Stranglehold on Tag Team Wrestling in the Midwest
My sit down with the Northstar Express
by Josh Ray
Ranked at the top of all tag teams in the MWR coverage area, the team of Darin Corbin and Ryan Cruz, collectively known as The Northstar Express, has dominated nearly all competition that the area has to offer. They are multiple-time tag champions for All American Wrestling where some of the best tag teams in the Midwest make their home, including the Motor City Machine Guns. They also hold the distinction of being the longest reigning 3XWrestling Tag Team Champions at 20 months. Make no mistake about it, The Northstar Express are for real.
There are few tag teams in the world, much less in the Midwest, that operate as a unit the way that Corbin and Cruz do. Both could be contenders in singles competition for any promotion in the area, but somehow they’ve managed to take their skills individually and multiply them by forming such a successful tag team. With a match versus the LONRs for Pro Wrestling Phoenix, an immenent showdown with the tag team that Pearl Harbor’d them out of the 3XW tag belts (Gentlemen’s Club) and a highly anticipated match against Johnny Vinyl & Davey Vega for Lethal Wrestling Alliance on the the horizon, not to mention the AAW Tag Team Titles to defendin one of the toughest tag divisions around, The Northstar Express has an unprecedented opportunity to show they are the best of the best.
On October 1, 2008, both members of The Northstar Express made their way down to MWR Headquarters in Lebanon, MO to talk with me about some of the pressing issues facing them for the remainder of the year and beyond. It was explained to me before the interview that Cruz was preparing for his grudge match against Mark Sterling at 3XW’s “BAM-O-Ween” on October 17, 2008. He wanted to focus on his mindset leading into the match, so his partner Darin Corbin did all of the talking.
First of all, I want to thank you both for talking with me today. There is a growing buzz surrounding The Northstar Express in the MWR coverage area, but people want to know what brought you two together as a team. What brought Darin Corbin and Ryan Cruz to the tag team party?
Darin Corbin: Well, we’ve actually known each other since we were in 1st grade, so it’s only fitting that we would end up as a team. I mean, we used to wreak havoc from when we were 7-years old all the way up through school, so why not do it in the ring? I guess you could say it was just fate.
I’ve heard you both make a bold claim to a tag team title from some promotion I’ve never heard of. The interplanetary something or other. What’s the name again?
Darin Corbin: We are the Intergalactic, Presidential, Transcontinental, Atlantic to Pacific, Extreme Tag Team Champions of the Universe. And there is a reason you’ve never heard of it, its not a promotion. It was an honor bestowed upon us by the United Galaxy of Wrestling when we became the first team to win tag titles on another planet. Let’s see any other team boast that. Plus, we have the belts to prove it.
Ah, yes. Anyways, how did you come about winning these belts?
Darin Corbin: Simple, we beat the best that the Universe had to offer. How else would you win tag belts? Huh?
What are your thoughts about pro wrestling in the MWR coverage area (Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and Illinois), particularly the tag team scene?
Darin Corbin: Well, I must say that having publicity is always a great thing for pro wrestling. It’s good to see that people’s efforts are acknowledged. And I do believe that we are number one tag team in the rankings, so that can’t hurt right? Anything with the Northstar Express on it turns heads. That’s what we do. But in all honesty, the more the merrier. MWR is definitely covering wrestling positively and you recognize talent when you see it. Keep it up.
Thank you. Recently at a 3XW event in Des Moines, IA, your 3XW Tag Team Title reign was ended by the Gentlemen’s Club (Mark Sterling & Gage Octane) in dastardly fashion after over a year as champs. Care to give your thoughts?
Darin Corbin: A 20 month reign, to be exact.
Well, anybody can come out and win a match when it’s 1-on-2, and they (the opponents) have already had to wrestle another match prior to that and one of them is injured and can’t walk. Pretty stacked deck if you ask me. However, do I just sit here and think about how terrible it was, and say, “that’s not fair guys, give us the belts back”? No. We win them back. That’s what we do.
Imagine this, Northstar Express versus Gentlemen’s Club: no previous matches; both teams at one hundred percent… Come on! There is no way that those too buffoons will keep those belts.
At the same show, you were injured with a possible ACL tear. Care to give the fans an update?
Darin Corbin: Well, the good news is that there was no ACL tear. I thought I was going to be out for eight months to a year originally. Since then I’ve been out of action, and I’ve been to five doctor appointments… nobody has told me what EXACTLY happened. So here’s what I’ve been doing: just waiting. Do you know how hard that is when all you want to do is wrestle?
I’ve got goals to accomplish when I come back. So until then, I’m just waiting patiently getting back to 100%.
What does this injury do for the Northstar Express’ future plans?
Darin Corbin: Well, its not like Ryan Cruz can’t handle himself.
(Corbin points at Cruz, who just simply nods his head once.)
Obviously I’m there for moral support, but you haven’t seen the last of me or the last of the NSE… not even close. Just wait, when we get back together it will be like I never left and we never hit this little snag.
You’re slated to make your debut for St. Louis’ Lethal Wrestling Alliance on October 24, 2008 against a tag team that has gained a reputation for being ruthless in their pursuit of victory, Johnny Vinyl & Davey Vega. First, will you be able to compete as a tag team for that show? Secondly, what are your thoughts on Vinyl and Vega?
Darin Corbin: Hmm… good question. Will I be ready? Honestly, I don’t know if I’ll be at one hundred percent, but I want to be there. It wouldn’t be a show without The Northstar Express now, would it?
So you describe Vinyl & Vega as ruthless? You know what…I’m pretty ruthless myself. I injured my knee and took myself out of action! If I would do that to myself, imagine what I’d do to others.
Now that my friends…is ruthless.
Here’s a question for you. Is this Vega from Street Fighter II? Because that would be sweet.
No, I don’t think he is.
Darin Corbin: Bummer.
Darin Corbin: Seriously.
Now that we have that out of the way, who do each of you feel is the toughest tag team in the Midwest, other than yourselves?
Darin Corbin: I would have to honestly say the Phoenix Twins. You know what the hard part is about identical twins… they look alike. It’s confusing.
Past or present, what tag team do you feel you’d need to beat to be known as the all-time greatest?
Darin Corbin: Well, I think the best thing we could do is establish ourselves by beating an undefeated team that headlined a major PPV during the wrestling boom.. and once we beat DDP & Jay Leno, I don’t think that anybody can argue with us being the top team in the industry. And then we could get our own late night show.
Final question, guys. Ryan Cruz vs Darin Corbin. Who wins?
Darin Corbin: Unfortunately this match would never take place because the universe would collapse in on itself. Actually, talking about it puts us at risk… let’s end this interview.