Like music, wrestling is an art form. It is an undeniable, marketable, physical and mental form of entertainment that isn't for the weak at heart. And fresh off a big weekend highlighted by World Wrestling Entertainment's Wrestlemania, it seems the world is ready for something new. For the superstars of New York-based Imperial World Wrestling, it's more than being ready, its about making a statement. One of those talented men looking to make a big statement is none other than the effervescent and charismatic Rembrandt Lewis.
Mainstream: Rembrandt Lewis, what's going on man? Before I start I want to say congratulations on joining Imperial World Wrestling and the vision me and Tom has for the company
Lewis: I appreciate you fellas for having me. Looking forward to making some noise with you guys.
Which I’m sure you will. So everyone has an origin story. For me, especially with wrestling, I started on the tape trading days. I had ‘Big Cat’ Ernie Ladd & Andre before WWF w/ blue trunks and the soul glow afro lol… which was weird. How did you get the wrestling bug?
Lol oh man. So I definitely didn’t catch those guys. I believe my first time was 98, I was laying with my mom flipping through tv channels and eventually I caught a glimpse of ministry Undertaker. I’d never seen anything like it before. I was hooked. And of course, my mom changed the channel. I was tight lol. So fast forward a year to 99, my uncle would watch in our apartment. I’d sneak him downstairs even though it was a school night and we’d try to sneak watch but then we’d end up play fighting until my mom heard and kicked him out. Those are my earliest memories. My uncle passed away two years later but he’s very much the reason I became a wrestling fan.
Sorry for your loss man and what an awesome story. Dude… Ministry Taker. I remember when I first saw that badass goatee and I was like yeah this man is the f’n devil lol. I think the Attitude Era birthed a lot of us as fans, but you took it to the next level and decided to jump in the ring. Where did the motivation to do that come from?
So truthfully I always wanted to do this. But I’m a skinny kid from Brooklyn. I had my doubts. So I joined the army. Got discharged. Went to college. Hated it. So I felt stuck. I just thought of the most outlandish thing to make me feel like I’m living life fully. So I stumbled onto House of Glory Wrestling School. I was nervous as all hell. But it looked so cool. My trainer, The Amazing Red asked me if I wanted to try a top rope cross body since that’s what he was teaching at the time, I tried it and I fell in love. I just knew I could do this. My first ever in-person encounter with the squared circle and I was hooked.
Sounds like love at first sight. I gotta say I admire you cause I don’t think I can do it. I did backyard one time, got hit with a clothesline, said nope, put my ass in commentary and stayed there until we closed lol. But I’ll admit its dope to see Amazing Red as a trainer. This is the dude I saw pull off some crazy shit in TNA and now to see him be a trainer to future stars is dope. But what’s crazy from hearing your story is a lot of these decisions seem to come on your own. How did your parents or family feel about leaving the army or even now wrestling?
My father just said whatever I do, be the best at it. But it’s easy for him, I’m his youngest of four kids. My mom, on the other hand, I’m her only one. And it’s always been just her & I. So when I went to the army, she cried. Begged me not to go. Cried the entire time. When I joined wrestling. I don’t think she thought I was serious. Until my first match came along. She couldn’t sit through it. Almost had a panic attack lol. But now she’s okay with it. She’s so invested in everything that goes on. As long as I hide my aches and pains well enough when I see her, she’s good.
Your mom is awesome. I met her at the last HOG show I was at last year. Stood up the whole time while you wrestled, cheered, booed, took pictures... I always felt in any form of entertainment, the value of having family support is such a major key. Same goes for the family that you've probably gained on that roster. Was it rough the first year being around a bunch of guys all looking to make it big like you?
Yeah it was. The first couple of years it was. Especially because I’m naturally to myself. So seeing guys do their thing and maybe you don’t catch on as fast is a bit disheartening. Especially when you’re like 21. You’re still pretty dumb and impressionable at that age. But I stuck by my guns. Believed in me. And while a lot of guys fell completely out the business, I’m still here working hard and having faith that my time is gonna come.
Which you are definitely on your way. You got the tutelage of Amazing Red, and storyline or not, Anthony Gangone who since 2013 has been a staple in New York wrestling. However, I’m sure you want more. What’s the goal mentally for you?
I want the world. It’s cliche to say I know, but I want the titles. I want the money. I want recognition. I don’t have to say I’m the best, I already know that. No one has to tell me something I already know. I want what comes with being the best. I want to work everywhere, travel the world, win titles, and get paid enough so when I feel like I’ve left my legacy, and I pay it forward, I’ll ride off into the sunset and quietly live on my farm for the rest of my time.
The American professional wrestling dream. Bro, I’m not mad at it and you deserve it, every bit of it. Ok, I always wanted to ask a pro wrestler on the independent scene this… what’s that one dream match you’ve always wanted? And I’ll add in there that you can set the stipulation.
Hmmm. That’s honestly something I never thought of. I try and think of myself as peers with everyone, so the Dream aspect has left me as far as anyone that’s still competing. But if we go off of whoever comes to my mind first, it’d be Shawn Michaels in his prime. He was on a level most won’t even sniff.
You and HBK? For that, I’m in there! The mark in me just wants to catch one Sweet Chin from him. But that’s just me. Ok, so this is a music blog so I feel I’m tempted to ask at least one music question… I’ll make it two. Favorite song of all time? Favorite artist of all time?
(Laughs) this ain’t fair. My tastes change every year. I legit listen to everything. But if I have to, Lady by Modjo is my favorite song of all time. (Shrugs)️ Don’t judge. As far as my favorite artist of all time, I’d have to say, Michael Jackson. But J Cole has been really climbing up there in the past few years.
Listen, I won’t judge. Kiss From A Rose by Seal is still my shit. And J. Cole is fire trust me, he’s gonna be a legend when it’s all said and done. So as we close up, we got IWW Breakthrough is coming up. The big event for the company, the first one. Any expectancy from us over here? Any plans you wanna set in motion? Anyone, you wanna call out? Yes, I know I am in typical promoter mode, don’t judge me.
Lol no judgement from this side. The plan is to be a star. I wanna be one of the faces of this company and start leaving my legacy. I want every title that’s gonna be available here. When people think of IWW, they’re gonna think of me. That’s my plan. As far as calling anyone out, they’re all gonna end up the same way. On the mat for that three count. The only person that kind of has my attention is Darius Carter.
With him being the driving force behind the Crusade for Change, and me being a member of the House of Gangone, I feel there might be an interesting dynamic there... but we’ll have to wait and see how that one plays out.
Carter vs. Lewis sounds like money! Hmm, I think me and Tom need to have a convo. Any shoutouts before you go?
Hmmmm. Let’s give a shoutout to me. A shoutout to Rembrandt Lewis for the noise myself and IWW are gonna bring in the very near future.
Awesome. And if I ain't say it already, welcome to Imperial World Wrestling! Thank you for the interview, appreciate it.
It’s a pleasure my brother. Thank you for having me.