match with Jeff Hardy and Koko B. Ware, too, and learned a lot from them all and really made good friends with so many people along the way. I also really liked working with Sean Vincent, the Canadian Hero, in SICW (Southern Illinois Championship Wrestling), we clicked early on and had some great matches.

JS: You’ve really worked with some of the biggest names, not only in this region, but in the world! What place has been your favorite to work at so far?

JV: You know, to be honest, I have to say Cape Championship Wrestling. Ken called me up early on when they were getting CCW together because he knew my name from around here and knew I was a local guy, so he wanted me on here to get a good local turnout. We didn’t really know what to expect, but that first night in the Osage Center, that place was awesome! There were so many people, and so many kids, that it was just a great first show that I don’t think we could have imagined. And it has been getting better every time. I think the fans in this area were needing professional wrestling like this and I think it has showed with the turnouts that CCW gets. And every show it seems like it gets louder and bigger! So this has been great for me, plus I’m able to work here in front of family and friends that may not have been able to see me when I was working down south more.

JS: I have to say that Cape Championship Wrestling has not only exceeded any expectation I had, but completely blew it out of the water altogether! It has become such a big thing around here. Now, recently you’ve helped with training JD Wilk, who debuted in CCW in January, do you have plans for training full time at some point? And what would you be willing to tell hopeful, future wrestlers?

JV: Yeah, JD has really picked things up quick, too. We worked for a good stretch and then he went down south to train and then also over to Stride to work with Heath Hatton, so he’s really getting a lot of experience from different people. I do want to train in the future, because I want to take my lifelong love of wrestling and spread that knowledge to the next generation of wrestlers, but I’m not quite ready for that full time just yet! I’ve still got a lot left in me before I decide to hang up the boots and call it a day. But yeah, training kids is something that I really want to do down the road. I definitely recommend them going to training camps. I went to the WLW camp that is hosted by Harley Race, and I would highly recommend going to the Rock n Roll Express camp that Ricky Morton has down south. Or really anywhere that they can find a camp. Go there and learn from those guys because that’s how you make it, by being willing and able to learn from those guys who came before you. That’s something that, early on, I was a little cocky, kind of big for my britches and Viscera had to calm me down a few times. He told me that if it wasn’t for the fans showing up and buying tickets, that the promoter wouldn’t get any money and then I wouldn’t get any money. So that humbled me quite a bit and changed my outlook on it. So now, any time that a kid comes up to me, I’ll take time to greet them and say hi and lean down to take a picture with them so I can get down on their level and not feel like I’m talking down to them. The kids are really what makes it for me and I think back to when I was a kid, seeing Ultimate Warrior on TV and wanting to be like him, well if a kid sees me wrestle and down the road thinks back to the time I took a picture with him, or her, as why they started wrestling, then I feel like I’ve done my job. I feel blessed to talk to the kids and I feel like if I can help them out and not be “larger than life” then I’m doing my job. I grew up with 8 siblings from not the best situation, there were times we didn’t have water or electricity and Dad was gone on the truck a lot to help give us what we did have, Mom stayed home to work and take care of us, so that helped me learn to love what I’ve got and I want to be sure to tell kids to stay humble, listen to people and just never give up on a dream.

JS: I think that’s advice that pretty much anyone can stick to! I think you’ve been a great role model down here, because the kids absolutely LOVE you in CCW! Do you think you’re having some of your best matches now?

JV: For the most part, I really do. I think that CCW has a good amount of veterans that we can really put on great matches. A lot of it is also because I have learned how to understand the crowds more, the ring psychology and be able to put on a good match for that. But especially in CCW, you’ve got a lot of veterans like Austin Lane, Billy Hills, Brandon Barbwire to name a few who have been around a while like me and then a lot of younger guys that we can help out and show how to put on good matches. I feel like I’m doing good things right now, though. I think everyone seems to be enjoying it.

JS: I know I have. Your feud with Billy Hills to start things last year was well done, with the big ending in the street fight! That was awesome! So, aside from training, what does the immediate future hold for you?

JV: That street fight was awesome! And so far the only one in CCW. I really want to work more up in the St. Louis area, places like Dynamo Pro, WLW with Harley Race, over in SICW. Maybe see what NWL-StL is all about. But I also want to get a show down here in my hometown of Dexter. To this day, I have never wrestled a show in my hometown, so that’s something that is really big for me right now. And I want to work more all over the state of Missouri because, one of my big dream goals is to get my name on that Missouri Wrestling Hall of Fame wall. I want to get on that so bad. But those places are where I’d like to get soon and just keep working and getting my name out. Plus, I own my own businesses and I work full time at those along with

JS: I think you’ve definitely got a shot at that Wall of Fame, no doubt! Well, we’re getting close to the end of things, but I wanted to ask, what was one of your funniest moments so far?

JV: Oh man! I was working a match down around Dyersburg, TN and my opponent lost one of his contact lenses. And, without them, guy was blind as a bat. So he taters me left and right, really working stiff and beating me up. It was bad. But the finish was he was going to get me up in a jackhammer and finish me that way. Well, he goes to lift me up and the whole right side of my tights tears now, just completely rips open and my butt cheek is hanging out! Now, a lot of guys when they wrestle will either wear the jock style underwear, or some wear a thong. I’d talked to Billy Gunn not too long before that and he was the one telling me about wearing a thong so you don’t have lines in your tights and he convinced me to wear one. I told him I thought that was for girls and no way was I going to do that! But he talked me into here and here I am now, my butt cheek is hanging out, you can see my thong, I’ve got a huge wedgie. Oh man it was bad!! But I went from being a big heel in that match to the next time back, getting a big pop! It was so bad.

JS: HA oh man I hate to laugh, but that’s hilarious! At least things worked out. And they seem to be working out for you now because you’re a big fan favorite everywhere you go down this way and are one of the top faces in CCW as well. I think that just about wraps it all up for us, so Jason, before we go, give us one last bit of wisdom for the road!

JV: Hey Smitty thanks again for doing this and I can’t wait to see how it turns out. And thanks for being a fan, I really appreciate that. I just want to let the kids know to be humble and learn everything that they can and if they want something bad enough to never give up on those dreams and keep chasing them because they will come true. I’m so blessed to be where I am and every day I’m thankful for everything that I’ve achieved in life.

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