In a little more than a year after Marty Scurll’s debut, he has emerged one of the Ring of Honor’s most captivating performers. The 28-year-old Englishman may be known as “The Villain” but remains popular among fans. A unique in-ring style and intriguing persona, complete with slightly terrifying mask and trademark umbrella, has made him a red hot star on the rise.
With Death Before Dishonor on the horizon, the former Television Champion took time to reflect on his time in ROH so far. Please note no fingers were broken during the course of this interview.
What has it been like working for a United States based promotion such as Ring of Honor on a consistent basis?
Being on TV regularly has been a really great platform for me. I created “The Villain” persona with TV in mind. I get recognized a lot more now, nearly daily! That all started after debuting with ROH. It’s a great place and it’s exciting for both parties (myself and ROH) to help each other grow. It’s really cool for me to show U.S. crowds things they’ve never seen before. I try to be as different as I can be, but even just being me, being British, helps me stand out. They find it hilarious that I call people ‘numpties.’ I’ve been doing that my whole life!
What has been the biggest adjustment to working in the States compared to Europe, if any in your eyes?
Wrestling on TV is a lot different from wrestling on live indie shows. Got to hit those cameras, got to think more glitz and glam. But the biggest adjustment has been the travel. I’ll often fly 10 hours just for one show, then fly home again. That’s pretty intense, but this is what I’m here to do. I’m very fortunate to do what I love.
Are you living in the United States right now?
I still live in the U.K. To be honest I travel so much, I’m not sure where the most suitable place for me to be based would be. I never sit still. From the U.S. to Europe to Japan to Mexico. I think the natural progression would be to move stateside, ideally somewhere hot with a pool. Somewhere I can relax when I have down time.
Take me back to when you joined Bullet Club at War of the Worlds. How far in advance did you know? What was your initial impression?
I only knew a few weeks out. It was a natural fit with myself just about to debut for New Japan, and I had been spending a lot of time with the Young Bucks, who are two of my best friends in the business. I was nervous, but I also love new challenges. My mindset was how can I add to this group? How can I make it better? Rather than what can it do for me. I loved the angle we did for it. That was all down to myself, the Bucks and Kenny. We came up with it all. I wish every PPV we do could end on an amazing cliffhanger. We made Bullet Club the number one trend in the world for a short period. That’s bad ass. That’s what every PPV should aim to do.
What has the experience been like being a part of a group which has a popularity that spans around the world? What have you taken from working and traveling around with the Young Bucks, Cody, etc.
One thing I will say is joining Bullet Club really helped rise my stock. I’m seen on a world platform now. It’s unlikely I would have got the Hot Topic deal without Bullet Club. BC is about as mainstream as it gets as far as wrestling goes. Bullet Club I see now is completely different to the original. That was a serious group of bad ass heels. The BC now, with myself, Cody, Kenny [Omega], Bucks, [Hangman] Page, it’s much more extravert. It’s a real collection of larger-than-life characters. We’re more like a group of Freddie Mercury’s. Diehard wrestling fans will always say, “the original is best,” but BC is bigger than it has ever been right now. We’re in Tekken. We’re the best-selling shirts in Hot Topic. We have a hit YouTube show (Being the Elite). Last time I checked, 42 of the 60 best selling items on Pro Wrestling Tees were Bullet Club members or BC related. The Bucks especially have been really great business mentors to me. The group inspires me to be better. Look at Kenny, he’s the best on this planet right now. Look at Cody, he’s on this amazing run, and its damn cool to watch. We all want to be the best. We can even compete with each other. We want to increase business everywhere we go. We want to make wrestling fun.
Where do you find inspiration for your presentation including the trademark umbrella? What are your thoughts on seeing your likeness on these umbrellas and apparel?
My main inspiration is to be different from everyone else. To stand out. To be unique. What am I adding to the wrestling world if I am not different? You mention the umbrella. That became my trademark prop, because it was different and it helped me stand out. A lot of inspiration I take is less from wrestling, and more from books and movies. I like to think outside the box. I think back to when I was a fan and ask myself what I would like to see. I like to take risks. And credit where it’s due, I actually take a lot of inspiration from my fans. I’ll often be sent artwork and letters from the fans, and it shows me how those fans perceive me. They’ll often come up with catchphrases or costumes or whatever it may be for me, and not even realize it. They are a massive part of the success of my character. Turns out a lot people see themselves as villains. Who would have thought it?
Who inspired you or inspires you on the wrestling end?
I love Roddy Piper. Terry Funk, Brian Pillman. Those guys made you believe. They were dangerous. Unpredictable. Some of my biggest influences.
Thanks to social media and technology, coupled with WWE adopting a United Kingdom Championship, there seems to be this European invasion. Do you see that being the case? What are your thoughts on WWE kind of pulling from some of the prominent promotions in the U.K.?
The U.K. is producing some of the best talent in the world, it’s no surprise to me that the WWE is picking up lots of talent. There’s an amazing scene and buzz here in the U.K. I’m especially happy for my friends British Strong Style and Mark Andrews. I just want an amazing striving scene with competition and where the boys make money. Not having to struggle week by week to survive. It’s really cool to see. The Brits are killing it.
How do you feel Adam Cole will do in WWE?
The ghost of Adam Cole is no doubt going to do very well in WWE. He’ll be a millionaire in no time, I’m very happy for him, he deserves it. One of my longest friends/rivals in the business. They’re going to love him, the handsome devil.
What is your plan for the long-term moving forward? If you were to ever go to WWE, do you worry if the company would do your persona justice and you might not have as much creative freedom compared to other places like Ring of Honor?
Right now, I love what I’m doing. I want to conquer ROH and New Japan. I want to continue to push the boundaries and break the mold of what a wrestler without the machine behind them can do. There’s a group of us like minded in that sense, the Bucks, Kenny, Cody, Page etc. In terms of “The Villain” and WWE, I’m pretty sure if they saw opportunity in me to make money, I’m sure they’d let me have a lot of creative freedom. But who knows if they do. I do see a lot of Villain shirts on their programming though. I would love to pick the brain of Vince McMahon. “The Villain” and the “Evil Genius” discussing the business over a steak dinner sounds divine.
You have some history working with Chuck Taylor. What can fans expect in your match with him at the PPV? Will the atmosphere of facing off in a ROH ring be different than working in other places?
I’m excited to wrestle Chuck in ROH. Why? Because I know he’s a lunatic, and he’s going to bring it. He put me though thousands of thumbtacks in PWG (Pro Wrestling Guerilla). I threw him off a stage through steel chairs. He’s nuts. And I know he’s going to want to impress in ROH, his first big singles match for the company. Hell, I want to impress more than ever, coming off a few loses to Kushida. I don’t like losing. This match has a lot riding on it. I can’t wait. Who knows what is going to happen. I hope we find Hangman in time.
Watch Ring of Honor Death Before Dishonor 9/8c on Pay-Per-View, www.ROHWrestling.com, and other platforms.
Ring of Honor television can be seen in syndication through Sinclair Broadcast Group affiliates, online and Sundays, 10/9c, CHARGE! TV.