Nick Mason: Ones to Watch: Zak Northern

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Hello and welcome back to the ‘Ones to Watch’ section, after a one week break, and a few changes, we are ready to bring you yet another addition to the ‘Ones to Watch’ This week, we feature a fan favourite on the House of Pain shows, gone through hell and back, won a title in the process, this week, we have, Zak Northern.

Zak Northern has been one of the most impressive high-flyers in the House of Pain for a number of shows, it becomes even more impressive when you learn that his career was almost ended early due to a terrible injury.  Zak suffered a grade 3 separation to his shoulder, which included torn ligaments and a wildly displaced collarbone! It looked gruesome. How somebody can continue to fly high and captivate a crowd after such an injury, never ceases to amaze me, but Zak continues to put it all on the line, fully understanding the risks.

Outside of wrestling, Zak undertakes acting work, he believes that this has helped his in ring persona, and vice versa, wrestling has helped him with acting. He has also acquired a Black Belt in Tae Kwon-Do, and has been the national champion for the sport on five occasions.

I personally believe that Zak has immense ability inside the ring, but he needs more stages to show what/who he is in the ring. If people gave him the chance to show this, they would be impressed. Zak has a huge 5 years coming up for him in wrestling, he will begin to break out, and promoters will be wishing that they had booked him sooner.

Overall, Zak is an extremely talented wrestler who just never gives up, no matter what the situation, for that he deserves special mention. It’s time to honour a man who never gives up. No, not John Cena, Zak Northern.

We have a video for you guys to watch, although he loses in this match, he puts up a good fight.

Good afternoon, Zak, how are you?

ZN: Hi! I’m very well thank you, yourself?
NM: I’m very well thanks!

So, how long have you been training, prior to your wrestling debut?

ZN: Weirdly I’ve actually had 2 debuts, I started training in March 2011, and by November I’d debuted at HOP’s “Weekend Warfare” 2-day event in Nottingham, I look at my first stint from then until April that year as more of a learning curve, I had to have surgery in April 2012 so I had the chance to take a step back for a few months and look at what I was doing, what I should do more of or what I should stop doing, so by the time I re-debuted in November 2012 I felt a lot better. But I suppose to answer your question it was about 6-7 months before I was show-ready the first time.

Outside of wrestling, I understand that you do some acting work? How has this impacted your in ring performance as a wrestler?

ZN: I’ve actually noticed wrestling and acting have kinda helped each other out in different ways, I’ve noticed since I started wrestling that my physical acting has come a long way, stuff like expressions and acting through body language, but then in my wrestling I’ve really come out of my shell as a performer more thanks to everything I’ve learned in acting so for me they’re almost two sides of the same coin

Referring to your injury, I believe your shoulder? Did you ever think you would never wrestle again?

ZN: Looking back it’s a bit of a blur now, it was only 13 days from injury to surgery so I didn’t really get the chance to stop and think about what was best for me. Basically I suffered a Grade 3 separation of my shoulder which means the ligaments had completely torn and my collarbone was a lot closer to my ear than I’d have liked! I just remember being told that if I didn’t have the surgery the ligaments would never heal on their own and if I ever wrestled again my shoulder would just continue to fail, so to me it was a no-brainer and it was my reaction to being told that I might have to stop wrestling that really made me realise how badly I wanted to be a wrestler, but no, I never actually considered giving up, I was always in the frame of mind that I’d get straight back on the horse, as they say.

Who was your biggest inspiration during training, and why?

ZN: I’m a huge fan of Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio, that lucha style always captivated me, and then of course as a 90’s kid I’ve always loved guys like Edge and Christian and The Hardys. In terms of inspiration closer to home I remember I watched the FWA King of England Tournament on what I think was Bravo back in those days, back then I didn’t really understand British Wrestling or know anything about it, I was only like 10 but guys like Jonny Storm and Jody Fleisch definitely had an impact on me wanting to find out more about wrestling in the UK.

So, would you say your inspirations have eventually helped you define your in ring style?

ZN: I’d say so, when I first started I wanted to get as strong a foundation as possible with the basics but I think my style is hugely influenced by my background in Martial Arts so it’s kind of a melting pot of my influences, my performing arts background and my prior training that defines my style.

You’ve become quite the fan favourite on HOP academy shows, why do you think this is?

ZN: I was quite shocked by it at first myself, I like to think that it’s because in a match I’m just having a great time and doing something I love doing, which I hope a crowd can identify with, as well as that I’d say my style being a little bit different to the norm, as previously mentioned, hopefully has something to do with it… I wear really bright colours and have a funny hairstyle too, which might help me out haha

To general wrestling fans who have not seen you perform, how would you explain yourself to them?

ZN: I’d say I’m a unique breed of high-flying cruiserweight wrestler, while I love that style and I’m right at home performing that way if the circumstances call for it, I also have a great base of other training to help me hopefully add something a little bit different to any show I’m on.

Who has been your favourite wrestler to face in the ring?

ZN: I’ve enjoyed every match I’ve had so far, but fellow House of Pain student Benjamin Sinn really brought something new out of me just recently, we had a series of matches at House of Pain shows in Arnold (Find us on Facebook or @HOP wrestling on Twitter ) in which we just couldn’t get the better of one another, we both had a point to prove not just to the fans but to ourselves as well, so I’d say he’s the guy I’ve enjoyed my encounters with the most so far.

Your future looks bright, where would you like to be within five years?

ZN: I’m very keen to not settle in to one specific stereotype, so my ultimate goal is to become one of those guys who can go out there and have a good match with anyone from any background and any style. In the next 5 years (and beyond) I’d like to be anywhere that allows me to do that.

There are many promoters reading this, do you have any words for them?

ZN: I think all I can really say is if you’re unsure of whether or not I’d be “right” for a show, I just ask to be given a chance, you never know what a person is capable of until they’re given an opportunity to put themselves in front of you and show you.

For your fans, do you have any words for them?

ZN: Just a massive thank you, I’ve honestly been so amazed this year by the connection I’ve established with fans across the country. I wouldn’t be performing if I didn’t have people to perform for, and so whether you like me or dislike me I’ll always respect you as fans and members of the wonderful world we call Wrestling!

NM: Thanks for being a part of this interview! We wish you the best for the future.

ZN: Thank you very much, it’s been a pleasure!

Other info

You can follow Zak on twitter: www.twitter.com/zaknorthern

For booking enquiries, he now has an e-mail address at the following: zaknorthern@hotmail.com

He also has a nice shiny Facebook like page! : www.facebook.com/zaknorthern

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