Professional wrestlers signed with global juggernaut World Wrestling Entertainment endure a busy travel schedule that comes with competing for the top promotion in the world. On his off day, WWE Superstar R-Truth, the 6’2,” 220-lb. Charlotte, North Carolina native, is doing something with a lot less risk than diving over the top ropes onto an opponent outside the ring. “I’m picking my daughter up from school,” he says, proudly. “The days I’m at home, I get a pleasure out of picking [my kids] up from school. My son is 11, and I walk him to the school bus, still.”
Born Ron Killings, the popular professional wrestler can be seen every week on USA Network’s Monday Night RAW, picking up opponents before slamming them to the canvas. Granted, this is not the only surface where Truth makes an impact. Outside the squared circle he is an accomplished hip-hop recording artist, producer and dancer. Fine footwork on both fronts has helped the agile competitor achieve success in both areas.
R-Truth took a moment out his day for this exclusive interview with SoulTrain.com.
SoulTrain.com: Busta Rhymes did it. Ludacris did, too. So tell us, Truth: When are you going to chop off your braids?
R-Truth: Ahhhh man! [laughs] I think you have to reach that status point. Busta and Luda have really made the business rotate! I’m still young and getting down with it. So it’ll be a minute before I cut mine, unless the urge just hits me. Sometimes you get to a certain point where it’s time to get the braids cut off, but right now they’re like my lion’s mane!
SoulTrain.com: There are a number of people who look at you, thinking you’ve made business rotate, too. Do you not agree with their perception?
R-Truth: I agree with them 110%, but I set a lot of high standards for myself. I’m blessed; believe me, I thank God for everything he’s allowed me to have, and helped me to achieve and accomplish. But I’ve got a lot more.
SoulTrain.com: For those who might not know, you’ve got a lot more going for you beyond what you display in a WWE ring. You’re also an accomplished hip-hop recording artist, producer, and dancer. So tell us how your dance background helped your in-ring posture.
R-Truth: My background in dance pretty much sets the pace for me, and I don’t have to explain what it is because it’s real. You can’t make that up. You can try to create it through character, but that’s not the realest thing. It’s just in me. My dance background helped me tremendously. Dancing is like second nature to me.
SoulTrain.com: I’ve seen you pop lock, break, and b-boy. Do you have one defined style?
R-Truth: I think it’s a combination. There are several different styles I’ve used to my advantage. Dancing is an art, and it’s about artistry. There are so many different styles that I admire, and I just take pieces from them.
SoulTrain.com: Truth, what’s your opinion of the animation dance style?
R-Truth: I think it’s a variation on early styles, but it’s just being brought around again. When you watch these cats doing it you notice a lot of breakdance in it. This style has been here before, they’ve just evolved it.
SoulTrain.com: Has animation impressed you enough though to add some of its characteristics into how you articulate your maneuvers in the ring?
R-Truth: Oh, yes; most definitely! When I wrestle I perform in the same night. And I will be incorporating more of that!
SoulTrain.com: What’s your take on how Don Cornelius incorporated dancers into the overall presentation of Soul Train?
R-Truth: Don Cornelius did a lot with that show for entertainers as a whole. He gave an opportunity to individuals to present their talent for the world to see–which was great for dancers.
SoulTrain.com: There are few television shows today dedicated to dancing. Some of them respect the art, but for others it’s a gimmick to draw ratings. What can be done to ensure dancing is respected and taken seriously?
R-Truth: It depends on the individual, how they perceive it and take it in. I think for everyone who dances or likes to dance, it’s serious to them at that point. In their mind they’re serious, but they can still learn to respect it. That comes with studying the art.
SoulTrain.com: A part of the art is having the ability to tell stories using your body, which is something the top WWE Superstars do well. Besides yourself and others in your profession, who is someone that’s a good example of great physical storytelling?
R-Truth: Well, Michael Jackson; he always told stories in his videos by dancing. James Brown was another great one. It was always bigger than just dancing for both of them. It was a production.
SoulTrain.com: Speaking of production, do you think you express yourself better when you’re in the studio producing a track or when you’re in the ring competing in a match?
R-Truth: I’ve been wrestling and making music for a long time. I’ve been around the right people in the entertainment business who know what it takes in several different areas to make things happen. I’m passionate about both of them, so I try to be an artist when I’m doing both. In many ways professional wrestling is a dance. I guess it depends on how you look at it. When I’m in the ring I’ve got a million people watching me weekly, looking for me to present something memorable to them. I try to do that in the studio as well.
For more on R-Truth visit WWE.com, and interact with him on Twitter @RonKillings.
–Mr. Joe Walker
Mr. Joe Walker, a senior contributor for SoulTrain.com, is an acclaimed entertainment and news journalist published thousands of times regionally, nationally, internationally, and online. Former Editor In Chief of both XPOZ Magazine and The Underwire Interactive Magazine, his work has graced the pages and covers of Hear/Say Now Magazine, Notion Magazine, Kalamazoo Gazette Newspaper, MLive.com, and AllHipHop.com. He loves to create, loves that you read. Follow him on Twitter @mrjoewalker. Also visit TheGrooveSpt.com and ByMrJoeWalker.blogspot.com.