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In his first interview since his TNA Impact Wrestling departure Gunner comes to The Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling to discuss his time in TNA, his opinion of TNA’s creative team and his future in the wrestling business. Known as the “The Modern Day Viking” Gunner has no doubt made an “impact” during his time as a professional wrestler. He has competed as a member of the TNA Impact Wrestling roster since 2009 and has established an impressive resume that includes a pin-fall victory over The Icon Sting, multiple reigns as tag team champion, holding the now defunct TNA TV Title and prior to his time in TNA being the longest reigning NWA National Heavyweight Champion (as Phil Shatter for 763 days). Now as interest in where Gunner lands heats up we get the first look as to where Gunner sees himself landing and what he wants to accomplish as a professional wrestler.
Full Episode Download Link:
Gunner Shoots on his Departure from TNA Impact Wrestling:
Gunner Praises Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff’s run in TNA:
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Gunner’s departure from TNA Impact:
“It’s no big deal. I tend to keep a positive attitude and this is my first interview since I parted ways with them (TNA) last Friday and I look forward to whatever the future holds. Whether it be acting or another wrestling company or promotion, wrestling fans have definitely not seen the last of Gunner. I’ve talked to talent relations and Dixie and thanked them for the opportunity because I’ve been with them since 09 working security and it was just the right time for me to part ways with the company. We left on good terms and I can easily go back and do some more stuff. It is a good standing relationship that we have and I am thankful for the opportunity.”
The direction of his character before he left:
“When I did the feud last year with James Storm, it was a feud that kind of catapulted my career and catapulted the Gunner character. Once that ended we went on with me and Sam Shaw for a four or five month deal which I really enjoyed because it was a lot of out of ring interaction so it was really building the characters of Sam and Gunner. It really gave Gunner a new side and I felt that me and Sam had a match in Bethlehem, PA that was a real hardcore match that I thought was amazing. The crowd was enjoying it and I felt that guys like me and Sam (who is no longer with the company as well) were after that underutilized. Certain other guys came in and I’ve had no problem with anyone in the locker room in Impact but I do feel like especially my character and me as a person being there since 09 I feel like I was underutilized after that.”
An instance where creative missed an opportunity to push him:
“When I wrestled Magnus at the main event in Manchester in 2014 I felt like we needed to keep going with what we had, but it was a ball dropped. I don’t know if I did something wrong or the writers got lost, I am just not sure.”
Feelings on all of the changes surrounding TNA the past year:
“My mindset was always just trying to worry about the Gunner “brand” and who I was and whatever they were giving me. I wasn’t on TV for more than 2 or 3 episodes this year. A lot of reasons are though that TNA gave me the opportunity to go do a couple of movies so that kept me off the screen for a while. When it comes to changes as far as the locker room or the TV “brand” a lot guys all tend to just hope that it is a good direction for the company. Not many people complain, you just go out there and really do your best and what we did and take story lines and make it the best we can. I personally try to keep my nose out of the old political side of professional wrestling because that’s one thing I never cared about anyway. I always worry about my career. I’ve been wrestling since 2001 and I still have many more goals to obtain.”
Interest from WWE to join NXT:
“I think right now that is internet hearsay. I personally have a 30 day non-compete clause which is what you usually have when you leave a company or they release you, so I can’t even really talk to anybody. Ultimately my goal as a kid was to have that WrestleMania moment. I haven’t touched base with anybody yet. I hope that in the future some doors open and I can at least get my foot in the door down in NXT. Now you have Samoa Joe down there and a bunch of amazing talent as part of that company and I would love an opportunity to work for those guys.”
Working with Samoa Joe in TNA:
“We worked a bit of house shows together and had a few TV spots together. It’s one guy that I kind of envy Crimson over because Crimson got to run a feud with Joe back in 2013 and there are a few guys that I wanted to work on a continuous basis and he was one of them. I have the utmost respect for him and he taught me so much as far as psychology and something’s different with my character and helping with different moves. He is a locker room leader you definitely listen to because he has been around.”
Was he surprised to see Jeff Jarrett returning to TNA:
“I was. I had heard the rumors about it last night and saw the tweets and I had a few other guys text me. I’m not sure if this is for a cross promotion or this is a one-time thing. Jeff’s heart lies in TNA. He founded and started that company. I worked in an Indy show back in 07 and Jeff spoke highly about me and helped me get my foot in the door along with Terry Taylor with TNA. So I guess you can say he’s always been a fan of mine. I grew up watching the guy and I respect him. He has always been able to shoot straight with me. I have always had a lot of respect for him. Whatever it is I want to see Impact succeed. I don’t want to see TNA fail, I have friends there that have jobs and it’s just another company that needs to flourish more.”
Gunner also relives all of his major TNA feuds and matches including his pin fall victory over “The Icon” Sting, his opinion of Dixie Carter, teaming with Murphy as Dixie’s security, joining Immortal, his career prior to TNA as Phil Shatter in the NWA, working Adam Pearce, a dream match with The Undertaker, his WWE Dark Match in 2008 and his goals for the future.