With a string of good reviews and a foray into live weekly TV programming, TNA is on something of an upswing at the moment.
So it seems that now is as good a time as any to chat with the current TNA world heavyweight champion, Bobby Roode.
Hello. We’re doing this interview while you’re in London, and in the past you’ve spoken about the sacrifices you have had to make, like not seeing your family for months at a time. Has that eased up at all now you’ve made it?
In a way, but my schedule is still very busy. When I’m not wrestling or doing TV, I’m doing things like this (interviews), I was in Australia doing a media tour, now I’m here doing a media tour, I’m in LA next weekend doing some media, so I’m still very busy. I do get some days at home,
Do you enjoy this side of the job?
I want to be world champion and I got in this business to be world champion and there are extras asked of you when you are champion. I knew this was part and parcel of the deal, so I can’t complain I’m getting the chance to travel the world, meet new people. And experience something new so it’s not all bad.
Are you happy with your run as champion so far?
Yeah. I can’t complain, it’s been quite successful. I’m now the longest reigning world champion in the company’s history and that’s something very special and something that means a lot to me. The faith that the company has shown in me means a lot and I hope to continue down this path and set the record for even longer.
Has being champion given you more confidence in your abilities?
I think I’ve hit a certain place in my career where I can be a champion, but to do that you have to show confidence and your ability to be a champion and look like a champion. I think I’ve found that in myself. I feel a lot more comfortable in the ring and I have more confidence in my promo skills and things are just coming together.
You spent so long as part of a tag team, did you find it hard transitioning to singles?
No. We were both brought into the company as a tag team and had a lot of success as a tag team but I got into this business to be a world champion and you can only be a champion on your own so I was just waiting for the moment to step out and be a star on my own and honestly before I got to Team Canada I was a singles wrestler so I can’t say I found it hard to transition at all.
Do you miss any aspect of it though?
Not right now! I’m a world champion so I can’t say that I miss it, but the time in Beer Money, those were good days and it’s helped me get to where I am now.
I’m constantly amazed at what wrestling fans can find to get upset about, but reading blogs where people claim you’re better or worse because you’ve cut your hair is a new one to me.
I think it’s absolutely ridiculous to say I’m a better wrestler because I’ve got long hair or short hair – it’s just hair. I think it’s ridiculous and s just people wanting to hear themselves talk. At the end of the day, people hate me and I guess I’m doing my job right.
Is there anyone you style yourself on, in the ring and with your performances?
I’ve been compared to Curt Hennig a lot. I don’t try to mimic anything Curt did and I don’t try to be Curt Hennig but I studied him for years and he was one of my inspirations breaking into the business, so after watching hours and hours of him there may have picked up a few mannerisms from that. I was always taught from the beginning to be an individual and to be something different from everyone else at that way I’ll stand out. I just try to be Bobby Roode. I definitely have an older-school style . I always enjoyed watching people like Ric Flair, Rick Rude and again Curt Hennig but I don’t try to copy anybody and just try to be myself and bring my own style into what wrestling is today.
You mentioned Ric Flair – what’s your take on the current state of affairs?
I really don’t know much about it to be honest because I haven’t been kept up to date with what’s happening, but Ric has always been a friend of mine and I’m not sure exactly what the deal is with that.
Most of the story is probably just rumour and speculation anyway. Speaking of which, there have been rumours that TNA may be going PG13 – do you know anything about that?
I’ve never heard that at all, that’s the first I’ve heard of it. I’ve never heard that before ever. I guess if that’s the direction the company wants to go I guess I’m gonna have to be a part of it, but I think we’ve been more successful in recent weeks and been producing great wrestling shows so I don’t think there’s need for a change. But, if the company and Spike TV thinks there is a need for a change then so be it, but I don’t foresee that happening.
Are you excited about being live on Spike?
I think it’s a win-win situation, not only for the company and the guys and girls that work for it, but also for the fans. When you’re a live wrestling show anything can happen, there’s no time to edit so we’re definitely going to have to be on our game and I think it definitely adds some fuel to the fire and makes the guys and girls perform even better.
On a personal level, how do you view the changes in TNA in the last couple of years? I’m thinking specifically about the arrival of Hogan and Bischoff and some of the other more controversial decisions made backstage. Do you think things have been positive?
I think so, I don’t think there has been any negative stuff. As far as Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff and guys like that coming in… these guys have been around the business for 30-plus years and know it very well and are there to try to help the product and I think it’s up to the creative team to write a good show and for the guys and girls to execute it and I think we’re getting there. The last few shows have been exceptional shows and I think we’re starting to get on a roll and the fans are going to be happy with high Impact wrestling is going to play out in the live shows.
Have you personally benefited from having Hogan and Bischoff around?
Obviously! Since he came in I’ve become world champion and the longest-reigning world champion so I think that says something abut it. Of course I’ve worked hard for this spot and I like to think I’ve earned it but I haven’t suffered at all from having Hogan and Bischoff in there. It’s been a good thing for me.
One of the things that has really grabbed fans lately is the Joseph Park/Abyss story. How is that playing in the locker room?
It’s definitely entertaining and the guys in the back are enjoying it. If the fans enjoy it, the guys enjoy it and I think the whole storyline and the flow works. Like anything in wrestling you have to pace it and have everything mean something and we’re doing a good job of that.
Definitely, one of the major criticisms of other companies like WWE is how they rush storylines. Do you watch any of the rival promotions?
I honestly don’t have a lot of time to watch other shows. If I’m home I’ll try to catch some of it but I don’t make a point of sitting around and watching TV shows because I’m usually wrestled-out by the time I get home. I try to keep up with what’s going on and I have some friends [at WWE], but at the end of the day I’m still a wrestling fan and try to keep in touch with what’s going on.
Is there anyone in the other promotions that you would love to bring into TNA to work with?
Not necessarily. I have my work cut out for me at TNA and being word champion everyone is gunning for me and in order to keep that title I’m going to have to stay sharp with the people that I’m working with. Someone in TNA that I’d like to work with is definitely Austin Aries, there’s a story with a story there with me being the longest-reigning world champion and him being the longest-reigning X Division champion, I think a champion vs champion match would be interesting.
Have you worked with Austin previously?
Just a little bit. We did a six man tag match on Impact not too long ago, but I’ve never had a singles match against him.
Is there anyone on the roster at the moment that you love working with?
Yeah, AJ Styles definitely – AJ and I have really good chemistry together and he’s such a great athlete and a great performer and I think I could work with him every day of the week.
Would you want to be the person to put an end to Crimson’s unbeaten run?
Of course I would! That would be another feather in my hat. To be able to be the longest-reigning world champion and smashing his winning streak would be great. Everything has to come to an end at some point and he’s done well and gained a lot of confidence lately, so it’s going to have to take somebody special to beat him.
Crimson is obviously closely connected to Matt Morgan – what’s your understanding of what’s going on with him right now?
I don’t have any understanding of the situation. I don’t really know, I think it’s a personal thing for Matt Morgan. I’m not sure when his contract is up and I’m not sure what Matt’s interests are, so I can’t really comment on it… I hope he stays around.