In a decorated 16-year career as a professional wrestler, former WWE superstar and current TNA wrestler Mr. Anderson, formerly known as Mr. Kennedy, continues to be a focal point of the wrestling industry. Holding championship gold and being involved in top storylines for a majority of his career, Anderson continues to remain what he has always been.
Standing in the tunnel at Citi Field in Queens prior to his scheduled match at Legends of Wrestling, putting him and partner Doc Gallows against the legendary Nasty Boys, Anderson finds the opportunity to be close with so many people he grew up idolizing a privilege.
“You know, it’s pretty awesome. I always say I’m still a huge wrestling fan at heart. So my inner wrestling fan is excited about the fact that I’m on the show with these guys,” said Anderson. “The interesting thing is I went being in the stands watching these guys, sitting at home watching these guys on television to being friends with them, being able to call some of them friends and colleagues and co-workers but at the same time it’s quite an honor.”
In an industry that is known for its showmanship and charisma just as much as its politics and backstabbing, Anderson claims that keeping that balance between fan and performer isn’t a difficult task for him.
“I can’t really speak to the idea that it might be hard because it just happens for me. When I got into the business and starting learning some of the in’s and out’s and the behind the scenes sort of stuff, it made me more of a fan actually because I respected the business that much more because I realized what goes into it,” said Anderson. “I’ve been doing it for 16 years and I guess there are days where things get sort of frustrating, you have seasons where you fall in and out of love, right now, I’m totally dialed in, love the business and I’m a big fan.”
Another aspect of the business is change. Sometimes a company changes its intended direction without any prior inclination. A wrestler who was promised a push does not get one, and somebody else takes that spot. Or, sometimes the network your program is on changes.
Recently, TNA, the company Anderson works for, was caught off-guard when Destination America, TNA’s network, announced that Ring of Honor would be joining TNA on Wednesday nights, airing at 8 p.m. — an hour prior to IMPACT.
For Anderson, that change isn’t a problem but in reality, he tries to avoid getting too caught up in factors he can’t control.
“I think competition is always good and I’m totally okay with the fact that Ring of Honor is gonna be on our network. I guess at the end of the day, I can only control what I do in the ring so I try and not worry too much about what happens that’s outside of my control. You can worry yourself about it but look, I think what I do speaks for itself, I’m confident I’ll have a job anywhere. I’m just gonna do what I can do, I can wrestle, I’m gonna continue to wrestle, talk my s**t and see what happens.”
As mentioned, Anderson, who is a 16-year veteran of the business, is still performing at a high level but, being 39-years-old, Anderson says that he is on the receiving end of a lot of questions in regards to his future. Will he hang up the boots anytime soon? Truth is, not even Anderson knows the answer.
“I have no idea, I get asked ‘how many more years do you wanna do this?’ I really don’t know at this point, I feel great. I think I’ll know when that time has come, as I said, I’ve been in the business for 16 years, I don’t wanna be in the business for 30 years. So it’s somewhere between now and the next 16 years, between now and 16 I’ll be hopefully out of the business,” said Anderson.
As he chomps at the bit in his Aces & Eights t-shirt and prepares to go wrestle a match at the inaugural Legends of Wresting, Anderson says that although he’s not certain of his own plans, he is certain that he wants to spend time after his in-ring career helping the future of the business.
“I feel like I have a lot more to give to the business in this portion of my career, but afterwards I look forward to helping out new talent,” said Anderson. “I don’t know if I’ll start a wrestling school or what it is but I’ve always enjoyed helping people and sort of passing along whatever minimal knowledge I have on a given topic.”
For audio of the interview, you can listen to it here.
[Image by Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images]