When it comes to 2020, most wrestling promotions have been caught up in a storm of sorts, adapting to a difficult new environment. IMPACT Wrestling, though, has been making waves. From seemingly partnering with AEW, to new signings and television deals to new faces, the company has come on leaps and bounds. One man who has personified that rise is undoubtedly Moose, who has spent the year re-legitimising the TNA World Championship.
Inside The Ropes‘ Lead Writer Gary Cassidy had the pleasure of chatting with TNA World Champion Moose about the company’s new-found friendship with AEW, targeting Rich Swann, his iconic entrances, and other former NFL stars turned wrestlers such as Goldberg and Roman Reigns.
Hi, everyone, Gary Cassidy here, and today I’m joined by a man you can watch as part of IMPACT every Wednesday at 10pm on FreeSports and of course, as part of all IMPACT pay-per-views such as the upcoming Hard To Kill on Premier Sports as the TNA World Champion – it’s Moose. How is it going today, Moose?
It’s going well!
First things first before we get into talking about Moose specifically, I feel like it would be remiss of me not to ask about this new friendship we’re seeing between AEW and IMPACT. What were your thoughts when you found out about it?
It was definitely surprising. But I mean, it’s good. I think it’s a win for the fans.
I mean, I know since this whole thing started, all I get flooded on my mentions on social media is about all these possible dream matches that could come from it. So, I mean, I think I think is a good thing for the fans – and the fans definitely win in this whole process.
Most definitely. You mentioned everyone going on about those dream matches. I feel like a lot of people have mentioned Kenny Omega vs Rich Swann and not a lot of people seem to be talking about the possibility of Kenny Omega vs Moose. You’re the TNA World Champion. You’ve spent a lot of time, blood, sweat, tears, re-legitimising that title. I know you’ve faced Cody Rhodes in the past. Is there any interest in a Kenny Omega match?
I mean, how do I answer that question?
I mean, what I mean, why not? I mean, I have no… The thing with matches is, like, I don’t just like having matches just to have a match – because it’s a possible dream match. You have to give me a reason for why I’m wrestling Kenny Omega. I like Kenny. I respect him. He’s done a lot, obviously, and in the world of professional wrestling. But I don’t have any real problems with Kenny.
Like, I wouldn’t want to hurt them, if that’s what you’re asking. I mean, I wouldn’t want to hurt Kenny. I don’t have any issues with him. Now, Rich Swann I have a lot of issues with and that’s somebody who I want to hurt. So that’s where my mind is at this present moment. What could happen with me and Kenny in the future, we’ll see. But as of right now, I like Kenny, he’s doing a great job and he’s one of the best wrestlers in the world.
Of course, we did see the staredown with Rich Swann this week. You’re holding the TNA World Championship. He’s the IMPACT World Champion. What’s the aim for Moose with the TNA Title? Do you simply want it recognised or does there have to be a unification match for that to happen?
Oh, yeah, I think, at this point, that’s what might have to happen because, I mean, I’ve done everything that I could possibly do with the TNA Heavyweight Championship and people still don’t think it’s legitimate. So I feel like the thing now to do, to make all those naysayers believe in what I have been doing the last few months, is to take what they feel like is legitimate from their current champion – and that’s what I’m going to do.
We mentioned the TNA Championship. You, of course, left the NFL to become a professional wrestler. Is holding that title – or maybe holding the IMPACT World Championship – vindication for leaving the NFL, what is a very lucrative career, or did you need vindication in the first place?
I don’t think I need to win any title for any kind of vindication of leaving the National Football League, or the NFL, or leaving the football.
I think I’ve already proved that I’m probably one of THE best athletes to cross over from the football side to wrestling. I think there’s enough vindication for my decision for switching sports.
I mean, if you ask fans to name their top five, I’ll be in that top five, either at one or one of those five they pick. For me, that’s enough vindication. As for right now, just continue to have fun and live this dream of mine.
Yeah, most definitely. And I think the credit to you as when people mention your name, it is as a wrestler, no-one mentions your being a former NFL star. One of my favourite “Moose” things this year has been that match with EC3. So different to anything we’ve seen on IMPACT, maybe aside from the Matt Hardy cinematic matches. I want to know, what was that like for you? How much creative input did you have and what was it like putting together a cinematic match?
I mean, it was fun. I mean, it’s definitely great when you have a match with somebody you respect and you consider a friend in life, you know? So I think a lot of business was done in that match. And we created magic, definitely.
And I say one of my favorites, because my actual favorite Moose thing right now has to be your iconic entrances. How did those come about? What was the inspiration for your new style of entrances?
It’s just a mindset and a thought. It’s not always me who comes up with it. You have the amazing staff of IMPACT Wrestling who have given me their input on what they think that I should do and, I mean, it’s usually a good idea.
Yeah, definitely, and you mentioned, of course, you know, crossing over, you know, becoming a professional wrestler, you’ve shared the ring with a lot of huge names. You know, we mentioned EC3 and Cody Rhodes. Even Tommy Dreamer, Rob Van Dam, Ken Shamrock, Drew McIntyre, who has Moose learned the the most from in the ring.
Oh, man, I think I’ve taken a little bit of every guy you just mentioned and learned something, and I’m still learning. Every time I step in the ring, with whoever it may be, I’m still learning. So you never stop learning when it comes to professional wrestling.
You have faced a lot of IMPACT legends there in RVD, Dreamer, Shamrock. What’s your thoughts on them? Is it great to learn from them? Would you prefer youth got a chance, or is that something you think IMPACT does well anyway?
It’s definitely good. I mean, we have a diverse locker room with young and older guys, so I mean, I think it’s good.
You previously formed an alliance with The North. There’s talk of Ethan Page leaving IMPACT. What are your thoughts on him as a talent and a person?
Obviously, Ethan Page, I mean, he’s definitely a good wrestler. I mean, if he wasn’t, he would have been IMPACT Wrestling as long as he’s been wrestling. But I don’t like to talk about people’s contract situations. It’s one thing I don’t do because I have no say in it, no input in if they staying or going or what’s going on.
I mean, if Ethan Page stays, he’s definitely a good talent and definitely helps the product. If he goes, I’m sure there’s there’s a reason why he’s leaving everything to support his family or whatever it may be. So that’s I guess that’s the only thing I can say about that. I mean, I have no input other than what I just said.
Most definitely. And I’ve got two final questions. The first one is, Moose has has transcended the NFL into professional wrestling. We’ve seen a lot of people do that. You know, people like Roman Reigns, people like Goldberg. If Moose hasn’t been the biggest or the best star in terms of adapting to wrestling from the NFL, who has been?
Honestly, I wouldn’t even put Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns’ names on that list, because what’s your definition of “playing” in the NFL?
Because neither one of those two guys played in the NFL. Like, they were on an NFL team for a couple of weeks, but neither one of them played one game or even made opening day roster for an NFL team, so that doesn’t count. In my opinion, or in the opinion of people who actually played in the NFL, those two guys DIDN’T play in the NFL.
I’m not saying that they’re not great wrestlers because they both are Hall of Famers and phenomenal wrestlers, but I don’t think you put their names on that list when you talk about guys who actually played in the NFL. So, I mean, I guess Goldberg will be the top of the list, because he’s a guy who had a long career in the NFL and has accomplished a lot of things in professional wrestling.
Final question. Moose’s future. What would you like your legacy to be in wrestling?
I mean, I’m still building that legacy. Just be a good enough talent and stay out of trouble outside of the ring and the rest will take care of itself.