Donald Wood sent this in.
Fellow columnists Mike Chiari, Brandon Galvin and myself had TNA Star ABYSS on the show this week, and it was a great episode with plenty of exclusive content.
YouTube interview: http://youtu.be/Q2Qaakt6xyU
Donald Wood: The biggest piece of news for TNA was Impact Wrestling’s jump from SpikeTV to Destination America every Friday night at 9 p.m. ET. As someone who has been around since the very start of the company, do you feel the transition is good for the long-term success of TNA and how does this compare to some of Impact Wrestling’s previous moves from one TV station to another?
Abyss: I think it’s a continuation of the growth of Impact wrestling. Destination America provides us opportunities that we never had before. I’ve been around since the beginning. Seeing the growth from the move to Wednesday night only Pay-Per-Views back in 2003/2004, going to Fox Sports, and our great relationship with Spike for almost nine years. Now our move to Destination America is a continuation of the growth of the company and were going to have opportunities with Destination America that we never had with any other network. We have the Saturday morning Unlocked show with Mike Tenay which is the best of TNA wrestling matches. You can already see a lot of commitment from Destination America so it is an exciting time for us. We just stepped up with the first round of TV shows in New York last week and they went fantastic. The locker room really gave it everything we had and I think it showed in the product.
Mike Chiari: There’s already been a lot of positive reaction regarding TNA’s re-launch and move to Destination America. Having been in New York for the first set of tapings, what was the atmosphere like among the talent, and what were some of the main differences you noticed between now and TNA’s previous stint on Spike?
Abyss: The locker room was excited, it was fun to see it, and be a part of it. Obviously I am in the locker room but to see it and the excitement from everybody from all the Knockouts to the guys it was an exciting time. We hadn’t seen each other in a while since we had a little bit of time off. Everyone was super excited just to get back to work and get back to what we do best which is performing in the ring. It was fun to see the enthusiasm and excitement as we embark on this new adventure with Destination America. It’s funny because it’s really not that much of a difference as far as the atmosphere. It’s a different network with different expectations and different things that we want to accomplish and I’m sure Destination America wants to accomplish. We are feeling each other out and we’re understanding each other’s goals. From that standpoint it is a little bit different but other than that it is very much business as usual.
Brandon Galvin: You’ve been one of the most interesting members of the TNA roster since your debut. How do you find ways to continue evolving and what do you envision the next evolution of Abyss will be?
Abyss: I’m so proud of the evolution of the Abyss character throughout the years. Longevity in this business is not something that a lot of talents get the privilege to experience. I’ve been able to do that and have been very fortunate and lucky to do so. I have worked very hard and I have also had a ton of support. To see the character evolve from its roots and beginning with Jim Mitchell, to not speaking, and evolving to speaking. The different phases of the character like the insane asylum character in 2008 and 2009 to working with Hulk in 2010 and 2011. Then throw in some of the Joseph Park stuff with my illustrious brother that stuff was fantastic too. I have had a lot of support along the way with number one being Dixie. My relationship with her goes all the back to 2003. With everything she provided me with, the tools, and things for me to be able showcase myself on that platform. Dave Lagana and Matt Conway the writing team, they are just fantastic in coming up with new angles and ways to present the character. It’s been a lot of support and a real team effort. I’m more proud of the fact that I have been with TNA since 2003 more so than any belt I have won or any accomplishment I have done in the ring. To be a part of the Impact team for well over a decade is something I am extremely proud of.
Donald Wood: What goes into a decision about going from a monster like Abyss to a goofy lawyer like Joseph Parks who looked like he didn’t know how to wrestle? How did you handle such a drastic change?
Abyss: Ya know it was a real challenge. I come from a football background so you get presented with coaching, learning/doing different things, and adapting to different circumstances. I’d be lying to you if I told you I wasn’t afraid to death when I first started the Joseph Parks character. It was a brand new adventure and you talk about a 360 degree turn from the monster Abyss and that’s exactly what it was. I really enjoyed it and it was such a fun part of my career just to be something that I wasn’t for the last 15 years and the challenge it presented. To me it was an incredible challenge: To act like you didn’t know what you were doing, being green, not know how to wrestle, the different tone of voice, how I walked, and carried myself. I gotta give a lot of credit to David and Matt for those situations they put the character in really helped it to succeed. It was really a ton of fun.
Mike Chiari: You’ve been part of quite a few stables over the course of your career, but The Revolution is definitely one of the most interesting due to the mix of veterans and young talent. As a veteran who’s been with TNA since the start, do you find yourself imparting wisdom upon and helping along guys like Manik and Sanada?
Abyss: I do but Manik and Sanada they are really good. They both are seasoned veterans even though they are young. Both of them have done a lot, they are so intelligent and smart both in and out of the ring. I love the mix of Sanada being Japanese and Manik being more of a high flyer. Storm is in the same boat I am with being around since the beginning of the company and has a ton of history. I just totally love the fact that we are all together now. I have known him since 1997 when we broke in together but obviously we haven’t had a whole lot of interaction over the past 12 years. To bring us together as a team in Revolution is a great mix. Sanada has a great knowledge of Japanese style and American style wrestling. Manik is such a great high flyer. Storm is a beer drinking bad ass and I am the monster. We did some great stuff in New York that you will see in the upcoming shows. I really think the group is gelling and I am really excited about it. The Revolution is going to do a lot of big things in 2015.
Brandon Galvin: TNA has relied on you as a wrestler that can fluctuate between different roles in the company, whether it be in a singles or tag team competition and also in the main event scene. Obviously you’ve gained great experience through the years as evident by your work, but what are some of the challenges you recall by being positioned in so many spots?
Abyss: Every day is a challenge when you have a goal in mind or what someone wants to achieve. That is an issue we deal with every time we tape. As a team with John, Dixie, David, Matt we work to accomplish things and that’s a challenge every day when we step into an arena for a show. The biggest challenge over the years would be changing my mind sets. Abyss was a lot different character in 2003 than he was in 2013. That ten years in between, there was a lot of changes. The biggest obstacle and challenge was to adapt. Change is hard for a lot of people and a dirty word. The reason I have had the longevity I had is I have been able to adapt, take direction, and change. If you can do that, I think you can accomplish a lot of things and have longevity in this business.
Donald Wood: Earlier this year, Tommy Dreamer spoke to Steve Austin and claimed the WWE wanted to sign you to fight The Undertaker at WrestleMania 19. Instead, you joined TNA and became one of the top wrestlers in the company’s history. Can you tell us your side of this story and looking back now, would you make the same decisions again?
Abyss: I absolutely 1,000 percent would make the same decision again. I absolutely have no regrets whatsoever. Being a part of TNA since the beginning is something that I am extremely proud of. I’m not saying other places aren’t great places to go work, but for me the decision to stay on that occasion and several others is that I love TNA. I am TNA through and through and I always will be. I did have opportunities to go other places and I am proud that I was afforded that opportunity. The reason I stayed was for loyalty and no other reason. Not stage fright as Tommy joked in that interview, it had completely to do with the fact the I love TNA through and through. The company has treated me fantastic over the decade plus years I have been there. From Dixie to everyone there I am really happy there. I wanted to stay there and help build the company, be a part of something that I was with since the ground up. There is nowhere else in the World I could go and say that. That was the reason that I stayed and I have zero regrets. If I was asked to do it over again a 100 times I would do it 100 times.
Mike Chiari: One of the guys who a lot of people have compared you to over the years due to your hardcore style is Mick Foley, who you were able to work a program with in TNA. How do you regard that opportunity looking back, and what were you able to take away from it that helped you become even better as a performer moving forward?
Abyss: If you have a bucket list in wrestling that was definitely near the top if not at the top is to get a chance to work with Mick. He was with us for a while and I did get to know him and I was really proud of that. He really is a fantastic person and not just from a wrestling stand point but as an individual and human being. Getting to know him was awesome and getting to wrestle with him at Bound for Glory was fantastic. It was kind of a dream come true to work with Mick. The comparisons have always been there since I started as Abyss back in 2003. I think it was something the fans really wanted to see and I definitely wanted to do it. We really enjoyed working together and I learned an awful lot from him. The biggest thing I took away from him was to always be smart. No matter what you are doing make sure you are telling a story with it. Make sure the story is as strong as any of the crazy, stupid bumps you’re going to take. Tables, fire, glass, or tacks, that stuff is secondary to the story and I think that’s one of the big things I learned from him.
Brandon Galvin: One of my favorite programs of yours was when you worked with Raven and James Mitchell. Did you learn anything from working with them that you carry to this day and may teach younger wrestlers?
Abyss: I worked with Raven when I was a lot younger. He had been around and done a lot of stuff so I really learned from him. Scott is an incredibly intelligent person in and out of the ring. I learned a lot from him psychology wise. Jim Mitchell I say is one of the best if not the best promo guys in the business. Jim Mitchell the devil character, his promos are riveting. I would be on set with him and listen to his promos and they would send chills down my back. He was incredible and I learned a lot of promo stuff from Jim more so than wrestling stuff. We were together so many times and did so many matches together I can’t even remember them all. I remember them all being a lot of fun and the fans really enjoying them.