THUNDER BAY – Fight – Devon “Hannibal” Nicholson has been continuing to travel down what is a new road for him. The former professional wrestler has stepped back from the business that was his life’s consuming passion, retiring from professional wrestling in 2011. Nicholson helped to bring two very solid pro-wresting events to Thunder Bay in 2009 and 2010. He also brought events to Southern Ontario and into the Maritimes as well as Alberta and Quebec.
His new direction has Nicholson working to get his life and goals back on track after a couple of tough years. He set a direction to return to his amateur wrestling roots.
Nicholson, spoke with NetNewsledger back in November about a TV special that Global TV did on him that aired all over Canada. Devon is back talking to us again.
This time about his recent silver medal performance at the Canadian Greco Roman Wrestling Olympic Trials in Winnipeg, his passion for pro wrestling, and some stories about his try outs with WWE, and TNA including an altercation he got into during the WWE try-out that he was hired from.
NNL: Thank you for speaking with us again Devon and congratulations on getting the opportunity to possible compete for Canada in the London Olympics this summer.
DN: You’re very welcome NetNewsledger has always been great to me.
NNL: Now that you are an alternate for the London Olympics what are your plans to prepare for possibly competing in the games.
DN: I will discuss it more with my coaches and Wrestling Canada this month to see what the possibilities are. Unfortunately for me I do not live in a city where there is a University Wrestling program so my training options are very limited here. Most of my training would probably come from competing in high level tournaments leading up to the games.
NNL: Did the government cover any training or travel expenses for the tournaments you have been competing in so far.
DN: No unfortunately not. One of the downfalls of amateur wrestling is it can cost a lot of money to compete in at high levels. I spent several thousand dollars training and competing in tournaments in 2011 and although it feels great to win matches it is certainly hard on the pocket book.
NNL: You retired from pro wrestling because you felt that you would never get in WWE or TNA and there was not point hoping for a dream that would never happen. If either company were to make you an offer now that you could be competing in the next Olympics would you consider it?
DN: It has always been my dream to wrestle in the big leagues so of course I would consider offers from WWE or TNA. I’m sure I could be a great asset to either company but WWE does not want me because of my Hep C. I am not sure what TNA’s stance is on that but as long as I am not participating in double blood matches I am not a danger to anyone.
NNL: You have wrestled for TNA before right?
DN: Terry Taylor always wanted to hire me when he was in power but creative wasn’t interested. They let me promote their first Canadian tour in December 07 and I wrestled against Abyss on their event in Gatineau Quebec. Abyss and I could have a great feud. I also had a try out in Saginaw Michigan in 2010 where I impressed everyone and D Low Brown of TNA talent relations told me he would give Vince Russo his ”highest recommendation” on me. Nothing came out of it.
NNL: I remember talking with Terry Funk when he was in Thunder Bay a few years ago, he told me he thought you could be the next big star in wrestling. I was surprised he said that after the beating you laid on him in the press conference earlier that day but he said you were the only wrestler with the ability to bring back wrestling to the way it was. Have you ever been told that before?
DN: Terry Funk was a lot of fun to be around and I have a lot of respect for him. That was very nice of him to say. I took my pro wrestling very seriously and was very intense in the ring. Many legends have told me I have what it takes to be a big star in the wrestling industry. That is why it is so frustrating that my WWE contract did not go through.
Pat Patterson said I was ”by far the best” in the WWE camp that I was hired from (Mayson Ryan and other future WWE wrestlers were in it.) Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Honky Tonk Man, Bushwacker Luke, Abdullah and others have all said that I could be a big star in wrestling. Pat told me I was ”the best heel he’d seen in a long time.” Dusty Rhodes came out of the booth after a promo I did at the camp and told everyone ”that is how you do a promo.” If TNA was smart they would capitalize on a big mistake by WWE and get some great, positive publicity for the company. I could potentially be on their roster at the same time as I am in the Olympics if that happened.
NNL: Speaking of that camp, Jeremy Prophet told me an interesting story that he heard from Ken Kennedy and Sylvain Grenier about you getting into a real fight with another wrestler at that camp. Can you please elaborate on that story for us?
DN: Yes the camp was separated into three rotating groups to do try outs at different stations. Pat Patterson came in the second last morning of the camp but had to leave at lunch. He was watching the group that was putting on matches. I was doing very well and the agents wanted to have me wrestle for Pat.
Steve Kerin came to the room with the group I was in and just grabbed anyone in the room to face me. Unfortunately the guy they put me in the ring with was horrible and hitting me full force in the ear the entire match. At one point I couldn’t hear anything. I was doing my best to hold my temper during the match so I wouldn’t look bad but by the time the match was over my ears were ringing and I was ready to kill him.
I yelled at him to go out in the parking lot. He got very scared. The agents all jumped in and I ended up in a yelling match with Steve Keirn because I was mad they put me in there with such and awful wrestler. Despite that they calmed me down. Telling me I was a good wrestler because I carried the green guy very well. Dusty told me I had and excellent character but I have to learn to separate the character of Hannibal and the person of Devon better.
I went outside to cool off and Pat was out there having a cigarette. He called me over to him and we ended up talking for 20 minutes. He told me numerous times during that conversation that I was the best heel he had seen in a long time.
After lunch Pat stayed even though he was supposed to leave at lunch. He gave me another match and gave me the finish. We came out, did the match and I did the finish perfectly. He came to the back, shook my hand and told me he really hopes they hire me because I could be a big star. He then leaves the building. At the end of the camp Steve Keirn told me Pat Patterson liked me and that he had to admit he liked my stuff too. When he saw me at a WWE event in Ottawa in September 09 after WWE took away my contract he told me he was shocked they didn’t hire me because the office was ”high on me.” Ricky Steamboat was the other agent there. When I told Steamboat the Abdullah cutting story he said he couldn’t believe Abdullah was still doing that and seemed genuinely disgusted.
On a side note despite my attitude when I was called by talent relations and told I was hired they first asked me the questions why am I a better heel then Mike Knox? I answered and they said they love my look, they love my attitude and they want to offer me a contract. I accepted and they said they could see me being the top heel in the company but I would come in with a bit of a stigma attached to me so I would have to be very polite with everyone at first. When they called to cancel my contract they said ”let us know if you ever need anything.”’ They haven’t answered me since.
NNL: Thank you for the detailed answer. Finally there have been rumors circulating on the net that your lawyers have Abdullah The Butchers blood tests finally and he is Hep C positive. Can you please address those rumors?
DN: There has been no official statement on that from my attorneys. All I can say is the case is moving forward and I hope I will get justice in 2012.
NNL: What are your plans moving forward.
DN: My main hope is to get on this new Hep C drug that is available in the US now and supposed to come out in Canada this year. I want the Hep C out of my system before it is too late.
NNL: Thank you. Good luck with the Olympics and I hope you one day get to accomplish your dream. You deserve it.
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