I have to admit, Ricky, I was pretty shocked when you beat Tom in that final boardroom! "Ha. I'll try to take that as a compliment!"
Did you always think you were in with a chance? "I thought there was a chance I could win, but I really didn't know which way he was going to go. Tom throughout the process was a very inspiring person and he'd been a brilliant candidate with a good idea. I think what clinched it for me was that Lord Sugar always says, 'Do what you know'. Don't try impress him by doing something fancy or that's in fashion, do what you're good at.
"I had a credible and good business plan in something that I have experience in, qualifications in and something that I've done on my own already. He could see that I was following his ethos. He could see there was a definite return on his investment with this."
Amazingly, Claude Littner actually appeared to warm to you. What was it like to face him in the interview room? "It was one of my favourite interviews, but like all my interviews, it started terribly. Claude rightly pulled me up on all the outrageous claims and statements I made in my application for the process. Claude really highlighted it to me and really wanted to embarrass me, I think. Claude saw that I'd changed and I think he wanted to check that.
"For me The Apprentice was a journey. I turned up with a lot of bravado and very egotistical. By the time I was interviewed, I think I had realised where I'd gone wrong in the past. When I sat there, I felt pretty embarrassed about all my comments. Fortunately, they could see past my comments and see my business plan."
Your description of the business to Lord Sugar at the start of the show was hilariously bad. Have you figured out what it is yet? "Oh God. If only I could go back in time. It is a recruitment organisation. It is in the science sector, which is where my expertise sits. And it's going to work in the technology business, which is where Lord Sugar's expertise is."
All those wacky, bold comments in your audition video - was that you, or were you just trying to get on the show? "There is part of my character that has a bravado to it. I like to make an impression and statement. But obviously when you enter this process, there's hundreds and thousands of people who want to take part. And lots and lots in my area of work. So you have to do something to stand out. I can't deny that it wasn't part of my character though. I am Ricky The Wrestler part-time.
"However, I did realise halfway through that Ricky The Wrestler isn't going to get anywhere in life. I needed to be Ricky the Businessman. I went in there the wrestler, I came out the polished businessman."
Will Lord Sugar let you carry on wrestling? "I don't think Lord Sugar is going to tell me what to do when it comes to wrestling, but I've made my own decision that I'm going to retire from wrestling. Setting up a business is going to take up all my time. I've got to work 12-hour days, I've got to make the right decisions, I'm going to need all my energy. I don't want to be spending my spare time and last bits of energy in the wrestling ring. I don't want to look back and realise that I haven't spent or given 100% to this project."
Do any of your wrestling skills come in handy in the world of business? Have you ever put anyone in a Full Nelson? "Ha! Wrestling is about storytelling, it's about dealing with a crowd and responding to them in the ring as their reactions change. I've learnt about confidence and having confidence in front of thousands of people. I've also had practice of cutting promos in wrestling and that's all about getting a reaction. That has helped me pitching to large groups. The bravado and confidence that I've taken from wrestling have definitely helped me."
How did you find the grilling from Margaret Mountford? "I thought Margaret was very fair. I think she did what I would have done and what all the interviewers did, she picked me up on the foolish statements that I'd made. Calling myself Thor and things like that. I think Margaret read that form and felt let-down like all the other interviewers, because it didn't match up with my business plan or the form that I'd shown throughout the show."
Watch Ricky's first audition video:
What new tricks will you be teaching the old dog Lord Sugar? "Ha. I will certainly never use the phrase 'teach an old dog new tricks' ever again. If I'd known Lord Sugar was going to be reading that out in the final, if I thought I'd get that far, I wouldn't have ever written it. It definitely wasn't how I wanted to portray myself professionally."
What was your favourite task and what was your worst task? "My favourite task was a tear-up between the daily deals task and the fitness task. The worst? I didn't particularly like the retro task in week four. Not because of the task itself, but because I felt like was an accessory on that task. I know if I'd had different roles to play, I could have won that task."
Are you excited about working with Lord Sugar or slightly intimidated? "I'm extremely excited and I'm not intimidated about working with him at all. I think the fact I've spent so much time in the boardroom, I was in the bottom three so many times, I really feel like I know him quite well. I think I know what he likes, what he expects and I think he knows about me. I think Lord Sugar saw in me that I was someone who would work well with him. I think we'll work well as a partnership.
"It's black and white with Lord Sugar. He wants to cut the crap and he wants a yes or a no. I think he'll bring the best out of me."