Interview: Mr. Anderson

Hailing from Green Bay, Wisconsin, weighing in at 243 pounds, Mr. Anderson…Anderson is one of the most charismatic wrestlers of his generation.

Before joining TNA in 2010, Anderson enjoyed four years in WWE between 2005-09 where he was United States Champion and the 2007 Money In The Bank winner. The 49-year-old is also a two-time TNA World Heavyweight Champion.

We caught up with Mr. Anderson to talk about coming up with his unique ring entrance, wrestling the likes of The Undertaker and Sting, Destination America airing both RoH and TNA plus much more.


How did you first get into the sport of professional wrestling?

I really didn’t watch much wrestling when I was a kid growing up, maybe a little bit in the eighties. I really got hooked in the nineties when Stone Cold Steve Austin had his big run and The Rock, The Undertaker, Kane and all of those guys in the Attitude Era.

I really got into it then and realized what I had been missing out on for all of those years. Before that through I had always kind of poo pooed wrestling like a lot other people do, saying it’s fake and it’s just a bunch of guys rolling around on the floor wearing tights, all of the typical stereotypes.

I didn’t really respect it or appreciate it for what it is and it’s truly an art form, with sports and acting all rolled into one, which I love.

What was your time in WWE developmental OVW like and how do you think it compares to what NXT is now?

I can’t really speak about what NXT is like now because I’m not there and I don’t know too many people that are there. I know what I see and what I see is pretty good.

OVW was one of the most fun times I’ve ever had in my life, everybody was there, and there was no politics, no back stabbing. Everyone that was there we just tried to help each other as much as we could; it was really like a team-building environment.

I remember Al Snow, who was one of the trainers down there gathering us up and saying to us, ‘’I know you all want to get on the road and be on WWE television but just enjoy this for what it is right now because this is the most fun you’ll ever have in the business.’’

In some regard I see what he means, it really was an amazing time and I just have fond memories from my time there, I learned a lot as well.

What was the moment like when you first appeared on WWE television?

I had been wrestling for six years on the Indies and I had eaten a lot of shit, put a lot of miles on my car and a lot of miles on my body, I had been told no a bunch of times a lot. Worse than being told no was not being told anything at all. I would go do these tryouts I wouldn’t get any type of response, no reaction. I didn’t know if I was good, if I was bad, if I should burn my boots. It would have just been nice for someone to tell me something.

It was a relief because I had been told no or nothing at all, I had a lot of people in my life, friends and family members who would sort of mock or ridicule me and ask when I was going to give up and get a real job.

When it finally it happened, if just felt like I belong here. I remember they gave me the match and I was going to debut on Velocity against Funaki and I was going to beat Funaki. My mind set was to just go out there and take what was mine. It was like vindication, I had done it after setting myself a goal that I had worked hard for and achieved and the rest is history.


You are of course known for your unique entrance – where did that originate from?

I have to credit Paul Heyman and Dave Lagana really. It was a combination of Paul, Dave and I that sort of molded that entrance. Paul told me to go out one night and cut the ring announcer off, cut him down, cut him to shreds and do my own intro.

I did it and I remembered I use to announce basketball games when I was in high school and I use to say the last name twice for some reason. I went out there and I just sort of remembered that on the fly so that’s what I did and when I came back through the curtain everybody was saying it was great when I said my last name twice so I just kept doing it.

Dave Lagana actually came up with the whole lowering the microphone from the rafters.

What are some of your personal highlights from your time in WWE?

Getting to work a programme with The Undertaker, he sort of took me under his wing and really helped me out a lot, he was like a big brother figure to me and I’m very grateful for that. I got to wrestle a pretty sweet with Shawn Michaels, Ric Flair, I got to wrestle Eddie Guerrero.

There are too many it is impossible for me to answer with just one name or a couple of guys because I got to work with so many great people. Just my first year alone, in my first few weeks I got to work with Rey Mysterio, Booker T, Bob Holly, Chris Benoit, it was just crazy.

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What is the story behind you leaving WWE with Randy Orton and John Cena?

I think different people have different experiences, I saw it happen where guys would get heat but I always thought if you just go there and you are not a dick and you do your job and you do it well what is there to have heat about?

It is what it is; there is politics in every single business no matter what. If you work at a newspaper there is politics, if you work at McDonalds there will be politics.

At the end of the day certain things happened that I don’t know if I would say I regret but I would handle them differently today if I knew then what I know now. There are certain things that happen that are out of your circle of influence and control.

There are some things you can control in your life but things outside of that circle you just have no control over, you worry about those things if you try to change them there not going to change and you just worry yourself and the only person it’s really affecting is you, so I just try to worry about the things that I can control.

How would you describe Vince McMahon as a boss?

Just very serious, he is a businessman and he is going to what feels right for his business. I don’t always agree with everything and a lot of people don’t always agree with him but at the end of the day he’s the boss and he’s pretty damn successful doing what he’s doing so I don’t have anything negative to say.

You joined TNA in 2010, what have been some of your highlights during your time in TNA?

My matches that I had with Kurt Angle, getting to work a programme with Sting and proposing the idea that I dress up as old school Sting and for Sting to really like that idea. A lot of people won’t know this but the outfits I was wearing were actually Sting’s old outfits and Sting actually painted my face, which was kind of cool. I’m still a wrestling fan and I say wrestlers are the biggest wrestling fans because we wanted to wear tights and baby oil and do this for a living, so that fan in me was very excited for him to do that.

My matches with Jeff Hardy, Bully Ray, I had a blast working with Ethan Carter. I’m really looking forward to doing more things and someone I want to work with is Bram, I think he is phenomenal, I think he has tons of talent and charisma, he can speak on the mic, what he does in the ring is believable, I’m looking forward to when our paths cross.


You mentioned one Brit there but what has it been like working with another Brit, Rockstar Spud?

Awesome, I think Rockstar Spud is one of the greatest talent acquisitions of any company in the last five to ten years. He’s so hungry, he’s passionate, he’s funny, he’s good in the ring, he knows a hell of a lot about the business, I would say Tommy Dreamer is a walking wrestling encyclopedia and Spud is a walking talking encyclopedia.  Sometimes it gets annoying because all he wants to talk about is wrestling but I love the guy.

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What are your thoughts on some of the recent changes TNA have made, bringing back the six-sided ring, moving back to Orlando and being on Destination America?

I like change, and I think if it ain’t broke don’t fix it but if it can be fixed then fix it or at least try. TNA has a lot of gusto and a lot of balls to take the chances that we have, going back to the six-sided ring, I was against it at first until I got in and actually started to realize I had more room to work with and it’s actually a good ring.

As far as going to Destination America I know we took a hit as far as our reach goes in the United States but sometimes you need to take a couple of steps backwards to move forward. I think Destination America is a great fit, I’ve talked to the people and I’ve spent sometime with the people, they’re great and they are loving what we’re doing and I look forward to a long relationship with Destination America.

ROH is now also on Destination America, what are your thoughts on that?

It’s funny that certain people always look for the negatives in everything; if you look for the negatives all the time you’re probably going to have a negative experience. I look at the positives, it creates some sort of a rivalry between the two companies, we’re competition now and I think that is good, I think competition is great. One of the worst things that ever happened to the wrestling business was when Vince McMahon acquired WCW and bought out his competition.

I don’t understand how people at times are clamoring or desiring a wrestling company that employs a bunch of people and feeds a bunch of families to go out of business. People want for those wrestlers not to work and not feed their families and they only want to watch their wrestling at one place. I couldn’t imagine the consumers in America saying they hope that Targets and Best Buy fails so they can only shop at Wal-Mart for the rest of their lives – it just doesn’t make any sense to me when you apply it to the wrestling business.

How would you describe Dixie Carter as a boss?

She is very focused, a very driven woman, passionate, she brings an air to the locker-room that this is a family environment, and everyone’s families are welcome here. The companies knows they take us away from our families for large chunks of our time but they just want to make sure they’re the warmest, friendliest people you’ll ever meet.

TNA’s Slammiversary PPV will be live on Challenge TV in the UK at 1am Monday 29th June – For more information on Mr Anderson you can follow him on Twitter @mrkenanderson


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