INTERVIEW: Lee Moriarty discusses GCW Fight Forever, NJPW Strong, Alex Shelley

POST Wrestling's Andrew Thompson spoke to Lee Moriarty to promote GCW's Fight Forever 24-hour event that begins on January 29th.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2O0QafLun2g[/embedyt]

 

Game Changer Wrestling is presenting a 24-hour special titled Fight Forever that begins on January 29th. Throughout the 24-hour stretch, there will be a number of different shows airing at separate blocks. Shows such as For The Culture, Wrld on GCW Part 3 and The Wind of God are several of the many shows taking place during the stream.

Scheduled to compete this weekend is Lee Moriarty who had a highly praised stretch of matches during The Collective weekend in October. Moriarty is five years into his wrestling career and feels that throughout the past year, he has noticed more attention being put on his name. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Moriarty was able to carve out a successful 2020 professionally and he explained what it means to him to have had the fans’ support throughout the pandemic and their support for the Fight Forever show which has raised over $15,000 to present to the talents.

“It means a lot because with a pandemic, pretty much everyone’s either working limited or not working at all when you’re a wrestler. So, now we have the opportunity to get in the ring, it’s rare and we’re very grateful for it so to have people support it, especially because I think this event, there won’t be any fans so it’s kinda harder to get money together when you’re not selling tickets. So, it’s very special, it means a lot to us that we’ve raised that much money already and we haven’t even started airing live yet.”

Moriarty wrestled six matches during The Collective weekend. He shared the ring with the likes of Alex Shelley, Daniel Makabe, Jonathan Gresham and ACH. Lee received a great deal of praise on social media following that weekend and when asked if he had an extra boost of confidence coming out of it, he stated that he was just happy to do something that made a lot of people happy.

He added that he never intended to be a focus point of that weekend but it naturally happened.

“Nah, it was more of a — it wasn’t a pride thing. I was just happy I was able to do something that meant a lot to a lot of people who — independent wrestling was going through a lot. Not even just the pandemic but everything else that has been going on. So to have that happen, that Collective weekend and me be a part of it and be somewhat of an unintentional focus point. I didn’t intend to be a focus point, I didn’t intend to have so many matches, it just happened that way and for people to see what I could do in six different styles, six different ways, it was really cool and then it was just a big accomplishment because independent wrestling means a lot to me so to be able to do that, it was special.”

Coming out of The Collective weekend in Indiana, due to COVID-19 protocols and several talents testing positive after the weekend of shows, Lee had to miss out on heading into the Ring of Honor bubble. At the time, the company was two months out from presenting their Final Battle pay-per-view.

Moriarty did have a match with Suicide that aired on IMPACT Wrestling’s Xplosion program shortly after The Collective weekend. He mentioned that he did notice his name being tossed around more often but thinks it’s because of the combination of The Collective weekend and his IMPACT appearance and not one specific appearance.

“I don’t think it was connected but I did have the opportunity with Ring of Honor. So I wrestled The Collective Friday and Saturday and I went back home Sunday and on Monday, I went up to the [ROH] bubble thing, but anyone that was at The Collective couldn’t compete during that taping because exposure, so I did have an opportunity and so I don’t know if that was because — I don’t think the IMPACT [Wrestling] thing aired. People knew I was there because Alex Shelley posted that picture with myself, Ben Carter and Tre’ LaMar but I don’t think my match aired at the time. But I have noticed I’ve been getting more traction. I just don’t know if it was directly from IMPACT or if it was an overall thing from IMPACT, The Collective and my performances through places like Paradigm [Pro Wrestling], other GCW events and such.”

Moriarty joins Afa Anoa’i Jr., Kurt Angle, Lance Anoa’i, William Eadie (Ax), Britt Baker, Billy Kidman, Steven Richards, Raven, Road Warrior Animal and Shane Douglas as wrestlers that hail from Pennsylvania.

He has taken it upon himself to focus on the technical style of wrestling and although he only has five years of experience, Lee is interested in coaching. If he were to open up a wrestling school, he isn’t sure if he would open it in his home-state of Pennsylvania but he is sure that if the opportunity came about, he would want to coach full-time so he could put 100 percent of focus on those who came to work with him.

“Maybe. I don’t know where I would open a wrestling school, but I do have some sort of interest in training. I’ve asked to be a trainer before at schools. I just don’t think I have enough experience or knowledge or the confidence to be responsible for training anybody. I think, for me personally I would have to be around at least a decade. Obviously, anybody, you could pick up knowledge faster or slower depending on who you are. So maybe I have more knowledge than people wrestling longer than me, maybe I have less, when I’ve been wrestling five. It’s just about timing. I don’t wanna be a trainer and then be on the road full-time. Let’s say I get a contract and I’m not there for like half the training sessions. It’s like am I really your trainer or I’m a guy that just stops in, helps out? So it’s one of those things, it’s just timing. But I would love to help out one day with training people if I could.”

New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s NJPW Strong program that airs on Friday nights has featured Blake Christian, Lio Rush, Danny Limelight, Rust Taylor (Tyler Rust in NXT) and a handful of other fresh faces to the New Japan product. Moriarty is interested in competing on NJPW Strong and is hopeful that he can one day wrestle in Japan.

“Of course. Wrestling in Japan is my dream. It’s not even necessarily signing a contract, living in Japan, it’s just having that one match. There are so many professional wrestlers that are so great and they’ve had that same goal that they’ve never reached it and it’s because it’s really hard. Unless you’re paying your own way or something, it’s not as easy to get to Japan because there’s so much talent over there, and nowadays in American wrestling, we’re influenced by Japanese wrestling, Japanese wrestling’s influenced by us, so it’s all this big melting pot and it’s like what’s gonna make you stand out so I’m always trying to think of that because I wanna get to Japan. I just wanna have that one match. So of course I’m interested in working with New Japan Strong if the opportunity were to come up, because I love New Japan Pro-Wrestling. I grew up watching that. I think the big transition that made me a hardcore wrestling fan was discovering the Best of the Super Juniors tournaments. I was like right out of high school or right at the end of my senior year, so it’s definitely an influence on me.”

From November 2019 to February 2020, Lee Moriarty had three matches with Alex Shelley for the AIW promotion in Ohio. Moriarty was not shy to state that those matches helped put him on the map. He went on to speak highly of  Shelley who played a role in Lee, Ben Carter and Tre’ LaMar getting the IMPACT Xplosion spots.

“They put me on the map. Obviously, there’s gonna be progression, there’s gonna be milestones you hit that progress you, and with AIW there was a lot of that, there was milestones so the first time John Thorne [AIW promoter] ever saw me was he heard about me from other wrestlers like Derek Dillinger and stuff like that, but the first time he saw me was at a Ultimo Dragon seminar. Ultimo Dragon thought I was okay so in February the following year, they did a tryout thing, I got on that show and then the process I just like tried to produce a good match every time to be consistent and then getting an opportunity against Alex Shelley at their 200th event in November, that was our first match and that was more of a feeling out process and then December we got a rematch which wasn’t the plan but they liked the first match so much they did it again, and that match was more of a fight and then we had our third match in February of last year and that one was live on IWTV. That was AIW’s first time being live on IWTV and having that submission match, this high pressure situation live and you know, people streaming, live tweeting it, all this stuff, so wrestling someone who’s been — and this was I think a few weeks after he had appeared on NXT with KUSHIDA in the tag tournament [Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic]. So yeah, if you didn’t know who Alex Shelley was which you should have, you definitely knew then and you see his name and then you see a match graphic with me, I’m 100 percent where I am right now because of my trainers, because of the bookers, promoters, because of the fans and because of Alex Shelley taking me under his wing after that match and I’m very appreciative of it. But that was the match I think put me on the map and then since then I’ve just tried to be consistent.”

To keep up with the match and show announcements for GCW Fight Forever, head over to the promotion’s Twitter page. Lee Moriarty can be found on Twitter and Instagram @apexofcombat.

To check out our full interview, click the player at the beginning of this article or head over to the Andrew Thompson Interviews YouTube channel.

About Andrew Thompson 1561 Articles
A Maryland native and graduate of Norfolk State University, Andrew Thompson has been covering wrestling since 2017.