I recently spoke with IZW wrestler Jermaine Johnson, who discussed this Saturday's Chaotic Christmas event. You can get more information about the show at IZWrestling.com. The full interview is below.
WrestlingINC: Tell fans who are not that familiar with Impact Zone Wrestling a little bit more about the promotion.
Jermaine Johnson: Impact Zone Wrestling, IZW, is a federation in Lawton, Oklahoma which is now trying to reach a broader fan base due to our Comcast partnership with GFL.tv. So, now we're getting to be seen in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Washington. We just got in Houston, Texas all through the Comcast markets.
We've got a lot of young talent that's hungry, very athletic and ready to go. We've got broad characters from top to bottom. Great talent -- including myself, the leader of the Hype Section: Jermaine Johnson. Former Impact division champion. At Chaotic Christmas, I plan on getting it back in an Impact X match up, which is brand new I believe. Combining the concept of a steel cage and Ultimate X. It has five dudes in it and we're telling them out there and give what you got and become Impact division champion.
WrestlingINC: Were you a wrestling fan growing up?
Johnson: Of course. I was a fan all of my life. As far as I can remember back, I've been going to wrestling shows. It's even been told to me that I was at wrestling shows before I was born. My mom was watching wrestling shows when she was pregnant. I've been getting it in from jump street.
WrestlingINC: [Laughs.] Who were some of your early favorites in the business?
Johnson: I started off as a Hulkamaniac as I think most everybody did. I got familiar with Sting a little bit later after. Then, I started looking at more athletic wrestlers. That's when I started liking Flyin' Brian, and Brad Armstrong... R.I.P. Brad Armstrong.
Later on, it was Ric Flair. Once you started realizing that guy was very cool, stylin' and profilin', you had to start liking him. Rick Rude was always a favorite of mine, Ricky Steamboat. Then, you get to the newer days with edge & Christian, The Hardy's and Shelton Benjamin later on. I like the more athletic, boisterous guys.
WrestlingINC: When did you realize that this was something you wanted to do?
Johnson: I want to say at like 5 I was set at that point. This is all I wanted to do. I never had another dream. I had another thing that I'd write down under 'Future Career.' So, it's been wrestling the entire time, that's all I ever geared myself up for. I'm very happy with where I'm at right now.
WrestlingINC: How did you get your start in IZW?
Johnson: I bought a magazine -- I'm not sure what the magazine's called, I think it was a little, miniature Pro Wrestling Illustrated magazine where they came out with a list of all the independent wrestling feds in there and they had all their information down. So, I took their numbers and they had all their information for schools and things of that nature.
Actually, I called a federation in Denver and I lived in Wichita, Kansas. So, I was going to drive from Wichita to Denver every week. When I told the promoter there, he laughed at me. He kind of called me stupid back-handedly. He was like 'Well, if someone is that stupid, I guess I should help them out.' So, he gave me the number to IZW in Oklahoma because he had just left that promotion and told me that was the best place for me.
So, I gave them a call and I ended up hooking up with Johnny Z who then gave me to the number two coach Gary Tool who was the trainer at the time. From there, we were rockin' and rollin'. That was July of 2007 and I've been a part of the promotion ever since.
WrestlingINC: You also had a tryout with TNA in Houston early this year, right?
Johnson: Yeah. I went and I did the Gut Check. It was in front of Simon Diamond, Bruce Prichard and Brian Heffner. It was a good experience. It was finally an opportunity to show me what's next. I had been riding the IZW train for four years at the time and I've been told 'Man, you're almost there. You're almost there.' Well, I wanted to see what almost really was.
So, I got the Gut Check and then a few months later, I got a called up to do a WWE try out. So, right now, I've been told exactly what I need to do to better myself for the future and I'm very excited about that.
WrestlingINC: Yeah, you mentioned the WWE tryout. What was that experience like?
Johnson: It was out of this world. I can't describe it all. The excitement that I felt, finally there and not paying to be there. They're actually looking at me based off my talent. They called me and said 'Let's do this.' So, it was a huge learning experience. Matt Striker, The Brooklyn Brawler, Titus O'Neal and Cody Rhodes talking to me. Yeah, it was definitely a learning experience to say the least.
WrestlingINC: How did the tryout itself go?
Johnson: Oh, it went very well. Williams Regal was supposed to be there and he was dealing with a minor surgery. So, I know that the next time I go, there's even more to experience. But, overall, I was very pleased with the tryout. I know the few steps necessary and I'm willing to take them. No doubt.
So, plan on seeing me real soon. But then, don't forget that GFL.tv presents Chaotic Christmas is this Saturday. You can see me right then. The future's looking bright, though.
WrestlingINC: You mentioned your tryouts with TNA and WWE. With IZW, how do you think their style compares with the kind of more mainstream style in TNA and WWE?
Johnson: Well, more so than any other independent promotions, we pattern a lot of our style off of what's on national television. I don't mean the actual in-ring performance, I mean production-wise and where we plan on our company being. We don't want t just be seen as a local, wahoo promotion at all. We're trying to reach new doors throughout our deal with GFL.tv and the Comcast networks. We see ourselves more as a national company, at least that's what were striving for.
So, the style here and what we're doing right now, I was very preparing in both tryouts to look at cameras and speak fluidly and things of that nature. That's what they're looking for in both companies and I think that we're providing that easily here in IZW.
WrestlingINC: You mentioned early that you're a triple crown champion and you'll be involved in the first ever Impact X match at Chaotic Christmas. What can fans expect of this match?
Johnson: You can expect five hungry individuals going all out with no limitations, no boundaries other than the boundary of a steel cage. But I promise you, very creative things are going to be happening in there. Bodies will be on the line in there, risks are going to be taken because the Impact division title is one of the most important titles in IZW. You have five dudes, Damien Morte, Bobby Starr, Jordan Jacobs, The Convict and myself, all willing to show the world and everyone nationally what it takes to be an IZW superstar and to hold the Impact division championship.
WrestlingINC: How can fans watch Chaotic Christmas this Saturday?
Johnson: You can watch Chaotic Christmas this Saturday on GFL.tv. You can watch IZW every week on GFL.tv, just check us out as soon as possible, get caught up. Be there, on GFL.tv this Saturday at 7pm, live. Check out Chaotic Christmas, Impact X and so much more.
WrestlingINC: Thanks a lot. Is there anything else you'd like to plug?
Johnson: No doubt. You can catch me on Twitter @JermaineAboutMe. We're all over the place. Check out your local Comcast networks, we're always showing replays of Halloween Hangover and Redemption I believe. So, there's always exciting things going on, check your local listings for that. Just stay tuned to WrestlingINC.com as well where we're always giving updates on reviews and previews for our upcoming shows.