Grado, TNA's Scottish Grappler
Grado first rose to fame when Vice released a documentary about him, The British Wrestler, in 2012.
Since then the Scottish grappler, real name Graeme Stevely, has gone on to become one of Britain's favourite wrestlers and has featured in two BBC documentaries, Insane Fight Club, and he was a contestant on the second series of TNA's British Bootcamp. Growing up in Scotland, where did Grado's passion for wrestling come from?
"I first got into wrestling when I was 11–years old, which is quite late," the 26–year–old explained. "Most people start coming away from wrestling at that age. "As soon as I saw The Rock with his catchphrases and music, I became obsessed and from then on I just became obsessed with everything to do with wrestling. I used to get wrestling tapes sent over from all across the world, America, Japan, Germany, and I still get tapes sent over today, I'm just obsessed with wrestling."
Grado feels the exposure from being featured in documentaries like The British Wrestler and Insane Fight Club has been a massive positive to his career.
"It was brilliant being featured on The British Wrestler because there are a lot of people that never knew wrestling was happening in the UK, they thought it was just American wrestling like WWE and TNA," he continued. "With things like The British Wrestler and Insane Fight Club it gives people a chance to see there is British wrestling out there. The best thing that people can say to me is that I got them back into wrestling after they have stopped watching it for a while because they have seen me on TV and they like what I do."
Having appeared on the second series of TNA's British Bootcamp, the Scottish star is thankful for the opportunity he was given, but he didn't see eye–eye with all of the judges.
"During the process I became really good friends with Gail Kim," the Ayrshire grappler said. "She has given me some great advice and she gave me lots of great tips of what to do and what not to do, how to carry myself and not carry myself. Samoa Joe was really good as well to that extent, anytime I needed any advice he was there for me and was happy to answer my questions.
"Al Snow was a little bit different to deal with but you kind of expect that from Al because he is more old school, so he sees these YouTube generation of wrestlers and looks down on them, but we have paid our dues just as much as other wrestlers, hopefully I will get on his good side one day."
Grado will have his chance to prove himself to Al Snow when the pair step into the ring at the Hydro in Glasgow on Thursday 29th January as part of the TNA Maximum Impact 7 Tour.
"Al Snow is a legend, I enjoyed watching him when I was growing up and I loved the 'Head' gimmick, "he added. "For me to step in the ring and wrestle a legend in the biggest arena in Scotland is going to be amazing, the atmosphere is going to electric and I just can't wait for that match, it will be the biggest match of my career."
TNA will be the visiting Glasgow on January 29th, Manchester on January 30th and London January 31st, MAXIMUM IMPACT 7 Tour tickets are available via www.facebook.com/tnawrestlinguk, www.gigsandtours.com, and www.ticketmaster.co.uk