By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
On how his Impact appearance came about: “They just put it on the table. They hit me up and said, ‘Do you want to have a kick-ass match with Mike Bailey?’ I said, ‘Absolutely, I do.’ I went there, I live in Atlanta and they were in Atlanta. They asked if I wanted to have a kick-ass match with Mike Bailey, I said, ‘Yes sir,’ and I’m literally 30 minutes from the venue. I don’t know how the higher-ups thought of the match, if it was a tryout thing, I don’t know, honestly.
“Mike Bailey’s one of those guys I’ve — he’s been on my radar for a long time as somebody I wanted to wrestle and it was just — it was a really good opportunity for me I felt to get to go out there and wrestle somebody that’s — one, he’s been wrestling forever, so the wealth of knowledge that he holds is insane. On top of that, getting to wrestle him for the X Division Championship which is like in my opinion, my eyes, one of the most prestigious championships currently today just because of the history and like, you know, when I was a kid growing up, that’s what I wanted. I wanted to be the X Division Champion as opposed to the world champion or anything like that. I thought the X Division was just so cool in general. You had all the Chris Daniels and AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, Chris Sabin, Alex Shelley, like all those guys and I thought that was like the coolest thing.
“To me, holding the X Division Championship was like, that was the goal for me. So getting to wrestle for the X Division Championship was just so surreal and so cool and like I said, Mike Bailey’s the man so I wouldn’t have wanted to wrestle anybody else. But that being said, the X Division right now in Impact is insane man. You got Ace Austin, Chris Bey, Trey Miguel, Mike Bailey, Alex Zayne, all these guys that are in the X Division right now, they’re all killing it and they’re all just like doing crazy stuff and it’s just — it’s high-tier wrestling. It really is and they’re killing it right now for real.”
Going back to Impact: “Yeah, I would love to go back. I don’t know what the future holds for me right now but, you know, if Impact is on the table, I’m definitely down. I love the locker room, the environment was awesome and like I said, the match was great and everybody seemed to like it so, I’m definitely open to it. Like I said, I don’t know what the future holds for me but, we’ll see, you know?”
On securing bookings now that he is no longer with AEW: “I wouldn’t say it’s easy. There are certain places you have to reach out to. Of course, I had my connections and all that stuff prior to AEW, but it was only on a certain scale. I really only wrestled, before AEW, in the southeast. I really wanted to reach out more towards…right now, the West Coast Indie scene is blowing up and I really wanted to get out here and do stuff with West Coast Pro and Prestige Wrestling. It does require a bit of reaching out, but at this point, especially with my AEW contract coming up, I’m kind of the hot thing of the month. Everyone wants me to wrestle for them, which I’m so grateful for. I want to be the guy on the Indie scene that everyone wants to wrestle and I think I’m slowly getting to that point. I know, right now, I’m kind of the flavor of the month. The hard part is staying relevant, which is what I’m trying to do.”
On the Dark Order tag team: “So he [Preston ‘10’ Vance] also trained at the Nightmare Factory. That’s kind of the original idea when I got signed [to AEW] was to put us together. We were gonna be ‘Five and Dime’. That was the whole idea. Unfortunately, he got hurt right as I was getting signed. So I don’t think it ever really took off like it could have just because of that, because by the time he got back, [John] Silver and [Alex] Reynolds were back, Stu [Grayson] and [Evil] Uno was there and I believe Brodie [Lee] was already having his TNT run if it wasn’t already over. I’m not too sure but, yeah, that was kind of the original idea and I don’t think it ever got to take off like it could have. I think it could have been a really cool thing. But yeah, that was kind of the thought process at the beginning was it was gonna be ‘Five and Dime’. That was gonna be the tag team.”
Experiences working with the late Jon Huber (Brodie Lee): “Oh yeah, he [Brodie Lee] definitely would like — he would watch all of our matches and give us advice and all that stuff. When I say ‘us’, I mean The Dark Order. But, he was one of those guys that you could ask him anything. Even if you weren’t in The Dark Order, if you asked him, he would watch your match and he would give back to the younger guys in general, not just The Dark Order but, yeah, he definitely did help all of us in The Dark Order, especially once we started doing the B.T.E. stuff. He was giving too — he wasn’t too hyped about it at first. I don’t think he really wanted to do it at first, you know, because he’s this big scary character but the way that we did it I think made it work for him to where he did end up enjoying it.”
Other topics include breaking into the business, AEW Tony Khan, Dark Order, Brodie Lee, becoming 5, his AEW release, leaving on his terms, NJPW, IMPACT, Speedball Mike Bailey, the independent wrestling scene, what’s next for him, and more. H/T and transcribed by Post wrestling/Fightful.