Ahead of the final show of #TNAintheUK this coming Friday (20th) on Destination America in the US and this coming Sunday (22nd) on Challenge in the UK and Ireland, GMS was given the opportunity to chat with the man behind the mic, the new voice of Impact Wrestling, yes, that's right Josh Mathews!
The former WWE commentator, presenter, interviewer and Tough Enough contestant left his former employers in early summer 2014. He has since joined TNA, and that was nearly eight months ago. But he has only come onto our screens recently.
He now calls Impact Wrestling alongside former World Champion Taz and has been doing so since TNA's début in early January 2015 with new domestic broadcast partner Destination America.
Josh took time out to discuss a variety of subjects including wrestling, Impact, WWE, Grado and non wrestling matters too. Here's what he had to say...
GMS (GiveMeSport) - Josh, thanks for joining us and can we start with how are you? And how's life at TNA?
Josh - I'm fine and in terms of TNA it's great here! I feel far more invested and part of the company than I did in the WWE. I was there 13 years and never felt as invested as I do here. There's just so many people there and here its a far smaller team, but you feel that you have a voice and can make a real difference to the product and the fans enjoyment of the product.
GMS - Other than commentary of Impact, do you have another role in TNA?
Josh - Yes, I provide original content for ImpactWrestling.com, YouTube and help with the company's social media output to ensure fans receive a great experience.
GMS - So are you behind the 'I'm with Spud' clips that have been running on YouTube over the last few months?
Josh - Yes! It was my idea, but the original concept was to provide an Impact preview. But with the characters involved and other ideas we took it in a completely different direction and morphed into something else. Feedback has been great from fans, it's now changed to I'm with Robbie E and it will be ending soon but it's been great to try new things and inject some comedy in.
GMS - Do you think other sports, clubs and entertainment outlets could try this?
Josh - Yeah, why not? I'm a huge Manchester United fan and it would be great to see parts of Old Trafford or behind the scenes that's fans don't usually see. It's all about engagement with fans! Fans now more than ever can and want to feel like part of the product or sports club they follow. See the inner workings and Twitter, Instagram open the door to that.
GMS - Ah right, Manchester United, have you been to see them?
Josh - Yeah I've been fortunate to visit Old Trafford when over in the UK with the WWE and I think it was last year I saw them play in New York at Yankee stadium.
GMS - Speaking of engagement with fans, is the use of Twitter good or bad in wrestling?
Josh - I enjoy Twitter interaction with fans and anyone can hit me up @RealJoshMathews but it is not going to be all wrestling all of the time! Take the night of the Oscars as an example, I tweeted out some stuff about watching the Oscar's and I got back 'Oh you're just jealous because you're not at the WWE pay-per-view' (FastLane). I didn't even know they had a pay-per-view that night! I haven't followed or watched the WWE product since I left 7 or 8 months ago. I also put out tweets about the Brits as again it's something that interests me.
GMS - So are there many differences between WWE and TNA?
Josh - I think TNA is heading in the right direction and I feel that TNA is opening the door to show fans backstage and the inner workings of the show. Our aim is to immerse the fans into the product.
GMS - So, how do you feel about fans saying you and Taz are commenting from a closet or cupboard?
Josh - *Laughs*
I think the fans have christened it the broom closet! But it is a full on sound studio located at TNA headquarters here in Nashville. I do find the reaction a little funny as for years UFC did this. And so did the WWE, they called events in post production and I know because I did this for years for them.
GMS - Do you see the shows prior to calling them?
Josh - Neither Taz or I see the shows first we call them as we watch or see them for the first time, we want our reactions to be honest not forced.
GMS - With the "I'm with Spud" videos and use of acts like Crazzy Steve, the Bro-Mans, is the use of comedy in wrestling underestimated?
Josh - Comedy is an important part of wrestling and can be hugely underrated, the use of a 'Popcorn' match before a serious main event is vital to many shows or pay-per-views. Look I'm a big Colt Cabana fan, he is amazing at bringing comedy into all he does and it's a credit to him. If comedy is done right and very well it's an important part of the wrestling product as fans enjoy it and that's all we (TNA) want.
GMS - Speaking of Colt and comedy in wrestling. Should TNA sign Grado? He just has "it"!
Josh - When I first saw Grado on British Boot Camp Two, I was not a fan at all! However the further into the series and with him being on the UK tour we had in January, I'm won over, I now can't take my eyes of the screen when he's on, and he does definitely have something about him and the crowds in the UK and here (USA) love him.
GMS - So, moving on who are you expecting big things from this year on the current TNA roster?
Josh - Without a doubt Bram. Bram will be a multi time World Champion! His look, the way he holds himself, his movements and actions and mannerisms on screen are amazing. He has "it" and we all at TNA have high hopes for him, he can be a huge star.
GMS - Couldn't agree more there Bram is a huge talent. Your Instagram recently show you at a Tennessee Titans match with Rockstar Spud, how did he like American Football compared to Football (Soccer)?
Josh - He won't mind me saying he didn't like it, see I'm a big fan of all sports. But it did change and he did have a huge smile on his face for the rest of the day, as Spud was recognised and that did make his day.
GMS - So finally Josh, we understand now you have a podcast, but it's not a wrestling podcast, tell us about it and how it came about?
Josh - Yeah, thanks for asking. It is a Men's Fashion podcast as it's something I have always been interested in and when given the chance via Play.It I jumped at the opportunity. I have been doing the show since February and enjoy talking and sharing another passion of mine. I have received a few tweets from fans who seemed to want me to do another wrestling podcast. But there are many interests that I have outside of the business that I've worked in for some 14 years and men's fashion is one and I wanted to do a podcast on that subject and interest as there aren't many others out there.
Subscribe to Josh's Men's Fashion Aficionado Podcast Here.
GiveMeSport would like to take the opportunity to thank Josh Mathews for spending time with us and answering our questions, prior to the final #TNAinTheUK tour show on Destination America in America this coming Friday (20th) and on ChallengeTV in the UK and Ireland this coming Sunday (22nd).
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