Jay Lethal participated in an interview with WorldWrestlingInsanity.com. Highlights from the interview are as follows:
As most fans know, Ring of Honor is embarking on a new chapter. Recently bought into by Sinclair Broadcasting, the company is set to make its TV debut with Sinclair on September 24th. Returning to the Ring after over six years, Lethal quickly captured their TV championship. As James Guttman points out, joining ROH during such an exciting time has to be great for any star. But for someone like Jay, who was there early on, the homecoming has to be sweeter. As Lethal explains to ClubWWI.com members, it is…
“Now that I’ve been back, how has it changed? I can tell you, the only two things that have changed are a few faces because a couple of Ring of Honor guys are still there from when I was there and Sinclair backing them. I am very big on promoting the fact that Ring of Honor has always had one of the best wrestling products out there. It’s just their only flaw was that they were unable to get this product out to the masses. Now they actually have that opportunity with Sinclair Broadcasting Group having bought out the company and being the new engine in the car, so to speak.”
James then mentions that Aaron Wood, a writer for WorldWrestlingInsanity.com, is flying into New York from Scotland this weekend and the top of his priority list was to attend the Ring of Honor Death Before Dishonor iPPV on Saturday. Guttman along with other site writers Matt Dawgs and Canadian Bulldog will be there too (http://www.rohwrestling.com/news/new-york-ny-sept-11th/). As such a pull factor for viewers – even from across the globe – Ring of Honor’s momentum seems to be going strong. It leads JG to ask a question he’s asked others. With all the talk of TNA challenging WWE, is the idea of ROH challenging TNA more believable? Is TNA’s race against ROH actually closer than the one they have with WWE? As someone who’s worked for both, Lethal tells ClubWWI listeners his thoughts and why…
“Not only is that believable to me, but it’s very conceivable, I think, to many of the fans out there, especially Ring of Honor fans – although they may be a little bit biased. But so am I because I’ve worked for both companies. I was just recently let go by TNA and I’d hate to make it sound like I’m very bitter, but I wasn’t the only one let go. There were a handful of my friends. Not just friends, but also great wrestlers were let go and I just don’t understand the reasoning behind it… As a company, if you have anybody on your roster, you’d want to find what they do well and feature that one thing.
“I think that’s one thing that TNA isn’t doing. That’s one flaw that they’re lacking for the bottom half of their show, anyway. Ring of Honor, from top to bottom, their whole product is about wrestling. We’re not trying to focus on storylines and talking and all the boring this and that. Our main focus, which is pretty cool – we’re going to get wrestling fans, because we’re about wrestling – but another aspect that we’re reaching for that WWE and TNA doesn’t seem to be reaching for is that UFC fan. UFC fans are driven by competition. Because that’s what UFC is. It’s real. It’s a competition. And that’s what we’re trying to center our Ring of Honor product on. I definitely think that we have a great chance in overtaking TNA, if they’re not careful.”
Jay speaks about specific friends let go from TNA and his feelings overall about the company’s strengths and weaknesses. For him, though, his biggest strength in Total Nonstop Action wasn’t a creative decision as much as his own impression skills. As “Black Machismo”, Jay was known for his spot-on Randy Savage impersonation. But the question that James always wondered was whether Savage was ever approached to come in. It would make sense, right? Well, during the ClubWWI.com discussion, Jay says it wasn’t a consideration and seemed to be more along the lines of thinking that Randy wouldn’t do it if asked. That is, until Hulk Hogan arrived and had an idea that sounds like many other ideas credited to him…
“Hogan came in and a couple of months from Hogan being there, he actually said he was talking with the Macho Man and working it with him to come in. Hogan actually sat me down and explained the whole thing he wanted to do too. He wanted to film vignettes of me going to Hogan, me getting Hogan pissed off, and Hogan yelling at me. Then the next time you see me, I’m at a bar and I’m talking to somebody and you can’t really see him because they’re in the shadows. But they have that Savage hat on.
“Eventually you hear Savage say that we’re getting Hogan right where we want him. We’re getting under his skin. We got him, got him, got him. So it was going to be one of those things where I’m trying to get under Hogan’s skin because that’s what Savage has me doing. Then Savage comes in and it was going to be a big attack on Hogan. That was the original plan from what I was told. I don’t know if that was ever really going to happen, but that’s what Hogan told me personally.”
James Guttman remarks that it’s funny how many of Hulk Hogan’s TV ideas usually involve people attacking Hulk Hogan. They laugh and go on to discuss Savage’s original TNA run in 2004 and more. Follow Jay on Twitter at @thelethaljay. And remember, Jay Lethal is just one of hundreds of stars available as soon as you sign up to ClubWWI.com. Over one hour with Jesse Ventura. Over two hours with Jerry Lawler. And over a thousand hours of audio – all ready to listen to right now.