Impact Wrestling and Lucha Underground star Johnny Impact was recently interviewed by Ring Rust Radio. You can check out submitted highlights below, and the full interview at this link.
Ring Rust Radio: Over the past several months of Lucha Underground programming you've been the champion and you've been "the guy" for the company. What has being Lucha Underground champion taught you, and how do you think it's prepared you for when you win the GFW title?
Johnny Impact: 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.
Ring Rust Radio: You and Taya do a fantastic job with Lucha Underground, but have come into GFW as separate acts. Do you prefer it that way or do you think it'll be difficult to avoid pairing you together on GFW TV?
Johnny Impact: 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.
Ring Rust Radio: As someone who has worked for many different companies during your career, how is the GFW locker room different than WWE, Lucha Underground or other promotions?
Johnny Impact: 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.
Ring Rust Radio: There's always a lot of speculation and rumors out there about GFW and what's going on behind the scenes. As a performer, how does it affect you, and how do you go about trying to block out all the whispers?
Johnny Impact: 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.