Johnny Impact spoke with the Mirror before his upcoming title match against Eli Drake at Impact Bound For Glory this Sunday. Here are some of the highlights:
The coolest work is being done outside of WWE:
"Right. I was kind of ruminating on this today. This is an overstatement, but when WWE, WWF at the time, came into power and Vince McMahon put all the other territories out of business, everything went really mainstream and New York was the number one show. Now I feel like independent wrestling is so hot, it's almost like the territories have started to re-emerge. And you've got major companies like Lucha Underground, Impact Wrestling, Ring of Honor, New Japan Pro Wrestling, AAA, CMLL [Mexico's Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre] that have got TV deals in place ... 5 Star Wrestling also in the UK ... then you've got these really hot independent wrestling promotions in the States: Pacific Coast Wrestling, DEFY Wrestling, All American Wrestling, WrestleCircus and then PROGRESS, ICW in the UK ... I'm leaving out a ton. In my opinion the cutting edge of professional wrestling, the coolest stuff is happening on the edge, on the fringes, at independent wrestling shows. People are lifelong fans of WWE because they grew up on it. I grew up on it. I want my kids to watch it and I'm going to take them to shows. But the product feels watered down. It doesn't feel as cool as it does to wrestle for DEFY in Seattle. Because at that show, it feels like a smarter audience that expects more and there's no creative limitations. I don't feel there's any limits to the story I can tell. That's cool man."
"Yeah, I've known Eli Drake for years because we both live in Los Angeles, but I had never worked with him prior to coming to Impact. I was really impressed. It's going to sound like a backhanded compliment, but he really exceeded my expectations. He's really stepped up his game. That's the exact thing that Impact needs right now. Unfortunately for him, I can take even bigger steps, so when my game gets stepped up, he's in trouble!"
Impact Wrestling's Future:
"Absolutely. I feel like IMPACT was in that position before. Since I've got there, I feel like a lot of things have started happening again. The company has started to look at different talents and the talent that we have there are really upping their game. I've felt really at home with the Impact locker room since day one. Guys like Bobby Lashley, I met him on his first day in WWE. Chris Adonis - Chris Masters - and I, we went to the same elementary school. EC3, I knew him from WWE. I knew him and I could have epic matches. Then there's new people that I'm getting the chance to work with too, like LAX. Everyone who works there is working hard and I feel like the whole company is undergoing a re-branding if you will. I'm hoping that I can be at the forefront of that and push it into a new Impact era. Impact was hot and it was cutting edge, when they had AJ Styles, Samoa Joe ... then they fell into that kind of WCW trap, where they said 'we've got money, let's get the biggest stars' ... but the biggest stars aren't cutting edge usually."
You can read the full interview by clicking here. Be sure to check out our full live coverage of Bound for Glory this Sunday starting at 8pm ET!