Interview with Terry Taylor
November 24, 2005 -- by Alan J. Wojcik -- http://www.alanwojcik.com
Alan Wojcik: Earlier today during an interview with David Marquez he mentioned you were part of the negotiations which made the talent exchange deal between New Japan and TNA Wrestling. (It began when Jushin Liger wrestled Samoa Joe at TNA's Bound for Glory PPV on October 23rd.)
TERRY TAYLOR has been involved in wrestling for over twenty years. He has worked all around the world for WWE and WCW as a wrestler, writer and advisor. Currently Mr. Taylor works behind the scenes with TNA Wrestling. I was able to secure some time with Mr. Taylor before the main show of the NWA National Convention in October. The conversation came about after interviewing New Japan VP David Marquez, during which Mr. Marquez outlined a talent exchange plan between his group and TNA.
(Sorry to the shortness and its lateness, this was intended to air on Wrestle Night USA but the show is on hiatus and I felt it should be read by fans.)
Terry Taylor: David and I have known each other about six years while working for different organizations. We are both big fans of wrestling and the timing was right for this talent swap. TNA wanted Liger and things worked outright. Dave plugged hard to make Liger's appearance at the PPV a reality for the fans that have wanted him in the promotion. Liger was paired with Samoa Joe at the PPV because Liger is a legend and Joe is making his own legacy. We wanted to see how Joe would handle being in a big match situation. Liger has a legacy of the biggest mat star in Japan sharing that mantle with Tiger Mask.
Alan Wojcik: Many people tuned into Spike TV a few weeks ago to Impact to see the footage of Jeff Jarrett scheming with America's Most Wanted ("Tennessee Cowboy" James Storm and "Wildcat" Chris Harris) to cheat Raven out of the NWA World Heavyweight championship. Being part of the TNA office what was your reaction to the incident in Canada that was orchestrated with aid from Scott D'amore?
Terry Taylor: I think like lots of fans I am still waiting for the reasoning AMW joined with Jarrett. (Look on TNA's site for the backstory) Even if I am not working in wrestling, as a fan I want to know the motivation of a wrestler. Jeff is a seasoned pro who did what he had to so he could be champion again. Do I think he hears the clock ticking, maybe. Does he feel like to hold on the power and stroke he is used to does he need the title, probably. Some sort of deal was negotiated between AMW and Jarrett and it will all come out soon.
Alan Wojcik: Having wrestled for years how do you feel the National Wrestling Alliance has changed and what are your thoughts on this year's convention?
Terry Taylor: Actually this is my first time attending the convention. I have only been in my current position with TNA a few months and one of my goals is to try and heal the relationship between TNA and the NWA. We don't have a TNA World Heavyweight champion, our champion is the NWA World Heavyweight champion and that comes with the enormous lineage that includes Jack Brisco, the Funks, Dusty Rhodes and Ric Flair. Those guys carried the belt and we want to honor that tradition. We want TNA to live up to that honor and the NWA people want to mesh with TNA.
Alan Wojcik: Many people trumpet the backstage agents in WWE like Steve Keirn, Ted DiBiase, Ricky Steamboat and others. But TNA has a great group of backstage agents as well besides you with fifteen plus years experience. What do you, Jerry Lynn, Shane Douglas, Simon Diamond and Dutch Mantel give to the talent and do they take that knowledge to heart?
Terry Taylor: Actually Alan I have been working in wrestling for twenty-six years. I had a sixteen year career in the ring and the last few I have been in writing and other aspects. What I do now is work with creative to take their ideas, talk to the talent to make it portray creative's storyline idea and get it on air. All of the talent on the roster is so athletic they can do anything. Sometimes they think if they do everything it tells the story but that's not necessarily the case. Wrestling is about emotion not moves. It's about personal conflict, politics and interplay between people. It's about real life, people living in proximity wanting the same thing and how they go about getting those things. What Jerry, Shane, Scott and I do is help the kids that haven't worked nine times a week for ten years. We help them work with situations that would help tell the story they want to portray.
AW: Having worked for WCW and WWE you might have a good answer to this question. For the fan who watches WWE and sees commercials for Impact on Spike and other networks and hasn't watched TNA once before, explain to them the differences in the product besides the cosmetic ones like the six sided ring.
Terry Taylor: I think average person knows of WWE from one way or another, whether it be their stars of the past or recent events. I cannot knock WWE because they have been good to me and I had great experiences with the company. But I work for TNA now and I think the difference is our talent. The average age of our talent is 25 years old and they are hungry. There are no million dollar contracts with TNA, only the opportunity to do what they love to do. As they succeed and progress they will make money. There isn't a glass ceiling in TNA; they can ascend to the level of their ability or desire. PPV in and out we produce the best product for the last year. I am sincere when I say that.
Alan Wojcik: People who tuned into the debut Spike TV show on October 1st saw the arrival of Team 3D (Brothers Ray and Devon.) Did you expect the reaction they received and how do you feel about the internet fans and writers that are calling them WWE castoffs like Shannon Moore, Gail Kim or Jackie Gayda?
Terry Taylor: I think anyone that has been in WWE knows how to do TV. Like I mentioned before they have big match experience like the international platform of WrestleMania. A duo like Team 3D or whatever you like to call them will make the other teams in TNA better and themselves marketable to other promotions. I don't think anyone in that building was thinking well there are two WWE retreads. I don't think the fans were thinking that when the soundstage gave them a standing ovation. They were caught up in the emotion of the moment. I felt that emotion and so did you. That collective rush of adrenaline over took the moment. I would never diminish what a wrestling fan feels.
Alan Wojcik: With the use of the six sided ring TNA has two matches that no other promotion can offer, the Ultimate X match and the Six Sides of Steel match. As someone that has been in the ring would you have wanted to compete in either of those matches?
Terry Taylor: Absolutely not. (Laughs) I am grateful to be able to see what these kids do week in and out. I watched Elix Skipper struggle for fifteen seconds (at Turning Point 2004) to get his balance on the top of that cage. He could have come down and tried to do something else. But his pride and commitment to the effort AMW and XXX put in to that match got him up there. That was one of the most compelling moments of TV I have ever seen. Do I think in my younger days I would try it, no. Do I wish I could, absolutely. I am amazed what our athletes can do day in and day out. We have thirty people that are so dedicated to the promotion, our fans and their craft. They do things that they shouldn't the ability to perform.
Alan Wojcik: Has the idea of a house show tour come up, since many called the Border City Wrestling show Jeff Jarrett regained the NWA World title a "test house show?" Would you be a fan of house shows like WWE currently runs or WCW used to run?
Terry Taylor: To dissect the question if we did house shows it wouldn't be like WWE or WCW. Yes we want to take our brand on the road to let people see it live. We aren't strong enough nationally to support that idea until Spike TV or whatever the media outlet is gets us out to the viewer. Once people see the TV shows and PPV's there will be a demand to see it live. Once that happens and I think its six months to a year away, it will help our PPV marketing. I think the fanbase is there to see our product live.
Alan Wojcik: I have one final question that goes to your career. Being someone with twenty-six years in the sport what do you think of performers like Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Terry Funk and Ric Flair that doesn't seem to want to retire? Do you think they can't live out of the limelight or is it a financial thing?
Terry Taylor: Each one of those men from Hulk to Ric to Terry, (pauses) I think that's the wrong way to word the question Alan. Each man has their own answer to the question. Whether the demand from fanbase is there for them or they want to be in it or they need to be in it. I think Ric Flair is the best wrestler in WWE right now. He can wrestle anyone. He has years of experience and never has a bad match. He makes everyone who wrestles him look better then before they got in the ring with him. For ten years Hulk Hogan wrestled every single night and had more pressure on him then anyone. To sum it up I think when they're ready they'll stop but I don't think the fans want them to retire.
Thanks to Mr. Taylor for his time. Thanks to David Marquez for his involvement in setting up this interview. Thanks to the NWA specifically Mike Porter of NWA Main Event and Mike Sircy of Top Rope Wrestling for their hospitality during the convention weekend. TNA Wrestling can be found on www.tnawrestling.com and is on Spike TV Saturday nights at 11pm. Their next PPV is Turning Point, Sunday December 11th.
by Alan J. Wojcik --- For More Interviews, go to http://www.alanwojcik.com..
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