As one of the most decorated international superstars in the wrestling business today, MVP has taken his talents from Japan to Impact Wrestling every Thursday night at 9 p.m. ET on Spike TV and now to Miami for the Lockdown pay-per-view on Sunday, March 9.
MVP will captain a team of four men—also featuring Jeff Hardy and The Wolves—against TNA president Dixie Carter’s team—Bobby Roode, Austin Aries and The BroMans—in a Lethal Lockdown match inside a steel cage for control of wrestling operations.
TNA’s newest investor took time to sit down with the boys of Ring Rust Radio in an exclusive interview to talk about his Lockdown match, working in Japan, the CM Punk situation, signing with TNA over WWE and so much more.
Full interview available above. Some language NSFW.
While MVP has only just recently joined Impact Wrestling, he already carries serious clout with hardcore and casual wrestling fans alike. Not only was he a top contender in the WWE for several years, but he also spent time honing his craft against the best competition in Japan.
Inside the ring and on the microphone, MVP has proven his vast skill set and has justified the company’s decision to bring him aboard as a focal point moving forward.
TNA’s future is bright, and MVP is at the forefront of the change.
MVP on the Importance of his Lethal Lockdown Match
The build to MVP’s surprise debut was short, but the instant impact he has made on the day-to-day operations of TNA has already been felt by the wrestlers in the locker room and fans at home.
Now, with TNA’s booking power on the line at the PPV, the battle between Team Dixie and Team MVP has been the talk of the wrestling world.
Sunday’s show will feature an impressive main event of Samoa Joe challenging Magnus for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship, but the Lethal Lockdown match will be a worthy co-main event and could steal the show as the most exciting bout of the night.
With so much on the line, MVP understands and has come to grips with what he will face in one of the most brutal matches in the company’s history:
"There’s a lot of emotion for me. First of all, you’ve got two teams of four men locked inside of a cage with weapons. It’s going to be chaotic; it’s going to be brutal; it’s going to be fierce. But at the end of the day, Bobby Roode has some stake on the line, and I’ve got wrestling operations on the line. I think the best thing we can do for the TNA fans and the wrestlers is to send Dixie back to Dixieland and let a wrestler run wrestling operations."
MVP has talked a big game since joining TNA, but he is just one of the new faces leading the change behind the scenes at the company. There are positive changes that have been made since Bound for Glory, and the company is already reaping the rewards for its decisions.
The hope now is that Team MVP gets the win and continues to lead Impact Wrestling in the right direction, but there may be something much deeper happening here. Roode also has a vested interest in this bout due to Carter’s willingness to award him 10 percent of the company if he wins at Lockdown.
Conventional long-term storytelling would have Team Dixie win this match and continue the power struggle through the next several months. MVP still owns stock in the company regardless of the outcome of Sunday’s match, and with Roode teasing a possible face turn, MVP and Roode aligning would likely give the duo the majority of the shares.
Whether this idea comes to fruition or not, the overriding hope is that this storyline lives up to its potential.
MVP on the Decision to Sign with TNA over WWE
After spending several years in the WWE, MVP asked for his release from the company in 2010 before eventually joining New Japan Pro Wrestling in 2011. His time in Japan featured plenty of great matches and proved he deserved a top spot in the United States.
While a return to the WWE was an option he explored, MVP spoke about why he ultimately decided to make the move to Impact Wrestling:
"I had a couple conversations with Triple H, but at the end of the day, that WWE schedule is 250-plus days a year. And after spending so many years in Japan, where I’d be on for a month, then I’d be off for a month, and that wasn’t necessarily something I wanted to give up."
MVP made the right decision.
Not only will the taping schedule be easier for him to handle (allowing more time for recovery and other projects he has going on), but he also couldn’t have signed with the company at a better time.
With several top stars like Sting and AJ Styles leaving, MVP is the first international superstar the company was able to bring in since those departures, and he has embraced his role as the leader of the new generation.
Choosing TNA over WWE could help lead other stars to make the same decision in the future, especially if the company continues to trend in the right direction.
MVP on CM Punk’s Situation with the WWE
MVP spoke glowingly about the changes he and the rest of the people in charge at TNA have been making, but the hottest topic in wrestling right now is the relationship between CM Punk and the WWE.
Despite the fact that many fans now have hard feelings toward Punk due to the fact that he walked away from the company—but more importantly, the fans—MVP defended him:
"Let’s look at it this way. I had a year left in my deal and I asked for a release. I was ready to go. So, would I support? Absolutely, because you have to remember, it is a business. In the case of the WWE: great product and powerful company, and they gave me the opportunity to do all that I have done so far, for which I will be forever grateful. They’ve almost got a monopoly. They can do pretty much whatever they want. As a fan on the outside looking in, all you know is ‘Hey, that’s the guy I want to see every week,’ and not the intricacies of what goes on behind the scenes."
There have been so many rumors and opinions given on this matter, but it was refreshing to hear from a wrestler who was in a similar position with the same company very recently.
While MVP did ask for his release, he did it in a way that did not impact the company to the extent Punk walking out before WrestleMania has affected WWE. Whether you agree with Punk’s actions or not, it is clear that many of his fellow wrestlers, including TNA’s big-name acquisition, support the former champion.
After speaking with MVP, it is clear that he is wise to the business and is sincerely doing what he views is best for the future of Impact Wrestling. The future is bright for TNA.
All quotes obtained firsthand.
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