Johnny Impact Focused On World Championship Glory
Image: Impact Wrestling
As global wrestling superstar Johnny Impact heads into the main event of Impact Wrestling's Bound For Glory pay-per-view this Sunday, he has a lot on his mind. He faces the challenge of Impact World Champion Austin Aries in the main event. A daunting prospect on its own, the feud has further been ignited by a series of spiteful Twitter exchanges, culminating in the champion 'A Double' taking some deeply personal swipes at Impact's wife, fellow grappler Taya Valkyrie. SPORTbible spoke with Johnny Impact ahead of the biggest event in the company's calendar, as he takes us inside the Twitter beef, a potential UK return and his stint on US reality show Survivor.
With social media providing a new plain for wrestlers to clash, how did this particular online spat come about?
I think he's an insecure dude and I made a little short joke on Twitter. I think he got so pissed that he didn't know what to say about it. He stewed for 3 hours then tweeted that thing about me and Taya. I'm sure he wanted to hurt me back and the best he could do was take a shot at my wife. I'm laughing about it now, but when it first happened I was really pissed about it. Of course he's fine tweeting it because he knows we're in different cities, I think that's why things got personal. He's just really insecure about how tall he is!
When they're not trading barbs on micro-blogging services, Aries and Impact are two of the very best at trading holds in the ring. Both have extensive international experience, with championships in WWE and beyond to show for their talents. So what can wrestling fans expect when the talking is over and the two men are in the squared circle?
I've said since coming to Impact that my goal is to become the Impact World Champion. So at Bound For Glory I'm planning on beating Austin Aries and winning the championship. If I see him before or after the show it might be a different story, we're not in a wrestling ring then. But I'm not going get disqualified in the match, I'm going beat the crap out of him and take the title.
Image: Impact Wrestling
For a man who has reigned as ECW World Champion, as well as holding top titles in Mexico and the UK, Impact remains hungry to add more gold to his trophy case.
I've set my sights on championships everywhere that I've worked, and every time I want something I indubitably get it. This Impact world title has proven a lot more difficult to get than I originally thought. The roster is deep, the roster is talented. If I win on Sunday I'll prove to myself that everything I've been working on, the things that I've been saying and the things that I've been spending my time doing have been worthwhile.
Bound For Glory has long been established as the signature event in the Impact Wrestling calendar. Feuds are settled, titles contested and a line drawn under the company's biggest storylines. Johnny told us what fans tuning into Impact for the first time this Sunday can expect.
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If you're a new fan of Impact expect to see the best wrestlers in the world putting on a hell of a show in the Melrose Ballroom at Bound For Glory. If you're familiar with the Impact brand, there's been some negative connotations and a little bit of bad stigma attached to Impact. Stemming from the old roster, some of the old management. At Slammiversary in my opinion we really turned a corner and had a show that was universally well liked. I don't think there's anyone out there that's complained about not liking Slammiversary. That has to do with the current roster of Impact, the current climate backstage in the locker room at Impact. Everybody's excited about doing better, it's exciting to be a part of it and exciting to watch it.
Image: Impact Wrestling
The man once known as 'The Shaman Of Sexy' has made a career out of his incredible innovations in the ring. Some of the moves and escapes that Impact employs have never been seen or attempted in wrestling before. Where do these incredible feats come from?
You know a lot of the stuff has come from wrestling and movies. So I've been a lifelong fan of Jackie Chan. Wrestlers, its old school. The stuff Rey (Mysterio), Juvi (Guerrera) and Psicosis were doing in ECW when they first got there. Lucha in Mexico. The stuff that I've been doing has just been taking movements from breakdancing, parkour and martial arts and integrating that into pro wrestling.
When he's not challenging for championships, Johnny is challenging himself. There is no greater representation of this than his appearance on US reality show Survivor. As Impact tells us though, life in the ring and life on a remote island are not as different as you'd think.
It's difficult in a different way, because wrestling is about training and scientifically you can use every tool available to prepare yourself to be the best version of yourself for a match. In Survivor, you don't have any of those tools available. It's about figuring out a way to survive on an island but it's also a social game. So in the midst of being really really uncomfortable, starving and freezing it's about getting along with people and forming relationships. It's weird. It's different and the same. There's similarities, Survivor is this crazy social experiment. You can make analogies to Survivor and pro wrestling.
Impact Wrestling recently made their triumphant return to the UK in a critically acclaimed show at Wrestling Mediacon in Manchester. SPORTbible was lucky enough to be in attendance for a great card that spanned wrestling styles from the visceral hardcore of Jimmy Havoc vs Sami Callihan to the incredible athleticism of Jonny Storm and Jodie Fleisch vs LAX. Conspicuous by his absence was Johnny Impact. However the man himself is targeting a comeback to these shores.
I was bummed that I couldn't make it to this one, I just had some prior engagements that I couldn't move around. But I've been to the UK dozens of times and I can't wait to come back next time Impact is in the UK. I'd take on Jonny, whoever wins ends up with the last name Storm! Jonny vs Johnny! Jonny Storm is a really cool guy, I've toured with him a couple of times out in the Middle East. Jodie Fleisch is a legend, everybody knows him. I remember watching him back when I as starting with the WWE. I've never wrestled Grado or Joe Hendry, I think it'd be fun to either wrestle those guys or tag with them. That'd be a fun thing to do in the UK!
Before that comes his big clash with Aries. Johnny Impact pursuing not only the elusive Impact World Championship but a measure of revenge for the social media comments of his opponent. Impact is keen to hear your voices on the unfolding drama.
You can follow me on Twitter @TheRealMorrison Instagram @JohnHennigan and if are following me Tweet me about what you think of Austin Aries and his tweets. And if you are watching BFG do a little live tweeting and let us know what you think.
Watch Bound For Glory LIVE on Fite.tv:https://www.fite.tv/watch/impact-wrestling-bound-f...