IF YOU GO
What: WWE’s “Smackdown Live”
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Covelli Centre
229 E. Front St., Youngstown
By JOHN BENSON
You better be ready, Youngstown, for an adrenaline-fueled, muscle-popping, high-flying night of WWE’s “Smackdown Live,” which comes to Covelli Centre on Saturday night. Among the highlights are John Cena and “The Legend Killer” Randy Orton battling “The R Rated Superstar” Edge and Sheamus in a first-time tag-team match inside a steel cage. There’s also “The World’s Strongest Man” Mark Henry facing Ted DiBiase in a challenge match, and new United States Champion The Miz against R Truth and John Morrison in a triple-threat match.
One of the rising WWE stars coming to the Mahoning Valley is Evan Bourne, an aerial technician known for his “shooting-star press” finishing move, where he does a back flip off the ropes and lands on his opponent. The Vindicator talked to the St. Louis native about his ring talents, his fast-paced wrestling career and the upcoming show, which includes his match against Vladimir Kozlov.
Q. Let’s start with your wrestling technique, which is a combination of Mexican, Japanese and American training styles. What do you call it?
A. My style is just myself. I go airborne; that’s my style. It’s airborne, and if anybody who tries to do anything similar, people will say they’re just trying to be like me because everything I do I do at 110 percent. Precision is important, as well as style and grace. Most importantly, it’s giving the fans their money’s worth when they come to see me live and in person.
Q. Talk abut your “shooting-star press” move.
A. It’s probably one of the most dangerous yet prettiest moves in all of wrestling. In the WWE universe, there aren’t many finishers that can compare to what I’ve got. It’s just unbelievably risky, and I pretty much have to take a kamikaze mission when I come smashing down on my opponent. It’s more similar to a pilot trying to land on an aircraft carrier. You’re going at a high-rate of speed. There’s no room for error. Precision is important. I’m looking to flip around and get my eyes on my opponent so I don’t miss. It is a do-or-die situation and a high-risk, high-reward position I’m in.
Q. Before joining the WWE in 2008, you rose through the ranks of the independent wrestling world. What was the hardest thing to get used to when you made the big time?
A.There was a huge learning curve understanding the scale of the company. It’s so massive and such a well-oiled machine. From a managerial standpoint, it’s run with an efficiency. I’ve been around a lot of wrestling, and it used to be not as corporate as it is now, but the WWE is just jaw-dropping. I went to business school, and for me finding out how they operate from the business standpoint has almost been as intriguing as all of the wrestling skills I’ve acquired.
Q. Have you been to Youngstown before?
A. I wrestled in Columbus and Dayton but don’t know if I ever got to Youngstown. In Ohio and the whole Midwest, there are these awesome enthusiastic wrestling fans. And amateur wrestling is popular, but man do they come out for WWE. The fans there are just diehard. I wrestled in a building that was 102 degrees in Dayton. It was a real sweatbox, and nobody seemed to mind.
Q. Finally, what should wrestling fans expect from upcoming “Smackdown Live” in Youngstown?
A. You have never witnessed WWE until you have seen it live. That’s where the excitement comes from. It’s fan participation. We can’t be out there wrestling without the fans, and for them to come out to support us when we come through town is fantastic because now instead of yelling at your TVs, you get to yell right at our faces. You can cheer for me and scream obscenities at The Miz, but keep in mind, it’s a family show. I think for $15, it’s the greatest value in entertainment. You can take the whole family. It’s just a great day, a great place to be for two-and-a-half hours of energy and excitement.