Today we sat down with Brennan Williams, AKA the up and coming pro wrestler Marcellus Black, about his love of anime, video games, and what it’s like working as both as a pro football player and a wrestler.
APGNation: First of all, thank you for taking the time to sit down for this interview. Before we begin, could you tell our readers a little about yourself and your background?
Brennan Williams: Sure, a little about me. I grew up around Boston, MA. I had played football since I was seven years old and I road it all the way to the University of North Carolina and three years in the NFL. I’m currently training as a professional wrestler under WWE hall of famer Booker T. And I’m a lifelong fan of anime, video games, and the like.
APG: You’re well known for your love of anime, video games, and other “nerdy” subjects. Could you tell us how you got into these things and what you like about them and the community surrounding them?
Brennan: I got into anime when I was really young. My dad played pro football as well and would leave in the summer for a few months every year for training camp. He always brought back a present. As a kid I was really into martial arts stuff (Bruce Lee, Power Rangers), so he got me one of those old box sets of Dragon Ball Z. The kind you put together and it made a picture. It was all downhill from there. I generally hung out with gamers and anime nerds more than other football players and spent a lot of weekends at the local conventions in New England.
APGNation: Do you have a favorite anime and/or video game(s)? And if possible, could you tell us what you like about that particular piece of media?
Brennan: I have a lot of favorite anime, but my favorite is probably the Neon Genesis Evangelion series and the End of Evangelion movie. It was tough coming to that conclusion, but I re watch the series every year so if that isn’t it I don’t know what is. Video game wise I love the SMT Persona series.
APG: You are a former NFL player. What was it like playing at the pro level? Were there many other guys on your team with the same hobbies as yourself, or were you the odd one out with regards to that sort of thing? Did many of your fellow NFL players play many video games?
Brennan: It’s really cool being in the NFL, and making it there for any amount of time is something no one can really take away from you. It’s the elitist of the elite, so to be considered one of them is an honor and a privilege. You’d be surprised how many guys are into video games and old anime though. I realized it more so in college, but we are the guys that group up on the toonami age of Cartoon Network. That sticks with you. Generally I was the guy people came to when they wanted to find “a show like Yu Yu Hakusho” or just nerd out about some G Gundam.
APG: Do you keep in touch with any of your former NFL players?
Brennan: I definitely keep in touch with some of my old teammates. Especially my college ones. But there’s a few guys I met in the NFL that are keeping tabs on my wrestling journey and check in now and then.
APG: You’re now pursuing a career as a pro wrestler. How long have you been involved with wrestling as a hobby, and what made you want to take the leap and become a pro wrestler yourself?
Brennan: I’ve watched pro wrestling since the early 2000s, and to be honest I always wanted to do it after football–whether I played football 1 year or 10 years, it’s my true passion and I would have given it a shot no matter what.
APG: Your stage name while wresting, according to your twitter, is Marcellus Black. How did you come up with that name, and what sort of persona have you developed to go along with it while wrestling?
Brennan: I wanted a name that ended in “-us”. Leviticus, Sparticus, stuff like that were all options. I settled on Marcellus because my middle name is Marcell, I added the “-us” and we were golden. I actually came up with Black on the fly. I wanted my last name to be “Payne”, but there’s already a “Pain” here in Booker’s promotion. I figured if I stuck with Black for long enough I wouldn’t have to change my Twitter handle, @greatblackotaku.
APG: If you could meet one famous person, alive or deceased, who would it be and why?
Hirohiko Araki, author of JoJo’s Bizarre adventure
Brennan: Hirohiko Araki. I’m a big JoJo fan.
APG: Best girl: Asuka Langley Soryu or Rei Ayanami?
Pictured: Best Girl
Brennan: Easy. Asuka. Rei belongs in the trash.
APG: Do people ever recognize you on the street or at fan gatherings, such as anime conventions? And if so, what is it like interacting with them?
Brennan: Yeah, people often recognize me at conventions, and it’s always cool. I’ve probably autographed more copies of Eyeshield 21 than any other football players.
APG: What people, ideas, or things would you say were the biggest influences in your life?
Brennan: Probably my parents. They raised me in a way that I can chase my dreams without fear with confidence. Even when they don’t understand it. And then there’s my wife and daughter. Everything I do I do for them now.
APG: Do you ever see yourself playing pro football again?
Brennan: I don’t. I had the opportunity to go to another team and I decided against it. If I had I’d find myself in an unfortunate cycle of injuries, and I’m glad I got out healthy and able to peruse other interests.
APG: For those who want to see you in action, would you mind telling our readers where they can watch you wrestle?
Brennan: I’ll actually be making my in ring debut this Saturday (as of writing this) with Booker T’s Reality of Wrestling. It’s on the CW on Sunday’s in the Houston area, and on YouTube shortly after it airs.
APG: Are there any upcoming games and/or anime you’re looking forward to?
Brennan: I’m really looking forward Fire Emblem: Fates and Street Fighter V both of which are coming up soon. I also can’t wait to get my WiiU back so I can play as Bayonetta in Sm4sh.
APG: On the subject of games, I understand you have some involvement with the Super Best Friends team on Youtube. What is that like, and do you have a favorite game you’ve played as part of that?
Brennan: Yep, I’m cool with the Zaibatsu. I’ve watched there stuff for years and like a lot of the same games they play. We actually got in touch because I kept getting mistaken for Woolie at cons. I’m looking forward to hanging with them this year at MAGfest this year.
APG: Before we go, first of all, let me just say thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. Do you have any parting words for our readers?
Brennan: Thanks for having me!
You can follow Brennan on Twitter @Greatblackotaku
. You can also watch his first match here on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CjipnylI3oE
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