Darts and professional wrestling are two sports that you may not think have a lot in common, but looking a little deeper the two are similar in more ways than you may think.
Both sports began to grow in popularity in the mid-eighties with the likes of Eric Bristow capturing people's imagination on the oche, whilst across the pond Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior were becoming house-hold names.
Both sports have continued to grow and one British darts player that is bringing the two sports even closer together is Paul 'The Asset' Nicholson.
Speaking exclusively to Sportsvibe.co.uk, the 'Bad Boy of Darts' talks about how he got into the sport of wrestling, going to watch TNA live, his top Royal Rumble moment as well as paying tribute to WWE's CM Punk by copying his ring walk.
Q. What are you looking to achieve this year up on the oche?
I've set myself some goals, and I would like to win at least three pro tour events this year. I would like better in the UK Open qualifications and I'll like to break my duck of winning a pro tour event on the continent either in Holland, Germany or Spain as I haven't achieved that yet.
With regards to the major championships I want to qualify for all of them and content in most of them in order to move up the rankings.
Q. You are known as the 'Bad Boy of Darts' which is a bit of a wrestling persona in itself and Barry Hearn references wrestling when mentioning the ring walks- is that something that drew you to the darts?
When I first started as a professional I was quite timid compared to what I am like these days. A lot of people that know me know I'm quite placid and private away from the game, but when I'm in the game I turn into somebody different which in my opinion goes well with the wrestling because some of the guys that are outlandish and outspoken on camera, I'm sure there quite placid away from it.
I find it a great way of venting any anger or frustration in your life and you can use it as an advantage when you play a sport like darts which is one-on-one or wrestling when it's one-on-one, I know wrestling is scripted but you can use that to perform better, it's a way of expressing yourself.
I love that side of the game and its one of the things that attracted me to being a professional. It's far more enjoyable if your doing something like that as a posed to just going up their and having a game of darts in my opinion.
Q. Lots of wrestlers enjoy being the heel (bad guy) is that something you enjoy and getting booed?
Sometimes it's done in the right kind of manor but at other times it's done at pretty opportune moments and they do pick their moments to put me off. Most of the time I do enjoy it but there are some occasions where it does get a little bit two much.
I do enjoy it especially when I do exhibition shows and some of the televised stuff away from the UK, the crowds really do get into it and they enjoy seeing that side of me and from my perspective a love doing it and in my opinion there is a certain gap in the market for something like what I'm doing. Other players have tried to do it in the past but I'm doing it a little bit differently.
I'm doing it from the young man's perspective and I think that's what's bringing a few darts fans into watching wrestling, I've noticed a few wrestling fans on my twitter who are starting to watch darts for the first time. It can only be a good thing because if people are watching wrestling and their audience is getting bigger and the darts audience is getting bigger it can only be good for me and for both industries.
Q. When did you first start watching wrestling and who were some of your favourite wrestlers?
I remember getting into it in the late eighties, one of the first PPV's I ever watched was when Hulk Hogan was paired with Brutus 'The Barber' Beefcake at SummerSlam in 1989, and I was only 9-years-old when I started watching that.
However the coverage of the WWF back then wasn't very comprehensive, we were watching the likes of Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, but were always wanted to watch the WWF and would crowd around the TV when they showed the highlights.
When Sky came out in the early nineties and showed it on a regular basis it was a lot easier to follow but my favourite wrestlers would have been the Ultimate Warrior and Rick Rude, and I loved the tag-teams like, The Rockers and Legion of Doom, they were fantastic back then.
Going into today I loved everything to do with the attitude era with De-Generation X, and the battle with WCW, in my opinion will never be topped, it was a phenomenal period in professional wrestling. Today you can't look past CM Punk, he is just so funny, so intelligent and he just speaks to me, that is one of the reasons why I've done some of the stuff I've done.
Q. Have you ever tweeted CM Punk to see if he has seen what you have done?
I have tweeted him a few times and included him in some of the conversations I've had and done some of the hashtags that show up on Monday Night Raw and Friday Night Smackdown, but I've never had a reply unfortunately, I'm not sure if he is aware of what I have done.
As far as I'm concerned the guy is a visionary, what he did when he sat on the stage when he was talking about the McMahon family, it was the first time in a long time that wrestling fans and even my friends in darts, were asking it was really or scripted? It was edge of your seat stuff.
When I started to do some of the things that I do, I just wanted to give people the impression that anything I do is off the cuff and it's not scripted I just want be a bit unpredictable in a game that has sometimes become predictable with major champions going onto dominate the sport. When I come on I want people to think what is he going to do next? And thats one of the reasons people watch wrestling is because they want to know what is going to happen next.
Q. You're going to be covering TNA's event in Nottingham this week for Sportsvibe.co.uk, have you ever been to a live wrestling event before?
I've actually been to a few and was lucky enough to go to the first Monday Night Raw filmed outside of the States and that was back in 2004 at the MEN Arena, the ever lasting memory I'll have of that is that everybody was just Ric Flair mad that night everybody was just shouting 'WOOOOOOO!' it was an incredible atmosphere.
I went to one of the tour events in Newcastle not so long after that and have been to an event in Melbourne, Australia when I was living over there.
I'm really looking forward to going to see TNA live, I've never been to one of their shows but I'm a big fan of some of their performers such as, Kurt Angle who I think is the best wrestler in the world, as well as people like AJ Styles and Jeff Jarrett, they are fantastic performers. I think there is some great fresh talent as well as some legends to see.
Q. It will be Sting's first UK performance in nearly a decade and also his last UK tour, will you be donning some Sting face-paint?
I might be tempted, I've watched Sting for a good 20 years and never seen him live, I think he's one wrestler that has never really had the exposer he deserves. The guy is an absolute legend and has just been at the top of his game for so long. If I get the opportunity to see him live I'll be getting goosebumps on the back of my neck and will have to don the face-paint with some cracking t-shirts as well.
Q. As well as doing the CM Punk entrance have you thought about doing any of the other wrestlers' entrances?
I have been tempted to put a couple of black marks under my eyes because I'm a big NFL fan as well and will run that by management if I get the opportunity this year.
When I played Alan Tabern at the World Championships this year I did a bit of a Shamus and pounded my chest a couple of times and held my arms out, people didn't really twig on that one but it was a cool thing to do.
A couple of my Twitter followers dared me to do the Zack Ryder Woo Woo Woo fist pumps, because the night before I played I found a cocktail at a restaurant I was eating at called a Woo Woo and I went on Twitter asking where is the third Woo? And someone said 'It's tomorrow night when you do the three fist pumps', but I don't know if I can do that one yet.
John Cena's You Can't See Me, I am saving for the right moment and for the right opponent. I'm not going to lie in a sport like darts where it's one-on-one you are going to come across players that you don't get along with and there is a little bit of banter up on the stage sometimes and you have a few words with each other and things do happen, and the You Can't See Me thing might just occur one time, you never know.
Q. With the Royal Rumble coming up this weekend, what is your favourite Royal Rumble moment?
I have to admit I really enjoyed the Santino Marella bit last year with Alberto Del Rio, I was watching it live and thinking Del Rio is going to win this, and then all of a sudden Santino comes from under the ring and I was off my chair saying 'go on give him the cobra, get him of the rope' that was a good moment.
My biggest Royal Rumble moment will probably have to be Shawn Michaels with his one foot touching the floor against the British Bulldog, I've always remembered that one, I think that's everyone's favourite to be honest.
Paul Nicholson is managed by Modus Sports Management Ltd. www.modusdarts.tv you can also follow Paul on Twitter @TheAsset180
Join Paul by watching TNA live in Nottingham (January 26), Manchester (Jan 27) and London (Jan 28). For more information go to www.facebook.com/tnawrestlinguk
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