Rockstar Spud made his debut as a regular character on TNA television in late 2013, and he has quickly become wrestling’s funniest villain. Spud will do anything to rile up fans, even correcting their spelling on Twitter, and wearing colorful suits every Wednesday on SpikeTV’s Impact Wrestling. In this in-depth interview, Spud discusses his friendship with ‘best friend’ Ethan Carter III, Dixie Carter’s recovery from her table spot, meeting Vince Russo, Jeff Jarrett, AJ Styles, Bully Ray’s rumored TNA exit, ‘This is awesome’ chants, and comments on the ‘dirty sheets’ rumors about TNA’s fate on SpikeTV. Check out our recent interviews with Jeff Hardy, Dean Ambrose, Ethan Carter III, and Seth Rollins in our Wrestling section.
How is Madam Dixie doing? Have you and Ethan been helping her with the recovery process?
Well how do you think she is? She’s got a broken bloody back. God bless her, but she’s doing okay. She is back up and walking around the office. I heard she’s giving Serg a hard time, while me and Mr. Carter are at the shows. That’s to be expected, she’s a pretty demanding woman. I’m pretty sure that she’s going to recover from it, and be back better than ever.
You talk about ‘no girls allowed’ on Twitter, what exactly do you mean by that? Does this include Madam Dixie?
(Laughs) This doesn’t include Madam Dixie, she’s a special kind of woman. But yeah, no girls allowed, because girls just annoy, and they smell. Girls just really annoy me, really annoy me.
When you came on TV full time, were you apprehensive at all about being more of an on air personality, a Bobby Heenan type, than full time wrestler? Do you see your role changing at all with more matches, maybe in the X-Division? Are you okay with your current role?
I was perfectly happy jumping into the role, have no problems with the position I’m at right now. It was never an issue being an on air personality, I feel that my strength is my personality. So in regards to being put into more matches, that’s great, but I honestly feel that my strength is not being in the X-Division, I actually think that would be [kind of a] detriment to my character. What’s great about Rockstar Spud, is he’s constantly in the land of the giants, he’s constantly against the odds. If you put Rockstar Spud in there with the same height as you, then you’ve lost what’s unique about Rockstar Spud. I don’t believe – it would be a detriment for the character to be in the X-Division. I honestly think he should be a little guy, the little engine that could, and will, and he’s in the land of the giants. Because the visual of me standing against a Bully Ray, or Rob Terry, or Knux, or any of these giant monsters that we have on the Impact Wrestling roster, I think there’s the visual, and there’s the entertainment. I don’t think there’s much mileage in Rockstar Spud being in the X-Division personally.
What were your first impressions of Ethan when you met him, and how has your friendship with him grown? He told me had to keep track of your potty mouth, to make sure you don’t swear around children and old ladies.
Yeah, I’m not exactly the prince of tact. If I’ve got something to say, I’m going to say it. Usually I’ll be oblivious to my surroundings, I’ll be talking to my friends, and when I’m talking to them I don’t expect anybody else to hear my conversation, or listen in, as that’s quite rude as my mother taught me. I am quite loud, I am quite boisterous, and usually when I’m letting out the odd curse word, all of a sudden an old lady will appear out of nowhere, or a small child. It could be at a restaurant, and the parents will look over at me in disgust, so [Ethan] does have to keep tabs on me.
[Ethan]’s a wonderful human being, he’s a great friend, in and out of the ring. I couldn’t ask for a better person to share moments on screen with, we just have those kinds of personalities. We hadn’t met each other before, and as soon as we did, we clicked. He have the same brain in regards to pro wrestling, we think the same way, we know our role, we know our place. We both have big aspirations, we both want to become successful, we both want to be the World Heavyweight Champion, we both want to be the guy. The thing is, everyone will look at Ethan and think, that could be a plausible claim, he could be the guy. What he respects about me, is that even though I don’t have the physique, the look that he does, that I also have aspirations like him of being World Heavyweight Champion. It’s just one of those things, we both clicked straight off the bat, and we’ve been friends ever since. He’s one of my closest friends, he’s someone I’ll always go to for guidance, or to blow off some steam. I can’t believe another company just completely missed the boat with him, because he’s the most entertaining thing I’ve seen on pro wrestling television in the last 12 months.
What are your memories of your Impact appearances in the first half of 2013, after winning British Boot Camp? How much did you get to talk to guys like Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff?
I mean I said my hellos and pleasantries, but you’re not exactly in a place where you can dictate your future, so to speak. To be honest I look back at my sporadic appearances I had on Impact after winning British Boot Camp, and I would have let me go. I really would have, because there was no depth, I wasn’t projecting through the television, and that’s an important thing, I knew that every time I performed. When I was given the role of Chief of Staff, it was a blessing because everything I’d learned in OVW from Al Snow, Rip Rogers, and Danny Davis had all sunk into me. But I just needed a fresh [start] to project it all, and when they said we want you to be Dixie’s Chief of Staff, I was like, ‘Yes! Thank you, and I’m going to knock this out of the park for you.’ They were like okay, we’ll see, and I was like, ‘No, you’ll see.’ It was just perfect timing, right place, right time, right opportunity, and I’m very happy with how it’s gone.
Ethan told me that John Gaburick was the guy who helped him formulate his character in TNA, did John also decide to bring you on?
John was the man that called me, yes. I believe that there were some thoughts on what to do with me, and they decided to go with me as the Chief of Staff over someone else. I personally can’t see anyone else being Dixie’s nephew than Ethan Carter, I can’t obviously see anyone else being Samuel Shaw, other than the man Samuel Shaw, and I can’t obviously see anyone else being a Bro Man like Jesse and Robbie E., and I can’t see anyone else being the Chief of Staff other than Rockstar Spud. It just shows that you once embellish in a character, you can’t see anyone else playing it, that’s them. That’s what’s so rewarding when you have a writing team like we have, that just gives us the opportunity and let’s us run with them, it’s a blessing.
Have you considered dropping ‘Rockstar’ from your name in TNA, with that character kind of being dropped? Have you thought about just going by Spud again?
Absolutely not, absolutely not. Every so often I’ll get someone going, ‘Why do you call yourself a rock star? It’s so annoying, you’re not even a rock star.’ [My response is], ‘Is it pissing you off? Okay, then it stays.’ My job isn’t for you to like me (chuckles), you can ask me til the cows come home, ‘Why do you wear this stupid bowtie? Why do you wear this stupid suit?’ If you’re asking the question, you’re obviously not that smart.
(Laughs) Now with some current events in TNA. TNA’s TV contract has been extended through December with the move to Wednesdays, but obviously you’ve seen the reports that Spike will not keep Impact on beyond that, with rumors of Discovery’s Velocity channel. What kind of communication has management had with you guys regarding the deal? Have there been meetings about it? How have you been talking to management, and getting updates on the deal?
Well, a lot of the time I hear about meetings that have taken place with the talent, that have not actually even taken place. (Chuckles) So I’m always amazed you read the dirty sheets, and what information they seem to have. But management is great at communicating to us what is going on, where we’re at with negotiations, and it’s awesome because we have that kind of report with the offices here in TNA. With the move back to Wednesday, which I think is fantastic, because Spike has been a tremendous partner for TNA, and always has been the whole tenure with them. They gave us another day to build our audience, again, and we can get new fans on a Wednesday, we’ve got the fans from Thursday, once the word gets out we can attract the fans who have their TV schedules freed up on a Wednesday. I firmly believe that wherever Spike put us on their channel, no matter what day or the time, we would make it a success, because that’s the type of fans we have. They follow us everywhere, and they want to watch our product. So wherever Spike would have put us, it would have been a success, and they’ve been a great partner, so I hope it continues.
Ethan told me that Bully Ray did actually hold somewhat of a meeting with the locker room, just to tell you guys about the status of his contract, but that it might have been blown out of proportion. But what do you think about Bully Ray possibly leaving TNA?
Well I wasn’t personally there, because I was in England filming British Boot Camp 2, and helping out with that process. If someone like Bully Ray has to depart from the company, that really does suck, because he brings a tremendous amount to the company, in a backstage role and an on screen role. I’ve said this in interviews before, if Hulk Hogan was around in the 80’s and so was Bully Ray, there wouldn’t be a Hulk Hogan because Bully Ray would have knocked him out of the park. Because Bubba has that connection with the audience, whether you love or hate him, he can connect, and get inside your soul (chuckles), you know what I mean? It would be a tremendous loss if Bully Ray had to depart from TNA, but let’s see who is going to step up and take that place. This is the wrestling business, when one opportunity falls away, it’s another opportunity for somebody else. So it would be good to see who steps up from there, but if he leaves the company, would I be disappointed? Absolutely, but like I said, it would be interesting to see who stepped into that role.
How was it filming those skits at AJ Styles’ house, and working with AJ near the end of his TNA run?
Wonderful, I mean I’ve known AJ from the independents all of the times he would come over to England. That was fun, they did more for the Rockstar Spud character, they did some great writing for me, they’ve always done great writing for me. No matter what they’ve given me, when you originally read it, I’m sure a lot of people who are very serious about their character and everything, I take my character serious, but when I see something like the [AJ thing] written with me breaking into his house, going to a bar, driving across America, or be kidnapped by Willow, I embrace that sort of stuff. Let’s make this entertaining TV, and I think the writers are doing a tremendous job, and they’ve been brilliant to me. I just hope they know that whatever they put Rockstar Spud in, Rockstar Spud is going to make it successful and entertaining.
How was it hanging out with Vince Russo when he came by Nashville, and what did you think about him leaving TNA?
I didn’t actually know that Vince was with TNA, up until fairly recently obviously. He was a nice gentleman, it was just a couple of dudes talking about pro wrestling really, and that was it. I mean, I’m pretty sure it was blown out of proportion more than it was, it was just a couple of dudes that met up and spoke about professional wrestling. It’s sad when anyone leaves the company, but as I said, that’s the wrestling business, sadly.
Did you get to work with Jeff Jarrett a lot last year when he was around?
Very briefly, at the last couple of tapings [in 2013] he was there. I came in mid November, and Jeff was there until the end of the year. My brief dealings with Double J have always been good, he’s a really entertaining man, and he’s got a good mind, I wish him the best of luck in whatever he’s going to do.
Have you ever considered acting, or doing standup comedy? Whenever I watch the show I think you’re one of the guys who could cross over into that.
It’s something I’ve always thought of, and would love to venture into. Whether it’s acting, comedy, or standup comedy. Jeremy Borash is very successful with stand up comedy, he’s been on some of Mick Foleys tours. I’d love to jump in two feet on that, because I’ve heard it’s a very humbling experience, but also a very good experience to kick you in check. It would be a nice art form to learn, I’ve always been interesting in acting, and any form of entertainment really. Theater I think is amazing, sitcoms I’ve always been thoroughly interested in. I’m open to any sort of opportunity with any form of entertainment, but those are some of my favorites. I love standup comedy, I think it’s a very amazing art form. Film, television, I’m a very big movie buff as well. Hopefully if somebody sees me on Impact Wrestling on Wednesdays doing my thing, they’ll go: ‘Oh there’s someone there.’ You never know.
Eric Young’s done well with reality TV.
How fabulous is he doing? He literally just crossed over from pro wrestling into another mainstream market. I was sitting on an airplane, on the way to an event, and I’m in the middle of these two gentlemen having this discussion, ‘Hey that’s that guy, that Eric Young guy.’ They’re going on about his fishing show, and really just marking out over the fact that Eric Young is on the flight, ‘Yeah, he’s that wrestler as well, I wouldn’t mess with him.’ (Laughs) It was just so weird, sitting in the middle and not saying anything, like, ‘Yeah, that’s my friend, I know him.’
TNA have 3 or 4 tapings in Bethlehem coming up at the end of September, just 2 or 3 weeks before Bound For Glory. Are you guys going to be taping shows that are going to air after Bound For Glory, and what’s that mean for Bound For Glory? Do you have any ideas about that schedule?
I have absolutely no idea sir. We’ll find out in Bethlehem obviously what we’re taping. Bound For Glory’s going to be really exciting, a massive event for the company, because we’re going to be taping in Tokyo, Japan. Looking forward to going back to Japan, I was there earlier this year with Ethan Carter III for Wrestle 1. It’s a great partnership that we have with them, they’re tremendous. So on that front, really don’t know, but looking forward to finding out just like you are.
What do you think of the tendency of heels today, especially in WWE, still wanting to come off as cool as heels? You see it with guys like, no disrespect towards him, Bray Wyatt, and some other guys. There’s a lack of cheating as well. What do you think of the art form of the heel, disappearing a bit in some of professional wrestling?
I think you can’t draw money without love and hate. It’s the same as a movie, where if there’s nothing for, let’s call it the babyface, to overcome, then how are we supposed to care? I don’t understand how you wouldn’t want to be someone who is this badass character and not cheating, you just want to be him because he’s beating people fair and square. It happened in horror films, Freddy Krueger became the babyface, that’s what happened. With that love and hate, I love this person enough because I want to see him win, so I’m going to get off my couch and pay money to see him win. I want to see who I love, beat the hell out of this guy, because I hate him, I’m going to pay money to see this guy lose and throw it in his face live. You see these matches that everybody is chanting, ‘This is awesome! This is awesome!’ It’s kind of like, (disinterested) oh, having a great spectacle, but are you going to pay to see it again? Nah, I’ve seen it man. And that’s what really bugs me about it, my job is to get you pay money to see me get my ass kicked. It’s not for me to turn up and have a 5 star match. My job is to have you come and pay money to see me get beat up, and that’s it. People misconstrue that, I think some companies directions, they say are going away from the fundamentals of what this business is, which is good vs. evil. But they’re actually still doing it (chuckles), but they’re just saying it’s their way. It just doesn’t make sense to me.
How is British Boot Camp Season 2 coming along, how it going to be different format wise from the first one?
It’s going to be very different in regards to the audition process, because instead of them just selecting 4 people, they’re going to be selecting a number of people, out of a number of people who apply in the United Kingdom. Then they’ll go onto a big show in the capital of London, then they’re going to find 6 people to take, so it’s going to be bigger and better, because it’s obviously Series 2. It’s such a good concept, everybody loved the first series, it was such a success, it’s really cool to see people get the opportunity that I had. I’m having the best time of my life, making some of the best friends, having all these great opportunities. I hope someone else gets to share what I’ve shared.