His entrance has all the pomp and circumstance of a Mardi Gras parade or something you’d find on the Las Vegas Strip. The 29-year-old’s over-the-top nature has won over an often hard to please ROH fan base. However, beneath the flash and feathers is an impressive in-ring performer. The beginnings of the man from Planet Peacock can be traced back to the mats of amateur wrestling. This helped build a foundation when he transitioned into the pro ranks.
“It just felt natural,” Castle said. “I wrestled over 10 years —from middle school, peewees, high school and then throughout college. Then when college ended I had a degree in theater and communications. I still have a lot of athletic miles in my body. So it was next progression or step. I had friends who were already pro wrestlers who were encouraging. They thought I’d be good, and boy, were they right.”
Growing up, Castle appreciated the pageantry of his craft, and you can see his muses shine through. Comparisons are often made to the likes of Ric Flair or Gorgeous George.
“I don’t think there is a guy who does wrestling today that didn’t in some small way love it as a child,” Castle said. “I remember wearing a plastic grocery bag as a t-shirt or tank top. I would tear it off trying to be Hulk Hogan. I don’t think Hulk was a big inspiration when I was little, but I used to love people like Macho Man and any masked characters. Those always got me going.”
When you speak with Castle off-camera, he’s strikingly similar to the onscreen persona you’d see on a pay-per-view or Wednesdays at11/10CT on Destination America.
“It’s all me,” he said. “I’m pretty much living the way I have been. I was always been loud and obnoxious in high school. I kind of confused humor and loudness, so I thought if I were louder, I would make people laugh, and I would get more attention. Now I do that in the wrestling world with my voice and my actions, along with what I wear. It’s all kind of drawing eyes toward me because that is what you want. I would say glam rock is a big influence of the look of everything. Anybody like a David Bowie or Freddie Mercury or the Darkness or Foxy Shazam — people who go out there and perform on stage are people I look up to.”
Castle has perfected his act and mannerisms. The addition of the Dalton boys bolstered the spectacle he creates. It’s this out-of-the-box thinking that has caused viewers to take notice.
“The entire thing is mine,” he said. “Nobody pitched this idea to me. Nobody said, ‘Hey, we have this character for you.’ It was me kind of tweaking things over the years — as long as I’ve been wrestling. I learned the moves and slowly started putting things where they belonged. And I knew something was missing. I wasn’t getting the reaction I wanted from the people. So I put on a jumpsuit. I make this big theatrical entrance, because I want people to know right away what they are getting.”
Surprisingly — even to him — the audience liked what they were getting. They wanted to join the party.
“Every time I go out there to perform its unreal,” he said. “It’s crazy to be at the point I’m at. I’m nowhere near the moon yet, but I’m a lot further along than I thought I would be. To be accepted by the Ring of Honor fans so quickly and so greatly, it means the world. It’s shocking. I don’t like to pass judgment before I know somebody, so I didn’t expect one thing or the other. I didn’t think I would step in the ring and get booed, because I know I’m good. I’m confident in my abilities. But I just didn’t expect all of this.”
As Castle continues to push boundaries, the star is grateful to have the support of the company. They have let him spread his proverbial wings and fly.
“Ring of Honor is a great environment to be in,” he said. “The locker room is all pretty close, and supportive of each other. It’s more of a team than just people coming to work. To have them kind of be a little hands-off in some cases can be nerve-racking, but in others it’s fulfilling to be given the freedom to go out and make decisions on your own. They put this trust in you. To step out on that ledge and take a risk where you can just say, ‘They trust me. I’m going to do this because I think its right’ — it’s comforting in a weird, scary way.”
Castle has also turned heads with his ability. He had what he describes as an “unreal squaring off” against the legendary Jushin Thunder Liger. There was a level of respect generated on this particular early summer evening, but his most involved storyline to date is with Silas Young. The rugged throwback to the 1980s is the polar opposite of Castle, and their interactions have been entertaining to watch. A recent match between the two at the All-Star Extravaganza VII cost Castle his Dalton’s boys.
“I can’t make this any more clear,” Castle said, channeling his character. “I’ve said such nice things about the people of Ring of Honor, but Silas Young is a flat-out jerk. There is no way else to put it… I would love nothing more to get my boys back. I have been listening to Hold On by Wilson Phillips. That goes back to the day I have lost the boys.”
Castle doesn’t look far ahead, but getting his flamboyant accompaniments back is at the top of his list of things to do. He’d also like some gold around his waist. “Ring of Honor, the reception is nice, but it can get pretty bland until I show the people there is more to me, and I am championship material,” Castle explained. “Long-term goal I want a big fancy house with a funny swimming pool. I want something that I can scuba dive in. I don’t scuba dive, but I would like the option.”
One can also picture peacocks roaming the property. Those interested in learning more about his goals and other topics can find out during a Reddit’s Squared Circle session with the personality. Fans can participate in the Ask-Me-Anything (AMA) event 3-4 p.m. ET Thursday, Oct. 15.
“Anyone can ask anything they want,” Castle said. “Do I have to answer for all of them? I know it’s called Ask-Me-Anything, but I can’t think of any skeletons in my closet that I’m afraid of. But who knows? I get kicked in the head a lot. There may be some things I’ve forgotten.
“It’s bizarre I’m on TV every week. It’s bizarre there are so many people that would be interested in asking me questions they want to know the answers to. It makes me feel good inside and outside.”
- Follow me on Twitter @smFISHMAN.