In March of 2020, I had the opportunity to interview O’Shay Edwards in Washington DC. Just one week after that interview, the Coronavirus pandemic began. O’Shay had a number of shows lined up for the following weeks including a notable WrestleMania week schedule in Tampa, Florida. Like many in-ring performers, Edwards had a gap from March into the summer before he started wrestling again.
Edwards, who goes by the nickname ‘Big Bad Kaiju’ has worked a number of shows since his return to the ring in June of 2020. Although there were mishaps and speedbumps along the way with wrestling continuing the pandemic, he stated that most of the promotions he competed for managed it as best as they could but all he can be responsible for is himself and to do what’s within his control.
“Then when shows come around, the only thing I can control is myself. I’m in some of the best shape that I can be in, without getting into a gym. But some of the promoters, some of the shows that I’ve been to, guys would take this seriously so it’s like, ‘Hey man, you need to be masked up. We will be doing this. You’ll be socially distanced for six feet.’ A lot of people weren’t bringing in crowds so what they were doing was just staggering times, where it’s like, ‘O’Shay, you have one match but if you don’t mind coming in at 2, you’re match is at 3.’ By the time you walked in, someone else was finishing up, all ready and for production it was an all day event. So, sorry for you boys but, for the most part, shows were really taking accountability for what they were doing. Now you had some that weren’t, and they… people knew about it. But at the same time, I always believe that falls down to the individual themselves. If I know such and such show isn’t taking the precautions, doing what they’re supposed to do, if I know that such and such show isn’t taking care of the boys and the girls and everybody in between for that matter, I’m not gonna do it. I have people who rely on me so if I get sick, then I come and get them sick, have I really fulfilled my end of the bargain? No I haven’t. But for the most part, at least some of the shows that I’ve been a part of, guys have been really cognizant about what’s going on and all that good stuff and granted, you’re not gonna please everybody all the time, it’s never going to be 100 percent, but with that being said though, at the shows I’ve been a part of, I make sure that it started with me and it ended with me and once I did that, I couldn’t really — I couldn’t really be mad at that point. I do what’s within my control.”
One of the matches removed from Edwards’ schedule by way of the pandemic was a tag match that would’ve featured Edwards and All Elite Wrestling’s Orange Cassidy on opposite sides of the ring. That match was going to take place for the Maryland Championship Wrestling promotion and O’Shay was not sure how he was going to approach the match with Cassidy.
He went on to speak about the dates he had lined up following the MCW tag team match including being a part of Danhausen and WARHORSE’s WRESTLEVANIA show in Tampa.
“Honestly man, I don’t even know. I don’t even know. Something like that, you just go, ‘Hey man, I’m gonna have to deal with the cards I’m dealt here man’ and hope you got a good hand. I was excited about it because that was going to kick off one hell of a week. It was supposed to be me and PB Smooth the week before, Orange Cassidy the week after that, then it was going to be straight WRESTLEVANIA show and literally within 36 hours, everything gone.”
This past October, Edwards had several matches at The Collective weekend in Indiana. He was a part of SUP Wrestling, GCW and Paradigm Pro Wrestling shows that weekend. A highly regarded show from that weekend was GCW’s For The Culture event which showcased Black in-ring performers and that show was headlined by AR Fox versus 2 Cold Scorpio.
O’Shay wrestled MLW’s Calvin Tankman at For The Culture and he spoke about what it meant to him to be a part of the event. He also shared his story of getting to meet the former WCW World Tag Team Champion and their interaction at the show.
“For The Culture was special. While people might have had their problems with other stuff that once again outside of my control, I knew what it was and I knew what it could be, and I wanna be a part of it.
But to be a part of that show, one, to be a part of it was humbling. Even to be asked was humbling. But then get a chance to sit back and watch it was amazing. I can’t even do that justice and put it into words, but to see AR Fox and 2 Cold Scorpio man, I called my dad and I was like, ‘Aye, old man, 2 Cold Scorpio’s wrestling right now in front of my eyes.’ My dad was like, ‘Yo, I remember watching him when me and you were watching TV.’ I’m like, ‘Dad, –’ he’s like, ‘He’s old.’ I’m like, ‘Yo, he’s killing it right now. He’s flipping everywhere.’ He’s like, ‘What!?’ I’m like, ‘Dad, you have no idea how it’s all come full circle to me.’ I was able to talk to him after and stuff. I’m like, ‘Hey man, I’m just a young dude trying to shake a legend’s hand.’ I told him, ‘Man, me and my dad used to watch you wrestle and I told my dad and he was in awe that you were still doing it at such a high level,’ and he looked at me and he was like, ‘Hey man, I appreciate that, I appreciate you.’ He goes, ‘Man look, I just wanna wrestle, go back to my room, smoke a little bit and chill’ and I was like, ‘My man.’ But, being a part of that show was great. It shed a light on something at least for everybody on that show or not. We are just as good as everybody else, regardless just because I’m not on TV. I don’t need someone to tell me I’m elite to know that I’m elite. I know who I am, I know my worth and I’ll be damned if I’m gonna let someone else take that from me.”
Initially, Edwards was not scheduled for ‘For The Culture’. The match originally planned was Calvin Tankman versus Jon Davis. Davis had to pull out of the match due to injury and filling him for him was Will Hobbs, now known as Powerhouse Hobbs in All Elite Wrestling. Hobbs was signed to AEW prior to For The Culture and his commitments with the company prevented him from competing at The Collective. O’Shay added that he was happy to see the show come together the way it did and realized the significance of it but admitted that his inner competitiveness left a chip on his shoulder to have a standout match with Tankman.
“I was the only choice. I don’t go somewhere and be happy to be there. I go somewhere showing that I should’ve been here the whole time. Like I belong here, and so yeah, I ain’t gonna lie man, I was like, ‘Oh cool.’ I was happy. I’m happy for my brothers. Aw man, yeah. I was like, ‘I could’ve put on dope matches. That could’ve been dope.’ Then when Jon Hobbs. Man, I’m happy, that’s awesome. It’s gonna be a dope match. Man, I can do that, but I’m happy for him. This isn’t about me, and then once Hobbs got signed I was like, ‘Who else y’all got back there? Who else y’all got back there?’ And then the phone rang and I’m like — and for me, I wasn’t being cocky or anything but to me I was just like, ‘I’ve been waiting for you. I’ve been waiting for you to realize that you needed me the entire time,’ and even if you didn’t that’s fine, that’s no big deal, but you’re gonna realize, ‘Man, we should’ve got O’Shay from the beginning’ and I looked at him and I go, ‘Yup, you sure should’ve.’ But the competitiveness will always be there regardless, and this isn’t me b*tching, moaning or complaining about me not getting picked or anything like that even though some people will say different. No, no, no, no, I’m a competitor by nature. I have a chip on my shoulder by God’s design. My chip is as big enough where I can take it off my shoulder, beat you over the head with it and I put it back.”
During the summer of 2020, the former Prime Time Pro Wrestling champion honed in on his promo ability. He put together a series of videos of him sitting at his dinner table while verbally addressing his opponent for an upcoming match. The videos received praise from the likes of Dax Harwood and a handful of O’Shay’s colleagues within the wrestling business.
He opened up about the origins of the ‘Seat At The Table’ promos and credited Hoodfoot Mo Atlas for doing it first. Edwards added that he hasn’t put out another video in some time because he wants to preserve the uniqueness of it and wants to put them out in doses.
“A lot of that was me just kind of sitting down and just kind of letting my mind go and I wanted to do something different that wasn’t just me sitting behind — sitting in front of a camera, and just talking. I need to give you something more and so, for me, I understand that wrestling has been like — the curtain has been pulled back a little bit so people understand what wrestling is. So for me, it was like, ‘Okay, you see what I do in the ring. I’m very well versed, just look it up, just Google it, see what I do in the ring.’ But what about when I’m not in it? Twitter and Instagram, I put a video up of me working out. Cool, but I’m not working out all the time. So what is it that I’m doing that I would want people to see? What’s the one thing that everybody does? Everybody’s gotta eat. Everybody’s gotta sleep, everybody’s gotta eat. Well nobody wants to watch me sleep, so eating just seemed to be the most logical thing to do and for me, it easily translated into something more because our parents worked very hard to put food on the table for us to eat and the one thing you didn’t do to mom and dad is you didn’t disrespect them, especially when they’re putting food in front of you. Why would you do that? Because if you talk back to mom, ‘What’s for dinner?’ ‘Meatloaf.’ ‘Ugh, meatloaf? I don’t want that sh*t.’ First of all, your mom’s gonna kick your ass and then you weren’t gonna eat. Why? Because you had to run your mouth. ‘Alright, then you do it,’ and I wanted to bring that feeling of the only reason why you’re here is because I’m allowing it, but you know, let’s not get it twisted, I’m here for a reason. The house I have, the cars I buy, clothes on my feet, the Jordan’s I wear. I just didn’t trip and fall into a pair of Jordan’s. Nah, I had to bust somebody up to get these, because if I didn’t do it, somebody else would.
Like I said, Mo Atlas did it first and when I saw his promo, I just smiled and I was like, ‘Game on, here we go.’ If I knew that after that it would’ve turned into its own little thing, I would’ve called you a liar. Just, you’re a liar, you’re an absolute liar. But I’m proud of it, I’m really, really proud of it. I wanna do more of ‘em, God-willing I wanna do more of ‘em and I will. It’s just now, you know, it’s like Avengers, you don’t give them one every single year. You gotta let them wait for it a little bit and that way when it hits, it hits.”
Ring of Honor has a dojo where their ‘Future of Honor’ talents train. One of the coaches at the dojo is current ROH World Tag Team and Pure Champion Jonathan Gresham. O’Shay has been a part of the ROH dojo for several years and he was recently in the ROH bubble during Final Battle weekend in December. He detailed his experience in the bubble and explained how much he enjoyed his time there.
“One thing I tell people all the time is people liked to crap on Ring of Honor for a while because it was the cool thing to do. ROH was never the joke, it was never the butt of the joke, never will be the butt of the joke and it’s proving it week after week with the Pure Title tournament, with the way it’s been handling its COVID protocols, with the way that it’s been handling just everything in general. It’s just one of those things where like it’s never been the butt of the joke, it never will be. People just do it because it’s the cool thing to do. But with that being said, being in the bubble was dope dawg! Yo! It was so dope. Yooo! Let me tell you man, they put me in like a hotel, was just like, ‘Stay here, we’ll come and get you.’ I brought some food, brought my XBOX and I was chilling man! Dude! Great! Can’t wait to do it again!”
Edwards was brought into Shane Taylor Promotions and joined Moses, Kaun and Ron Hunt. The former ROH World Television Champion Shane Taylor heads the business and O’Shay spoke about how the opportunity to be a part of it came about. Shane Taylor Promotions is not just a group spotlighted on ROH TV, as it is a legitimate business that those involved are developing. O’Shay was told by Shane that just because he’s a part of the group, it doesn’t guarantee he’ll be signed by Ring of Honor but Edwards simply wanted an opportunity.
“Well actually it was Shane who got in contact with me and me wanting to work with Ring of Honor was literally because of guys like Shane, Kenny King, Jay Lethal and now guys like Jonathan Gresham. So, you know, the fact that Shane even knew my name, blew my mind because I work with my head down a lot. Like I just grind, grind, grind, grind, grind and then when somebody’s like, ‘Hey, get your flowers.’ Huh? What? Get my flowers? I’ve got work to do. Put ‘em over there, I got work to do, and so he approached me about what he wanted to do and he approached me about what he wanted to achieve and this isn’t so much just a Ring of Honor thing. This is something he wanted to put together, this is something he wanted to expand farther than just —
This is a brand. Just like Nike don’t do just basketball, Under Armour just doesn’t do football. No, it goes, and he was like, ‘Hey man, this isn’t — I don’t want you to think this is anything where you’re gonna get signed to Ring of Honor’ but he’s like, ‘I see what you’ve been doing and I believe what you’ve been doing and what you’re trying to accomplish lines up to what Shane Taylor Promotions is all about and if you want, don’t have to do anything you don’t wanna do but if you want, opportunity’s on the table for you to be a part of it.’ I said yes. Hands down. That is it. All I needed was an opportunity so it was just one of those things where you know, Ring of Honor or not, I get to hitch my wagon to Shane Taylor Promotions. Hey man, are you mental? Yeah dawg. Yeah. I didn’t even let him finish. I was like yes.’”
Following up on that, O’Shay was asked if there have been conversations between himself and Ring of Honor about him joining their roster on a full-time basis. He responded by saying that he can neither confirm or deny it.
“You’re gonna hate this answer. You’re gonna hate this answer, but I can neither confirm or deny that . I hate that answer but that’s the best answer I can give you. I can neither confirm nor deny that.”
An opportunity that presented itself to Edwards in 2020 was the chance to be a part of Virtual Basement’s ‘The Wrestling Code’ game which has signed on the likes of Rob Van Dam, Erick Redbeard, Gangrel, Alex Gracia and Matt Sydal to name a few. Edwards discussed how the opportunity came about and how excited he was/is to see himself in virtual form.
“So it was the same way man. They came to me about it and was like, ‘Hey man, we see that you’re doing some really big things in the ring, out of the ring, your social media is’ this, that and the other. ‘Man we’d really love it if we could have the opportunity to put you in a video game.’ I’m a big video game kid. I grew up on it and I’m about to age myself here. I was like, I had the 8-bit Nintendo playing Duck Hunt, you know what I’m saying? So it’s whatever. I love video games. I stayed up late. We had to take one card just to put in another just to keep it down so it would work. But they approached me. At first I was like, ‘Nuh-uh, get out of here.’ They were like, ‘Nah man, this is what we wanna do, this is what we already have planned out. This is kind of a slow grind but this is what we wanna do’ and I was like cool. So yeah, I signed, gave them the photos that they needed, whatever. It was really weird in a good way to see myself in virtual form, and it was one of those where it was spot on and I was like, ‘Yo! This is what I look like? That’s amazing.’ So they’re a little tight-lipped about how things are coming along and this, that and the other. I think they’re still working on game sprites which is fine. I’m not building it so it’s like whatever, and you know, people get impatient just because people get impatient. Yeah, they want it now but at the same time, when it comes, it comes and I’m excited about it. I’m really looking forward to it. I’ll probably be the first one to get on it at least. They even said it was gonna be for next-gen consoles so I knew at the time, had a while. I had a while, so no, I’m excited about it. It’s gonna be fun. When I have a kid of my own, it’ll be like, ‘Your dad was in a video game. Ha!’”
Shane Taylor Promotions will be in action for VIP Wrestling in Texas on January 29th. For more information about that event and all things concerning O’Shay Edwards, he can be found on Twitter @BigBadKaiju and on Instagram @big.bad.kaiju.
The full interview with Edwards and myself can be watched via the player at the top of this article and on the Andrew Thompson Interviews YouTube channel.