Alex Obert of Journey of a Frontman recently interviewed TNA star Ken Anderson, and the following are interview highlights:
Being a backstage extra/enhancement talent in WWE prior to debuting:
"(laughs) Well I got into the business in ’99 and I started sending tapes by 2000. I sent them to all the companies at the time. It was WWF, WCW, ECW. And of course, all the independents in my area. And basically, anytime they would come within a five hundred mile radius of Green Bay, I would call and ask if I could go there and be an extra. If they needed somebody to get their butt whooped that night, I’d be that guy. Just so I could make some connections, learn from the best in the business, and I did several of those. So did Punk, so did Daivari, and Austin Aries, and ODB. We were all kind of a traveling crew and we would try and get booked on as many of those things as possible. There’s probably ten to twelve matches online of me wrestling as Ken Anderson on one of their secondary shows like Sunday Night Heat, Jakked, or Metal. And then I would also go on and try out for TNA. Every time that I would go, I would try to just learn as much as I possibly could, we’d be like sponges. We’d eat something as soon as we got there and get our ring gear on and get in and wrestle around. A lot of times, we would get embarrassed. And a lot of times, we would screw up or we’d do things wrong or get yelled at or we’d get ridiculed. But at the end of the day, there was always somebody there that would come up and say, “Hey, here’s what you could have done in that situation to make it better.” And I did that for six years. And then finally, I had done that enough and made enough connections and I had improved enough that I got noticed."
On Locker Room Leaders in TNA:
"I’d say Samoa Joe, Bully Ray, and AJ [Styles] when he was there. The interesting thing about Impact Wrestling is that there are no egos that I can think of. My friends and I talk about this all the time, there are very few instances of ego. Everybody gets along and we’re all friends. At the end of the day, you’re all there to do a job and it’s a job that we all happen to love. So it doesn’t really seem like work. There aren’t any instances that I can think of where a locker room leader is needed. We all stick up for each other, we all pull for each other, we all try to help each other along as much as possible. We watch each other’s matches, we give each other advice. We’ll rib a guy and give him a hard time, but everybody screws up a little bit."
"That guy has quickly become one of my favorite people to watch on TV. You can spend fifteen years on the indies, but you don’t start getting a real education until you start working with people that are better than you. When you’ve got Bully Ray and Kurt Angle and Sting and Al Snow and all these guys, you’ve got all these people that are watching you and tailoring you. They’re telling you, “Hey, here’s what you could do differently.” He has really, really improved. He was good when he got to TNA, but he’s really, really improved week after week after week. He’s funny as hell and entertaining. I hope that I get to square off with him someday."
On Jeff Hardy's heel run in TNA:
"I like the fact that TNA’s willing to take chances. And I like the fact that they’re willing to take risks. And that was something that Jeff had wanted to do for a long time and was told, “No, no, no, no, no. You can’t do it.” That was something that he wanted to do. He wanted to try it. And just something like this Willow character, that’s something that he always felt very strongly about. And hey, at the end of the day, if it doesn’t work, we just write something else and the machine keeps rollin’. So do I think it was the greatest thing that ever happened? No. But it turned out that working Jeff Hardy as a babyface when he was supposed to be a heel didn’t necessarily work that way. You’re fighting an uphill battle basically, is what I’m trying to say. It’s tough when you’re in front of a crowd that’s as conditioned as much as they are and they love Jeff Hardy as much as they do, no matter what he does. He would have to do something really, really, really awful in order for people to start disliking him. He’s just such an endearing character, such a unique character. He’s so charismatic and there’s not a whole lot to dislike about the guy. He’s a great guy."
Dressing up as early nineties Sting:
"That was actually my idea. I said in passing one day, “What about me dressing up as old Sting?” I mean, I had the blonde hair. And Sting actually loved it. Those outfits that I wore were actually Sting’s old gear. And he painted my face. A cool moment. Looking back on that, I would have to slide him into that group of most significant opponents that I’ve had."