A.J. Kirsch was recently interviewed by Justin Watry of NoDQ.com covering multiple topics. From his recent win in the TNA Gutcheck Challenge to WrestleMania 29, it is all discussed. For more information, follow @AJKirsch, @JustinWatry, and @nodqdotcom on Twitter!
JW: As always, please introduce yourself to wrestling fans all over the world.
AK: My name is A.J. Kirsch. I've been wrestling on the independents since 2005, and I'm best known for being a contestant on the most recent season of WWE Tough Enough.
JW: You are currently doing very well in the TNA Gutcheck Challenge. How exactly did this all come about and in what way can fans help out?
AK: Yeah, just this past week, I won my bracket of the opening round of TNA Gut Check. I participated in a Gut Check seminar with D'Lo Brown a couple of years ago. I thought it was just a one-and-done learning experience, you know, get some constructive criticism, maybe make some contacts. But I received an email several months ago informing me that not only is TNA relaunching the Gut Check Challenge, but anyone who participated in a past seminar is eligible to compete. So, of course, I jumped on board, and as of midnight last Sunday night, thanks to the votes from fans who registered and voted at Challenge.TNAGutCheck.com, I'm advancing to the next round of the competition. As for how people can support, to be honest, I'm not sure yet. The opening brackets of the competition finish in June, I think, and since winning my bracket, I haven't received any information telling me what the next step in the process is. But you can add me on Facebook at Facebook.com/AJKirsch or follow me on Twitter @AJKirsch. As soon as I know what's next and how people can help, I'll blast it all over both.
JW: To be honest, I am a skeptic of this entire process, and there are likely others as well. Who is to say somebody eliminated won't get signed in a few months anyways? Any thoughts on the nature of this competition?
AK: "Skeptic of the process?" You and me, both! I have no idea how much this competition is actually swayed by votes, or if there is some other force at work. Of course, someone could get eliminated and signed immediately after. In fact, that scenario is all too familiar to me; Ariane, the first person eliminated from Tough Enough barely left the show and she was signed to a contract with WWE. As I like to say, "oh, wrestling..."
I would not be surprised in the least if something similar happened with Gut Check. The less I think about the nature of this competition, the better. How much of it is legit? How much of it is a work? Who the hell knows? I'm just gonna have fun with it and advance as far as I can.
JW: Moving to a hypothetical question, let's say you earn a TNA contract. Would you mind training in OVW first or hitting the road immediately with the main roster after signing the contract?
AK: If I earned a TNA contract, I would not mind training with OVW. If they hire me, they're hiring me to do a job. If I need additional training to do that job better than I'm doing it now, then that's what's gonna happen.
JW: In November 2012, you said signing with TNA was an option, but WWE "is and always has been the ultimate goal." Has anything in 2013 swayed you mind one way or another?
AK: Let me be very clear here: my goal is to make a living in professional wrestling, but I also want to contribute to this business on the biggest stage there is and make as lucrative a living as possible. The place to do both is WWE, which always has been and still is the ultimate goal. That has not changed, not one bit.
JW: On that same note, you also wished that a company would catch fire and give WWE a run for its money but you stated it may not be TNA. Does Impact going live on Spike TV and on the road change your perspective?
AK: Live TV makes Impact a little more unpredictable, I guess, but is the move to live TV or going on the road really gonna make someone tune in who wasn't tuning in before? Is it gonna change the content of the show to make it more interesting or more accessible to someone who wasn't as interested or inclined to seek it out prior? Doubt it. My perspective has not changed on whether or not TNA is gonna be the company that gives WWE a run for its money.
JW: One wrestling company that could give WWE a run for its money for entertainment value is Hoodslam. Tell us all about this.
AK: Jesus, where do I begin? As far as entertainment value, I will go on record in saying Hoodslam blows WWE away. For anyone who was a fan of wrestling during its most popular eras in the late 80s and late 90s/early 2000s, Hoodslam is that fresh take on professional wrestling that the business has so sorely needed. It's the best of professional wrestling mixed with live music, comedy, burlesque, sideshow acts, pop-culture, but most importantly, it doesn't insult the intelligence of the audience.
It's not meant for kids. One of Hoodslam's catch-phrases is "Don't bring your f*cking kids." This is for people who WANT to be wrestling fans, but are tired, bored, or disenchanted by what they see on TV. And the best part is, most of the members of our audience is not your typical wrestling fan. They're not desensitized and over-demanding from watching wrestling nonstop for years and years. They're just people who want an entertaining show and they sure as hell get that. As a performer, that makes it infinitely more fun because they pop for EVERYTHING. A shoulder tackle, a hip-toss, a bodyslam, the place goes up! Last month, the finish to one of the matches was when veteran Street Fighter II sumo wrestler E. Honda took down fellow Street Fighter Zangief, and Virgil Flynn, Hoodslam's smallest performer, nailed a 450-splash off of the shoulders of the 7-foot-tall Jolly Green Giant. The 800-plus in attendance lost their minds!
This is just a small taste of what Hoodslam is all about. If you're in the San Francisco Bay Area, Hoodslam goes down the first Friday of every month in Oakland, CA. Check out www.BirdsWillFall.com for more info. And if you're not there, you have no idea what you're missing.
JW: Speaking of WWE nowadays, WrestleMania 29 was just last week. I thought it was a 'good' event but not up to par with what a WrestleMania should be. What did you think of wrestling's biggest event of the year?
AK: I agree: a good show, but hardly the jaw-dropping climax fans have come to expect. Some great matches, sure. And the size and majesty of the event is a spectacle in itself. WrestleMania is supposed to answer all of the questions from the past year. Unfortunately, the questions weren't all that interesting to begin with, so I wasn't exactly chomping at the bit to see how these questions were answered.
JW: To change gears real quick, one of your recent Twitter posts was about Jimmy Fallon. To be fair, I am not a fan of his either. However, what celebrities or Hollywood stars do you look to for inspiration in the wrestling world?
AK: Goddamn, I HATE Jimmy Fallon. SO not funny. How he ever kept a job in comedy is beyond me. But, hell, I'm probably the world's most shamelessly vocal Nickelback fan, so what do I know? (laughs) I admire people whose observations strike me as unique. I could listen to Louis CK for hours. He's not only hilarious (one of his least-favorite terms ever), but he has a way of presenting every day life that makes it appear ridiculous. I appreciate that. I've also recently been consumed by "Breaking Bad" as of late. I've never found myself rooting for a character more than I root for Walter White, played by the incredible Bryan Cranston. I pay particular attention when I find myself really rooting for him, or when I find myself thinking, "God, this is such a cool moment," and try to dissect what about that moment is getting this kind of reaction out of me and how I can translate it to sports-entertainment.
JW: Well, let's hope that inspiration brings a happy and successful year to you! Before going, please inform everyone where they can follow, tweet, support, vote or help you in any way.
AK: Hey, so far, so good! I'm thrilled with how 2013 has gone thus far and if it's any indication of the year to come, it's gonna be one damn good year!
You can add me on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/AJKirsch. I accept all friend requests.
You can like my fan page at www.Facebook.com/AJKirschFan.
You can follow me on Twitter, Tout, and Instagram all @AJKirsch.
And you can subscribe to my YouTube channel at www.YouTube.com/iAmAJKirsch.
Keep an eye on my Facebook, Twitter, and Tout more than anything else to see what I got coming up, including the next step in the TNA Gut Check Challenge.
JW: Thank you sir.
AK: No, thank you! I look forward to talking with NoDQ.com again soon!
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