Interview with WrestlePro's Coach D and Team Espanikos

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Last summer, WrestlePro fans were introduced to a new faction when Coach Dylan Stiffwood brought Team Espana and Nikos Rikos together as Team Espanikos. Fresh off his betrayal at the hands of his protege Mike Del, Coach D and his boys brought the fight right to the Aesthetic Males.

Many people thought this unique group was a bit of a joke at first, but Team Espanikos has been making a name for themselves, including gettng a huge victory over Kevin Matthews, Craven Varro, and JTG at the November 10 WrestlePro show. Take one grizzled veteran give him three young bucks looking to make a name for themselves, and you have one international force to be reckoned with.

I headed down to Stiffwood Beach to talk to these gentleman.  Special thanks to Coach D for setting all this up, Nikos Rikos and Team Espana for taking the time to answer my questions, and to Team Espana's elusive cousin Jos C who served as as our translator.  

 


Growing up, were you a fan of wrestling?  If so, who were your favorites?     

Coach D - Yes, the Ultimate Warrior

Jos A - Growing up in the Barrios of Spain Grandma would let us watch wrestling when mama and papa were not home. I was a big wrestling fan. My favorites were Rey Mysterio, Tajiri, Chris Jericho, and Los Guerreros no one was better than Eddie Guerrero!

Jos B - Me and José  both loved Eddie Guerrero. But I'm a little older than him so I remember guys like Hulk Hogan and Roddy Piper. To me they were huge cartoon characters. Then there was Shawn Michaels. For me he was an athlete and made professional wrestling a real sport.

Nikos Rikos - Growing up I was and still am a huge wrestling fan. As a kid I had a handful of favorites such as Shawn Michaels, Chris Jericho, The Undertaker, The Rock and my most favorite growing up was Goldberg. Over the years I've taken to many different stars and styles but those were my guys growing up.

 

How did you get into the wrestling business?

Coach D - None of anyone business---NEXT

Jos A  - After numerous suspensions and failed tryouts from futbol clubs due to roughness we were looking for another shot at getting into a futbol. When that didn't happen at out last try out for the D.C. United one of the trainers there suggested that maybe we try something else to reduce our aggressive play style. The trainer suggested we try wrestling so that's what we did we researched and found the Create A Pro Academy. We moved in with our cousins who lived in America and have been here since. Long story short the D.C. Untied never called us back and we are ok with that because we love wrestling!

Jos B - Soccer was our first love and choice. So when we got kicked out of it,wrestling seemed like a really good alternative. We had to leave our homeland we have to leave our family. We now live with our two American cousins who help us with English and the culture. But it's nice to actually get physical and get paid for it.

Nikos Rikos - I got into the wrestling business by simply doing my homework. When I decided it was time to sign up to a school, I searched and read about a handful throughout New Jersey and by far the one that jumped off the page to me and read as the most qualified was Create A Pro in Rahway NJ ran by Pat Buck.

So, Coach.  I have a few questions for you if you don't mind...Outside of being the greatest Coach and Guru in the business (hey, there is a reason we call our column Cheap Pops), what else do you do behind the scenes at WrestlePro?

Coach D - I watch, Listen, stalk and sneak around to try to hear whatever info I can put together so I can make it easier for my guys (to cheat…hahaha)

 

Last time your boys were in the ring, you got assaulted by that coward Kevin Matthews after a match was over.  Can we expect some payback?  

Coach D - What a joke he Matthews is, 6”7 270 + pounds and he has to go after me. WTF, Granted I am 200 pounds of steel and granite but what a stupid question….what do you think? Oh and 1 more thing….The next time those Moron fans start chanting E-G0-DRI-VER or WHAT….WHAT….WHAT I'm going to blow a gasket so if they know what good for them they will just sit there like the Morons they are and keep their mouths shut!  Dude!

Have you spoken to Pat Buck about dropping the red card on Reality Check?

Coach D - I don’t need to speak to anybody; I’m Coach “D”ylan Stiffwood. I can do what I want, when I want, where I want and to whom EVER I want and you know why? One Word- LEGEND!

 

Nikos Rikos has the most unique wrestling gear I have ever seen.  It catches the eye and lets you know this guy isn’t like anyone else on the WrestlePro roster.  Where did that gear come from?  And is it easier or harder to wrestle in than more “typical” wrestling gear?

Nikos Rikos -  Yes, it most certainly is the most unique gear. However not just in Wrestlepro as you stated, its the most unique AND best gear in wrestling period. Now even though we went to battle recently, I must give the credit to 2 Cocky Kevin Matthews, a long time ago he sent me the idea for it. He knew it would be different and standout. It's not harder at all to wrestle in my gear, my body breathes well in it, its flexible, durable, and gets the job done.

 

How did you find yourself teaming up with Team Espana?

Nikos Rikos - I ended up teaming with Jos A and Jos B of Team Espana for a handful of reasons. I have known the two of them for years and built a good relationship with each of them. I have been in the ring with them before so I know what they're capable of. Last but not least, the main reason is because we have similar motivation. The three of us knew it was time to step it up, I believe fans viewed them as two soccer players who are happy go lucky and obsessed with their ball. Fans I believe viewed me as the guy looking to sell my spot in matches and found it funny to call me "blue smurf". It was time to we prove not just to those in Wrestlepro, not just to the fans but to ourselves that we were better than that. So far its gone well, wouldn't you say? Just ask The Aesthetic Males, CPA, Habib, The Revolting Blob, Craven Varro, JTG and Kevin Matthews.

 

Team Espana is just about the most high energy team I’ve ever seen.  I always find myself getting into the crazy antics you guys come up with during matches.  One thing I love about wrestling is that it can be the most fun show in the world, and you guys are shining examples of that.  How much of that is planned and how much is just spur of the moment?

Jos A -  In futbol we learned that you always need a plan going in and I think that's something we always do is have a plan of some sort. It may not always work and it may change when we go out there but the goal remains the same so I think we just adjust to get the win.            

Jos B - We always have a game plan of some sort. However that will only take you so far. We definitely are not afraid to listen to the crowd and adjust. We love soccer so we just take what we did on the fields and put that in the ring. Me and josA grew up together.  He knows how I'm going to react to something or some moves and I know how he is going to react.

 

Who are your favorite futbol teams?

Jos A -  We are huge fútbol fans. Fútbol is a lifestyle that Jos B and myself were born into and one we love. I know for me growing up the Barcelona team was the end all be all in the home. To this day I do not miss my chance to see Barca in action. Anything after that doesn't compare although I will say though I enjoy the LA Galaxy of America's MLS.

Jos B-  We both love soccer. it's not just a sport to us, it's lifestyle. The whole family will get together and watch whatever game was on. I love la liga. I guessed in English it means the league. But it's the whole Spanish soccer league in Spain. Real Madrid, Barcelona,  and many others. But my favorite team is Real Madrid... which sometimes leads to tension between me and JosA

 

What do you think of American football?

Jos A -  I don't get American fútbol you guys use hands and make fun of the real athletes the kicker. It confuses me and I don't like it.

Jos B - I know Jose hates American football. He does not think the real athletes because they use their hands a lot. And the kicker gets no respect. I think it's OK. Anything where you can hit someone as hard as you can and get away with it is OK with me

 

Who are your biggest influences in and out of wrestling?

Coach D - Espanikos! and out of wrestling? -Myself

Jos A - Influences in and out of wrestling I would have to say outside is Grandma España. She is a huge reason why we are here. In wrestling it has to be the Trainers of Create A Pro Pat Buck, Mario Bokara, Dan Maff and until he hurt the coach Kevin Matthews. They have really helped the transition from Fútbol players to wrestlers and most importantly Nikos Riko and Coach D who have taken us in and showed us what it means to be contenders.

Jos B- I think we influence each other as a team as far as making ourselves better. And of course for me and JosA it's definitely grandma. She is always our biggest supporter and our biggest ....how you say.... critic.

Nikos Rikos - For starters, out of the ring it would be my trainer, nutritionist and best friend actually. Her name is Orit Mann, she owns a training and nutrition studio, she's been a huge influence on me-Not just in helping me get in better shape but dive deep into positive thinking and learning some amazing lessons through her life coaching skills that I apply to my everyday life.The trainers at our school have a huge influence on me. The lessons I've learned and continue to learn from Pat, Mario Bokara, Dan Maff, and Kevin Matthews have been priceless. What I've learned from them and advice from other veteran students are things I apply to every match and scenario im placed in. I love watching Chris Jericho, he's not a big guy but he's got a huge personality and lets it be known. Other aspects of entertainment such as movies, TV, books have provided influences as well to who I am when I get in the ring.

 

Favorite moment in your career so far?

Coach D - Well it sure as hell wasn’t  being launched 9 feet in the air when Matthews hit me with the Ego-Driver. It took me 7-10 minutes to remember who I was

Nikos Rikos - My favorite moment has been getting in the ring with Dan Maff. It didn't go my way but to get in there with a veteran and legend like him was incredible. It was the most physical match ive ever had, but it was a moment to prove that I belong. I look forward to having that chance again, only with a different outcome this time of course. Taking the diamond cutter from DDP was painful but I will admit was pretty cool.

Jos A -  For me it has to be beating Craven Varro, Kevin Matthews and JTG at the last Wrestlepro show. For a long time people didn't believe in Espanikos and I feel like this win showed fans that we are not a joke and we can and will beat you!

Jos B - Me and JosA had a match for the Wrestlepro tag team championship. It was in Brooklyn New York and it was against the taboo crew. We took them to their limits and the entire building thought we were walking out champions. We made 1 mistake and they Took advantage. I think it was the first time people realize that we were not a joke. When team Espana and Nikos rikos first came together and started destroying our opponents and now with Coach D they know now we are definitely no joke.

 

What goals do you have for your wrestling career?

Coach D -  Leading (by example of course) Espanikos to the Medallions

Jos A -  Our goal is simple we want to become champions! If of us win then we all win.

Jos B - The three of us want to prove we are the best. We want to win championships and we want to prove that we are to be taken seriously.

Nikos Rikos - As Espanikos its about continuing to gain momentum. As long as we keep winning we are moving in the right direction. We just defeated Reality Check and JTG, we've only bee a team for a handful on months. Picture where we will be in a year. Personally my goal is  continue to hone my craft and become a main event player not just in Wrestlepro but wherever I go.

 

How important is it for you guys to represent your heritage in the ring?  

Nikos Rikos - It's obviously important, I have the flag with me everytime I go out as well as my gear colors to pay tribute to Greece. We now merged our flags that's patched on our jackets. It shows our passion, not just to be great but to represent as well.

Jos A - I think it's very important. We want to make our people proud but more importantly we want to prove that España is the best country in the world.

Jos B - We literally wear our flags on our hearts. We carry our culture not just in the ring but outside of it. When all the wrestlers go out there they represent themselves we represent our heritage and our people. Some may not like it... but we don't care.

 

Which WrestlePro (or non-WrestlePro) guys would you like to have a match with?

Coach D - Mike Del (that ungrateful punk!

Jos A - I think that Espana would love a shot at the tag champs Pat Buck and Ryback that's always the goal at Wrestlepro. Rybuck are the champs and right now to prove we are better we have to beat them. Outside I know that we are hoping to get a chance to work Da Hit Squad Maff and Mack are monsters but, how cool would it be to be the guys who slayed them? We also would love to face the F.B.I for another chance to prove that it's Spain over Italy always!

Jos B - JosA and JosB would love to fight DA Hit Squad. Right now they are the stick to measure yourself as a tag team in wrestling. We want the best. Right now in Wrestlepro the best are the tag team champions. In terms of a three-man team there is no one better than us.

Nikos Rikos - I want another shot at Dan Maff, that first match was a war. I'd love to get in there with Mario Bokara as I've learned so much from him and is another guy I respect the hell out of, maybe a Croatian/Greece war in the ring? I think we can do something special. Of course an obvious one for me that goes without saying is Pat Buck, as the head trainer and owner of Create  A Pro and Wrestlepro, he's the guy who teaches us every week, gets in there and exhausts himself with us. He's the guy in charge, to get in there and really show him what I can do would be an honor. I respect him more than my parents so I would welcome the opportunity with open arms...I mean fists. Kevin Matthews one on one would be awesome and that’s payback for the coach, I've taken him on once in a tag match, now I want a shot against him in a singles match

 

Outside of the wrestling business, what are your other interests?

Coach D  - Remember! Old man going to be King and King isn’t satisfied until he rules EVERYTHING! – Now you got a ticket on the clue bus? Moron!

Nikos Rikos - Fitness is a huge passion of mine. I'm a certified trainer myself but I spend a lot of time at my trainers studio (Infinity Health and Fitness in Hazlet NJ). I'm Always looking for new ways to get in better shape for the ring. Many known I'm a huge Batman fan, it's getting bad, now I'm collecting things that don't even make sense..well to me they do, who doesn't have a replica Bane coat sitting their closet.....

Jos A - Outside of wrestling I like to watch SpongeBob because it helps me learn English better. I like to dance and of course I love to futbol!!!

Jos B - Besides futbòl?!? Nothing. If I had other interest I'd be pursuing them. Right now my focus is on our team being the best and doing everything I can to make that happen. I guess music. Nikos Rikos is showing me Taylor swift. And the Coach is showing me Bon Jovi. American music is pretty good.

 

Why should someone come out to a WrestlePro show? 

Coach D - Because you never know whats going to happen, did you see that Crazy Lunatic Nut-Job Dan Maff at the last show? WTF!

Jos A - You should come out to a Wrestlepro show because it's one of those shows that has everything. We have hard hitting action, fast pace styles, and characters that you won't see anywhere else. Wrestlepro does it all and they do it with guys they created themselves. Wrestlepro is like no other and you should be there.

Jos B - I truly believe this it is the best wrestling show on the East Coast of the United States of America. You can come to the show with friends and family and everybody in the group will have fun and a good time. Plus you get to see us the best team today.

Nikos Rikos - Why shouldn't somebody come to a Wrestlepro show? You literally get everything here. You will have the legends you've seen on TV over the years and a chance to meet them, but you get to see some faces you may not have seen before but won't forget. You'll see different styles ranging from brawling to high flying, you'll get your technical matches as well as some hardcore wars. It isn't just one theme or style like how others strictly are all about high flying and fast paced action, or its all blood and hardcore, no. This is everything you want not just from a wrestling aspect but entertainment in general. The set up, the stage, the sound, hours of hardwork goes into every show. You won't regret it.