When Bobby Fish steps into the ring to face Adam Cole at Manhattan Mayhem on Saturday night for the Ring of Honor World Championship, it will be due to the drive that has engulfed him and he is adamant that he will not waste this moment of culmination.
The 40-year old wrestler and former Sienna football player has been no stranger to success in the wrestling industry. Known as being one half of the exemplary tag team reDRagon and former ROH Television champion, Fish is ready to break out and be the guy and play the role he feels has been long overdue.
He’s not shy about the resume he has cemented in Ring of Honor or the work he has put in the ring and out of the ring in paying his dues for his shot to be the face of the company.
“It should confirm for people that I am that guy,” Fish said. “As far as being ready, I’ve been ready for a long time so this was just a chance for everyone else to catch up.”
Manhattan Mayhem and Adam Cole
CraveOnline: You have a shot to win your first ROH World Championship this Saturday against Adam Cole. What’s going through your mind as you prepare yourself for this match?
Bobby Fish: Adam Cole does not work in the way that I do. When it comes to putting in the work to be good at this business, we’re not even the same species. It started out as a question to Adam Cole…are you doing enough to keep that world title around your waist? It’s my belief that he was not. Adam Cole did not do enough and now it’s too late. His world title will become my world title.
CraveOnline: When you saw Adam Cole defeat your former partner Kyle O’Reilly to become a three-time ROH champion, how did that affect you? Did it motivate you even more to grab that spot?
Bobby Fish: More than anything, the timing of all of it was difficult. I was dealing with a bunch of personal stuff at that time. Not making Final Battle and the Tokyo Dome this year and sitting back and watching that transpire, watching Kyle [O’Reilly] reach a milestone in his career and watch it at Tokyo Dome get taken away, that was my motivation more than anything else. It’s more about the journey that I have been on more than anything else.
CraveOnline: This is all going down in New York, your home state. Do you feel pressure to raise your game to another level with that setting?
Bobby Fish: Everything is escalated in New York City regardless. It’s my return to the Hammerstein Ballroom and the Hammerstein with ROH has such a rich history. I don’t feel as though New York City ever felt like home outside of the Hammerstein. For the little break we took from there never felt right to go back and not be at the Hammerstein.
To be in the main event at the Hammerstein, to be in a position where I will take my first world title and where I will accomplish the Triple Crown in ROH, dare I say faster than anyone else, that makes it that much better.
reDRagon: From Tag Team to Singles
CraveOnline: Obviously you found a lot of your success in ROH working as a tag team. When you’re put in that spot, do you find yourself getting frustrated waiting for chance to shine as an individual or are you content?
Bobby Fish: If I’m speaking specifically of tagging with Kyle, never would I want to walk away from that. That is some of the most fun I’ve ever had in the wrestling industry and there’s a certain comfort that comes with those reps of working with each other.
It becomes somewhat comforting to have that person on the apron. There’s just a different dynamic to tag wrestling than to singles so your mindset changes. Tag gets to the point that you’re so in synch with someone that it almost becomes too easy. The pressure is different in a singles capacity and I think that’s something we all crave.
Life outside the ring
CraveOnline: When you’re not on the road or in the ring, how do you unwind?
Bobby Fish: I do gymnastics. I do some grappling. I do some kickboxing and CrossFit and CrossFit coaching at my home gym. I have two daughters that are 11 and 12 years old. They keep me pretty tied up. I’m not necessarily looking forward to the next few years [laughs].
Being a father to two girls
CraveOnline: What’s it like for you to juggle being a father and being a professional wrestler?
Bobby Fish: It’s difficult. It’s something that keeps me up at night. By the time you’re aware of the damage that the distance did it will be too late. I have to hope that there’s no damage being done. To me, because your time is limited and that’s the biggest issue with being a pro wrestler and being a parent, when you are there, be present, be engaged and listen to what they have to say.
My daughters are about as chatty as it gets. They want to talk and they have a lot to say and you owe them to actually listen. Those are your children. You owe it to them to not be in some other headspace. You have to be present in those moments so they’re getting that quality over quantity that maybe you can’t provide.
CraveOnline: How did this process of the journey from college football to pro wrestling all begin for you? What was the big break?
Bobby Fish: I played football in college so I didn’t even crack in to trying to get trained until I was in my early 20s. I was going to look to get trained in California because I had friends who were living out there and I wasn’t doing a whole lot here. I was bartending so I moved out to San Diego.
I planned to get trained in Los Angeles but as fate would have it, my dad got sick and I came back to New York and signed with Tommy DeVito. That’s when I got trained to take bumps and do this.
But the first big break was Pro Wrestling Noah and being asked to go to Noah through Harley Race. My belief at the time was I was going over to stay at the dojo to get trained so it was supposed to be a three month stay but when I got my itinerary it was three weeks and I found out they were bringing me over to go to work right away so that started my experience in Japan in 2006 to 2013.
The hardest worker in the room
CraveOnline: You’re moments away from possibly achieving the biggest feat in your wrestling career but when it’s all said and done, how do you want to be seen as a performer?
Bobby Fish: Just a guy that was undeniable. A guy who you could put the obstacles in front of him but I’m either going to find a way to go around it, over it or through it or whatever it is that I have to do to get beyond that and move forward. I’m just a guy that won’t be denied. You can try and fit me in your box but I’m going to outwork everyone—the hardest worker in the room.
Joshua Caudill is a writer for CraveOnline, a hockey fanatic, a pro wrestling connoisseur and an expert on all things Patrick Swayze. You can follow him on Twitter @JoshuaCaudill85 or “like” CraveOnline Sports on Facebook.
Photos by Ricky Havlik
Saturday, March 4, 2017 07:30 p.m. EST
The Manhattan Center’s Hammerstein Ballroom, New York, New York