TJ Wilson

Tyson Kidd Confirms He Will Never Wrestle Again, WWE Producer Job, Bret Hart, Natalya

TJ Wilson (@TJWilson) known by his ring name Tyson Kidd is a retired professional wrestler and wrestling producer with WWE. He sits down with Chris Van Vliet at his home in Tampa, FL to talk about his role as a WWE producer, some of the recent matches he’s proud of producing, his iconic hairstyle when he was an active competitor, being tag team partners with Cesaro (Claudio Castagnoli), his career-ending injury in 2015, why he says he will never wrestle again, The Dungeon that he and Natalya Neidhart opened in Florida, what he learned from Bret Hart and much more!

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On not coming back to the ring:

“I mean, I know they say never say never. But I’ve said never for the last eight years. No, the truth is I can do probably in some things I can do like 99% of the move. I just can’t do the actual bump, or you know, and I’m sure maybe I could take a couple but at what cost? I don’t know, like I haven’t taken one. So there is no point to me.”

On having a creative outlet:

“I am very fortunate, you know, I really enjoy my work as a producer. If I didn’t and if I didn’t have that outlet, I could understand why I would try to venture out and maybe try taking a bump and see how that felt and kind of go from there. But look, I’m very, very blessed. And luckily, I don’t have to go down that avenue. So I just don’t think I’m going to well, not I don’t think, I know I’m not gonna go down that avenue.”

On people thinking neck injuries are all the same:

“I get those messages a lot and I get that mindset. I understand where that comes from. I believe Steve Austin has the second highest, at least in terms of WWE wrestlers, in terms of how high their fusion is. His was, I think a C three and C four. Most of the normal one is like C five and six, or six and seven, mine C one and C two, the very top two vertebrae in your body minor fused. That’s the difference. That’s why even when it happened when I posted the picture of the scar, the staples in the back. One of the benefits of joining the broken neck club is, as I refer to it, Steve Austin becomes a friend of yours and he reaches out to you and your text and phone call all the time. But I posted that picture and within like 20 minutes, Austin was either calling me or texting me. And he’s like, Kid why did they go through the back. Why not through the front? And I explained what Steve it’s the equivalent of where they went is the equipment in my mouth. That’s when my fusion is adjacent to my mouth.”

On the matches TJ Wilson has produced recently:

“I’m proud of Charlotte, Bianca, and Asuka. SummerSlam triple threat. I was really proud of the women’s Royal Rumble this year. I loved it. I thought all the drama and the suspense on the end with Liv, Rhea and Asuka was exactly what we are. We’re looking for and the truth is I had a whole different finish planned using Nia, who I got okayed to come in as as a surprise entrant. She wasn’t resigned yet at that point. And I had a whole different finish involving her. And it got changed, maybe two days before, and um, everything in like, Oh, I’m not going to come up with anything better, you know, felt a little frustrated, not mad at anybody, that’s the game, sometimes, your idea goes through, and sometimes there’s little tweaks. And so what’s funny is we ended I learned a very, very valuable lesson, and I’ve come up with a way better finish than the one I had mapped out. In my mind. It was way, way better. So I learned a lesson to not fall in love with these not get married to these ideas, because things change, and it’s all moving parts, and we’ll figure it out the talent is good enough that we will absolutely figure this out.”

On the day-to-day process:

“Yeah, well, first of all, I’ll have the production meeting in the day, that’s the first thing I do. Then get out of the production meeting, then yeah, then get with the talent, then start kind of strategizing and figuring out, you know, a lot of things factor into these matches how much time we have? Is it two segments? Is it three segments? Is it a one? Where are we on the show? Is there another? Since I work with the women almost exclusively, is there another woman’s match on the show, okay, what are they doing that, then we’re going to do very different. So that if there are two on that show, or three, keep them all very different from each other. There are a lot of moving parts and a lot of a lot of different aspects that go into it. I mean, you know, it sounds so crazy, but a four-minute match and a seven-minute match are very different. In terms of putting it together, it’s very different. Just in terms of like, there’s just a lot more, I’ve had this conversation a bunch with Bayley but like, so a four-minute match, or a seven or eight-minute match. Again, let’s just say even set, let’s say 10. A 10-minute match, you know, if you mess up a couple of things in the beginning or maybe your ideas when you’re putting it together, maybe they weren’t exactly hitting in the beginning, you have a few more minutes to like, get out of that and be you know, in the whole match by the end can be totally different. In a four minute match every, you know, you might plan let’s just say six things, let’s say five things, each thing is worth 20% of that match. Sure. So each thing now has so much more importance in the shorter matches, it’s crazy, they’re a lot trickier to put together than the longer ones a 20-minute match is obviously you know, you have to feel that 20 minutes and if the story is right, that actually shouldn’t be that hard, honestly, but a five-minute match is a little trickier to put together than a 20-minute match if you can believe that. Again cardio and all that is a whole different ballgame. But a five-minute match is tricky because you know whoever is losing they want to make sure that they look good before the losing, you have, you know three or four minutes to do that you know it’s the time crunch is very different.”

What happens during the matches:

“I’m in Gorilla and have the headset on. I always joke that you haven’t really worked in WWE to put that headset on at least one time it’s crazy you put that headset on and you’re talking to a lot of people at one time. Every camera guy can hear me when I press the ring channel whatever. Every cameraman can hear me. The truck can hear me the referee because the referee I can talk to the ref Hunter. Triple H Bruce Prichard. I mean, whoever’s got the headset on Billy Kidman who is timing the show you put you put that headset on you’re talking to at least like 15 people but like maybe five or six are talking back to you and you’re trying to watch the match and you’re trying to communicate to the truck of like what you know you don’t want to miss shot so what’s happening next and a lot of times the town will come to the back and they’ll ask me what I thought of the match and I can give them a general view of the match. But I always tell them I have to go and watch it after by myself because there’s too much stuff going on. I’m checking the time I’m talking to the truck I’m talking to the ref Hey make sure Hey tell them plan the plan B plan B I mean that happened a few weeks. A match few weeks was very proud of the Becky and Zoey Falls Count Anywhere match and there were a lot of lot audibles going on on the fly that if you were just watching it and I didn’t know you wouldn’t catch them but when at home watching it back I caught that when I cut that one cut down okay.”

Plan B in terms of what’s going on in the mat or like an actual different finish:

“Not a different finish but just either making something longer or making it shorter depending on time, especially when you have that last segment on SmackDown or Raw, there’s not an overrun anymore. It’s tense, it stands like on headset, they’re, you know, they start, they’ll, they’ll hit you, we have five minutes to drop dead. I remember the first time I heard drop dead. That’s pretty intense.”

On making wrestlers better:

“And what’s cool is what my ultimate idea of it would be is basically what it is now. But I kind of needed everybody to get there but exactly where it is just a workshop where we kind of just throw around different philosophies and different psychologies and then almost like play them out and see if we feel it works or doesn’t work and kind of just trying different things. But you know, it kind of needed everybody to get to a certain level before we could get there. Like I trained a couple of guys from scratch who have improved immensely. It’s just, it’s a good, sorry, it’s not even good. It’s a great, it’s just a great environment. Like I’ve had a lot of guys come and say to the two guys that train from scratch, they’ve told them I don’t know if you guys realise it’s not like a normal wrestling school. Like there’s no, there’s not a lot of like, BS or backstabbing or, you know, that toxicity going on of? Yeah, just and that’s not to say that only happens in wrestling, it just is sometimes it’s human nature, you know, gossip, and that kind of thing happens. But at my ring, I feel like we don’t have much of that. There’s no point it’s not about, you know, getting booked on this local show. We have a bunch of guys like, Dawkins who’s on SmackDown Apollo, who’s I believe on Raw at the moment. B-Fab again, who’s on SmackDown. You know, you have Moose from Impact Wrestling, I get to all these people from all these different places. And then it’s almost like we all kind of come together and then everybody kind of disperses and like, all right, go spread the information and go.” 

On training Natalya:

“I trained her from the beginning from the very, very beginning. Yeah, that’s where like, I’m very proud, obviously, of Natalie’s career, having the most matches of any woman in WWE history, and she just keeps adding on to that. You know, that’s like Cal Ripken thing. You can’t manufacture that, you know, you have to show up, you have to show up and you have to, you know, buy the whatever the star, whatever, but to not be injured in this in any sport. You know, that’s why Cal Ripken’s record. It’s, it’s hard to play a sport. You know, all in baseball, 162 games, you know, basketball 82 games, hockey, it’s hard to do that in wrestling. WWE is 52 weeks a year. Yeah, there’s no offseason I, you know, we would do WrestleMania which would be our Super Bowl, the next day is Raw. So like, we do the Super Bowl, and then very next days, the regular season game. And then generally the week after that, then we’d go to Europe. So it’s like then we’re in Europe for two weeks as a talent like you just you do the Super Bowl. Imagine doing the Super Bowl and then like the very next week is a game again, and off you go and I get it. it’s only in our world. And there’s a reason for it. It’s just interesting when you look at it, compared to anything else, it just is a different animal altogether. So these accolades that Natty has, it’s going to be it’s, I say nearly impossible to beat but I use the Dr. Tom quote of what’s possible has been done, what’s impossible will be done. So again, never say never, but I don’t know. I don’t know how anyone’s gonna get close to touching these numbers that Natty has.”

What is TJ Wilson grateful for:

“Wrestling, my health and I wake up pain-free.”

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