Billy Warlock of Madison Heights is a seasoned veteran of the ring wars. He is owner/promoter of Strong Style Pro wrestling (SSP) as well as operating the Lion Kai Dojo for pro wrestlers and teaching a variety of martial arts, self defense, and kid's anti-bullying techniques.
He is also a pro wrestler himself as he uses his technical skills to create entertaining matches for the fans.
Fans in the Altavista area should be familiar with his promotion since he ran a show at the Booker Building earlier this year raising money for this summer’s National Night Out sponsored by Altavista Police Department (APD).
Another fundraiser for the APD “Shop with a Cop” program will be held on Saturday, Oct. 19., 7 p.m. One hundred percent of the show’s net proceeds will go to the program to be held in December.
“I love working with Chief Tommy Merricks who has been very supportive of our promotion. He wants to help us acquire the Booker Building for other shows too as well as our fundraisers. We really appreciate his support,” says Warlock, a 25-year professional wrestling veteran.
He points out that although SSP is a Madison Heights-Lynchburg based group, “we appear to be becoming an Altavista based promotion since we run so many shows in this area. One of my wrestlers, James Harris, is from Altavista and I have one other young lady who’s training from this area,” says Warlock.
He actually runs shows all over Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina. The Halifax County fair featured a show on October 5. They have been involved with the fair for three years.
Warlock says he prefers the technical style of wrestling and is not “a huge fan of hardcore,” although many fans love it, especially street fights.
Developing his tag team division as well as building a strong women’s division are in the spotlight right now. “We are building our lioness division,” he says with a smile. “Think about it, the lion is the king of the jungle, but the lioness rules the pride. We have ladies who can work and perform as good as the guys. Women sometimes have more of an ability to grasp all the nuances of a wrestling move or hold than the guys do. I’m very proud of my women’s division and look for it to continue to grow.”
Seeing that his younger talent get a chance to excel is much more important to him than pushing himself to win a title. “I try to keep myself out of the title picture because the promoter getting all the big breaks isn’t fair for one thing, and it’s been done to death for another thing. I want to give the young guys a shot.”
When speaking of his goals for the promotion, looking forward to partnering with other groups is something he dreams of. “Strong Style Pro has a lot characteristics of the Japanese style of wrestling. I want to help my wrestlers get opportunities. It’s my goal to work one match in Japan myself. My guys and gals can compete with the best in the business!”
In the old days, wrestling scouts and road agents for the big promotions traveled all over the area scouting for talent to sign for developmental programs. Warlock explains that scouting has changed somewhat. “There are a number of feeder programs with email or video tryouts available. There are still scouts to a certain extent, but not like the old days.”
He emphasizes that in today’s world, it’s all about connections. One of his guys recently went to a comic book convention where he met someone working with trading cards. Nyla Rose, one of the wrestlers for the new promotion of All Elite Wrestling, was very interested and it may lead to the promotion doing a line of trading cards.
“It’s good to have friends in high places because it increases your exposure,” he elaborates.
Warlock’s group has another AEW connection in that one of it’s top stars, Hangman Adam Page, is a former teacher at Halifax County High School. Page would have loved to do something with Strong Style a while back but he was working for New Japan at the time and they wouldn’t allow it. Most of the big promotions won’t let their stars work the independent circuit due to the risk of getting hurt. “I’ve reached out to Adam recently, but he is so tied up with AEW just getting started on their weekly television show and promotion that he didn’t have time to come right now,” says Warlock.
Former Impact Wrestling star Abyss was working on a deal to participate in some SSP shows, but that has fallen through now that he has been signed by WWE as a agent/producer. “But that’s a WWE connection we have now that could pay off on down the road,” says Warlock. “However it is disappointing not to get Abyss at our shows because I love for the guys and girls to get the chance to pick the brain of a seasoned veteran of the business. They learn a lot from these conversations.”
Although many of the top stars you see on television are making millions as household names, a number of them came from humble beginnings spending weeks on the road sleeping in their cars or having very little to eat.
Stone Cold Steve Austin has often told the story of going show to show on the indy circuit living in his car and having nothing to eat but a “sack of raw potatoes.”
“Chris Jericho, who is one of the biggest stars in the world, came from humble beginnings. It’s not widely known, but he is one of the most generous wrestlers out there. He paid all the funeral expenses when Rosey died, he saved Kamala’s house, paid for surgery for another indy wrestler, the list goes on and on.”
Warlock reminds readers that anyone who’s interested in being part of the wrestling scene can contact him for information on getting started. “You don’t have to be a wrestler yourself, we need all kinds of people including managers, referee, camera, speakers, etc. You can contact me at 434-258-2007 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org."