When Kyle O’Reilly became a professional wrestler in 2005 he set out to become the best that he possibly could be. That journey, which he has dedicated the last six years of his life to, has taken him from his home in British Columbia to St. Louis, MO, where he trains with current Ring of Honor World Champion Davey Richards.
In an effort to further refine and enhance his skills inside a professional wrestling ring, O’Reilly began MMA training alongside Richards and will soon be testing for his blue belt.
As a member of the Ring of Honor roster O’Reilly is part of the tag team Future Shock, which is continuing to climb the ranks of the promotion’s stacked tag team division, with the hopes of one day winning the ROH World Tag Team Championship.
ProMMAnow.com’s Josh Cross spoke with O’Reilly earlier this week about how he got introduced to MMA, what it’s like to train with Davey Richards, and when he thinks he would want to compete in an MMA fight.
In addition, O’Reilly talked about how Future Shock was formed, what it’s like working with his tag team partner Adam Cole, and what the pair plan to do in their match this Sunday at Death Before Dishonor IX.
PRO MMA NOW: Starting off can you talk about how you became introduced to MMA and what led you to start your MMA training?
KYLE O’REILLY: I originally started training back in British Columbia at Revolution Martial Arts. The UFC had just become so popular and I had already been trained as a professional wrestler so I was just looking to extend my skills in that aspect. I’ve always want to push the threshold of believability in pro wrestling and kind of take things in a different direction without kind of reinventing the wheel. So I started doing some mixed martial arts training and immediately fell in love with it. I just really, really enjoyed it and even as a kind you know growing up I would always see the old UFC tapes in the back of the video store and I would start watching those and I got pretty into it that way as well. So I’ve always had a strong interest in mixed martial arts.
PRO MMA NOW: What would you say it is about MMA and the training that has appealed to you and kind of pulled you in?
KYLE O’REILLY: The training is just beyond anything else that an athlete can really do. If you are going to be an elite athlete you should really be involved in some sort of mixed martial arts training. The best athletes in the world are martial artists in my opinion because they fight on their own. It’s not part of a team. You have to be in elite physical condition to be able to go three, five-minute rounds let alone five, five-minute rounds. Even to a smaller degree Jiu-Jitsu tournaments, grappling and stuff like that I’ve done a few of those and even like a four-minute round is just so exhausting. It really gets you to push yourself and test your will. Just all aspects of physicality are involved like strength, endurance, and explosiveness. It’s really the ultimate way to sort of test yourself as an athlete I think.
PRO MMA NOW: Now you actually train with Davey Richards who is the Ring of Honor World Champion. Can you talk about how you two crossed paths and ended up training together?
KYLE O’REILLY: When we first met I was living in British Columbia and he lived in Washington. So both places are fairly close and he would wrestle in the home promotion that I was out of and I would go down and wrestle for the promotion that he was a part of in Washington and so we sort of became friends that way. Then he moved to St. Louis and there was an open invite for me to move out here and sort of take my training and my wrestling career to another level. I jumped at that opportunity, made that sacrifice and made the best decision I could to further my career so I’m very glad that I went down that road.
PRO MMA NOW: So what has it been like training with Davey Richards? What would you say you’ve been able to learn from him?
KYLE O’REILLY: He really pushes me beyond that pain threshold every day we train together. You know I think he gets inspiration from me too because it’s not just him training me, but we’re training each other. I think we get a lot out of it.
PRO MMA NOW: I read that you’re currently a white belt and that you’re hoping to test for your blue belt soon. Is that right?
KYLE O’REILLY: That’s correct. I fell like I’m ready for my blue belt. It’s just a matter of lining up the cards and getting a chance to do the test. I maybe have a few more months of vigorous white belt training before I can test for my blue belt. I’m looking forward to it for sure.
PRO MMA NOW: How you would you say that your MMA training has helped you in your professional wrestling career?
KYLE O’REILLY: I think with the sort of evolutionary phase that pro wrestling is going, and how much MMA is taking off, I feel that people kind of need to see sort of a more realistic approach to pro wrestling. You can be watching Monday Night Raw and literally flip the channel and you can see someone getting knocked out with a punch when on Raw they’ll be getting punched in the corner nonstop and it’s not doing anything. It kind of brings a different believability to the table and I like to pride myself on sort of bringing a sort of believability to my matches and just trying to shake things up. You know, maybe it won’t work down the line, but I’m just trying to beat to my own drum and sort of come up with new things.
PRO MMA NOW: Have you ever thought about taking an MMA fight at some point in the future? Is that something that you would want to do?
KYLE O’REILLY: That’s definitely something that I think I will do down the line. Professional wrestling is the sport that I feel in love with though and it’s the sport that I’ve put the last six years of my life towards becoming the best that I possibly could be at, but MMA really does consume the training portion of my life. I think that maybe a year or two down the line I would definitely like to take some fights for sure.
PRO MMA NOW: Moving on to your professional wrestling career, can you talk about what made you decide that you ultimately wanted to be a professional wrestler?
KYLE O’REILLY: It’s something that I’ve always kind of known that I really wanted to do growing up as a kid and watching wrestling. I remember going to my very first wrestling event and just walking up and seeing the ring for the first time. It just gives you this feeling in your stomach that I could never forget. It’s always something that I’ve kind of been drawn towards so there was never really a question [of doing anything else].
PRO MMA NOW: Now you’re one half of the tag team Future Shock with Adam Cole. Can you talk about how you two got paired up and what it’s been like to work together?
KYLE O’REILLY: It has been amazing working with Adam. He is just so phenomenal at what he does. He has such a passion and drive for wrestling and he really takes it to the next level. I think that we bring the best out in each other quite a bit and through him I’ve been able to get these awesome opportunities with Ring of Honor. I really owe all of my success in Ring of Honor to Adam. Us tagging together is kind of funny because we were first signed by ROH around the same time and we had never really tagged together or anything before. We had faced each other a couple of times, but when they brought us in they were like, “Ok, well I guess we’re just going to throw you guys together and team you up rather than you know shove you down people’s throats as singles wrestlers.” So luckily we had a ton of chemistry and we were really able to click as a tandem. I think we kind of impressed the fans and impressed the office and they kept giving us good opportunities and we kept rising to the occasion.
PRO MMA NOW: Now Ring of Honor is known in part for its stacked tag team division. Where do you feel Future Shock fits into such a loaded division, and what would you say your plans are for making it to the top?
KYLE O’REILLY: I think right now it’s just one step at a time. This weekend we have a big tag team match. Then on November 6 we have our first shot at the Ring of Honor World Tag Team titles in Collinsville, Ill. So it’s just one match at a time. I think that we get better after every single match. We’re constantly improving and just to keep it at this level with some of the best tag teams in the world is really a good eye opener for us. We’re never going to stop learning and we’re going to keep trying our best.
PRO MMA NOW: Fans will be able to see you in action this Saturday on iPPV at Death Before Dishonor IX when Future Shock competes in a Three Way Elimination match. Can you talk a little bit about what fans can expect to see in that match and what kind of statement are you and Adam Cole planning on making?
KYLE O’REILLY: I think it’s going to be a really high intensity match and really hard hitting. We have the Bravado Brothers and the Young Bucks in the match as well. We fought the Young Bucks last time we were in New York and the Bravado Brothers interrupted it so we kind of want another good crack at the Bravados to make them pay for that. We also want to really give the New York fans the match that they should have seen with us and the Young Bucks. So it should be a really good high-octane match.
PRO MMA NOW: Fans will also be able to see Future Shock in action on September 24 when Ring of Honor debuts on Sinclair stations around the country. Now you took on the Bravados at the television tapings last month so can you talk about that match a little and what it was like to compete in the first match of this new era in ROH?
KYLE O’REILLY: It was awesome. It was a really fun match from what I remember. That Chicago crowd was just hungry for some wrestling action. They knew that this was our big moment with a brand new ring and brand new lights and it was just a high octane and high-energy crowd. It was just a great moment, and to take Ring of Honor into this new era as the opening match was a really special moment for me and Adam. We’re definitely looking forward to continuing on with Ring of Honor’s television venture.
PRO MMA NOW: Just sort of looking into the distance briefly where do you want to see your career at in the future?
KYLE O’REILLY: I know that for me and Adam Cole our goal is to become the Ring of Honor World Tag Team Champions, so we just want to keep along that path. You know, Ring of Honor is where I set out to end up when I started wrestling and I’m so thankful to be here and to be getting these opportunities. It’s a chance to really wrestle with freedom, to wrestle the way I want to be, and to be creative with my wrestling. So I’ve very happy to be here and I want to take this as far as I can and make Ring of Honor as big as it can possibly be.
PRO MMA NOW: What would be the best way for fans to stay updated on what you have going on?
KYLE O’REILLY: I have a Twitter (@rohoreilly). I also have a Facebook fan page. So fans can definitely find me on there and I usually am talking about the kind of training that I’m doing on that day. I also have a blog that has a bunch of training tips and workouts that we do, which I really need to update, but it’s www.kfabe.wordpress.com.
PRO MMA NOW: Is there anything else you might want to add?
KYLE O’REILLY: Just keep supporting Ring of Honor, independent wrestling at all levels, and keep watching MMA and getting that sport to keep growing. Also, train as much as you can. Get in the gym even if it’s intimidating at first because it feels great after awhile. You’ll fall in love with it.
Death Before Dishonor IX will take place this Saturday, September 17, at the Manhattan Center (Grand Ballroom) in New York, NY. For more information about the show you can click here.
Tickets are still available for Death Before Dishonor IX and can be purchased through Ring of Honor’s website, or by calling (215) 781-2500. You can order the show on internet pay-per-view (iPPV) through Go Fight Live‘s website here.
Click here for a list of markets, networks, and timeslots for Ring of Honor’s broadcast television debut on September 24. Each show will be posted on Ring of Honor’s website for everyone to see a few days after their initial airing.