26 May 2015

TNAMecca Exclusive: Q&A with Rockstar Spud

This Friday night on Impact, Kenny King will defend his X Division championship against seven other men in a gauntlet match - Rockstar Spud, Tigre Uno, Manik, DJ Z, Mandrews, Crazzy Steve, and Argos. This match is significant because this year's Destination X is fast approaching and the man with the X Division championship around his waist may get an opportunity to challenge for the TNA World Heavyweight championship. One of the participants in this week's X Division title match, Rockstar Spud, was kind enough to answer some questions for us. Below is our exchange:

Spud, thank you for taking the time to answer some questions for us. We truly appreciate it.

"Never a problem. I'm a big supporter of guys and gals like you that no matter what you get behind TNA. You watch our show every week and all of your opinions are noted within our company. You support ALL pro wrestling on television whether it's WWE, ROH, Lucha Underground so first off it's me thanking you guys for the opportunity and supporting our industry no matter what company."

Let's begin with your first ever title reign in TNA. You cashed in your Feast or Fired briefcase in London and defeated Low Ki to become the new X Division champion. Tell us a little about that experience. How did it feel being the X Division champion? 

"It was one of the best feelings ever. To go from the huge low of being defeated, my head shaved and bloodied by EC3, it was what this industry is all about. On any given night you can go from the lowest of lows then a moment like that can just make you and the audience SO happy that it's worth every heartache, bump, bruise, roadblock and that time away from your family that we all sacrifice for those little moments. My mother, father, friends, family & colleagues from the UK scene were all there. That was for them. Everything you work hard for can happen and regardless of the opportunity, I took it."

Unfortunately, a few weeks later you lost the title to Kenny King. Were you happy with your first ever title reign? 

"Absolutely. I'm not going to lie to you, the BDC, Low Ki, Kenny King & Homicide weren't too happy and, trust me, they have beaten me bruised and battered. My ribs are busted up, my shoulder has been torn apart and it's legit taken probably months off my body (this is no lie, I literally have been wrestling on 60% the past 2 months). They didn't like how I 'stole' the championship from them and I see where they are coming from but it's nothing they wouldn't have done themselves. I took an opportunity. They warn people not to mess with the BDC and they're right because my body is a wreck right now but I'm not going to stop and I'll keep coming back for more."

Let's talk about your involvement in the X Division. Although you're a fan favorite, some fans believe that your underdog status is not necessarily a good fit in the X Division where athleticism takes precedence over everything else. How do you respond to that? 

"I love that people have an opinion whether negative or positive (shout out to my boy "thecountofincognito", I love your voice keep that passion coming). That's what is so awesome about pro wrestling. It's subjective and it's full of different flavours of ice cream so firstly thank you for simply taking an interest in what I have done as X-Division Champion. I really wish that people would have been able to see how much the X-Division Championship meant to me when I'd won it and the background of it all. It was my goal my whole career starting up in the business. I think everyone realised that when they interviewed me after losing the championship in the ladder match. I respect that championship and everyone before me that has held it so so much. Does it 'fit with me' as an 'underdog'? Every time I step in the ring I'm the underdog. Whether that's against EC3, Low Ki, Kenny King or whoever. I haven't changed. The situation I'm in has changed being involved with the X-Division wrestlers (who trust me BUST THEIR ASS every night and are the hardest working wrestlers you will find anywhere) but I never will stop being me. I'm still Rockstar Spud. Has it been hard to keep up? Sure. After the beatings I've received from EC3, Low Ki, Kenny King and Homicide the past few months you better believe it's been tough for me just to keep up in the environment I've been in as I've been in constant pain. Am I a good fit? That's up to you guys but in the situation I am in right now I am busting my ass just like everyone else on the roster to make you care and tell you a story, and that is proven whether I am up to past standards athletically or not."

One thing that fans seem to agree on, however, is your ability to connect with the live crowd. You have shown more charisma and personality in your short time with TNA than most wrestlers are able to convey to the audience over a whole career. Where does this ability to connect with the fans so effectively come from? 

"You forget, I was just like you guys. Sitting in the stands watching wrestling. Sitting at home watching wrestling on my TV. I remember how all these people made me feel. When a wrestler used to look at me in the audience or through the hard camera into the TV monitor...I felt every emotion. It's all in the eyes. I believe in myself SO much and I want people to feel that and come on that ride with me. Feel the highs and lows I'm experiencing, the emotions I'm experiencing, even the pain I'm experiencing. Bottom line is it comes from watching the greats and working with some of the greats I have the opportunity to learn from watching them on the monitors backstage. The Tommy Dreamer's, the Bully Ray's, the Kurt Angle's, the Al Snow's, the MVP's, the James Storm's, the Ken Anderson's, the Eric Young's, the Bobby Roode's. So many greats I can learn off just from a look, a stare, a little touch when they hold the microphone. I feel what I felt when I was a fan and I'm STILL a fan and that I will never lose and that will never stop me getting better and wanting to learn how to be the absolute best!"

Some people have compared your abilities on the mic to some of the best wrestling managers of all time. Have you ever considered filling that role somewhere down the line and being the next Jimmy Hart or Bobby "The Brain" Heenan?

"I don't want to be the next 'anyone' but Rockstar Spud. It's increasingly flattering to hear compliments from anyone in the industry and to be compared to anyone who had made such an impact on the audience then. From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU. If in time my abilities can be used to help elevate someone else in years to come then great. If in time my abilities can be used to help in the commentary booth then great. If my abilities can be used in a backstage capacity to help the company then great. I will do whatever I can to entertain the audience so that you keep wanting to tune into our product. That is what I want to be the 'Next' of. The 'Next' person our audience wants to see come down the ramp!"

I would be remiss if I didn't ask you about your relationship with Ethan Carter III. Is there any chance we might see the two of you patch things up? Or is that friendship over? I asked EC3 the same question and his answer was, "As far as reconciling with Spud, time heals all wounds - except for the one I left in his head." 

"I would be lying if I said to you I don't miss my best friend. We went through a lot together. Time does indeed heal all wounds, he's right. He's also right that every time I look in the mirror I have to look at that scar on my forehead from Wembley arena. That scar represents humiliation, betrayal, pain, hurt and he put that there. I miss him and that won't change but I'm strong enough to know I'm better off without him. Whether he is better off without me is another story."

You've had some amazing moments since your TNA debut in late 2013. I'm curious, which ones are your favorites? 

"It's irrelevant what mine are, it's what you feel were some of these amazing moments. I encourage all of your readers to tweet me (@rockstarspud) and you tell me what your favourites have been. It's my job to give you those moments and for you to always remember them. If I was forced to choose anything it would be the moment EC3 drove my face into the mat for the 9th time and I sat up and the whole of Wembley arena shook and everyone home felt with the look in my eyes of "NO MORE" and believed for the first time that I'm not a joke. I'm not here because I'm lucky, I'm here because I deserve to be and that moment was 14 years of people telling me 'Leave the business' or 'Stay down' and 'You'll never make it'. That moment, it all went away. I nearly did it, didn't I? Story of my life, I got THAT close...but it only made me want to come back and try again!"

This week, you're challenging for the X Division championship against seven other men in a Gauntlet match and as we've seen in recent years, having the X Division title around your waist this time of year is significant. Have you at all thought about Option C? 

"You know, until you mentioned it I hadn't really though about it. My focus right now is getting that prize back. To prove to everyone the first time wasn't a fluke. I'm going to walk to the ring with no option in my mind than to get that X-Division Championship back. I think about today not the day before or tomorrow. Friday is a huge opportunity. I promise I'll take it."

And lastly, before we let you go, could you share with us a little about your experience in TNA? It's been quite a couple of years for you. And what does the future hold for Rockstar Spud?

"It's been a roller coaster I don't want to get off. The one thing about me which is a huge negative in this 'business' is that I don't value myself enough. It's all just me not living up to my own expectations yet. I appreciate every kind word people have said if it's on a tweet, a podcast, interview, or on television, I really appreciate it all with all my heart. I want to be a top guy. I want to be an attraction you all want to tune in and pay money to see. I want to be the TNA Heavyweight Champion of the world. I want to be the face of the company. I want to do every media opportunity. I want to do every interview. I want to be on every poster. Each day I'm not any of those things I wake up and think "OK, gotta work a little harder today to be THAT guy". That's what I want the future to hold. Whether it does or doesn't, that's up to me."

You can catch Rockstar Spud this Friday night on Impact Wrestling at 9/8c on Destination America as he tries to become a two-time X Division champion. It promises to be a fun night, a night that includes Kurt Angle vs Eric Young in an I Quit match for the TNA world title, Taryn Terrell vs Gail Kim for the Knockouts title in a steel cage, and Match #2 in the tag title series so make sure you set your DVR if you can not tune in. And don't forget, Impact is moving to Wednesday nights at 9/8c on June 3rd.

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