Bobby Roode Interview

111104_bobbyroode1It was NZPWI’s privilege to speak to new TNA World Heavyweight Champion Bobby Roode last Wednesday.

Roode first joined TNA as part of Scott D’Amore’s Team Canada in 2004.

In his seven years with the company, Roode has been a six-time tag team champion – twice holding the belts with Team Canada’s Eric Young, and going on to win four tag team titles alongside James Storm as Beer Money, Inc.

Roode was defeated by Kurt Angle in the main event of Bound for Glory this year, but ultimately achieved his goal of becoming TNA World Heavyweight Champion when he beat James Storm for the title on the latest episode of Impact Wrestling.

Bobby spoke to NZPWI’s David Dunn in the middle of a media tour to Sydney, Australia on Wednesday, discussing winning the TNA World Heavyweight Championship, the end of the Beer Money tag team, his upcoming match with AJ Styles at Turning Point and much more.

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Bobby Roode: Hello.

David Dunn: Hello, is that Bobby Roode?

It certainly is.

How are you, Bobby?

I’m great, how are you?

I’m good. Thank-you for taking the time to talk to me today.

No problem at all.

First of all, congratulations on winning the TNA World Heavyweight Championship.

Thank-you very much.

What does it mean to you to finally hold that belt after 13 years in the industry?

Well, y’know, it means everything. If you’ve been watching the programme at all or if you’ve been looking at it or checking up… this is 13 years of my life I’ve dedicated, everything to this point. I’ve sacrificed a lot in my life to get to this point, and to capture this title means everything, so I’m going to do my best to hang on to it for as long as I can.

111104_bobbyroode3Fantastic. You won the title by defeating James Storm – what’s it like wrestling one-on-one with him after spending so many years together in a tag team?

Well, y’know, it’s like this: I waited 13 years to get an opportunity to become a world champion at Bound for Glory, and I fell short. And to be honest, opportunities like that don’t come along every day so when I got a second opportunity I really had to think of my options. I knew that possibly if I lost, again, I may not get another opportunity for a long time, so I went out there, I wrestled my partner and I did what I had to do to win. Win at all costs and that’s what I did, and I’m proud of what I did and I’m proud of where I am, so, just happened to be James was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Mmm. You won the title by smashing a beer bottle over his head so it’s probably safe to say that you won’t be tagging together any time soon…

If you want my personal opinion, no, I don’t think I’ll be tagging with James Storm any time soon, no.

111104_bobbyroode2Are you sad to see Beer Money come to an end after so long together?

Things can’t last forever, y’know? Beer Money – we had a great run together. It was a lot of fun. We had great success as a team – we may go down in history as one of the greatest teams of all time, and I’m proud of that, but the fact is that, it was time for us to move on. I know James – we’ve shared this conversation a lot – we both wanted the same things in our career, and that was to become a world champion, and there can only be one world champion at a time. When I lost to Kurt, it was a wake-up call. When he beat Kurt, it was another wake-up call for me. He was the world champion and my dreams and my focus never changed. Even though my partner was the world champion, I still wanted it, so, I went out there and did it. I’ll have fond memories of Beer Money, that’s for sure, but now it’s a new time, it’s a new era and I’m going to make the best of it.

Another man who’s interested in becoming TNA World Champion is AJ Styles, and you’ll be making your first title defence against him at Turning Point. What can fans expect when the two of you get in the ring?

Well to be honest with you, I mean… I’m not going to say anything negative about AJ right now because AJ has proven himself over the last 10 years in this company. He’s a name that’s phenomenal and he is a phenomenal athlete and a phenomenal wrestler. I’ve been in the ring with him numerous times – I just wrestled him about a month-and-a-half ago on Impact and we had a great match then and I don’t expect this match to be any different. There’s going to be a little bit of hatred between the two of us now because of what I did to James, and of course with Fortune being not together really any more, we’ve kind of all gone our separate ways and guys aren’t getting along. I know AJ, before James and I did what we did – what I did to James – I know AJ was a little bit fired up about him and Daniels, so there’s a lot of things that are bugging AJ right now and this is an opportunity for him to go in there and try to become a world champion. And any time you get an opportunity to become a world champion you give it everything you’ve got. I’m prepared for it. Right now I’m confident – I’m at the top of my game, I’m the world champion. But I can guarantee that when AJ and I get into the ring in the main event at Turning Point it’s going to be one hell of a match.

Cool – fans in New Zealand will be able to watch that on TNAondemand.com… is there any chance, do you think though, that maybe you or any of the other stars of Impact Wrestling might be coming to New Zealand in the foreseeable future?

I tell you what, we would love to come to New Zealand. We would love to get a TV deal over in New Zealand so that the great fans over there can watch every week. Right now I’m over in Australia – right now I’m in Sydney, Australia, doing a huge media tour for Impact Wrestling hoping to make some connections and things like that for places like New Zealand to tune in every week and not just go to TNA On Demand, but be able to watch it on their local cable TV show. We’re really hoping that we can get a TV deal over there soon, and get over there and do some live events as well, and to meet all of our New Zealand fans would be great.

Yeah, that would be fantastic! So is this your first time in Australia at the moment or have you been before?

Yeah, yeah it is actually, this is my first hour-and-a-half in Australia, so I just landed a couple of hours ago and I’ve got five days over here and I’m looking forward to it.

Cool. You’ve got the Impact Wrestling viewing party on Saturday, what else have you got planned for the Australian tour?

Well, right now I’m just kind of sitting down and looking over my itinerary, but I think tomorrow we’re going to a zoo close-by. Main Event is going to be doing some filming over there – the pay-per-view provider over here – so they’re doing some things. I believe I’m doing a bridge climb over here in Sydney. What else have I got going on? I’m doing a wrestling seminar Friday night, I believe, and of course I’m looking forward to the viewing party Saturday night in Sydney at the Hard Rock Café, so, it’s going to be a lot of fun. It’s going to be busy but I’m looking forward to it.

Fantastic. So, you’ve been with TNA since 2004 now, which is quite a long time. I’ve got to ask – has WWE ever been an option for you?

There’s been some times where, y’know, near the end of my contract… of course, it’s a business and you look at it as a business. There was some interest, but I’m very happy with Impact Wrestling. I’ve always been very loyal to this company – I have a lot of friends here, I make a very good living here and I believe in the product. I believe in our talent and I continue to believe that way. I think that this company has what it takes to become the number one wrestling company in the world and slowly but surely we’ll get there and I just want to be a part of it. So, like I said, I’m TNA, Impact through and through right now, and I’m representing the company as World Heavyweight Champion, so, I’m happy about that.

What do you think TNA needs to do to become the number one promotion in the world?

In my personal opinion I think we’ve just got to use our strength. I think we’ve got to showcase our talent each and every week on Impact. It’s hard when you have two hours of TV every week – you’re limited to what you can do and what you can show. Professional wrestling, you just can’t go ahead and throw matches on TV unfortunately, there’s got to be some sort of story that goes along with it and sometimes that takes a little bit of time, so in the end you’ve just got to be patient. I really think that… try to give the fans what they want every now and again and have some emphasis on pro wrestling. I think that we have the best wrestlers in the world in our locker room, and from time to time I think we’ve just got to go out there and showcase that.

In your time with TNA what do you think’s been the best development for the company?

I’m sorry, the best development?

111104_bobbyroode4Yeah, sort of the best… there must have been many changes that have taken place over the years – is there one that stands out?

Obviously the Spike TV deal. When we went to Spike TV it was a huge step for our company and it really solidified us as a big wrestling company, being able to go, primetime, nine o’clock, United States every Thursday night was a huge thing for our company.

And really the live events that we did, our international live events. This coming year we’re going back over to Germany and we’re doing England again – this is our fourth trip to England – every January, so internationally we’ve caught on huge. We’re in over 180 different countries right now, so it’s huge for us. We’re not even 10 years old yet and our company is growing so fast. In the seven years I’ve been here I can’t believe we’ve gone… I started here when we did Wednesday night pay-per-views and here we are doing monthly, worldwide pay-per-views, like I said, on Spike TV at nine o’clock every Thursday in the United States and Canada, and touring internationally. And touring domestically as well. Every weekend we’re on the road doing shows, so it’s really going so fast and I just want to be around for the ride. I think it’s going to take off right here in the near future.

Have there been any changes that you thought perhaps weren’t the best for TNA over the seven years that you’ve been with the company?

None that really pop into mind. I mean, changes are going to happen in any business. Creatively, there’ve been some changes as of late, over the last couple of years with Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff coming in. There’s been some good changes and some bad changes, but as of now I think that TNA is on track and everybody is working together. There’s a common goal there, and that’s to become the number one wrestling company in the world. And as long as everybody has that belief and is working towards that goal I think we’re in good shape.

Many Canadians have got a proud history in the pro wrestling business. As a proud Canadian yourself, who among your countrymen do you look up to in the business?

The first name that comes to mind is obviously Bret Hart, who is without a doubt probably the biggest name to ever come from my country, professional wrestling-wise. Bret was a huge influence on me and my career. I’m really close friends with Christian as well, we both come from the same area and we’ve known each other for a long time. Edge – there’s a lot of guys, a lot of Canadians that have been successful in this business, but one guy that I’ve always looked up to, and really when I first started in the business, was Bret. We have a rich tradition, I guess you could say, as far as Canadians go in this business. There haven’t been many bad Canadians to ever wrestle. I don’t know what it is – there must be something in the water I guess.

[laughs] Yeah. On a personal level you’ve got three sons. Are they wrestling fans?

Yeah, yeah, well, they are… I guess they’re kinda… not necessarily made to watch it, but of course me being in the business, they’re always interested in seeing what I’m doing and what’s going on and… my younger one… my youngest two, actually, are very much into watching me and keeping up to date with what I’m doing. My seven-year-old is always trying new moves on me and trying to copy moves that he sees on TV with me. It’s one of those things as a father you’ve got to be really careful with, but I think they’re proud of me, and they can go to school and tell their friends what daddy does and what daddy did last night on TV, I guess that’s kind of cool.

Would you encourage letting them get into the business if they showed an interest in that?

I’m going to support my boys on whatever they choose to do. If it’s professional wrestling I’ll support them and help them out as much as I can, but I’d love to see them do something else. Whatever it is that they want to be, whether it’s a doctor, a lawyer, a carpenter, who knows? But whatever they decide to do I’m going to support them, and if it’s professional wrestling then so be it, I’ll be there to help.

111104_bobbyroode5You’re on top of the world at the moment, really, Bobby. You’re in Australia, you’ve got the TNA World Heavyweight Championship around your waist – where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?

10 years’ time? I hope to slowly be getting out of the business at that time. I’ve been in this business 13 years now so that would make it 23 years – that’s a long time when you beat your body up. But as long as I’m having fun and as long as I’m able to go out there and give 100 per cent every night, who knows? But I hope that this is just the beginning for me, I hope the next 10 years I continue to have great success. I hope to continue to carry world championships, and I really want to become one of the biggest names in the business. I really want to be in categories like Bret Hart when people talk about Canadian wrestlers or some of the best wrestlers of all time. I want to be respected by everybody, and I think that’s the main thing for me. At the end of the day when I hang my boots up the guys that I worked with can say great things about me and tell everybody that they respected me, and that’s going to mean everything to me.

OK and finally, what’s something fans would be surprised to learn about you?

Well, I don’t have a lot of shady secrets but, of course growing up in Canada I was a hockey player. Before I wanted to become a pro wrestler I wanted to be an NHL pro hockey player. I actually… let me think, something good I can tell you… I actually scored, in high school – my final year of high school – we were playing in the All-Ontario Championships which is the province where I lived – I live in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. All the best high schools from around the province were there, our team made it to the finals, we went into overtime and I was the guy who scored the goal to win the gold medal in overtime. That was me.

How did that feel?

Well, that was probably the biggest night of my life up until last week [laughs]. It’s kind of my claim to fame in my hockey career: Scoring an overtime goal to win the gold medal in high school hockey. But that’s a little titbit of information that you may not know about me.

But no, if I could do it all over again I wouldn’t change anything. I’m proud of where I am – I love professional wrestling and I’ll be here for a long time.

Well fantastic, I hope you’re around for a long time as well.

Thank-you very much for your support.

And thank-you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to have a chat to me today, Mr Roode.

No problem at all.

Best of luck for the Impact Wrestling viewing party this Saturday and then of course for your first defence of the TNA World Heavyweight Championship against AJ Styles at Turning Point.

Alright, well I appreciate it, and make sure you guys tune in to TNAondemand and hopefully you’ll be able to see me kick AJ’s butt.

We’re looking forward to it, I’m sure.

Alright.

OK, thank-you.

Alright, thank-you, bye.

 

New Zealand fans can see Bobby Roode wrestle AJ Styles for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship at Turning Point via TNA On Demand on Monday, November 14 at 1:00pm. Simply go to TNAondemand and click on “Launch TNAondemand Player.” Then click the Turning Point logo or via “Live PPV.”