Impact Wrestling World Champion Josh Alexander is once again at the top of the mountain, and now he will look to continue his Title reign at one of Impact’s biggest events of the year. That would be this Sunday’s Slammiversary, where he will face Eric Young for the prestigious Title. ComicBook.com had the chance to speak to Alexander all about Slammiversary and his match against Young, which is actually one of Alexander’s dream matches, though we also talked about the evolution of Impact, the effect TNA and Impact have had on the wrestling world, and much more.
Impact has evolved so much since it first debuted as TNA, and it’s affected the greater wrestling world in a number of ways throughout its rollercoaster journey. Alexander was there at the beginning of TNA’s journey as a fan and remembers the match that showcased what made it so special.
“Oh, I think that the wrestling industry today across the entire landscape, throughout the world, would not be the same without what TNA did, especially in those early years,” Alexander said. “I started my relationship with Impact Wrestling as a fan, like everybody else. On that Wednesday night, June 19th, 2002, I ordered the very first pay-per-view as a 15 or 16-year-old kid. I ran inside and ordered that thing right away. Because I was craving something different from my pro wrestling. I fell out of love with pro wrestling over the previous couple of years, right? I wanted something different. Immediately the first match that came out was Jerry Lynn, Low-Ki, and AJ Styles against the Flying Elvises. And not to take anything away from Jerry Lynn. I feel like he cultivated and really groomed that X Division in the early years, but AJ Styles and Low-Ki showed me this type of pro wrestling that I felt like I’d never seen before. Even though I’d watched Cruiserweight wrestling before, they were taking it to a completely different level And that’s what really inspired me and gave me this new obsession for pro wrestling that carried me through today to like pursue this as my own career.”
Alexander would go on to officially join Impact Wrestling in 2019 (he appeared though in 2018), and since then he’s been a part of a big-time Tag Team (The North alongside Ethan Page) before ultimately becoming a two-time Impact World Champion. Since he joined the company, Alexander has seen another evolution for Impact, one that has been moving closer to its roots.
(Photo: Impact Wrestling)
“I think it’s evolved to go back to our roots, because Impact Wrestling, look, the elephant in the room is that there were some dark ages of Impact Wrestling,” Alexander said. “We ascended to some incredible heights and then there were some little lows. And now we’re back. Momentum is gaining. We’re going back and we’re ascending again. I joined the company three and a half years ago now, and when we did, management had changed a few months before that, and it seemed like everybody was just going back to their roots. That’s the same stuff I was talking about with those guys, like AJ Styles and Low-Ki, where they were finding and grooming new talent, rather than just taking talent that had already been established somewhere else and trying to put a fresh coat of paint on them.”
“Impact wrestling, I call it the land of opportunity. That’s what it was in the beginning, and that’s what it is again now. Which is great, going back to the 20-year anniversary, because guys like me, who might not be known on the world scale, they gave me a chance. They signed me. They gave me the ball and they gave me the opportunity to drop it, and thankfully I never did, and I’ve carried it all the way now to be World Champion,” Alexander said.
Alexander recently re-signed with Impact, and he always knew it was where he wanted to return to, even if there was some doubt regarding whether or not it would all work out. “Well, there are doubts, but it was nothing that was in my control. I always knew I wanted to be in Impact Wrestling. I always knew that this is the place where I wanted to be on the ground floor with something that was growing, and I wanted to grow with it. Because I feel like I can grow my name with the opportunities that Impact can give me, and Impact can grow itself with the stuff I can do in the ring and I can provide.”
(Photo: Impact Wrestling)
Alexander will take on Eric Young for the Title at Slammiversary, and he knows how effective Young is in the ring. This will actually be the first time these Impact mainstays have faced each other in the ring and is one of several dream matches Alexander has hoped for.
“I refer to Eric Young as the Swiss Army Knife of pro wrestling. I think he is capable of doing every single thing possible. He can make you laugh. He can make you cry. He can make you scared, and anytime you put him in the ring with anybody, he can produce an amazing match. I’ve been an incredible fan of his. He started in the same area where I started. I started in 2005. All you heard about was the legend of Showtime Eric Young. How he’s the greatest wrestler to come out of Ontario, Canada, and then I built my name up and now I’m regarded as one of the best wrestlers to come out of Ontario, Canada, thankfully. We’ve both traveled these different paths and we are converging at Slammiversary in the 20-year anniversary, and we’re going to be in the ring in singles action for the first time ever,” Alexander said. “It’s a hundred percent been a dream match for me, and especially following his career and Impact, being a fan myself all these years, and just having that little chip on my shoulder to see who really is the best to come out of Ontario, Canada just adds a little spice to the match.”
Alexander has been teasing some special Slammiversary ring gear over the past few weeks, and while he wouldn’t give the game away just yet, he did provide some teases about the Impact history that will be represented in it.
“Yeah. Okay. So, it’s obviously a singlet. I’m not changing that up at all. But I have three favorites in Impact Wrestling, and the only reason I’m hesitant to share anything more of this right now is because I don’t know if it fits yet,” Alexander said. “I’m trying it on tomorrow. But the three people that inspire me most from Impact Wrestling were Kurt Angle, Samoa Joe, and AJ Styles. So when you see that singlet, if you don’t understand the things and the pieces that I put in there to kind of pay tribute to those guys on the 20-year anniversary, then I don’t think you’re an impact Wrestling fan to begin with.”
When Alexander was crowned Impact World Champion his family was right alongside him in the ring, including his youngest son, who has turned into a massive wrestling fan, and even has his own singlet in case an impromptu match breaks out at the grocery store. Fatherhood is already amazing, but to be your son’s wrestling hero makes it all the more fun.
(Photo: Impact Wrestling)
“Well, I mean the second my first son was born, I started crying for no reason on random things. That’s what instantly changed with me,” Alexander said. “But being able to share … My oldest son, he’s seven, he only likes watching me wrestle. He doesn’t really have an interest in wrestling and that’s fine. I’ve never forced it on him. But my recently turned four year old, he’s completely obsessed with pro wrestling. He came out with me at Rebellion. He wears a singlet under his clothes, when we go to the grocery store, just in case a match is going to break out, he can get ready to go. To him, he is a wrestler already and this is his dream.”
“So, to be able to share that with him and give him memories that he can look back on when he’s an adult and be like … Like most dads get to bring their son to Disney World and get a picture with Mickey Mouse as a memory. My son walked out with me on Pay-Per-View in front of millions of people watching around the world, you know what I mean? So, that’s great. The fact that I could share that and give him memories is special.”
Oh, and he even has his own version of his Father’s Title, because a Champion can’t be running around without a Title after all, right? “He won’t allow me to not get him gear, man. I win a belt, I have to get a mini replica belt made for him because he thinks he is the embodiment of me. I’m his hero. Most dads, like you’re your daughter’s hero for sure. I get to be my son’s superhero,” Alexander said.
You can watch Alexander and Young face off at Impact Wrestling Slammiversary, which takes place live in Nashville, TN. You can also watch it live on pay-per-view and FITE, and the action kicks off on Sunday, June 19th at 7 PM CST.
What do you want to see next for Josh Alexander and what match are you most excited for at Slammiversary? Let us know in the comments or as always you can talk all things wrestling with me on Twitter @MattAguilarCB!