In an interview with Inside the Ropes, Ring of Honor’s Kenny King talked about his time working with TNA (Impact Wrestling), first from 2005-2006 and again from 2012-2015. He also compared the locker room of TNA to that of ROH’s numerous locker rooms over the years.
“Well I remember when I first started with TNA in 2005/2006, it’s really where I wanted to be,” King said. “I wanted a match with AJ Styles, I wanted to run in the X Division, I wanted to show that I could go in the X Division. It just was not to be for a myriad of reasons, I guess. But one thing that I will say about the IMPACT and TNA locker room, from like 05-06, even my stint in 2012-15, the locker room was always the best part of being there. The locker room was never a problem. In any of TNA’s success stories or failures, whatever you always had a group of people, men and women that were just willing to go out there and set themselves on fire, to make sure that the people were getting the best possible show. The problem with TNA is always the office. But it was a very tight knit group. I was there when Hogan, and Sting, and Kurt Angle, and Jeff Hardy, and these mega mega stars were there. But it never ever felt like there were two TNAs.
“Hogan and Sting would very much come in and be nice to the boys. Even though they had their own spaces, they would come in to where the rest of us would be at and they would make themselves part of the squad. It was not very clearly shut off. I don’t know how to compare that to Ring Of Honor. Ring Of Honor’s just a family there. It really is just a group of, a crew of people that when people come in and they fit that mold and they just get sucked right into it. You know, there’s people that come in and they don’t fit it, and they can’t really get down with it because it doesn’t fit. But the TNA locker was always working toward, ‘whatever you got going on there, we’re just going to make this the best.’ And Ring Of Honor, it’s very much like, ‘well, it’s us against everybody else.'”
King also referred to how the ROH locker room changed during a certain point in time, according to him, for the worst. Without naming names, King indicated the issues were caused by a club, possibly referring to the Bullet Club’s run with Ring of Honor in the mid 2010’s.
“I don’t want to get too deep into it. But it was just that there was division where there had never been before,” King said. “If the Briscoes don’t want their own locker room, then nobody ever deserved one, right? The Briscoes built Ring Of Honor, right? So it’s just one of those things where people had just, you know, I don’t know, started smelling themselves a bit, and it just made the whole feel of the locker room a little different than it had ever been. And it just – there wasn’t a community and it wasn’t the cooperation. Everybody wasn’t hitting on all cylinders like I feel like we had before and after. So it was definitely something that I feel like we all needed to experience to know that that that something like that was possible.”
Another issue King had during his Ring of Honor run was with former booker Jim Cornette. King detailed the heat between the two, which started when he left ROH for Impact in 2012 and has since escalated from there.
“To be fair, and to be completely honest, I didn’t think Jim Cornette was a piece of s--t until after I left Ring Of Honor,” King revealed. “The times that we worked together, I didn’t really have any issues with Jim. I don’t say that we saw eye to eye on everything, but for the most part, we had a pretty decent working relationship. At one point, I even confided in him before any of that like, ‘well, you know, I may even want to retire from wrestling.’ But at some point, we had a long conversation about that.
“The issue was there was a lot of issues that kind of forced my hand in that, you know, contract negotiation issues I didn’t really dig the way those were going. I didn’t really like the way Jim would, you know, everywhere every promoter or booker has their favorites or whatever, but the booking it just didn’t line up with the way that I was feeling the Midnight Express was cooking. Our beef really didn’t start until I left because, in my opinion, he just he felt like he got outsmarted. He underestimated me and I didn’t trick or do anything, but I did what’s best for me and my family. We never had f*****g handshake deal. It was, ‘hey, okay, I might do this or I might not’ and that’s all it really was.
“And to be fair, I did everything that I was supposed to do. I even called when I was doing a TNA trial. Like, who’s gonna call another company and say, ‘hey, look, I’m doing this and, you know, I’m not under contract and I’m not going to throw the Ring Of Honor titles in the trash. But if you see me pop up on IMPACT tonight, this is what it is right?’ That’s really where it started. And he feels outsmarted by me, and he put some press release that sounded like a 16 year old girl that had seen her boyfriend at the mall holding hands with another girl. It was so stupid that Joe Koff made him take it down.
“It just was the precursor to all his lame ass behavior these days and all his stupid ass outdated views and all this dumb s**t that he does now. I’ve been telling people, ‘you know, Jim Cornette is an a*****e,’ and the negative effect that it has because he has a large group of people that listen to his b******t without any kind of critical thought. So it did have somewhat of a negative effect on my career. It would be like dissing Beyonce, right? If you diss Beyonce, you’re gonna have a million freaking drones buzzing in your ear. So yeah, it did affect slightly, but the people that were fans of my work and people who were fans of me and had ever heard me speak on the situation realize that I never did anything wrong. I’ve been back Ring Of Honor for going on six years now, I’ve signed four contracts. Jim can’t even come backstage. So, you know what I mean? When Joe Koff reached out to me and said, ‘are you ready to come home?’ That’s how I know I did everything the way I was supposed to do. Business is just business, and Jim was just a butthurt little b***h. That’s all I got to say about that.”
You can watch the full interview below.