On Friday October 2nd, WrestleUTA star, Mitchell Quinlan was a guest on TSN’s Off the Record, hosted by Michael Landsberg. The show opened with a panel of sportswriters and personalities discussing the topics of the day, including the AL East Champion Toronto Blue Jays. The second and third segments of the show were a one on one interview with Quinlan.
Due to content law, copyright being held by Bell Canada, video of this interview is not able to be uploaded to the American based WrestleUTA servers. Listed below is the transcript.
Landsberg: It is the biggest wrestling promotion in the world today, yet the company, WrestleUTA, cannot find distribution in Canada. You may not know my next guest all that well, but I have been looking forward to this for some time. He doesn’t exactly have the longest, or most storied career in the industry, but Mitchell Quinlan is certainly one of the most well spoken and educated wrestlers. Joining us, from Cairo, Egypt, Mitchell Quinlan. Hey, thanks for doing this.
Quinlan: Hey, no, thank you, Michael. And thanks for that introduction, you certainly haven’t set the bar too high. Let’s see if I can be as engaging as you make me out to be.
Landsberg: I think you will do fine, don’t worry. And if you don’t, that’s why we are taping this ahead of time.
Quinlan: Editing? Always a good idea.
Landsberg: Now Mitchell, I wanted to ask you firstly about the reason why, or certainly the reason most people point to, why the UTA doesn’t air on any Canadian networks. And that reason is the violence against women portrayed on your programming.
Quinlan: Certainly, I understand that, Michael. In fact, I am scheduled to take on one of our upstart female superstars this Monday in Sabrina Baker. And in a world that is clearly and almost vehemently against domestic violence, I think I need to make a clear distinction between what we do as sports entertainers and the Ray Rice’s and Greg Hardy’s of this world. Evidently, there is an appetite for this, or we wouldn’t pursue this avenue of entertainment.
Landsberg: So you are telling me that you are okay with what many say, if nothing more, is a bad image to attached to the protection of the women in our society?
Quinlan: I have never said I endorsed this. Firstly, there is no place in this world to abuse one another, especially in situations of domestic abuse. It is abhorrent behaviour. With all that said, unfortunately, I am just a talent. If I voiced opinions contrary to theirs, they can send me home. I would encourage our sponsors to voice theirs, and then we might see real change. Sad, but true.
Landsberg: And certainly we are seeing examples of that coming out of FIFA and Sepp Blatter, as major sponsors such as Coca Cola, McDonalds, and Visa as calling for his resignation. Alright, I wanted to just quickly touch on the hat you are wearing.
Quinlan: I thought you might like that.
Landsberg: And that is of course a Toronto Blue Jays cap. How much of this season have you been able to follow? And what do you think of what this team has accomplished this season?
Quinlan: I’ve tried to follow as closely as I can. You understand that beyond simply the matches, the travel and all of the other things like media obligations; they all leave you with limited time to yourself. That said, it has been awesome being able to see what this team has been able to do. I don’t think I have seen a better combination of power at the plate, pitching and defence. I am hoping that maybe I’ll be able to sneak back to Toronto to catch a game in the postseason.
Landsberg: I would imagine the Blue Jay apparel is sparse in Cairo?
Quinlan: A little sparse, but I have seen a few. You know us, Canadians are always well traveled.
Landsberg: And you of course are in Egypt for a show. I know you probably want to get a little promotion out there.
Quinlan: Yeah, I don’t need the media relations czars on my back. So, live, on tape delay, from the Covered Hall, Wrestle UTA brings you Wrestleshow number 46. This ought to be interesting, as beside yours truly in action, we are crowning a new number one contender to John Sektor’s Legacy title. Then the match I am most excited for, purely to see the reaction of the Egyptian crowd to seeing Santa Claus going Kringle to Champion against Blanca. This is either going to be amazing, or fall absolutely flat.
Landsberg: What is your relationship with any of those guys? What is it typically like in a UTA locker room?
Quinlan: Oh, wow. I think I could best describe the relationships in that room as minimalistic. What we need out of each other is an understood level of respect, but as far as friendships, it is hard. Everybody in that room has a bit of that alpha personality. And besides, the business has been set up such that we have only one top spot, and everyone is encouraged to reach for it.
Landsberg: Now, when you say, encouraged, you aren’t talking about the same stuff that was going on back in the eighties, are you?
Quinlan: Nah, no. No one is pushed, given a needle and told to inject. But at the same time, there is an understanding that: the show goes on. We take the best care of ourselves that we can, but in the this line of entertainment, we are working injured all the time. I am nearly certain that every athletic endeavor has this, next man up, type of policy. How guys choose to combat that is left in their hands.
Landsberg: And you of course are mentioning the self-medicating that takes place.
Quinlan: Of course.
Landsberg: Have you seen any guys abusing painkillers and alcohol during your shows?
Quinlan: No, I can’t say that I have. I just know that up and down the history of this business; it is littered with guys who just wanted to ease the pain, but then got lost to the addiction until eventually it cost them their careers and tragically, a lot of lives.
Landsberg: What about you, Mitchell? Have you ever found yourself in any situations like that?
Quinlan: Myself, I have never taken any non prescribed medications, and very few that were prescribed. Never learned to swallow a pill. Same goes for the booze. Never acquired, or dulled my tastes, to the point that that was a good option.
Landsberg: Now, why is that? Surely you have to be in the minority. Why would you not try to get the same advantage as say the guy everyone is trying to out-do in La Flama Blanca?
Quinlan: Simply put, I am not strong enough. I do not trust myself to give up control in the search for comfort. I know that, one hundred percent, I would be another one of those statistics. Might be silly, but I try to give myself no excuses to cave in to that particular demon.
Landsberg: Wow, that is sobering to hear.
Quinlan: Michael, I understand that you and Bell have done terrific work for the Children’s Helpline. And I have been on a bit of a campaign lately, preaching honesty. That honesty is the key to reaching our audiences, but likely more importantly is that we connect more with ourselves.
Landsberg: Honesty and openness are the first steps to getting help. And again, I would like to encourage people to donate if possible. Or raise awareness using the Sick Not Weak hashtag.
Quinlan: I have to thank you. I personally have struggled with this for as long as I can recall.
Landsberg: I don’t mean to pry, but I have to ask. You a twenty something...
Quinlan: Twenty seven.
Landsberg: Twenty seven year old, and if not at the top, near the top of your profession. And I think, we talked about this off camera, but this has been a long time dream of yours. Do you mind sharing this with our audience, if you think it could help.
Quinlan: I want to simply leave it as, I am twenty seven years old, and I cannot remember a day in which I haven’t thought this world would be better off without me. Everyone has their own battles and are at different levels of comfort, sharing only so much. But if you need help, seek help. There are people always there to hear you.
Landsberg: I think with that, we should pause for our commercial break. But on the other side is Next Question. Are you good to stick around for that?
Quinlan: Can’t wait, Michael.
Landsberg: We’ll be back in minutes with UTA Superstar, Quinlan.
Landsberg: Alright, we are back and it is time for Next Question. Live from Cairo we have Mitchell Quinlan. Are you familiar with the game, Mitchell? This is a word association game. Try to say the first thing that pops into your head, or you can say next question.
Quinlan: Got it.
Landsberg: Are you ready?
Quinlan: Laissez le bon temps rouler.
Landsberg: French, I like that. Well, let’s start at the top, the boss. James Wingate?
Quinlan: Gone. Thank you, Ron Hall.
Landsberg: Okay, how about this man, Colton Thorpe?
Quinlan: The next champ. Don’t like the guy, but he clearly has had a rocket strapped to his ass.
Landsberg: The woman you are scheduled to fight, Sabrina Baker?
Quinlan: Well meaning, but lost. She is still looking for a footing in this place, a connection with the crowd. I don’t know, I hope she finds it sometime soon.
Landsberg: Jays Ace, David Price?
Quinlan: Cy Young.
Landsberg: This one is a group shot, Dynasty?
Quinlan: I think what I am going to say will have to be edited off air anyway, so I will just say next question.
Landsberg: Alright, how about this woman, how would she fare in you end of sports entertainment? Ronda Rousey?
Quinlan: Reminds me of this one grappler we had, but is larger than life with her charisma. I think right now, she can pick just about anything she wants right now and she’d be successful.
Landsberg: Alright, last one now, and I know there has to be a story behind this; but this is a photo of you, Russian President Vladimir Putin and a polar bear?
Quinlan: That was one of the more memorable afternoons of my life. Honestly, I couldn’t tell you which one I was more afraid of. It is a neat thing though, Putin was actually quite the wrestling fan. I know he’d make a great heel.
Landsberg: Is that all?
Quinlan: Well, I can tell you more off the air. But, I’ll guess you have probably never had your hand licked by a polar bear.
Landsberg: And kept their hands? I don’t think many people can say that.
Quinlan: The whole thing was something else.
Landsberg: Well, that was great. Could you come back and do this again some time?
Quinlan: Yeah, this was a blast. If you’d have me back, I will be back.
Landsberg: And you can find this man in action on Wrestleshow Monday night against Sabrina Baker. Where can people find that?
Quinlan: Well, until we get a deal in Canada, the UTA Faithful can catch us live on the Network, or using other, nefarious sites. Point is, more eyeballs on our product is always a good thing.
Landsberg: Good luck with that show, and hey, really, best of luck as you guys continue this world tour. Thanks for doing this.
Quinlan: You’ve got it.
Landsberg: Alright, stick around. After the commercial break we have the Best of the Week.
"Do not murder if you can injure. Do not injure unless they earn it."
- Elvis McDonald