At Wrestling MediaCon, I got the chance to have a very brief, last minute chat with The Prestigious One, Joe Hendry. He was very short on time, we even got a signal one minute in to cut the interview short, but he was kind enough to sit and have a chat with me.
We talk wrestling video games, IMPACT, Milan Fashion Week, and more. I hope you enjoy.
Please note: As I’d never conducted interviews prior to this weekend, I had no plans of publishing the audio for this interview, but because the sound quality turned out better than expected, I’ve decided to include it along with a transcript. As I wasn’t planning on anybody hearing it, and this interview was arranged at the last moment with no prep time, I may be stumbling my words in places so please forgive any mistakes. Otherwise, I hope you enjoy this brief but brilliant talk.
HWF: How are you finding Wrestling MediaCon so far?
Joe: It’s an awesome event. It’s a shame this interview is audio only because we’re sitting in a recreation of the bar/cafe thing from Star Wars. It’s pretty epic… but I could just be lying… On a more relevant note, it’s great to have so many great promotions and media personalities, it’s a nice chilled out vibe.
HWF: You mention we’re in the Star Wars Cantina Bar – I’m sure it’s the real one. It’s a pretty weird place to do an interview, so what’s the weirdest place you’ve had a match?
Joe: Oh, I do have an answer for this. The weirdest place I’ve had a match was actually in Milan Fashion Week. Basically, there was a designer who made Floyd Mayweather’s robes. This guy has stores all over the world… I wish I could remember his name right now. But basically, his show was insane. It had monster trucks, flamethrowers, stunts, jumps, it was pretty insane. They had a cage in the middle, they asked us to do a wrestling match so we did.
HWF: At the moment you’re doing a Twitch show with IMPACT playing video games. You’re known for playing video games, you’ve done WhatCulture Gaming in the past, so let’s get the definitive answer – what’s the best wrestling game ever and who is your go-to to play as on that game?
Joe: The one I’ve spent the most time on is Fire Pro Wrestling for the Game Boy Advance. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy Fire Pro Wrestling World, but I don’t think the timing system is as good as the GBA. The GBA one is exceptionally well-balanced, and it still stands up today.
The thing that makes me laugh is when you ask who do I play as in the game, it’s always the erm… for example, I think it was ‘Deep Freeze’ Steve Majors. in that game
HWF: The copyright friendly wrestlers?
Joe: Yeah, those ones. I’d always go for the ones that were completely made up. At the time when I got that game, I wasn’t completely up on Japanese wrestling, ECW and all that, it was a little later when I discovered all of that so I didn’t know who all the wrestlers were, but that game is awesome. SmackDown 2 is awesome. I wanna get into No Mercy, I’ve got it for the N64.
But honestly, here me out here, the IMPACT game deserves a shout. Look, there are obviously things you would change about it, you’d get heavier wrestlers doing crossbodies and stuff like that, but in terms of actual fun, which is something we should inject back into wrestling video games, that is a really fun game. For anyone that’s not necessarily a wrestling fan, IMPACT is a really fun time. And it looks amazing!
HWF: I think in the last ten years, the best story mode was in the IMPACT game. You literally get beaten so bad that you need head-to-toe reconstructive surgery, and that’s how you create your character! It’s genius! It’s insane, but it’s genius. (READ MORE ABOUT THAT HERE)
So, speaking of IMPACT, you’ve recently signed with them, you’re appearing on TV, you’re teaming with Grado – how did you feel when you got that call and how do you think it’s going so far?
Joe: It’s going amazing. I met with Scott, Don and Ed when they did the talent search in the UK. In retrospect, it’s quite an honour to be the result of that tour, that’s a big responsibility. They wanted someone from the UK that could step into that TV role straight away, so we met, I don’t think there were any expectations on either side, they just wanted to know what I was about, what my intentions were for the business, what my goals were, and I made it clear, I’m here to be number one. They’ve been amazing, they’ve given me creative freedom to do my entrances, they’re letting me be me, and to pair me with Grado is so much fun.
HWF: With the British scene as healthy as it is, if you could bring one person to IMPACT from here, who would it be?
Joe: That is really tough… I think Martin Kirby is probably one of the most versatile wrestlers going today. As much as we’re enemies, I have to take my hat off and say he’s up there. I was glad to see Lana Austin on this tour, I think she’s very underrated. I was actually surprised that she hasn’t had an opportunity from a major company before, that kinda spoke to me about how in-depth IMPACT’s talent search is. She’s deserved an opportunity for a long time. There’s so many though.
HWF: Last question – if there’s one reason why we love pro wrestling and defines why it’s so great, what is it?
Joe: That’s a great question, I’ve never been asked that before. The reason to me why I like it is because it’s the art form that allows you to express yourself in more ways than any other. Let’s look at film, TV, music, stage – you think about the ways you can express yourself with professional wrestling, from your physique, to your ring gear, your music, the way you walk to the ring, the moves you do, the way you look at the camera, you look at the crowd, your promos, your social media. I just can’t think of any art form that is more expressive than professional wrestling, and it just allows people to escape from whatever troubles they’re going through in their life. To me, there’s nothing like it. There’s a reason why top stars always leave, go and do movies, but they always get drawn back.
HWF: I think that’s a great answer. Joe Hendry, thank you very much.
You can see Joe on IMPACT Wrestling every Thursday Night on POP TV in the US, or Fight Network UK (also on 5Spike on Friday nights in the UK)
Photo courtesy of Beyond Gorilla
Follow me on Twitter @HairyWrestling