PW 24/7 Recap: Josh Mathews Interview Recap 8/1/19

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nick: Josh Mathews man coming in now, you know what I’m going to ask him, I don’t know if you guys know this or not, but Josh actually was a wrestler before he was a commentator. I’m going to ask him about that, I wonder if he still laces them up every once in a while. There he is. What’s up brother?

Josh: What’s up man?

Nick: I’m doing quite well, look at you.

Josh: *Sighs. Look at me. How’s it going?

Nick: I’m doing well. I haven’t seen you since New Orleans man, but great

Josh: Where’s my volume, never mind I see it

Nick: Come on Ivan what are you doing?

Josh: Ivan is busy, Ivan looks very busy. What are we on Ivan?

Ivan: Facebook. Twitter.

Josh: Facebook & Twitter, wow we’re simulcasting

Nick: Yeah simulcast and of course prowrestling247.com NBC Sports Radio

Josh: We’re all over the place

Nick: Unbreakable it’s the end of the summer tour

Josh: Well there’s a little bit of a debate. Is it the end of the summer? I have a child who’s six & she goes back to school on the 15th so to me it is the end of the summer, but yes I’m excited for Unbreakable tomorrow live in Sana Ana California. How far is that, is that like 25 miles?

Nick: That’s Orange County so yeah about 25-30 miles

Josh: Without traffic

Nick: You run into any traffic

Josh: A little bit, but that’s expected right. I was going to set down and go oh the traffic here, but I think everyone knows the traffic in L.A. is what it is, but the Eastport Arena is certainly the place to be on Impact Plus our subscription based app that is really great user interface and all that stuff so download, subscribe, check out Impact Plus today. If you can’t be there tomorrow then you can come Saturday in Hollywood, Hollywood Blvd fro Starstruck that goes on Twitch then on Sunday in Port Hyuene for Impact tapings. So 3 nights, 3 chances to see all your favorite stars and check out what we’re going these days it’s pretty incredible

Nick: Let’s go back to Friday the Sami Callihan/Tessa Blanchard match is going to be amazing, it’s part 2, I can’t wait. The storylines for Impact Wrestling are some of the best in the industry I love it, going back years the storylines have always been solid

Josh: I think a lot of people that watch what we’re doing right now understand that what we’re putting on is a very compelling 2 hour wrestling show every single week and we don’t insult the intelligence of the audience, it’s a great show, it’s a great wrestling show with some fun storylines intertwined, some of these matches have been absolutely incredible. Rich Swann & Michael Elgin had a match a few months ago that was incredible, everytime Rich gets in the ring it’s an instant classic and Sami Callihan & Tessa Blanchard are doing something amazing right now, they made history at Slammiversary and tomorrow night with Part 2 we’re going to see who goes on to become number one contender. So there’s a path right now for Tessa to become World Champion

Nick: That’s got to be huge, not only for Impact, but the wrestling industry itself

Josh: Even if she just gets the opportunity to challenge for the title, that’s so special and spectacular. I don’t think we got the ending we deserved at Slammiversary with Sami winning that match, but anything can happen & we’ll see what happens tomorrow night

Nick: Then you have Saturday with Starstruck, how can go wrong with Legends like Rhino & Tommy Dreamer being in attendance

Josh: It’s so cool to see these guys come back. I stopped watching wrestling as a teenager, but it was ECW that brought me back as a fan. Rob Van Dam, Rhino just to see what these guys can still do and they can still go inside the ring and the energy that they bring from the fans. So to see Rhino come back and everything he’s doing, it’s pretty spectacular, I’m super glad that he’s part of the Impact roster

Nick: Growing up and stopped watching and then you came back like you said during ECW where Rhino, RVD, Tommy Dreamer and now you’re working with these guys man it’s got to be a huge dream come true

Josh: I just celebrated my 20th year, consecutive year in wrestling so it’s still sometimes is surreal, but it’s a lot of hard work we’re trying to build something and grow something so you don’t get the opportunity to think about that right. I’m married to someone who’s in wrestling so in our house it’s wrestling 24/7 so unfortunately it always goes back to the business and those are always the topics in our house every night

Nick: Do you lace them up still?

Josh: Oh my god, no!

Nick: Can you imagine you in the X Division

Josh: Once upon a time I had a contract with TNA before they started the Wednesday Night tapings, I got the contract I signed it, I sent it back to Jeff Jarrett & Bob Ryder and I got an offer from WWE, like in between the beginning of the taping and when the shows were supposed to start so I called them and said I’ve got to take this opportunity and they said we’ll rip up your contract thanks for letting us know. So 15 years later I came back to Impact Wrestling

Nick: I would love to see you go at it again man

Josh: Well JB & I had a match at Slammiversary 2017 I think so that was fun. I had a goal, I lost some weight which is a good thing to do and have some fun and get that last sort of eh I got to do it and get it out of my system

Nick: Impact has been giving a lot of the past wrestlers or wrestlers that come on hard times a bit of a break. It’s been a place where wrestlers can revitalize their careers as well. You’ve got Bully Ray who was born and perfected in Impact Wrestling, you’ve got Broken Matt Hardy which was born and perfected in Impact Wrestling, ruined by the E by the way the list goes on: McIntyre, EC3, Sandow some of a who’s who, Impact has been that place for wrestlers to come and be wrestlers

Josh: It really is a fantastic place for guys to come and figure themselves out right, you’re not painted into a picture we’re, and I’m not insulting WWE or anything like that, but there’s not a bunch of writers telling you how to do something or a producer telling you how to do something, it’s a trial by fire & you get to discover who you are and kind of work those kinks out and do it on a major platform, so guys are quite lucky they get to express themselves and put themselves into their characters and it’s a lot of fun for them, they’re not sort of worried or trying to please an audience of one, they’re out there having fun and doing there thing

Nick: The morale has to be pretty solid when you have a company that’s letting you do your craft

Josh: Yeah I’ve never gone to work and seen any of these guys really upset or down in the dumps because they have to be at work it’s just one of those deals where you’re not walking on eggshells everyone’s kind of relaxed, it’s a fun environment, it’s a family friendly environment & it’s a pleasure to come to work every week

Nick: Let’s go back to Sami for a little bit, the whole issue with Eddie Edwards and the whole eye thing was great, going back to the storyline they put reality into this thing a little bit & I love how Impact embraced that obviously they got permission from Eddie Edwards to continue it, but having the reality in this storyline helped fans who were on the outskirt saying it’s wrestling, it brings fans in doesn’t it because of the reality of it

Josh: Yeah because you’re kind of I don’t want to say forced, because you can do whatever you want, but to be able to tell that story the real story of what happened Sami swung wildly with a baseball bat and nearly ended Eddie’s career, Eddie spent the night in the hospital there were pictures on social media that story and what happened really catapulted both of those guys careers. Eddie went off in one direction where he became a crazy lunatic and still shows signs of the psychopath that he’s become, Sami Callihan became vile, vicious and dangerous and a loose canon. I think if you look back at both of those guys you can look at that as a defining moment in both of their careers

Nick: I was just going to ask you so that is that defining moment especially for Sami

Josh: I think so yeah

Harry: You brought up being relaxed at the announce table, when Madison is in the ring is it hard to be relaxed, I’ve always wondered that about couples in the industry

Josh: Yeah I can’t stand it. I certainly get nervous when she’s in there and it’s hard to be the straight play by play announcer when I’m watching my wife get thrown around or moves that are certainly violent & I always text her right after to make sure she’s ok and as soon as I get that clear I can kind of go back to doing my thing, but I always look to see where she’s at on the card, ok she’s going to wrestle 5th or 6th and then get nervous as it gets closer

Nick: Is it harder calling her matches than anyone else

Josh: I think so, we’ve sort of made the conscious decision that Josh Mathews the announcer and Madison Rayne aren’t married because it would be hard as her husband to call her match publicly and not be outraged by some of the things that happen, it’s cleaner this way, it’s better this way. When I was a heel color commentator for a cup of coffee we sort of explored it and it didn’t work so I’m glad we’re on the path that we are now

Harry: Speaking of Knockouts, certain promotions are claiming to have started a women’s evolution and we just brought up and Impact has been very influential with the women’s revolution

Nick: I say Impact Wrestling started the evolution

Harry: I would agree because they brought women to a place in the public eye that they hadn’t been seen at in other promotions before and really elevated the women’s division, Knockouts division in Impact, to a place where almost every woman that was on the roster in Impact Wrestling has went on to become a household name & sought after by other promotions when they’re looking at something to do after they depart from Impact what would you say to that Josh

Josh: Well I think with WWE and what they call the women’s revolution that was something they felt strongly that they were doing and I think people that have followed Impact over the years and have seen what Impact has done with the women I think you can judge for yourself who put women in the forefront, Impact had women in the main events long before the women’s revolution was a thing, we were doing Knockouts only ppvs long before anyone else did a women’s only ppv. So I don’t think it’s really about us vs them or who did what first, they have a bigger stage, more people probably see what they do, we may have done it first & probably do it better, but the fact of the matter is their stage is a lot bigger than ours so that’s sort of the problem you run into

Harry: Any chance we might get another all women’s ppv

Josh: Well never say never. That’s certainly something I would champion if it were to come up I think our Knockouts division right now if you look at everyone we have right now, Taya Valkyrie is closing in on being the longest reigning Knockouts Champion of all time, Tenille Dashwood just signed with us earlier in the week, that was 7,000 re-tweets in a couple of hours when that announcement was made, Jordynne Grace, Su Yung & Rosemary, my wife Madison Rayne, Kiera Hogan is coming into here own right now too, so right now I think our Knockouts division has got some depth & there’s some very talented females on that roster

Nick: How was the transition to go from wrestling to being behind the desk as a commentator

Josh: When WWE offered my contract to be a commentator at 19 that was the end of my wrestling career it wasn’t like maybe I can be a wrestler after this, that was it & I dove head first into broadcasting & tried to be the best broadcaster I could be & I’m still learning on the job and trying to figure out what that is and learn from some of the greats that have done this in the past, but I’m comfortable setting in the chair every week & I get to be a part of all the matches, I get to be a part of everything that’s the plus to all this, the minus is keeping track of everything that’s going on instead of just one particular storyline

Nick: Have any of the legends in broadcasting contacted you and offered any sort of advice or anything

Josh: When I was first starting I would talk to Jim Ross an awful lot, he was still active as the voice of Raw, I traveled with Michael Cole & Taz throughout much of my career, Joey Styles was very influential, Paul Heyman was very influential in my career, so I had a lot of people help mold, my most influential period was during the Smackdown edits we’d be in the studio every Wednesday night in Connecticut and Paul would be there to watch that edit and I would set and watch and learn and listen and the tapes would get back & we would re-voice the show with Paul’s direction every week and 3-5 am in the morning we’d leave the studio, but I learned more on those nights for 4-5 years then probably anyplace else

Nick: With the formation of the Twitch channel I’m sure that has broader scope of fan interaction and I get the whole E Sports connection because Twitch is for gamers so adding the Twitch channel how does it help, you guys just extended the agreement with Twitch, how does that help Impact Wrestling

Josh: It’s one of those deals where if you have the internet then you can watch Impact every week, you just have to go to Twitch it’s free, the simulcast is every single week, you see Melissa Santos during the commercials with exclusive content, so it broadens the audience, if you want to see Impact every week then you can go to Twitch and you can watch that

Nick: Not only Impact, but specials

Josh: Yeah monthly specials like Starstruck on Saturday that’s a special, every month he do a 3 hour special, so it’s grown the brand & give people the opportunity to see what we’re doing every single week

Harry: You have a title there that means a lot to the fans especially long time loyal fans of Impact and that’s the X Division Title, people feel it’s slipping through the cracks is there a movement to bring back Ultimate X and make that title as special as it used to be

Josh: We had Ultimate X at Homecoming where we saw Rich become the Champion back in January, Jake Crist is now X Division Champion. Yeah I think it’s a cornerstone of Impact I agree with what you are saying and I think if you look at it now we have some well defined divisions: Knockouts, Tag, Heavyweight & X Divisions. Some people question what is the X Division, what exactly is it. There’s no weight limits. Is it a Cruiserweight Division? So it’s hard to get new fans, I appreciate  all the loyal fans who love what the X Division has always been throughout the years, but it’s hard from a branding standpoint to define. That’s the dilemma, the gray area so to speak as to what the division is

Harry: Yeah some people see it as a Cruiserweight while others view it as an Openweight title anyone from the smallest guy on the roster to the biggest guy on the roster can challenge for this title. So it gives opportunity for the men and hopefully someday the women with all the success Tessa’s been having against the men, it gives them an opportunity to challenge for the title when perhaps they’re not in the title picture for their division

Josh: That’s a great point and when you look at a lot of our women on the roster they enjoy the intergender wrestling, they enjoy wrestling the men, they like to mix it up with the guys so yeah I think that’s a great idea, open it up to everybody, Openweight and see what happens.

Nick: You think we’re heading to where men and women are in the same division

Josh: I think you have to sort of explore that, everybody’s doing out there, the Joey Ryan match did like 4 million views in a couple of hours so you can’t be close-minded. We did talk about the fact that I’ve been doing this for about 20 years, but you can’t get stuck with what you’ve always done, you have to change with the times and I think you’re seeing that from Impact and you’re going to get Jordynne Grace, Petey Williams & Scott Steiner teaming tomorrow at Unbreakable that’s an intergender match right there, Tessa & Sami obviously so I think Impact is exploring those boundaries

Nick: Sami & Tessa was well received right

Josh: Yeah main event of Slammiversary so not only are we exploring it, but we’re in the forefront of it

Harry: In certain promotions intergender matches is the men face the men the women face the women, in Impact Jordynne Grace can be in there with a man and it won’t be an issue because somebody else was tagged in and she can go head to head and I think that’s one of the things that makes Impact’s version of an intergender match that makes all the difference

Josh: We have both where mixed tag men face men, women face women & intergender matches where men can fight women, I think we need a name to brand it because Sami & Tessa is so much more than that and just calling it intergender doesn’t give it the justice it deserves

Nick: Who’s your pick for Sami vs Tessa

Josh: I think the first one Don Callis and I both went with Sami just because the main event of Slammiversary, Sami Callihan he just wasn’t going to lose, in this one I’m going to go with Tessa Blanchard, I think she can beat him, she got close in Dallas & I thinks she’s going to come out fired up & we’ll see what happens tomorrow night

Nick: This Moose storyline is also starting to peak my interest, back to that reality man because it’s damn true he’s saying that everyone is leaving, but he’s being constant, he’s staying there

Josh: Moose here’s s a guy that could still be playing in the NFL if he wanted to be

Nick: Or XFL

Josh: Or XFL, I think NFL would be his choice, 7 years in the league, he was the offensive lineman for some great quarterbacks including Tom Brady and Matt Ryan, he wants to be World Champion, he wants to be the face of Impact, he calls himself Mr Impact Wrestling so I think the fact that he’s seen guys come in and then leave that have become Champion I think he gets upset about it, he wanted to say something about it and he did, he’s got a chip on his shoulder he feels that at this point in his life he should be World Champion he should in the World Championship picture. Michael Elgin shows up and he immediately challenges Brian Cage for the Championship at Slammiversary, I think Moose felt slighted, his mission was to rid the world of the stars of ECW’s past, he faced RVD at the ppv and they had a great match. Is Moose a future World Champion? Yes. Is it going to happen this week? No. And that’s what really grinds his gears

Nick: Some of the biggest stars in pro wrestling have all been in Impact: Samoa Joe, AJ Styles of the world do you keep in contact with any of those guys

Josh: I saw AJ at an airport about 3-4 months ago in Atlanta and we spoke, AJ is on the very short list of people that I actually wrestled when I was a wrestler for about a year and we wrestled in the now defunct XWF , but not really. I wish all those guys luck. It’s just one of those things that if you see them and you have a conversaton, but my circle is pretty tight, but it’s good to see those guys when I do

Nick: These guys are all living legends: Joe, Styles, Storm, Roode living their dream man and they all came from Impact

Harry: Yeah that’s interesting that for so long fans totally discounted Impact Wrestling and then all of a sudden stars from Impact started showing up in the E and now they’re the greatest thing since sliced bread and all this. It’s interesting in the roster they have up there in Stamford now if you go back 5 years and look that’s Impact Wrestling right there legit, right Nick

Nick: Yeah main eventers in NXT, Raw & Smackdown

Josh: And now we’ve got to build the roster again. That’s the thing there’s always going to be turn around, but I think that we’re building an incredible roster of athletes right now from Sami Callihan to The Crists, Rich Swann was there & now he’s here and he’s thriving in his career those guys are the future, The Rascalz are so great and they’re great kids and watching them these are the guys we’re going to be talking about in a few years that hopefully have become household names

Harry: You did a storyline, we know it is now it’s Killer Kross, but you had the storyline going for a while where people would get jumped and there would be a calling card left. Whose idea was that because that was one of the most compelling and intriguing storylines in a long while in pro wrestling period no matter what promotion. That was a great storyline and it led to a great payoff, whose idea was that

Josh: Yeah who doesn’t love a great summer mystery right. Honestly I don’t know the only department that I don’t work in in this company is creative so those guys get together at Scott D’Amore’s house and they come up with some great stuff, but which person gets the credit I don’t know

Harry: Are there plans to put Kross in the Title picture where a lot of fans feel he belongs

Josh: Again I don’t know

Harry: Josh would you see him in the title picture

Josh: Sure I see him in the title picture I think Kross is a very compelling character if you follow him on social media he does a lot of very interesting things, he’s a great marketer for himself & I think we’ll see what the future holds for Killer Kross

Josh: It’s great we’re out here, 3 big nights everybody said that Impact needed to get out of Orlando and get moving

Nick: You guys don’t really come west that often

Josh: The last time we were in Northern California was in Salinas for Big Time Wrestling, so it’s nice to be out here and get the support of the fans

Nick: You like our weather

Josh: I love it out here, I like it a lot

Nick: You guys need to come out here more

Josh: Well we’re here this weekend, hopefully we’ll have some great shows and be back soon

Nick: Your thoughts on AEW

Josh: I think it’s great, Cody Rhodes is a family friend and we’ve been friends for a long time so I wish Cody, Brandi and all of those guys nothing but huge success. It’s more work for everybody in our amazing sport so I hope that they succeed

Nick: Thanks for joining us today

Josh: Thanks for having me, it’s been a pleasure, the next time I come back I want to come back again, I want to thank everyone for listening and hope you  come check us out weekend if you do please come and say hello if you do tickets still available at impactwrestling.com