Former Defiant World Champion. Reigning NORTH Wrestling Champion. The Last True Sick Boy. Rory Coyle has been making a name for himself lately thanks to his twisted ways and his strangely captivating videos, but I wanted to know more about the man behind the pro wrestling horror films. So I sat down to find out more about The Video Nasty, Rory Coyle.
For anyone that doesn’t know, who is Rory Coyle?
I’m a horror movie-obsessed video nasty that wants to make snuff films inside a wrestling ring. And that pretty much sums me up.
I think previously I was pretty much just a character from a horror movie, but now I’ve evolved into more of a real persona. Also, I’m the Last True Sick Boy, and the Last Son of Ulaid.
You’re mostly known for winning the Defiant World Championship in shocking fashion just 6 months after debuting for the company, but some may not realise that you did actually appear in the company in 2016 but the segment was never aired.
Do you mind explaining what happened with that first appearance?
Yeah, so I think what a lot of people don’t know if they haven’t paid attention to my recent tapes is that I actually appeared at the first ever WCPW taping. I went out as part of a tag team at the time, Sons of Ulaid, attacked Joe Coffey, kicked the crap out of him, put a mask over his head, and the reaction was, “This was a bit too far, this was a bit too similar to things they’ve already seen because fans just compare you to what they already know, they don’t look at the fact you’ve spent a lot of time crafting what you’re doing.”
On the night, felt like everything went fine, the crowd hated us which was our job, but then it was literally just left on the cutting room floor. It never aired, and for 801 days I was never back.
How did it feel to have them eventually bring you back and put you in a championship match where you would go on to win the belt?
For me to then come back and within my first six or so months be in a championship match, it was cool, man. It didn’t feel like I’d been gone 801 days because I’d kept my eye on the product. I was there on certain nights, like I was at the 2018 No Regrets Rumble just watching it, fast forward a year and I’m involved in the title match. It’s crazy.
The thing is for me, I was bitter at the start, I was really pissed off, but I wasn’t ready. Eventually I was thankful for it because if Rory Coyle back then had been in WCPW, he wouldn’t be the entity that he is today. I wasn’t as refined and I would have really struggled. To come back, it was validation that I’d gone away, done my own thing, kept doing my own thing, and then Defiant saw that and thought, “Yeah, that’s the guy we want to bring back.”
It was bittersweet, I missed out on all of this really cool stuff they did, but at the same time, I’d done nothing to deserve that cool stuff. I was on the first taping just because of right place, right time, same again with my return. Turned up in Manchester, smashed a tape over someone’s head, debuted a new Rory Coyle that I don’t think anyone had seen before. It was just validation of all the things I’d been doing, the tapes, the promos, they were all worth it because I got to step into the ring with a guy who I genuinely think is the best wrestler in Europe, Rampage Brown… and I got to take the belt off him.
You became a cult hit in NORTH Wrestling despite being a violent, twisted brawler. Did it surprise you how positively you were received and how popular you became there?
It’s just an example of how fucked up Newcastle is. For the first three shows, I was probably the most hated man in the building after punching a kid, getting banned and then returning with a lucha mask on. It’s bizarre to me because I haven’t changed since then, in fact I’ve gotten weirder and sicker, but they just seem to really like it. I’ll be in NORTH and getting cheered, then the next night I’ll be somewhere else, do the exact same things and get bottles thrown at me and booed out of the building. It’s evidence the NORTH fans are probably a little bit weird, but yeah, definitely surprising.
You’re known for your amazing homemade promos you tweet about your upcoming opponents and appearances. How do you manage to put such high quality videos together by yourself?
To me, it’s like second nature. My whole love of movies and being obsessed with them isn’t something I’ve made up, I’ve spent probably way too much time watching horror movies and analysing them.
I think for me the main thing is time: it takes up a lot of it, sometimes I’m shooting a promo and up editing it until 3 in the morning, and then I suddenly realise, oh crap, I’ve got a show the very next day. But I love that side of wrestling. The first time I put something creative out there I was worried that people wouldn’t get what I was doing or they wouldn’t understand it, but I got lucky in that they seemed to receive it quite well.
People donate old VHS tapes to you for your videos and in-ring attacks: what are some of the weirdest things you’ve found on them?
There’s a video on my Twitter of when I was donated an actual VHS player which was really cool because it meant I could have another video playing in the background of my promos. Then the person who sent me it the next day shot me a message saying, “I don’t know what was in that video player, it’s not mine.” So I booted it up, and it was porn. Proper old school, French or German, full pubic hair porn. Just hardcore porn. That’s probably the weirdest thing… obviously I watched a little bit and kept the tape…
I got really lucky recently when a promoter donated a load of tapes to me and said, “I’m clearing out my house, do what you want with them, smash them over people’s heads, whatever.” It was just full of wrestling. ECW, WCW, CZW, Japanese stuff – I can’t smash any of them. Sometimes I just watch them.
But yeah, porn and wrestling are the coolest things. When I went to TNT to do the Dead or Alive tournament against Jimmy Havoc (he battered me) Mike Angus, the ring announcer there, came up to me before the match wanting to give me a tape. He told me to use it in the match: it was an ECW tape, but he said if I opened up the box I’d see something really cool on the inside. The tape was signed by Jake The Snake, so I couldn’t smash it, I think it’s pretty obvious he is one of my favourites of all time.
I refused to smash it, but he insisted on me keeping it. So now it sits in the background of my promos, it’s an awesome reminder of the tournament and also one of my main inspirations. It’s cool that in wrestling people give me tapes and draw me things and this guy who does really good ring announcements for me gave me this really cool tape. I love it.
What are your first memories of pro wrestling, and what was it that first really got you hooked on it?
It’s a weird one, I think it’s probably two memories blurred into one. Obviously I grew up in Ireland, we had a smaller wrestling scene there, I suppose we still do, and I remember being super young, five or so, and my dad took me to either a place called Colin’s Amusements or a venue called The Rialto in Derry. I just remember it being full of smoke from all the adults puffing cigarettes, and then in the middle of it all there were two guys in a ring. They weren’t doing a lot but they were going for each other, and that was enough for me. That’s the night I fell in love with it. That was also the night my dad was done with pro wrestling because he hated it. From then on in though I was all in.
I think it was the characters that got me hooked. I started watching WWF and just fell in love with these guys like Jake The Snake and The Undertaker. Even people like I.R.S and The Million Dollar Man, I really liked them but had no idea why. Now looking back, it’s definitely because to me, it’s the ultimate theatre. They were larger than life and captivating.
You’ve been making big waves in Defiant and NORTH lately, facing more big names in the U.K. – but who’s left on the list of people you’d like to face?
I’ve been pretty lucky with the people I’ve gotten to wrestle in places like NORTH and Defiant. For a while it was guys like Rampage, Nathan Cruz, Jimmy Havoc, but I’ve wrestled all them now. So I would say Screwface, by the time this comes out I will have just wrestled him for TNT, and then there’s way too many others, like Joseph Connors, Martin Kirby, Jack Jester, Mikey Whiplash… It’s a big ol’ list: how long have you got?
What’s the most surprising thing in your burlap sack?
Well, it varies from night to night. Lately it’s had some really weird stuff in it, like used tampons and a VHS copy of Star Wars Episode 1. When I wrestled Jimmy Havoc in TNT’s deathmatch tournament recently, I had a copy of The Marine starring John Cena on DVD in there.
There’s even stuff in the bag that I’ve never taken out. I have a severed dolls head in there. It’s a reminder of my old tag team partner, Bas Ban, so it just hangs around in there. There’s usually jumper cables, there’s been handcuffs, lighters, petrol, obviously I want to get to the point where there’s an actual snake in there, and then I can just pack it all in and sail off into the sunset.
Speaking of packing it all in, you’ve been saying at NORTH shows lately that you’re getting too old to be doing this for much longer. How much sickness is left in The Video Nasty?
I don’t know… not long. All those post-show promos have been off the cuff, and every time Bowers, the guy who owns NORTH, gets a bit worried that it’s all over for me while I’ve still got the belt. It’s not just my age, I started wrestling way too old, and obviously I’m not a “wrestler” wrestler. I’m not in great physical shape, and the style I’ve been doing lately, I can only keep that going for so long.
Sadly, I don’t think I have much left. Every NORTH show I say it’s gonna be the end, but every month I somehow end up fucking back there with that fucking belt. But yeah, not much sickness left.
In NORTH Wrestling, you’ve been trying to find somebody who is capable of beating you for that title. Who in your opinion are some of the best up-and-coming talents out there at the moment?
There’s way too many to count out in a list. In NORTH especially, a lot of them aren’t up-and-comers because they’re already probably amazing but just haven’t had that break yet. Like Conor Renshaw, he’s just unbelievable. He’s big, a monster, I could watch him wrestle every night of the week. I hope in the next four months or so a lot of people really start to see how good he is. Conor right now is my favourite, I’d love to have a match with him.
Will Kroos too. Met him in places like BWR and Tidal, He’s awesome. Man Like Dereiss is another one. They’re just awesome. It’s scary as well because they’re so young compared to my old ass.
Can’t speak to The Video Nasty without asking this: what is your favourite horror film, and what’s a film you love that people might be surprised by?
Fuck, I think the original Halloween. It was the first time I watched a horror movie and realised they could be actual quality movies as well… and I just love Jamie Lee Curtis as well.
Something that might surprise you… La La Land was awesome…The Greatest Showman too. I actually like a little showtune in the midst of people getting stabbed and bludgeoned and all the horror. We need more horror musicals. And then everything else is just stuff everyone should like: Goonies, Goodfellas, Back to the Future, Star Wars. I watch way too many movies, I find it really hard to hate any of them because I’ll always find something I like in them.
Final question: what do you love most about pro wrestling?
These questions are hard… It’s escapism. Watching it, you just forget everything. You can sit and watch all these stories take place in a ring. All my memories of pro wrestling as a kid are just that: stories, characters like Jake The Snake, Undertaker, Stone Cold, characters telling unbelievable stories and me forgetting what I was doing.
In terms of me wrestling, I think it’s exactly the same thing. Telling people a story, whether it’s through promos or in the ring, and then it’s also super violent and got that physicality. We joke someone once said it was all about moments, and it’s those moments and stories that keep me coming back. For me, it’s one of the best forms of storytelling you can get.