Hey Simon, thanks so much for taking the time and doing the interview with us. Please introduce yourself to our readers and tell us a little about how you started out your wrestling career.
No problem! Thanks for having me. Well, my name is indeed Simon Miller and I’m somehow both able to talk about wrestling on YouTube for WhatCulture and wrestle in real life as well. In terms of how the latter started, it was just something I’d always wanted to do. I tried in my early 20s but didn’t have the mental capacity to keep it up, so when I felt more ready for the challenge I decided to give it one last go. The way I saw it, it would either go really well or I could finally draw a line under it and move on. That’s no bad thing.
As it turned out, an Al Snow Wrestling Academy opened mere minutes from my house when I was having these thoughts and that was justification to at least try. The fact I combined this with documenting my progress on WhatCulture helped with the motivation as some people really did get invested, and after training my ass off I’m very fortunate to now be in a position where I’m being booked and having matches all the time.
How have you incorporated merch into your career as a wrestler, YouTuber and as a podcast host? Do you approach these in different manners?
I would argue I’m not very good at merchandise at all [laughs]! I’m not a natural salesman unless of course I’m in a ring and someone punches me in the face. Then, hopefully, that changes. I do enjoy the process of developing a t-shirt idea, but I do need to do better in terms of linking all those together and offering a product that each audience can enjoy. It’s like anything, though. I’m working on it, learning every day and I’m sure I’ll improve as the weeks go on.
Cheap plug, but that’s why working with Pins and Knuckles is so helpful. You guys do this day in, day out and it helps me fashion better ideas and how I should approach it going forward. I do need more options, though. This I know. I’m working on it!
What tips and tricks regarding wrestling and wrestling merchandising have you picked up along the way that you wouldn’t mind sharing with our readers?
Offer a good quality product. Most fans know quite quickly if they like the design, but if it turns up and it looks awful then they’re not going to be pleased and nor should they be. I’m a real stickler for customer satisfaction because I get how hard it is to earn money. For anyone to choose to spend that on something I’m putting out there… well, it has to turn up and make the buyer feel satisfied. If it doesn’t I’ve failed.
Otherwise choice is a huge factor. People love to browse and everyone has different tastes. If you’re not offering something for everyone you’ll probably find you don’t sell that much. My main takeaway from this is that I’m miles better at talking about merch than actually selling it [laughs].
How do you go about marketing your merch to your fans?
Well, this ties into what I was just saying. I need to be louder about it and let people know, but it can be hard. You never want it to feel like you’re bashing someone over the head shouting ‘BUY MY MERCH!’ but there’s a balance and I’m probably on the low end. I could definitely advertise it more, but even then, I’m really happy with how it’s gone so far. I sell a good few t-shirts a week and everyone always seems really pleased with them when they arrive.
That in itself is incredible. For anyone to put their hand in their pocket and buy my merchandise… incredible. It really is and I massively appreciate it.
What has been the most memorable experience in your wrestling career?
Getting injured [laughs]! That’s actually kind of true because it was such a shock and I had 8 months of recovery time trying to figure out what on Earth happened. You do learn a lot in those moments and let’s face it – I’ll never forget it.
Outside of that, it was definitely traveling to South Korea for PWS and fighting Adam Mayhem for the Haitch Title. If you had told me a few years ago I would fly to a country I never even thought about going to and have a wrestling match I’d have laughed out loud but that happened and goes to show how cool wrestling can be. No matter what goes down now I’ll have that forever and it truly makes me very happy and humbled. It was awesome.
Where do you see wrestling go in the next 10 years, and how has it changed in the past 10 years?
Social media has changed everything but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. It just meant wrestling became something new and that’s probably for the best. You can’t stand still forever because people will get bored but having such direct access to wrestlers is a million miles away from the late 90s where the closest you could get was queuing up for hours during a meet and greet. Look at what it’s created, though. Would The Young Bucks and AEW even be here without Twitter etc? Maybe not. They took advantage of it in the best way possible and more power to them.
In terms of what’s next, it’s really hard to know. We all thought streaming and on-demand services would have dominated by now but instead it’s still TV that is the biggest metric with WWE and All Elite signing huge television deals. Again, the internet has allowed smaller promotions to build a solid audience, but it does mean who knows what the lay of the land will be in 2029. Maybe we all put goggles on and wrestle virtually. Would definitely hurt less.
You’re super busy outside of the ring as well, running a cool YouTube channel and the separate podcasts, how do you manage your time to get to all your daily responsibilities? We can only imagine that you have a lot going on.
I don’t sleep [laughs]! That’s actually not a joke. I do realize how important sleep is but I enjoy my day-to-day so much something has to give and usually it’s 8 hours a night. Like I say, though, I feel so lucky to do what I do – I want to embrace it as much as possible and ride the wave. I totally get it could vanish tomorrow such is the way of YouTube and the internet.
Ultimately, though, it’s the same mindset I have when I go to the gym. Lifting weights never feels like a chore because I love it, and given I also love making videos, the podcast, wrestling and whatever else I’m getting up to, it’s just like I’m having fun all the time. I’m fortunate to be in the position I am and I want to enjoy it for as long as I can.
Last, but not least, where can our readers see and hear more of Simon Miller?
WhatCulture Wrestling on YouTube. I also have my own channel – just search for “Simon Miller” – and you’ll find me. Otherwise, there’s Kayfabe News (which is a satirical wrestling news channel), and a whole host of little projects that are always popping up. The best way is to follow me on Twitter @SimonMiller316 where I shall update you and throw out my pro-wrestling dates, too. Come see me beat someone up! I’d appreciate it…