Indie wrestler Suge D has performed in promotions all over the country and got his first opportunity to work for AEW last week. It was in a match taped for AEW Dark that aired last week on-line. The bout, against AEW's Kip Sabian, was made even more unique in that Suge wrestled in front of no audience, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Suge discussed when he found out he would be working AEW Dark when he joined The Wrestling Inc Daily podcast.
"I got hit up a week before the show on a Friday. The message was, 'Hey are you gonna be available on a Wednesday.' I was losing it and said I could be available. They had to calm me down immediately but I just wanted to confirm this was AEW," said Suge. "They confirmed it and I was waiting on new gear that I was hoping to have before Mania week. Shout out to Highspots as that gear was not supposed to be done for another week or two. But when this came along, I was like, 'Guys, I need this for Wednesday.'"
Suge said he had to make sure his parents were taken care of, due to the pandemic, before he took off for the show. He was on pins and needles the whole time because the situation was very fluid as to if he would be used.
"On Sunday it was, 'Ok you're doing this.' Then on Monday they said they may not even need people because of what's going on. Then I found out we want from 12 people needed to like eight so four people got cut," said Suge. "I had lost all my Mania bookings and this was the biggest opportunity I had and it took the world ending for me to get it. Now, it may not be even happen still."
Suge then noted whenever you're an indie wrestler like he is, it's never real until you walk down the ramp or the direct deposit hits.
"I wasn't sure it was gonna go down until my music was playing," admitted Suge. "On Tuesday I wouldn't even look at my phone as it was one of those cases where maybe I'll just lie and if they say they cut everybody, I didn't get the message because my phone was broken [laughs]. Fortunately, everything worked out and it was a helluva experience to have at this time."
Suge took on Kip Sabian in the match and it was said to be well-received by AEW officials. Suge talked about any feedback he received after the match.
"Me and Kip worked together in a triple threat before at Hope Wrestling. It was originally supposed to be a singles, but Eddie Dennis was added at the last minute," stated Suge. But we had good chemistry and we've rode in cars together and had chances to share philosophy. We always said we'd have a rematch but we never knew it would be to this scale. So we did the thing and he was definitely out to make sure he could put be in the best light and the same for him."
He then put over Sabian for his work and said he deserves the push he's getting now.
"We were paired up with Dustin Rhodes which was a huge thing for me because I always admired his work. [He gave] great compliments and good advice as to things we could do. He's an invaluable resource to have back there. For Tony, he mentioned just how different and entertaining it was from everything else that was there, and that was my goal," said Suge.
"The match as a whole, I wanted it to have a story, be entertaining and also bring the action. I think we accomplished that and I think we opened a lot of eyes."
It has to be a weird feeling to perform in front of an empty house especially when you are essentially auditioning for a company. Suge was asked about putting on a match without an audience.
"That was definitely something Dustin brought up. He was like, 'Listen. I know you want to get in there and fire up but don't go out there looking like an idiot.' But it's real because there was nobody there," Suge said before praising Colt Cabana for once trying to get an audience clap going at a crowd-less show.
"It made it easier kinda because you just focused on your opponent. It was almost like MMA-ish but you still have your fun and your swagger. I'm being realistic as that could have been just a one-and-done, but who knows? Stranger things have happened as it's not like I'd get a call to work the second-biggest company in the middle of a pandemic, but stranger things. But if I ever get another opportunity to go out there, I feel like that's the brass ring. I wanna feel like I knocked it out but I would kill to have a crowd there to confirm it."
Although he's pretty well known on the indie scene and around Atlanta, Suge is also trying to expand his profile to a national audience. He was asked how he would describe himself to a fan that doesn't know who Suge D is.
"At one point in pro wrestling history, people were trying to convince you it was real. Then everything bled over to people trying to convince you it's fake. When you look at what Suge D does, you can never quite tell," stated Suge. "Sometimes what you're seeing is exactly who I am when I walk out the curtain. Sometimes it's me being such an artist that I fool you into thinking that I wanted to be what I wanted to be. So, when you watch the Suge D experience it's like a chocolate-coated entertainment experience that can be whatever it is that you want to take from it."
He mentioned that he loves to dance and fight and wear colorful clothes. He then described himself as a mix between Jimmy Hendrix, Black Dynamite, Martin Luther King and many others.
"In a business that tries to typecast you and it's easier for them to put you in a box… It's like, 'Ok, he's a black guy that dances.' I'm like, 'No, I'm a black guy that likes to have a good time and doesn't mind getting into a fight.' There's layers to this so I try to be the most-layered entertainment experience that you could get. Whenever the red light is on, I'm just trying to make the most of it," said Suge.
Suge D is a shortened form of his previous name of Sugar Dunkerton while in CHIKARA. Suge explained why he changed both his name and his look.
"You've gotta look at it how actors and musicians do it sometimes," said Suge. "My biggest exposure ever was at CHIKARA and everyone saw the Harlem Globetrotter thing or the Lakers/Celtics and they said, 'Oh that's cute.' That was the Disney era but I knew I had to grow as a performer. I knew if I wanted to elevate and evolve that I was gonna have to travel more.
"The other thing was that I feel like a lot of bookers were treating me as, 'Ok, we've been there and seen that.' I also noticed that my bookings were starting to dry up post-CHIKARA. So, I had to evolve and one of the things was doing RPro in Chicago with the Barons especially. It was actually Jacque Baron that gave me my name – Suge D – as he said it sounded hard…
"I just started to evolve from more than just a gimmick and I became a character. You can go places with a character. We are characters, people – we grow. So, that really helped as I started to push forward and I constantly try to evolve whenever it feels right.
You can support Suge D by following him on Twitter @sugardunkerton or by buying one of his shirt at ProWrestlingTees.com/sugardunkerton. Suge's full interview with Wrestling Inc aired as part of a recent episode of our podcast, The Wrestling Inc. Daily. Subscribe to get the latest episodes as soon as it's released Monday - Friday afternoon by clicking here.