Mr Anderson - UK Fans will get a grade ‘A ‘performance from us
By Phil Allely
A few short days after his well deserved and surprising (to many) TNA World Heavyweight Championship win over Jeff Hardy at Genesis, new world champ Mr Anderson took some time from his busy schedule to chat to Phil Allely about his monumental win, the injury setback that almost cost him his spot and the upcoming TNA UK/Irish tour.
With no physical TV presence at the moment in the UK, TNA are striving to make the most of the situation and give their loyal fans here a reassuring nod that they are a vital component to the TNA product, the recently announced matches/roster for the Maximum Impact Tour next week are perhaps the strongest ever, as Mr Anderson agreed.
“It’s brutal that TNA is not on TV in the UK at present. I hope it won’t affect the tour, fans know what we bring to the table and we’ve even said who, and what they are going to get at each show. You know UK and Irish fans are always just so warm and receptive to TNA, we are gonna go over and put on a grade ‘A’ performance, so the fans hopefully will turn up to witness it. TNA live is like no other wrestling show.”
Mr Anderson spent 11 years bending bones to achieve his dream of a World Title and after many setbacks he has finally achieved his dream. There can be no better feeling than that of being the man who fronts the company on their annual tour as it’s main title holder.
“I’m very happy to be a representing this company any time I‘m in the ring or out, being the champ is the icing on the cake, I have been through some bad things in other organisations and thankfully I’m in such a good place now. You know compared to the U.S. the UK fans are a lot more vocal, I think it is because they don’t see us often, here (in the United States) the fans are more spoilt I guess, so we find the overseas fans savour the live event more and it’s seen as something really special.
We have a company full of unbelievable wrestlers, so many are in the title hunt and the challenges can come at me from anywhere. We have some great matches lined up for this tour, each night will be different and whilst I’m defending my title against some great guys, I’m not losing it anytime soon.”
Mr Anderson made his debut at genesis 2010 and seemed destined to win the TNA Heavyweight crown in the latter part of the year, however a botched chair-shot from Jeff Hardy set him back a month or two..
“Yeah my debut for TNA was at Genesis, so it’s cool to think a year down the line I won the title. It was a great feeling to do so and a night where the storytelling we do worked perfectly. It may have been a curveball of sorts (the match was an impromptu challenge from Hardy/Eric Bischoff that followed a gruelling match between Anderson and Matt Morgan). There are times when you can feel the crowd with you and you know they are joining in with you as you work. Win, lose or draw that is what I am here to do. At Genesis we had that reaction we dream of, it all fell into place and everyone believed in us. I’m happy and feel I have done my job if whether the title is on the line or not ,the fans have followed us from beginning to end and we brought them along for the ride.”
Anderson was taken off TV and live events for over two months when he suffered a serious concussion at the hands of Jeff Hardy. During that period he was itching to get back into the ring and eager to reclaim his spot on the card as the number one contender for the TNA World Title.
“It was Dixie who took me to the side at one of our live shows, I was there and ready to step back into the ring. She said ‘we think our not ready yet, go sit at home and spend time recuperating, we‘ll bring you back when you are fit and well enough.’ Maybe that’s the difference between TNA and the other places, we are not treated like racehorses and used until we are done and then dispatched without any thought for our future. Here (in TNA) we are not on the road 52 weeks a year or working 4 or more days a week. In my case I not only had two months off to get better, but then (like the rest of the locker room) after we’d finished our TV tapings, we got two full weeks to spend Christmas with my family. That kind of thing doesn’t happen anywhere else, Dixie and the company are very good at looking out for us and make it a great place to work. We are given the time and space to heal and rest up, you can see that in us all when we return from a layoff.”
Not content with one Hardy boy on its books (the now former champ Jeff) Genesis saw the TNA debut of his older brother Matt, Mr Anderson saw first hand as new boy Matt ran-in to try and sway the result of his Genesis title match. The pair have had many dealings in the past and Anderson for one is looking forward to future dealing with the elder Hardy .
“Matt was one of my favourite opponents ever, we kind of clicked in the ring and I had what I consider one of my best matches with him, it‘s even on his DVD, so if he comes up against me I’m more than happy for that. I’ve kind of got my hands full with Immortal right now though, the odds are against you every time you go out there, you take on one man and twelve are there to back him up.”
With a new title to defend, some fresh feuds in the pipeline, a UK tour to front and some all important re-matches lined up for forthcoming PPV’s Anderson would be forgiven for forgetting about past rivals who may wish to rekindle former high octane encounters and those out for an upset win to claim the gold for themselves.
“Yeah I’m the target now eh? There’s Kurt Angle for starters, odds are we’ll face each other again I’m sure, I had a great match with him at Lockdown , it is my all-time favourite bout I’ve been in and obviously if a re-match with him was there it wouldn’t be turned down. I feel that I still have some great places to go with AJ (Styles), we’ve not hit our mark yet,. (Samoa) Joe is a guy I have yet to do much with so he’d be an awesome opponent. But then I also need to be aware that there are some guys like Jay Lethal and Beer Money just waiting for an opportunity too. In my opinion TNA have the most peer talent in the business right now.”
With so many acquisitions by TNA over the past year or so, the roster is a melting pot of former WWE, WCW, ECW and UK stars, all of which seem to work well together and welcome the way the company is run and the talent managed. All of which is echoed by Anderson and his response to our query about future signings.
“TNA is a great place to work, we are all very happy here. You know I’m pleased to hear someone new has signed and welcome them to the team. But I do worry that if we sign someone new, then we may lose someone here already. If there was someone I’d say we could use and work with right now I’d have to say MVP, he has so much potential. On a different note, Chris Jericho would make a great asset, plus I never really got to work with him before, but I know we’d be great.”
TNA’s Maximum Impact! Tour kicks off in Dublin on January 24th and takes in Glasgow, Manchester and London as the week progresses.