“Lucha Underground” actor and producer Paul London has pretty much done it all in the squared circle, winning gold almost everywhere he’s competed, including stints as the WWE Cruiserweight Champion and half of the WWE Tag Team Champions with Billy Kidman.
However, one of the few items the longtime pro wrestler hasn’t had the opportunity to check off his bucket list is performing in Colorado Springs. “I’m really excited to perform for there,” the 37-year-old London said of his Saturday match against fellow “Lucha Underground” star Marty “The Moth” Martinez for Colorado Springs Wrestling.
Although most would assume London’s excitement for Colorado Springs has something to do with pro wrestling, the high-flying grappler is more interested in a local legend.
“One of my absolute favorite actors of all time is from Colorado Springs,” London said. “Lon Chaney, who was the Phantom of the Opera, was the Hunchback of Notre Dame and many other roles, lived in Colorado Springs, and I’m looking forward to checking that stuff out. I’m such a huge mark for Lon Chaney … He was really one of the greats.”
Historical pit stops notwithstanding, London will be all business by the time the bell rings at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Hillside Community Center, 925 S Institute St., and that stems from his love to perform.
“I’m no spring chicken, so I really have started, and always have, appreciated the performance part of pro wrestling,” the Austin, Texas, native said. “You can have a really athletic contest with great spots, but as a performer, if you can get them (the audience) to believe that you’re hurting, in trouble or that your opponent is a real tough son of a bitch, if you can get them to believe – that’s what it is all about.”
London enjoys drawing people in and helping them suspend disbelief – it’s part of his drive to act, something that’s been with London since he was 9 years old.
“Wowing them is just frosting on the cake,” said London, who was a child actor prior to becoming interested in pro wrestling. “Let’s be honest, it’s silly, absolutely silly, but it’s fun. There’s a lot of make believe and just a lot of play, which I’m very grateful for. It doesn’t matter if there are 10 people or 10,000, I always want to go out there and tell a story.”
Christopher Chavez Sr., CSW promoter, said it’s a feather in his cap to book London and Martinez for shows, especially since the promotion is fairly new, having started in 2016.
“Looking back on it, it is somewhat of a pipe dream to have Paul London coming out to my promotion,” Chavez said. “Not only him, but having Marty ‘The Moth’ as a former champion has been an honor and a blessing. A year-and-a-half ago I used to watch these guys on TV, and now to say that I know them personally and that Marty is a good friend of mine is very humbling. It is going to be a great show.”
Chavez said fans should expect to see a show jam-packed with high-flying, body-slamming action, set in a welcoming family environment. “We are going to have seven matches on the card,” Chavez said, “including two ladies matches and a hardcore match -- meaning no disqualifications and weapons will be used.”
In addition to the show, Chavez is hosting a wrestler-training seminar from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday at the same venue. Wrestlers, including London, will be on hand to go through some holds with children, fans and aspiring grapplers.
“I’ve been doing this for 17 years -- I started training in ’99,” London said. “I enjoy teaching now just as much, if not more than performing.”
It’s that love and respect for his craft that keeps the veteran coming back for more.
“If you’re teaching you can share your experience, both good and bad and help people learn from it. If I can help that light bulb go off for someone, that’s great – it’s really fulfilling. You’re teaching what you know to a new generation and they’ll hopefully pass it down to the next.”
Tickets cost $15 for a front row seat and $10 for general admission, while a wrestling seminar ticket costs $30 for advance purchase and $40 at the gate. Tickets can be purchased at www.coloradospringswrestling.
ABOUT PAUL LONDON
Favorite wrestler to work with: Eddy Guerrero
“I was able to be in the ring with greatness and really tried to learn from him. Eddy was a real master; he knew how to feed off the audience’s emotion.”
High point: winning TLC ladder match with Brian Kendrick
“We defeated MNM, the Hardy Boyz and Regal and Taylor. We really put our bodies on the line – Joey Mercury nearly lost one of his eyes in that match.”
Favorite performers: Mr. Perfect Kurt Henning, Shawn Michaels and Marty Janetty, Rob Van Dam
“RVD made everything look like an action scene.”
MOVES: Down the Rabbit Hole (shooting star press), 450 splash
Trivia: London’s first WWE appearance actually was in the weeks leading up to Wrestlemania X8 in 2002, where he was used as a ‘fan’ who was punched by Ric Flair when the “Nature Boy” attempted to attack the Undertaker.