Vampiro, with his ghoulish type makeup, is one of Canada’s greatest exports to lend his hand to the lore that is Luchadore wrestling in Mexico.
Originally from Thunder Bay, Ontario, Ian Hodgkinson was raised by his single mother with two other siblings before setting off for the big city of Montreal, seeking his own way to start in wrestling.
Just before he set out on his 500-mile life journey, the former Director of Talent for Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide found time to chat with SlamWrestling.net about his autobiographical documentary Nail In The Coffin: The Fall and Rise of Vampiro (reviewed in August). Plus, we delve into some questions about his family and other interests besides wrestling.
At the time of this interview, on October 6, 2020, Vampiro had just arrived back at his Los Angeles home from his daily 10-mile walk in preparation for the 500-mile life journey ahead.
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Slam Wrestling: You’re in Los Angeles at the moment?
Vampiro: Yeah, yeah, I just relocated here two months ago. Got major projects happening. All my businesses here entertainment, television stuff, radio stuff, music and all that. So it’s just it just made more sense to be here in L.A.
Slam Wrestling: We heard you get more done in the first eight hours of the day before anyone gets up?
Vampiro: I start my day at one-thirty in the morning till about seven-thirty, eight o’clock at night, every day. At that time is when I study. I do my online courses. I read I plan the day, because of the head trauma, it takes me time. So it’s very beneficial to me. I’m the most awake at those hours. I meditate those hours. I really like the mystery of everybody else that’s sleeping, but I’m working. There’s just something about it. And I also want to lead by example, meeting people who are having a hard time right now. People are having a hard time all the time. But I don’t want to be one of those guys that just says, “Do this, do that.” I’ll do it. I’m not gonna say nothing. Just watch and get motivated and do your thing.
Slam Wrestling: Can you tell us more about your 500-mile walk? How you came up with the plan? Where’s it going to go? Any idea how long it’s going to take?
Vampiro: Because the second part of the documentary Nail In The Coffin is me getting bigger and better getting over this, all this trauma, right. So it was a complete rebirth. I had to lose; I got off all of the medicines, I lost 140 pounds, I really got into the spiritual side of life, I started the meditations and started practicing ritual magic, I really put into play the vegan lifestyle. That was kind of the start of things. … I’m in the Masons, and all these kind of things enough to get to a certain level of masonry, you can continue to study in different versions different branches of the lodge. And I got into all of this studying because I wanted to know our past as humans. And I absolutely am fascinated by all of these urban legends that motivated me to become that pure.
So one of my ideas was to go out and explore the world and meet and confront these urban legends. So when I started talking to the people who are supporting me in my journey to getting better, they’re also practitioners of these rituals and the meditations and the ascension protocol, getting prepared to return to where we came from, a real, ancient alien conspiracy kind of stuff, I absolutely adore it, love it. And it’s working, because well, physically, you can see. So one of the things that we’re going to do is they call it the Camino, the road to St. Santiago in Spain, and it’s a 500-mile walk. And it’s all along the old Roman road. But there is a lot of Masonic symbolism, treasures, clues, and other things that we study at different levels.
There’s a lot of magical places there were at different grades and degrees of geometry that the Earth is at a certain place, and there are certain structures in certain places, and at certain times of the year was frequencies and the stars aligning a certain way, we provoke a certain result in these rituals. So I’m very, very committed to that lifestyle. And that was the reason to do the walk. That’s pretty cool, right.
We can’t get to Spain, and some people have different passports from countries, we can’t travel. So we’re going to do it in a part of California that used to be Mexico before it became California, and there’s a lot of old three and four-hundred-year-old churches and missions along the certain trail. So we’re gonna do that and do some rituals there. And, and, with the energies that are leftover from that period of time here in the United States, we’re going to drive up to San Francisco and walk down.
Slam Wrestling: In your documentary Nail In The Coffin: The Fall and Rise of Vampiro, you mentioned you don’t know how to do anything else. At that point, it was just wrestling in your life, but what has changed since the filming of the documentary?
Vampiro: When you have severe head trauma, and you’re sick, you’re so scared, you don’t know what to do. So you don’t even know who you are. When you have mental health problems like head trauma and PTSD. And like the beginnings of Alzheimer’s, there’s a lot of memory issues like, you don’t you wake up, but you don’t know what you did a minute ago, right? And if you think about it, four hours later, you realize you’ve been thinking for four hours, and people are looking at you, it’s like, and you think 30 seconds have gone by, so there’s a lot of that. And it’s very, very difficult. You know what I’m saying?
Though I’m a smart guy, I’m an aggressive guy; I’m a motivated guy. I just needed help. And I got that help. And I had great people in my life, and I just absolutely no f–king way that mental health is going to be me. There’s no way that Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s gave me head trauma. That’s all bull—-. I’m saying that it’s a f—. There are people who are obese or people who have heart problems or people who grew up alone. There are people who have been abandoned. F–king life is tough, man. And all it is just an obstacle. It’s head trauma. But I’m still breathing. My blood is still flowing, I need water and food to survive. Meaning I can overcome that and find a way around it. It doesn’t need to determine my existence. So f— that mental health. So when I realized, you know what? I’m not gonna go down. And I spent my whole life fighting for the underdog. I’m an underdog, and I’m a fighter. So stop bitching and start fighting and I went back to school, I got educated, I took advantage of my name, and I rebranded things, and I’m just going for it because there’s no way that I’m going to any doctor or any medical condition dictate what I can and can’t do.
It’s just the power within. It just keeps pushing into bigger things. [It] is all about believing in yourself. If you have light on the inside, you don’t have to worry about comparing yourself to anybody’s material belongings or situations as long as you’re happy. You’re spiritually grounded. And you’re connected to who you’re supposed to be. That’s all you need, man.
Slam Wrestling: Did you watch wrestling growing up as a kid?
Vampiro: Very little, yeah, I got influenced by it in my early teen years, I started getting into it more and more. And then, as soon as I got into it, I went for it. So I’ve been in it since I’ve been 15, or whatever. So yeah, yeah, I didn’t really sit around and collect the toys and the dolls and all that, I wasn’t into that. I wanted to get in the ring and rock. I started in Montreal, and we used to just get on the road and go, actually used to go to Hull, Quebec, all the time. It was part of the circuit. I got to Mexico in 1989.
Slam Wrestling: What are your top five things about being a dad?
Vampiro: Okay, it’s the most incredible being a single dad; it’s the most incredible thing on the planet is to have a daughter. Because you see the world through her eyes, it’s a whole other perspective and things that irritate you or your bad habits have. They’re obsolete now. They don’t mean anything because you have this little person. And she has her own deal now, but she’s not a little person anymore. But she has her own life. … It’s definitely not about me. When you’re a dad, it’s about your kids. And that’s it. You are the never-ending source of income. You’re the cash machine. You are the shoulder to cry on. You’re the punching bag. And at the end of the day, you’re dead. So you suffer a lot. You get called a lot of names. You get yelled at. You get f–king angry. You get frustrated, get brokenhearted, but it’s all worth it because there’s that one moment, and no matter what’s going on and your kid turns around and says something or the phrase, or you just understand that you’re supposed to be right. Yeah. I love it.
Slam Wrestling: As a former goaltender for the Thunder Bay Beavers who was drafted in the 10th round of the Ontario Hockey League by the Kingston Canadians in 1984, who were your Top 5 National Hockey League players growing up?
Vampiro: Yeah, sure, Guy Lafleur, Ken Dryden, Yvon Cournoyer, Steve Shutt. The whole Montreal Canadiens team of the mid to late ’70s really did it for me. But my number one was Vladislav Treitak for the Russian National team. He wore number 20, I wore number 20. He was my all-time hero, I wore the same face mask, everything he did, I did.
I will never forget New Year’s Eve, 1976, the Montreal Canadiens versus the Russian National team, 3-3 tie, rumours were flying around that they were going to bring Tretiak over to play goalie for the Canadiens. I remember that game like it was this morning.
Slam Wrestling: Are you still a hockey fan today?
Vampiro: I’m still a hockey fan, but after being in Latin America for so long, I’ve fallen in love with soccer. The field is open, it’s quicker, it’s different, but I still play hockey faithfully every morning on my Playstation, and I’m even thinking about getting into a men’s street hockey league.
Slam Wrestling: Do you have any favourite movies? You’ve said before on Facebook the movie Repo Man was once your favourite.
Vampiro: I mean, I like all the Bruce Lee martial arts movies and all that kind of s—. I like movies like James Bond and Jason Bourne and all that stuff. I don’t really have any one movie that just rocks me anymore. Because the last three to four years have only been studying documentaries and filmmaking, so I’m looking at everything differently now. It’s really difficult for me, and I’m a movie fan dog. I used to watch horror movies, but I’m not into it anymore. Okay, all right. I’m more into the documentary stuff and studying. So I guess it’s a phase. I watched the first four to five seasons of the Walking Dead. And that’s it. And that’s, I don’t like everything else is s—.
Slam Wrestling: When it comes to music, how would you rank the Clash, the Stray Cats or the Ramones?
Vampiro: Number one, number one and number one. Yeah, It would be a three-way tie; you can’t pick one over the other. But that’s the three. Those are the pillars right there.
Slam Wrestling: Any lessons you would tell your younger self?
Vampiro: No, because I was on the right path. I wouldn’t tell my younger self to change anything. Because if I could change everything, it could change it all. And I could be in a much different situation. But I had to go through the things I went through to become who I am today, right? And my character has been tested so many times because of this career and everything like that. And I love my daughter. I’m a good man. I’m a noble man. I’m doing good things. I love my life. I like who I am. I have my health back. So, um, no, there’s nothing I would tell my younger self, I would say go harder. Oh, I’ll fall down farther.
And if somebody has a problem with the way I was. I was very offensive, very aggressive. And I’ve apologized for that. But it’s, it’s a situation of circumstances, it’s not ballet. It’s not a pretty world. The industry I grew up in, I came from the streets, punk rocker, gang member, all these crazy things. Gang life, crime, pro wrestling, it’s violent. I mean, what the f— do you expect? I’m saying I don’t want it. But I don’t like being around that stuff. And I’ve outgrown it. I don’t belong there. It doesn’t even call my attention. I don’t even when I see videos of me from ten years ago or whatever. I don’t remember it. It’s kind of like, I can’t believe that was me. I don’t see myself now doing that. There’s no way I don’t belong. It’s gone. Yeah.
Slam Wrestling: What do you think about the reactions you’ve gotten so far from the release of the Blu Ray of the documentary Nail In The Coffin: The Fall and Rise of Vampiro?
Vampiro: From what we see, the results are phenomenal. I mean, I would say it’s 99.9% positive. People are so surprised that it’s not a wrestling-oriented documentary. People are happy that it’s not. It’s just getting major, major, major love, and we didn’t expect that. So it’s great. It was an indie movie, but it’s blown up. And people in Canada wanted it, people in Latin America wanted it, it’s available everywhere, I mean, I’m hoping people see it. I don’t need to get a pat on the back, you know what I’m saying? I just hope people see it, and they can grow from it and get something out of it? So it’s kind of cool to be in demand.
Slam Wrestling: You’ve had a great wrestling career and now a second career.
Vampiro: Yeah, you have to keep pushing and plug in. And, plus in Canada, especially, it’s that work ethic. I grew up a hockey player. You get that mentality, kind of beat into your DNA when you’re little that it’s just until the final whistle, you can still put that put the puck in the net type thing, just don’t take the hit, take the pain, keep going forward and just fight for it.
Some things are so Canadian, it’s real tough to get out of Canada, in the entertainment business, and the rules are different, the unions are different, the pay is different, the attitude is different. There’s a 1,000,001 things. But I am a Canadian, I did spend the majority of my life in Mexico, but I was born in Canada, Thunder Bay, lived in Montreal. I fly the flag of Canada, I fly the flag of Mexico, of course, I fly the flag of the United States because all my brothers and sisters in the Guardian Angels and all that kind of stuff. So I look at myself, any three of those places, any one of them are home to me. And I just hope that I do people in Canada proud. I’m not looking to be famous.
I’m not looking to be a GQ model. I’m not looking at any of that kind of s—. I’m busy. I have major projects happening. I’m involved in alternative music, alternative cinema, alternative television. I’m making a difference. And I just hope that people in Canada see the work ethic, where I learned that from, why I do the things I do. I’ve been in the United States for these last two months. I see this stupidity because of the politics and the elections … I see the stupidity because of the mass hysteria. I’m so f—king proud to be a Canadian because we handled it the right way. Americans are great people, but their media and their politicians, I don’t know if ours are any better, but with the s— that I’ve gone through down here, and seen. It’s bull—-, man. And I got a lot of my moral compass and ideas and values and things like that from growing up in Canada. I’m very grateful for that.
But the TV stuff in this episodic stuff, the stuff I’m telling you about, is going to be on my website. And it will be a weekly TV show. So once that’s out, you’ll know about it, and we can talk about it. And it would be great to start to keep spreading the love, and people have access to that, they won’t have to wait. Last month everybody United States got the movie Nail In The Coffin with Canada; it’s a whole month later. Yeah, that won’t happen. My TV stuff will be instant. So that’s pretty cool.
You can catch Vampiro every day on Facebook streaming live videos discussing what is on his mind, his own opinions in both English and Spanish. Support his journey of self-discovery, health advice and yoga by leaving a like and send stars also on his Facebook page. Don’t be afraid to ask questions; he is very willing to answer anything you ask. You can now stream or buy the Blu-Ray of Nail In The Coffin: The Fall and Rise of Vampiro.