by Craig Hermit
He has made a name all over the world as one of the most dynamic and clinical wrestlers in the ring, and he has returned to Impact Wrestling and on his return seizing the X-Division Championship. He is the five time X-Division Champion, he is the “One World Warrior”, he is Low Ki and here he talks to Craig Hermit.
Impact Wrestling is going through a resurgence at the moment, especially in UK, how does it feel to be a focal part of that, especially leading the X-Division as Champion?
Its important for me to be a focal part in the redevelopment of Impact, I’ve been a focal part since the beginning. I’ve been influential in its construction since the beginning. So now I have the opportunity at a different stage in my career, with more wisdom, more knowledge, more experience. It’s a fun position to be in because just coming from experience I understand the different generations of TNA , and now i can pin point certain things that we couldn’t in the past, of which to avoid, which to approach ultimately just improve so that the audience can enjoy it.
You made an instant impact on your return, seizing the X-Division Championship for the fifth time, what was your thoughts on holding the title again?
Well, its important because I was for since its inception. The X-Division was originally based off of me, AJ Styles, Jerry Lynn and also Psychosis. And to be on top again is hard, it doesn’t get any easier as you get older, this is quite a physical art. So matching up against these type of competitors and still being able to hold my own, these guys are getting better every generation because their conditioning and their health is improving early in their careers, so it’s not the case going into previous generations where you can see the development of the body and ultimately what they turn into, instead performers are actually coming in well conditioned which is a different approach than the past, so now you’re facing a higher calibre of atheism and its very difficult to keep up with at times, you got guy like Dezmond Xavier who goes all over the place and kinda reminds me similarly of Amazing Red when he came to TNA in 2002 when the stuff he was doing then was blowing everybody away, and its fun, because its another generation of hungry competitors, they are going through what we went through. It’s now their time coming up, they are chomping at the bit to make a name for themselves and to make everyone know that they belong. It’s definitely an exciting time.
The X-Division has always been one of the incredible spectacles from Impact Wrestling, and one of the matches the Division created was The Ultimate X match, a dangerous and destructive match, and this Friday, in the UK, you encounter Trevor Lee and Andrew Everett, what can fans expect to see from this match?
I said it straight and to the point of the very first day on April 20th, be ready, cause if you’re not prepared your gonna get eaten, the Ultimate X match is one of the hardest physical challenges that we have in TNA. I’ve done it several times, I’ve done it several times before it ended up in its current incarnation, it hadn’t always been that way, but it’s such a physically demanding match, it’s not easy, it is not easy. Its hard enough wrestling in this Division facing one high level competitor, now you make it into three way, it just compounds that situation, now involve the nature of the Ultimate X, it’s not just a battle in the ring, you have to battle up and over the ring, it’s a completely different atmosphere, it’s so much of a psychological challenge, it’s so much of a mental breakdown that you should really avoid, because you need that mental toughness that is required that that type of match up. What you should expect? Like what I’ve said, sparks are gonna fly, I’m bring my A-game as I always do, if they can’t they’re gonna get eaten alive, I’m not coming here to play games with anybody, but Trevor Lee is a former Champion, he has had to earn his stripes to get there, don’t anything away from him and Andrews has been chomping at the bit for a while, so you can take anything away from him either, so sit back relax and enjoy what you see on TV.
Fans in the UK specifically at 4FW witnessed you face Mark Haskins last weekend, what was it like being back in the UK?
It was really, really fun, I hadn’t been in the UK since the last tour with Impact which wasn’t that favourable, but returning here and just being back in the mix, wrestling against another experienced wrestler, I didn’t know that much about Mark until I had arrived, after spending time with him in the ring, he’s good, he’s real good. I think the issue he had faced before, had been medical issues, but if he can clear that up, he has a real great future, if he can mention his health but what I felt in that ring, Mark Haskins is very good. My overall experience in the UK was so much fun, I had a seminar over in Essex and I sat, talked for several hours, everybody was involved, everybody was getting banged up and thrown around and beat up it was just a very positive experience not for me but for those I instructed. Then I was in Pride Wrestling, wrestling Ultimate Tiger, another young wrestler, he was good but he definitely needs some more in ring experience then hopefully he will be okay, he ended up suffering a knee injury at the end of the match, but overall a positive experience was really happy to see some old faces that I hadn’t seen, even Dann Read, he was the first promoter to book me in the England back in 2000, I found time to catch up with him, as well as many other faces that I remember from the past. Overall, a really fun experience.
In recent months you have taken part in Wrestling seminars, what advice would you give to young or new wrestlers hoping to break into the business?
I’ll ask them, “How many bodies do they have?”. You only get one, so what you gonna do with it because when you start using that as a business, you have to understand that the business does not care about your emotional well being, it only cares about bottom line results. If you’re going to use that one body in a business you might want to take it into consideration that you will have to treat it well, your body is going to become your vehicle, so it’s no more different than a car, you provide it with the proper fuel it will go far, if you don’t you won’t go far. If you don’t take care of it, you won’t go anywhere, if you maintain it, take care of it, you will be able to use it when you need it. So you have to will have to care of your body and that is not one of the first things you get taught because in the majority of schools that I have seen are more interest in taking money than they are in instructing people on how to maintain their bodies and hat’s an unfortunate position but it is in the nature of people wanting to make money. People will want to make money despite the responsibility of morality or ethics so you will have to protect yourself. This is an unforgiving art, there is no Pension, there is no Union, you would be lucky to get Health Insurance, so you have to think ahead, again these aren’t always things you are taught once your enter a school, you learn this over time after trial and error, they need a lot of information that needs to be brought to the front, they need a lot of information upfront so they can come from an informed position, a majority of people enter pro wrestling at the initial stages don’t come from an informed position they just want to try something which is cool, but it makes you go back to the first question, “How many bodies do you have?”
Early on in your career, you were trained by Homicide and Jim Kettner, Who would you say has been influential throughout in your carrier ongoing?
It would be Kettner, because when he didn’t train me from a Pro Wrestling mainframe he trained me for business, Homicide began the in-ring training and Kettner prepared me for outside the ring training. It was business model that we developed and it was my effort that carried it through. I’ve always said my success was never mine, it was my mentors, my teachers, because they gave me the information and I used it and because of my effort I’m very hard to keep down, so my effort that guided me or projected me forward but it was their information that guided me towards my success. You cant really fight work ethic you either got it or you don’t. I was able to take that information and run with it and maximise it, I was able to do things a guy in my position would rarely be able to do and I’ve earned respect from so many people. I’m someone who shouldn’t be alive right now due to my background and I’m still here and I still have a lot of influence and the ability to contribute so I’m in a real good position, but my success hasn’t been mine is been my mentors.
In House of Glory, you recently battle Alberto El Parton to a jam packed crowd, with both of you in Impact Wrestling, will we see get to rematch?
Oh I’d love that, it was the reason how the House go Glory match came about, they enquired about a potential match with Del Rio, I had informed them that my best match in WWE was with Del Rio, but not many people saw it because it was a dark match and when I found that out I walked up to Del Rio and I said lets make them pay for it tonight, in a dark match we had the crowd going crazy, and when we came to the back and Arn Anderson greets us and said, “Thats how you fucking do it!”. In regards to Del Rio, you are only as good as your competition and I’ve always been challenging the best competition in the world and he’s been up there for a long long time. Hey, the guy is tough, he fought in Pride, and he has a long history of success and to match up with people of that calibre makes it that much more special.
In June you head to Tier 1 Wrestling, facing Pentagon El Zero M in a dream match, what can fans expect to see?
Oh I wanna mix that up, I’ve seen a lot of him to know he is going to bring a lot of fun to me and this is gonna be real fun, but the beautiful part is not just Brooklyn but the section of Brooklyn I grew up in and to perform in my house town is real special for me, now I get to do this with one of the top wrestlers in the world right now, he’s in demand not just because he’s in Lucha Underground or in Mexico he’s good, we are going to get busy in Brooklyn.
Recently you put up a post “Real eyes realise real lies”, what does that term mean to you?
LThats an old Tupac term, you sit back and observe, you can see through the lies that your are being fed. I have developed a Communication and Conflict preparedness programme over the last few years that was I recruited by the Verbal Judo Institute which is the mediatory de-escalation curriculum for all Law Enforcement in the United states, so I help developed a programme based off that, for the general public and small business, but understanding when you observe you gather more understanding with your eyes and ears that you do with your mouth, with your mouth, information is going out not information going in. You know all about you, you don’t know all about the world, Real Eyes Realise Real lies, as long as the observe, its a simple statement but a very powerful one.
Important to note is Impact is showing on Spike UK at 10pm, (for this week only) rather than it’s usual time of 9pm.