The Northwest is jam packed with home grown up and coming wrestler’s eager to make their name on the independent circuit. Whether it’s the locker room of WAC, DEFY, 3-2-1 Battle!, Prestige, DOA , or ECCW, there are incredibly talented men and women who are making this scene thrive more than it ever has. One of the stand out talents of the Battle Palace and beyond is the mighty “Black Sheep” Dave Turner. I interviewed Turner to get an idea of where he comes from and where he may be going in the world of wrestling.
What is your earliest memory of wrestling growing up?I have a vague memory of sitting and playing with the LJN Hulk Hogan and Iron Sheik at my grandma’s counter, but the one that really sticks out for me is Randy Savage and Elizabeth’s Wedding Party and Jake Roberts’ gift.
Who were your favorite wrestlers as a child? I was a big Savage fan. Mr. Perfect and Shawn Michaels as well. As I started watching wrestling more into my teenage years and discovering territory wrestling I was really drawn to Arn, Tully and Magnum TA.
Describe your viewing habits growing up. Did you lean more toward WCW or WWE? How often would you watch wrestling?I was strictly WWE. I’ve always been a very loyal person so WWE was it until after they purchased WCW. When that happened I started binge watching WCW and realized I had made a terrible mistake. WWE is still my preference but there is/was so much good wrestling available.
When did you know you wanted to pursue the path of becoming a wrestler?I was in 8th grade when I knew this was what I wanted to do. I don’t know if it was one thing versus another that hooked me. I just remember telling everyone I knew that’s what I wanted to do.
Where did you first start training and how was the experience?I started training in 2001 in Renton with a guy named Awesome Adam. At the time I was 18 and naive so there was no better place to be and thought he was going to set my career on fire. Truthfully, I actually learned a lot from him both good and bad. Most of the basics of this business I learned safely and well, but I also learned that not everyone is who they say they are and that this business can be a lot of broken promises.
Tell us a bit about your first match…. My first match was for a company called Tulalip Championship Wrestling in Marysville, WA. It was much later than I had started training due to circumstances in my life that put wrestling on hold, but it was against Ethan HD. Honestly as far as first matches go it really wasn’t that awful, which is a true credit to how freaking good Ethan is.
Photo by Speedy's Productions
What were some of your goals early in your wrestling career?My goal was always the WWE. That was and is the end game for a lot of guys in the business. My short term goals were to get good enough to get in the ring with the Amerikan Gunz and have a good match. Mike Santiago and Ethan were the measuring stick for me early on.
Is it hard to watch wrestling as a fan now? Do you see it with a totally different perspective?It really is very difficult now to watch it like I used to. Subconsciously, I always knew it but I never really put the pieces together until I took my wife to a WWE Live Event in Everett and she asked why I looked bored. I remember telling her I truly wasn’t bored I was just studying. (lol)
How often do you watch WWE, AEW, NXT, Impact or NJPW? Truthfully, these days I don’t watch a lot of wrestling outside of the indies. I think I’m so deep in the forest I can barely see the trees sometimes. I’m so focused on further developing my own career that I just mostly follow my immediate peers and what they are doing. That’s not to say I don’t keep up with the current products of every company. This day and age it’s so easy to stay in the loop via social media.
What have been a couple of your favorite matches so far in your career? It’d be easy to say matches with Strickland, Cobb, Super Crazy or any of the other big name talent I’ve worked with. I’ve learned so much from those guys - things that I still apply to this day - but that’s the easy answer. The true testament to working with that level of talent is being able to take what I’ve learned and apply it to matches with other local guys. I recently had a couple matches in Alaska that I was really proud of. My match with Malcolm Phlex recently at 3-2-1 Battle! was a lot fun as well on many levels. I also have a fondness for what I’ve been doing at Without A Cause lately. When I can start putting the pieces together, eliciting a reaction that I am building for and being creative is when I’m truly challenged
How did you get involved with WAC (Without A Cause)? Max Zaleski and Chris Ross actually approached me for a ring rental. WAC was originally going to be a one off concept idea. The goal was to just try our hand at putting on a wild show and giving some of the overlooked talent in this area some experience with higher level talent. That eventually turned into monthly shows. It’s been a very trying, but also rewarding process. Being on the promoting end of the business was always something I wanted to try my hand at but was too afraid too for fear of the ever elusive HEAT, brother. When I realized no one will ever give me permission to live my career how I want to it made it much easier to jump into.
What are some of your goals for the upcoming year and beyond? Honestly I just want to keep being happy and creative and pushing the boundaries of what I’m capable of. We are at a real interesting time in wrestling where success is literally behind any corner. Traveling is of course on my list and I expect to be doing A LOT more of that in 2020. Ultimately I’d like get signed of course, whether that’s Impact, MLW, ROH or the NWA. I’m unsure but I feel like those would be the best places for me to be.
Any final words for the Northwest wrestling fans? I see a lot of people ragging on wrestling in this area. That goes for wrestlers too. There is so much wrestling going on in this area there is literally something for everyone. Love what you love, hate what you hate - that’s ok. We are all entitled to our opinions in life, but the reality is no one is shutting their doors because one fan or wrestler decides to run them down. So live and let live. Let other people enjoy the product they choose without you spoiling it for them. SUPPORT Independent Wrestling whether that’s vocally or in some cases by not vocally. Also Follow The Black Sheep...you never know where I’ll pop up next!