Interviews

Interview With . . . Doc Gallows, Karl Anderson & Rocky Romero

Talk ‘N Shop A Mania was billed as the “worst pay-per-view ever” – but the critical acclaim it received would profusely disagree! Trending worldwide on premiering, the wrestling world was abuzz with chatter about the brainchild of Doc Gallows, Karl Anderson and Rocky Romero – with WWE Champion Randy Orton even tweeting about the event!

Well, ahead of Talk ‘N Shop A Mania 2, Inside The Ropes‘ Lead Writer Gary Cassidy caught up with ‘Machine Gun’ Karl Anderson, ‘The Big LG’ Doc Gallows, and Rocky Romero to discuss the upcoming event, including Scott Steiner’s appearance, as well as finding out all the latest info on a potential partnership between IMPACT Wrestling and NJPW, and asking about THAT night the Hardy Boyz returned to WWE at WrestleMania 33, and what that experience was like for the Good Brothers.

Hello, everyone, welcome back to Inside The Ropes, I’m Gary Cassidy and today, I think this one will be a hoot because we’re going to talk some shop with Rocky Romero, Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows ahead of Talk ‘N Shop A Mania 2. How’s it going, guys?

KA: LG takes up half the screen, look at the size of this guy!

LG: What’s going on?

KA: Lot of eggs, a lot of bacon, a lot of keto work, a lot of bicep, shoulder brother pumps…

RR: Curls. Yeah.

LG: I just I just got a slight pump in before we jumped on this call.

RR: Oh, it shows!

When you’re carrying that much of a top-heavy muscle mass…

LG: Top-heavy is accurate. Yes.

..I’m shocked you had the athleticism to get your foot up so high to essentially kick Ethan Page‘s head off this past week on IMPACT!

LG: Oh, he had a good time with the ‘slap chump’ joke, so I had a good time this morning with the ‘kick b**ch’ joke – but yeah!

RR: Smooth Criminal! I saw the Smooth Criminal video. That was awesome.

KA: Yeah. When did you get so technically savvy to do that thing? How do you think that?

LG: I did that myself!

There’s only one place we can start and that is Talk ‘N Shop A Mania! For me, it was brilliant because it was a loyalty card for anyone that’s watched wrestling from a year ago to 30 years ago, maybe longer. You guys billed it as the worst PPV we’d ever see, but we’re getting a sequel. What was the reaction to how well the first one went, seeing Twitter go absolutely crazy for it?

LG: Well, I think the reaction – all three of us overall thought it was better than we expected, but we made sure that, when we were doing media for Talk ‘N Shop A Mania 1, that we pointed out the fact that, “Hey, this isn’t meant out of disrespect. This is meant to be fun. It’s a hard time in the world right now. We want you guys to join in, laugh along with us. We’ve all been lifelong professional wrestling fans.”

And I think because, you know, a lot of people, thankfully, listen to these interviews and the media, and people like yourselves, they understood not to take this show seriously because that is not what it’s about. You know, like Karl Anderson always says, “Find your head change, whatever it may be” – a beer, some CBD oil, or meditation – I don’t care – but get yourself in the right mindset and laugh along with us for this thing, because we definitely laughed while creating it, writing it, putting it together and then performing at it. So it was a hell of a good time.

KA: Yeah, reaction-wise, it was exactly what we wanted it to be. We weren’t trying to present Hell in a Cell. We weren’t trying to present WrestleMania. We weren’t trying to have these classic Eddie Guerrero versus Shawn Michaels matches. We were trying to have fun, and that’s exactly what we did, and I think our audience, at the end of the day, got it.

I think there was only a couple of people that were like, “I didn’t really get the s***.” But for the most part, most people did and that’s what kind of made us feel vindicated and happy that they got the s***.

And then LG was like, “We’ve got to do part two,” and me and Rocky said, “Hell no.” Then all of a sudden, Rocky says, “Yeah, we’ve got to do a part two,” and I’m going, “Hell no!”

Then I’m getting tag teamed by these brothers to do part two. And I’m going, “Guys, are you f***ing…? This is a lot of work, man!”

RR: It’s so much work.

KA: As bad as the production might seem, it was a lot of work, man.

So then they tag-teamed me and I started to get my creative juices flowing and I started having fun. And then, man, here we are Talk ‘N Shop A Mania part two and it’s worse than the first which, in my mind, I was laughing so hard watching the first ten minutes of the preview that it’s better.

LG: Absolutely.

RR: It’s a true love letter to professional wrestling – but it’s like put in very quirky, fun way, you know? I mean, like, we’re not making fun of it. Like, we’re actually just laughing along with the craziness that we fell in love with and the goofiness that goes along with it.

If you think about it, just professional wrestling is crazy, right? But there’s something about it that’s so fun and appealing. That’s why we fell in love with it as children and we’re still in love with it to this day. I think that this is just a true example of it and we just tried to have as much fun during a crazy time around the world where people really need a laugh and could enjoy themselves and, you know, have a beer or whatever – and just like f***ing laughed their asses off – because that’s what we do best.

KA: My buddy Kenny Omega said it best one time and I’m not sure I got it, but I do now because, like, pro wrestling can be anything you want it to be. Think about it. It’s a scripted fistfight between two human beings and it’s sold as legit. I mean, that’s been going on for years. What we’re doing is completely scripted entertainment so if you tell us we can’t do one thing, “Why not?” We’re going to take it this way.

Pro wrestling can be anything you want it to be and, at the end of the day, it truthfully is entertainment.

RR: Somebody gets blown up by a missile.

KA & LG: Somebody gets their balls ripped off!

We’re going to definitely get into that exact sentence because I heard about that one! That, for me, is the best thing. As you said, it’s a love letter to professional wrestling and you guys made a show that you would enjoy watching and if other do too, good! If they don’t then, well, you have made something you enjoy.

Two of my favourite parts were definitely the appearances of Stang…

[They all laugh]

..and a certain Nature Boy – Paul Lee.

KA: I told you he was a draw, boys!

LG: If you liked those appearances, there are bigger, better cameos – and those two guys are probably going to sneak in there, too – if you’ve seen any of the previews we’ve released for Talk ‘N Shop A Mania 2 – in a very big way.

So, I hope you enjoy it all over again – and jacked up amped up even more than the first time. The jokes, the sense of humor, the vulgarity, it has definitely turned the f*** up on the sequel.

You mentioned about Paul Lee being a draw. Was there anything that surprised you guys reaction-wise that you were like, “Man, we really didn’t think that would work, but people seem to like it”?

KA: Yeah, the whole thing. The whole f***ing thing.

LG: Yeah. Yeah, there was a lot of that, to be honest with you. I mean, Rory Fox got over, for Christ’s sakes, he’s been trying to get over for 25 years!

KA: Rory’s been trying to get over since he got into MTV press in 1999.

LG: When I was watching him in tenth grade, he couldn’t get over it.

RR: 20 years later, we got him over, you know.

KA: Knowing the fans in our world now are in love with Rory Fox, or are in love with the Nature Boy Paul Lee. Like, man… and even George North who I couldn’t believe was so bad. All of a sudden, now, he’s one of my favorites because he’s so bad.

Then Stump Kowalski, who can barely walk to the ring. The little person that could barely walk to the ring him, him and Hornswoggle had issues, you know, like, legit!

LG: I don’t like Stump!

KA: You can’t write this s***. You can’t write this s***. That’s why we wrote it.

You mentioned it there, but when Talk ‘N Shop A Mania 2 got announced, I was like, “How do you one-up a BonerYard Match?” I didn’t know if it was possible but you guys have seemingly announced a Ball For A Ball match. Do those matches connect?

LG: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. It does connect. We talked about the art form of this earlier, which I don’t know if – early in our careers – we looked at it as that as much as we do now because if you’re going to present an Eye For An Eye Match with two of the most iconic performers in the history of our business on a worldwide pay-per-view, then who are you to think that we’re not going to turn around and present a Ball For A Ball Match on our pay-per-view? Because that’s the beauty of satire. That’s what we’re doing. And the Ball For A Ball Match is another level. I think that is definitely TV-MA. Or if you can go higher, I don’t know the rating system very well.

RR: NC-17.

KA: There you go.

LG: It’s far out there, guys.

KA: Well, it’s just like, you know, Chavo vs Chico, we took their fight that they had and put it on a whole different, like, Hollywood-esque platform.

There’s gunshots, somebody gets killed, somebody gets their throat slit. There’s Matrix-like dodges, there’s a missile flying at somebody – and it’s legit!

It looks and it looks like Matrix s***. I mean, it’s incredible. But then we follow that up with Ball vs Ball where it’s like, just complete… There’s cameos, I’m trying to rip his nut sack off. There’s a point when I tie his balls to… Or Chad 2 Badd ties Sex’s balls to a truck and tries to rip them off. I mean, there’s just little things like that – just to be ready for.

LG: Yeah, just little things like that!

KA: Or like the dialogue. I say, “I’m gonna rip your balls off and drop an elbow on them.” Stuff like that. Not me – Chad 2 Badd says it.

It’s important to make that distinction between Karl and Chad 2 Badd.

KA: Very different humans.

We’ll get back to Talk ‘N Shop A Mania, but I have a couple of other things I need to ask. Last time I spoke to Gallows and Anderson, Rocky wasn’t part of the conversation as you guys had just signed with IMPACT, and we spoke about the possibility of a partnership between IMPACT and NJPW. Now we see Chris Bey being promoted for a NJPW event as an IMPACT star.

LG: Oooooh, baby!

That was my reaction too – only in a Scottish accent. Are we any closer to a deal – or might one already be in place?

RR: I think there’s definitely room in the world – and especially for professional wrestling fans – to see something like IMPACT and New Japan working together.

But I think, step by step. Obviously the Good Brothers being a part of IMPACT and being great ambassadors with New Japan and their relationship with New Japan is very important to this kind of whole process – and obviously, me being tied to these guys as well as important to that.

I think things are on a very, very friendly, friendly terms and better than they’ve ever been in years – let’s just say that – and I’m excited to see what the future holds because you never know, man. You never know.

I don’t want to say anything too soon. I don’t want to speak out of place because I think it’s all exciting to watch. If and when it goes down, I think it’s going to be cool as f*** if it does, so let’s just all keep going in the right directions. I think Chris Bey being a part of the J-Cup is f***ing awesome. He’s a hell of a talent, and just to have him be on that platform in front of a different audience than what IMPACT would normally get, I think is huge for Chris – and yeah, I think it’s a step in that direction and we’ll see what happens.

KA: I just like all the F-bombs you’re dropping right now.

RR: You like that?

LG: F*** yeah! F*** yeah!

KA: Usually your answer is a little more office and you’ve dropped two F- bombs in one answer.

RR: That’s how I kept it cool.

LG: F*** yeah!

One thing there, I said we had two IMPACT stars and one – or three – NJPW stars. Rocky is somewhat of an IMPACT star because you guys had your own show which aired after IMPACT – Talk ‘N Shop: Full Keg! Rocky is in front of the IMPACT audience too so I guess we’re seeing more of that collaboration. Rocky, was there any hesitance to be part of it or was it a no-brainer?

RR: Well, I mean, I had to get permission. I got permission from all the right channels and they were cool about it. I mean, if you even see that IMPACT was so nice to let me plug NJPW World and NJPW Strong on there. So, like I said, things that things are very friendly between the two companies.

Obviously, the Good Brothers have a lot to do with that and I think it’s cool.

I love that, especially in a world right now where there’s really just one company that’s the leader of this, right? They’re just so massive that some of these other companies who are really doing great things – like IMPACT, New Japan, AEW – if we can all kind of be friendly and work together, I think it’s important to keep professional wrestling f***ing growing worldwide, and that’s an important part of it.

And, Karl and Doc, last time we spoke, you said you would be returning to Japan. Do we have any update on when we’ll see you guys back as fully fledged NJPW stars yet?

LG: Ask our boss, Rocky.

RR: December 5th. I’m just picking a date.

KA: It’s going to happen. We’re just waiting for the right time, right channel right situation with the world the way it is right now – but it’s coming.

RR: November 13th. Live on Talk ‘N Shop.

KA: Yeah. In Japan. They can download the Fite app too!

LG: I’ll tell you what I think is exciting about it, amongst other things, is I think it would be awesome to enter New Japan – if and when we do again very soon – with IMPACT Wrestling World Tag Team Titles and you should check out Turning Point coming up on Saturday on the IMPACT Plus app.

Every IMPACT pay-per-view in history, just $7.99 a month. Lots of great independent content, including Lariato Pro Wrestling, where Rocky and Machine Gun competed recently here in Jackson, Georgia. So that is a plug for Turning Point but we do have an IMPACT Wrestling Tag Team Title Match at Turning Point and we plan on leaving Tag Team Champions to complete the Triple motherf***ing Crown, baby!

KA: Are we Triple Crown Champs if we win those? Is that a Triple Crown call?

LG: I’m saying it because that would be IMPACT, WWE and IWGP. So, in my mind, f***, that’s the Triple Crown, brother!

I’m not sure anyone else has ever held all three sets of titles. So that could be an interesting one.

KA: I feel like the Dudley Boyz have.

LG: Maybe the Dudleyz?

Oh, the Dudleyz will have!

KA: They’ve held everything, yeah!

Good company to be in!

KA: I’m good being there with the Dudleyz! I’m good!

We’ll talk about Turning Point but you mentioned holding tag team gold. Something that came up recently is a lot of talk about the Hardy Boyz. You guys had the best seat in the house for their return at WrestleMania 33. How much did you guys know about that, and how close to their return did you find out?

KA: You know, to be in that ring, though, when their music hit was one of the coolest things that anybody could ever experience! For us to be in the middle of the ring when that music hit, to hear that and feel it, man, it was it was cool, man.

We found out the day before and then history was made.

LG: Yeah, you got to remember, like, we were buddies with the Hardy Boyz, so they were more open to tell us than the office probably was – which made it a little bit more fun. But I can still feel the chills from that pop when they made their return at WrestleMania 33. If there was a roof on that dome, it would have blown off – so it was very cool to be part of it.

I know they’re in different companies – to each other and yourselves – what are your thoughts on what they’re doing now respectively, now that they’re not a tag team?

KA: I haven’t paid attention to either. I know. I’m happy that Jeff has been… Jeff, I’m sure, is doing something great. And Matt’s always doing something creative. I just haven’t had the chance to sit down and watch anything. We’ve actually been busy.

RR: Do you know if there’s any truth to the Willow in the Wisp coming back?

KA: If Willow in the motherf***ing Wisp comes back, I’ll buy the pay-per-view! Because I deleted the Network from my goddamn phone.

LG: You know, Matt, Matt, Jeff have always been good about that over their careers. They’ll go and have a big run together and then they’ll separate for a little bit.

I think it’s always inevitable that you get them back together because that’s what we, as fans, like to see, is always a Hardy Boyz reunion. So there’s always going to be room in the pro wrestling landscape for that to happen. Like he said, we’ve been too f***ing busy to watch anything but I’m glad that both of those guys are doing great.

Yeah, most definitely. And you mentioned that you’ve all been busy, obviously, doing many things. We that mentioned Talk ‘N Shop A Mania earlier. Let’s go back to that. I want to phrase that’s the right way so you don’t think I’m slinging an insult in any way…

RR: You better be careful!

LG: You watch your a**, cowboy.

We mentioned all the cameos. So many big names as part of the first event, some huge names coming up on the second.

How easy or difficult was it to persuade wrestlers to be part of it, or were they jumping at the chance to be part of it?

LG: You know, it was easier than we thought it would be, because you’ve got to remember, these guys are sitting in the middle of a pandemic. A lot of them are bored off out of their minds.

I mean, some of these guys showed up here not having a clue what they were even here for. They just wanted to see the boys and hang out.

And then they got here and went, “What the f*** is this?”

RR: We just found out Virgil, AKA Vincent thought he was working for AEW.

LG: Then he just pulls up to a guy’s house!

KA: A payday is payday, right? And I think a lot of people found out that Talk ‘N Shop A Mania 1 did well and so it was pretty easy.

I guess the only person that kayfabed us was Naked Mideon!

LG: Yeah, Naked Mideon kayfabed us – but, you know, maybe someday.

But we had a lot of we had a lot of people actually asking, like, “Hey, if there’s room, I’d love to. I thought it was really funny.” That was a little bit of a reward for us. Little Barry Horowitz pat on the back as Roc’s doing right there on the back of his head – meaning that, hey, if they enjoyed it and they want to be part of it, that we thought that was pretty damn cool.

Yeah, I only ask that because I interviewed nZo shortly before the first event aired and he was like, “I actually just went down to do a Talk ‘N Shop, the podcast, with the guys and I just had my Cruiserweight Championship with me – and suddenly we decided to go in the ring with the WWE Cruiserweight Championship!”

LG: We do s*** like that on a whim sometimes!

KA: Hey, we had Big Poppa Pump on there, man. We had some we had some really some pretty cool cameos that I mean, you got the Warlord, the Barbarian. I mean, these guys are there and they they pop out of nowhere.

I think they were strategically placed to a funny spot and by the time the main event comes on, it’s going to be, you know, almost, you know, 11:30, you’re going to be drunk as s***. So you’re going to REALLY love it! You’re going to love it.

RR: That’s the whole point.

LG: Exactly. Please be drunk as s***!

You mentioned one man there, Scott Steiner makes a cameo! How did that come about?

KA: Gallows can explain this one!

LG: I met Scott in probably 2011, and we’re both Georgia guys. I went to India with him and then worked with them doing some TNA and a bunch of independent stuff so Scott and I have been friendly over the years.

But trying to ask Big Poppa Pump Scott Steiner to make a cameo in a Ball For A Ball Match in your front yard, that’s a little different than engaging in a serious professional wrestling match with him.

Luckily, Scott likes us. Scott’s got a big sense of humour. And after a few, “What the f**k are you talking abouts,” we got it done and I think that’s a hell of a cameo to the point where, you know, this pay-per-view, as I said earlier, which is available via the Fite app over where you’re at, is way more vulgar than what we did the first time. It’s even more vulgar than the podcast, which we think is really funny. And within saying that, we still had to cut something that Scott Steiner said, ’cause we went, “Oh, s**t! That’s a little too far, Good Brother!” So that’s just not gonna make it. He went all the way in so I think that the Scott Steiner verbiage will be some of the classic lines out of the pay-per-view. And I hope to to hear those repeated back to all of us on Twitter on the on the night of the 13th.

KA: Very, very rated-R. Very. So be ready for it.

I hope we get a Scott Steiner math lesson and that’s all I’ll say there…

LG: Brother!

I say that as it leads me to my next question. Rocky, I mentioned some mathematics. I believe WWE’s 24/7 Champion – as we speak – has held the title 42 times. I believe Rocky is a one-time champion at Talk ‘N Shop A Mania. Will we get 42 more shows so you can match that reign?

RR: You know, I think for Chico El Luchador right now, he’s really just trying to focus in on his number one enemy – and that’s Chavo Guerrero – and finally end the history between these two families, the Luchador family, the Guerrero family. End it once and for all.

Look, Talk ‘N Shop A Mania 2, they’re going to have a Lucha Libre Death Match and, in this Death Match, somebody actually has to die. So ,whoever will be the winner of that, we’ll see what happens.

LG: First ever shoot Death Match!

RR: Shoot Death Match.

KA: I don’t think we even remembered that, on Talk ‘N Shop A Mania 1, the title was a 24/7 thing. It’s just it just turned into the heavyweight title.

RR: Yeah, I forgot about that.

KA: So thanks for reminding us about that storyline.

LG: I’ve got six of them, I got six of them laying around my house right now if anybody wants one.

RR: Yeah, it’s not like we’re doing a weekly TV show where it’s hard to keep track. I mean, guys, it’s only once every like four months. We can do better than that.

LG: We’re a little green with this.

Promotions drop storylines every week, I think you’re fine. Completely unrelated to the next thing I say. Last time we spoke, Karl and Doc, I asked if you’d spoken to anyone in WWE since leaving and you joked that you were trying to talk AJ Styles into coming back to IMPACT. Any luck so far?

KA: No.

LG: We’re still working on it. Still working on it. For sure.

KA: We’re working on it, yeah.

RR: They’re onto Roman now too!

LG: Yeah. Anybody who’s doing well over there, we’ve got our eyes on them. We’re heavily recruiting right now.

KA: Basically, anybody who’s contract is coming up in the next six months to two years, let us know.

LG: Give us a call.

The serious question was actually that you guys are competing, as Doc mentioned earlier, for the IMPACT Tag Team Championships at Turning Point.

I thought you guys were going to win them at Bound For Glory, which the North won – but I’m very glad we get to see more of the Good Brothers vs The North. How do you guys see the IMPACT Tag Team Division right now? For me, I think it’s one of the best in the world.

KA: Yeah, dude, The North – I think I said this before, I didn’t know a lot about them when we were where we were. I just didn’t pay attention.

I started hearing about them as we were about to show up in IMPACT, then I got in the ring with them and realised that they are good. Both of them are really good, really, really good.

Like, Ethan Page is charismatic as hell. And that’s not saying that Josh Alexander isn’t. I’m just saying that Ethan Page has this ridiculous amount of charisma that’s insane. And then Josh in there’s a hard hitter. He can wrestle, he’s good. They complement each other really, really well so to be able to have these matches with them is fun. It’s true. It’s dream match s*** for us that we never thought we would do. Now that I’ve gotten to know how good they are and what they can do, it’s great.

Having the Motor City Machine Guns there, I mean, these guys, you know, in the last 15 years, have built a ridiculous name. It’s fun. It’s a fun time right now, man.

RR: Machine Guns changed tag team wrestling. The next generation coming up is so heavily influenced by the Motor City Machine Guns.

LG: By them! Yeah, for sure.

RR: It’s so crazy. I mean, they completely changed the game.

LG: Yeah, I said it on the Full Keg special, and it got a little traction, but I meant it. Like, if you’re sleeping on IMPACT Wrestling, it’s time to wake up.

I’m talking about from the Knockouts to the X-Division, to the heavyweights to the Tag Team Division. It’s world-class right now and I think a great example of that is what you touched on earlier is Chris Bey going to New Japan. That’s huge for us. It’s huge for everybody – but it’s a top-tier product and it’s awesome, man.

So, I hope everybody’s watching IMPACT over there and I hope that you guys all tune in to Turning Point on the IMPACT Plus app because we’re bringing home that motherf***ing gold.

RR: When’s that date? When’s Turning Point?

KA: 14th?

RR: The day after our pay-per-view! That’s cool. So, can I plug the J-Cup – December 12th?

Please. I love this, you guys are doing my job for me!

KA: Where is that taking place at? In Cali?

RR: In Cali, yeah. December 12th NJPWWorld.com – the Super J-Cup 2020. We got Chris Bey representing IMPACT. We have Rey Horus representing Ring of Honor. Clark Connors will be involved. ELP from the Bullet Club and many, many more. It’s going to be an awesome, awesome event. So check it out.

A load of brilliant wrestling coming up. One last thing, I want to go around the table and ask you for one word to describe Talk ‘N Shop A Mania ahead of its premiere on Fite TV November 13th.

LG: S***.

KA: Fun, fun, fun. Fun s***.

RR: Crazy. Just crazy.

Thank you guys so much. I cannot wait to see Talk ‘N Shop A Mania 2 and everything else that follows afterwards, hopefully Talk ‘N Shop A Mania 3. Thank you, guys and hopefully it’s as bad or good as the first one.

KA: We want a full review.

LG: Thank you, Good Brother. We want a full review and hit TNSMania.com for all things talking shop. Listen to the podcast, new ones drop every Sunday morning here in the US. We just had a big Bill Goldberg on. We’ve had the Young Bucks on lately, Eric Bischoff. We’ve had some great guests and everything’s at TNSMania.com. Links to our alcohol. Everything that we’re doing follow @azucarRoc on all social channels, @MachineGunKA and @The_BigLG. Thank you all, and we will see you in November the 13th, 10pm Eastern Standard Time on Fite TV.

Thanks to ‘Machine Gun’ Karl Anderson, ‘The Big LG’ Doc Gallows, and Rocky Romero for taking the time.

You can watch Talk ‘N Shop A Mania 2 via Fite TV on November 14th and check out all things Talk ‘N Shop here.