Interview: Pro Wrestling’s Shark Week Ambassador, Shark Boy

SHARK_BOY
Credit: sharkboy.net

Throughout the years, pro wrestling has given us some of the most unique characters in television history. There’s Goldust, who dressed in a blonde wig, a gold bodysuit and once kissed Razor Ramon square on the mouth. Then you have the Boogeyman, who inexplicably broke a clock over his head prior to each match, then ate live worms after its conclusion. There are countless others: pudding enthusiast Bastion Booger, leprechaun wrestler Hornswaggle and Doink The Clown, to name a few.

And then there’s Shark Boy, last seen on Spike TV’s “Impact Wrestling.” So in honor of Shark Week, we would be remiss in not checking in with professional wrestling’s only living, breathing representative of this pop-culture phenomenon.

Is Shark Week a special time at Casa de Shark Boy?
Shell, yeah, it is! Shark Week is one of those TV events that my son Dylan and I, like a lot of people, really look forward to every year. I was lucky enough to have been featured on a short Shark Week segment in 2000. This year we are particularly excited about “Alien Sharks of the Deep,” which airs on Thursday.

How long has Shark Boy existed?
I wrestled my first match as “Shark Boy” in Louisville, Kentucky, a little over 16 years ago.

Shark Boy is arguably one of the most unique wrestling character’s ever — which is saying a lot. How was Shark Boy born?
Initially it was inspired by the song “I Come from the Water,” by the Toadies. I heard the song on the radio and it made me visualize an underwater superhero rising from the water to battle the wrestling bad guys. I started out as a piranha, but evolved into a shark a couple of months later. “Shark Boy” just seemed to catch on better than “El Piranha.” My brother Jeremy and I designed the mask with the fin on top, and there was no going back after that!

Is the Shark Boy character a shark enthusiast? Or half man/half shark?
I actually conceived what I believe is a pretty cool background story for Shark Boy and I’m hoping to do something with it some day. It involves a cruise ship, a family of sharks and some toxic sludge. In the story, Shark Boy not only returns to land to fight the bad guys in wrestling, but he also fights anyone who pollutes the water.

You’ve become known for your spot-on “Stone Cold” Steve Austin impersonation. It’s where the “Shell, yeah!” catchphrase was born. Have you ever spoken to Steve about it?
Shell, no, I haven’t spoken to Steve Austin directly, but every comment I’ve read from him suggests that he thinks my impression is funny, and he has been nothing but supportive about it. The parody of him I do was never meant to be insulting. He is one of my all-time favorites, and what I am doing is meant to be more of a tribute to one the best performers there has ever been in wrestling. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin is a class act, period.

You laid the legal smackdown on Miramax when they released “The Adventures of Sharkboy & Lavagirl” in 2005. What can you legally say about the lawsuit?
I can’t really comment on that at all. I’m just happy it’s over and I was able to get on with my life. Lawsuits aren’t any fun for anybody.

You actually appeared on an MTV series. What are your memories of “True Life: I’m A Pro Wrestler“?
That was my first big television break. I remember the camera crew following us around for weeks while we trained, traveled to shows and even when we went and bought wrestling gear. I only wore the mask for a total of probably less than a minute on that show, but still to this day people will tell me, “I remember seeing you on MTV’s “True Life”!”

For the last decade plus, you’ve been a part of Spike TV’s “Impact Wrestling.” Are they missing the boat by not featuring “The Best of Shark Boy” on their website this week!? I mean, come on!
What’s the line from “Jaws”? “I think we’re gonna need a bigger boat.” Yes, “Impact” is missing the boat if they don’t feature me on their website during Shark Week! I couldn’t say it any better than you did. I mean, come on!

When can we expect to see Shark Boy next?
Well, everything Shark Boy-related can be found on my website. This Saturday, August 10, I am appearing in Evansville, Indiana, along with wrestling legends like Jake “The Snake” Roberts and “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan. Happy Shark Week, everybody! Shell, yeah!

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Peter Hoare (@PeterHoare) is a screenwriter and dashingly handsome humorist.