TNA Wrestling star Ken Anderson was recently interviewed by Al Castle, senior writer at The Wrestler/Inside Wrestling magazine. Topics discussed include Anderson’s days as a WWE jobber, having to deal with his father’s death during his first WWE push, the importance of blood in wrestling, the heat he got for portraying an anti-U.S. military character, how he deals with criticism, and more.
The magazine, which features Ken Anderson on one cover and Sheamus on the other, is on newsstands now and is also available at pwi-online.com. Here are some highlights of what Ken Anderson talked about:
His WWE Departure: “The thing is that the chairman of that company likes guys who stand up for themselves. He likes guys who aren’t just pushovers, who aren’t just ‘glad-handing, nonsensical yes-men,’ to quote another wrestler (CM Punk). And yet, it depends on what day it is and what side of the bed he woke up on. So it’s really a gamble. If you’re a pushover and you’re a wimp and you say, ‘Yes, yes, yes, yes,’ you’re going to be trampled over, regardless. You’re going to get steamrolled regardless of how talented you are. But if you don’t, if you play it the other way, you have a chance of being successful. Like you said, I made some mistakes. I stuck my foot in mouth when I shouldn’t have. I spoke up when I shouldn’t have. None of it was with bad intentions. What’s more, this is the wrestling business and some guys get injured. The interesting thing for me is that you look at that roster and there are guys that get injured time and time again. The Undertaker is good for an injury every year or so. Steve Austin’s been injured. Rey Mysterio gets injured. But when you haven’t made the right political decisions, and you’ve been injured a time or two, that could be possible ammo for some of those people who aren’t your allies to say, ‘Boy, he’s injured all the time. Is he not reliable?’ And when you’re not around to defend yourself, that could be your downfall.”
His “Asshole” Character In TNA: “It wasn’t so much a change as it was this was stuff that I had pitched years ago to Vince McMahon and he said absolutely not. The very first meeting I had with him, I pitched the ‘asshole’ idea. I would bring up how Steve Austin was always telling people, ‘There are about 10,000 people here calling you an asshole,’ and that was a bad thing. But what if we turned it around? What if we played into the notion that nice guys finish last, and so I’m an asshole. I think it was Colin Powell who said, ‘It’s sometimes better to ask for forgiveness than ask for permission.’ It was one of those things that I knew in my head at the time would work. But now that I asked Vince and he told me no, I can’t say it for sure. Even if I did say and it worked, I’d still get into trouble. Whereas if I just went out there and said it and it worked, I could have apologized later and said I just felt it at the moment.”
Whether Wrestling should be PG: “I don’t know how it’s possible to have a show about guys that want to fight each other, with half-naked women running around and all of the other stuff that we have, and have it be PG. I just don’t understand how that works. It doesn’t make sense to me. Me favorite years in the wrestling business were the Attitude Era. Maybe it’s as simple as they’ve decided, ‘We need it to get away from this for a while, as far away as possible, so that when we bring it back it will be a what’s-old-is-new kind of thing.’… Our target audience is 18-34. And you’re giving them PG content … If you’re 18 years old, you don’t want to see PG stuff. You don’t want to see somebody called a ‘darn butthole.’ It insults their intelligence.”
Frequent Face & Heel Turns In TNA: “Here’s where sometimes people don’t understand the full story. There are reasons why somebody will suddenly change from heel to babyface, from a logistics concern. Maybe somebody is hurt and maybe somebody needs to fill a spot that was originally intended for somebody else. And we can’t think of somebody else to fill that role, so we need you to fill that role. Part of me thinks that wrestling needs to evolve again. There’s this thought that, in wrestling, it needs to be black or white. You’re either a good guy or a bad guy. I don’t know anybody in my life that is wholly evil or wholly good. With Breaking Bad, or Sons Of Anarchy, or Weeds—you look at these shows and there’s a guy who is a chemistry teacher who sells meth. Is this a good guy? By society’s standards, no. But we look at the TV show and we can sympathize with him. So I don’t know what the answer is. But I do believe that sometimes in the wrestling business, it’s almost forced. And it can be insulting to the wrestling audience, whereas on a TV show like Sons Of Anarchy, you decide. But in wrestling, it’s ‘Hey, I’m the bad guy. Boo me,’ or ‘I’m the good guy. Cheer for me.’”