INTERACTIVE WRESTLING RADIO INTERVIEW - "Wildcat" Chris Harris

Show: Wrestling Epicenter
Guest: GLOW's "Hollywood" Jeanne Basone & "Wildcat" Chris Harris
Date: 02/05/20
Your Host: James Walsh

Here we go with episode 700 of the Wrestling Epicenter To celebrate this milestone, we welcome not 1 but 2 guests this week.

First, from the original Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, we welcome Hollywood! Hollywood was the first signed and the mainstay of the 4 season run of the game changing all female wrestling show in the 80's. She's also gone on to a stunt career and has a lot of different ventures including a soap company, comic book, and more. Quite the conversation with "Hollywood" Jeanne Basone!

Then, a man who was in the headlines just last week for being announced as returning for Impact Wrestling's WrestleMania weekend event featuring a reunion of the original stars of TNA, we welcome back "Wildcat" Chris Harris for the first time in nearly 17 years! We catch up with Chris Harris in semi-retirement as we discuss his time in the ring, what went right, how he lived his dream, and, sadly, what could have gone better if timing or politics weren't a factor. Lots of gems here!

"Wildcat" Chris Harris is returning to Impact Wrestling for their WrestleMania weekend TNA Reunion show on April 3rd. Visit www.ImpactWrestling.com for more details. If you are interested in booking Chris Harris, he is available through LOMOPRO! Click here to check out their site for more details.



"WILDCAT" CHRIS HARRIS:

 

On what he's up to these days:
"I'm just keeping low-key and doing my own thing. I don't take a lot of bookings anymore. I have been helping out some local guys and trying to contribute where I can."

 

On if he's retired from the ring:
"I can't perform the way I used to so I don't really do matches anymore. There's not a whole lot more you can do except maybe producer or agent type deal."

 

On it being crazy to think enough time has gone by for a TNA Reunion:
"It is crazy to think about, man. They gave a lot of opportunities to a lot of young talent and we just took it and ran with it. I'd like to think it was a success back then. The fact that we're talking about a reunion show just shows how fast time really goes. In a lot of ways, it feels like just yesterday. But, if you think about it, we started that back in 2002. We're coming up on 20 years!"

 

On his connection to the late Curt Hennig:
"We had met and had a match in WCW but we didn't get close then. That promotion you just mentioned (MECW) that ran the ECW Arena - He was brought in to sort of lead the pack because we all had sich high regard for him, such respect. I got real tight with him there. But, when that promotion folded, we kind of lost touch a little bit. But, when TNA brought him in, we reconnected and the last 6 months of his life, we got really tight... A lot of late night phone calls. I had a touch in WCW but TNA was the first place where I could really make a name for myself and I just really appreciated that when he'd get to the arena, we'd kind of go sit in the corner and BS. I really just appreciated his guidence. I tried to adapt and use whatever wisdom he gave me whether it be for in the ring or how to carry myself in the back. I took what he said very serious."

 

On his incredible 2004 title match with Jeff Jarrett:
"I would say with the build up that we had, it was one of the best stories that we could have done. I would be lying if I said there wasn't some disappointment in that (not winning the NWA title). But, that's the way the business runs. You try not to get too down about it. But, the way the story was going, and I was pretty tight with Vince Russo back then... Even he said with the way the story was progressing, it would only make sense to do that and to switch it. I think there were a lot of politics behind the scenes. We were on the verge of, as we were making the trip to Orlando for - I want to say Spike. I think we were already on FOX Sports (Net). We were getting set to go on Spike which was a huge deal for us and what I was told is they wanted to have the titles in a comfortable place. What I mean by that is if you look at the timeline, the World Title was on Jeff - I think he lost it right after my deal to AJ but got it right back. They put (James) Storm and I back together to win the Tag Titles, and I think they had AJ (Styles) back with the X Division Title. They wanted the titles on guys they knew they could trust to carry it. Like I said, there was a lot of politics. But, I think time wise, they weren't ready to take a chance on me just yet."

 

On the incredible Wednesday night PPV run of NWA TNA:
"Looking back, it really makes me feel good. It was a 2 hour program and we (America's Most Wanted) were on just about every week. They had enough faith in us and our matches to put on a good showing. Looking back, yeah a lot of people are going to remember the cage matches with Triple X but we had some great matches with the (Disciples Of) The New Church, Simon Diamond and Johnny Swinger were there and we had some great matches with them. The Naturals were there and we had some great matches with them. The cage match with Triple X really put us on the map. There was some quality tag team wrestling back then!"

 

On those famous cage matches with Triple X (Christopher Daniels, Elix Skipper, and Low Ki):
"Well, I think they were more interesting. We weren't doing a lot of impromptu matches - These were advertised matches and gave people the opportunity to really get excited about wanting to see the matches. I'd like to think we really delivered on that."

 

On TNA's first action figures:
"If you get an action figure, you have to feel you've made it on some level. That was when the train was moving, man. We were in orlando. We were on Spike. When that action figure came out, that was such a highlight for me, man. Throughout my early career, I didn't have a whole lot of family support. Just, "Why don't you do something else? Wrestling is not going to get you anywhere." That kind of thing. But, when I showed them the action figure... (laughs) They were like, "Maybe I was wrong about this wrestling thing?" But, as far as the company goes, things were moving!"

 

On if he was disappointed with the lack of a push after getting Jeff Jarrett's endorsement at Slammiversary 2007:
"I did after that. At the time, I was excited because it was right after (James) Storm and I split up and they were trying to see how we would do on our own. The first thing we did was tore the hell out of each other! That got their attention. Then, the unfortunate circumstances concerning Jeff (and the passing of Jill). But, you know, timing may have worked out in my favor on that one. Jeff had enough faith in me to put me in that spot and I'd like to think I delivered. Out of that, I did a little program with Christian. I think that went pretty well. But, after that, it just seemed to sink again. I don't know what was going on. I know Vince (Russo) was still around. I don't know what happened."

 

On Vince Russo liking more wild characters:
"He is into more crazy characters.
"I can't speak for Vince Russo on that. But, he is into more crazy characters. Just for an example, after I went with Christian, I went on to Dustin (Rhodes) and his creation was the Black Rain deal. I think he was more into that and getting that over."

 

On Braden Walker and if WWE didn't want to push a TNA made star:
"Looking back on it, I think so. It is hard to use that as an excuse but no, they never really got behind me and never really put any time or effort into what I was doing which makes me wonder, if they were going to do that, why did they ever sign me? But, that's very true what you just said. If you didn't make your name in WWE or in their developmental, they weren't really going to get behind you. They did that with Monty (Brown, Marcus Cor Von). They showed that. Keep in mind, this is before the guys that are in there now from TNA... I think a lot of it has changed. But, when I went, they just kind of ignored any history that you've had."

 

On first signing with WWE:
"Here's another example. Ron Killings and I, R Truth, we signed at the same time and went up to Stanford together. They actually had camera crews go to his hometown to shoot some vignettes for him. All I could think was that he actually started to make his name with them (WWE) before he came to TNA. That just went to show me right there that they put all kinds of effort into him because they were welcoming him back and they weren't interested in doing anything with me."

 

On the current roster having a lot of TNA made stars:
"I don't know where it changed along the lines but I love the fact that Samoa Joe, Bobby Roode, Eric Young, AJ Styles - All these guys, when they made that move, I feel like they didn't totally ignore what they had done before. Number one, they're all using their same names. That's not a big deal to me. I knew when I went there was a good chance they may change my name. I could work through that. But, behind the scenes, if they're just not interested in doing anything with you... I mean, you've got to make it interesting for the fans. You've got to make them care. That just didn't happen. What can I say? I did not enjoy myself whatsoever. I would not go back if I ever had the chance. It was a miserable experience for me. But, on a high note, I'm very happy that those guys have had a chance. A lot of them have hit the top already and there's a few of them that they don't even realize what they have."

 

On his return to TNA under the Hogan/Bischoff era:
"I just felt like the company was advancing and going through changes. When you bring up names like Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff, you have to think things could only look up. But, as we look back, you could argue that was what the downfall was. I'm glad some of my buddies got some high spots. I think they were trying to develop some new stars. But, you know, I wasn't there that long at that time so I really don't know how it was running - If it was smooth sailing or if they were running into some complications. I was glad that they brought me back. I wish it had lasted a little longer. But, I was enjoying the story they were setting up."

 

On Impact Wrestling in 2020:
"I think they have a lot of great stars! I watch the shows and I'm a critic like everyone else. There are some things I think are great and then there's some stuff I say, "Why would they even put that on TV?" But, I think they're on an uphill swing right now. I guess it has been a couple of years since they made big changes and I think they can get back to where they were before. They've got good stars, good management. They just have to keep good stories coming. You've got to have good stories to keep people watching so they actually care."

 

On why he stepped away from the ring:
"I have some injuries that I've sustained. I also have had some health issues. All of that in a package deal. All of that makes it so I don't feel I could perform at the level I did before and if I can't do that, I wouldn't even want to chance it. Why give everyone the opportunity to see just how far this guy's fallen? I feel I have a lot to offer without ever getting back in the ring. If I ever got the chance, I feel I could help out the young talent. I don't know what people believe but I feel I've had a great career. I'm not unhappy about any of it."

 

On his favorite matches:
"That Texas Death Match (with James Storm) would be right up there. I would say a lot of my favorites would be the same as a lot of other people's favorites that I see more often these days. Also, a lot of matches that maybe weren't on television are some of my favorites because I had a lot of fun with them. But, I would say the match with Jeff would be one of my favorites, the Texas Death Match was one of my favorites, the 2 cage matches with Triple X... The King of the Mountain match where Jeff put me in. A lot of people don't realize at first I was in a tag match, an opening match and I went from the opening match to the main event. That was huge for me. I have a lot of highlights, man. And, I'm glad because that means I had a lot of highlights and I appreciate people like you watching all the way through."