Dalton Castle has to be seen to be believed. The professional wrestler, who snared one of the industry’s most prestigious honors when he captured the Ring of Honor World Championship by defeating Cody at the promotion’s December Final Battle pay-per-view, combines rock-solid amateur wrestling chops with a charismatic flamboyance that’s long been a part of pro wrestling.
Castle’s entrance alone is a showstopper. The self-proclaimed “Party Peacock” bursts onto the stage—wearing a caped jumpsuit that would put Elvis or Evel Knievel to shame—from behind two oversize peacock feather fans held by his “Boys,” a pair of shirtless, strapping young men who accompany Castle everywhere. They also double as his furniture: He uses one as a step stool to enter the ring, and they also form a couch for him to lounge on as he speaks to the crowd. Once the jumpsuit comes off and the action starts, the Boys don’t abandon Castle; if he’s knocked outside the ring or otherwise temporarily incapacitated, they will furiously fan him with their peacock feathers, trying to revive him.
It’s a testament to Castle’s skill and natural charisma (and maybe a little about our growth as a society) that he is, in wrestling parlance, a babyface (or good guy). Because while gender-bending wrestlers go back to Gorgeous George in the 1950s, if not earlier, they have usually played the role of villain. Once, a wrestler who spoke in his interviews about idling away the afternoons with his Boys, sipping mojitos and snacking on macaroons would have been booed, if not subjected to a stream of homophobic slurs.
But Castle, billed as hailing from Catalina Island, is cheered, with crowds of Joe six-pack wrestling fans (an audience, sadly, not always distinguished by its cultural sensitivity) not only tolerating Castle’s “lifestyle” with his boys, but often clamoring to be a Boy themselves. On his way to Las Vegas to defend his title belt at Ring of Honor’s 16th anniversary pay-per-view, Vegas Seven catches up with Castle to get the lowdown on his career, his upcoming match and Sin City.
Can you tell me about Dalton Castle’s road from Catalina Island (his billed hometown) to the ROH championship?
Do you want to know about the ferry ride, the flight, the long ride, how it never seemed impossible?
I never really planned on being a professional wrestler. I was an NCAA wrestler in college, a student in broadcasting and the theater, and the second I graduated, it became apparent I had been training to be a wrestler my entire life by surrounding myself with people who were wrestlers, learning how to use my body as an amateur wrestler, learning how to emote and perform in theater. But it took a friend who was already a wrestler to say you’d be perfect at this.
The second I tried it I loved it, and I ended up being really damn good at it.
What excites you about facing off with Jay Lethal at the 16th anniversary show at Sam’s Town Live on March 9?
Jay Lethal [read his 2016 Vegas Seven interview] in my opinion is one of the greatest wrestlers in the world. I admire his abilities in the ring. Watching him has always been a treat. So to be honest, if I’m going to be a true world champion, I have to test myself against the best, and Jay Lethal is the best.
It’s even more interesting—and personal—because he’s also somebody who was my first real challenge in Ring of Honor. In my second appearance on Ring of Honor TV, I fought him for his Television Championship. So here we are in Las Vegas now, with the tables turned. I’m the world champion and he is challenging me.
And oh, yeah, if you’re in the first six to eight rows, I want you to be alert, because I plan on suplexing Jay Lethal right through the wall, and I don’t want any of my fans to get hurt in the process.
You get to pick a tag team partner from one of the following—Freddie Mercury, Patrick Swayze, the vampire Lestat or Joan Crawford. Who do you pick and why?
Patrick Swayze. He can rip people’s throats out. Really. I’ve seen him do it in a movie.
Plus, he surfs and robs banks.
And if anyone—disrespects me for any reason, Patrick Swayze has no hesitation saying, “Nobody puts Dalton in a corner.”
What would you be doing if you weren’t a wrestler?
I’d be the guy who pets puppies for a living. Don’t know if that’s a job. But if anyone’s hiring, I can take on part-time hours. My wrestling schedule is flexible enough to allow it.
Or, since we’re talking about Las Vegas, maybe volunteering at the black jaguar/white tiger house.
What don’t people know about Dalton Castle?
I need to eat ice cream in the light. I can’t explain why, but the lights have to be on whenever I eat ice cream.
You just have to know you’re a Boy in your own heart and I’ll see it in you. A mask will just appear. Or you can acquire your own material. One thing’s for sure: There’s plenty of room for plenty of boys in my life. And I could always use a new piece of furniture.
What does Las Vegas have that Dalton Castle wants?
An active volcano. I love all the glitz, the glam, the lights. And there’s an endless amount of stages where I belong. Everything is the perfect platform for me to show off my ROH World Championship.
I’m excited. I’ve had wonderful experiences every time I’ve been in Las Vegas. I’m proud to be a part of ROH, and I’m more proud to be coming back as a champ.
Ring of Honor’s 16th anniversary PPV is live from Sam’s Town Live on Friday, March 9. Bell time is 6 p.m.. If you can’t make it down to Boulder Highway, it’s also available on pay-per-view.