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Santa Maria Sun / Sports Lead

The following article was posted on January 10th, 2018, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 18, Issue 45 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 18, Issue 45

Catching up with Elias 'Buddy' Garcia, aka Buddy Royal, and his progress in pro wrestling

By PETER JOHNSON

During the day, he's Elias "Buddy" Garcia, a local high school coach, aspiring teacher, and all-around nice guy. But at night, he turns into "Buddy Royal," a menacing villain wreaking havoc on his opponents in wrestling rings.


ROYAL THE VILLAIN
Buddy Garcia, playing his wrestling character “Buddy Royal,” grabs his opponent during a recent fight taping of Championship Wrestling from Hollywood in Ventura.
PHOTO COURTESY OF DEVIN CHEN

Since he started training for pro wrestling six years ago, Garcia has honed his character into a national up-and-coming wrestler as he eyes the WWE circuit. This fall, he crisscrossed the country touring on a tag team, and he's now getting weekly television airtime.

Garcia was back in a local wrestling ring on Jan. 5 at the Radisson Hotel for a Vendetta Pro Wrestling event. The Sun recently caught up with Garcia to hear more about Buddy Royal's progress and experiences.

Sun: How did the Vendetta Pro event go on Friday?

Garcia: It was a good, well-rounded event. We had six matches in total. Everyone had a good time. It was myself versus Vintage Dragon, who's known in the Southern California area. We're carrying along a storyline. We kind of have a feud going on right now. He's playing the good guy, I'm playing the bad guy, and we've wrestled for the better part of the last six months.

Sun: How's your pursuit of the WWE going?

Garcia: It's going good right now. Just recently I did a tour in the Northeast. I was in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and New York for about three weeks. It was a great time, just trying to branch my brand out as much as possible. I mostly wrestle in a tag team, known as The Classic Connection. We reach some regional TV markets under Championship Wrestling from Hollywood (CW). They're actually featured here locally in Santa Maria on the CW. It's on at 7 a.m. every Saturday morning on the CW (you can also attend tapings for the show for free at the Oceanview Pavilion in Ventura every other Sunday). It's a stepping stone in the right direction to the WWE. Names like A.J. Styles, Daniel Bryan are all guys who are predominate wrestlers and passed through CW's doors. I'm on my way. My next goal now is trying to get international reach, possibly in Japan and Mexico.

Sun: Why did you decide to get into pro wrestling in the first place?

Garcia: I was an amateur wrestler in high school and was always athletic. I also had a theater side to me and did performing arts and drama growing up. And I was a huge fan of wrestling. Once my athletic career kind of stopped, I always knew I wanted to do wrestling somehow. I looked up on the internet, "local wrestling schools" and there happened to be one in the area. They give you a base. From there, it's up to you. I would compare it a lot to the music industry. You can get guitar lessons and from there, it's what you want to do with those lessons. Do you want to start a band? It depends on the person.

Sun: How did you decide on Buddy Royal as your character name?

Garcia: The name itself wasn't really my idea. I've been Buddy since I was kid, but the Royal part was kind of a promoter's idea. He picked elements of my personality and we both settled on Royal. It wasn't my original idea, but it really grew on me and now I can't imagine not being it. The character is elements of my own personality, the competitive side of me with just the volume turned up. It would say it's the best parts of my competitiveness shown in front of a crowd. 

Sun: What is Buddy Royal's wrestling style?

Garcia: I portray more of an old-school brawler style and pay homage to that old '60s, '70s mat-based wrestling style, to guys like Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, or even a Bret Hart. It's technically based and not as theatrical as other performers can be. Between wrestlers, there's controversy about should we be more innovative and progressive with more choreography or do a more gritty, raw style? It's debatable.

Sun: Does your character change at all from fight to fight?

Garcia: I wrestle town to town in various parts of the country, and the essence of the character is the same, but the attitude of the character really depends on what city we're in or what promoter is booking me. It's more of a villainous character, but it can be good guy depending on who I'm wrestling.

Sun: How much preparation goes into each fight?

Garcia: Everybody has different levels of experience, and people have various styles. So the style or experience level really dictates how much people choreograph. If you're a main event, you're usually given a half-hour and there's a lot more choreographing. If you have only five minutes, you might not have anything choreographed but more just bullet points.

Sun: Has the Netflix show GLOW had an impact on the wrestling scene?

Garcia: I actually have a couple friends who are part of the show, on production and actually featured in the show. I think it's great. It's great for female wrestling because that's another genre and style of wrestling that's really exploding in the industry. It puts a light on that, which they're due for. I think it also shows wrestling can be more than just brute stuff. It can also be comedy. It can be theatrical. There can be well-written television for it. It kind of opens up the behind-the-scenes of what goes into it.

Sports contributor Peter Johnson can be reached at pjohnson@newtimesslo.com.




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