CJ Anderson and Ace Evans of the Nomads are BIG guys. One would venture to think that any wrestler standing in the opposite corner of these two behemoths would start to second guess/reconsider their career choice and perhaps feign injury. When we had a chance to speak to the multiple tag team champs about their careers they educated us on what it takes to be a indie wrestler today and just why they’re destined to become legends. You don’t want to miss our in-depth interview with The Nomads.
Take us back to the day either of you knew you wanted to be professional wrestlers?
Ace: It was around the 2000’s, when Triple H, Stone Cold, and The Rock were the main guys. Those guys knew how to tell a story, and how to keep you tuning in every week!
CJ: From as early as I can remember, that is all I wanted to do. I was in elementary school and I remember seeing Undertaker put Ultimate Warrior in a casket and seal it. Medics pried him out and had to perform CPR. I was scared to death of the man, he was putting people in caskets and body bags lol. Then I was mesmerized by Hulk Hogan, he was this super juggernaut and I wanted to be just like him. The bright colors, the energy, the fans going crazy, I was hooked. So I would say around 4 or 5 years old when I got my first taste of pro wrestling I decided right then and there I wanted to be a part of it.
I was recently told by a wrestling promoter that, anyone who wants to be a wrestler has had some degree of childhood trauma or insecurity in their past because they want to be adored by or at least given attention by large crowds of people, would you consider that bunk or somewhat true? At least in your lives.
CJ: lol, I have no idea about other people, but that wasn’t the case with me. To be honest, I was bullied pretty hard by my step mom and step brother, but they came almost 5 years after my obsession with wanting to be a wrestler. My family was very close, everyone loved everyone, we spent more than holidays together, there was more than enough time and love spread in my family that I didn’t need wrestling to cope with anything. I believe the people that get into wrestling are pure passionate. The ones that want the admiration drop out of training because you can’t make it through that without the heart and desire to go on.
Ace: I’ve not once heard this. I’ve wanted to be a Pro Wrestler since I was about 14, and I haven’t had any childhood horror story or anything like this. I think somebody is pulling your leg!
What was your first “break” in the business?
CJ:I consider a break being when things really started taking off, not when I started in the business. So I want to use the time that I really felt I was on a path to something good. I had been in wrestling a little over a year and Ace Evans had been mentioning tagging with me. He had tried bringing me into Pure Pro Wrestling and meeting Xavier Justice who runs it. After about a year in I finally made it on a PPW show in Holland. I was not paired with Sean, but he helped me get a foot in the door and Xavier was able to see me in person. So 10 days after my birthday, February 20th 2015 I wrestled for PPW, Xavier saw Ace and I in the back and how similar we looked and decided I was good enough to come back again. So a few months later I did another PPW show in Holland as a member of The Nomads. Since then it has blown up and we are all over Michigan, been to Indiana and Ohio, just recently to Winston Salem, NC. We have some members that work for other companies that rep Nomads, so it’s literally like we have chapters spreading. Ace and I are the two that travel together the most. Long story short, February 20th 2015 was my big break, without having that match in Holland and impressing the right person I was brought back and The Nomads took off from that point.
Ace: I don’t think I’ve quite had a “break” in the business. I’ve had my fair share of failures and successes, but I believe that’s what gets you to the actual “break”. I believe CJ touched on this. We were working for Pure Pro Wrestling out in Holland, MI. We both wore the leather vest, bald heads, and big beards. I literally pulled him to Xavier Justice (Promoter of Pure Pro Wrestling Michigan), and said that he should have us team together. That is when the Nomads began. My brother Ryan Donahue was always in my corner as the heel manager. We never went under a name. My other brother, Moe Evans (Real name David Huyck), and I teamed for about 3 years before this under the name “The Evans Boys”. We ended up putting all 4 of us together, and later joined by Pickles the Clown (Real name Benny Richard), and since then we’ve made a pretty solid team together. We travel as much as possible when people hear our theme music they know who we are and the cheers start roaring. In the 8 years, I’ve been doing this, I’ve never gotten a reaction anywhere near what we get now. We are starting to get noticed out of state as well. Just like CJ said, we’ve debuted at multiple promotions, we are multiple time champs, and currently tag champions for two companies. We are moving towards the right direction to where the “big break” will be!
Would you suggest that a young guy or girl who has decided to pursue wrestling as a career maybe not bang their bodies up in the back yard leagues and instead save up some cash and go enroll in a training school?
Ace: I can’t really say too much on this since I did backyard wrestling. Nothing near the horror you can pull up on Youtube or anything, but I still did this. However, if it wasn’t for back yard wrestling, there more than likely wouldn’t be an Ace Evans today. When I see young kids doing the very dangerous stuff, that’s when I tell them to rethink what they’re doing. My suggestion now though, would be to tell them to save their money, get a good job, and find a reputable school. There are at least four in Michigan. There are plenty of resources to get where you want to go.
CJ: Absolutely. I am not going to lie, I did it. I had a cheesy name, The Hammer, and eventually became The Outlaw Jacob James lmao. You can find that on youtube if you really want a good laugh. We did some backyard stuff on the ground, but eventually, we did buy a ring and put on shows in gymnasiums. We are lucky nobody was injured though because none of us were trained. I think Mick Foley was the first person main stream to have footage of backyard wrestling, but I am sure more did in the 80s. However any wrestling fan that was over the age of 10 during the mid 90’s to early 2000s backyard wrestled at some point. HOWEVER, knowing what I know now, save your body, don’t injure yourself or someone else, please please PLEASE save up money, find a school and do it right. I can direct you to Very affordable, and he has youth training where he teaches young kids to bump on pads and chain a bit which is amazing that they have an opportunity to learn. Then I was trained by one of the very best Josh Raymond who lives in West Michigan in the Gobles area. He is very affordable, and has one of if not the best wrestling minds.
So, what were your first matches like?
CJ:They were not terrible. Nothing to really brag about, but honestly not real bad. Youtube CJ Anderson vs Cory Landell. That was my very first match after being trained. Cory and I trained together with Josh, and honestly, for two students having their first match ever and being against each other instead of a vet, it was passable.3 in Michigan alone. House of Truth is probably the biggest one in Michigan in the Detroit area, and I know a lot of guys that went there. Xavier Justice trains guys in Flushing, MI. We both trained for about 6 more weeks before taking bookings full time. Cory changed his name to Cory Lyon if you think Landell looks familiar lol.
Ace: TERRIBLE! I had no clue what I was doing, how to tell a story, how to get a reaction from the crowd. I had one vet tell me, “You can’t wrestle your dick out of your pants!” (Can I say that here?) It was terrible. I started going to training regularly after I graduated from my class. I improved. I went on to train with other trainers, attended seminars, I’m not the best in the world by any means, but leaps and bounds better than where I started!
Do you remember the first time someone threw an A.O.P potato that rang your bell?
CJ: Nobody has done this intentionally to me. It has happened twice, and both by Cory Lyon lol. One was a superkick while I was kneeling that left his converse logo on my cheek. The other was while on the top rope he threw an uppercut like he was Ryu from Streetfighter. Both were unintentional.
Ace: Not that I recall, how ironic! I’ve taken my fair share of blows to the head that left me concussed, but I can’t say anybody ever hauled off and blasted me. If they did, for the most part, I know it’s accidental.
Did you give em’ the receipt?
Ace: Like I said mostly it’s accidental. However, if somebody were to get rough, then I know a receipt would be dealt.
CJ: No, I wouldn’t do that unless they were being purposely violent. I take pride in being a safe worker. I would ask them to lighten up a few times, then maybe retaliate if they did not. If it’s a full force blatant shot, I may retaliate without asking them to lighten up first. I did stiff poor Cory once, but in practice. It was an accident 100%, but it was a headbutt that connected a little hard and left him dizzy for a few minutes.
How would you describe yourself as a wrestler?
CJ:A hybrid. Mainly a throwback of the old school with simple moves and storytelling. I don’t need to do 100 moves when I can do 5 or 10 and sell everything to tell a story. I have never been accused of being boring, so I am doing something right. I can turn the pace up when I need to, and I have done a few flips and 619’s just to prove I can. Tried a running shooting star press, that did not end well. Thankfully it was only in practice.
Ace: Old School. Slow, methodical. I bask in what glory of the damage I do to people! (lol!) I don’t get into the flippy doo’s and all that that a lot of guys are going towards. I like to take my time, make sure people realize what happened, let it sink in, and then keep beating people.
Now C.J, you were the UWA Heavyweight and US champion for a time, what is that moment like when you acquire a title in wrestling?
CJ:I held the tag titles first, and that was the first championship I had. It was very exciting for me that I had a title with my brother and that the promoter put his faith in my abilities to represent PPW as a champion. That was my first title ever, and I was very honored to hold them with Ace and the fact Xavier saw me as a champion for his company. I held the UWA heavyweight and US title at the same time. That was a huge sign of confidence from Manny in UWA. He has had me on his shows monthly since I started. I broke my leg six months in, and ended up nearly 6 months out because it was a bad enough break I needed to rehab a bit, and mentally I wasn’t ready to come back after a severe knee injury. Every knee shot made me want to throw up. All other promoters told me their roster was full, and I was not working with PPW at the time. Manny brought me back with open arms, and I slowly built up from there. So to win my first singles title there, and then win both of the major titles at the same time was a honor for me.
Ace: What am I? Chopped Liver? I will describe the first time I won the Michigan State Heavyweight Championship though! I have won tag titles before with Moe Evans, and the moment was amazing! Can’t describe what it feels like when the ref counts three, and your hand is raised. When I won my first singles title, The Michigan State Heavyweight Championship, I almost had tears in my eyes. For a company to put so much faith into me as the face of their company was truly unreal! That a promoter believed in my ability, put me in the ring with guys like Rhyno and Zach Gowen, made me want it more. Made me want to pursue it more, and work harder. Truly grateful for all the opportunities not only I get, but my brothers get with me! Whether we work singles or tag in promotions, I am proud of every single one of the guys in The Nomads, and I couldn’t ask for a better core group!
Tell us about the Nomads, it’s a large group and you’ve got chapters in different promotions! How’d that start and where is my T-shirt!?
CJ: Lol, what size? Yeah, everywhere is Ace and I. Club Director Donahue goes with us to quite a few. The 400lb clown Pickles shows up randomly, we have one Prospect that only goes to PPW shows for now. Plus we have Ace’s original partner Moe Evans that comes out to our Birch Run and Flushing shows and has been in Ohio with us. I wish he could make it out more, but I will take him when I can, he’s an awesome guy. In Ohio, we have been looking at recruits, and in Winston Salem, NC this past weekend I had a match with an amazing talent Sinn Krowley. We may just need to open a charter down there as well. When Ace or I are not present we have been known to use the Freebird rule. Both of us have tagged with Prospect Zero, and I have won the tag belts when Club Director Donahue stepped in when Ace was out with an injury.
Ace: The Nomads do what we want, when we want. We take what we want not because we want to, but because we can. We work in numbers, always at least 2 guys on the outside of the ring at all times! We don’t care if we play dirty, whether it be hitting people with brass knuckles or lead pipe, we do what it takes to win. If you would like a shirt, all you gotta do is ask! Hit me up, I have them on hand!
We asked The Maltese Tiger a few weeks ago, about the indie wrestling circuit and right now we’re seeing big name wrestlers leave the main stream and come to happily work on the independent circuit, we’re going to ask you guys, what the hell is going on? If you’re a performer who has made it to what most consider the TOP of the wrestling world, to make it there and then willingly turn away, perhaps everything isn’t what it seems or—?
Ace: I think that all depends on the worker. Depends on their level of happiness at whatever the mainstream company is that they worked for. Maybe it the “Promise Land” isn’t what we would expect it to be. If it was me, I’d have to make sure not only I was happy, but my family is happy. If I’m no longer having fun in a certain promotion, then what’s the point?
CJ: I can’t say, because I am not at that level yet. From what I have been hearing is that the indies are starting to really get big again. Plus there are places like ROH, New Japan, Lucha Underground, etc that get worldwide exposure and can be lucrative while the wrestler can have more control on their character. Money isn’t always the big deciding factor for everyone. They can get in the WWE, make a bunch of money, make their name a hot commodity, then go back to independent bookings and make enough money to live comfortably and travel on their own schedule controlling what their character does.
You’re both very talented guys, what are your plans for the future, possibly heading to one of the mainstream organizations?
Ace: Thank you for the compliment! That’s where I’d like us to go. I know the big companies you have to do their camps anymore. Which is fine with me, the more I can learn the better I become. Even if going to one of the camps doesn’t get me a contract or signed or whatever, now I know that we have eyes on us. They will remember us. Other promotions will see that too.
CJ: Thank you for that, and yeah the plans are to head to a mainstream organization for sure. I have a wife and child. My wife is a little burned out on the wrestling, but I can’t blame her, I am sure she gets sick of hearing about it and watching it lol. My son loves that I wrestle, although I think he is a bigger fan of Cobra TA and Xavier Justice because in his words “they don’t cheat”. She supports me, makes my gear, peps me up and keeps me motivated, so if they opportunity came up I would take it for sure. It helps having family support. Anyone that gets in this business is doing it to be the best, and chase that dream. Some catch it and stay, some catch it and leave, but all want to catch it for themselves and see where it goes from there.
Do either of you have any favorite matches you’ve been involved in?
Ace: I think my favorite match was when I wrestled Rhyno at Pure Pro Wrestling in Holland, MI. I’m not going to lie, he was one of my favorite wrestlers growing up, and being in the ring with him, I was a bit speechless. We tore it up! Main event style match that left people not only in shock but wanting more. “5 more minutes” *clap clap clap clap clap* UNREAL! Pure Pro Wrestling brought Rhyno back to the same town a couple months later, and we tore it up a second time. One of my all time favorite names to work with. As a team, like CJ said, when he, Moe, and myself teamed up for the first time in Ohio. We have such great chemistry and can work off each other very well.
CJ: My favorite tag match as of right now was when Ace Evans, Moe Evans and Myself tagged together for the first time in Ohio against The Naturals and Alex Jordan. We were on point that day, and it was the first time I tagged with Moe. We meshed like we had been doing it forever, and had a great match. My favorite singles match was a hard hitting 5 minute war with Dre Jacobs in Detroit. You might scoff at 5 minutes, but look that up on youtube, we hit hard and made the most out of 5 minutes. My two favorite matches I didn’t even come out on the winning side lmao, but they were fun to watch and be a part of.
Fan Question: Have you ever gotten injured wrestling, and if so what was the injury and how did it happen?
CJ: I took a Pounce from Monty Brown that left my shoulder sore for about two months lol. Honestly I have only had one major injury, and knock on wood I hope it stays that way. I jumped off the second rope, and came down in a ring where the boards were a little wobbly, and my leg bent backwards at the knee. It tore every damn tendon and ligament in the knee and the shin hit the knee cap so hard it broke the knee and crashed the shin. It was gross to say the least. I was in a stationary brace and crutches for a month, the two months with a brace on, and rehab for another month. I didn’t come back for 6 months because the last two months I just mentally couldn’t focus on wrestling. Every time I hit my leg, or someone would work the leg I would get a sick feeling in my stomach couldn’t do it. Injuries don’t bother me usually, but the knee did. When I was a baby I had to wear casts on my legs because they were crooked so I already was warned that knee injuries could happen more often to me. In high school I took two different shots to the knee and tore it up to the point I needed a stationary cast back then too. So I really wanted to make sure I was healed before I came back.
Ace: Just this past summer I dislocated my shoulder. I took a falcon arrow onto my opponents leg. He was fine. Just the crack, snap, and burning I had shooting up my arm, in my neck, and down my back, was the worst I’ve ever had. After spending 7 hours at the hospital for them to tell me “It’s just a deep bruise” had me very upset. I ended up putting my arm back in place a week later. I also had stitches put in my chin. Guy came off the top rope with an elbow and cracked me in the face. Skin on my chin was hanging. Went and had it sewn back together. My beard covers my scar pretty good, so you can’t even tell.
Fan Question: If you could wrestle anyone, celebrity, wrestler, non-wrestler alive today who would it be? Kanye?
CJ: Is Kayne the name of the person who asked? Or do they want me to beat up Kanye and misspelled? I would love have to say out of anyone I can choose from that’s alive today I would choose Cesaro. I like his style in the ring and have been a fan of his work for a while. I think we would have a fun technical and hard hitting match.
Ace: Who the hell is Kanye? Just kidding! There are so many guys I’d love to get in the ring with. Christopher Daniels, Ken Anderson, EC3, and Adam Rose. As a team: Young Bucks, Oi4K (Ohio is for killers for those at home reading), The Club, Briscoes, and The Boys.
Fan Question: Any main stream wrestlers you look up to? And BONUS…are there any that you dislike dun..dun…DUN!!!
Ace: I’ve always looked up to Triple H. He was my favorite ever since I became a die hard fan. Even mark out when I see him get in the ring or get ready for his matches. I don’t think there are any I dislike (brownie points, right?)
CJ: I don’t know if I would say look up to, that seems pretty starry eyed to me. I would say I respect and mold myself after Josh Raymond. He trained me, and I was a fan of his before he trained me, but that isn’t the main reason. He is very good, one of the best, and VERY respected. I want to have that type of legacy where I am known for being safe, reliable, respectful and someone who knows what he is doing in and out of the ring. He could call up almost any promotion and want to be a part of it, and they would bring him in because of his reputation. When he finished training us he had 6 months worth of bookings every weekend, sometimes double or triple shots and that was based on his word and approval alone. These guys didn’t know Cory and I, but with Josh’s approval, they booked us. That is really saying something towards how you are viewed by your peers, and that is how I would like to be viewed.
Fan Question: How much thought went into selecting your entrance music? If you could have any artist perform a song just for your entrance, who would it be?
Ace: My friend actually made our music. I told him what style I was looking for, wanted a motorcycle revving at the beginning, and he nailed it. Every time I hear our song, I get instantly pumped! If I had to have somebody sing our song, I think it would have to be The Moonshine Bandits (for all you country rap fans out there). We actually reached out to their manager at one point in hopes of getting something made, but, they were just beginning touring their new CD and nothing ever came of it.
CJ: I use a few, and I put a lot of time in to it. I wanted something that sounded good, sounded unique, fit me, and didn’t cuss because you need to be able to use it anywhere. I started using Monster by Skillet because it was generic and I couldn’t decide on anything. Now I alternate between two songs, and I honestly just choose them at random at each show. I use Terminator theme by Daniel Tidwell, it’s the theme from T2 Judgement day played as a metal remix. So it’s the iconic sound, just heavier. The other song I use is Lake of Fire by Boondox. I am a Juggalo and a country boy, and even though Boondox is no longer on that record label, I love his stuff. It is HARD to find a song by anyone in the horrorcore scene without cussing, but that song has no cussing in it. It’s slow and dark with a great sound and his beats are some of the best.
You both have rising singles careers but have made a name for yourselves as a tag team, tagging is a different dynamic isn’t it? How important is it to be able to read your partner?
Ace: Tagging is different. Singles you only gotta worry about 1 guy, in tag, you have to worry about not only yourself but 3 others. CJ and I are pretty good at reading each other. I can usually say one thing and he knows where my mind is. Or, when we tag, we just instantly go to what we both were thinking. We are a very good team when it comes to that.
CJ: Very important, because you want to mesh well. We play off each other, and you can see that bond when you watch us. If I or Ace are a little more comedic, we play off that. If we get serious, the other one plays off that as well, we are always on the same page. I have that same connection with each member of The Nomads so far, and honestly last weekend in Winston Salem, NC I meshed really well with Sinn Krowley and would love for him to join up and get a Nomad Chapter down south. It is very important to read your partners well if you want to be successful as a tag team.
Do you think some Indie promotions should merge in order to put out a better product, there’s quite a few now and more seem to rise up every year.
Ace: Yes, especially if they run very close to each other, use the same roster as the show 10 minutes up the road, but use a different name. Put it all into one, get some good story telling going on, and everybody is happy.
CJ: Without a doubt, it benefits them, the wrestlers and the fans. Share cost, share exposure and work with more people. UWA Saginaw and IBW Detroit work together, Price of Glory in Coldwater has been in talks of working with Pro Wrestling King in Indiana, and I really hope that happens. PPW has been partnering with places in other states which a great for everyone. That is how I was booked in Winston Salem, NC. He talked with a bunch of promoters down there and we came down with 5 guys, and other promotions sent their guys and we made a card out of it. Fans saw match ups from wrestlers that worked for other companies that they may have not seen them paired up before, plus they saw 5 guys from Michigan that they have never seen before. One was Zach Gowen, so they knew who he was, but the other four of us were brand new to them. Those promotions will be sending their guys to Michigan to take bookings with us and it gives them a way to expand now as well. So everyone benefits from this. PPW is working with guys in Wisconsin, Minnesota and NY fell through for now, but it was on the table. Talks with Canadian promotions and PPW are going on as well. This can only benefit the promoters, workers and fans, and it’s great. You can do super shows, invasion angles, strange pairings, it’s all entertaining. One of the companies in NC also is Pure Pro Wrestling, different company with the same name, and Sinn Krowley is from there, so it was fun advertising both PPW shows working together and making us a tag team to represent them. Then we had Xavier Justice head trainer and owner of PPW Michigan against Lebron Key head trainer of Fire Star Pro Wrestling in Greensboro, NC go head to head. Shows running together can be a great thing, just check your ego at the door and put on a great show. Nobody had an ego on the show we were on, but there were a few places that didn’t want us to come in their area, but they missed out on one hell of a show.
What’s next for you guys as a tag team, and as singles wrestlers?
Ace: As a tag team, I’m hoping we can either go south or over seas. I’m hoping to become a team that super indy fans will know. Eventually go somewhere and get a job together! Singles, I really don’t do too much of. Couple promotions we work singles, but, I’d rather get to the top with my brothers than by myself.
CJ: Right now it’s just to expand and keep taking bookings where we have been and new places that we haven’t been. I am willing to take singles bookings, but right now my focus is on the tag team. This is probably my shortest answer in the whole interview lol.
Where can our readers find you online?
Ace: Find us on Facebook! Search for me under Sean Stockmeyer, The Nomads, or go to our website
www.facekickedapparel.com (cheap plug!) You can find where we will be on either of those. CJ is very good at taping our matches and posting them up right away.
CJ: You can find my facebook profile, http://www.facebook.com/nomadcjanderon, search Youtube for CJ Anderson wrestling, search The Nomads in groups on facebook and you can find us there, and I am on twitter @cjandersonnomad.
Check out the Nomads in action in the video below!