INTERVIEW - Rivals Pro-Wrestling

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‘The Shootfighter’ Frankie Mooney was making waves across the world of championship wrestling way before winning both Rivals World Heavyweight Championship and the CADC World Heavyweight Championship. As well as multiple black belts in martial arts, he holds a British championship, a national championship, a regional title and two International titles and now adds both Rivals World Heavyweight Championship and the most prestigious title on the African continent, the CADC World Heavyweight Championship to his collection. caught up with the world champion, to find out what’s next for the critically acclaimed ‘warrior of wishaw’.

RIVALSWRESTLING.COM: What a year it has been for you. Can you tell us how you are feeling?

FRANKIE MOONEY: I am absolutely elated. Thank you for asking.

RIVALSWRESTLING.COM: There was a display of intense emotions in the match with Ubaha Martin, can you talk about that?

FRANKIE MOONEY: I experienced some setbacks in the couple of months leading up to the match. I was in the zone in terms of training and preparation. I was showing up and doing what was needed, being present, feeling great and then I lost two of my very close and dear best friends within the same week which knocked me for six. I became "loss-oriented" feeling intense emotions of sadness, longing, regret, and guilt which left me weary. It was sudden, it was unexpected and I did not know how I was going to honour them.

I was in camp, planning and devising strategy against my opponent, but also dealing with very real grief. Going into the event, two very different things was going on. As far as my match goes, I knew that if I did this step and then that move, eventually I would move forward and have an outcome and the event would be over. That would be it. But grief is not linear that way. You do not do this and then that and then it's over, it's snakes and ladders in a way and in some of those games it's never over. Training would bring distraction and avoidance from the feelings of grief, I was still in denial of the events and of the grief itself too but then moments in the day would bring big whammo's of grief - which was really intense and hard to shake. This continued throughout my preparation and into my match.

Those moments stopped me in my tracks. It’s not what my friends would have wanted for me, with me throughout all of my 20-year career in wrestling, the last thing they would have wanted is to stop me in my tracks, at any time never mind at the biggest match of my life so it was my responsibility to transmute the feelings and energy I had into positive actions and direction. That is how I decided I would honour them.
It is a real shame life did not allow them to be there in person to celebrate with me but they are part of my spirit now and we all won it together.

RIVALSWRESTLING.COM: How did it feel to be wrestling back in front of a hometown crowd?

FRANKIE MOONEY: Nostalgic. I am extremely proud to be wrestling back in Wishaw. Alcohol and Drugs affect a lot of people so to bring light to a smaller charity and help them in some way continue their work, that on its own merit, is brilliant. Rivals Pro-Wrestling have done an exceptional job organising and bringing things together to help the charity. I also think we helped make the professional wrestling industry better. It was a fantastic team and I was happy to meet everyone and be part of that team.

Scotland is starved of wrestling. This is the first time championship wrestling has come to Wishaw and I’m looking forward to welcoming more fans to Rivals Sports Arena for big-time wrestling action.

RIVALSWRESTLING.COM: How do you think fans have reacted?

FRANKIE MOONEY: My fans are extremely supportive and always have been. Everyone who purchased a ticket and came along and showed their support for wrestlers were some of the most respectful and passionate fans I have ever met. They are a credit to Rivals Pro-Wrestling and our town.
In early 2000, I was wrestling an event in Motherwell and a mother and son asked me for a photo and autograph after the event and some years later another mother and son asked me for a photo and to sign something else. That something else was the first photo! Now in 2022, after so much that has happened and so much time that has past to see them again and be told how much they enjoy my wrestling above all others, means so much.

RIVALSWRESTLING.COM: To win prestigious titles in your hometown, must be at the top of a dream list we would imagine?

FRANKIE MOONEY: To win prestigious titles is amazing and to do it in the town where everyone has saw you grow up and wrestle in since before you were a teenager is something else. Fans, friends and family have witnessed my evolution.

RIVALSWRESTLING.COM: The Rivals World Heavyweight Championship and the CADC World Heavyweight Championship, what does it mean to you and what does it mean to the fans who have followed your journey?

FRANKIE MOONEY: For me it’s validation at least for the 20 years I’ve given, for my willingness to struggle and sacrifice to get to this point. I knew it was going to take time but I give myself to the process. I work to get the details down, I give myself to the process of technique, strategy, and strength. I work to master, not just learn, a position or situation. As I’ve said before, I know what I’m capable of and I’m pushing myself all the time. I show up every day and I do the work that’s needed. When it comes down to it, I can dig deep when I need to, adapt, adjust and do what it takes to come out on top! These gold belts are testament to that fact.

I think the fans are happy to see this calibre of wrestling in Scotland. Rivals Pro-Wrestling has done something that is long overdue in Scotland and that is give championship wrestling a home. I do this full-time, travel the world and take my championships seriously. Championships (CADC) that are built on at least a hundred years of lineage with hundreds of contenders. Rivals-Pro Wrestling are the best in the country and have one of the best training facilities in the world. I am looking forward to seeing what they deliver next and being a major part of that as Rivals World Heavyweight Champion.

RIVALSWRESTLING.COM: Can you tell us more about Rivals Pro-Wrestling and how you came to be part of the event?

FRANKIE MOONEY: Rivals promote championship bouts in combat sports. It’s Scotland’s premier martial arts training school and performance centre. Management had been planning to bring wrestling to Wishaw but the pandemic caused delays. They reached out to me and Confederation Africane De Catch (CADC) were already in touch with me about the same time because of another competition I had won and things lined up for a showdown in Wishaw. Negotiations worked out, contracts were signed and it all went down on the 17th December debut event for a charitable cause – Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol & Drugs.

More than just a wrestling club, martial arts school and championship promoter, Rivals Gym in Wishaw in 2022 promoted more students to black belt and beyond, raised more than £50,000 in charitable donations, partnered with North Lanarkshire and West Lothian councils to provide services to looked after vulnerable children and worked with students in schools thanks to local council partnerships and partnerships with schools. Community parties, fun days and summer camps mean the club gets together often and with classes suitable for any one in a warm and welcoming environment, get on to Rivals Gym website and get in touch to come and join in. With locations now in Wishaw, East Kilbride and Airdrie, Rivals is coming to you. So whether you want to keep fit, exercise, connect with like-minded folk or train to be a wrestler in Rivals Pro-Wrestling and beyond, schedule a class online. Rivals is where champions train champions whether it's boxing, kickboxing, martial arts or wrestling.

RIVALSWRESTLING.COM: Have CADC been in touch with you since your championship win?

FRANKIE MOONEY: Almost immediately. They advised Ubaha Martin had 90 days to trigger a rematch clause as per his contract. I already knew this but they also made me aware they will be returning with a mandatory fighter in the event he doesn’t. I think he has until March 31st to notify CADC of his intentions. I also know that Rivals are keen to put their mandatory fighter forward for the world heavyweight championship. I don’t know who that is. A lot of detail needs to be worked out between Rivals and CADC I am sure and ultimately, I need to take a look at it.

RIVALSWRESTLING.COM: Are you satisfied with Rivals Pro-Wrestling handling of business so far?

FRANKIE MOONEY: Absolutely. I think Rivals Pro-Wrestling are a breath of fresh air to a business that was stale and muggy. Rivals are regulated, above board in their dealings, promote high-level events and from the meetings I have been involved in are very keen to promote fighters. I’ve already seen the investment they are putting into fighters and plans for bringing in talent and it’s great. I’ve never seen that before and it’s something that once you see it being done, you think  - why hasn’t it ALWAYS been like this?

RIVALSWRESTLING.COM: Who do you think we will see more of in Rivals Pro-Wrestling?

FRANKIE MOONEY: Me. I will be defending my championship titles. That is for sure [laughs]. I do not watch wrestling, I’m not a fan and only see things when people bring it to my attention. As of late, there is nothing that seems to grab my attention or have me thinking ‘well I should take notice of them’ in terms of being champion but having just seen some of Rivals Pro-Wrestling debut event there is some wrestlers who I see making waves and will garner the right attention if they continue to play their cards right and do well. Ewan O’ Raw came up short in the Wanderer’s comeback match but I think with a little more focus, he could be one to watch shake the place up. I do not know what is going to happen with Johnny Thunder and Scotty Riccio but both those guys are standalone shining talents and when they come together are a troublesome duo that I think can do some serious damage to the tag team division – but that type of chemistry they have is volatile and already looked like it was ready to implode which I think is a shame. Rubi Roberts is one tough fighter; she can slay and I don’t think we have seen the last of her. If the tenacity shown in her match is anything to go by, Rubi will come out swinging. You can be sure that if they are billed on a Rivals Pro-Wrestling card then they are worthy of your attention. Rivals listens to their fanbase and it’s that care to attention that will ensure only the very best wrestlers from the world of championship wrestling will come to Rivals.

RIVALSWRESTLING.COM: Last question, we loved the outfit, what is the story?

FRANKIE MOONEY: I was told Ubaha was having a traditional African entrance and I knew I had to prepare a very special outfit for the match that in my opinion was a nod to the authentic spiritual ancestors of my Scottish-Scandinavia. It wasn’t a noble wealthy Scottish warrior look with broadswords and white blouses, those ‘noblemen’ stole from the poor folk and positioned themselves as an elite. This was a nod to the valley and shire folk, cattle herders and mountain dwellers who did not come from anything and didn’t really have much but had a very spiritual connection with the land and their environment. They worshipped the gods of the wind and rain which was also a sly nod to what was said about me needing more than the weather on my side going into the match. I guess I did kick up a storm.


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Charity Number: SC046518
Rivals Gym, School of Martial Arts
94 Main Street, Wishaw
Lanarkshire, Scotland
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