Interview: Rick Cataldo – A Matter of Pride

by on 13th August 2016

Ahead of New York Wrestling Connection’s A Matter of Pride event on 18th September, I had an opportunity to speak with one of the wrestlers involved, “The Boy Diva” Rick Cataldo.

 

For those who aren’t aware of you, who are you and how would you describe yourself?

I am “The Boy Diva” Rick Cataldo, also at times, billed as “The Baddest Bitch in the Game” due to my unapologetic nature and perception as being confrontational. I would describe myself as The Uber Diva. A very charismatic being within the Indy wrestling circuit. The line between myself and my wrestling character is very thin and not visible to the untrained eye.

How did you first discover wrestling as a fan, and what kept you watching?

I started watching it as a toddler with my father as sort of a pastime, but what kept ME watching it, and made me a passionate fan; was the women. Madusa then Sable, and soon The Divas were really my obsession growing up.

What led to you deciding that you wanted to be a wrestler too?

No one understood my desire to be involved with pro wrestling, it was all I cared about in my childhood. From being a consumer, to drawing them in my notebook, writing down fantasy cards, making scrap books of the Divas… It was nuts.

As I grew to an adolescent, when i voiced my idea of being a wrestler, everyone discouraged me and claimed it was a phase I was going through, and I’d find myself in high school and later college… Well school was never for me, I was told right before my 8th grade graduation, I was gonna be held back due to my extensive absences, fights, poor grades and skipping classes.

That day I did online research and found a wrestling school in West Paterson, New Jersey that had “teenage classes” … I dropped out of school all together, got a job as a bus boy to pay the tolls going back and forth from New York to New Jersey twice a week, and the rest is history.

Whose idea was it for this event, and what is its aim?

This is my brainchild, and comes from years of ideas of how to put this together. For a long time as a teenager, I was to my knowledge the only openly gay wrestler, who on top of that actually portrayed a flamboyant gimmick.

Years had passed, soon enough someone in Vegas popped up, then a kid in Texas, soon a transgender from California, through the beauty of social media we all became in contact with one another, some of us call each other everyday… Some only keeps tabs on, but over time we became a small unnoticed, under appreciated community.

I had wanted to get us all together, start a stable sell it to promoters across the country, do something! Only in the last 2 years did a nice little handful of young LGBT wrestlers pop up in my area, I took on a role as a mentor of sorts, especially with my current tag partner Eddy McQueen, we formed this team ‘The Fella Twins’ and are trying to get noticed, and grow any way we can; we are subjects of a Documentary currently in process, and I mentioned how I always wanted to do something for all of US.

I believe firmly in unity, and don’t wish any of my fellow gay wrestlers the negative aspects of this industry that I had to go through, combine that with due to my start as a manager, I know how to put others over; I just sold this notion to the promoters at NYWC. NYWC I consider a home, and the people behind the scenes have always had such faith in me and treated me good, and after forcing this idea presented to them… They soon gave me the greenlight and it’s only NOW hitting everyone involved that, “hey, we got something cool here!”

What are your thoughts on how wrestling has progressed over the years, along with its current state, as a fan?

As a fan I’m starting to enjoy it again, because as a fan, I only care about the women really.

And as a wrestler?

Well, this show “A Matter of Pride” means so much to me and is a culmination of how I progressed over the years and how I’m fighting for a genuine voice to be heard in such a condescending world. So I think this show as little as it may be, will leave a dent in the current state of wrestling… I say that humbly.

According to Wrestlingdata, you have only competed in USA thus far. Are there any other countries where you would be interested in competing in the future?

I used to have this notion of wanting to compete in Mexico, especially after performing with Lucha Libre Legend Cassandro on several tours in 2009 and 2010… I had hoped one day I’d join him and all the other exoticos in Mexico, but for whatever reason that never came to fruition.

A current goal of mine is for Eddy McQueen and I to take our Fella Twins gimmick to Japan. Besides the fact that I love the Japanese Culture, I think we’d do very well over there.

Who has been your favourite opponent thus far in your career?

Well for a huge portion of my career I was booked as a manager, and wrestled as a manager to not only play my part but to make others look better. Don’t get me wrong I’m proud on evolving from a manager, it’s actually all I wanted to do for a while, but my talent was being misused, and the art of managing is so dead anyway.

With that being said, some of my best matches have been in training sessions with fellow Johnny Rodz student Chris Verrazano, we pushed each other to be more physical while completely developing different styles.

To answer the question thoroughly, Marti Bell is probably to date, my favorite person to work with. Our first encounter, we were pulled aside and a promoter said “that was really good for a girls match” … A year later after we worked a feud and I put her over in a championship bout, were told several times we had stolen the show and made it harder for the boys to follow. Just natural chemistry that stems from trust.

If you had the opportunity to do so, who would you most like to wrestle in the future?

Only two women are on my bucket list of opponents, and they are Melina and Gail Kim. At times these matches seem far fetched, but I’m hoping the stars align very soon!

In my opinion Gail Kim is the greatest woman to ever step foot inside a squared circle, and that arguable fact alone makes me want to share the ring with her. On the other hand, Melina is all around entertaining, feisty, and has a variety of move sets, I think facing her would be at the very least visually stunning.

Do you have an ultimate goal for your wrestling career?

Just to be happy and know I made some sort of difference. Days after I announced this event, “A Matter of Pride”, which will be a first of its kind… Stephanie McMahon announces in my hometown no less, that WWE plans on bringing in Gay characters… What a coincidence huh?

Thank You very much for such an interesting interview Rick, and I wish yourself and everyone else involved in “A Matter of Pride” the best of luck for it selling out and having the impact and success you are aiming for.

A Matter of Pride will be held on the 18th September at the NYWC Sportatorium in Deer Park, NY, USA. Tickets will be available to purchase at nywcwrestling.com and you can find out more information by calling +1 631-667-6992 or +1 347-404-1743. The buzz surrounding this event can also be followed on Diva Dirt and Squared Circle Sirens too.

NYWC - A Matter of Pride image

You can follow and interact with Rick Cataldo on Twitter (@TheBoyDiva) and Instagram (@theboydiva).

You can find out more about New York Wrestling Connection as well as purchase tickets and merchandise at their official site at nywcwrestling.com, and interact with them on Twitter (at @NYWCWRESTLING), Facebook (at Facebook.com/pages/New-York-Wrestling-Connection/99667985977) and Instagram (at @nywcwrestling).

About the Author:

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Discovering WCW Monday Nitro in the 1990s, he has been hooked on wrestling ever since, later going on to also discover WWF (now WWE), ECW and numerous independent promotions.

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