Kurt Angle Talks Olympics, Wrestling Brock Lesnar, Jeff Hardy Incident, TNA Name Change & Lots More
On Vince McMahon disagreeing with Kurt's opinion: "Hey, you know what, it's a boost for us. If he wants to go that way, we'll go the other way."
Hulk Hogan and perception that TNA has become 'WWE-lite': "Yes I believe when we brought in Hulk Hogan and I will say this from the bottom of my heart "I love Hulk Hogan." He is a great addition to our company, but he too realizes that it can't be total non-stop talk. We have a lot of characters on the show that don't wrestle. Some that wrestle every once in awhile, but really ultimately you're talking about Dixie Carter being on the show sometimes. You got Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff, Ric Flair, Mick Foley. I mean I'm just naming a few that don't wrestle and they're on the show all the time. You start seeing a little too much talking and not enough wrestling. We are now in the process of going to more wrestling. Beer Money matches with Motor City Machine Guns. You couldn't beat that. My matches with A.J. Styles….you can't beat that. Those are the kinds of things I've talked to Dixie Carter personally about. I said 'you know Dixie', I would rather give the fans great matches on TV, incredible five stars matches, right now even if our pay-per-views suffer. I rather do that now and get our ratings up and then work on our pay-per-views then try to get pay-per-views now and have our ratings stay down. It's better to have wrestling on the shows because it's different. It's not like the other company."
Who will be the next top guy in TNA after Angle hangs it up? "There are many guys. I see Mr. Anderson, Jeff Hardy, AJ Styles….I see, even a guy like Abyss. If you take the hardcore out of him, he's an incredible wrestler. Samoa Joe if you bring him back the right way. I hated beating his undefeated streak when I came it, we shouldn't have touched each other for a year. But here is the guy that's gonna steal the company, and he's gonna be the top guy in the near future and probably carry the company for the next 5 years and that's Robert Roode. Wait 'til you see him as a singles wrestler, him and James Storm, but Robert Roode has something about him that he's gonna be the man, I guarantee it."
TNA's creative direction (or lack thereof) with Samoa Joe: "I've been very vocal about Samoa Joe. I don't think we're using him the right way. I didn't like him putting paint on his face, it reminded me of Umaga. They were trying to do something comic with him with the Japanese guy….having his own ninja. It didn't quite work out with the Pope. To be honest with you, Samoa Joe hasn't been on that many house shows. The guy's getting paid well, we're not really using him that well, and when I came in, he was the guy. He was the guy I wanted to wrestle, him and AJ were the two guys I was really looking forward to wrestling. And Sting as well. I was looking forward to those matches I would have with AJ and Samoa Joe, and I've seen AJ escalate, and I've kind of seen Samoa Joe kind of just fade off, and that should not have happened. I don't know what happened. I know he got in a couple fights and arguments with creative and I think Joe was right in the sense of why he was complaining, but I don't think he rubbed people the right way and that might have made him suffer a little bit."
Is there a problem with the creative team with Impact? "The problem is... nobody's wrong and nobody's right. Vince Russo writes the shows. Now, when he writes the shows, he has a vision. Now, this vision might be 4 to 8 months, even 12 months long. When he has this vision, he goes in to the meeting, Everybody breaks it down, chops it up, takes this off, puts this on, add this, takes this away….now you have a convoluted show. So you had a guy with a vision that had the show nailed down the way he wanted it, and everything becomes convoluted. What we need to do as a company, and I've talked to people about this, is we need three guys to come together, write the show, keep it that way, don't change anything, make a few altercations, but don't make the show cloudy.