Back in the ’90s when WCW was riding high, Raven had a crew of wrestlers who followed his lead. One of the most entertaining of Raven’s Flock was Lodi. Lodi was always the perfect flunky to play off of Raven and his signs became something to look forward to every week on Nitro.
Lodi is and has been a fixture on the North Carolina independent scene. Prior to signing with WCW, Lodi wrestled in the Carolinas for a company called SCW amongst others. I first saw Lodi on an show where he wrestled with his tag partner, Toad on a show which featured Shane “Hurricane” Helms, Jeff Hardy as Willow, Joey Matthews, Venom AKA Joey Abs, and few other names you might recognize.
WrestleTalk had the chance to sit down with Lodi to discuss a few topics prior to his appearance in TalkNShop-A-Mania this weekend on FITE.
Since leaving WCW, Lodi has continued to wrestle all over the world, but you can still see him as a regular at shows like WrestleCade, which is one of the largest independent shows around.
Breaking Into WCW:
Lodi discussed getting his chance in WCW and how he became a member of Raven’s Flock:
“I was out one night in Atlanta with a wrestler that was down at the power plant with me. We were at a nightclub and Raven came in. He had just come down from ECW and I didn’t know Raven. The guy I was with did and He said ‘hey, let’s say hello to Raven. I’m like ‘man, I’m not gonna mess with him. I don’t know him. Just go ahead and say hello. I’ll just be here hanging out. Johnny Attitude was the wrestler’s name…He goes over to talk t0 Raven. I’m hanging out. He comes back about 10 minutes later and says ‘Hey man, raven wants to meet you.” Why does raven want to meet me? He said he’s looking for a personal trainer. He goes, ‘I know that’s what you did before you started wrestling and that personal training studio.’ He said, ‘Go over and talk to him. I went over and Raven, kind of, quizzed me. It’s like 12 30 midnight in a bar. He’s asking me all these bodybuilding questions and you know like 15 minutes in he’s like you’re hired. I’m like hired for what. I didn’t think I was interviewing for a job really. I thought he was just talking to me about working out.”
Lodi would continue to tell about how the very next day he started personally training Raven. Eventually, Raven would hire him as his personal assistant. Later on, Raven felt like it would be easier for the two to continue working out together. So, Raven put in a call and the rest was history. Lodi was booked for a WCW pay-per-view just a couple of nights later.
“He [Raven] gets off the phone [with Terry Taylor at 11:30 is on Thursday Night]. He goes ‘You start at the pay-per-view on Sunday.’ I’m sitting in a bar with short dark hair. Raven’s like: ‘You don’t look like a star kid. We need to turn you into somebody. You look like Billy Idol. Yeah, get your hair done tomorrow and get some black leather pants. Get some biker boots…and, we got to leave Saturday morning for the pay-per-view.”
One thing Lodi was known for in WCW and he still uses the gimmick today was his posters. You never knew what they were going to say. Who came up with the ideas for the signs?
“Raven had given the sign gimmick to Sign Guy Dudley at ECW, right. So, He had just took me as an experiment. It’s funny because I can say this now. We fought about it a lot back then. My character that I had done on the independent show was totally different than the Lodi character Raven wanted me to be…Taking Stevie’s place as kind of the head flunky in the flock. I realized this as time went on Raven took a lot of the old Johnny Polo stuff and stuck it on Lodi, but it worked. That was my role.”
Obviously, Raven had a lot of influence on Lodi’s character, but who came up with the material on the signs?
“I would say probably 80% of it was me. He would give me an idea here or there. At the time, Raven and I are now both totally sober, but some of his ideas could never be put on TV. I was smart enough back then to know that at the time. He gave me some, um, off the wall, off-color ideas that just wouldn’t have flown.”
Lodi actually credited what seems like an unlikely source for some of the sign ideas.
“Truly, I got a lot of good ideas from the boys in the back. Some people don’t realize how funny Dean Malenko is. You see his wrestling persona, The Ice Man, but he’s got this dry sense of humor. The guys would see me backstage, you know, writing on the board or whatever and then Malenko would walk up behind me and whisper something then would just walk away. I’d just look at him and I’m dying on the inside because it was so funny.”
Ah, this is always a fun and entertaining clip from our match with Sid to revisit. How Lenny did not die on the Cobra Clutch Slam is beyond me. Talk about a tough guy… #WestHollywoodBlondes #LodiRulz https://t.co/e7gkghNehA
— Brad Cain aka Lodi (@Lodi1Brad) July 23, 2020
Lodi didn’t spend his entire time in WCW in the Flock. He had a successful and entertaining partnership with Lenny Lane. What made that team special?
“The chemistry he and I had in real life I think came across so well on tv. That’s one reason I think people bought into what we were doing. We really gelled and you can’t just throw two people together and have chemistry.
“Most of the stuff was Lenny’s idea, but I was the one who would pitch it to Kevin [Nash]. Once we got the green light to start to do this it just fell into place. So much of the stuff we did on tv some of the guys in the back, Arn Anderson being one of them, would be like where did you guys come up with this stuff.
“It was never one of these long drawn out plans. It was just ad hoc in the moment. I’m not saying we didn’t plan some stuff, obviously, but so much of our best stuff was just done in the moment.”
Recently, there have been some articles about memorizing scripts causing pressure on some of the wrestlers. What does Lodi think of today’s product being so scripted, at least in certain companies?
“If I was just starting out, I don’t know what I would do. I’d probably get out of the business knowing what I know. I’m kidding. I love wrestling and I always will. It’s given me so many great things. That was a joke.
“I grew up in the Carolinas and watching Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes, Nikita Koloff and Arn Anderson. These guys to me were just real life wrestlers but with characters larger than life. Big, big guys. You had The Warlord. You know, The Road Warriors. All those guys were just monstrous. I know the business has changed and smaller, more athletic guys now or whatever. But that’s what I grew up on. That’s what I love to watch.
“If you go back and watch his [Arn Anderson] promos, they stand up to this day. He wasn’t some screaming, rant and raving lunatic, but you bought into everything he said. That wasn’t scripted. That was Arn being Arn Anderson.
“So, these guys that given scripts by writers who may or may not know their character, I think is a real detriment to the business…I think if you’re in some companies, you’re forced to fit into this cookie cutter mold or method. You’ve got a couple people writing the scripts and everything starts to sound the same. It takes away some of the individuality and if you like to be creative then it stifles that side of it.”
Speaking of creative freedom, Lodi is part of this weekend’s upcoming pay-per-view from The Good Brothers, Karl Anderson, and Luke Gallows, TalkNShop A-Mania.
“I’m excited about the pay-per-view this weekend. TalkNShop A-Mania. You know there’s gonna be a Flock Appearance, which is always really cool for me when, anytime, you can go back again…anytime I get to reunite again with these guys, spend time with them not only in front of a camera, but backstage just hanging out and catching up with everybody, that’s awesome.
“Quick disclaimer, The TalkNShop A-Mania pay-per-view this weekend is definitely for an adult audience. There is not going to be…um…a whole lot on there for some young kids. So, Mom, Dad, you got some young kid who want to watch it, then you might want to know the language is probably not going to be what you approve of.”
I’m telling all you wrestling fans now, DO NOT miss the most anticipated PPV of the year!!! August 1, be sure to order and watch so you can see for yourself what EVERYONE in the wrestling world is talking about! #LodiRulz #Flock4Life https://t.co/2LD4G49gxN
— Brad Cain aka Lodi (@Lodi1Brad) July 28, 2020
“The two-day taping, I was there for one. I think it’s going to make for some really good talk. Everybody knows kind of what they are getting into. It’s not going to be a whole lot of technical wrestling. If that’s what you’re tuning in for, you’re not going to get it. But, I think for the surprise factor, the fun factor, to be entertained, I think you’re definitely going to be entertained.
“Super creative. I think it’s going to be something people walk away from again [entertained] because the guys, from what I understand, were given a lot of flexibility to do their stuff. You put D’Lo Brown, Chavo Guerrero, and all those guys. You can look at the poster and see who’s gonna be there. You give guys that just want to have fun entertaining people the ability to do that and I think the pay-per-view is $15…I’m paying that all day long.”
Appreciation for the Business and What’s it Has Done for Him:
One of the things, I truly appreciate about Lodi in his post WCW career is his positive outlook on life and how he’s turned his opportunity into a way to support and inspire others. He mentions Nikita Koloff before, but he and Nikita have a lot in common. For starters, they both took the opportunity of gaining experience and exposure in front of crowds to share their love of God. Even if you aren’t someone who is a believer, spreading joy in today’s world is something we need more of.
“Nikita Koloff and I have become great friends as adults. We realized both of us had a rise in the wrestling industry to that level of notoriety really fast. We both think it was God’s plan to get us there to teach us to be comfortable in front of people so we could preach and teach later on. We have the ability and do not mind being in front of people.”
As he said earlier, Lodi was a personal trainer and has a love of teaching. Lodi is staying busy wrestling on the independents now but also runs a full-time wrestling school out of Charlotte, NC.
“I’ve got a wrestling school here in Charlotte, NC. We’ve had that now come a little over two years actually. I’ve had a lot of fun with that. I worked when I ran Dusty Rhodes wrestling company after I left WCW at Turnbuckle Championship Wrestling. I worked at his school and was a booker for TCW.”
— Brad Cain aka Lodi (@Lodi1Brad) August 28, 2019
“I’ve always enjoyed training younger kids because I had such great trainers and have been with so many people in this business who have poured into me. It’s hard to argue with the intelligence on the wrestling side, the creativity, or the knowledge of Raven and Diamond Dallas Page and, you know, Dusty Rhodes. There are a lot of people who they know their names but they’ve never spent time with them, much less day after day. I love watching the young kids get better. That’s pretty awesome.”
Impact of COVID
One of the things we always ask wrestlers when we talk with them if there is anything we can plug to help support them during the pandemic. Lodi’s answer just proves the kind of guy he is. He said he was lucky and fine, but he did focus on others.
“That’s killing me with COVID and the shutdown. I’ve got some really talented kid who really are at a point where they should be working every weekend and there’s just nowhere for them to work…They’re coming to practice faithfully two and three times a week and working hard…,but I’m just ready for them to get back in front of fans.
“If there’s a wrestler that you like, find his website and maybe buy a t-shirt or something.”
As for him,
“All I’m asking for is if you got a prayer or two, I’ll always take those, man.”
While Lodi has missed at least 18 shows himself, he’s more concerned about things than just the financial losses. Like all of us, the pandemic has impacted our well-being, but for Lodi, he also misses interactions with fans.
“You know I love to wrestle and then since 2012, Scotty Matthews, my tag partner, you know, with Team Fearless, we use our wrestling as a ministry. All of our shirts and all of our photos have a bible verse on them. We try to make sure we explain them…because there are people at the show who maybe have never heard of Jesus Christ or haven’t heard of Him for a while need to be reminded. So for us to use something we love and to be able to go out and do that on the weekends and spread the gospel is really cool for us.
In speaking with Lodi you can just tell how appreciative he is of the business and the opportunity he’s had to impact people.
“As of this November, I have been wrestling for 25 years. I’m thankful. My goodness. You know one thing that always inspires me…If I get there [to a show] sometimes…and maybe a little run down…there’s always someone at the show who’s in a wheelchair or crutches…because of some physical ailment that they’re never going to get over. Usually, it’s a kid and I see the excitement with those kids and how much they love wrestling. God’s given me the ability…and I’m still wrestling. For me to take advantage of that…it’s always a reminder of how blessed I’ve been able to do what I do and that people will still cheer for Lodi…It’s become an outlet for us to reach out to people and spread the gospel. You put all that together and it’s a total win-win for us.”
I enjoyed talking with Lodi and hearing his positive outlook. If you want to listen to the entire interview, you can do so here. And, if you like goofy, off-the-wall style entertainment give TalkNShop A-Mania a try. Well, if you don’t mind cursing that is.