The Delco Elbow Drop

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Exclusive interview with WWE Superstar Bad News Barrett

The News of Delaware County and the Delco Elbow Drop are very proud to announce a partnership with Ring Rust Radio and World Wrestling Entertainment to bring you exclusive interviews with the biggest Superstars in WWE! The first Superstar to be featured in this series is Intercontinental Championship number one contender, Bad News Barrett.

Bad News Barrett has been growing in popularity over the past few months and recently has been involved in a tournament to name a number one contender to Big E’s Intercontinental Championship. A three-time Intercontinental Champion, Barrett talks to Donald Wood, Mike Chiari and Brandon Galvin about his time in WWE, the IC Title, Extreme Rules and much more! A full transcript of the interview can be found below as well as a link to the interview on YouTube and the full episode of Ring Rust Radio featuring this Bad News Barrett interview can be found by following this link.

And don’t forget to visit the Delco Elbow Drop for many more great articles and interviews.

Donald Wood: The Intercontinental Championship tournament culminates with a title match at Extreme Rules. After so many months away from the ring, how would it feel to capture the gold at a pay-per-view of this magnitude?

Bad News Barrett: You know it’s always good to be on a pay-per view in WWE, that’s never a given. So first of all, you have to work your way on to a pay-per view, then to be put into a title match is pretty cool, especially after how long I’ve been out of the ring, I think it was back in November I disappeared off TV for a while then came back and just started talking. Hopefully, fingers crossed, I’ll beat RVD tonight at Raw then go on to take on Big E at Extreme Rules, so that’s what I’m hoping for.

Mike Chiari: You’ve already been Intercontinental Champion on three occasions, but now that the WWE and World Heavyweight Championships are unified and there are less titles for the Superstars to vie for, do you feel like winning the IC title this time around would mean more in terms of maybe being a launching pad to the main event scene for you?

Bad News Barrett: I think any time there’s more focus on a particular title, the better it is for the title holder. I think with the reduction in the number of titles and now with the combined World and WWE Championship titles, I think it definitely puts a lot more emphasis on the Intercontinental Championship. Also, considering the fact that The Shield have had the U.S title with Dean Ambrose carrying that for a while and hasn’t been defending it at all. I can’t remember the last time he defended it. I think about six months or so since he last defended it, so I think that puts even more emphasis on the intercontinental title as the main secondary title in WWE. So definitely, I’d like to get my hands on it and pick up that IC title once again.

Brandon Galvin: The tournament to become the No. 1 contender for the Intercontinental Championship has been well received by fans. What are your feelings of tournaments in professional wrestling and would you like to see the King of the Ring tournament make a return to WWE?

Bad News Barrett: Personally, I love tournaments and I think American sports in general have that sort of playoff format for championships where you need to beat a team to get to the next round and obviously World Cup Soccer is set up that way too, so for me tournaments are great. It gives the fans a reason to be invested in something, it’s not just a series of cold matches, and I think with each match having something at stake is the key. It drives fans’ interest in the matches that we’re putting on and it certainly means something when someone can get to a final with the champion because you have to work pretty hard to get there. So hopefully that means fans are more invested in it, and I think it provides some good entertainment. And to what you said about the King of the Ring, I was a big fan of that when I was younger, so if that comes back, I’d be very happy about that.

Donald Wood: As Mike Chiari mentioned, an Intercontinental Championship win would be your fourth and put you in elite company. The list of champions who have won the belt four times or more includes legends like RVD, Razor Ramon, Edge, Triple H and Chris Jericho. What would it mean to see your name on the list with stars like that?

Bad News Barrett: It would be pretty cool, ultimately I’d like to have just held it once and had it for the entire time, the last three years or whatever it would be, the fact that you’re a four time champion also means that you lost it at least three times, possibly four times, so it’s kind of a good thing and a bad thing. To be always in that mix and challenging and getting titles is important for me. I want to stay relevant on TV and involved in important angles and things like that.

Mike Chiari: The genesis of the Bad News Barrett character took place on non-televised WWE programming on the JBL & Cole Show, and knowing how well the fans have responded to you, do you expect more Superstars to follow your lead and utilize other media platforms in order to get themselves over in the future?

Bad News Barrett: I could definitely see that happening. I’ve kind of been the first success of a character that’s been born on and that’s the way of the future. WWE has always been very proactive in using technology like Twitter and being on the cutting edge of whatever is developing like that so the fact that we were able to try something out on social media and it got that response and creative team heard about it and was interested from there. The fact that I was able to do that away from TV programming, which is hard to get time on when you’re trying to debut a new character, it’s worked out pretty well for me for sure, so I’m sure people have seen that and decided to think of some ideas on their own. So the JBL and Cole show, which is the vehicle I used to get my character out there, and other platforms on and the new WWE Network will be used in the future to sort of throw some stuff at walls and see what sticks on there.

Brandon Galvin: What made you decide to take a chance on the Bad News character and how do you anticipate the character evolving?

Bad News Barrett: At the time when I came up with it, I wasn’t really doing anything too much on the show, I was on the low, cold matches and I wasn’t really involved in any program or anything, so I felt like I wanted to do something different. The guy at suggested that they use me in some way on the JBL and Cole show, so I had to think about it and Cody Rhodes came up with the idea originally where I would just keep giving bad news to everyone in somewhat of a reflection of my personality in the locker room. Thankfully it seemed to work in the form we were using it at the time and people responded to it and we took it from there. In terms of how it will evolve, that’s very difficult to predict. I wasn’t expecting people to be cheering me at the Hall of Fame when I came out to give bad news and the response I got later, the kind of baby face response where people were looking forward to hearing my bad news, it wasn’t something I anticipated. So, it’s something I’ll just go with the flow and see how people respond and that really dictates how a character will evolve.

Donald Wood: There has never been an English world heavyweight champion in WWE history. Does that discourage your crusade to become the top star in the business or does it motivate you more to achieve something of that magnitude?

Bad News Barrett: I always thought as a kid that Davey Boy Smith should have been the world heavyweight champion at some point. He was my guy, he was my favorite and you can look at William Regal again as somebody who, in my opinion, should have held the title at some point. So certainly there have been times in the past where people could viably have held that title but the pieces didn’t fall into place, so certainly I feel like I’ve got all of the ability to do that. I think I have all the potential to be the No. 1 in WWE and hopefully I’ll carve out those opportunities myself and get to carry that title. I don’t carry a monkey on my back where I’m carrying the expectation of people in England, but I look to be the guy that finally does it and be the first English world champion, but it’s a little way off at the moment. I need to get myself back in the main event. In 2010, I got pretty close with the Nexus, but unfortunately it didn’t happen. So I’m going to get back on the climb back to the main event and hopefully get a shot at that championship.

Mike Chiari: WWE has a huge European tour coming up in May, and knowing how popular you are with the fans over there, especially in England, do you feel like that presents you with an opportunity to capitalize on your current momentum and perhaps take that next step and reach that next level in your career?

Bad News Barrett: You know what, I love going out there and getting the kind of response I get from the fans out there. I was a huge fan of Davey Boy Smith when I was a kid and with all of his talents and how great he was in the ring, the key thing I liked about him was that he was from the same place as me so I understand people being patriotic and supporting their guy. Whether that will springboard me into something else, I’m not sure, but hopefully so from my point of view I want to take my career as far as I can. I always look forward to the two times a year we go over to the U.K and seeing the kind of response I get. So it’s a real honor for me to go back there and see the British fans so I’m just going to enjoy going back there and have as much fun as I can. If something comes from it, great, but if not I’ll still enjoy it.

Brandon Galvin: You originally set the tone for NXT and what fans could and should expect from the development system and its superstars. What are your feelings on the current state of NXT and do any of the wrestlers there reach out to you for advice and guidance?

Bad News Barrett: I’d say I’ve been really impressed with what I’ve seen from NXT. I’ve been involved in two developmental systems in my time with WWE. I was in OVW for a short time before WWE severed links with that and moved them on to FCW in Tampa. With the progression from OVW to FCW with the improvement in facilities and the trainers, I think that’s happened once again when they transitioned over to NXT in Orlando. I think they’ve got a much better facility again and they’ve got more trainers, more available and the technology they have is incredible. A company like WWE is always looking to improve and the developmental system is no different. I think there’s some really cool things down there and the guys and girls who are working down there looking to get on the WWE shows have some great opportunities, and I think it’s really beneficial for the future of our industry. In terms of people reaching out for advice, I don’t really know too many of the guys down there too well but certainly there’s a couple of the British guys down there who’ll text me and keep updating me and there’s also a few other guys I look out for down there. I think they have a lot of trainers with great advice available to them but if anyone did have any questions for me I would definitely be available.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Masked Mania brings lucha libre to Philadelphia

Even though I’ve been watching professional wrestling since I was a little kid, I’d never experienced a wrestling match where chants of “U-S-A!” mark the heel wrestlers but before Sunday, I’d never seen a real lucha libre show before either.

Masked Mania, held at the 2300 Arena (formerly the ECW Arena) in South Philadelphia, treated fans to an amazing lucha libre performance on Sunday, marking one of the first – if not the first – time the city has hosted a true lucha show. With 8 matches on the card, each offered something unique for wrestling fans and those looking to familiarize themselves with Mexican lucha libre. Fast-paced tag team wrestling, rudos vs technicos, trios matches and amazing displays of technical prowess were all in store at Masked Mania. Perhaps most impressive was that the nature of the show was perfect for people of all ages to enjoy – whether you’re a grizzled, jaded smark like me or a wide-eyed kid on a family outing, Masked Mania presented an exciting show for all.

The teams of Latin Dragon and Ultimo Panda versus Incoherence (Hallowicked and Frightmare) opened the show in spectacular fashion. Incoherence played the roles of villains, using their intimidating masks to strike fear into the crowd while their foes Dragon and Panda won over the crowd with impressive dance moves. Latin Dragon got the pin on both Hallowicked and Frightmare with a splash from the top rope.

I should also note that ECW alum Joel “The Quintessential Studmuffin” Gertner was performing the job of ring announcer for the evening. And, it being a lucha libre show, Gertner did the entire show in Spanish.

Next up, the trio of “3 Live Gringos” Chuck Taylor, Papadon and Orange Cassidy took on The Osirian Portal and Green Ant. Taylor, Cassidy and Papadon came out to Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA” and played the part of rudos, marking maybe the first time ever American wrestlers were booed for being American in America. Regardless of that chicanery, this match was really fun and let the technico team pull off some impressive double team maneuvers like the Portal hypnotizing their opponents or pulling off a tandem top rope splash/leg drop combo for the win.

Following the trios encounter was the first title match of the night where Solar battled Negro Navarro for the Campeonato de Maestros in what could only being described as a technical wrestling clinic. I think it was 10 minutes before the first strike was thrown between the two as they traded position and holds before a captivated audience. Eventually, Negro Navarro made Solar submit to what looked like a Kimura lock to retain his championship. After the match was over, the fans showed their appreciation for the wrestling wizardry they had just witnessed by showering the ring with coins and dollar bills, as is apparently the tradition in Mexico when two wrestlers engage in a particularly intense, back-and-forth contest.

Next up was a minis match for the PWR Campeonato de Minis between Pequeno Pierroth and the champion, El Mini Mariachi. Pierroth and Mariachi battled inside the ring and out of it and after Pierroth hit a big powerbomb, it looked like we were in for the first title change of the night as Pierroth picked up the three count. It wasn’t long before a Masked Mania official came to ringside and restarted the match, asking the fans if they wanted five more minutes. I couldn’t really tell you why the match was restarted (in my best Ron Burgundy, “You know I don’t speak Spanish”) but Mariachi soon rolled up Pierroth with a Victory Roll and the show went to intermission.

After the break, Christina Von Eerie was set to defend the PWR Campeonato de Feminil against Japanese wrestler Sumie Sakai. Despite Von Eerie’s punk rock look, she played the part of the technico in this match as Sakai tried every underhanded tactic in the book to win. Even with the help of her manager, Sakai couldn’t defeat Von Eerie, who left Philadelphia with her championship.

Following the women’s championship match, “The Spartan” Matt Cross (formerly MDogg20) was set to take on Cassandro. While most lucha libre matches are between a rudo and technico, there exists a third alignment in lucha wrestling – the exotico. Dressed in flamboyant fashions with spectacularly styled hair, Cassandro made the perfect foil to the ultra-tough Spartan character portrayed by Cross. But even though his appearance isn’t typical for a professional wrestler, Cassandro proved that his skills in the ring are unparalleled, ultimately earning the victory with what looked like a Victory Roll off the top rope.

The second-to-last match of the night was another trios match, though a much more hard-hitting contest than the first that the crowd witnessed. In this match, Blkout (Ruckus and Sabian) teamed with Homicide to take on Sabu, Damien 666 and Bestia 666. There wasn’t much order in this match as all six wrestlers battled inside and out of the ring, using whatever they could get their hands on to batter their opponents. Despite his age and the wear from many years in the ring, Sabu can still put on a great show, eventually earning the win over Homicide with an Arabian facebuster through a table. (Also, Homicide was sporting a “Nick Gage mugshot” t-shirt which, as a former CZW mark, I got a kick out of.)

In the final match of the night, Mexican wrestling legends Dr. Wagner Jr. faced La Park (formerly La Parka) in a classic show down. This match featured just about everything you could want – hold for hold wrestling, hard strikes, unmasking dramatics (losing your mask is akin to death in lucha wrestling) and even referee shenanigans when La Park threw the ref into a sunset flip on Wagner and counted the pin, followed by the ref celebrating – only to be brought back down to earth by a chop from Wagner. La Park even took off his belt and lashed Wagner with it a few times, eliciting gasps from the crowd, though Wagner was able to battle back and earned a win from a quick rollup.

Without a doubt, Masked Mania was one of the most fun indy wrestling shows I’ve been to in a long time. Every match had something special to offer fans and there was never a dull moment in any of the action. I was also very pleased with how efficiently the show ran, starting on time without any big derailments or distractions and kept everyone in attendance on the edge of their seats, despite the show running almost four hours long.

I’m pretty sure that Masked Mania was broadcast on iPPV through and you should be able to purchase a replay from them as well. I’m also hoping that a DVD will eventually be produced of the show because it was definitely a show I would want to experience again.

(I took some pictures with my phone but they’re probably terrible. If they aren’t terrible, I’ll update later with some pics)

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Extreme Rising cancels all upcoming shows

Just days before scheduled events in the former ECW Arena in South Philadelphia, the Extreme Rising promotion has cancelled all upcoming events – Friday, April 25’s “Springtime Beatdown” (which was originally scheduled for March 1), Saturday, April 26’s “Anniversary Event/Fan Apperciation Night” and Saturday, May 3’s “Black, Gold and Extreme” event in Pittsburgh, PA. Little information is available on the Extreme Rising website – other than the fact that fans are being told to contact their credit card company or banks to receive refunds.

While I don’t claim to have the whole story, the Extreme Rising promotion has apparently been on rocky ground for some time now.

This isn’t the first time several Extreme Rising shows have been cancelled, though. During the harsh winter Pennsylvania experienced, at least one show was cancelled because of weather, though another show (according to was cancelled because the building the promotion had leased for the show couldn’t be cleared by building inspectors in time. A TV series produced at Extreme Rising shows was also allegedly in the works, slated to air in January 2014 – though the month came and went with no new information about said series.

Following the several Extreme Rising cancellations, the promotion’s champion Stevie Richards defended his title against Luke Hawx in the ECWA promotion. Richards allegedly dropped the title to Hawx at the show – only to have Steve O’Neill, the owner of Extreme Rising, claim that the title match wasn’t sanctioned and therefore Stevie Richards was still the company’s champion. As of this writing, Hawx is still apparently in possession of the title belt.

Since the cancellations and apparent unauthorized title change, Hawx has been at odds with O’Neill on social networking sites, bashing the promoter and company and stating that fans will be able to catch him at other upcoming shows in the region. O’Neill also allegedly lashed out at fans over social networking, though those comments have since been deleted.

This entire situation seems like a mess through and through and mostly the fans come out of it the losers. The Extreme Rising promotion was an interesting idea but it seemed to fall flat in execution time and time again. Cancelled shows and a public spat with Shane Douglas, who helped get the promotion off the ground, have brought the promotion’s momentum to a screeching halt. While it doesn’t appear that Extreme Rising is shut down entirely, all future events have been effectively shuttered. It’s also worrisome that the promotion is telling fans to seek refunds from their credit card companies or banks rather than being refunded by the promotion. Because if Extreme Rising is planning on continuing after this debacle, they sure are making it hard for anyone to want to continue supporting their product.

As of this writing, the Masked Mania event planned for Sunday, April 27 in the former ECW Arena is still happening.

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Friday, April 18, 2014

Renewed focus on Intercontinental championship will make or break Big E

Amongst the many interesting things happening in the WWE recently, the renewed focus on the Intercontinental title is one of the most refreshing to see. For as long as there were two main event titles (the WWE Title and World Heavyweight Title), the Intercontinental title has been treated as an afterthought. The belt which used to mark the next breakout star, held by guys like “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, The Rock and Triple H, was now being passed around at little consequence to guys like Santino Marella, Kofi Kingston, Wade Barrett and The Miz.

But on Monday, the WWE began a tournament to name a #1 contender to Big E’s IC title that featured Mark Henry vs Cesaro, Sheamus vs Jack Swagger, Alberto Del Rio vs Rob Van Dam and Dolph Ziggler vs Bad News Barrett. The creation of this tournament shows two things – that the WWE is putting more focus on midcard championships (finally) and that several guys who were formerly in the main event scene are now solidly in contention for the IC belt.

Big E won the title from Curtis Axel (see what I mean about it being directionless?) on an episode of Raw in November. His win was interesting because not only did it bring a new face to IC title contention but it also marked the first major milestone of Big E’s career after the supergroup of AJ Lee, Dolph Ziggler and Big E split.

E’s victory over Axel to win the title came around the time that the WWE and World Heavyweight championships were unified and recognized as one championship. For a long time, the IC title and champion felt very inconsequential to the product as a whole. But the elimination of one World title would mean some focus gradually being shifted back toward the IC title. And the inclusion of former World champions in the tournament to name a #1 contender to the Intercontinental title is also helping to raise the profile of the title.

When there were two World titles, there was room for guys like Sheamus, Alberto Del Rio and RVD at the top of the card to contend for a major championship. But for months, they were floundering, being put into relatively meaningless matches against one another. But now that there is only one major title and it is heavily involved in the main event storyline, those former champs and World title contenders are now finding themselves in the middle of the card again.

This is a pivotal time for Big E. The IC belt is seemingly back in the number two role in the company – marking stars on the verge of the main event scene, the way it was before the Raw/Smackdown brand split in 2002. How E is able to deal with all the new threats to his championship will solidify his place in the company for the next few years. If the WWE is truly behind Big E and thinks he has potential, he should be able to hold onto that title for some time. Securing title defenses against the likes of Sheamus or RVD will undoubtedly prove that Big E is capable of moving up the card and one day being WWE World Heavyweight champion.

Personally, I have a ton of faith in Big E. He hasn’t been able to show off much of his overall talent in WWE yet but the renewed focus on the midcard and IC title should change that for the better. Big E is capable of incredible athleticism and just needs to find the right outlet for his personality to shine through on a larger scale –he’s funny on his Twitter and Instagram accounts but his charisma hasn’t really translated to TV yet. It’s still very early in his career, though. After becoming a dominant champion in NXT, the crowd really got on board with Big E’s dominating presence and if given time, I have no doubt that the same will happen on the main roster. And continued success as Intercontinental champion is a great first step for Big E.

CM Punk covered on poster in Ultimate Warrior special

Anyone else catch the Royal Rumble 2013 poster in the background during the Ultimate Warrior special on WWE Network? Seems like everyone hoping that CM Punk comes back might want to stop holding their breath.

This goes beyond just trolling Punk fans, if you ask me. You could only see the poster for a second or two during the Warrior special and it shows how WWE is treating this CM Punk situation behind the scenes - just forget about him and move on, like he was never there in the first place. I was a big Punk fan before he left and while I'm not gonna trash the guy, I do think he could've handled his departure better than just disappearing and leaving the company scrambling to cover up his sudden absence.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Exclusive interview with former TNA World Heavyweight Champion Magnus

Bleacher Report writer and host of Ring Rust Radio Donald Wood along with fellow Bleacher Report columnists and co-hosts Mike Chiari and Brandon Galvin had the chance to interview Former TNA World Heavyweight Champion MAGNUS on the show this week. Hit the interview link below to hear Magnus’ thoughts on his title loss to Eric Young, being the first British World champion in over 100 years and much more – exclusive to the Delco Elbow Drop!

Donald Wood: You suffered a tough loss at the hands of Eric Young on the April 10th edition of Impact Wrestling, but you will inevitably get your rematch at Sacrifice on April 27. What are your feelings as you attempt to get the title back?

Magnus: It’s a different story once you’ve tasted the success of being Champion. It doesn’t make you want it any less; if anything it just makes you want it even more. I’m looking forward to locking up with EY again. I know a lot of people were surprised at the outcome but it’s nice to be able to surprise people sometimes. I think that the viewing figures all through my reign as champion can kind of point to the fact that people are just interested in what we’re doing now and that it’s fresh and exciting, and if I can be a small part in that as the Champion, then great. Honestly yeah, it’s never fun to lose a championship but, at the same time, this is a business and we’re in this to generate interest in what we’re doing. If we can do some good business then that’s what it’s all about and that’s a very exciting thing and I’m looking forward to doing more.
With EY, he’s a great competitor and in a lot of ways he has had to wait his turn and has gotten the crappy end of the stick many, many times over the years and through different regimes in this company. I was glad he was able to be portrayed in the right light and was able to get where he needs to be. I’m sure there has been a lot of criticism against me for many things, like there is against anyone especially when they become a top guy, but I think one thing that no one can deny is that while I’ve been on top anyone who’s been in there with me has come out looking better on the other end.

Mike Chiari: TNA seems to be in the midst of a youth movement with a lot of younger talent being brought in and pushed, and your role in that is pretty interesting in that you’re only 27 years old, but at the same time you’ve been with the company since 2008. With that said, how do you view your status within TNA? Do you identify more with the young guys or the veterans?

Magnus: I love this ‘Youth Movement’ thing. I find it humorous and I actually wrote about it in my last column for FSM that a group of guys predominantly in their late 20’s, some in their early 30’s, can be described as a ‘Youth Movement’. I think in any other genre, especially sports, that would not be considered a youth movement at all. In pro wrestling, obviously, we play by a slightly different set of rules. I think that speaks more to the mentality of wrestling fans, or certainly the mentality of wrestling fans who, perhaps, over analyze things a bit or somehow think that their opinion is more valuable than any other fan’s because I think that the reality of the situation is that the Rock was on top in the WWF at 27, Triple H began moving into the upper echelon in his late 20’s, and I could go back and point to no end of guys who went on to become icons in the business, like the last two names I just mentioned, who all reached that level in their late 20’s because I think that’s the time when people gravitated to them.
But for some reason now, it seems to be more of an important thing to identify their age and that’s something I’ve had to deal with my entire career because I got picked up young. But I’m 6’4”, 250 (pounds), so it’s almost like a curse these days to have that because it’s almost like the opposite of not having the right look back in the day. Now, if you look a certain way and you have a certain background, suddenly it doesn’t matter if you go out and have a good match or not it’s ‘oh, he can’t do this, he can’t do that’. ‘Overrated’, that’s another great one that gets thrown around a lot, but I think that you gravitate to whoever you’re on the same kind of platform with in terms of mindset not the level or anything like that because there’s certainly very little of that that goes on in TNA, there is a real sort of team feel to everything. Everybody just gets along and is treated equally.
I can take pride in the fact that I spoke up many times for Sam (Samuel) Shaw, we’ve known each other a long time, and I’ve also been a huge fan of Robby and Jessie’s work, and I certainly think Robby is easily the most underrated talent on our roster. I think EC3 has been doing great, (Rockstar) Spud has been doing great, and they’re all friends of mine, but I also have a huge amount of affection and respect for Joe, Bobby and James and A.J when he was here and many other guys like EY. Abyss is another guy, he wears a lot of hats in the company, he helps out with a lot of stuff behind the scenes aside from being a great talent on screen and always delivers and works hard and has an awesome attitude.
So, really, I believe in a good mix of veterans, guys in their prime, and youth, but to me, your age shouldn’t define you and your age shouldn’t put you in one of those categories, your work should put you in one of those categories. If you happen to be young and you happen to be ready to be a top guy, that doesn’t mean you’re changing the whole philosophy, it means you in particular have proven yourself in one way or another and I think sometimes people are too quick to analyze every decision and take it to mean more that it does. The reality is that we’re all judged on merit. That’s the way that it should be.

Brandon Galvin: Although you didn't win the title there, TNA quickly embarked on a European tour while you were champion. Can you explain to us how important this tour was for you being able to be the ambassador for TNA in Europe as champion?

Magnus: Those tours are always important to us because we do great business over there. It was a tough schedule this time because we had so many TV’s to do, but I don’t think that there was any more pressure put on me by anybody in particular, as in ‘oh you really have to deliver because you’re the champion now’ I think that’s just one of those things when it’s decided that you’re going to be champion, that goes without saying. I put pressure on myself to make sure that I was a strong enough villain that we could do the right business when we went over there and I was glad that we did because I certainly didn’t want, especially so quickly into my run as a heel with the title, to ruin that with positive reactions so I was very pleased with that, from the business standpoint.
It’s amazing to me that people are asking a lot lately ‘oh man, he got booed when he went to England, that sucks’, but it doesn’t, it’s fantastic, and that’s our job. The year before when we were there I got arguably the biggest baby face reaction on the show, and if you don’t believe me go back and watch it, and then this time I went out and got arguably the biggest heel reactions. In terms of work, that’s the best you can hope for, that’s me doing my job correctly. I will argue this point to the death with ‘smart fans’ who often tend to point their finger at certain talents who are perceived to be the best workers, with the best work rate, and I will argue that if their job is to go out and to get people to boo and then they take another step that makes people cheer or laugh or clap, that’s not doing their job correctly. And the same way if your job is for them to like you and they boo you then that’s not doing your job correctly either. Overall, you have to try and find the common ground in your work to get the right reaction out of not only the fans who are trying to go against the grain, but the traditional fans who still make up the majority of our audience. So I was happy that I was able to get a uniform response for everybody regardless of where they fell.

Donald Wood: Your victory in December was the first major American wrestling championship for an English superstar in the 108-year history of the sport. Talk to us about what the monumental win meant to you.

Magnus: It does mean a lot and it did mean a lot when I went back to England and did a lot of media. I was genuinely overwhelmed by the response from the media for the fact that I was the first Brit to win a recognized World Championship. You never really think of it until it happens because I think I assumed that someone would get there before me because there have been so many great talents to come out of Britain before me, I was just thinking that someone else will get the strap before I do. But, circumstances where such that it was me, and that’s something that, no matter what, that will always be I can look back on, which is great. I do remember thinking to myself, ‘I’m walking into Wembley Arena today as the World Champion and I have the responsibility to deliver and be the top guy’. Same thing when I was in Manchester and Glasgow and Dublin and Birmingham. So it was very cool and a very proud moment for me.

Mike Chiari: You were very much on the rise leading up to Bound For Glory last year, but most fans would probably agree that facing and beating Sting was huge in terms of cementing your legitimacy. Knowing how much that rivalry probably helped your career, would you like to see Sting back with TNA at some point if at all possible?

Magnus: I’m as grateful to Sting as anybody in the wrestling business for the benefit he has had in my career. Steve is a great guy and very very smart and just a model citizen as far as the way he conducts himself and how much respect he commands. There are some people who seem to be obsessed with respect and seem to be obsessed with guys not showing them enough respect but Sting is a guy who has never had to pull any stunts, never had to bully anyone, never had to throw his weight around or pull rank; he commands respect. The same could be said about Kurt Angle.
Working with Steve was a pleasure every time, especially in San Diego not just for the fact that I got to be on that level or stage but that he trusted me a lot and deferred a lot of it to me every time we worked together. Whether it be promos, or in a match he’s always deferred to me a lot and said ‘what do you think, I want to know what you think we should do here and I’m going to trust you on this because I think that you’ll be right’ and that goes a long way and certainly goes a long way with the other talent too.
I remember distinctly that day going through different scenarios and he brought Kurt over to bounce some things off of him and that was when Steve went ‘you know, I think I want you to beat me with a submission. We can do it all of these other ways but I want you to get me with the cloverleaf in the middle and I want to submit’. And I just sat there and said ‘okay, that’s a tremendous thing to do for me’. So then we talked about a few more things and then went to go get a coffee and Kurt was just sitting there looking at me and said, ‘did he just say that? What just happened here?’ It was just one of those things and he just goes, ‘you’ve never even done that for me’. So that was the kind of guy Sting had been to me so obviously when you have that level of relationship and admiration for somebody I would always love to see him back and he’s over to a degree that is very rare in this business so from a business standpoint of course I would love to have him back any time.

Brandon Galvin: While overseas, TNA announced another European tour in 2015. Do you think American-based promotions should tour Europe more often or do the infrequent tours help keep those trips fresh for the fans and the talent?

Magnus: That’s an interesting question. I think that, internally, we’ve had that conversation a lot. I personally think that you do have to be cognizant of oversaturating but I also think that there’s probably room for a second tour for us in a year perhaps working in smaller venues and doing a more intimate kind of show. I don’t think that would oversaturate or kill our arena business. The thing that a lot of people don’t realize, especially Americans, about the U.K is that just because it’s a small country geographically it is very densely populated and there are still a lot of towns within the towns that we hit. We hit, this time, Dublin, Glasgow, Birmingham, Manchester and London and they’re all major markets. There are so many towns, particularly sort of coastal towns down along the west coast with places like Bristol and places like that and in the South you’ve got towns like Portsmouth which are always great wrestling towns. Then where I was born, along the East, to get to any of those big towns we run the arena shows at it’s at least a 4 or 5 hour drive which to Brits that’s a significant distance. It’s not like America where a 4 or 5 hour drive isn’t as big of a deal. I think that there is potential there for us to run a secondary tour.

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An avid gamer and long-time pro wrestling fan, stay tuned to Grizzly Gaming and the Delco Elbow Drop for game reviews and pro wrestling news.

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