What Culture ahead of the TNA UK Tour. Below are the highlights.
Do you think that TNA will ever be in a position to challenge the WWE in the manner that WCW did in the 1990s?
Absolutely, I think we can be in that position or we wouldn’t be in business today. We’ve got some exciting things on the horizon and our television partners worldwide are really stepping up and are committed to growing our brand, and that’s a big part of it. In the United States, we have one, two hour television show every week and we want to be developing the programming and doing some exciting new strategic things to grow our company in ways that we’ve never even had the opportunity to do in the past. So 2015 and beyond looks very bright for us.
If you could sign any wrestler from anywhere in the world today, who would that be?
I’d sign The Rock. I think he’s a tremendous talent, he’s a great actor, he can open a lot of doors for you. I’ve never met him but I’m a big fan, and I just think he’s a super, super talented guy.
If you could go back and change one thing from your past in TNA, what would it be?
Oh wow, I’ve never been asked that question before! I think the thing I would change would be to realise that just because someone’s been in this business a long time, doesn’t mean that they have the magic silver bullet that’s going to change everything. People who’ve been doing this successfully in the past, and their experience, doesn’t necessarily mean that that will work today. Times have changed, viewing habits have changed, social media has changed so much about the world we live in today, and how we experience life. I think I would have not put so much stock in that, and would have looked beyond for fresher outside ideas earlier.
Do you regret losing AJ Styles from the TNA roster?
Of course, I regret [it] and I miss a lot of people who are no longer a part of our roster, but I think that’s what so great about our company is that hopefully, at some point, he will be back, and so will others. I look at this past year with Matt Hardy returning and Low Ki returning, and Rhino and so many others. I think it makes for great TV and when they came back, all the characters were so fresh, and besides, AJ was so synonymous with TNA, and to me, he’ll always be a part of our family.
How much of a highlight in the TNA calendar is the annual UK tour?
The UK tour is truly the highlight of our year. It’s so much fun. We have an incredible, up close and personal experience doing the shows. What I’m most excited about this year is that all three of the stops on our tour – Glasgow, Manchester and London – will be shown for television, so we’ll be doing six weeks of television while we’re over there, using the most amazing fans in the world as the backdrop to our television show.
Last year, you made history when you held Bound for Glory in Japan, and this has got the fans here in the UK thinking – will TNA ever hold a PPV event in the UK?
We have talked about doing that and we definitely want to at some point, but my big priority was bringing television to the UK, for selfish reasons, because more people around the world would be able to see the amazing crowds we have there. I feel that it’s really important to be able to showcase the venues that we play in and the incredible enthusiasm we get over there. It truly is like a party, and I want as many people to see it as possible, and that’s obviously through Impact. I think we need to do both [television and PPV]. We need to be able to show television over there. We’ve had reality shows over there and we’re filming a behind the scenes reality show while we’re there, following the six British Bootcamp 2 finalists. Pay-per-view would be the natural progression.
British Bootcamp showcases a number of British talents but then the best one, Mark Andrews, gets taken away from us to go to TNA. Do you feel that the show helps or hinders the British wrestling scene?
I think it absolutely helps it. It’s a great opportunity to showcase the finest wrestlers from the UK and hopefully, we’ll be able to continue this year after year. It’ll be something that those who didn’t make it to the finals this time can try for again, and others who didn’t try before will make the trip out to try to qualify. I think it’s a great opportunity to put the spotlight on so many talented young men and women, and it’s amazing how many talents there are here. I think there’s a tremendous resurgence in the United Kingdom and in Ireland of the independent wrestling scene, and we love being a part of that and being able to showcase the best that there is and then add one amazing and talented wrestler to our roster.
One other thing I’m excited about is that all six finalists from British Bootcamp 2 are going to be on tour with us, and this is going to be really fun, I’m going to have them come out as soon as doors open and spread themselves out around the arenas for all the fans to be able to turn up and get their pictures made with them and get an autograph. It’ll be like a Bootcamp party before the show, for free. I love making the pre-show something fun and special, and all our meet and greets are sold out, but I thought, why not take these talented kids out to the crowd and then everybody gets to meet them. And Mark Andrews is going to be making his debut on Impact in the next couple of weeks.