After years of acting in theatre, film and television, Charles Crowley made the jump to join the world of professional wrestling in 2018.
The 30-year-old Crowley was introduced to wrestling fairly late and his first memory is WrestleMania 24 where the main event was Edge versus The Undertaker for the World Heavyweight Championship. “The match blew my mind, I was like, I don’t know how they do that,” he recently told SlamWrestling.net
As an actor, what drew Crowley in more than the actual wrestling was the storytelling. “I watched some promos backstage. I went, I can do that. So, a little part of me thought it’d be easy. I went to a training session and it wasn’t easy, but I was hooked because of course the acting background does massively help. But I was just hooked on getting better with that technical aspect and I’m just obsessed with it, I want to be the best now.”
It was at the age of 26 when Crowley began training, he was initially trained by Paul Ashe, but he has also trained at the Progress Academy, at Hustle Wrestling, with Cara Noir and most recently with Dan Moloney.
“So as of late, I keep training with Dan Moloney because that guy is legit and his legitimacy is something that I want. I like to think that people can see that I look after my body and like all this crap about being a character guy. Like what? I can go, man, I can do high flying, I can do spring boarding, I can do tech, I can do it all.”
After about a year of training, Crowley made his in-ring debut at 27 for Ultimate British Wrestling (UBW) in a trios match where he teamed with Jethro Roose and Marty Flux to take on JK Roberts, Psycho from the Swamp and Sidney James. Crowley said during that first match he “was slipping all over the place, my strikes were rubbish. I wasn’t used to punching people, so I had to get used to punching people. But, did a good promo obviously.”
It was Crowley’s next match where he said everything really clicked. “My second match was a big game changer for me, that was against CJ Carter and that was a one-on-one. Considering where I was, I did really well. And that’s when I knew that I was going to stick to this because it just felt right and it just feels like I belong here.”
Entering the business Crowley’s biggest goal was making it to the WWE because that was all he knew. “I thought that indy scene was really weird because if you don’t know about it, you’re like, what is this? Why am I in a sports hall? This is really weird. And, then you kind of think, will WWE actually see you in this sports hall?”
Over time the more Crowley wrestled the more he came to “appreciate the indy style, the more you appreciate other countries, Japanese wrestling, Canadian wrestling. You start to realize and appreciate the art form of it and the moment that happens, that’s when you get really hooked.”
“And that’s how I got hooked. Cause I was like, whoa people outside of wrestling don’t have a clue how hard this is and how many nuances there are in wrestling, which is my goal in wrestling really. Of course, it’s to be successful, but I want to show that you can tell incredible layered stories in wrestling.”
Crowley is majorly known in the British wrestling scene, a few of his favorite places to work include Progress and Resurgence and he really spoke about TNT Extreme Wrestling where he is the TNT World Champion.
“I’m currently TNT Champion and TNT is associated with GCW, it’s all extreme. Which is hilarious because there’s all these badass extreme guys and I’ve slithered my way into becoming champion. Alongside Alexxis Falcon, who’s also their women’s champion and she’s fantastic. Together we are just dominating and we are really enjoying it.”
The 6-foot tall, 200-pound Crowley only wrestled out of the UK for the first two years of his career, but it was over the last year he became an international star. He has wrestled in Canada, Germany and Italy; he plans on making his way to the United States sometime this year.
Crowley spoke on the UK wrestling fans and how wrestling there is split into a north and south divide. He said the south side is more educated about the business and has expectations of the competitors, while in the north the fans are not as aware and are more willing to just “sit back and say, Let’s see what you got for us?”
“The South are like, we know what you can do. Let’s see it and let’s see what else you can do. And I like that because down south there’s a test, if you win them over great. Up north, it’s almost like you can just sit in and just enjoy what you are doing. It’s a tricky one, it’s very interesting.”
Crowley compared the UK to the wrestling fans of Canada and the main differences between the two scenes. “In Canada, everyone is just very willing to enjoy it. They’re here because they enjoy wrestling and they just want to enjoy themselves. They’re not looking for the most complex stuff, but when they see those really impressive athletic moments, obviously they pop hard because they’re like, Holy crap, they appreciate what we are doing.”
He also compared the UK and Canada’s wrestling styles, he said the UK focuses on a creative technical style, but in Canada, he has yet to see much creative chain or mat wrestling.
When it comes to Crowley’s own style of wrestling, he tries to be the best in a category most don’t often think about. “Everyone wants to be the biggest guy. Everyone wants to be the fastest. That’s boring, I’m not saying I don’t want to be the biggest and fastest guy, but, I’m a big guy, I’ve got some muscle on me. I’m strong, I’m also fast.”
“But I tell you what, being like, it’s not even just the smartest, it’s like the most sly. I just like being four steps ahead. I like being able to plant seeds when people think, you know, maybe I have to sacrifice myself to plant those seeds, but later, those seeds will sprout and really help me win. That’s the kind of mastermind, manipulative puppeteer that I want to be.”
Crowley works a carnival gimmick, that he said came to be after hearing the song “Mr. Crowley” by Ozzy Osbourne. The song was about British occultist Aleister Crowley. To Charles Crowley, Aleister Crowley “had insane charisma and the things he got people to do was mad. It kind of made me think, Wow, that’s quite powerful. This guy achieved more and had more power than the normal person just from his speech, his aura, his energy.”
“So that’s where Aleister Crowley came from and I just like the CC, my middle name’s Charles. I was like, Alright, a bit of me, a bit of him, let’s go for it. I also like the steampunk circus aesthetic, so there you go.”
It has become Crowley’s signature to say, “Welcome to the show!” He treats it like a show everytime he makes his way through the curtain.
As mentioned earlier, Crowley’s first goal was making it to the WWE and he saw the indy scene as a stepping stone to get there. However, he said he now has another goal in Japan prior to hopefully heading to the WWE.
“DDT Pro is something that really appeals to me. I study Japanese twice a week, I really care about going to Japan and so of course I want to be signed by WWE, but if I can get to Japan first, get that experience there, live that lifestyle because I love Japanese wrestling and I like to think my aura would translate over there. So, Japan, DDT Pro, ultimate goal WrestleMania.”
Some of the biggest achievements of Crowley’s career include the championships he has won. He won the UBW Championship early in his career, the Resurgence tag titles with his partner Clementine and then the TNT Championship that he currently holds.
Crowley said wrestling is definitely what he does most these days and it is how he makes his living. However, he said he has not given up on his acting career and he is currently working on his own feature film, this is going to be his second feature film. His first one was called, Drive Me to the End, and was about autism and positive communication.
When it comes to Crowley’s biggest inspiration in wrestling, he said it is without a doubt Edge. He said no matter how long he watches Edge he still always feels emotion when watching him and he has grown an attachment to the Rated-R Superstar.
“When he liked one of my tweets about four years ago, early days, I was just getting wrestling. I just watched the Edge documentary of him returning, he liked it at two in the morning, I cried. I went for a walk and just cried. That’s how much of an impact that man has had on me.”
British wrestler Cara Noir is also someone that Crowley respects, and he wants to become someone as polarizing and controversial as Noir. “He’s changing the game. He’s changed the game and he is going to change the game more. And I plan to do the same, but in my own way, we have similarities, but we are not the same.”
Wrestling has become an escape for Crowley and he feels it is just as much an escape for fans of the sport. “The fans watch wrestling to just escape and enjoy themselves away from their tough life where you got to go and get money and spend that money and everything’s expensive at the moment.”
With that escape for himself and the fans, he said he wants to make that escape draw out emotions. “I love films. I love movies, I love acting. And I believe wrestling can be far more layered, far more interesting and tell far deeper stories than people expect. They don’t all have to be depressing, but I think it’s time to really show that wrestling can be insanely powerful and not just happy and sad. There are so many more emotions than that.”
Crowley also pointed out some of his favourite matches to date, he instantly remembered his bout with Stevie Turner. “She is my best friend in, I’m so proud of her and luckily, I got to wrestle her before WWE. But that was so fun for me because I got to wrestle someone that I love and I really will never forget that moment.”
What makes Crowley so interesting is his uniqueness, creativity and boldness and he thanks his fans for allowing him to express all those things.
“I think for me it’s really important to spread the message that being different is a bonus. Being different is a superpower. A lot of people worry that they act a bit weird. Maybe they’re slightly on the spectrum, therefore they can’t communicate with people. Their nose is a bit crooked. Maybe they look weird. Maybe they’re a bit overweight. It doesn’t matter. Those things make you, you.”
He said he wants to use his uniqueness to influence the fans that are having a hard time grasping their weirdness.
“But just remember that Charles Crowley is so weird and so different and so unique, and that is why I am doing as well as I am right now.”
TOP PHOTO: Charles Crowley backstage at 1PW. Credit: iWilburnArt