This may be one of the biggest weeks in professional wrestling history. For years, TNA and WWE have been the two nationally televised wrestling promotions in the country. Ring of Honor, the third promotion has long-since been only regionally televised. Now, tonight, Ring of Honor comes to Destination America- joining the newly-moved TNA Impact!, which moves to Destination America tonight as well, making the network the go-to source for professional wrestling.
Not since WWE purchased WCW has there been such an important and memorable night in professional wrestling broadcasting history and Rockstar Spud- the current, reigning TNA X-Division Champion took some time this week to talk about TNA’s move to Wednesday night’s as well as his big week too. Tonight, Rockstar Spud has a decision to make- will he keep the X Division Title or will he trade the belt in for a shot at Kurt Angle’s TNA World Heavyweight Title?
FRR: This is a big week because TNA is moving to Wednesdays from Fridays on Destination America. What does this mean for TNA and for yourself?
Spud: It means that there’s a little bit of a bigger audience because everyone knows a lot of people do go out on a Friday night for a few drinkies, so I believe it’s going to be much more access to get some people while they’re watching tele on Wednesday. I’m looking forward to the move to Wednesday. It looks like now its pro-wrestling night in America on Wednesday. It’s a pretty awesome time to be a wrestling fan, I wish it was happen when I was growing up.
FRR: Like you said this is probably one of the most exciting times to be a wrestling fan here because now you’ve got all three major wrestling promotions on television and almost every night of the week there’s wrestling on now. How important is it to you and for TNA to have two wrestling programs on Destination America.
Spud: I think it’s good for the industry and it’s good for the fans and probably also good for the wrestlers as well. And who knows, maybe down the line there could be a cross-promotional opportunity, you never can tell. Never say never in this business, but wouldn’t it be interesting?
FRR: This is a big week for you as well because you won the exhibition title back from Kenny King and you’ve got a big decision to make this week. What did it mean to you to with that back?
Spud: It pretty much solidifies that the first time wasn’t a fluke. I mean, I know I cashed in my home country but it was awesome because they didn’t really appreciate it as much as the British fans did from being there. It was a hometown thing, they went insane for me, I’m their own countryman. I don’t think the other audience across the world really accepted it. It was like “Oh it was a one off let’s see what happens.” But now it’s proven that it wasn’t a fluke. I lasted from the beginning in that gauntlet. I fought and I fought and I fought until my body couldn’t take anymore. I’m a two time exhibition champion now, and now after all that blood sweat and tears, hard work, and idolizing people like AJ Styles, Christian Daniels, Samoa Joe and everyone that’s made the exhibition, the lineage of the exhibition, what that championship meant, do I now give it up and have a one-in-a-million chance of someone like me becoming the heavyweight champion? I don’t know what I’m going to do. All I know is it could be the best night of my life or it could be the worst night of my life, we’ll just wait and see. The next two weeks will be the biggest couple of weeks of my whole career.
FRR: I can’t imagine having to make a decision like that. You’re a two time X Division champion and now you’ve got a chance to trade that title in for a shot at the world heavyweight champion. What goes in to that decision for you because it’s a career-altering decision?
Spud: Yes it is. I don’t know what I’m going to do, I really don’t. Of course they do say without the risk there is no reward, and if I don’t take the risk I just stay where I am. After I won the championship and they told me about option C I was like “well, maybe I do need a new goal” I don’t know, there’s all these things going around in my head and I even reached out to the fans and asked them “what do you think I should do?” It’s been “retweet if you want me to go for the gold and favorite if you want me to keep the gold” It’s been so polarizing because it’s made me see that out there, there’s a lot of gamblers and there’s a lot of people who are just really cautious, we’re just really different. So I don’t know what I’m going to do. All I know is when the moment comes I’m going to follow what my heart says and that’s all that matters.
FRR: Social media has really changed the industry and now you have the chance to have fans weight in on that decision. How has the rise of social media affected you as a pro wrestler?
Spud: It’s affected me in a great way because it’s been an avenue to speak, to let people know where I’m going to be and if you want to watch me come buy a ticket. It’s been a great avenue and I love that connection that we can have that all equally across the world, no matter who we are, we’ve all got 140 characters to vent our opinion. It’s pretty cool, it’s great to be able to connect with people like that and I love seeing the excitement people get when people get a “favorite” from one of their favorite wrestlers or a retweet or something. It’s really cool man, and it’s nice that fans appreciate us like that and nice for fans to connect with us and let us know that they care about us, it’s just really cool. And when managed well it’s a great marketing tool for you as a performer, so it’s good all-around for the business, I think.
FRR: It’s been a hell of a journey for you over the last year or two. It doesn’t seem that long ago when you came in and were right alongside Dixie. Now you’ve gone off on your own and already 2 time exhibition champion. How has the journey been?
Spud: It’s been a roller coaster. I thank [TNA] for the opportunities they’ve given me and it’s my job to back up those opportunities with good performance and I won’t stop giving that good performance as long as I’m with this company because I love this company. I love being able to go out there and give my all. My job is to be a performer and I’ll go out there and do it 150 times better than any other performer on the planet, and that’s what I think about every time and as long as you guys are having a good time watching me, it’s going to continue.
FRR: You guys are headed over to the UK next year, you’re doing a UK tour here before too long, and going back home must be great. What’s it going to be to tour the UK again?
Spud: Yea, I can’t wait! We did a Maximum Impact back in January and every year it falls on my birthday and on my birthday, on my 33rd birthday we’re going to be at Wembley Arena again. Now, the last time we were at Wembley there was a little match that went on that involved me losing my hair and being bloodied all over the canvas and everybody in the industry was all of a sudden talking about Impact wrestling again. I say why don’t we do it again? And if we do, you think we blew the roof off once? We’re probably gonna blow the roof off again my friend. If Ethan Carter wins the world title and he’s still the world champion by the time we roll around there? My god, just give me that moment, just give me that moment to be in the ring with him one more time and people will care, people will come. I can’t wait.
FRR: It’s gotta be hard to top that last match because just the energy, you could feel it. Is there going to be any pressure to top the last tour?
Spud: I don’t think so because we do it every year- we top it every year and we love outdoing ourselves every year. We have the best roster on the planet, we really do. As a promotion I think we’re putting out the best television in the world right now, pro wrestling television. We’ve got great characters, good guys and bad guys. Simple good guys and bad guys, none of this shades of gray, none of this “oh I’m a character, you either like me or hate me.” No, this is pro-wrestling and this is just like every movie. I’ve never watched a movie where the main character hasn’t had an adversity to overcome, and if they did then this movie was never any good. There’s always something bad they have to overcome, or something that they have to overcome and that’s what people love, that’s to model of great storytelling and that’s pro-wrestling. Anyone who says “oh it’s just a character, you love it or hate it, shades of gray: so why are you putting them in situations where you want one to be cheered and one to be booed? You’re completely hypocritical. The wheel still wins, guys. If you change the shape of the wheels your car’s not going to move. So that’s why I love our product so much and I really believe in our product so much.
FRR: You guys have the best tag-team wrestling
Oh my god! Have you seen The Wolves [and Dirty Heels]?! Killed it! Killed it!
FRR: Yes- it’s great! And then the knockouts, some of the best women’s wrestling in all of wrestling right now- can’t top it. The thing I love about TNA, you use the term professional wrestling. It’s not “sports entertainment” it’s wrestling.
Exactly. I don’t shy away from being 5’4” 150lbs. I don’t shy away from it. I would shy away from it if I was an overweight slob, I’m still me. Professional wrestling is professional wrestling, it is what it is. Accept it, and if you don’t like it then go away, but don’t try and lie to us and try to say it’s something it’s not. We know what it is and it’s what we love. Please, just accept what it is, please.
FRR: Exactly. You give the fans what they love. I love that on Impact you’re going to get some blood every once in a while. Hardcore wrestling is there, best tag teams, some of the best singles. It is by far the best product on TV as far as wrestling goes. I can’t wait for Wednesday, my new favorite night of the week.
Spud: It’s going to be the best night of the week and I watch absolutely everything so I’m gonna be just like everyone else at home. I’m gonna be watching everything. I think up and down it’s good for the industry and good for the business I think.