Clean-Cut & All-American: The Jordan Clearwater Interview

Jordan Clearwater is a name that is on the tips of a lot of people’s tongues at the moment, and with good reason. The 24-year-old grappler from Ohio is making a lot of waves with his appearances in Championship Wrestling from Hollywood, New Japan Strong and the NWA. Reminiscent of an early 90s Dustin Rhodes or a Barry Windham, Jordan has in recent months integrated MMA skills into his wrestling repertoire and with a new toughness to his presentation, he has taken the likes of Fred Rosser, Jack Banning and NWA World Heavyweight Champion Nick Aldis to the limit.

I spoke to Jordan about his experiences in these different promotions, the uniqueness of his clean-cut presentation in a ‘too cool for school’ era and his idea of what makes for perfect pro wrestling.

Sports Obsessive: You’ve been appearing in the NWA recently, as well as New Japan Strong and, of course, (Championship Wrestling from) Hollywood as well. Slowly but surely, there’s a little bit of a buzz growing around you. How are you finding it all at the moment?

Jordan Clearwater: Yeah, it’s a great question. You know, it’s funny, I just wrestled in front of my first audience in over a year for a local promotion and it’s so strange because, before the lockdown, they saw me…I’m local to Southern California, I’m from Cincinnati, Ohio, I’ve wrestled in Michigan, Tennessee, Kentucky, but mostly based here in the States. To be able to come back and to hear the type of response that I had, just from people having seen the stuff on New Japan, or seeing the stuff on NWA, it adds a whole different layer and aspect to everything. You said it best, you know. Generating a little bit of buzz, that extends beyond the areas that I’ve wrestled. It’s been fantastic. I’m so appreciative of the support.

SO: Awesome, and it must be amazing to wrestle again in front of fans. It must have been so strange to wrestle in silence for so long!

JC: Right! At the NWA, if you caught, not the last pay-per-view, When Our Shadows Fall, but Back For The Attack, we had a small, small studio audience. And last time, coming off this last weekend of filming, we had a little bit more. So I’m hoping that, when we return to The Chase at St. Louis, we’ll have a pretty nice-sized crowd and so that atmosphere is going to be off the charts.

SO: You had a big match this weekend with Memphis’ Brett Michaels against the Hot Commodities. You and Brett, I thought you made a great team, and if you ever team again, you’ve got your finisher sorted, because that Midas Touch into the Gunshow Lariat—BOOM! That was amazing.

JC: Right!

SO: What was it like tagging with Brett?

JC: Man, (he’s a) great, great guy, Brett’s out of Memphis. We just spoke a little bit about it, Chris, I originally got my roots wrestling in the Mid-West, right, so Cincinnati, Ohio, up to Michigan, down to Kentucky, to Tennessee, to Virginia, you name it, in the Mid-West, I’ve probably been there. So, it was so cool to be able to work with somebody that I had some experience within that area. So it’s kinda funny that we’re both meeting now out here in California versus, you know, having met in the Mid-West. But we just gelled great, like you said. I’m glad that translated on-camera as well because (he’s) such a wonderful person to work with and (I) would definitely do it again.

SO: Sounds good to me! With the United Wrestling Network having recently had Prime Time Live, adding Memphis, now there’s the show launching in Atlanta as well, not forgetting the Gulf Coast too, the Network seems to be really building momentum at the moment. What’s it like being a part of that? Again, that’s another thing that seems to be getting real buzz at the moment.

Credit: Justin Cotterell

JC: Right, it’s great. Our partners out in Memphis, we have Dustin and Maria Starr, we have our partners in the Gulf Coast, soon to be Championship Wrestling from Atlanta. We also have up north in California, we have a station out of there, and then in Houston, in Texas as well.  So that type of reach, on the level that we’re on, is definitely unheard of. So it’s something that’s unique, its something that the United Wrestling Network has built out a little niche for themself, and I’m excited to see it continue to grow. I think the best part for us as performers is that we get to have all that extra footage, you know, and all that extra fan interaction, right? Whereas we might not have had that in the past. So, no different than you and I speaking today, it’s because of those different roads that are being built by the UWN that we’ll be able to do more of this stuff, you know, and you can see us across the country, then hopefully internationally, right, through our partners at Fite TV make that possible as well. So, it’s great, man, it’s great that we’re really branching out, and hopefully, I can go back to those towns and work again. 

SO: Definitely. I spoke to Papo Esco a few weeks ago, and he said the other good thing about it as well is that it’s more places to work, so as performers, it gives you more options, more places to go, which can’t be a bad thing.

JC: No, it can’t be a bad thing. You know, anytime that we get an opportunity to do what we love to do and do it in front of a support system like a fan base, either virtual or in person, it’s always a pleasure. It’s always a blessing in disguise to be able to do that type of a thing. So, yeah, if it’s the Gulf Coast, I’d love to be there. If it’s Atlanta, I’d love to go back, you know. I’m more familiar with the city, now that I’ve gone with the NWA. So yeah, it’s all good.

SO: If you could wrestle anyone grappler from the Memphis roster that they’ve got at the moment, who would it be, do you think?

JC: Well, you know, that’s a great question, and I’m gonna throw a name out there. So, he appeared on the first episode of Memphis as a tag team. I believe they wrestled as the Hollywood Blondes, but Adam Swayze and Rex. Those two guys actually started after I did in my old training facility in the Northern Wrestling Federation in Cincinnati. So, for us to cross paths after not having seen them for years, it would be such a great chance to be able to go back and to be able to wrestle them and show kind of what the Mid-West has to offer, especially now that I’ve had experience working a number of other organizations and I can bring that to the table. I think we’ve always put great matches on in the past, Adam and I have, and so, to be able to put that onto a little bit of a bigger stage such as Championship Wrestling from Memphis would be fantastic. So, I know it’s a little out there to say a tag team, but I’ll choose a partner, maybe Brett Michaels and I will team back up again, and we’ll give you a little taste of what Mid-wear wrestling is really all about.

SO: Hey, I’d be down for that, I’d be absolutely down for that! They’re doing really well at the moment, the Box Office Blondes, in OVW…

JC: Yeah!  OVW has really taken off under the leadership of Al Snow. You have people like, like you said, the Blondes. You have Star Rider, somebody else who just picked up one of their singles titles and came from the same facility that I trained at. So it’s so great to see those guys get opportunities like that, and when I left Cincinnati , you know, OVW was almost dwindling until Al Snow really picked up those reins and made it to what it is today, making all of these relationships. So, it’s something that I would love to go back and wrestle in, maybe some time in the future, when I go back to the Mid-West, but yes, they’ve been doing some great work in OVW.

SO: Definitely. I’d be game to see you maybe take on Mr Pectacular (OVW National Heavyweight Champion Jessie Godderz)!

JC: (laughs) Right! Yeah, no, it’s funny. I crossed paths with AJZ, who I believe wrestles on OVW, at New Japan Strong. And so, it was, again, so crazy to have come out here and now they’re coming out here. You know, I havent known AJZ from a different promotion in the past, but I wouldn’t be opposed to coming back to Louisville or coming back to Cinncinatti and making the trip down to Louisville to meet them on their own home turf.

SO: That would be awesome. I’d be down for that, definitely. What’s the experience of working for New Japan Strong been like? Were you a New Japan wrestling fan before you wrestled for the promotion?

JC: Man, New Japan Strong, I can’t say enough great things about that locker room. The best group of guys doing the best type of work here in America, and to be able to showcase to Japan, the Japanese audience, the type of work we’re doing over here is always, always, always a blessing because they get to kinda see a different side to maybe something that they’re not used to, right, and I think a lot of the styles are very similar but different in that regard. So as a performer, I’ve grown leaps and bounds working with those guys showing me the Japanese style versus the American style and vice versa. So I’ll say that right off the bat that working for New Japan Strong has been one of the best and most rewarding experiences of my career, and I look forward to continue to working with them.

And again, great group of guys. There’s so many people in the back that I’d love to work with. I’d love to wrestle again Fred Rosser. Fred Rosser remains one of my favourite matches of my career, not just on New Japan Strong. So if you haven’t seen it, you can check it out on Fite TV, but Fred is great. There’s so much additional talent back there that I’d love to work with. And now that we have people like Karl Anderson, Doc Gallows and Jon Moxley, people that have been really kind of supporting the brand in the past, right, have come from there. My hope is that we’ll see more of that moving forward, coming through New Japan Strong, even though we haven’t seen it yet, maybe Moxley on occasion, but again, it would be so cool to be able to be reunited with people that mentored me in the wrestling industry, like the Karl Andersons and the Doc Gallows, to come through, to see them on New Japan Strong, reuniting their past experience with New Japan, to be able to work with us younger guys. There’s so much potential there, right, but it is yet to remain and to be seen.

SO: Yeah, absolutely! Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows have got that New Japan history with the Bullet Club, but I also believe it was Karl Anderson who told you if you wanted to make it in wrestling you needed to leave Ohio. Is that right?

JC: Exactly. So, to be able to cross paths on a different stage is rewarding on so many different levels because it’s rewarding as a performer, it’s rewarding as fans who hopefully get to see my work on a greater scale, but also to be able to, one day to be able to sit there with him and say, ‘look, this is the direct path that you kinda opened the door for me and here it is coming to fruition, is, you know, more of a personal reward than it is a professional one. I welcome the opportunity, I look forward to it should it happen in the future, but, you know, I do think that one day, whether it’s New Japan of America, New Japan in actual Japan, or maybe even in AEW or in Impact, I’ll cross paths with Karl again.

SO: Do you think we could see Jordan Clearwater being “Too Sweet”?

JC: Always! Always, brother, always. And that remains, I’ll say, since we’re on the topic of New Japan, one person I haven’t wrestled in that locker room that I think is, if not already THE man or the up-and-coming man is El Phantasmo. I would absolutely love to wrestle him and to be able to have my talent showcased against his would be perfect, speaking of another Bullet Club member (laughs).

SO: Absolutely, I mean, he’s phenomenal as well.

JC: Phenomenal!

SO: Yeah, absolutely. Well, having trained with Blake ‘Bulletproof’ Troop to enhance your fighting and MMA skills, do you find you’re able to put those into practice more in New Japan, or do you find they’re more suited to the wrestling you’re doing in New Japan as opposed to other promotions?

JC: Yeah, you know, when you think of New Japan, you hear the words ‘Strong Style,’ right, and it means a lot of different things for a lot of different people. You know, people who are in the wrestling business consider it a way of wrestling, people that are maybe outside of the wrestling business consider it almost a peek behind the curtains type of a term where they get to understand that these guys are more physically active in the ring. But I think ‘Strong Style’ means more than just what it represents. It’s everything that we do in New Japan. And by virtue, it’s totally different from what I do at the NWA or what I do on maybe a local show or even Championship Wrestling from Hollywood.

So, for that reason, I think the training with Bulletproof helps translate better onto the New Japan screen because of just the authenticity behind the sport, and the emphasis that New Japan places on the sport of Professional Wrestling versus the entertainment value. I think that’s there and there’s character development there as well, but just the entire idea and style of wrestling that I worked with Bulletproof just translates better to New Japan. But ultimately, I think I’m using different bits and pieces across Hollywood or maybe the NWA or maybe New Japan, because it’s applicable everywhere, right? And Blake is somebody that’s such a good trainer but also someone that’s such a good listener in a sense that he can notice different things that you could work on or different, unique ways to do things. So there’s always a home for that in wrestling. Any way that you can differentiate yourself, I think, is probably for the best.

SO: What was it like training with Blake Troop?

JC: Man, to tell you man, it was a great experience. I welcome the opportunity, I know he’s working in Florida and I wish that we had a little bit more time to train together here in California because it was such a different style of training. It’s something that I’ve never done before, it’s something that I really cherished because it taught me a lot just as an athlete, but also as a person, you need different ways to do different things. And again, like I said, Blake takes the time, you know. We spent hours in the gym, hours kind of combing through everything piece by piece because it was something that was so important to me, and he sat down and took the time with me. If you get the chance to follow him on Twitter, he’s always posting different things, always different grapples with people like Aron Stevens or Matt Sydal, who he’s training with in Florida.

So I think he’s on the right track. I tell him every time that I see him, I say, ‘Blake, you keep doing what you’re doing,’ because there’s a place for that in wrestling now more than there’s ever been. And so, I think being able to learn that and add a little bit of that into my arsenal, even though that’s his thing, it always could benefit me more and more. So again, I wish that I could have done it more with Blake before he had trained in Florida, but the little that I did, I welcomed it man because it was such a great experience. 

SO: It’s funny you should say there’s always a place for that kind of MMA style in wrestling. It’s almost, to me, sometimes it feels like the MMA, when you bring that into pro wrestling, it feels like a modern updating of your Lou Thez, that old style. It’s almost like going back to that old style but making it for a modern audience. It’s almost like that technical fighting (style) has come back in vogue almost.

JC: Right. It’s almost like that has become the new norm in wrestling, whereas they (MMA organisations) were seen as competition a lot when UFC started to come up. Now it’s almost transitory, you know. People that are in MMA, it’s almost assumed that they can go into wrestling, right, because there’s, like you said, an emphasis that’s been placed on that type, the reinvention, not the reinvention of the wheel but almost the updating of the wheel in the sense that we had the Lou Thez or we had the ‘Hands of Steel’, we had Ronnie Garvin. We had people that kind of prided themselves on a punch or the way that they wrestled in the ring.

And so, Blake doing that now is, exactly as you said, it’s almost the Pokemon evolution so to speak (laughs) of that genre of professional wrestling. And, you know, we keep talking about New Japan, again, that’s why it translates so well. We have that style being perfected over in Japan, the Antonio Inoki’s over the world, right, and the type of Strong stuff they put on and so, we only strive to do that in New Japan of America, and I think that the Japanese audience can see that, but we also get to add a little bit of our own flair, the Barry Windham’s in myself come out and they kind of add that spice to the mix, something that might be a little bit different but that’s welcome from an audience.

SO: I’ve got to say, your catchphrase, “Left leg hospital, right leg cemetery’, it’s awesome! I mean, if there’s ever a t-shirt with it on, I’m buying it! But I mean, how did you come up with that?

JC: There’s two things behind that saying. The first is that, that’s Blake “Bulletproof” Troop doing what he does best, you know, we were just talking…it’s kinda the way the ‘Midas Touch’ came to be my finisher. (There was) a guy, he wrestled on the NWA recently as Captain Yuma, but he used to be really involved in Hollywood, as I’m sure you’re aware, Yuma VHK, he said, ‘you do a sick big boot, right, you should consider using that as your finisher,’ because I was using the old-school bulldog for a long time.

Anyway, a guy that had wrestled in Japan before, Dickie Meyer, was sitting there and he said, ‘you should call that the ‘Midas Touch,’ you know, everything you touch turns to gold.’ So it just kinda came organically. I thought, ‘wow, that’s great.’ So I started building on it, you know, I built on it and Aron Stevens helped me build on it and fleshed out the depth in that character, but it was “Bulletproof” Troop that said ‘left leg hospital, right leg cemetery,’ which is a play on the old MMA fighter Cro Cop—I guess I shouldn’t say old—but if you look in the past, that was something he used to say with his kicks.

So it’s almost like, I think of rap and RnB and hip hop how, to pay homage, people sample their tracks, they may rap a different track over a sample in the past. That’s exactly how I see this, taking something that was somebody’s and making it our own now. I’m in a different setting, you know what I mean, I’ll totally attribute the saying to Cro Cop, he said it before I did. But I think him using it in MMA and how it translates to professional wrestling just adds that layer of sports entertainment that you ask for in athletics, right? I mean, you don’t see that often between football and baseball, or maybe basketball and soccer, right, whatever. That’s the kind of stuff that we can have fun with and play with in Professional Wrestling.

SO: The first time you said it, I was just like (jaw dropped).

JC: (Laughs)

SO: “I like it, that’s brilliant!” When I first saw you…I started watching Championship Wrestling from Hollywood last year for the first time, and it was the Memphis syndicated version on YouTube, and they were showing matches from the year previous, so I saw you for the first time last year. But when I first saw you, you were doing a really clean-cut, babyface…I think I commented in some of the reviews I was writing at the time that you reminded me of ‘The Natural’ Dustin Rhodes in the early 90s—

JC: Right!

SO:—which is showing my age, because I started watching wrestling in the early 90s, but it was a compliment, I promise you! You don’t really see that clean-cut kind of babyface much anymore nowadays. How was it for you portraying that kind of clean-cut, gentlemanly babyface?

JC: It’s me, man. It is ‘The Golden Boy.’ And that’s, what you said fits it perfectly; the Barry or Kendall Windham’s, ‘The Natural’ Dustin Rhodes, and the fact that, if you watch my career, at the very beginning stages I had the cowboy boots, the Windham cowboy boots as my first pair of wrestling boots. And so, I took a lot of inspiration from that. So I appreciate that compliment. It’s only a compliment in the sense that those are some great professional wrestlers. 

And then you even pull that forward to maybe the Lance Cades, even Randy Orton to a certain extent based on the body type, you know, so pulling inspiration from all of those guys. But ultimately, it’s who I am through and through and so I think that translates on-screen the best. You don’t see that often. It’s not often that you see a clean-cut, white meat, All-American babyface, right? It hasn’t been done in wrestling for a while. Maybe you see people like John Cena and you think, ‘ok, that’s a great example of someone that’s clean-cut.’ But yeah, everybody wants to be cool or badass now. I’m not afraid to be the person that says, you know, “I’m the nicest guy in the locker room, I’ll do business with anybody, but don’t p**s me off,” right, because there’s also an angry side to that which is what Bulletproof helped bring out in the MMA training; a little bit of an edge to maybe to the clean-cut ‘Golden Boy’ that you’re used to. That is what the ‘Golden Boy’ stands for: you work hard, you earn everything that you’ve been given, you know what I mean, you’re not entitled to anything, you’ve earned it, and I think that translates to the majority of people who go through life, working their ass off, doing whatever it is that they do, and they do it well, and we expect to be rewarded for such. So that’s kinda the genesis behind who the ‘Golden Boy’ is and who he’s become over the past couple of years. 

SO: I like it! It’s like you say…I think with the NWO and the Attitude Era in the mid-to-late 90s, because in the late 90s there was kind of a cool cynicism to popular culture anyway at that time, I think that a lot of that clean-cut, nice guy babyface, it just got kicked to the kerb. So when I first saw you, it was crazy because it was like a throwback, but you weren’t trying to be retro, but I could look at it and go, ‘wow, Dustin Rhodes,’ or Barry Windham, and it was brilliant. It made my old-school heart very happy, I can tell you (laughs).

JC: You said it best, there was almost a cultural cynicism at the time, to the point where being as clean-cut as I am would almost be heelish. It wouldn’t jive with the way that culture was going, but things have changed so much since then. We’ve seen that ebb and flow, right, and I think it was a push, a pull, and then it’s kinda pushing back again. But I think, with time, like you said, hopefully it translates across the screen as, not even retro, but just authentically me, and authentically like the Barry Windhams, and that’s what made them so great. That’s what made Ronnie Garvin so great. There was no doubt that he could throw a punch and knock someone’s tooth out, right? He was authentically himself. And so, that’s what I always strive to be.

SO: So, your training with Blake and your feud with Jack Banning seem to have brought out a more aggressive side in you, as you’ve said. And I loved how your backstage brawls with Banning looked genuinely heated and wild, as opposed to choreographed. There was real edge there, which I enjoyed. What was it like entering into Banning’s world for that feud?

JC: It was great. He’s the perfect Vader to my Luke. He is ‘Eat The Rich’ and I am THE rich in his mind, right? I am the ‘Golden Boy.’ And so, the story wrote itself, you know, and that was the best part about it because there was that authenticity, that realism behind it, again, because he had that mindset of, ‘I’ve been oppressed, I deserve this,’ and I’ve had the mindset of, ‘no, I’ve earned this.’ And so, to see those two personalities clash, it’s always larger than life, right, and I think that’s what added to that sense of realism because there’s a lot of that in society today. You know, you mentioned the cynicism of society back in maybe the late 90s where we were having a lot of that ‘screw the man,’ you know, that pushback, that attitude, the Attitude Era. But now, it’s almost taken on a different form, right, and we’ve seen how society has changed and I think it molded you either into the Golden Boy, the light, or the dark of Jack Banning. But even then man, you can apply it to, you know, a Tony Stark versus a Captain America. There’s just two sides, two schools of thought right, and which side do you lie on? And so, that’s where it got personal and I think that’s also where you saw a lot of that realism come through. The Golden Boy again is a clean-cut All American, you know, he’s going to fight his damndest by the rules, but you push him too far and you’re going to see maybe a side that you wished that you hadn’t saw. And I think we all have that within us, right, we all have that within ourselves. And so being able to let a little bit of that come through without it being too much, you know, I want you to kinda question your thought process on ‘did he cross the line here? Is this too far? Is this too much? Is this really the Golden Boy?’ Or was it just enough to wet our whistle, and so, I think we toed that line and we tried to play it the best that we could, but man, he was the perfect person to work that off, just the perfect person to kind of showcase who I am and to be able to pull out the best in him as well. 

SO: And he really did, like, there was that first match, I think, where you were pounding him in the corner at the end and the refs were trying to pull you off and you’re thinking, ‘oh wow, Jordan’s snapped!’ And then, Banning just smiles and it’s like, ‘ooh, you evil, devious…’

JC: Right!

SO: And then you go back and think, ‘well, actually, maybe he was justified, go back and hit him harder’ (laughs). It’s great.

JC: Right, exactly. You know, and it was that thought of, like, again, did you go too far, ‘Jordan’s finally snapped, he’s finally snapped.’ But then you get that look where it’s like, man, he just gets that much more, he just needs that much more, you know, and again, I think we’ve all had that story in our own lives and so, being able to watch it on-screen is something that we’ve all lived through and we can live vicariously through, you know, our wildest dreams in professional wrestling in that sense where it’s like, you’ve just been beat down so far to the point where you’ve got nothing left to lose and you let that show on camera, but there’s still some more there. There’s still that inkling of, man, either he deserved it or ‘oh, he went too far.’ Playing with those questions, oh, it’s the best.

SO: Yeah, definitely! So you’ve recently made appearances with the NWA and you wrestled Heavyweight Champion Nick Aldis for the Shockwave show. How was that experience? Were you a fan of the NWA before that, were you aware of the legacy?

JC: Yes. Again, much like you, I grew up watching wrestling when it was maybe in it’s more modern era, in what they were calling maybe the PG Era or the Golden Era, right, which is kinda funny that I became the ‘Golden Boy’ and I started watching during the Golden Era, but after becoming a fan, I went back and started to really love and enjoy the tradition behind the NWA. And that’s really, when I started wrestling, my source of inspiration came from that 70s, 80s, even 60s to a certain extent, that love of deep-rooted tradition and legacy. And so, it wasn’t long before that match that I actually did an interview and I said I felt that, at this point in time, the best place to showcase my talent and my ability was on the stage of the NWA. Because of the wrestler that I’ve become, the wrestler that I’m striving to be, I think it just translates, right? They set a stage that’s unique and different than everybody else, they’re everything they claim to be, they’re not anybody else, they’re the perfect middle ground. I think Billy Corgan said it best: we’re riding right in the middle. You have AEW on one side, you have WWE on the other side, you have Impact doing its thing, but the NWA, it’s just the legacy, the tradition, and we’re right in the middle. 

And I felt like that suited me and so, put it into the universe, the universe gave it back to me in a match with Nick Aldis, and I think in that match Nick really got to see my drive and my passion for professional wrestling, but also my love and respect for the tradition behind the NWA and what it’s done. So, being able to have that old-school style match, I mean, it just flew and it gelled with him, and it remains one of the best matches of my career. I put that right up next to Fred Rosser, you know, if not above then on the same level because it did wonders for me, it did wonders for my career, but also, it gave the fans that sense of, you know, here’s a big heavyweight English wrestler versus that good old American, Barry Windham, Kendall Windham, and I think it just translated so well into what we were trying to do. And so, that match was great, it remains one of my favourites, and I was so glad that I got to do it for the NWA, and I think that’s what ultimately led to me coming back at Back For The Attack.

SO: Did they contact you to bring you back in for ‘Back For The Attack’?

JC: Yes, yes they did. And I was so grateful for that call and again, it wasn’t long before I got that call that I was putting it out there that I felt like, I didn’t just feel like, but I knew that the NWA was where I best belonged. It’s the best place for me to showcase what I’m doing now. I think the type of fan that it attracts, the type of product that they’re trying to put on is perfectly in vision with what I’m trying to do, both personally and professionally. And I can’t say that I’ve been part of a better locker room of people. The NWA, New Japan, between the two of them, man, they’ve got so many good brothers back there, it’s enough to go round (laughs).

SO: There were several of us who wanted to see more of you, in fact, on NWA Powerrr in the last season. Obviously, there was the match with Nick Aldis where Trevor Murdoch came out and Strictly Business pasted him. Will we see more of you this season?

JC: I’d say keep your eyes peeled, you know. I won’t put the cart before the horse but we just came from When Our Shadows Fall of course, you might not have seen me on the PPV but we were definitely there and there are way more stories to unfold. That’s the beautiful part of this whole thing, this is just the beginning. You know, when I was getting a lot of commentary on Discord, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, about the last season of Powerrr and about wanting to see me more on Powerrr but, you know, again, I remind everyone that patience is a virtue and that I’m brand new to the organisation. And so, it’ll unfold the way that it was always meant to organically. And I think you’re going to start to see a little bit of that on this next season of Powerrr. So I ask everybody to stay tuned, stay patient with me, stay patient with the NWA because it’s coming, it’s just a matter of time and so, I’m so glad to be able to be there, to be able to do everything they ask me, so, it’s going to be great. There’s so many good personalities for me to play off in the back that…I think you’ll be surprised to see the direction we go with the NWA.

SO: I’m looking forward to it. How excited are you about (returning to) The Chase?

JC: Oh man, it’s a dream. I’m a kid in a candy store, and that’s the thing at the end of the day that I always like to look back at, walking into the back of the arena. There is a kid inside me that would have just killed to have put my hand on a ring, and now that I’m able to walk in the back, be around the people that I grew up watching (them) wrestling and now I get to wrestle with, and ultimately, hopefully, one day create a legacy of my own and people can say, ‘oh man, you know, I grew up watching you,’ you know what I mean, ‘you influenced me, you led a different way, a different type of wrestling,’ would be so great, but I can’t help but look back and think, ‘man, this is something that I have to enjoy and really cherish,’ because the kid inside of me, man, is jumping up and down to be able to wrestle at The Chase.

I mean, you know as an NWA fan, the legacy and the tradition, you know, some of the hottest decades of professional wrestling were through The Chase at St. Louis. There’s so much tradition and legacy that I can only hope that you get to see me on that PPV because, boy, it will be a card for NWA 73, baby, I cannot wait! (laughs). I cannot wait, I’m super stoked and August couldn’t come soon enough. 

SO: Aw man, your enthusiasm is infectious, it really is!

JC: Right! I mean…it’s gotten me on fire right now, brother. Let me tell you, I’m sweating, I’m super excited. I’m gonna be training hard, I’m gonna be eating good, I’m gonna be sleeping well and you can expect to see me there, man, because I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

SO: Amazing. That weekend at The Chase, it’s almost, in a way, summing up the modern NWA in that it’s taking the legacy and updating it, in that they’re going back to The Chase, and then there’s going to be the all-female pay-per-view (NWA Empower), the first one the NWA’s ever hosted. So it’s like going back to the roots, going back to the legacy, but then actually bringing that modern development in. It’s really exciting what the NWA are doing.

JC: It is, and Mickie James said it best, you know. She said this is real. This isn’t fake. This isn’t something that we’re doing to get clout, this is real. And it is. Because the NWA has a very, very, very strong but underrated women’s division. And it’s about time that they get a stage to showcase what they have. I’ve always been so impressed with the women of the NWA. I’ll be there in attendance just to be in there for support for them, and support for the NWA, just because of how big it is for them to be able to have that stage to perform on, and it is (big). Looking back at, I can’t help but equate it to, not necessarily GLOW, but you know, there were so few opportunities for the women to really showcase their abilities back in the 70s and the 60s and the 80s. But now we get a chance to see it in its true, original authentic form, at The Chase, with the direction of Mickie James, somebody that’s got decades of experience in this industry. I couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity for the women. Super stoked for them, super excited for them.

And that’s just going to add to the overall weekend. You know, we have fan access; we have Saturday/Sunday double pay-per-view for the NWA. Plus, the Powerrr tapings throughout the week. It’s gonna be a great time to be a wrestling fan, man, there’s more than enough options out there for everybody.

SO: The NWA Family, I know, are really, really excited about The Chase and everything, so yeah, couldn’t ask for more.

JC: Right, right! And you know, I have to always take the opportunity to say that, if it wasn’t for people like you Chris, if it wasn’t for people like fans of the NWA that do things like we’re doing now, that go through the hard work and dedication that it takes you guys time to take out of your own schedule, mine, but your own schedule to type this up and to put this out there and promote us, it means the word to every single one of us because if it wasn’t for people like you, we wouldn’t have a platform to perform on and we wouldn’t have a platform to speak from, so I extend our sincere gratitude and appreciation to the fans. As always, you guys make our dreams come true, man, it’s really the case.

SO: Listen, us fans, we appreciate you. I know the Internet Wrestling Community might not always show that in the best way, but you know, the fans, they do, they really do appreciate you all.

JC: (laughs) Sure. Well, you know, as it goes for anything, there’s always good apples and bad apples in the bunch but, you know, keep your blinders on, that’s what I do, and just kinda focus on the people that have the positive things to say because the positive message is the only way to go through all this craziness in this world, right? Go through with the positive message and do what we’re doing now, just two dudes sitting here, geeking out over some old professional wrestling; it doesn’t get better than that, man! Who would’ve thought? (laughs)

SO: It’s just the fact that, with technology what it is now, I can sit here in England, you can be in California, we can just talk via Zoom. I mean, that’s crazy.

JC: Isn’t is amazing? Isn’t it crazy? But hey, Chris, I’ll tell you; as the country opens up and the world opens up more and more, like I’ve put it out before in the last podcast that I will wrestle for the NWA, I’m telling you right now, I’m putting it out for the world that I will wrestle internationally, so there will come a time when you’ll be able to not see me via Zoom but see me in person, the way it was meant to be. I’m telling you, I’m putting it out there. You can see me in England, you can see me in the UK. I’m making it a purposeful journey to go over there within the next year and to be able to get my face international. 

SO: Oh, that’s awesome! I’ll be there, I’ll be there in attendance.

JC: (laughs) I hope so, brother. I’ll ‘Too Sweet’ you in the crowd.

Credit: Justin Cotterell

SO: Awesome! Well, I understand that you first discovered wrestling…you were wrestling with your brother and you put the TV on and it was Raw, it was Triple H; when about would that have been? You said you started watching around the PG Era.

JC: Oh yeah. I’ll tell you, we were doing what kids do, we were just roughhousing, you know. My brother, he said, “oh man, have you ever seen this? You should check this out.” And it was Monday, you know, he turns on the television, (it’s) Monday Night Raw, and I just see…this had to have been, like, 07, 08, you know, and I’m dating myself. Everyone’s gonna be, ‘oh he’s so young, 07, 08.” But just bear with me, bear with me, you know? I’ve seen a lot, I’ve watched a lot in my years. But 07, 08, Triple H as a babyface. He’s tanned, he’s jacked and he’s just beating the crap out of Kofi Kingston, a young Kofi Kingston at that, and I thought, ‘man, this is what I want to do! This is who I am, you know what I mean? It was just so awe-inspiring and that moment, that 15 seconds, changed my life. 

And so, I went on from there to really get invested into the Triple H-Randy Orton storyline, WrestleMania 25. It was so great; a true heel and true babyface in my mind. And WrestleMania 25, what a great WrestleMania of course. You had Shawn and ‘Taker. So, my love only grew from there. And I travelled the world to follow wrestling, you know. I’ve been lucky to have been a part of four, five WrestleMania’s myself. Countless Raw’s, SmackDown’s, New Japan—you had asked me if I was a fan before ever wrestling there—it came gradually after the fact as I began to watch more wrestling. But man, that’s the era that I started in. That’s the…Shelton Benjamin, CM Punk was just really getting started, Chris Jericho—uber heel at the time in the suit. Man, I loved it. One of my favourite, favourite characters (is) suited up Jericho, I mean, that stays top of my mind. It probably goes Triple H, Chris Jericho and CM Punk right after, you know, because the ‘Pipe Bomb’ came shortly after that and that was shattering the fourth wall for me. My mind was blown. It was just absolutely blown. The angsty teen inside of me, Chris, was screaming (laughs).

SO: It’s funny you should mention the ‘Pipe Bomb’ because now, we’re so used to people maybe breaking the fourth wall, or wrestlers going to Twitter, but at the time, the CM Punk thing, it did seem shocking, it did seem groundbreaking. Even though—and I’m showing my age now—we’d had Brian Pillman when he started to do the ‘Loose Cannon’ and called Kevin Sullivan “booker man” and all that, but the ‘Pipe Bomb’ was, again, groundbreaking in that respect.

JC: Right, and it’s all about the evolution, you know, it’s all evolved. And so, it’s almost very much akin to “Austin 3:16 says I just whipped your ass” at King of the Ring for the first time ever. You know what I mean, the dawning, the canon of the…you mentioned Brian Pillman; the launching pad of a generation, right, the launching pad of a movement to me was CM Punk was to us as Marvel is to us as Star Trek was to the generation before us, you know what I mean? And it’s only the natural progression, it’s only the evolution of wrestling. And so, for it to be breaking the fourth wall, to me, to you, to fans at that time, was ‘wow! Is this real, is this not real?’, you know what I mean, the ultimate question. And for them to have done what they did at Money in the Bank, I’ll never forget that match. It was storytelling at its finest. And again, it’s the Star Trek of our generation. It’s how Avengers is to us was how Lord of the Rings was to a generation before us type of a thing.

And it’s the way that I see myself and Nick Aldis, you know. Somebody posted the photo of us at Powerrr, saying ‘Jordan Clearwater looks like the natural evolution of Nick Aldis,’ and that’s the best way that I can describe myself and the way that I do wrestling. You know, Nick Aldis is the Charizard to my Charmander (laughs), who I strive to become, you know what I mean, that type of wrestling and a large part of the inspiration for me wanting to wrestle internationally too. So anyway, I know that was a long answer to your question, but yes, that’s where (laughs).

SO: No, that was good! A question I wanted to ask you is, there’s a lot of discussion on the internet at the moment about ‘flippy’ wrestling, sports entertainment, perhaps a desire for a more serious, sports-based presentation. What’s your idea of perfect pro wrestling, and do you have maybe a promotion or an era or even just a Supercard that defines perfect wrestling or a perfect moment in wrestling for you?

JC: That’s such a good question because growing up in professional wrestling, I grew up with a very stringent set of rules. Wrestling was a, b, c, d, you know. This is wrestling, this is how you wrestle. And I grew into that so, so tightly that it wasn’t until I took Karl Anderson’s advice and I left Ohio that I realised that wrestling is what we make it. Wrestling is so subjective. It’s not objective, it’s subjective. What works for somebody might not work for somebody else. What works in Japan might not work in Mexico. What works in America might not work elsewhere, you know. And that’s the beauty and the art behind it because there’s so much different wrestling, you know. And so, again, you might ask somebody, ‘no, the perfect Supercard has to be like New Japan; strong, it’s hard-hitting, it’s believable.’ And then somebody might say, ‘no, it’s the Orange Cassidy’s of the world,’ right? How is that considered wrestling, right? You had the whole dive controversy, dive, dive, dive, dive, dive, dive, right? Because people were tweeting about how everybody’s doing dives, but again, I think that there’s a market for everything. You have AEW doing the one side. AEW is presenting one type of product, right? Then you have the WWE presenting a different type of product.

And that’s why I always default to the NWA as being the perfect middle ground. Again, I would urge you to watch Powerrr because there’s going to be some great television coming where you’re gonna see a good mix of both; we have comedy here; we have the high-flying here; we have the old-school traditional wrestling here, and that’s why I say the NWA is the perfect middle ground. It is the middle ground of professional wrestling, the middle ground of sports, because you get to see people that are on New Japan at the NWA; Fred Rosser, myself. You get to see people that have been at the WWE, that have been at AEW, on the NWA. And so, we’re the best showcase of all the different types of professional wrestling. And so, I think that’s what people enjoy us for as well. But, you know, I think there’s a million ways to do it. What gets over in Chicago isn’t going to get over in Pennsylvania, that type of a thing, and so it’s very subjective, it’s wrestling the way it’s meant to be.

Again, I wrestled last night, and seeing me on television, you might expect me to come out and have a super, uber-serious match. But you know, I think we spent fifteen minutes wrestling around a piece of gum, and the crowd reaction was just phenomenal. So it’s organic, it’s whatever becomes organic.

And this is the last thing I’ll say on it. Eddie Guererro had a great way of looking at it. And without getting too much into the ins and outs of the actual sport of professional wrestling, I urge everyone to read…there’s a great story in Chris Jericho’s book about Eddie Guerrero, where he walked out through the curtain and the match was different every night and he was wrestling Jericho. I mean, could you imagine wrestling Eddie Guerrero? Like, man, I couldn’t imagine it, I’d be nervous and anxious through the roof and so is Jericho, right, but Jericho said it was different every night. And eventually, after the third night, he was like ‘Eddie, what’s going on?’ right, like, why are we wrestling a different match every night?

And he says, ‘because the first night I heard there was a very loud, high-pitched tinge to the crowd. That tells me there’s a lot of women and children. What do they want to see? Women and children wanna see PG, good old professional wrestling, some comedy spots. The next night. it smelt like beer and there was this bellyache over the arena. Bunch of dudes, they don’t wanna see titty twisters and arm wringers, they wanna see some good old brawling wrestling. And then the last night was a mix of everybody so we gave them that high-paced, fast action match that they were looking for’, but at the end of the day it was always different and it was always organic. So that’s the best way that I can describe wrestling—it’s always different and it’s always organic.

SO: I hadn’t actually heard that story before, that’s amazing. Eddie was brilliant anyway…

JC: Brilliant, yes, brilliant.

SO: One of my favourites. But yeah, that element of knowing your audience as well…there’s a lot of arguments where people go, ‘this is what wrestling is, this is how wrestling should be.’ And it seems a futile argument to me when, at the end of the day, it’s something that people are getting enjoyment out of…

JC: Right!

SO: It’s not politics at the end of the day, it’s wrestling. People are getting enjoyment out of it, so why…I like AEW; I might not like everything they do…

JC: Sure.

SO: …I wouldn’t begrudge somebody else’s enjoyment of AEW.

JC: Exactly. And that’s where the internet wrestling community and I don’t see eye to eye, right. I have my own personal opinion on how I feel wrestling should be, how it should be presented. But I don’t share that opinion with the world because the world has a different opinion than I do and that’s totally ok. It’s all about perspective. The second that somebody draws a line in the sand and says, ‘no, it has to be this way,’ there’s always gonna be a million people on one side that say no, and a million people on the other side that say yes. Just like you said. I might love AEW, I might love WWE. Are there some things that I dislike about either promotion? Maybe. But who’s to say that that’s up to me, you know what I mean? People like different parts of wrestling, and that’s what makes wrestling so enjoyable. You and I, Chris, could look at the Mona Lisa and I could say, ‘Wow, look at that potato forehead, I don’t think that looks great at all.’ And you could be like, ‘this is the Mona Lisa, it’s the greatest painting of all time!’ Who’s to say?

Wrestling is an art, the canvas is our craft. We go, we perform, the people that enjoy, they watch, the people that don’t. they turn it off. That’s the best PART about COVID; it let us wrestle authentically without a crowd and as a fan, you guys had the opportunity to tune in or tune out, and that’s what told us what was working or what wasn’t. It was a great thought experiment and it was exactly the way that you said it; you might like some things, you might not like some things, but at the end of the day, who’s to say? You know, we can all join in together as wrestling fans and have a great time.

SO: And that was the other thing. Obviously, you’ve got niche promotions maybe, but Mick Foley had the theory about the three-ring circus. He said if you don’t like the horses, you might like the jugglers. If you don’t like the jugglers, you might like the clowns. So he took the line of, you know, having variety on a card, there’s a bit of something for everyone.

JC: Right!

SO: But then you could say that with niche promotions—there’s a promotion for everyone.

SO: Right, exactly. You might see my style on a GCW, you might not, but you’re gonna see a different type of style that you wouldn’t see in a Jordan Clearwater match. I can’t do everything nor do I want to do everything. I don’t wanna be a jack of all trades, I wanna be a master at what I do and I want to do it the best that I can. But again, you’re not going to get every type of flavour in my match. You might not get the comedy, the high-flying and the old traditional. You might get a little bit, you might get one or two, or you might just get one. But that’s what you said, the three-ring circus. That’s why we have all of these different shows. But ultimately, where did wrestling come from? It’s carny in its roots, right? It’s carny in its roots. So, we are what we make of it, and that’s just professional wrestling

SO: Yeah, absolutely. I think that’s brilliant, I think that’s a brilliant attitude to have.

JC: Right, right. It’s entertainment, it’s entertainment. If you can’t turn on the TV and find something that’s entertaining about it, then we’re doing it wrong, you know what I mean? And that’s what I think it comes down to.

SO: Yeah, absolutely. I agree with that 100 per cent. Well, I’ll ask one last question, Jordan.

JC: Hit me with it.

SO: You started wrestling when you were eighteen, I believe; you’re twenty-four now—which make me feel old because I’m thirty-five (laughs)—

JC: (laughs) Don’t worry! Don’t worry, somebody the other day at a show said, ‘how old are you again?’ and I was like, ’24,’ and they were like, ‘man, you’re getting old.’ I thought, ‘what?!?’ It was just four years ago, Chris, that people were like, ‘oh brother, you’re young, you’ve got the rest of your career ahead of you.’ Again, last night I was talking to Sid Bodey. I said, ‘Sid, I’ve been wrestling for almost seven years, I feel old.’ And he was like looking at me, you know, been wrestling for twenty, thirty-plus years, and he said, “trust me, kid, it goes by fast.” And now I understand (laughs).

SO: (laughs) Well that’s it, I mean, you’re twenty-four now, you have got a lot of years left in the business—touch wood. What’s the ultimate goal for the ‘Golden Boy?’ Where do you want to get to?

JC: Well, you know, I’m doing so many different things right now, and when I got into professional wrestling my ultimate goal was…my ultimate goal really and truly, and the person who put it in the best way was, my ultimate goal is to wrestle as many times as I can against the best people that I can. And the person that said that best was Triple H in ‘Making the Game.’ His goal, coming out of the gym and getting into professional wrestling, was to be able to wrestle as many times as he can and wrestle against the best people that he can. For him, that became WCW and ultimately the WWE and that’s what he told Vince McMahon, and if I was sitting in front of Triple H today, I’d tell him the exact same thing. Is it about making money? Sure. Would you like to provide for your family and kids? Certainly. Would you like to have fun in doing it? Yes. But how are you going to get all those things? By being the best that you can be. And that’s what I want to do, whether it be at the NWA, whether it be at New Japan, whether it be at the WWE or AEW or Impact or whatever, I want to be able to wrestle as often as I can against some of the best talent in the world and that’s my ultimate goal. I think that might sound a bit of a cop-out. Of course, a lot of people say, ‘I wanna be the WWE superstar, I wanna be the AEW superstar,’ but my thoughts behind wrestling have changed so much since I’ve gotten into it. I’m doing so many different things. I’ve got a bodybuilding competition coming up this weekend; I’m back to the NWA, back to New Japan, so I’m doing all these different things. And so, I would love, love, love just to be able to wrestle all over the world and to be able to have fun doing it. 

SO: It sounds like a good goal to me!

JC: Hey, look brother, that sounds like a pretty good life! If I can do that and live the life of a rock star, I’ll be happy, man. It doesn’t matter how much money I make and it doesn’t matter the amount of clock that I get, as long as I can wrestle as much as I can I’ll be happy.


Displaying an attitude much older and wiser than his years, Jordan Clearwater’s love and passion for pro wrestling is fully evident from our conversation and, as I said during the interview, his enthusiasm really is infectious. Proving that you can nod to the past and yet still be very much in the present, Jordan really does have a very bright future ahead of him and we at Sports Obsessive wish him every success.

Hey, Mr Aldis: How about one more shot at the Ten Pounds of Gold for ‘The Golden Boy?’

Written by Chris Flackett

Chris Flackett is a writer for 25YL who loves Twin Peaks, David Lynch, great absurdist literature and listens to music like he's breathing oxygen. He lives in Manchester, England with his beautiful wife, three kids and the ghosts of Manchester music history all around him.

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