The following are highlights of a recent Busted Open Radio interview with TNA star Gunner:
It has to be an exciting time for not just you, but for TNA as a whole because there has been a shift in how the talent is being used. Do you like how the talent is now being used in a different way? “Absolutely and you know that in pro wrestling, it’s built around the younger guys. Initially, we’re the ones that are gonna help take the company into the future. Kurt Angle and those guys won’t be around forever so for me to finally get the opportunity to show what I can do, them believing in me and believing in other guys as well. I mean, we are the future of company and the future of the business, so you either get to carry the ball or you drop the ball and if you drop the ball you’re obviously not going to be in that position so I’m very confident in my ability to carry that ball for TNA.”
You mentioned that you wouldn’t have re-signed if you weren’t confident in the direction things are going. Is it safe to say that TNA is not going to drop the ball going forward? “I do agree, man. We can sit here and talk about all the computer, lawyers all day. But the fact is it’s been around for 11 or 12 years now TNA. I’ve been with them since 2009 and I think since day 1 they’ve been the company that everybody talked bad about and talked about financial problems. But we’re fine. We’re continuing our ratings the way they have been and I’m confident in the company. Like I said, if I wasn’t then I wouldn’t have re-signed. I’m happy where I am. I’m happy with the company and where it stands.”
There are a lot of people that are happy that Eric Young is now the champion because of how long he had been underutilized. Is Eric the right guy to be the TNA champion? “Sure. Yeah, and Eric Young is definitely a deserving individual. Personally, I love Eric to death. He’s a great guy; he’s worked his tail off since he’s been in TNA. Not only that, but he does his own TV show now, so people know who he is and maybe they’re tuning in because of that reason. A guy that people have always stood behind; I think is a great thing. It’s good for storyline; it’s good for the fans. The fans want to see something different. Usually, TNA has always been a company to give them something different from the six sided ring, to the X division and all these other X division matches. Storyline wise it just continues to be a great company with a great opportunity with Eric Young as the champion.”
You had the feast or fired briefcase for a bit but didn’t successfully cash it in. With Eric Young becoming champion, do you feel like you should be getting your shot at the belt soon? Do you agree that you should be a future champion? “I do agree. I’m not just saying that because you asked me the question. But I do agree because I’ve been around with TNA since 09. I feel like I’ve paid my dues when it comes to this company. They gave me the opportunity in Manchester and obviously James Storm screwed me out of that opportunity. But in the future, with the Bound for Glory series kicking off after Slammiversary in June, it’s something I’m pretty sure I am going to be a part of. But in the future, I don’t know about this year but eventually, being a world champion is my goal. It’s always been my goal since I started wanting to become a wrestler when I was 5 or even started training in 2000. Whoever it is, Eric Young, or Magnus or anybody, I look forward to getting that opportunity once again.”
Since James Storm has turned heel, most of the fans that were behind him have started to gravitate towards you; so kudos to you because you have really won the hearts of the TNA fans. “Yeah, I think so, and we can feel it. Even though I’ve been there for a while, it was real touchy when we did live events, especially when we did live events in Tennessee, but yeah they really have. And as much as I hate James for bashing my dad in the head with a beer bottle and doing what he has done to me, I respect him as a performer and as an entertainer; as a man, not so much. He knows what he is doing in the ring and he definitely has the people hating him right now with me being the babyface in the whole storyline. And I think I’m a good enough babyface to make the storyline and I’m just going out there and really being myself other then I don’t go around bashing my head on turnbuckles every day. I’m taking my real life scenario. Me being in the marine core, me wanting to work with the wounded warriors and stuff like that and just carrying it over. I think people are gravitating towards that because they do respect obviously the military, but it’s something. I’ve never demanded respect, I’ve always wanted to go out and earn it and when I first came into TNA with the storyline about Garrett and Immortal, the crowd hated me. I feel like I’m finally earning their respect and I’m not the guy that will do 50 or 60 different moves during a match. I’ve been very basic. TNA crowds want to see a lot of stuff, but I feel like they are finally respecting who I am as a character, as a performer and as a man so that right there means a lot to me.”
Take us back to when you decided to have your dad get involved in the program involving you and James Storm. “Yeah, it was, and first of all to have my father involved in a program is great because he’s the one who has really supported me 100% throughout my whole career. He always told me as a kid you could do what you want to do if you never give up and he’s the one I grew up sitting on the couch watching wrestling with. So, just to have him be a part of the storyline and be a part of what I do for a living and what I love obviously means a lot. Unfortunately he got bashed in the head with a beer bottle, so that was not what we were planning to have done. I think you’re right with telling stories. It’s what the fans really want to see. Even as a kid, I was amazed by the characters like the Warrior, Macho Man and guys like that. But I was always into the storylines like the one with Jake the Snake Roberts, Macho Man and Ms. Elizabeth. It always amazes me what helped build up into a blow off match. I think TNA has really done that with me and James, which is great. We’ve been feuding with each for close to 6 or 7 months now. At Sacrifice this Sunday, we have the I quit match with me and James where I believe it’s the blow off match for us. So we are gonna get it on like we do. But the fans, I get so much feedback on Twitter, Facebook and all of my social media sites about how much they love it and how much time has been put into it. They really appreciate what we are doing as performers.”
Check out the complete interview at BustedOpenNation.com.