Just recently I had the awesome opportunity to interview Arda Ocal about his career and the WWE in general. I look up to Arda Ocal as not only has he done announcing and radio shows, but also sports broadcasting – all three things I have major interest in. Most Canadians who have television have seen him on The Score, especially if you’re a wrestling fan and watch The Scores Aftermath program. Arda also gets the amazing opportunity to interview many of the talents from the business, and has given us links so we can check them out. Here are the questions I sent, so please take the time to read as his answers are extremely inspirational for us writers and wrestling fans in general. Once again, Thank you, Arda!
Q) You’ve been involved in announcing, broadcasting and TV hosting among other things, what words of advice would you give to those wanting to get into the industry?
A) Work hard, pay your dues, don’t be afraid to work from the bottom up – my first gig in the industry was 11 years ago I alphabetized tapes, cut clips.. even years after I was still doing volunteer work, driving a community cruiser to local events – you have to work hard and earn trust!
Q) Many people would consider what you do at The Score their “dream job”, as you get to interview great wrestling talents, host a radio show and television show as well, would you consider what you’re doing to be your dream job? Have you always wanted to be involved in sports broadcasting?
A) Absolutely – growing up, my heroes were those behind the microphone, not the athletes themselves. In the WWE, the two I looked up to were Gene Okerlund and Howard Finkel – both were eloquent, with unmistakable voices and really added a level of excitement that got you pumped up for an event.
Q) Some of us who watch Aftermath or have listened to you in the past know that you have a Turkish background, is there any Turkish wrestling talent you could educate us about to go with our global theme?
A) I know of two guys – Reza Celik, who was raised in Canada, he has had a few tryouts with WWE and has a great build – he studied at the same University I did (University of Waterloo) and played football there. A second guy is Murat Bosporus, out of Germany – I booked him for half of my cross Canada tour in 2008 along with Joe Legend (“Just Joe” in WWE, he’s a Canadian who also lives in Germany and is good friends with Murat). He’s short and built, a great worker in the ring, very seasoned. He’s traveled the world, places like South Africa and Japan among others. Both are great talents and I hope to see them succeed further.
Q) In your opinion who are the best three wrestlers to come out of Canada?
A) That’s a tough one, but for my generation it has to be Bret Hart, Chris Jericho and Edge. Also in that conversation if you look further back are Whipper Billy Watson, Bulldog Brower, Gene Kiniski, Abdullah the Butcher… so many great Canadian wrestlers. That’s why we are blessed to be wrestling fans in Canada – there are so many talents to be proud of!
Q) Hosting Aftermath, a show in which yourself and other personalities give your feedback on both Raw and Smackdown, do you ever get nervous of the backlash or judgement you might receive from certain comments or opinions you make on the show?
A) Not nervous, no – I completely understand that everyone is entitled to their own opinion and they might not agree with mine. I enjoy talking most with viewers who give me informed responses as opposed to just “hey man your point sucked!” without actually explaining anything.
Q) As we are a wrestling column, can you tell us some of your favorite interviews you’ve done with superstars, and where exactly we can watch them on the internet?
A) Most of my video interviews can be found on YouTube here: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL6A0E7BA832E59BDB&feature=plcp
And most of my audio interviews can be found here: http://radio.thescore.com/programs/aftermath
I’ve been lucky where a lot of my interviewees open up fairly quickly and give me such great stories. Three of my favourites to chat with are Roddy Piper, Bret Hart, Chris Jericho. Steve Austin was very insightful. But it’s not just blockbuster main event guys – I remember we had a great chat with Gangrel, where he told us a hilarious story about spitting his blood on Donald Trump and Trump’s girlfriend at a live event in MSG; Vince McMahon has positioned them right where Gangrel typically did his “blood spitting” routine. Sometimes you get fantastic stories like that.
Q) As a collector of the old Hasbro WWF action figures myself, I was wondering what WWF/WWE action figures you’re most proud of from your collection?
A) I went through a phase where I tried to buy as many LJN or Hasbro figures as possible – I wouldn’t call myself a hardcore collector but I definitely did shop around on eBay and Kijiji. I think I’m proud of my overall collection, just because I think a collection of action figures looks cool, no matter if they are wrestling figures, GI Joe or whatever.
Q) What is your current WIN and current FAIL with recent WWE programming?
A) I think there is a lot to win – Daniel Bryan and CM Punk are entertaining champions (for different reasons), Dolph Ziggler, Sheamus and Wade Barrett area stars in the making, John Laurinaitis is getting funnier and Brodus Clay makes me want to call my momma.
For fails, I’m not digging Jinder Mahal as he is today, I wish Tyson Kidd was more utilized as I think last year when he was on Smackdown more prominently he was getting a reputation as a superstar who could have a good match with anyone, and I feel the Divas division could benefit from a series of Beth Phoenix vs Natalya matches and I eagerly wait for the return of Kharma.
Q) Can you let the readers know where they can find The Scores Aftermath and also your interviews you’ve done? Also, how do we find you online?
A) You can follow me on Twitter @arda_ocal
We have an Aftermath Blog which you can find here: http://blogs.thescore.com/wwe
We also have an Aftermath Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/aftermathshow
Q) Any last words of wisdom for us wrestling fanatics out there?
A) Win if you can, lose if you must, but always always cheat!! OK maybe not that… Never lose your passion. I love passionate viewers and love to talk with you!
Once again a huge thank you to Arda for taking the time to answer the questions I asked. For you wrestling fans who aren’t in Canada I suggest you check out these links and watch some of the programming. We have a pretty great sports network in The Score as they dedicate a lot of time to WWE, which is greatly appreciated.