Joe Hendry

I Believe In Joe Hendry! NXT & TNA Crossover, His Catchy Theme Song, John Cena, Cody Rhodes

Joe Hendry (@joehendry) is a professional wrestler currently signed to TNA. He sits down with Chris Van Vliet at West Coast Creative Studios in Hollywood to talk about the viral success of hit entrance song “I Believe in Joe Hendry” which reached number 4 in the UK charts, plans to return to the UK charts and representing the country in the Eurovision Song Contest, his recent musical performance on TNA Impact, working with the likes of Cody Rhodes and Drew McIntyre earlier in his career, getting a phone call from John Cena when he was 15, his time in WCPW where he faced off against Kurt Angle and more!

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On creating a catchy theme song:

“Well, I reverse-engineered it from what I wanted to happen. So for me, professional wrestling is all about crowd interaction. So throughout the song, you’ll notice we literally show and tell what we want the audience to do. So ‘Say his name and he appears…’ and you will see the two claps. Whichever version of the song I’ve had, there’s always been a visual of the two hand claps. Then I literally tell the audience to wave their hands from side to side, and it comes from I heard Queen talk about how they structured We Will Rock You and how they found the perfect BPM for how they wanted people to stomp and clap. And then I looked at the BPM they used for the slower moments and I went for 120 BPM for the faster which is the kind of hypnotic pop timing.”

On the change of tempo:

“The song I had before people liked and it was catchy but I just felt like it needed a bit more energy. So I wanted something a bit faster. So the first section is a little bit like International Love by Pitbull. I mentioned this when we were driving over, I was a musician for a long time before I got into wrestling. And this melody was me saying, Oh God, we’re never gonna make it with this rock music, we should just be like Pitbull and just name places. So I came up with a song that was just making fun of how not successful we were, and after shows would be driving and going ‘London, and Paris and Tokyo…’ And then when I was coming up with the song, it just kept getting stuck in my head and I was like, maybe this is the one. And so yeah, it was a song that I made for a joke making fun of the fact that I wasn’t successful as a musician about 10 years ago and then that just kept getting stuck in my head and here we are now.”

On when the song went viral:

“So I think that professional wrestling and entertainment is all about timing. So there are certain things that I’ve done that would be good ideas in isolation but if the wave is coming at the right time and then you deploy the idea, that’s when things explode. So I’ll give you an example. The billboard that I just appeared on, that’s an idea I’ve had for months and months and wanted to do but just never had the right moment. I thought, well, you know, 10s of 1000s of wrestling fans are going to be in my home country on a certain day at a certain time, maybe that’s the time to deploy the idea. So I kind of take the same approach with everything and I take my approach to wrestling like that. So with the song, a lot of people were telling me to upload it to Spotify and release it officially and I knew I was going to do it. But it was when I noticed on TikTok that if anyone made a TikTok with the song, it was getting hundreds of thousands of hits. I thought now might be the time. So I decided to upload it, I did that and then I started to think actually, how many units do you need to sell for it to chart? And then as with many things I do in life, I watched a YouTube video on how to do it, honestly, YouTube is such a phenomenal education for anything. So there was a video about these guys who got sponsorship money from Saints Row and they were told to make something to promote the video game in a YouTube video and they were like, Let’s make a song about Saints Row and get it in the charts. And they unveiled the units it takes, they unveiled the process you have to go through and I didn’t do the exact strategy, but I took elements of that. The funny thing is the charts run from Friday to Thursday, but I didn’t know that. I just thought well, I’ll release it on Monday. So this all kicked off, this is where the luck came in, this all kicked off because there was no release competition on the Monday because all artists released on the Friday. So in Monday’s iTunes charts, we were like, I looked at my phone, I was like, oh my God, number 20 in the iTunes charts, that’s crazy! Then I tweeted that out and everyone’s like, he’s number 20. Let’s push him up. Then it went to one in the UK on iTunes six in the US, one in Malta, and three in Ireland, it was wild. Then it really caught fire and then we hit the media trail, and then it started to actually do pretty well.”  

On why the song did not catch on in Ring of Honor:

“There are many elements to it, but I think I’ve put things together in TNA. So before TNA I had the gimmick but not the character. So I had these custom entrance songs that were over and people really enjoyed. But that was what I was doing. Whereas the character elements of who Joe Hendry is on television, that came to be in TNA. I think you can see that in the video, you can see the Joe Hendry character in that video. I will say this, it really has taken an army of people to get me to this point, and I will shout out with many people. But one person I’m going to shout out first is Eric Young. Just this is where I feel like you know, someone’s looking out for me a few weeks before I got to TNA, me and Eric Young first met on a show in Germany. And he was like, right, this should be your finish this do this, do that do this, don’t do that kind of stuff, and he helped me understand how I should approach this. So that’s when it started. Then TNA management has worked very hands-on with me, and it’s just been an incredible learning experience. So I think it’s putting everything together in the video that you see now for TNA, you hear the songs which I had before, but you see the character elements.”

On creating lightning in a bottle:

“We say I’ve created lightning in a bottle but honestly, I would not be doing any of this without the fans and the loyalty that I’ve had over the years. There were times when the only thing that kept me going and my rent paid were my Twitch audience when it was like 12 people watching, so those are the people that I’m thankful for. I’m thankful for the fans that are helping me do this because, without their support, it doesn’t mean anything. All the stuff that I’m doing means something because they believe in it, forgive the term, but that’s why this matters because the fans believe in it. So I’m just incredibly grateful to be in this spot. I really don’t take it for granted. I know how important timing is. I know that there’s so few times in life where you get a window of opportunity like this and I fully intend to seize it with both hands. But like I say, it takes an army of people to get you to this point, I have so many supportive colleagues, TNA management have been unbelievable. I just wouldn’t be in this spot if I wasn’t working with Eddie Edwards and Brian Myers and Moose and Frankie Kazarian. It’s one of those things, I’ll miss somebody but it’s just like, there’s a lot of people looking out for me, there’s a lot of people who are who have helped me a lot along the way. I have to say though, I may have to retract that about The System in TNA because we’re having problems now. They might have helped me get to this point. But now, you know, the student might have to [fight back].”

On a very early conversation with John Cena:

“This is when I first got into wrestling. What happened was, I couldn’t go to a wrestling event that my friend went to and he got the VIP package. So I’ll tell you from my perspective, my friend was called Kyle and my phone goes and I saw it was Kyle’s number. I answer the phone and I hear ‘It’s your boy John Cena’ and it was John Cena. My friend Kyle in the middle of this, you know, busy Meet and Greet said my friend couldn’t make it. Would you phone him? And John Cena said Yeah, sure. Me and John Cena talked for 10 minutes and he let me tell him about my thoughts on creative and I thought he was going to win the title the next year. And he let me have that moment in that conversation when I’m sure the queue was, you know, just infinite. So that really meant something to me. I was 15 at the time, so that meant something to me. That displayed leadership for me when it came to how to treat your fan base.”

On Cody Rhodes:

“So Cody and I initially worked together in What Culture Pro Wrestling and I think that was a real missed opportunity for me to get mentorship from Cody. Because I came up through a company called ICW in Scotland, which was like, at one point, it was the hottest indie in the world, but it was very much a shark tank, it was just that type of environment. I don’t mean that in a bad way, necessarily, I just mean that everything was moving so fast and it was like I have to be respected and I have to convey myself as a top talent. So when I got to What Culture, I think rather than learn to be a student, I was trying to be like, I can be on Cody’s level, and I think I maybe missed mentorship opportunity there. But we were on the same tour right around the time that he was starting AEW. And obviously, at the time, that may not be the right fit, but rather than just be like, No, Cody came to me and he says Listen, like, I think Ring of Honor is interested in you, he’s like you’re not under contract? Because I’d done some stuff with TNA when it was Impact back in 2018 and I think there was the assumption that it was under contract, but I just done a handful of shows. So Cody set up the that that call with me and Ring of Honor, and honestly it was like, deal was done in five minutes. So all of this happened because of that call, I did the first Ring of Honor show back with the new ownership so if I hadn’t had my time in Ring of Honor, I learned so much that I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing right now. So I definitely owe Cody Rhodes a cigar for sure. [Cody Rhodes basically stuck his neck out for you?] 100%, and the thing I respected about him was it’s like, okay, like, we can’t make something work here right now. But I know I know these guys want you, I’m gonna put in a good word, Just a great dude. Yeah, very thankful for that.”

On his musical segment on TNA Impact:

“Interestingly, I was asked to do the concert by TNA management and I was initially hesitant because The Rock had just done another Rock Concert and I thought I’m gonna have to bring it, this just can’t be a concert. This has to be knocked out of the park. One of the other problems I had was I hadn’t played acoustic guitar since 2015, which was the last time I did something like that. I’m the type of musician I am. See for my entrance song I played the guitar isn’t that but what I’ll do is I’ll practice what I need to practice to play the parts in the studio and then forget about it. If you asked me to play the solo in my entrance I would need an hour or two just to refamiliarise myself. It’s not planted in there. Again, I feel that your brain only has so much information. So I was like, right. Okay, so I got to play these three songs and I haven’t played acoustic guitar in a long time. So to me, we’re adding in these little chaos variables. And I remember TNA management said to me If you feel that you can’t do this, we won’t do it. But if you really want to be a top guy in this business, top talents don’t say no, this is what we need. And I was like, fair point, absolutely fair point. And they said, so if you’re telling us it can’t be done, can’t make it work, we won’t do it. But we’re going to prepare as if you can do it. And when I look back, that is the same conversation I had almost every taping for the six months prior to that, me going I don’t know if we can do that. I don’t know if we can do that. And management says, No, you can do it. You’ve done it. It wasn’t like a lack of faith in myself. It was more just like, I’m thinking about logistical variables and all that. And that really taught me the lesson I think just in time that actually is a top talent. Your job is not to get over under ideal circumstances, it’s your job to get over under the given circumstances. So the conversation then became about how can we do this so they won’t just feel secondary to the musical concerts that have come before. So we were told we might be able to use a copyrighted song and I was like, Okay, we might be onto something here. So if we can use a copyrighted song, it has to be something that people associate with wrestling. So it has to be like a Limp Bizkit or Evanescence or Creed. So we started with like, I couldn’t really find something for My Sacrifice.” 

“Then Higher [by Creed], it was like fired, Can you please get fired? Oh, man, that’s a little rough. AJ [Francis] love him, he wasn’t the biggest fan of that one. I will say this about AJ, working with AJ has been fantastic because he’s the perfect catalyst for what I needed at that point on the show and whether he agreed or disagreed with what I was doing, or liked or didn’t like it, it didn’t matter. When he went out he gave it 1,000%. Part of the reason why it got so over is because of the way AJ sold it. So you know, I hate to give the guy credit. But I knew when I went out to do the concert, what had to do was I was like, How can I make this as easy as possible for myself? So you know how I said you have those chaos variables? How can we take away those? So some of them are gone because we were in a music venue. You know how live music sounds sometimes in you know, wrestling shows or whatever it sometimes doesn’t always hit or if you’re watching music from a festival on TV and the sound just isn’t quite there. Live life sound can be tough. But rather than play full band, it was acoustic. So you’re going right? I’m going to a decent music venue an amazing music venue. So we took away some of the chaos variables there. So I decided I would get the best guitar that money could buy. Because I thought there’s a lot of things I can’t control and this is what wrestling is control the things that you can control. So I got the best guitar that money can buy in my view. It was a Martin, one-piece solid mahogany guitar, which set me back like two and a half grand, something like that. And people are like, Oh my god, I can’t believe you did that. And I knew I had to do it. Because I knew with that concert my career would never be the same after it. Whether it be bad or good, my career would never be the same when I came back from that concert. That was the moment that people started seeing me in a different light.” 

Didn’t you lose the guitar?

“So what happened was I got this guitar and I’m told you can take it with you. So they took it off me, they checked that and my bag. My bag made it but the guitar didn’t so they just chose not to pick the guitar and I’m going oh my God, because the rehearsal was the day before. So I’ve got to Las Vegas with no guitar. So I’m in Vegas. We can’t do the rehearsal now the day before because the guitar is not there and I am sweating buckets about this. It was BA, I hate to throw them under the bus. So it eventually arrived at midnight, the night before the concert, right? The crazy thing was when I opened the case, I remember opening the guitar and I thought this has been in like freezing temperatures in the sky. This has been in the Vegas heat, these strings, this is never going to be in tune, picked it up perfectly in tune. In that moment, I knew I’d made the right decision by getting the best guitar that I could get. I mean, there’s more expensive guitars, limited editions but in terms of, you know, a solid guitar that’s gonna get you through it. That’s when I knew I made the right decision on that.”

On potentially representing the UK in Eurovision:

“So Eurovision is a contest that we have in Europe where millions of people watch this contest. Each nation supplies a song and people weren’t that happy with the UK’s contribution in recent years. So I was doing an interview with the BBC and they said they would back me to do Eurovision, so I won’t say exactly. They were joking, but this is where you have to take that little thread of truth and ou have to make it real. So that’s what this whole thing has been because they said that. Now I’m going to build upon it and eventually, hopefully get enough steam where it becomes a realistic option for Eurovision. So I won’t say exactly what I’m going to do, because the details aren’t confirmed, but I’ve got something pretty epic planned.”

On the billboard over Clash at the Castle weekend:

“Yeah, that was a tough decision. That was a tough decision. [Why was it tough?] It was tough because you want to push the boat a little bit, but you don’t, sometimes you don’t know where the line is until you’ve gone too far.”

Could it be perceived as trying to get yourself over?

“I think that’s absolutely what is, let’s not pretend that’s not what it is. But I think it’s like I need to be bold and respectful of the business at the same time. You know, so that’s why I did on the Friday and not on the Saturday, I thought that was respectful and not because it was half the price [laughs]. But I did kind of think, Pat McAfee did happen to say his name, and he appears on TV. So I thought, well we’re both having fun so why not join in the fun?”

On Drew McIntyre saying he believed in Joe Hendry:

“I appreciated that. I really did. That means a lot because, again, I’ve said this as well. I’m gonna compare him to someone you met recently, which is to me on the UK indies Drew was our Undertaker. He was the guy you went to, he lifted the shows, he was an example. To me, he is just like Jordynne [Grace], like Drew is an example inside and outside of the ring. And yeah, so I was absolutely honoured for him to say that, especially when this was his moment and to even just take a second to say that he knew how big that endorsement was going to be for me. So I’m always grateful for having worked with Drew unbelievable wrestler unbelievable human being. Just, you know, him and Jordynne are credits to the business.”

On being one of Kurt Angle’s final opponents:

“So I look back at this, and I’m like, how on earth did I have the balls to pull this off? So I started training in 2013 and in 2016 I made it to What Culture Pro Wrestling. That was just a fun time. That was the Wild West, we were bringing in everybody into What Culture. And there’s some funny things that were talked about that never happened there which I’ll tell you about in a second, because I don’t think I’ve ever said it publicly before. But what happened was a fan asked me, What’s your dream match? Now, The Rock is the reason I got into the business so that’s my dream programme with segments. I have to say this, I fully 100% believe that, especially now with companies crossing over, I can’t tell you why. I just believe it in my heart that I will have some sort of interaction with The Rock and John Cena. I can’t tell you why I just believe it in my heart.”

On how the match came to be:

“So a fan asked me, but what’s your dream match? I thought and I answered it, well, just like a one-off match, and I went Kurt Angle and I tagged him thinking nothing of it. Angle DM’d me in 2015, a trainee. He says, Listen, I’ve heard your name, I’ve seen a couple of things. Because I think at that point, I’d done like my first viral entrance, I came to the ring to wrecking ball but I came to the ring in a zorb as Hendry ball. So Kurt said, I know who you are and you’re not ready yet, but maybe one day, you’ll get the match. And I was like, wow, I had a bit of back and forth. So ICW bring in Kurt Angle for their show at the Hydro, which was huge at the time, it was like for an indie promotion to get 6000 people or however many thousand people it was, it was insane. But they brought in Kurt Angle. And so I went to management, and I said, Let’s do a match. Because it was Joe Coffey that was facing him. I says let’s do a match with me and Joe Coffey. Because at this point, I’d started amateur wrestling, which for some reason decided to take out but 26 Right. But we can maybe get into that later. But I thought because of the amateur wrestling thing. I just won one of the championships in amateur wrestling, or got a medal of some significance or something and I was like, they might think it’s me. So let’s have me and Joe Coffey face each other to see who faces Kurt Angle. So Joe is facing him, but Kurt DM’s me and says, That’s great that we’re going to be facing each other at the Hydro and I said Kurt it is actually just an angle we’re not [wrestling]. I thought to myself, and I was like well What Culture is doing pretty well with that YouTube money over there. And I heard through the grapevine that What Culture had asked Kurt to come in and he’d said no. So I asked for a meeting with the owners of What Culture at the time. I walked into the boardroom, and before I got there, I said, Okay, Kurt, if I had a financier to pay for a match, what would you need? And he told me what he needs. Then I went and I sat down with these two multimillionaires, and I have to say, by the way, I’m very thankful for What Culture Pro Wrestling. What Culture did a lot for me. They don’t get enough credit. If you think about all the wrestlers that came through there and really made a big name there, Cody did a lot of cool stuff there, Will Ospreay, Gunther… If you look through the names yet, like Pete Dunne, like you, if you look through the names that are so many, and obviously, the stuff that I’m doing, and Gabriel Kidd, and so many people came through What Culture and I don’t think they get enough credit. But I walked in the boardroom and I said, Thanks for meeting. You guys tried to get Kurt Angle didn’t you? I’m just a trainee at this point, anyway. Yeah, yeah. I said what did he say, knowing what he said. and they went he said, No. I went I can get you Kurt, but if I get him, I need both your word that I wrestle him and I’m the top guy after that. And I’m a trainee at the time and they went you can really get Kurt Angle? I was like, those are the terms. And they were like, alright, they shook my hand. I was never meant to be like a top guy in What Culture. So I went from being like a guy to getting that opportunity to wrestle Kurt. So if you can imagine this, how I got the balls to do that. I don’t know. But I started trading in 2013. And in 2016, it was the week of the third anniversary of my first match. I was standing opposite Kurt Angle, we’re in a sold-out building and I look over and there’s Jim Ross and Jim Cornette commentating in the main event of an internet pay-per-view, and I’m looking at Kurt Angle and my family is on the balcony. I’m looking at it and I go is this happening? Am I facing Kurt Angle in the main event of a pay-per-view with Jim Ross to Jim Cornette commentating?  Is that what’s happened here? I’ll tell you this, Kurt is the man. When I made the entrance video for him, I threw his metals in the bin, I shredded him. And I was I was like, Oh, God, like, I hope he’s okay with this. And he loved it. He loved the entrance video, he loved it. And for him, this is what I learned about top talents. He’s Kurt Angle. He was so secure. He was just like, this is about your moment. This is going to help your career and we need to maximise that. He didn’t care about getting himself over because he’s Kurt Angle. He was like, What can I do for you? And I just thought that again, another leader, another example. And at the end of the match, he said some awesome stuff. Again, another credit to the business just unbelievable.” 

On his previous WWE cameo:

“I was actually Rusev and Lana’s lawyer at one point as well, which was crazy. Because if you think about how few people get mic time on Raw and SmackDown, I cut a 90-second promo as their lawyer, I think it was Smackdown in Liverpool. [How’d that even happen?] So it’s quite a funny story. So what I didn’t know is two people had been specifically hired to be brought in to do this role, specifically hired. I didn’t know this. William Regal told us that when you are asked if you can do something, be the one that steps up. Someone backstage came up to me and said something about like, Oh, I remember the red ties. And I was like the red ties? So I went to you know, some clothes shop and bought red ties. What happened was whoever that was backstage, I think it was one of the referees, but they got the wrong person. So they told me to go get red ties, and it wasn’t me. So I brought the red ties and I said to someone what are the red ties for? They said oh it’s Rusev’s lawyers and was like, Oh, cool. So someone goes, where’s my lawyers? I went [raises hand]. So some poor dude that had been hired to do it specifically is sitting behind me, he had to shave his head for it and everything, right? So he’s got prepared, and I just went like this. So they asked me to come forward. So it was me and it was me and Lionheart actually, who very sadly passed away. Again, someone who gave a lot too, especially Scottish professional wrestling, and Piper Niven actually had, I think it was like an armband with his symbol on it. So you know, that was really cool that she did that. But it was me and Adrian and they said, here’s this promo and you’re both gonna read it out and we’re gonna pick one. I remember at the time, this was really cool because me and Adrian were close so for both of us to get this moment on, on TV, it was very cool and I’m glad that we got to do that. But they said to me, can you do a Russian accent? I remember Stone Cold saying about the forklift truck. It was like, Can you drive a forklift? Just say yes. So I was like, Yeah, of course I can. And I’m like, looking up like Russian accents, my Russian accent was horrible. But they said go read out the promo, we’re gonna let a couple of people do it and we’re going to pick one. I knew in my heart, I was like, the thing was this long. It was like a lot. And I thought if I memorise this word for word, they’ll just pick me if I don’t use the sheet. So we went in the ring, there were a bunch of different people who were going to try it for it. I read it once without the sheet and they went him, nobody else got the chance to do it. So that’s how that came to be.” 

“I think the other thing that people need to realise is that don’t think I’m not terrified when this stuff’s happening. Don’t think I’m not [nervous], I’ve got to say this in a Russian accent, that I can’t tell you how nervous I was before that concert. I knew I couldn’t show it. But anyone at TNA will tell you I was freaking out because I hadn’t played guitar in however long, but sometimes you just have to go out there and you just have to get the business done. It doesn’t matter how you feel. And I think to me, I’m sure you’ll appreciate this. It sounds like we read similar books, but courage is not not being afraid, is being afraid and having nerves and going out there and giving it your best anyway, that’s that’s what this game is. It’s about just going you know what, if you’ve prepared like as best you can, if you go out there and you give it everything that you’ve got, then that’s all you can do.”

What is Joe Hendry grateful for?

“The challenge, my home and to be content.”

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