Barry Hardy on WWF

Before Shoot Interviews: Barry Hardy

I met Barry Hardy at John Arezzi’s 1991 “Weekend of Champions” convention. Hardy was wrestling as “Agony” of the Lords of Darkness at the time, a tag team that had been enjoying some success in independent promotions. He had an elaborately painted face, wore a long black robe, and carried a large axe.  Although Hardy looked menacing, he actually was a soft-spoken fellow who enjoyed posing for pictures with children at the show. Hardy wrestled as one of “the Executioners” and under his real name in the WWF during the early 1990s. However, his in-ring victories were few.

Hardy:  Before wrestling, I really didn’t know what I was gonna do. I was just working different jobs. I was a mechanic. And then, once I started going to wrestling and seeing Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair, they were my idols. I called up Larry Sharpe, went to the Monster Factory, and tried out. He said I had what it takes. After that, I started training with Charlie Fulton. He used to be in the WWF and the NWA.

I trained, and then I taught my partner to wrestle. Right before we teamed up, we were wrestling singles. We teamed up, and we’re on our way to the top, hopefully. I had the Maryland Heavyweight Championship, and I held that before we teamed up.

We started doing the Lords of Darkness gimmick a year ago, and since then we have held the Atlantic States titles.  After that, we won the World Wrestling Alliance titles, and Larry Sharpe was our manager. We just recently won the Mid-Eastern Wrestling Federation–that’s in Maryland and Pennsylvania and Virginia–we hold those belts now.

We’re trying to get into the WWF and WCW. Basically, they just look at your wrestling ability, how long you’ve been wrestling, who you’ve worked against, to see if you’re any good or not. Then they’ll bring you down, and they’ll give you a tryout. If you’ve got something they want, if you’ve got the gimmick or if you’ve got the right wrestling moves, then they’ll probably pick you up. The best thing is word-of-mouth, like from the different ring announcers. You see them at different independent shows. If they see you work and they like you, they’re gonna tell somebody, and hopefully it will go back to one of the bigger promoters, and something big will come of it.

My mom, she’s the one who helped me really get into wrestling. She gave me the money to start a school. She was really cool about it. A lot of my friends were like, “You’re crazy, you’ll never make it anywhere.” Now they’re the ones who want the free tickets. My wife was real supportive of it, and my kids love it.

Barry Hardy stands in front of car
Image Credit: Hometown News

My family doesn’t get to come to a whole lot of the shows because they usually are far away and my wife has a full-time job. My tag-team partner and I have been doing a lot of traveling lately, and it’s been real rough. For a while, we were just doing independent shows right around in the area, and trying to get the exposure, and get the gimmick out. Plus, the more you work, the better off you are. We work at the school about three times a week also.

I love pro wrestling, and that’s why I definitely want to get on a contract. Doing it part-time is OK, but if you’re doing it full-time, you can definitely call it your career. If you’re doing it part-time, it’s just tough because you have to work another job. By the time you get home you’re tired, but you gotta go to the gym, lift weights, and then you gotta go to a show. And the shows are on the weekends, so you work all week, wrestle all weekend, and you’re dead to start the week off again. It’s real hard on the family life. It’s tough to be married and be a wrestler. You gotta have an understanding wife, that’s for sure.

Larry Sharpe helped our career a lot. He gave us a big push, and hopefully we’ll be going to Japan. If we do that, then things definitely will start paying off after that. Sharpe is one of the toughest people in the business, I’d say, as far as trainers go. A lot of trainers, they’ll take your money. You go into their school, they’ll have a couple of their other students work out with you, and they don’t even watch what’s going on. Larry, he was in the business for twenty years. He was a wrestler. He wrestled in the WWF and NWA. He’s wrestled in Japan, everywhere. He’ll stay right there and watch you. If you ain’t doing something right, then he’ll correct it. He’s tough. I think he’s one of the best teachers in the business, if not the best. I’ve gone nowhere but up since I’ve started my career, and the Monster Factory is what got me there. When you say, “Hey, I went to the Monster Factory,” you end up getting a lot of respect because everybody knows the caliber of talent that has come out of there.

Thoughts from 2023: Barry Hardy wrapped up his career back in the indies in 2017, still wrestling under the name “Agony”, but as part of a different tag team called “The Overlords.” Hardy also had the pleasure of facing Vader, as well as Meng (twice!) in a one-month period in WCW–ouch!

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