DANIEL PRUDER INTERVIEW: by Steve Urena
SU: When were you first exposed to wrestling?
DP:I watched it on and off when I was a kid. I had to go to my
friends houses because I had no TV so I couldn't really watch it myself, but
that's when I first saw it. My favorite wrestler was Mick Foley back then I
love the guy.
SU: Who were some of the wrestlers you admired while growing up?
DP: Mick Foley he was my favorite wrestler he's always been great to me
whenever I saw him wrestle the way he takes his high risks is just awesome.
And its real nice because after I won tough enough he was in the back and he
came up to me and congratulated me.
SU: What made you fall in love with contact sports?
DP: ' Full contact sports I started when I was 17. I actually started
training with the American Kickboxing academy and I actually got into a
fight when I was 16 so coach Frank Shamrock took me under his wing and said
if you don't fight on the street I'll train you full time. I just love the
sport and I love competing'
SU: You were trained by Frank Shamrock , Brian Johnson, and Danny Shay what
lead you to them and what did you learn from them?
DP: Well Frank Shamrock took me under his ring originally. Danny Shay took
me under his wing about two years after he was teaching me Amateur
wrestling and then Brian Johnson he was a really good coach. He was doing a
lot of pro wrestling in Japan at the time He was coaching fajita and he
just got to beat the living hell out of me each day and I enjoyed it
SU:Were you at all intimidated by them when you met them?
DP: Actually I was a kind of stupid cocky little kid at the time and I
talked crap to Maurice Smith, Brian Johnson, Ken Shamrock. The first time I
ever met Ken Shamrock I said something stupid to them and they almost
killed me but Frank wouldn't let me. So that was good thank you Frank I
SU: How would they train you (drills, exercises, etc)?
DP: We'd do sparring, we'd do groundwork, we'd do stand up, pretty much
everything an MMA fighter has to do they would put me throught.
SU: I read the biography on your site and it said that while in highschool
you started some successful businesses what were some of the businesses and
what did you learn from each experience?
DP: Actually my first business I started was when I was 5 years old. My
parents bought me chickens and I sold the eggs to the neighbors. So I
started out learning about how to make money and how to work hard for it. I
had to go out to the chicken coup and pick up the eggs every day. When I was
in High School I did a painting company .I had two of my buddies teach me
how to paint and then got them to work for me after. That was good except
for I really just don't like painting its really messy. Then I started a
screen printing business and now I have a factory in Peru for clothing and
we're working with some big orders on that and I got a non-profit strength
training program for youth I started it four years ago about six months
before I went pro for Ultimate Fighting and im starting a new start up right
now I also have like my knockout girls and my dot com stuff so that's really
all business related.
SU: What made you attend Menlo Business College and if you weren't
wrestling/fighting in the octagon what would you be doing?
DP: Menlo Business College was local. They had a wrestling team. I wanted
to wrestle locally and that was the only four year to do it. San Jose state
didn't have wrestling they had judo and I wanted to continue that I did it
for a year, I wrestled for Menlo for a year . Then I didn't wrestle for the
next two years, Then I dropped out my senior year for the WWE contract. I'm
actually doing some classes right now. It's a really good school for 1 on 1
because there's like 10 -20 kids in each class. Its like a baby Stamford .
All the teachers use to be in management, in sport, or whatever else. They
have taught me a lot but I learned more in my one year with WWE then I ever
have at the business school and im not giving my secret away.'
SU: What made you want to learn kickboxing?
DP: Kickboxing I have to do it. So I can defend myself whenever im fighting
in the octagon or whenever I'm in an MMA bout . I actually enjoy Kickboxing
more than boxing itself. I have big old legs and I love to kick people
SU: Who was your trainer for kickboxing and what were some of the
techniques they taught you? Javier Mendez is my trainer right now. He's
really really good he owns American Kickboxing Academy and he's a two time
world kickboxing champion . He's been taking me under his wing and getting
me ready for all these fights that I have coming up. We learn turning hips
over, kick them with your shin, just doing different things, just being
explosive off of it. At training we just do a lot of conditioning of the
legs. Having him as a trainer has really helped'
SU: When was your first MMA fight who was it against and were you nervous
before you stepped into the Octagon?
DP: I did some amateur stuff which was nerve wrecking. That was about 4
years ago. Then I did a pro fight over in Japan. It was nerve wrecking
because it was my first pro fight and the guy was like 5 and 2. It went to
decision and I won. I kicked his butt pretty well. I actually tried to Key
lock him 3 times during the match but screwed it up each time . Im not to
happy about that fight.
SU: When will your next MMA bouts be and what do you do to prepare for each
DP: I'm going to have one June 9th then September and November. The Last
one I trained a little bit too long for. I trained I think two weeks too
long. I was just overt rained when the fight came up. So my next fight Im
going to cut two weeks off my training and Increase how hard I train with a
little bit less time and see how that feels.
SU: Who would be your dream opponent in Mixed Martial arts that is competing
DP: Kurt Angle. That's all I'm here for.
SU: When will we be seeing you in the UFC?
DP: I'm going to be fighting for Strike Force it's a different brand off
of UFC. Its still MMA fighting but their running shows in California so I'll
be fighting at shows run at the HP Pavillion in San Jose and the Staples
Center in September then the HP again in November
SU: You put out a tape sending it to the WWE for the tough enough were you
still following wrestling and what made you send in the tape?
DP: Yea I was following wrestling a little bit. I saw the commercial I
thought it was funny. I tried out for Tough Enough III but couldn't do it
because of personal matters I had to take care of. But I had the funniest
video I frolicked a little bit played with my motorcycle and I loved it I did it because I thought I would enjoy the sport
and I really do.
SU: What was your reaction when you found out you were picked out of tons of
people in the tough enough competition?
DP: I was jumping up and down. Right when I found out I trained for six
weeks. I went from 235 to 220 loss six percent body fat in six weeks and I
got toned up and got ready. I just took it very seriously. I actually went
to the hospital because I got too dehydrated one day. So I busted my ass and
they had to shoot me up with something and that did't work so they shot me
up with something up. It felt good to win and I was jumping up and down in
the hospital and I sang a song .
SU: What was it like training with Al Snow and Bill demott?
Bill is awesome that guy everybody's scared of him. I went in there and I
took it seriously. A lot of guys who were in the competition did not. They
were fooling around and they never were in a sport or at this level so they
just joked around a lot and I enjoyed doing stuff and working with him. He
was kind of the bad guy out of the whole thing than Al Snow was more of the
good guys. I respected both guys. Al trained me longer in OVW and I really
like Al he's a great guy.
SU: When you had your match with Kurt angle what made you raise your hand
first when he asked you to get in the ring?
DP: Well Danny Shay in the 1996 Olympics went against Kurt Angle and so me
wrestling Kurt I always wanted to do it since Danny trained me two years
before that so I was pretty stoked when he was calling people out. The other
thing is he broke a couple of the guy Chris. Who just wrestled before that
he broke a couple of his ribs so the other guys were a little stand offish .
SU: Were you nervous before you stepped into the ring with Kurt?
DP: I wasn't nervous at all actually. I wrestled Danny Shay he was at
Kurt's level so I figured hey what's the worse that could happen. He pins
me absolute worst.
SU: What did you think of the other contestants in tough enough?
DP: They had their strong points and their weak points. I don't think they
had the team behind them as much as I did. I had things in California going
over things with me. Interviews and that sort of thing all the time.
SU: What was the WWE locker room like?
DP: The WWE locker room was awesome I never had any problems because I gave
the WWE superstars respect and they gave me respect. I was the new guy on
the block and I did whatever I could do to make them happy that was my job.
SU: Did the athletes of the WWE treat you different because you were a tough
DP: The athletes did not treat me any different. They actually tried to help
me. A lot of the guys did. They respected me and helped me with training.
Hardcore Holly was helping me. All the guys. JBL,Orlando you name it
everyone there was helping me to become the next guy because I think they
saw a lot in me.
SU: What was it like In OVW?
DP: It was great cornette was there with Danny Davis originally with Al Snow
and Bill Demott. Bill was down there a little bit before I went down there.
Al Snow came and so did Paul Heyman along with Danny Davis. All great guys.
SU: Do you think Tough Enough hurts the Wrestling business?
DP: Yea Its hard to take someone from a competition if they never wrestled
before and have them be on TV ready to wrestle the best matches. It was the
complete opposite of what I was trained to beat somebody up. They took me
off and they expected me to know how to wrestle in 8 weeks and its 8 weeks
with two day weeks. So basically after the 16 days I went yea ok I can
SU: Describe your style of wrestling?
DP: I do a little bit more shoot wrestling Ultimate fighting stuff. A
little bit harder usually. I try to beat em down a little bit some punches
some kicks and try to catch them in the Key Lock . A little bit rougher like
SU: What is the Key lock?
DP: (applying it on Urena) You take the wrist go under and try to break the
SU: At the Royal Rumble you officially made your true WWE debut and do you
feel any animosity when you were stiffed?
DP: I got knocked out. Thank you. That was by Chris Benoit. Great guy tho
I can kick his ass. You know actually being in that match I was very
thankful with those guys and definitely Eddie Guerrero and I was very
thankful to be involved in a match with him .
SU: Why did you decide to not to sign with the WWE in development?
DP: They offered me a contract for 750 dollars a week and I didn't think it
was respectful and fair to me because I was doing everything I asked in
performing and all that and if they wanted something different they just
tell me and they offered me a crappy contract in my mind.
SU: What happened with the money you received for winning Tough Enough?
DP: I got a quarter million it was a four year contract a quarter million
a year so I got a quarter of a million out of it.
SU: Will you continue wrestling on a full time basis?
DP: I would love to wrestle full time depending on my schedule with
Ultimate fighting Im signed to a contract on that. So I got to fight 3 more
times in 2006 I would love to wrestle I would love to wrestle for Liberty
States and im actually going to TNA on Monday so I don't know I heard they
would love to do some stuff with me so im going to show them my last fight
and hopefully we can work something out.
SU: Who would be your dream match in wrestling?
DP: My dream match would be Kurt Angle. Either way if I had my last match, I
just want to wrestle Kurt again. Just wrestle him for one more match. I
would stop talking trash about him I would stop wanting to fight him Let me
fight him or wrestle him gosh darn it!
SU: What do you like to do when your not wrestling?
DP: When I'm not wrestling I spend time with my dads company. So I go hang
out with my parents. My Grandmother broke her hip about a month ago so I see
her every week. I work on a non profit strength training program where we go
into hospitals. I finally got it going. I established recently a board of
directors and now I think after the board meeting at the end of this month I
could actually start moving onto big things I want to create a company for
Pro wrestlers and Ultimate Fighters to be able to go into hospitals. Because
people in entertainment gets big heads really quick. I think when you see a
dying kid going through a lot it shocks you. Because im 25 and im doing my
thing and Ive been on TV and just meeting kids that are sick that love you
is just a phenomenal feeling. I live my life straight I don't do a lot of
things I give it up cause im happy God gave me a great life.
SU: Favorite movies?
DP: I just saw Inside Man with Denzel Washington. I thought that was a
great movie. Smart. Loved it. I didn't think the ending would end up like
that. I have this really big couch that I bought after I won tough enough .
It's a couch that can go back and all that so you can relax. Its like a
little movie room. You guys are invited to come if you want. If your ever in
Cali give me a call.
SU: What kind of music do you listen to?
DP: Rap, Rock, Classical, Jazz, Christian Rock when I lift. I like Jars of
Clay and POD and DC talk a little bit. When im in the car I listen to rap
and whats on the radio and when I'm working out I give that time to God .
SU: Can you tell us about the PST and how people can help?
DP: PST we're going make a big section on my website. We're going to sign
up Pro fighters throughout the US so any pro fighters or wrestlers can sign
up there. I think we're going to sign up all pro athletes . They'll fill out
a resume thing . Give us what they want. And put up schedules to like what
hospitals we're going in and that sort of thing. What I want them to do is I
want them to just keep track and look at what im doing. If they want to
pitch in some money or find a company that wants to sponsor us we'll put
their name on the back of a shirt. I would love to help out that way.
SU: Favorite place to eat when on the road?
DP: It depends what center of the country. If your on the east coast you
got some restaurants . East coast south Kentucky Midwest sort of thing so
Steak and shake but their not paying me to say that so I don't like them
anymore. Na im just kidding their great they actually gave me some free
meals and stuff like that. California that area I like In and out, Outback
which is one of my favorite restaurants. Cracker Barrel is good the first
time I went there It was like old school I was saying where's grandma at?
Waffle house is great too Al snow used to take us there.
SU: have you been in talks wit TNA at all ?
DP: There are no talks. Um no (laughs). There are some talks. A little
talk nondisclosured talks. If it's a good fit it's a good fit . If not I
don't care Im very happy with what im doing. That would take a lot of my
time two weekends a month basically to take out of my schedule to train so
if we can bring in Ultimate fighting and maybe some sponsors in. Maybe my
factory in peru we can help them with merchandise and T shirts and whatever
. Me as Daniel Puder could represent a good person in TNA. And if I cant
help them then I would rather not be there.
SU: Do you watch TNA at all?
DP: Not as much as I should but I do. I don't have much time to watch
because im training most nights but I tivo it. Love Tivo. Last weekend I saw
Christian get almost drowned. I like it. I like their style a little bit
better than WWE.. The WWE is a bit of entertainment and safe style. I think
my style with how I love to use punches if anybody watches OVW you could go
to www.danielpuder.com you can see OVW stuff and just see how I throw and
punch people its great!
SU: Who would be some of the opponents you would look forward to face in
DP: I would like to work with Samoa Joe. I would love to do some stuff
with him because of his style and his martial arts and everything. His style
is almost like an Ultimate Fighter. I think he could help me out with
developing Martial Arts and pro wrestling. The Ultimate fighting and working
it into pro wrestling he knows how to do it and I would love to learn from
him and learn from the best. That's the main thing Ive had a lot of trainers
. With the best coaches and you listen and learn and you will become just
that the best.
SU: Best advice anybody has ever given you in wrestling?
DP: Never stop if something gets you down move onto the next thing always
have more options than one option. Think business. You gotta retire at
sometime definitely in pro wrestling. You gotta figure out how to market
yourself live your life and live it how you want others to see it. I know
there are some guys I know who says I don't drink then they go get drunk.
But everybody respects what a man says and if you don't have respect you
don't have nothing. So live by your word.
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