Exclusive: An Interview With H2O Wrestling World Heavyweight Champion Austin Luke

Austin Luke, the current and longest-reigning H2O Wrestling World Heavyweight Champion has seen it all in his reign as king of H2O. From his rise through the rankings back on the first episode of H2O Undiscovered to his student vs. teacher match against the absolute best in Matt Tremont. As the years progressed, Luke only improved as he reached the top before having to do it all over again this past year.

It has been five years since Luke made his pro wrestling debut under H2O Wrestling and in that amount of time, he has honed his craft, and feuded with best friends and mentors, while also proving time and time again that he earned his spot by clawing his way to it and sacrificing everything to show that he is one of the best in the pro wrestling game today.

From winning the H2O World Heavyweight Championship against Colby Corino to doing it all over again when he defeated One Called Manders which has led him to becoming the longest-reigning champion in H2O Wrestling history. The advice that Luke has been given alongside the losses he’s learned from has only made him into a bigger threat than anyone could imagine and he’s only just getting started.

Luke is set to make title defense #16 at H2O’s 8th Anniversary Show where he will battle Deklan Grant once again, but this time in a Dog Collar Match on night #1. had the privilege to conduct this interview with the champion and he did not hold back at all when talking about other challengers for his title.

Question #1: So before we talk about the present day, and your upcoming match at the eighth anniversary show, it has been five years since you came to the H2O scene. You kicked off your debut with a hard fought loss against Jordan Oliver on the first ever episode of H2O Undiscovered. Fast forward all the way to Episode 33 where you picked up a huge win in your first year against the man that opened the doors for you, Matt Tremont. Reflecting on your rookie year, what have you learned that has helped you in year five of your career?

Austin Luke: In my first year of wrestling, I mean, because of how limited my knowledge was already, obviously, it was so much information I learned a lot my first year having people to wrestle like Jordan Oliver and Matt Tremont, people like that I learned so much from having my first match with Jordan Oliver is kind of crazy, especially to see where he’s at now and see where both of us are at now. It’s amazing, I would not have gotten to the skill set or the ability that I have now, without that match with Jordan without having him. That’s just one person that I could sing his praises all day. One of the best wrestlers on the Indies right now. Nobody does it like him. Nobody’s really much better than Jordan and to have him as my first match. That’s something that I will my whole career be proud of. Because of the fact that it’s on YouTube kind of sucks, because that means anybody that looks me up can see my first match. And it’s my first match. I mean, obviously it didn’t great. It ain’t you know, it’s my first match. But having Jordan Oliver to do it with it’s way better than most other first matches could have been. So you know, having people like that to wrestle all the way from the beginning. And then wrestling Tremont like, obviously, he was my trainer, I learned a lot from Matt and then getting a match with him. It was definitely like a test. It was one of those things like we didn’t talk the whole day leading up to the match. Like he wouldn’t talk to me. no words, nothing. We just didn’t say anything. And then I was like, So what are we doing? And he goes, ‘See you out there, buddy.’ I didn’t know who was winning. I didn’t know anything about it. I had no clue what was going on. And we went out there and we wrestled and I learned from Matt like that’s how you learn how to work by not knowing what you’re doing. That’s when you learn how to, you know, figure out what you do. And so that’s how I learned quick. That’s how I learned the right way.

Question #2: At the end of 2020, you and Marcus Mathers became the H2O Tag Team Champions. It only lasted a month and you soon grew frustrated, you turned your back on them. And then you two went on to have three matches against each other. You won the first singles. You won the deathmatch, and then you lost the I quit match at the Sixth Anniversary show in 2022. How much has it helped to be around guys like Mathers, Dylan McKay and Reed Walker and what is some advice you’ve given them and they’ve been able to give back to you?

Austin Luke: I mean, they’re good friends of mine. They were always people I like traveling with, they’re always somebody if I had to fill my car with people, they were the two that would ask but when it comes to Marcus Mathers, to this day, I’ll say he’s the best wrestler I’ve ever been in the ring with. He really is that that dude. I say that kid and I don’t mean it in like, like, I’m not calling him a kid. But he’s my little brother. He’s legit. Like, I don’t think there’s anybody I’ve gotten closer to through pro wrestling than Mathers. I text them as often as I can remember, but advice that I’ve given them. I mean, it’s funny because I may have wrestled a little bit longer than all of them. But I mean We all kind of started the same to like it, we were right next to each other, it was all in order. We all started, we all travel together. And so like, if I ever give market advice, it’s never wrestling related. It’s always real life stuff is always hit me up, whether it be girl troubles, which I’m still not great at helping them out with, but it’s whatever, you know, Marcus will hit me up and like, he really is my closest friend I’ve made in wrestling. Those matches we did are some of my like, most favorite, some of my proudest work. I mean, as much as I love them, it’s just so much fun to beat the shit out of them. I mean, all those matches we did it was it was a blast. I loved hitting them with things. But of course, they hit me with things back. The I quit match is still the most blood I’ve lost in a wrestling match to this day. I still have scars all over my body because of it. People ask me all the time, like if I’m at the gym, even at work, they’re like, dude, what happened to you? Like, oh, my best friend did this to me, you know, and that’s a weird thing to tell people. But it’s kind of funny, but ya know, I learned a lot about how to like, tell a good story with Marcus. That’s all I really wanted was to just tell a really good story over that whole year feud that we did. And it’s to this day, still my proudest work, I think, that I’ve ever made in wrestling, and I’m very proud of that deathmatch we did. And it was probably my like, first and last real deathmatch. I never planned on doing many more than that. It’s kind of what made that one so special with him as my best friend. You know, that was that was the one and done. We did our thing. And then I left it alone. I was like, Yeah, that’s it, you know, I believe in it. That was fun.

Question #3: At the H2O show Like A Hoss in 2022, you lost to ‘Speedball’ Mike Bailey in a match that had brought you a couple of key moments. He put up a video of that match on how to become a better wrestler and it featured you with the feedback he gave. How much has that helped you in the last two years? And what would you say about a veteran like Mike Bailey, who wants to bring out the best in everyone.

Austin Luke: So Speedball’s not only like one of the best wrestlers in the world. He’s one of the best wrestling trainers and coaches. He has a way of wording his advice that like, you can’t not understand what he says. It’s impossible not to learn when you’re wrestling and he was someone who was the first person I really wrestled that I had watched before I started wrestling. I’ve watched Speedball for a long time. And when that match got announced, I wasn’t told. The match graphic just went out. And I was like, Wow, I can’t believe I’m actually getting to wrestle that dude. And not only is he one of the best, he’s one of the nicest people. Yeah, I wish every wrestling veteran was like Mike Bailey, because the wrestling business would be a much better place. And there’d be a lot better wrestlers out there for sure. Man that match. I kind of like, I wish I could wrestle him again. Because since then, since that advice he’s given me, I’m way better than I was at that point in time. I’m a different person. I’m a different wrestler. And it was because of the advice he gave me. You know? Yeah, there’s not many better than Speedball when it comes to what I said, his wrestling ability, but his coaching and his methods of teaching. He helps everybody and all of the best independent wrestlers on the scene right now will still ask Speedball for his advice and his help because he’s just that good. He really is. I’ll sing their praises all day. They’re the best.

Question #4: You won the H2O Wrestling World Championship twice. The first time wasn’t truly wanting to be remembered because of course it lasted a day. But you did win the title from Colby Corino before you lost it next night to One Called Manders. You clawed your way back to the top and 10 months later, you’re able to exact revenge and defeat Manders to win back the championship. What did that moment mean for you to get back to the top and be the world champion once again?

Austin Luke: That reaction that night when I beat Colby Corino, it probably would have felt better than when I beat Manders if he wasn’t the guy that took it from me because, you know, I fought Corino that day I got really hurt. My shoulder was already pretty busted going into it. I’ve had problems with my left shoulder since high school, I tore my rotator cuff wrestling there. And it’s given me problems ever since to that night. I mean, it’s pretty bad and obviously when you like compensate for an injury, you kind of hurt everything else, you know, as much as it made my shoulder worse, my whole body really was going through it. And then Manders challenged me immediately. Soon as the match was over. As soon as I beat Colby, he challenged me for the next night. And the testosterone in me wouldn’t let me say no, of course, I had to say yes, you always have to accept the challenge. I accepted it, it was the next day. And I was already beat up, I was already sore. And I’m sure Manders was too but that night, he beat the tar out of me, man. He’s another guy, I love him. He’s amazing on the independence. But when he took the belt for me, it was an extra day, you know, there’s no way that can feel good for anybody. I mean, it definitely took the wind out of my sails a bit. It kind of crushed me. But I’m glad that happened. You know, I’m glad I lost it the next day, because then when I finally took it from him, it had to be him. And I said at one point, it wasn’t even about being champion. It was about making sure that he wasn’t anymore. And when I finally took that belt from that felt, I felt amazing.

Question #5: Throughout this historic reign, you’ve been able to lock horns with the likes of Gabriel Skye, Matt Makowski, Frank Bonetti, Ryan Redfield, GG Everson, Dominick Denaro, Leroy Robinson, Kennedi Hardcastle, Bam Sullivan, Tank, Joey Janela, Homicide, Jimmy Lyon, so many names you’ve been able to go against. How much has that helped you evolve the game to match certain styles against certain veterans in the game today?

Austin Luke: The best part about all the different people I’ve faced with my championship defenses is they’ve all been so different from one another. Joey Janela is so different from someone like Tank who is insanely different from Matt Makowski. Having this variety of challengers. It’s forced me to adapt to all of them. And that kind of makes it easier when you have a new challenge to be a lot more comfortable going into it. I’m not nervous anymore. I’m not like, man, I’ve never wrestled this guy. I’m kind of scared. Maybe this is the one No, I’ll be fine. I’ve wrestled people, I didn’t know what to expect from before it, you know, it’s really data. It just helps you kind of know what to expect when you have no idea what to expect and stuff like that. I mean, do you think about all those challenges that I’ve wrestled all those people, not just the amount of people the amount of time probably spent in the ring with these guys? Me and Joey went close to 40 minutes, stuff like that. Me and Gabe Skye, I think he was my first title offense and that match you can tell throughout every title defense, something changes in me and I feel it every time. Every time I retain the title. It feels easier in some matches. And I say easier, but obviously, the matches aren’t easier. I kind of expect myself to win. And I know that sounds a little arrogant, but like, I know nobody can take it from me. I’ve seen everybody that’s come through the doors at H2O. The only way someone’s going to take it from me is if it’s someone that is somewhere else. I said that to Deklan. I’ll tell everybody again. The only way someone’s taking this belt from me is if someone comes from another country or another company that is the only way. I am forever the H2O Wrestling Heavyweight Champion.

Question #6: Speaking of Deklan (Grant), he is a former H2O Wrestling Heavyweight World Champion who you’re set to face at the eighth anniversary show, a man you’ve had the upper hand against on two occasions as the current champion, both in a multi man match and singles competition, with the last one coming on the first of April, you’re also up three to nothing against him since 2021, and a stipulation Like a Dog Collar match, and Grant really having nothing to lose. It seems like not a lot of people will believe in him, everyone knows that Austin Luke has the upper hand here since you’ve already done it multiple times before. Who do you think? What do you think you’re going to have to pull out to make sure you walk out of there with your head held high, and the championship over your shoulder?

Austin Luke: Again, I don’t mean to sound arrogant, but it’s easier when I have something like a chain in a dog collar match. You know? I tell everybody, I don’t need weapons. I don’t need glass or barbed wire, chairs, doors, ladders, whatever. I’ll get the job done with three ropes, four corner posts and three turnbuckle pads. That’s all I need. That’s all I need to win a wrestling match. I don’t need anything more. I don’t need weapons. When you give me a weapons, it just makes my life easier. Deklan Grant on any other occasion would give me a run for my money. Obviously, you saw Monday Night Death, I wrestled and that was one of the stiffest matches, I got knocked out very early because he punched me in the side of the head, right into the temple, right on the snooze button. And I had very little memory of the rest of that match. Which just kind of makes me a little more angry going into this one having the dog collar and this was his idea. He wanted to put a collar around my neck and attached to the chain. Alright, man, whatever you want. I don’t really care. It’s just another day. It’s just another title defense. At the end of the day. That’s all they are. I did a TLC match with Alec Stretch. I could have beat him in a regular match. But, you give me Ladders and Chairs and it’s easy peasy. All I got to do is hit the guy. I’m not a hardcore wrestler. I’ve already said that. I’ve done hardcore matches. I’ve done deathmatch, and I’ve only done them to prove that I’m not a wimp. As stupid as that sounds, I’m not scared of them. I don’t care. It’s fine. I’ll do it. Whatever. I don’t have to do them. Because I don’t need barbed wire only chairs. I don’t need glass. I don’t need weapons. I have hands. Just do it with ease. I have elbows, shins, feet, knees, you got eight points of contact on the human body. I don’t need ladders and lights to do that, you know what I mean? Like, it’s just how I’ve always been.

Question #7: If you’re able to walk out of the eighth anniversary show, still as the ACE and the H2O Wrestling World Heavyweight Champion, which will be for over 310 days. Who do you see yourself standing toe to toe with? For example, at Ultraviolent Kingdom 7? And do you have any suggestion at all or have you been watching anybody that you would like to go toe to toe with in H2O?

Austin Luke: I think with the Ultraviolent Kingdom, it’s whoever wins the tournament? I guess that’s enough to earn you a title shot. I’d be willing to give them one. But if you look at the people in it, I mean, the two that I know, I’ve already beat Kennedi Hardcastle. I’ve never wrestled with Ban Sullivan in a singles match. But that’s actually a really interesting idea. I would love to do that. But again, whoever wins that Ultraviolent Kingdom, you can wrestle me all you want, but it won’t be Ultraviolent. Well, it will be but it won’t be glass and barbed wire that you’re going to have to deal with. It’s going to be me. Everyone else in H2O. I mean, like I said, you’re going to have to bring somebody in because it’s just not happening. I beat everybody there. You can look at the whole rest of the card. I mean, look at the roster at H2O. All due respect to everybody in those locker rooms. They know I love them. They know they’re my friends. But none of them wrestle like I do. None of them are on the level that I am. Bam Sullivan. He’s a great guy. He’s a great wrestler. He’s a hardcore wrestler. I’m just a wrestler. I don’t need that little hardcore status. You know what I mean? I mean, we’re going down to TW E for the Deathmatch Tournament on Halloween weekend, we’re going back down to Chattanooga. Maybe someone down there can step up, maybe one of those southerners can prove that they’re tougher than the northerners up here and they can give it their best shot. But other than that, I don’t see anybody at H2O, anywhere else in Jersey. I don’t see anybody beating me for this belt. So we’ll see.

You can watch H2O’s Eighth Anniversary Show live on June 22 and 23 on IWTV where you can witness Austin Luke vs. Deklan Grant for the H2O Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship, plus a whole lot of action that is set to go down this weekend in Williamstown, New Jersey.

  • Night One – H2O 8 F’n Years Card.
  • Death Match: Jimmy Lyon vs. Alex Stretch
  • Tag Team Death Match: GG Everson & Kennedi Hardcastle vs. Jess Moss & KillDozer
  • Tag Team Match: Completely Unstoppable Machines (Louie Jr. & Louie Ramos) vs. The South Street Survivors (Brian Neil & Duncan Aleem)
  • Eight-Man Tag Team Match: Erron Wade & President’s Cabinet (Braxx, Johnny Radex & President Hawkins) vs. Cecilio Vega, JB Anderson, Kody Manhorn & TJ Reno
  • H2O Danny Havoc Hardcore Title Saw Reborn Death Match: Neil Diamond Cutter (c) vs. Anthraxx
  • H2O Tag Team Title Match: The Michigan Pillars (Malcolm Monroe III & Tommy Vendetta) (c) vs. The Twos (Donny Luv & Frank Bonetti)
  • H2O Heavyweight Title Dog Collar Match: Austin Luke (c) vs. Deklan Grant
  • Night Two – H2O 8 F’n Years Card.
  • H2O Danny Havoc Hardcore Title No Ropes Barbed Wire Bare Boards Death Match: Neil Diamond Cutter (c) vs. Kasey Kirk
  • Mask Vs. Career Match: KillDozer vs. Brandon Kirk
  • Six-Man Tag Team Death Match: Hardcore 69 (Mad Man Pondo & Shadow WX) & Jimmy Lyon vs. Peace Love And Deathmatch (Alex Stretch, Anthraxx & Lady Blakely)
  • Singles Match: Erron Wade vs. Kody Manhorn
  • Mystery Hardcore Scramble Match: ??? vs. ???
  • Singles Match: Bam Sullivan vs. ???

(Please credit Rami Hanna and when using this interview.)

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