Moose (@themoosenation) is a professional wrestler and the current TNA World Champion. He sits down with Chris Van Vliet in Las Vegas to talk about the return of TNA Wrestling, beating Alex Shelley for the TNA World Championship at Hard To Kill, why he chose to sign the longest contract in TNA history instead of going to WWE or AEW, his friendship with Scott D’Amore, how he came up with the flipping Spear as his finisher, what he learned from his 7-year career in the NFL, wanting to open up the Forbidden Door and have a match with Roman Reigns, who he puts on his TNA Mount Rushmore and much more.
Quote I’m thinking about:
“Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.” – Helen Keller
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On TNA being back:
“[It feels] great. It is something that within the boys that we’ve always talked about and we’ve always said to each other, like, what if TNA came back and we wasn’t Impact Wrestling anymore? We were just TNA, I didn’t know personally, they never told me anything. I’m the last person that finds out about anything that’s going on. And I remember the night. I think Josh was in the main event. And everybody was like, make sure you watch the monitors after the match. In my head, I was like, what’s going on? Is CM Punk coming in? Because he was a free agent. Is CM Punk coming in? No way like, well, I’m going to watch the monitor and then the match is over and the reveal happens and there was a reaction video and you can see me jump up, get on the chair and start chanting, TNA, TNA TNA like with the rest of the boys. I think that was probably the most epic part of the last year for us.”
On Nic Nemeth:
“I’m sure he’s gonna have great matches with other talented guys on our roster. And people, this is the crazy thing about it. Like, you go on Twitter, and you see all these idiots that never watched a product, only say bad things. But then you watch the product. And as soon as you watch it, you’re hooked. You’re like, Oh my God, I didn’t know. TNA was this f*cking good? And we are. I think in my personal opinion, we are the best wrestling company from top to bottom.”
On his ability to sell:
“So it’s two things with that. When I first got into wrestling, 10-11 years ago, I was in a company called Ring of Honor. And I met a guy called Chris Hero. One thing Chris Hero told me that always stuck with me, he told me his words, You’re not going to be determined on how good you are about the things you do offensively, we’re gonna determine how good you are by how you sell. And that always stuck with me. And another thing, part two, one of my favourite wrestlers, to this day is Brock Lesnar. And the reason why he’s my favourite wrestler is, despite the wrong reasons, because yes, he’s a monster. He’s a beast, he kills people. But that’s not why I like him. He’s, in my opinion, the best seller in pro wrestling. I’ve literally watched a match with him versus Ric Flair, 60-year-old Ric Flair. And in that match, I literally thought the 60-year-old man was going to beat this beast, and all due to this beast selling. And just watching that I knew, Okay, whenever I get to this spot, I have to do a good enough job as he’s doing or a better job than him to be successful and be good at this. Every time I go to a match if a guy tells me Oh, I’m working the body part. I know the whole night my goal is for them in the headpiece to get the ref to ask them is he really Okay. So that’s my goal to get them to ask me that.”
On selling big moves:
“It’s a lot of work, man. Like I said, when I told myself I was going to leave that life of football and get into professional wrestling, I put 110% into it and getting in shape, losing the weight, being more agile, putting in countless time in the filming room watching some of my favourite wrestlers and some of my friends are like some of the best wrestlers in the world. So they’re just them being my friends. I learned from Eddie Edwards, one of my best friends. I look at him as a brother and I’ve learned so much from Eddie. I did one of my longest tours in Japan, it was probably like five weeks with Eddie and just in that short period of time I learned so much about Japanese wrestling and how they do things differently there. And then you have Brian Myers. He’s a good friend of mine, but we just became close in the last maybe year. Just in this last year. A lot of people don’t give credit to Brian on his knowledge of wrestling like things that he does as a heel that is so freakin good. And I get to learn from him every day because for a while we were a tag team. Then you got guys in other companies, Ricochet, probably one of the best wrestlers in the world. Scott D’Amore, a mentor Big Brother, he actually brought me into wrestling, one of the greatest minds in wrestling. I get to learn from him. I just think because of who I put myself around that’s probably one of the reasons why I’m in this position I am today like, just being around great human beings Apollo, I forgot to mention him such a great wrestler, in my opinion. I think he’s being underutilised right now up where he’s at, but he’s a great wrestler. A great friend of mine, I get to learn from him. And it’s like, just without those guys all those names I mentioned, probably someone I’m missing. I wouldn’t be in the position I am.”
On re-signing with TNA despite there being other interest:
“It was a few things. Number one, I’m a very loyal person. And my relationship with Scott D’Amore, honestly, I wouldn’t be in the position I am today if I never met Scott 10-plus years ago. So it’s hard for me to ever say no to him when we’re discussing numbers and what my future would be. Because I feel like in this business. First of all, I played in the NFL for seven-plus years. I’ve made a tonne of money doing that. So money was never something precious to me. I was good with my money. You hear you hear bad stories. Luckily for me, fortunately for me, I did good. I saved a good bit. So money has never been something that rained heavy over my head like, oh, I need money I need so but I’ll stick to Scott for right now for the first reason. My relationship with Scott playing in the NFL. So for so long and knowing that that business can be so cutthroat they can really let you go in any second. But my relationship with Scott is, it’s more than just a boss-talent relationship is almost like a big brother little brother. So he’s had to be my coach, be my friend and be my boss. So now I had to think about that.
If I go to AEW, I don’t have a relationship with Tony. So he’s literally just my boss. If I go to WWE, I don’t have a relationship with Hunter. He’s really just my boss. So some of the things that some of the situations I could potentially be in are just a boss talent conversation. Where here in TNA is a friend first, a friend-friend conversation, a big brother little brother with compensation, and then there’s a boss talent compensation. So I had to throw that in, that was a big decision making for me. Number two, because I’ve made money playing over seven years in the NFL money wasn’t a huge burden for me. So going to AEW or going to WWE wasn’t the money wasn’t attractive. And for me, the guys who know me will tell you everybody loves me, because that’s my goal is to make everybody love me. But some people like hate dealing with me, because my greatest gift is also my greatest curse. I take wrestling so seriously, that if I’m gonna go somewhere, I know how good I am as a wrestler.
I know that In my humble opinion, I’m one of a kind. I know what I could do in the ring. I know how I look physically. I know that I could talk on the mic. So if I’m not in a spot that I deserve, I should be. Money is not attractive to me to get me to be happy with where I’m at. I want to play, I don’t want this much money to be on the bench. I want to be on the field. So I had to think about that. And at that point, I don’t know if I was confidence confident enough to make that jump and be the starter. I don’t know that wrestling is one of those things that it doesn’t matter how talented you are. It matters how somebody perceives you. So your control is out of your hands.”
On knowing his talent:
“I know how good I am sure. I know if I go to any of those companies. I should be up there with whoever their superstars and top guys are. But like I say the difference between wrestling and pro sports is it doesn’t matter about how talented, it matters about whoever’s writing the script, how they perceive you. So I could be the best athlete, best look, best on the mic. But the guy writing the stories thinks the next guy is better and I get to stay at home.”
On retiring in TNA:
I can’t answer that question because I don’t know. I can’t tell the future. I can’t tell you if I’m even going to wake up tomorrow, so I can’t speak for that. But I will say this. I’m not one of those guys that you see, who wants to wrestle until he’s 60 or 50 years old, that’s never been my goal. I want to be able to leave wrestling young and still be able to run around and play with my kid, be active and do fun things. So I can’t tell you that I’m going to retire in TNA. But I do know for a fact that I’m not one of those guys, that is gonna wrestle til he’s 50 years old, I turned 40 this year. It all depends on how I feel physically. If I still have confidence in my abilities, to still perform the way I perform now. And if I feel like there’s any dip in that down the road then I’ll hang it up.”
On using the spear as a finisher:
“So funny story about the spear. And it’s so annoying, because sometimes, the few times, I will go on Twitter. And I will see some areas like oh, you stole Bobby Lashley’s move. And it was like first of all, Bobby great friend of mine. Great individual. So happy for success. But if you look at the footage of when I started doing the spear, the flipping spear I started that in Ring of Honor in 2014 and Bobby just doing a regular spear. So yeah, so but I didn’t make the spear up. Everything is stolen in wrestling from somebody. So I remember training in wrestling in 2012 and Curtis Hughes had an indie show that he just did. And was watching some of the matches in the show. And there was some guy and I can’t even tell you what his name is. He did a spear and he actually flipped in it. And I was like, oh my God that is so cool. I was like can you rewind that? And he rewound it and I saw it again. I was like, I think I want that to be my finish. It makes sense. I’m a football player, right? Now, can I flip when I spear somebody? And I did it, it was so easy. It didn’t hurt my opponent. And I was like, well, that’s my finisher.”
On his TNA Mount Rushmore:
“That’s easy, that’s very easy. AJ Styles Jeff Jarrett, Abyss and Kurt Angle.”
What is Moose grateful for?
“All the individuals that I have met that have helped me, my wife and this path of life.”