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WRESTLING COLUMNS

Interview with "Wildcat" Chris Harris
August 5, 2004 -- by Alan Wojcik -- http://www.alanwokcik.com


At the time this interview was conducted "Wildcat" Chris Harris was of the NWA World tag team champions with his partner "the Tennessee Cowboy" James Storm under the banner of America's Most Wanted (they have since lost the titles to the Naturals.) That 4th title reign almost didn't happen when Storm suffered neck and shoulder injuries earlier this year and Harris embarked on a return to the ring as a singles performer.

This interview is Mr. Harris only as Mr. Storm was not available at the time allotted. There will be a solo interview with Mr. Storm in the coming weeks. Fans wishing to know more about AMW can read an interview I did with them in late October 2003 on http://alanwojcik.com


Alan Wojcik: When we spoke there was never a clear cut DOA with Don Callis and Eric Watts fighting over the post for months. What was your reaction when the NWA named Vince Russo the new Director of Authority?

Chris Harris: My reaction was probably the same as everyone else since Vince has such a shady past. I was leery and not sure what direction he would take the company. Looking back now it was a good move. You would think Vince's slogan of "do the right thing" was bull but the truth is he has proven himself to me and the other wrestlers. I can't believe I am agreeing with the direction he has taken TNA.

AW: Not long after we spoke in October James Storm sustained injuries that kept him out of action for several months. How long after he was hurt did TNA make the decision to use you as a singles competitor?

Chris Harris: Actually I wasn't sure how serious his injury was. With any injury you never are sure how long you will be out of action. Around that time Jeff (Jarrett) and some of his cronies like the Naturals were running around treating people like puppets. I am a bit of a hothead so I took action. I wasn't thinking of a singles run at the time I just saw it as a chance to step up. I have always been taught to keep my mouth shut but Jeff's challenge came along when I decided to drop that philosophy for one night. It worked out in the long run when we found out how long Storm would be out. It just snowballed from there and even as Storm was healing TNA kept him in the picture.

AW: On February 18th and March 17th you wrestled the NWA World heavyweight champion, the self-professed "king of the mountain." What goes through your mind when you're told you will be wrestling Jeff Jarrett?

Chris Harris: It's a little overwhelming since days before that I was part of the tag team title picture with Storm. You always picture yourself competing for the world title but not the way it happened for me in such a short time span. It was an awesome feeling thinking that I could win the belt but just competing for the belt was amazing. As far as how I did in the matches with Jeff I think I proved to Vince that I was ready for the opportunity he gave me. I think I proved it to myself and the fans. I took the best Jeff Jarrett could offer and I stood tall. I know close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades but I know I was inches away from being the World champion. It wasn't my night but I made the most of the chance I was given.

AW: Between title shots Mr. Russo put you through a gauntlet that included your old rivals Chase Stevens and Andy Douglas, the Naturals. What did you think when you were told that you were going to have three consecutive matches?

Chris Harris: Well the first time I took on Jeff it was a non-title grudge match. I stepped up to the plate and looked at it as a chance to show I could stand toe to toe with the champ. In between title shots Vince tried to play hard ball with me. I didn't like it at the time, yeah it pissed me off but some people would call it tough love. I don't mind it now since you have to remember I was in a tag team for two years and being in a team that long you come to rely on your partner. Vince threw the Naturals at me in one night and it toughened me up for the match in March. That match was the highlight of my career. I proved in a NWA World title match I proved I could beat the champion.

AW: During this time frame you ended up taking on the former ECW World champion, "the Franchise" Shane Douglas. How did you mentally prepare for an impromptu encounter?

Chris Harris: As you hinted that match was part Vince's little tests. I said it that night and I will say it again if you are going to give someone a test in the ring it would be Shane Douglas. He is a former World champion and a legend. He is someone that plays mind games plus he knows the ring and the business inside and out. It was a privilege to be in the ring with him; actually I got to wrestle him in WCW. But it was hard to prepare for him on such short notice. I gave Shane my best and Storm was there to help cheer me on.

AW: Many people you were scheduled for a title match but you got attacked by the man called Raven. Your thoughts on wrestling Raven and memories of the night many say he screwed you out of your title match.

Chris Harris: I'm not going to go into much detail on that night because I have been told to keep my mouth shut. Let's just say it was circumstances beyond my control. We'll leave it at that. As far as Raven is concerned he's just like everyone else sticking their nose into the world title scene. He knew I had won "the road to the cage" and he decided to take me out and it led me onto a different road with Raven. It was also a privilege to be in the ring with a guy like Raven. He's not the greatest guy and he is a little bit of a degenerate but this is the best time of my life to wrestle Jeff, Shane Douglas, Raven and then AJ Styles. I can't complain since I proved myself as a singles wrestler against the top guys in TNA.

AW: You mentioned wrestling AJ Styles for the World title. Not long after that you were part of a deadly draw match followed by a "king of the mountain" match. Please talk about wrestling Styles and being part of the multiple opponent encounters that also featured Jeff Jarrett, Ron Killings and Raven.

Chris Harris: I think what everyone saw when I came back from what Raven did to me, those were the best matches of my life. I focused on AJ since he won the title. Once you have a shot at the title you get the mindset you can win the belt and that's all you focus on. Being the fighting champion he was AJ accepted the challenge and in that match I think I proved I could be the World champion. The problem at that time was there were contenders like Jeff, Raven and Ron Killings that were bitter other people were getting title shots. Vince felt putting all five guys in the ring at the same time would settle it.

AW: TNA Wrestling now has a second TV show called Impact! which airs on Fox Sports Net (in addition to the syndicated TNA Xplosion) and on the debut show you and James Storm became the NWA World tag team champions for the fourth time by defeating "the Notorious K.I.D" Kid Kash and Dallas.

Chris Harris: When the fatal four way led to the King of the Mountain I was totally focused on the heavyweight title. I haven't put that behind me I just put in the back of my mind. I feel I have a good shot at that in the future. Whether it was the debut of Impact or Jeff winning the title back isn't an issue, I felt it was the time to reunite with Storm now that he is healthy. I feel there is lots of life left in AMW. We were successful for two years and new teams were turning heads away from us while James was hurt. Kash and Dallas brought it upon themselves by talking trash and saying they were the best team in the world. Storm took exception to that and he tried to take Kash's head off twice with superkicks. The first chance we got to wrestle them was on the debut Impact event so there was no way we would pass up that opportunity. We are the best team in TNA Wrestling strike that we are the best team in the world and we proved it to everyone by winning the belts back for a fourth time. My focus and priority is the World Tag Team titles with Storm.

AW: One of the first teams you defended against was an interesting duo in "the Alpha Male" Monty Brown and Abyss.

Chris Harris: They are the biggest sons of bitches we have in TNA. I think our attitudes overcame that since we were on a high from winning the belts and we wanted to defend them against anyone. We looked at them as another obstacle or test. Those guys are real hard to move around in the ring but I have wrestled Abyss before so I had some know how into getting him off his feet. Storm and I always find a way no matter who you throw at us whether it is brawlers, technical wrestlers or monsters like Abyss and Monty Brown. We will overcome it and move onto the next opponent.

AW: On June 23rd TNA Wrestling celebrated its second anniversary. Please give your thoughts on that historic event and wrestling Team Japan members Nosawa and Miyamoto.

Chris Harris: I tell ya Alan its hard not to brag about TNA being around when thousands said we wouldn't even last six months. TNA has overcome every obstacle, some known and not known to the fans, but we have put ourselves on the map. We have a TV deal that puts us in so many more homes and everyone is looking for an alternative to the other company (i.e.: WWE) and TNA is it. I am happy to be part of this group from day one. We are climbing that mountain each week. The anniversary show was something special and we thought what better way for AMW to make a memorable impression then by taking on Team Japan. It was a hard match since neither team knew much about the other. We overcame another tough obstacle and showed we are the best team in the world. I am not being cocky just confident. We have beaten teams from Japan, Canada and we will beat anyone else TNA throws at us.

AW: Viewers of the TNA PPV will know you and James have been robbed of your ring gear by the Naturals (Chase Stevens and Andy Douglas.) You met them at the NWA Anniversary event and on several events throughout the mid-south when Chase Stevens was part of the Hotshots with Cassidy O'Reilly.

Chris Harris: Fans have no idea the history our two teams have whether it is the Hotshots or the Naturals. It's a good feeling to take them on in the ring on the PPV. They made it personal by stealing our stuff. We've had great matches with them all over the country. I will give them credit they were on the gut check list. They needed to make a name for themselves so they went right to the top and we are the top. Stealing our ring gear isn't a big deal but they have made a mockery of AMW by putting makeup on us. It has intensified the feud, we may laugh about it but we will be a ball of fire and defend our titles once more. I consider them a great tag team despite all their tricks.

AW: Let's talk about www.wildcatchrisharris.com .For those that haven't visited the site please tell them who designed it, what is on the site and how much do you contribute to it?

Chris Harris: What do you mean for those that haven't visited the site; everyone has been to my site Alan. All the credit goes to my little brother Pete. He is a master and has done an awesome job. He does most of the work like a write up on our PPV matches. I have a "Words From the Wildcat" column that give my view on wrestling. I've gotten feedback from the fans and they have said they like the column. I don't have to bullsh#$ or sugarcoat anything that is going on. Go see the site and email me I love to talk to the fans. I have been able to personalize notes back to the fans, hopefully that never changes.

AW: Having wrestled on thousands of events has there ever been a sign or a fan comment that made you break character?

Chris Harris: Actually that happens a lot but we can't tell you when it happens (laughs). The bottom line is we need to feel confident enough to put on the best show and sometimes you can't do it. The fans have a right to say what they want when they come out to support TNA and AMW. I've never broken character but I have a short temper so you never know.

AW: What is the one interview question you are tired of answering?

Chris Harris: (After pausing for a moment) I am sick of being asked "when are you going to work for the WWE" or "has WWE contacted you." I take that personal since TNA is my home and it is going places. For the first time in my career there are wrestlers that don't want to go WWE they want to work for TNA. Yes Storm and I were contacted by WWE about a year ago but we signed with TNA. Why leave if you are happy somewhere? Many people think TNA is second rate, sure we don't get the TV or PPV ratings WWE gets but check back with me in six months or a year and TNA will be the one promotion people will be talking about. I meant it before I am proud to have been here since day one. So any interviewers reading this don't ask me when I am going to WWE because I don't give a sh#$ right now!

AW: Allow me to formally apologize for asking that question back in October.

Chris Harris: Yeah but you asked it different than the other people (laughs)

AW: In closing what do you hope the future hold for you in wrestling?

Chris Harris: I'll be honest about it the tag team titles are the number one priority right now. There are some great teams in TNA Wrestling and I wouldn't mind getting in the ring with XXX (Elix Skipper & Christopher Daniels) one more time I really enjoyed that feud. I'm not going to lie to you I had a taste of single action and I fell like eventually that will be my calling. Jeff Jarrett you haven't heard the last of "Wildcat" Chris Harris.

Thanks to Chris Harris for his time. Be sure to see www.TNAwrestling.com for when AMW will be on the PPV. Besides Chris Harris' personal site be sure to check out a AMW fan site at http://www.sorrybouturdamnluck.net/wanted.html

by Alan Wojcik --- For More Interviews, go to http://www.alanwokcik.com..


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