16 Questions With Johnny IMPACT

The IMPACT Wrestling star talks about the company's recent resurgence, Chris Jericho, NJPW and more...

Earlier this week we were given the opportunity by the wonderful people at IMPACT Wrestling to talk to one of the biggest stars they currently have at their disposal, Johnny IMPACT. Here's what The Shaman Of Sexy had to say on a number of topics including the recent resurgence of IMPACT Wrestling and Chris Jericho's potential arrival, teaming with The Miz during his WWE days, and reports linking him with a move to New Japan Pro Wrestling.

16. First of all, how are you doing? You recently sustained an injury during a photo shoot?

"As par for the course, you get hurt doing the little things - the stupid stuff. I was doing a photo shoot for Muscle and Fitness and it was a Parkour thing. I did a couple of things that were difficult and then I was scouting out something for the next photo, I forgot momentarily that I was super greased up for the shoot. I was on a ledge and I went to grab a leg and I slipped off because I was so greased up - that's about it.

"It's ironic because it was supposed to be a physique enhancer but it almost led to my demise."

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15. In the last year, we've seen a significant growth in the popularity of IMPACT Wrestling, this year's Slammiversary almost felt like a rebirth of the promotion. Where do you see IMPACT's standing in the professional wrestling world?

"I think the popularity of wrestling promotions ebbs and flows and right now is a really exciting time for IMPACT because there had been previously a lot of negative connotations that had been built up - negative feelings from fans and pro wrestlers. I feel that Slammiversary was the game changer for IMPACT, wrestling fans, the people on the roster, the office - everyone's really excited now and when that feeling starts to take over a locker room and fans, it turns into dominos and it leads to exciting wrestling that's good for the roster and good for the fans. I think IMPACT's in a good spot."

14. You mentioned some of those managerial changes - the backstage structure of things - how have those changes affected the in-ring talent?

"I was never around for all the previous regimes so there are people on the roster who can speak to that better than me, but as for the current talent that's in place, but also 'the office' - Don Callis, Scott D'Amore, Sonjay - everybody that's putting things down I think they're doing a very good job at keeping the roster motivated and happy, but also making the wrestlers feel like they're a part of everything.

"I'm just speaking based on how I feel personally. I think they're in a really good spot."

13. Even during your time with IMPACT we've seen changes to a lot of things - more specifically the roster. We've seen new people debut very frequently, is there anybody who has joined recently that has caught your eye? 

"The Lucha Brothers - Pentagon and Fenix have really come into their own in IMPACT Wrestling. Ishimori has been there for a while but the first time I was able to get into the ring with him was at IMPACT. The whole roster feels new and fresh to me."

12. Anything about OUR BOY (maybe we didn't phrase it exactly like that, but you know what we mean), Joe Hendry? 

"I'm excited to see what happens with Joe Hendry. I think he and Grado have amazing chemistry, I mean, on and off screen those two are hilarious. If they (IMPACT) can capture even half of what they have offscreen on TV, I think they're a home run.

"Joe Hendry obviously has a really legitimate wrestling background, but I was never really around him that much until IMPACT. He's a really funny dude and I think he's got a bright future."

11. Speaking of in-ring talent and guys catching your eye, who else from the world of pro wrestling outside of IMPACT would you like to see head to IMPACT? 

"Now it would be cool if we could work out a little something with New Japan and some of the guys over there like Bushi, Okada, and Kenny Omega. The prospect of potentially doing something with Ring Of Honor is also really exciting - The Ring Of Honor Bullet Club, The Young Bucks, Cody, Marty Scurll, Adam Page, all those guys.

"It's such a hypothetical statement 'what if we could have those dream matches', and in the past, it probably would have never happened. But today, with the way wrestling's working I feel like those are all possibilities."

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10. One place we've never really seen you wrestle is Japan. Is that something that could be on the cards for you? 

"Nah, I don't want to go to Japan - wrestling's not big over there.

"Sorry, just kidding. New Japan is killing it right now!"

9. We've seen rumours in recent months that you could be heading over there (Japan), is that something you can comment on?

"There's nothing to really comment on, it's all rumours. Hopefully, usually in pro wrestling, rumours are based on something though..."

8. You've accomplished so much over your 15-year career in pro wrestling, what else do you want to achieve? 

"Professional wrestling, to me, is going to remain interesting as long as I feel like I'm improving and as long as I feel like I've got something left to do that I've never done - I feel like that's still true.

"With the stuff that's happening in Lucha Underground right now, with the stuff that's happening with IMPACT right now, I feel like my best days are still in front of me. Ultimately, I wouldn't say I necessarily have a goal of 'I want to be the IMPACT Champion', which I do, 'I want to main event Bound For Glory', which I do. It's more ambiguous for me now. I want to create moments that are memorable, that I can think back on, that fans can think back on and remember. Exactly what those moments are aren't crystal clear but I know that's what I want to create."

7. Kofi Kingston has become famous for big rumble spots, but some could say you were the originator of those thanks to your brand of professional wrestling. How do you think the incorporation of Parkour into your wrestling character has helped you? 

"I think of myself first too when I think of big rumble spots... Kofi has done some amazing stuff, but as far as me incorporating Parkour into pro wrestling I'd say it's helped me immensely. It really opened up the world of pro wrestling to me thinking outside the box. For example, Falls Count Anywhere matches, different things you can do using props, using the ring, the ropes, the canvas, and the rails as elements in the match.

"As far as incorporating that into the character of Johnny IMPACT, I'm excited - I'm excited to do more of it. I think that with 'hardcore', you can describe it in a lot of ways. One way I like to think about it is 'eliminating the human', and by that I mean instead of looking at something traditionally, you turn the blueprints upside down and look at something a little differently, because there are standard ways that things are not always done but usually done and if you can deviate from that and create ways to use things in a different way, in my mind, you're doing Parkour."

6. You started your career by being a part of Tough Enough, what was that like? 

"That was an opportunity. That was difficult, it was like a boot camp to learn wrestling, but at the same time, it was a reality show in this weird TV bubble - like a social experiment. Plus, they're documenting you learning how to wrestle.

"For me, it was amazing because the trainers that we had were awesome - Al Snow, Bill (DeMott) and Ivory. Plus, having this roster of WWE Superstars coming in to talk to us like Flair and Mysterio and Lance Storm - it was exactly what I needed at that time. I needed a break, I needed an opportunity to learn from the best."

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5. You co-won that series with Matt Cappotelli who recently, very sadly, passed away. Did you guys keep in contact? 

"My heart broke that day, and anyone that ever knew Matt I'm sure remembers him as one of the most positive, quirky, and fun-loving dudes ever. He was battling cancer for a long time. He fought a good fight for a lot of years and he left a wife and a family, and they all remember him as 'Matt' - the fun dude, the positive guy who spread positive messages wherever he went.

"We were a tag team in OVW when I first started there. We started together in 2003, we lived together and we remained close as the time went on. It's hard to even know what to say about him because it's still pretty recent and raw - I miss that dude."

4. The Miz was a guy who you tagged with for a long old time, do you have fond memories of that partnership? 

"We didn't really get to know each other until we started to tag together, and yeah, I really dug tagging with The Miz. After not really knowing him that well and only seeing him on Real World I didn't really expect it to work with The Miz, but when we started tagging together and we started riding together we grew really close and we're still close friends to this day. He was in my wedding party, and I still see him a couple of times a year - he's also a really good dude.

"The stuff we got to do creatively too I think was, up to that point, some of the best stuff I'd done."

3. There were reports from The Wrestling Observer that Chris Jericho could be heading to IMPACT Wrestling, if those reports are true, what would Chris Jericho's arrival mean for IMPACT? 

"If's he's coming to IMPACT then I'm going to go on his cruise! I hope he does because Chris has had one of the best careers in professional wrestling history."

2. IMPACT are heading over to the UK soon for Wrestling MediaCon...

"Yes! Everyone on the roster is super excited about that. I hope it's something that IMPACT start to do more of, travelling internationally. There are plans to go to Mexico, plans to go to the UK, and in my opinion, the more of that the better because wrestling is truly a global thing.

"I think that one of the best things IMPACT did was starting taping outside of Orlando because the crowd is so much different, and spreading around like that makes people see IMPACT differently."

1. And finally, what is the key to the continuing success of IMPACT Wrestling? 

"Number one: I think they've got to make sure they keep their roster happy - namely the top guy, Johnny IMPACT. I'm the namesake of the company!

"I think it's doing more of the same. Right now IMPACT has made a lot of decisions that has changed the course of IMPACT. They've got a lot of key players in good spots and good stories and that, in my opinion, is ultimately what makes a good wrestling show - good talent and letting the talent do their thing. It's not like you can snap your fingers and suddenly you have a promotion that sucked before and all of sudden it's doing well."

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Ross Tweddell

Written by Ross Tweddell

Presenter over on the Cultaholic Wrestling YouTube channel. Email: [email protected]