Nik Jones sent along the following:
Here is an inerview posted today on www.digitalspy.co.uk mainly about the TNA tour next year. Interesting he has never watched himself on television!
Woooo! Brace yourself Britain – TNA Wrestling is heading your way! The legendary Ric Flair was in London this week to announce the ‘TNA Maximum iMPACT! Wrestling Tour’ which will kick off a three-night extravaganza in Glasgow next January. We caught up with the Nature Boy to chat about what to expect from the highly-anticipated event…
If someone hasn’t been to a TNA live show before what can they expect?
"The TNA live shows are phenomenal! They have ladder matches and all the extreme stuff and they have some phenomenal straight wrestling. They have the best athletes in professional wrestling. It’s hard to put in words what they will see but if they like wrestling they will see the best possible live wrestling they can see."
You’re doing three nights in the UK. Did you realise how popular it was before you arrived?
"I’ve been aware of it for a long time. even working for WWE I was aware of the fact that TNA ratings were huge over here. It’s a little bit of a different style of wrestling, a bit less showmanship and more wrestling. I’m not saying the level of athleticism is any better with TNA, but there is a younger roster and guys are hungrier to get a position on that roster and I think that pushes them to perform at a higher level."
This will be your first time in the UK as a TNA wrestler. How do find the British audience?
"Oh, I love it! I come here all the time and I always say that the UK fans are probably the best in the world. If you are old like I am, the thing that is really awesome is that if you are very good at what you have done for any period of time, you don’t get old over here, you get great. In the US they are always looking at age as a loophole. They scrutinise athletes so hard over there – sometimes for the right reasons! – but age isn’t a reason."
Are there any crowds that particularly stand out to you?
"Manchester, of course, is just a flagship place for us to perform. All my years of WWE, Manchester was the first place we went to make TV and it’s huge. London is equally as big. I’ve had three phenomenal tours in Glasgow so I can’t wait to get there again. Basically the whole UK is so strong and so supportive of professional wrestling, and the fact TNA ratings are off the hook over here, is an indication of how successful it is."
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Have you anything else lined up while you are in the UK?
"I think they are trying to put together a ten-day tour. It’s just three days now but if it catches on like they think it will they may extend it to ten days. There is a strong possibility we might stay longer and add cities to it as it goes along."
You’ve been at TNA for a while now. How are you finding it?
"I love it, it’s fantastic. The fact they are working so hard to enhance their brand and become competitive with other sports entertainment companies is huge. They have the money behind them and they have a tremendous boss in Dixie Carter. She is awesome to work for and – unlike most promoters – she is sympathetic in a very unsympathetic business!"
Do you miss anything about WWE?
"I have friends I miss but I have made new friends here. I don’t dwell on the past ever. I’ll always have those guys for friends and we’ll always respect each other, but it’s like anything else, when you go home you go home. I don’t watch myself on TV. I go home and relax and enjoy my wife, my kids, and I have some grandchildren I love playing with. I’m in a good place and I do what I love doing."
Really? Have you never watched yourself on TV?
"I know when I leave the arena if I was good or bad. I don’t need to watch it back and I don’t need to go on the internet to hear what some fan said about it!"
So you avoid the internet?
"I can’t even turn a computer on and if I could I wouldn’t pay any attention to it anyway! It’s not that I don’t respect the fans, but it’s just what can a wrestling fan tell me about wrestling? One of the problems with the young guys is they are more concerned with what the fans think about them than what they are achieving as individuals and what their boss thinks of them. But that’s normal with young guys and I get it but it’s nothing that will ever affect my role or thought process about myself. I know when I am in the ring when I am good and on, and when I leave the building if I was good and on. And 99 percent of the time I was on or I wouldn’t be here today!"
Are there any up-and-coming people we should look out for?
"Well, our whole company is made up of up-and-coming people. It could be totally different by the time we get here because there are so many guys working hard. You have no idea how many guys are worried right now about not being on that card. They have to earn a spot. The given is that I’ll be here because they basically named the tour after me, and I think it’s a given Rob Van Dam and Jeff Hardy, AJ Styles and Kurt Angle [will be], but I think the rest of the roster is open. Guys have to earn their way and a lot could happen in six months."
Do the younger guys come to you for advice?
"Yeah they do and I’m more than happy to give it as long as they don’t ask anybody else after they ask me!"
What do you think when people ask you about retirement?
"I don’t even think like that. I have already had one retirement. I’ll never retire again. I’ll just walk away. Or fall off the top rope and turn to ash or dust! I’ll just crumble and they will sweep me into a waste basket and I’ll be gone!"