Exactly one year ago I announced that I had started writing a book about the history of TNA/IMPACT Wrestling. So, what have I accomplished over the past year? Read on to find out.
When I first started this project, I had no idea who I’d be able to interview. I emailed anyone and everyone I could think of, and great things started to happen. My first phone call was with Jeff Jarrett, purely to discuss the idea behind my book and get his thoughts on it. Jeff and I haven’t come to an agreement on him doing an interview with me for my book, but I’m still working on it. Nevertheless, him and I get along really well, and we even met in person for the first time ever a few months back when he was in Philly.
After that first phone call with Jeff Jarrett, I went on to interview more than 300 people, including wrestlers, office executives and support staff, interns, production crew, wardrobe designers, security, high-ranking television executives from Viacom, Spike, Fox Sports Net, Pop TV, and more. At one point, I was doing 10 interviews or more per week. And aside from Jeff Jarrett, I also had numerous phone calls with Dixie Carter, who was delightful. Just like Jeff, her and I haven’t come to an agreement on doing a formal interview. However, if you told me back when I was watching TNA in 2008 that I’d one day be having phone calls with Jeff Jarrett, Dixie Carter, and writing a book about the history of the company, I would have said, “That’s crazy!” As Kurt Angle would say, “Oh, it’s true. It’s damn true!”
Getting a text message from Jeff Hardy, out of the blue, about interviewing him for my book was spectacular. Talking to Mike Weber, TNA’s Vice President of Marketing, countless times was a joy. Having an in-depth conversation with Kevin Kay, President of Spike TV, about how the TNA-Spike deal came together, why it fell apart, and everything in between, was an honor. Along the way, I got to interview several people who had never agreed to do an interview before, including TNA’s Executive Vice President Andy Barton, TNA’s Head of Production Keith Mitchell and his son Matt Mitchell, along with many more.
Spending five hours late one night talking to Kevin Nash for my book was too sweet. He’s one seriously smart guy and a good one as well. What I learned along the way is that trust is everything in wrestling. By earning the trust of one person, they put in a good word for me with another. This snowballed to the point where I was talking to Rob Van Dam, Ken Anderson, Angelina Love, Velvet Sky, Earl Hebner, and so many other people I admire. All of them brought something interesting to the table. I’m also fortunate to have interviewed Daffney and Jimmy Rave, who are no longer with us, as well as Don West, who is now battling cancer for the second time in less than 12 months. Since the passing of Bob Ryder, who died four days before I started this project, I’ve made it a point to get as many interviews in as possible because I don’t want to miss out on being able to tell someone’s story.
Vince Russo said he’d only talk to me if I paid him $1,000. I laughed out loud and told him that I haven’t paid anyone to do an interview with me for my book, nor should I, and since 2012 I’ve been interviewing inumerable legends for free, including KISS, Journey, Barry Manilow, Dionne Warwick, Diamond Dallas Page, Jeff Hardy, and Kiefer Sutherland, among others. So, why would I pay Vince Russo, of all people, $1,000? I told Vince I can pull quotes from his podcast, so paying him provided me with zero value. His response was “Don’t get hot, bro.” Needless to say, you’ll get plenty of Vince Russo in my book, whether he likes it or not.
So, how about the writing? How’s that coming along? It’s going well. I spent three quarters of the year doing a boatload of interviews, and there are still some big ones to come. But I also try to write every single day, if possible. It may only be for an hour, but I try to get it in. It’s like saving for retirement: slow and steady wins the race.
My book is broken into four parts, and I have chapters drafted within each part. At this point, these mainly consist of quotes from various interviews relevant to the focus of the particular chapter I’m working on at any moment. So, there is still a lot of work to do, as I’m transcribing all 300+ interviews on my own, and then weaving them together with a cohesive narrative structure. It’s no small task, which is why this will take at least 2-3 years to complete. However, it will be worth it in the end. I promise that this book will be fabulous. You’ll learn about the rise, fall, and rise of TNA/IMPACT Wrestling, and I look forward to it eventually being in your hands. Keep your eyes on this page for the latest developments, and sign up for email alerts so you don’t miss any.