I started yoyoing when I was 9, on the boardwalk in Ocean City, NJ. There’s a store there called Air Circus that I went into one day and saw the employees playing with yo-yos and decided I wanted to try it. My first yo-yo was a yomega powerbrain haha. I didn’t get more into the community aspect until I was probably 14-15 and that when things really took off for me.
The biggest overlap between wrestling and yo-yo for me has actually been in teaching kids how to yo-yo. A lot of concepts I learned to apply to wrestling also apply to yo-yo. Most notably, your body follows where your head goes. I always stress the importance of stand up straight and keeping your head up when learning how to throw a yo-yo, because when newer players look down as they’re throwing, they just throw the yo-yos into to ground accidentally.
I first met Andre at NER 2009. It was my third or fourth contest I’d ever been to at that point. I remember it being just super surreal meeting so many people that day, especially this dude whom I’d been learning tricks from since the days of Mastermagic.net. I first met Eric Koloski at that contest too, and he was the reigning national champion at the time, i remember thinking how cool it was I just casually talking to a national champion.
Hello CJ! Are there any wrestling moments throughout history that have never lost the magic for you? Example: my wife likes to laugh at me because I start to tear up and/or full on cry like a baby anytime Macho and Elizabeth’s WrestleMania 7 reunion is brought up. Greatest love story ever told.
I hope you have a great WM weekend in Dallas!
Was yoyoing a help at all during your wrestling training when you first started? Or has wrestling helped with your yoyoing?
Hey, thank you for joining in!
I’m going to knock out all three questions at once, favorite yoyo of all time for me is probably the freehand one/zeros. So versatile and fun. The New freehand ones are amazing and I can’t recommend them enough.
My favorite trick is breath by Spencer Berry.
My favorite wrestling move to perform is probably my corkscrew moonsault. It was something I was working on for over a year, I’m so proud of myself for being able to do it.
Overall I have an amount of personal influence in the designs but I really try to stick as close to what the persons vision of the yo-yo is. For the Dunk series, I did the design for all three of those yo-yos, originally based on profiles of yo-yos Jake really liked and we sorta went from there.
As far as Recess stuff goes, I’ve done the design work for our releases dating back to Little League, so everything since then has been from me. Working on Tropic alien and triple double with Zaf and joe respectively was similar in nature, they sorta gave me so features and baselines to go with and we went back and forth one stuff until everyone was happy. In general there’s a good amount of brainstorming Tyler and I do for things coming down the pipeline.
That said! Turnbuckle has been the outlet for me to make the designs I want without anyone else’s parameters, and it’s been a really fun and challenging process, but I’m super excited for what’s coming next.
How much of the design process did you have input in actual design and color choices? Did you have many proto versions to try or nailed it first try? Describe your design process and what you wanted
I actually have a whole series of tricks named after wrestling moves, for a while that was all I was doing haha
I think my favorite is “lightning spiral”
With wrestling culture mainly shifting styles from the last 30 years and moving towards what we could call more of the Vince Russo Era, the rise of Sports Entertainment seems to be at an all time high. Reflecting on the past, I believe the Midnight Express might be one of the best tag teams in 30 years but I grew up loving Badass Billy Gunn and Road Dogg and other great tag teams as LOD ect.
What would you say your favorite tag teams are today and how do you feel you growing up during the attitude era of wrestling has affected your brain of thought towards the sport today.
Look forward to your answer.
Also. Bart Gunn got screwed.
For DUNKs and Recess overall I’d say I have a good amount of control over the actual designs of them, but stuff like colorways and graphics were all chosen by Jake / Recess people.
Both trip dub and TA had two protos each.
For turnbuckle I have creative control over pretty much everything, everything down to the packaging is something that’s come from my head in some capacity. I had a lot of great artists helping me with the logos for the first release. The Tiger Driver wordmark and graphic is by JonBot and the Turnbuckle logo was done by Abe.
The process itself is a lot of trial and error. Sometimes ideas I have don’t translate to design as well as I’d like but overall it’s always a learning experience. There was a round of prototyping done for Tiger Driver, and a few small changes made to the final production but for both that and my upcoming yo-yo Burning Hammer, I’ve been fortunate to hit the nail pretty close on the head for the protos. Super excited for Burning Hammer.
I’ve noticed a huge overlap between the wrestling community and the fighting game community. Do you play action or fighting games and if so do you find yourself drawn to playstyles similar to your own fighting styles? e.g I do judo/bjj irl but I’m strangely more drawn to fast boxing style characters in fighting games.
Is using a yoyo as weaponry in the ring a bad look for the hobby and something that should be left to the realm of cartoons or can you think of a context where it’d work?
Finally, I love lucha. Lucha Underground reignited my love for pro wrestling after wwe drama pushed me out a couple years back. Can I expect a legendary lucha libre line in the future with colours/styles as flamboyant as the performers!?
Was there an event that pushed you to start your own yoyo company? If so, what was it?
(1) what was the best part of your yo-yo / wrestling career
(2) What made you make the decision in changing career from competitive yo-yoing to wrestling
(3) what was the inspiration in combining wrestling to yo-yo design
What’s your favorite match of all time?
I’m also team Bianca as she’s so inspiring and brings so much positivity to the sport - I have a feeling she’ll rightfully take the title back as she deserves it!
Q2: Do you have any unique pre-competition rituals (yoyo or wrestling)?
The Taker and Mankind hell in a cell match will always be iconic to me. The finish to Bret/Owen summerslam 92. Rey Mysterio vs Eddie Guerrero Halloween havoc 96. Every time Misawa and Kobashi wrestled. Macho Man’s cream of the crop promo.
I’m sure there are many more, but those are some off the top I can think of.
WoW. That corkscrew moonsault was badass!
I looooove tag team wrestling. Nobody did it better than the tag teams from the late 80s/early 90s. Rock and roll express, midnight express, the heavenly bodies, the Steiner brothers. Truly the golden era of tag team wrestling. Present day- FTR is probably the best and most most cohesive tag team in the world right now for my money. They encapsulate what made those older tag teams great with a modern take. The tag division in AEW is great right now. Lucha Bros, private party, Jurassic expresss. Tag wrestling is alive and well.
I think the attitude era did a good job of putting the proverbial line in the sand for pro wrestling at the time, constantly seeing what limits could be pressed as far as content. A lot of learning experiences haha.
Oh! Let me see if I can find a link .
It’s a trios match from WCW, 12/22/97
Rey Mysterio, Juventud Guerrera, and hector garza vs Psicosis, La Parka, and Silver King.
It’s not a super long match but it’s hot fire for like 6 minutes straight. A fun fact about this match, a week prior they ran just Rey and Juvie vs Psicosis and La Parka in what was an equally amazing tag match and it did so good in the rating they brought it back the next week but with the addition of Garza and Silver King on the respective teams and THAT match got such high ratings, it took away from the ratings of the main eventers at the time (this is right around NWO invasion era) and they never put any of them together in matches ever again. You can even hear dumb mike tenay on commentary talking about what the outsiders are gonna do later in the night instead of calling the match lol.