A wrestling podcast? It may seem like an unlikely pair but just ask AJ Kumar how much it works. AJ Kumar hosts SpinningHeelKickPodcast. He goes beyond the ring for in-depth interviews with professional wrestlers and talks to them about their upbringing, their struggles and triumphs, and their future in the wrestling world. But in this interview, the tables have turned. We asked AJ about his own start of hosting his own podcast, his adversities, and his bright future in the world of professional wrestling.
TFCU: When did your love for wrestling start?
AJ Kumar: Honestly, I remember always having to go to bed around 8 or 8:30pn. It was this one night where I felt like being a rebel, and snuck out of my room to join my older brother in the living room. He watching professional wrestling on television, and this was the first time I had ever seen anything like this. I remember it clearly, and that match we had watched was Triple H and Shawn Michaels taking on The Undertaker and Mankind. I was instantly hooked onto it, and never looked back since.
It’s cool that you took a passion of yours and made it to a podcast. How and why did you start your podcast in the first place?
I had been listening to a ton of podcasts before ever thinking of starting my own. I would listen to podcasts from wrestlers such as Colt Cabana, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and Chris Jericho. I came to a point where I was working as a behavior specialist full time, and began to burn out. I noticed that burning out in the workplace was not healthy and I needed something to get my mind off things. I was able to meet so many young individuals while working as a behavior specialist that have gone through some tough challenges, but were always so motivated to chase their dreams. It made me think about myself, and how I have the resources to take a chance at chasing another dream of mine, and that dream was being involved in professional wrestling.
I never saw myself becoming a wrestler, but I’ve always had the gift of gab of talking and decided that it was time to start my own podcast. I decided to create the SpinningHeelKickPodcast. The direction I knew I wanted to take with my podcast was to talk about the motivation it takes to reach your dreams no matter what challenges you go through. I decided that the podcast would be the platform for wrestlers from all over the world to discuss the struggles and sacrifices they made to reach their dreams in hopes of motivating the younger generations to chase their own dreams.
What made you choose podcasts as your platform?
I chose the podcast route because I familiarized myself with it so much from listening to them. It allowed me to break into the field in a more comfortable setting since there isn’t a whole crowd watching, or the stress of being recorded. Interviews are conducted over the phone, skype, or even Facebook messenger. It allows both myself and the guest to be more in a comfortable setting to discuss the topics we talk about on the podcast.
Having your own podcast is different than hearing other people’s podcasts. What have you learned in the process that you wish you knew before starting?
Oh, definitely the editing! It took me a while to figure out how to do so, and also having the right equipment to provide good quality episodes
You have now interviewed over 100 wrestlers. What is one common attribute that they all have?
I’ve been lucky to interview so many people from all over the world to discuss their personal life stories, and the struggles they have gone through. The most common attribute that all my guests share is strength. All of my guests have so much strength to get through the struggles, and overcome the odds that are set against them to reach their dreams. Each episode truly leaves listeners inspired to overcome their own challenges.
You had to overcome your own challenges. In one of your Youtube videos, you mentioned that you were put into stereotypical job positions because of your race. What do you want to say to those who put in those stereotypical boxes?
Honestly, as crazy as it may sound I am thankful that I had that experience as a teenager. It made me realize that I wanted to prove people wrong. It made me want to become somebody that others can look at and say, “Wow, he made that happen no matter what others said about him.” I want to show the world that it doesn’t matter what you look like, your ethnic background etc. That you can achieve any dream of yours no matter what others may say or think about you. Life is too short for us to not go after what you are passionate about, or wasting the energy to listen to the negativity that others spread. Positivity goes a long way, and it’s something that we should see be spread out more often.
When things do get negative and tough in show business, what is the best advice you have gotten that you have held on to?
Always work to grow, and never get comfortable. You must push yourself and take chances on ideas you may have. I used this advice when I decided to take a chance at being a ring announcer and host for local wrestling shows, and it was the best things I could ever do.
Who would your dream interview be with and why?
My dream interview would absolutely be The Rock (Dwayne Johnson). He is the pure example of somebody who found their motivation and accomplishment of their goals and dreams. He is the person I hope to be one day and somebody that others can look up to like many do to him. Current WWE Superstar Mustafa Ali would be another dream interview for me as well. Ali is another person who is showing the world that it doesn’t matter what your background or belief is, that we are all one. We definitely share similar mindsets, so being able to interview him would be amazing.
Have you accomplished all that you wanted? What would you like to accomplish before the end of the year?
I’ve been podcasting for a couple of years, and recently began to ring announce and host local shows but I am nowhere close to where I want to be. I’m hungry for more opportunities to grow in this business. I want to travel and be able to do live interviews, ring announce, host major pro wrestling shows throughout the world. The ultimate goals for me is to one day be employed by the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment). It’s what made me a wrestling fan in the first place, so being able to work there would validate absolutely everything for me.
What are your podcast recommendations?
I am a huge fan of Colt Cabana’s Art of Wrestling Podcast, The Steve Austin Show, Talk is Jericho, and The Joe Rogan Experience.
AJ is a prime example of taking your passion and turning it into your own. He gave himself a platform for his passions and build it up for the masses. He not only does it for his love of wrestling, but for others who have the same interest. It wasn’t easy; but he still persevered and is thriving. It is just the beginning; so watch out world. Here comes AJ Kumar! And he’s ready to RUMBLE!