Ken Anderson Talks Potential TNA Sale to WWE, Late Pay Issues During His TNA Run, More

Mr. Anderson was the guest of Interactive Wrestling Radio. In the interview with the former WWE Superstar and former TNA World Champion, they discuss his time in the WWE, TNA, his musical leanings, voice acting, and the story behind the football jersey worn on TNA Impact Wrestling. You can download the show at this link, and you can check out Anderson’s new school at

On how the Academy Pro Wrestling came about:

“This is something I wanted to do for a couple years now. I was doing a lot of independent bookings overseas and even some stuff here in the United States. I’ve got kids. I’ve got twins that are almost 3. I wanted to start slowing down. I wanted to start falling down less for a living. I’ve always enjoyed passing on knowledge… I’ve always enjoyed training and teaching people. I just felt like it was time. Minneapolis, there’s such a vacuum here in Minneapolis. It used to be such a hot bed for professional wrestling. Some of the biggest names that you’ve ever heard of in the business. Just from my era, you have had Austin Aries, ODB, Lenny Lane, Daivari, Arik Cannon…. We just have very little going on here right now. Daivari and I spun our wheels for so many years just trying to make it to the dance. What we wouldn’t have given to have people who have actually been there and knew how to get there and how to stay there and had an all encompassing knowledge and education of the wrestling business… And that’s what we want to do at the Academy.”

On who will be the main trainers:

“I’ve been wrestling now for almost 18 years. Daivari’s been wrestling for about that long. Molly Holly, who is going to be helping out, has been wrestling for about that long… Tremendous, storied… WWE legend! I believe shell be in the Hall of Fame very, very soon. Araya Daivari who is on his way, Arik Cannon who has had a lot of success all over the world… We just feel those are pretty good resumes. We want to be able to present that to people.”

On teaching to act at the Academy:

“It is not going to be just the stuff that you do in the ring. It is going to be the professionalism that goes along with what we do – How to talk to people in the locker room, how to not be a jerk! To learn from the mistakes I’ve made in the business from running my mouth to not standing up for myself when I should have… The successes that we’ve had too. We are going to have an interesting take on how we approach wrestling because I don’t look at wrestling as just wrestling. I look at it as acting and I’m going to take that approach. We’re going to use all kinds of different tools. We’re going to have comedians come in and teach improv. We’re going to have ventriloquists come in and teach these guys how to talk in the ring without the camera picking you up. Things like that which I don’t think anyone’s ever looked at. Guest trainers! Everybody’s got a different recipe for success. We pretty much know everyone in the wrestling business. To have a guy like Scott Hall come in and say, “Here’s my recipe for success!” That to me is how you learn. You learn by working with people who are better than you. You take things from different people… A little bit from here, a little bit from there. Make it your own. I think that’s a recipe for success!”

On Vince Russo’s view of how much of wrestling is acting:

“I don’t understand where the flack comes from! I really don’t! You’re given a script, you’re told “Play this emotion”. Here, go read these lines and say them as you would. I don’t understand why people don’t understand this is what we do – We’re acting! And a lot of times, as wrestlers, we’re guilty of being really bad actors. You get these people who don’t look at it that way, they don’t take any acting classes, and you watch them go out there and you can almost see them reading it as they say it. It’s terrible! It is like watching of D movie quality acting. You wouldn’t watch an hour and a half of it! If you did, it would be as a joke with your buddies. You’d get together and pick the worst possible movie and say, “Ok, we’re going to watch this just to laugh at it!” I love this business. I’m not saying everybody’s a bad actor. But, I think a lot of times, wrestlers are guilty of it. I’d like to be part of changing that. But, it is OK! It is OK to say that word, “actors”.”

On his experience with voice acting:

“Absolutely! I love voice acting. I think it is something that is not hard on the body but it takes a certain skill level. I don’t think people realize how tough it can be. But also, how easy it can be. A lot of the really good voice actors, the ones that get tons of work, they never really leave their house. They get out of bed and go downstairs to their studio, in their pajamas, their hair moshed, and they read lines! It is just something I’ve always been fascinated by.”

On how he was trained:

“I was fortunate. I just rolled the dice. I went online, I happened to find the right one. I just reached out to the first one that came up on my feed. Saying that, there were 3 to 4 schools in the area that were absolutely terrible. But, I got lucky, I really did. I will say that over the years, I’ve been a lot of training. I don’t like the notion that you have to beat them into submission. I know it is old school but I don’t subscribe to the notion that you have to beat them into submission and those that are tough will stick around. Times have changed. We want to make sure that guys are doing things safely and correctly. If a guy comes into our school and weighs 350 pounds and doesn’t appear to have an athletic bone in his body, I’m not going to say “You can’t be in the wrestling business because you can’t do 1,000 squats.” If he feels he has something to offer the wrestling industry, I’d like to help him figure out what that is. Had somebody had that mentality towards Mick Foley, and I’m not saying he weighs 350 pounds, he’d not be the legend that he is today.”

On what stars took him under his wing in the WWE:

“Oh yeah. When i first got to WWE, it was Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero. I know I’m not supposed to say that (Benoit) and I know what he did was absolutely horrible. Undertaker! Undertaker saw me wrestle with Batista at the Great American Bash at my first big pay per view. Undertaker pulled me aside and said, “I saw what you did with Batista and I want to work with you!” He went to Vince and said “Hey, I want to work with Kennedy.” It was supposed to be 3 to 4 months and it ended up being a really long run. I went around the world and wrestled Undertaker, Kane. He was a guy who really took me under his wing. The first time I ever got in the ring with Taker, he told me he was going to call everything in the ring, “I’m going to feel the crowd and we’ll just work on the fly.” It was extremely crazy! Extremely liberating, actually. Ok, all I have to do is listen to what he tells me to do and do it well. That’s it! He slowly but surely started to say, “Ok, what’s something you’d like to do?” and let me add my twists. I consider him to be a good friend. He really, really helped me out a lot.

On the saying of the last name twice:

“(laughs) I always say it is so stupid to me! I really didn’t change the way I wrestled, all I did was start saying my last name twice and 5 weeks later, I was on TV. I encourage people to keep trying and tweaking and doing different things, stuff will catch on! I got the idea as a high school basketball announcer. Someone suggested it to me as a joke, “You should give it a big pop and sell our team, say the last names twice like the old boxing announcers.” I’d literally have parents come and tell me they really enjoyed my announcing. For a long time, that is what I wanted to do or get into radio. Then when I got to OVW, Paul Heyman took over and told me to go out there, cut the announcer off, and do your own announcing. It occurred to me to say my last name twice like I used to. I did it and had a 30 minute broadway with Brent Albright. When i got back through the curtain, the feedback that I got wasn’t “Great match! You guys really put on a clinic!” It was, “Hey man, when you said your last name twice, it was freakin’ awesome and everybody popped in the back for it.” When wrestlers pop for things, that is when you know you should stick with me. We’ve seen everything.”

On if he had input on his famous WWE theme song:

“I did. I told them I wanted something that was… When I was on the indies, I came out to “Pour Some Sugar On Me” by Def Leppard. I want something like that! I went into Vince’s office week after week. He’d say, “What do you think about this?” and we’d listen to a couple of different tracks. Through some tweaking… He gave me one example that had, whoever the guy was singing, I think it was Jim Johnston, it was the same voice. You could always tell, “WELL! Well, its the Big Show!” (singing) That sort of Eddie Vedder voice. I said I didn’t like that. I really didn’t like it. I wanted something like the lead singer of AC/DC (Brian Johnson)… That is when he came back and gave me that final one, or the one that I used before Airbourne did it. Nowadays, have you ever heard of Texas Hippie Coalition? They are, in my humble opinion, awesome. They call it red dirt rock and roll. It is good rock and roll! It is amazing… Unique. They’ve given me the green light to use one of their songs, called Go Pro, in future.”

On if time has changed his feelings on how he was let go by WWE:

“Yes and no. Certain things were out of my control. But, leading up to it, when I sat back and when I really got to that point. The bad suplex that supposedly happened with Randy Orton that didn’t happen with Randy Orton… The supposed suplex. But, I had done things that had gotten to Vince McMahon to where he said, “I’m tired of hearing his name in a negative light. Get rid of him!” That’s on me, that’s on me. But, i will say that people say it was a “botched suplex”? Nobody inside the wrestling business uses the word “botch!” When it is used like an insider term, it drives me insane! I think it is the worst word ever in the history of words! ” (James mentions Botchamania on YouTube) “I’m actually a huge fan of Botchamania! (laughs) That’s the one thing I forgive the word for because it is really funny. I’ve actually made it a few times on Botchamania, I’m proud to say.”

On his time with TNA:

“I had a blast. The most frustrating thing about that experience was there were issues outside of the wrestlers’ control that continued to happen. I’m not there anymore so I am not privy to that information anymore. But, i know what I hear. But, I will say the one thing I loved about TNA was the locker room. There were old timers, kind of middle of the road like me, and guys trying to cut their teeth and make a name for themselves… Everybody busted their butts and went out there and performed. The problems, any problems experienced by the company had nothing to do with the talent. There were times where things were going on behind the scenes where it should have been a miserable existence… Guys were late, maybe 3 months on getting paid… I remember at one time, I was owed for like 30 shows. But, the locker room… Everybody still showed up, put on their happy face. We were there to do a job. We believed in the company! Even though there were frustrations with management, we all felt if we stuck with this….”

On if the tone was different in TNA backstage at different points:

“It was pretty much the whole time I was there,” Mr. Anderson referring to the struggles with management being there the whole time.

On the potential sale of TNA to WWE:

“I will say this, even if WWE buys TNA, there is enough things going on out there that somebody else could make a run. If TNA goes away or is gobbled up by WWE, there will still be a void there where people will still want something different. Somebody somewhere will step up and make a run. With the right financial backing, it could take off. You’ve got so much stuff going on. You’ve got New Japan, you have Ring of Honor… I’ve said this for years and Daivari agrees with me. Everything’s PG now. If somebody comes and makes a program that is geared towards adults, I think wrestling takes off again. I really do. The idea that men and women go out and fight each other and can’t curse… I’ve never been in a bar fight where there wasn’t 57 curse words slung. When wrestlers go at it and you’re throwing “Gosh Darn Its” and “Dad Gummits”… (laughs) The most successful shows in the past decade have been extremely edge. Sons of Anarchy, Breaking Bad… Sometimes we insult people’s intelligence. We go for the lowest common denominator.”

On the football jersey he wore on an episode of Impact Wrestling:

“It was an Adam Carriker Redskins jersey. I had had a bet with Adam Carriker about the Monday Night Seattle game, remember the Touchception? They had the replacement referees. It was the absolute worst call in NFL history. The next week, the NFL changed back. They were going to have riots! That was the worst call we’ve ever seen. We had a bet that day, I picked the Packers, he picked Seattle. If Seattle won, I had to wear a Adam Carriker jersey. if the Packers won, he had to wear a Favre jersey or a Rogers jersey. He said, “Dude! I play for the Redskins. I can’t do that.” So, he would have had to have worn a Mr. Anderson T shirt. But, he won the bet.”

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