SK Exclusive: Josh Mathews discusses Scott Steiner, Jeremy Borash's departure, becoming Grand Champion & more
Part 1 of our conversation with the Impact Grand Champion
Last week, the whole world was shocked when Matt Sydal offered his Impact Wrestling Grand Championship to his one true spirit guide, Josh Mathews. Mathews effectively became the Impact Wrestling Grand Champion, with Sydal's act of charity.
Of course, Mathews has a huge role in Impact Wrestling, beyond that of a mere on-screen character. We caught up with him and spoke at length about a variety of subjects pertaining to the promotion.
Before we talk about you, I have to confirm something. The press release for the 'Lucha Underground vs. Impact Wrestling' event has a mention of Big Poppa Pump Scott Steiner. Is he back on board once again?
Josh Mathews: Scott will be part of our WrestleCon, our signing and things like that. So, I guess it's just that, that weekend.
You worked with him during Slammiversary. Is he really as crazy as people make him out to be?
Josh Mathews: Yes. As people make him out to be.
So, when you wrestled in India in the exhibition match, was that the first time you had wrestled since Tough Enough?
Josh Mathews: Yes, when I had my exhibition in India, I think it was the first time I had wrestled...no, thinking back it wasn't the first time I had wrestled. I had two maybe three matches in WWE, on SmackDown. That was in 2004-05. So it's been quite a long time since I was in the ring. No practice for the Swanton. Just went out and did it in Mumbai and had a lot of fun.
So, will we see you wrestling a lot more as the Impact Grand Champion or will you be taking a more spiritual approach?
Josh Mathews: I think I'll take more of a spiritual approach. I think the Grand Championship was something that was gifted to me by Matt Sydal. It was unexpected. But I love being the Grand Champion. So I don't think I want to put it on the line and risk losing the Championship I worked so hard for.
How did the whole alliance with Matt Sydal come about?
Josh Mathews: Well, it is something that was talked about and an opportunity arose for Matt to have his one true spirit guide as someone who helped him get to the point of being a Double Champion and the opportunity to really thrive in his career. I think everything that you've seen so far is just hitting the tip of the iceberg if you will, with Matt Sydal and his one true spirit guide.
When you were in India with the previous regime the mantra was 'Make Impact Great Again' (under Jeff Jarrett's leadership). Does the motto still hold?
Josh Mathews: Well, it's an interesting motto. An interesting way to look at things. To say 'make it great again' would be to say it wasn't great, good or anything over the past two years, and for those of us that have been there for the last four-five years, we worked hard.
With limited resources and limited opportunities to do new things that were being done, before the previous regime came along in the beginning of last year, there were some things that were happening that were exciting. The wedding of Braxton Sutter and Allie and Laurel Van Ness and the thing that happened with Maria, that was all exciting.
And then along comes 'Make Impact Great Again' and it lasted for six-seven months. Now it's not there anymore. And now we're on this...I don't think there's even a motto...it's just an opportunity to work hard, make great television, do things the right way, put emphasis on digital content, put emphasis on 'One Night Only', put emphasis on Twitch.
That doesn't need a motto or a catchphrase. It just needs hard work.
So now, because of Don Callis' affiliation with New Japan, can we expect something in that realm as well?
Josh Mathews: I don't know the answer to that question. I'm not being coy. I just don't. You have to ask Don that, if that opportunity is going to be presented, that's a question for Don.
Fair enough. How did you find out that Jeremy Borash would no longer be on board and what was your reaction?
Josh Mathews: My immediate reaction was that I was happy for him. I don't remember who called me in the morning to tell me that we had to do a change in our VO schedule and that Sonjay was coming in. I was happy for JB. I've talked to JB a few times since then.
And I'm happy for him. But I'm also happy for Impact because JB leaving opened up an opportunity for Sonjay Dutt to come along and show everyone his skills as a colour commentator. And I think he's done an outstanding job thus far. And it's only really been just the beginning.
Wrestling commentary is hard because you have to be dialled into every storyline that's happening on Impact. Not only the storylines that are happening but all the shows in California, shows in Canada, WrestleCon, Twitch, GWN. Sonjay has a good idea of what's happening. That translates each and every week on Impact.
Your chemistry is fabulous. When he recovers will he still be behind the desk or go back to being on-screen talent?
Josh Mathews: That's a question Sonjay will have to answer for himself. Does he have anything to accomplish as a competitor? Does he want to be 2-time X-Division Champion? I see him looking at my Grand Championship a lot. He's very envious that I'm a Champion and he's not. And I'll catch him every once in a while trying to hold my title.
I tell him- 'Sonjay, look. I'm a Champion that worked very hard for this. You're not right now. When you're fully recovered, go win a title. We can be the announce team that both have Championships.'
Tell us about the Desi Hit Squad.
Josh Mathews: I think the Desi Hit Squad is something that is great for Impact Wrestling. You have Gama Singh, a legendary figure not only in India but throughout the entire world in professional wrestling. Gama has put together a group of individuals that he thinks could take Impact to the next level, that he thinks will take Impact to bigger places.
The next time we come to India, will we see the Desi Hit Squad holding Championship gold? Rohit Raju and the individual you're going to see very soon on Impact Wrestling have an opportunity to step up, impress Gama Singh and show the world that the Desi Hit squad can come to Impact, build some momentum and take over, not only for themselves but for India. For all of their friends and family watching back home.
Can you give some spiritual advice to your fans in Mumbai?
Josh Mathews: Just keep your chi centred. Take deep breaths. Do yoga. I mean I'm really a spirit guide, so if the fans in India want to send me money, I will gladly give them advice. But it comes at a very high price.
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