Exclusive: Willie Mack talks about IMPACT Wrestling's success, his laid back attitude...and his animals
WILLIE Mack didn't think he would be featured so prominently on Impact Wrestling when he signed for the company in 2018. But, the 32-year-old Missouri-born former NWA National Heavyweight Champion has become somewhat of a mainstay on the show recently. Earlier this month he defeated Jake Crist, TJP and Trey Miguel in the opening bout of the company's flagship PPV Slammiversary, and he has no plans of stopping his ascent to the top.
In an exclusive interview for Sportskeeda, he said: "I want to stay with Impact because of the way it's coming up. I want to look back and be one of those guys who took the company back up to the forefront of wrestling. I remember watching Impact when it was weekly PPVs and you had to pay $12 every week. When you look back at that, you can see the company has picked up steam and momentum again. People have a lot of good things to stay about the product, rather than bad stuff, and it's good to be a part of it."
Impact has a turbulent time over the last three or four years, but the company now seems to be on a sound footing - both financially and in the ring. It's winning plaudits worldwide, and announced this week a renewal of its contract with Twitch, too.
But, as with most things in wrestling, there will always be haters, which is something Willie, who grew up idolising Hulk Hogan, has learned to ignore.
He explained: "I don't like to dwell on the negative stuff. Everything in this business is going to have a good and bad response and you just have to learn how to deal with it. There are always going to be the knuckleheads and the good folks, and then you've got the die-hard super fanatics. I get to the show and think 'what am I going to hear today? Am I going to hear something good or something stupid?'"
Although he's only 32, Willie is technically an 18-year ring veteran, having been allowed by his school teacher to go to training when he was just 14. Since then, he's wrestled for Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, NWA, Lucha Underground, Mach One Wrestling, House of Hardcore and many others. But it's in Impact where he has truly found his home.
Willie, who is probably one of the most laid-back men on the planet, continued: "I'm just going to keep going and see where it ends up. It's been great so far. I'd love to wrestle everyone on the roster. It's pretty damn good, if I say so myself. Although, I would like to get in there with the Moose's big head. Jake Christ and Rich Swann, and Sami Callihan have been my favourites to wrestle, so far. As long as I don't get hurt, I'd like to carry on the way I'm going."
Outside of the ring, Willie has plenty to keep himself busy, including three cats, several turtles, a bearded dragon and a "dumb ass turtle".
He added: "I love animals. If you can't talk to a person then you can talk to an animal that has no choice but to sit there and listen to your ass talking all day to relieve stress. Cats are arseholes a little bit, and they'll comfort you until they get bored and scratch or bite you. I also play a lot of video games, especially when I'm on the road."
You can watch Willie take over Impact wrestling Fridays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Pursuit Channel and Twitch in the United States, Fight Network and GameTV in Canada, Sony ESPN in India, 5STAR and Fight Network in the United Kingdom, SuperSport in Africa, and MVStv in Mexico.