There’s something that happens to a group of people when they see something undeniably exceptional. These moments don’t come around often and cannot be manufactured. Regardless of how or why these moments exist, the one thing that is clear is when they emerge there is a collective emotional response from those who witness them, an instantaneous shift in the communal psyche. A moment like this can happen when a homely looking introvert on a reality talent show shockingly has a beautifully operatic voice and brings the audience to tears, or, just maybe, when a 6’4″ 350 lb man throws another grown adult man through the ceiling of a building. Now, I cannot confirm nor deny whether Kevin Lee Davidson’s vocal vibrato can make a room full of elderly women cry but I can undoubtedly confirm he’s put some dudes through ceilings. KLD is the type of professional wrestler that immediately demands the attention of the audience with his imposing stature, powerful yet surprisingly agile moveset, and his ability to extract an intense reaction from the most surly mob of independent wrestling fans. In this inaugural Sickening Thud we sat down with Kevin Lee Davidson and discussed his passion for music and professional wrestling.
D: Damnation has a lot of non-wrestling readers so let’s start with what is KLD all about musically?
K: Well, I’ve been coming to you for my CD’s since I was nine years old, so you’d think you would know [referencing his days as a regular shopper at the record store I work at], but honestly, when I first started getting stuff from you it was Limp Bizkit, Blink-182, which I still listen to on a regular basis. I then moved onto Lamb of God, Devil Driver, Slayer and I’ve got two Pantera tattoos. Every phase I went through I still listen to to this day. Metalcore is definitely the top one though, Parkway Drive is in the usual playlist. Volumes is another, I love those dudes, they’re some of my best friends. Born of Osiris, I love those guys like family. I’ve also been listening to some old Pearl Jam and Soundgarden since Chris passed. I can also get into some hip hop. I was a huge Bone Thugs-N-Harmony fan. For those that don’t know, in a past life I was a independent concert promoter. One of the shows I was most proud of putting on was the Bone Thugs 20th anniversary show. I like to mix it up.
D: I can see that, so who is KLD as a wrestler and is there any connection with the your passion for music?
K: Oh absolutely. When I first started I had no idea what the hell I wanted to do. Since I’m 6’4″ and 350 lbs I got lumped into being the bodyguard and had an all black slacks gimmick. The music definitely comes into play now. I like to come out and be tough and aggressive, which is just like the playlist. So it definitely has a part in the role I play in the ring.
D: I can see that for sure, your moveset might as well be a Oceano breakdown.
K: Haha, pretty much.
D: Speaking of the role you play in the ring, how does it feel to be back as KLD and what made that come about?
K: A lot played a role in that. First of all, it’s wonderful being back. To be back to what I created and what I had envisioned for myself. The NWL thing was a lot of fun and I had a blast with everyone there. They’re all top notch and took care of me. I wish the best for them. They just announced they’re coming back to St. Louis. Unfortunately, I won’t be a part of that, but I’m hyped for it. The Letterman thing just wasn’t me. Some of it was, I was a varsity player, I played sports in high school and I did verbally commit to go to KU. It’s when they started spewing the “you’re gonna go out there and shit all over wrestling”, that wasn’t me. A wrestling character should be your personality turned up to 100, so to go out there and try to feed these fans “I can’t stand wrestling and football is so much better” wasn’t me. I feel like I made the best of my time there and the opportunities they provided to me but to be back as KLD is just wonderful.
D: I can imagine, you can also see it in the ring. You seem energized. Your match with Elgin at Pro Wrestling Resurgence was a great example of that.
K: It was just great, and with my trainer of all people. He’s been a great mentor to me inside and outside of the ring. So to share my first match back in St. Louis as Kevin lee Davidson with him was really great.
D: Speaking of Pro Wrestling Resurgence, you recently announced the merger with Glory Pro. Can you give us any information about how that came about or what that means going forward?
K: Well, obviously when I went to NWL I had Sean Orleans take over for me, he carried the torch and did a wonderful job with it but this is my baby and when I came back I wanted to move forward with it. Elgin called me and said “let’s not work against each other. Let’s work together, combine resources and become one big supershow.” With July 23rd being our one year anniversary we figured what better way to go out then to do it on the exact same night we came in. Should be a big show, I’m excited for it.
D: Does that mean we can expect you to put Ethan Page through the ceiling?
K: That’s the goal, man! That’s what I do. Unfortunately, Elgin beat the hell out of me tonight so I wasn’t able to do it to him.
D: How do you even prepare for a match like that and follow up, have you ever actually made it through a Kings Of Leon song? [In reference to the PWR show title, “A Land Without Kings (of Leon)”]
K: Haha, I have actually! I’m a big Kings of Leon fan. When stuff like that is making headlines though you gotta play on it. Just a little rib at them for the shot he took [in reference to an anti-professional wrestling tweet by the bassist of Kings of Leon]. So, preparing for Elgin, when you work a TV style like I was for NWL for so long, I wouldn’t say I fell off but to come back and go against a guy who’s headlining PPV’s in New Japan and has been ROH world champion…I wouldn’t say it was rough but I haven’t been nervous in a long time and I was semi nervous before that one.
D: The nerves just show that you actually care which is awesome.
K: Yeah, thank you.
D: Let’s change gears a bit here, clearly you’ve traveled a lot. Of all the guys you’ve been on the road with who has the absolute worst taste in music? Now, I know it is all personal preference and ultimately subjective but who makes you cringe when they get control of the music. For example, Matt Kenway looks like he would have shitty taste in music.
K: Haha, Kenway never gets a choice in the music. It really isn’t so much about music though cause Elgin will play some wild and random shit but we jam out and have fun with it. He does like to put on shitty podcasts though. We both got into Up and Vanished which was good on the road. We both get into murder mystery stuff but Elgin really does. In response to that show Making a Murderer, Elgin was ready to start studying law to set that dude free. We can bond over that stuff but there was one podcast that I cannot remember, but it was a bad one.
D: That makes sense, a bad two hour podcast is much worse than a bad three minute song.
K: Yeah, but we usually stick it out on the road, Curt Stallion is always fun because we always put on Disney music and jam out. There was one trip to Iowa on our way to Sami Callihan’s promotion, Pro Wrestling Revolver, where the service was terrible, we weren’t able to stream any music, and no one had any CDs. Everyone was asleep except Stallion and I so we literally sung the entire Backstreet Boys Millennium CD acapella.
D: That’s how road trips work, you might go in listening to Pantera but you’re coming out on The Lion King.
K: Just can’t wait to be king, brother!
D: So let’s say you get to pick one album to listen to and one match to watch for the rest of your life, what are your choices?
K: If I had to pick one album off the top of my head it would probably be Vulgar Display of Power by Pantera. There’s something in there for every kind of mood you’re in.
D: I think that might be the right answer actually.
K: For the match it’s difficult cause there’s so many different styles these days. There’s a match from every era I could pick. I love the new wave of wrestling. A lot of people look down on it and claim they don’t sell but they do sell, it’s just in a different way. They tell a different story these days. I don’t think I have an answer though, some recent matches I really liked were Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins at Hell in a cell and Marty Scrull just had a barn burner with Kushida at the last ROH PPV.
D: Continuing with what you mentioned about the current style and the critiques it gets, we all know anything creative or artistic evolves and progresses. Where do you see wrestling going from here?
K: Things always reinvent themselves. You’ll see things come back but they’ll come back in a different way. I feel like it’s already doing that, especially the WWE style of wrestling. WWE has a great mix of independent style and television style wrestling. I honestly see a big boom period coming back for wrestling. Similar to the nineties when you had three huge companies on TV every week. I feel it’s a hair away from being what it was in the late nineties. With all the independent companies thriving between AAW, Glory Pro, PWG, ROH, Evolve and whatnot I can see another big boom coming.
D: I could see that. It just seems we need a couple huge characters to push it into the mainstream. Speaking of different names, are there any guys that you would love to face?
K: I’ve got a triple threat with Jeff Cobb and Jake Something August twentieth for Glory Pro. I’m really looking forward to that cause I met Jeff Cobb in California last April right when I got back from my European tour. He was on Lucha Underground but wasn’t as known yet and we talked about needing to work together sometime and then he just blew up and is phenomenal, he has great matches everywhere. I talk to Keith lee here and there and really want to get in the ring with him at some point. If we are really stretching then Samoa Joe someday.
D: I can definitely see the archetype you are interested in fighting which is funny because I was talking over these questions with a friend of mine who is not as into wrestling and she immediately said “he needs to face King Kong Bundy!”
K: Oh man, yeah! Some hoss fights!
D: Yeah, I didn’t know there was a right answer to that question but if there is one it’s King Kong Bundy.
K: You know there’s some other guys I’d like to face too, Shane Strickland is killing it. I’m really looking forward to Ethan page because I’ve wanted to work with him for a long time and then Donovan Dijak would round out my list.
D: Since you mentioned your upcoming triple threat at Glory Pro, who would win in a triple threat between ’87 Henry Rollins, ’97 Glen Danzig or ’07 Jamey Jasta?
K: I would say Jasta, dude. I’m sure you’ve seen the video of Danzig getting knocked the fuck out.
D: Well yeah, Danzig is for sure done right away.
K: Jasta is just a little badass. He’s just got an aura about him.
D: I don’t know man, I can see angry young Rollins taking it.
K: Jasta’s just got spunk.
D: Well it’s either Rollins or Jasta, Danzig is the only wrong answer, even with his cool fishnet shirts and wolf friends.
D: What was your first concert?
K: My first rock concert was Van Halen and Shinedown in 2004. My earliest memory of a concert was probably Tim McGraw. I still love country too.
D: That’s awesome. Van Halen though, that’s got to be a good one.
K: Oh yeah, Van Hagar, man. I was 14 years old and I won tickets off KSHE for both nights.
D: If there’s a right way to go see Van Halen it’s because you won tickets from KSHE, that just feels right.
K: Haha, yeah. That’s how I discovered Shinedown too and had to immediately buy the record. Their first album is phenomenal.
D: That’s cool. Now, what was your first live wrestling experience?
K: Kiel center 1998. Stone cold main evented but I forget who he was against but he was the man at the time. Shawn was the champ at the time but he wasn’t on the show, I remember midway through the show all the house lights came on which is always a bummer because it ruins the aura of the show. Then right before the main event the house lights went off and you heard that glass break and the crowd just went nuts, I’m 8 or 9 years old with my middle fingers in the air.
D: Haha, that would change your life. Mine was ’89 so your middle fingers were my prayers and vitamins.
K: Hell yeah.
D: Well it seems only appropriate to end this as unprofessionally as possible with your interpretation of this thing mixing your two passions, metalcore and wrestling.
K: Hahaha, I’ve seen that clip but the music makes it ten times better!
D: It really does! Thanks a lot for doing this for us and good luck going forward.
K: Thank you.
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-Photos and photoshop/Hulk Hogan covering up by Sarah Sounders. Check out more of her photography at the following link: