Johnny Impact on signing with Impact Wrestling, what he learned from being Lucha Underground Champion, entering Impact storylines separate from Taya Valkyrie, whether rumors of Impact’s behind the scenes issues affect him

Ring Rust Radio with Johnny Impact
Hosts: Donald Wood, Mike Chiari, and Brandon Galvin
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On signing with GFW/Impact Wrestling: So I’ve been in talks with people from TNA and GFW for a long time. Big John Gaburick, Taz, (Dave) Lagana, (Jeff) Jarrett, and really what it came down to was it was a great opportunity and it didn’t feel like I was going to miss out or lose anything by signing with GFW. It’s a deal that’s been worked out with AAA where I’m still going to be on AAA and Lucha Underground and now I’m going to be on Impact and Pop TV every Thursday night too. So it seemed like a no-brainer. The circumstances under which I was approached prior to this time were not the same way. So right now it feels like I’m getting my cake and getting to eat it too. Maybe like a protein cake maybe with paleo ice cream on the side cause you know how I feel about carbs. I do have a sweet tooth. My saving grace is that I’m OCD about working out so if at night if I’m eating ice cream the next morning I’m doing cardio. That’s only thing I’ve ever been addicted to which I guess in the grand scheme of things isn’t so bad to be addicted to training.

Whether the question marks surrounding Lucha Underground influenced his decision to sign with Impact and whether he’s interested in being part of another Lucha Underground season: I’m very confident that there’s going to be another season of Lucha Underground. The factor that went into my decision in going to Impact was really that it felt like it was a great opportunity for me to get to do everything. Impact, Lucha, AAA, and it doesn’t feel like I’m really given up anything. Lucha Underground was on hiatus for so long I haven’t been doing any new wrestling for a TV show in over a year and I was starting to feel a little antsy in the pantsy to get out in the ring and do something in front of national audience. This opportunity with Impact came up and I felt like I needed to jump on it. Antsy in the pantsy? Ever see the movie Super Troopers? It comes from Super Troopers with the maple syrup and they get all syrupy and antsy in the pantsy, it’s just a funny thing to say.

What he learned from being Lucha Underground Champion: Ultimately, the champion of a company is that company’s brand ambassador. He or she is the guy or girl, you know what I mean it’s 2017, that’s going to be on the posters, that people are going to depend on to draw money. Ultimately, that’s who becomes champion. Why am I prepared to do that for GFW Impact? Because I’ve done it for the past 15 years. I won Tough Enough 3 when I started. I got signed and there is a learning curve when you step into the business. It’s not like you can just step in the professional wrestling and be excellent at it, wrestling is not easy. If it was easy everyone would do it. Over that time that I spent in this business and my career, I’ve continually evolved. I’ve pushed myself with regards to training martial arts and parkour and MMA into my style of professional wrestling which in my opinion is the way the business has evolved over the past 10 years. To be able to talk about Impact and talk about myself and having other things going on the side is why I am the perfect person to represent Impact. All I have to do now is take Eli Drake to Slam Town at Victory Road and all that stuff is going to start happening and you are going to see a lot of good things happening to Impact.

On coming into Impact Wrestling storylines separately from Taya Valkyrie: That’s funny. I feel like it’s got a similar answer to the way I feel about when people ask me if I prefer tag team or individual wrestling. A lot of times the grass is greener. I love working with Taya and obviously we have chemistry on and off screen as well as we are engaged but everyone knows that. As far as being separate acts with Impact and GFW, I’m really excited about it because it feels like she’s really taking her queen thing with the music and made it her own. She’s come into her own as a performer, she’s got confidence, she believes in what she’s doing, and it’s fun for me to watch. I feel like this is the first time that she has really been out on her own and knocking it out of the park every week on Impact. It’s a really cool thing. As far as where our paths are going to cross in the future, I don’t know and it’s hard to predict. It would be cool for me to see her do her own thing because I think she is doing such a good job. As far as I’m concerned, I like working with her. I get to work with her in Lucha Underground, I get to work with her in promotions like Wrestle Circus and in AAA. I feel like I get to do a little bit of everything and that’s the way Johnny likes it.

On how the GFW/Impact locker room different than WWE, Lucha Underground or other promotions: I really like GFW locker room. It was so cool for me to see Chris Masters. He and I go way, way, way back. He and I went to the same elementary school in Los Angeles but we didn’t even know each other back then. We were super bros in OVW when he got there in 2004. Then we got Trevor Lee and Moose who I became friends with doing independent wrestling for places like Pro-Wrestling Evolve. Then there is Bobby Lashley who is another super bro from OVW and then Jim Cornette comes back so it was like a weird flashback to 2005 at first. Lashley, Masters, and Eli Drake reminds me a lot of Rob Conway sometimes in the way that he talks and moves and performs. I got stuck with this weird sense of déjà vu a couple times. It was cool but as cool as it was, the one thing that I felt like Impact needed was a quick evolution because 2005 is 12 years ago. It’s time to do things a little bit differently because a lot of the shows that I’m doing on the weekends, what I get from the crowd is that they want faster pace stuff, they want harder hitting stuff, and because people have consumed so much wrestling some the stuff that worked back then doesn’t work the same now. You just need to update everything and I feel like that’s what Impact needed when I got there was an update.

On how rumors of what’s happening behind the scenes in Impact affect him: Man, some of the best advice I got in wrestling I got from Matt Cappotelli who’s dealt so much stuff, so much hardship, adversity and always remained positive. His biggest advice to me was worry about the things you can control, don’t worry about the things you can’t because that will drive you crazy. So, I take that to me meaning I can control what I do in the ring, I can control how jacked I am, how tan I am, how my hair looks, how I talk, how I walk, but if the company is sold it’s going to be on a different network or its going to go bankrupt. On some level, worrying about that takes energy and I don’t want to put my energy into worrying about something that’s ultimately not my decision anyways. So I’ve become good at just cutting that off and not worrying about it because it’s either going to happen or it’s not going to happen but regardless I know I am going to land on my feet because I’m focusing on the things that I can control. I’m a valuable asset to GFW, Lucha Underground, AAA, WWE and even Ring of Honor. Who knows, maybe Johnny Honor may make an impact too. By worrying about just me, it eliminates that worry.

The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Richard Holliday discussing The Dynasty faction in MLW, MJF's departure, the addition of Gino Medina, training under Paul Roma, and much more. Check out MLW Fusion Saturdays on beIN Sports and on the MLW YouTube Page...

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