Friday, January 6, 2012

Exclusive Interview Part I: Indy Star Joey Image Talks Humble Beginnings, WWE vs MMA, Triple H, and More!

 Maybe not the most renowned or famous wrestlers on the planet, but Joey Image has the pure ability and mindset in this business. Hailing from New Jersey, Image has been wrestling for twelve years now in companies such as IHPW, WSW, and EGW, where the held gold on numerous occasions. Having several feuds with the likes of Justin Credible, Justin Glory, and others, Image is one of the most underrated names on the Indy scene today. 


However, alongside with his ability and passion for wrestling, Image has truly made his mark to the majority of fans outside of his local area via social networking. Using Twitter and being a part of PW247 Radio, Image has established himself and expanded his fanbase. Recently, I was able to catch up with Joey and discuss numerous topics, which will all be discussed in Sharp Shooter Press's first ever, two part interview. 

This is the first portion of the lengthy interview and the followup will resume next week exclusively on Sharp Shooter Press. We hope you enjoy this interview with Mr. Image and feel free to leave any comments below in the comments section or the brand new, ChatRoll feature.





Rallo: First off, Joey, I'd like to thank you for taking the time to do this interview. My first question is, where did your true passion for Professional Wrestling begin? Who introduced you into the product? When did you first becoming interested in the craft of Pro Wrestling and when did you decide to pursue this as a career choice? Who were your biggest inspirations in and outside of the ring that made you intrigued in not only becoming a big fan, but later doing it, yourself?

Image: Well I started late, age 23. If I had a chance to do it all over, I'd go back and start at 13. I was a fan growing up, since about 4 or 5 years old. I always thought it looked like a ton of fun and wanted to try my hand at it. A friend introduced me to Camp IWF in West Paterson NJ and I began my learning/training in January 2000. As far as inspirations, I really couldn't name just a few guys (wrestlers) who influenced me, I sorta of was a fan of everyone I saw on TV. Out of the ring, my brother got me into it pretty much. He had tons of old wrestling magazines from the 60's and 70's that I used to look through all the time and would watch wrestling on TV with him when I first started watching.



Rallo: Moving on to your career inside the ring, you are known for being part of Camp IWF in, New Jersey. Seeing as you did reside in, New Jersey, it is obvious as to this facility being the most convenient to go back and forth to. However, could you describe your training there in general? Who were your primary mentors who guided you into becoming the ten year veteran that you are today? Do you feel there was anyone particularly responsible for coming up with a particular move or part of your character that has been significant to your career ever since? What are some of your favorite experiences and most memorable experiences in Camp IWF? 

Image: Where I lived with my parents at the time, I was about 20 minutes from Camp IWF, so with the convenience of being that close, yea it was a no-brainer. The training was brutal. We did about 30-45 minutes of cardio/calisthenics before we even got in the ring, and for the first 2-3 weeks we didn't even get in the ring. My trainers were mainly Kevin Knight and Biggie Biggs. We had guest trainers come in from time to time, all ECW stars. Steve Corino came in a lot, he was a huge help and a really great guy to learn from. Simon Diamond, Danny Doring, Mike Kehner, and Dawn Marie also came in. I still stay in contact with some of them today, almost 12 years later. I believe it was Kevin Knight who suggested my finishing move, the Boss Man Side Slam. I've always liked it, and it fits my attitude.

Rallo: Throughout your ten plus year career in the wild world of, Pro Wrestling, you have really gone on to face so many names and capture so many championships such as the, AWO Tag Team Titles and Intercontinental Title. Being such a talented performer, could you tell us of your favorite experience you have had in your ten year career? Have there ever been any "career defining" matches and/or promos that you hold close to yourself to this day? You have faced great competitors such as Steve Corino. You have been very impressive in the ring and on the mic....What do you think of your "career defining" experiences as well as your favorites?

Image: Well first of all, I'm in the business almost 12 years now. I first stepped foot into the training center on Dec 19, 1999. I don't really have one specific moment that I could label as a "favorite" experience. I think the best experiences come from the road trips. I travel most weekends, whether to PA, NY, CT, NC or various parts of NJ. It's always a great time. I did a promo in CT in 2006 about Justyn Glory (http://youtu.be/eW7RICTG-a4), and I think that's my favorite promo I've ever done because it was right off the top of my head, one try, and it came out great. I've never faced Corino on an actual sdhow, we've just done some stuff together in practice when he came down to IWF for guest training. I did wrestle Justin Credible on a show back in Sept of 2005 in Pennsylvania for RPWF, and that was a really fun match, a "kendo stick on a pole" match, one of my favorite matches I've been in. Look for the Image-Credible rematch in 2012!


Rallo: Throughout the countless promotions that you have worked for, you have never been featured prominently on really any form of mainstream Professional Wrestling. WWE, TNA, and even, ROH have never really featured you and many feel a person with such ability and personality should be at least working on the bigger cards at this point in your career. Given, you are 34 years old and your career is far from over, but do you feel you have missed the boat in terms of one day hitting the main roster of a big time show? Are those still aspirations? Where they ever and was there ever any real contact in terms of being called into a big promotion? Is there anyone you are really having an urge to wrestle with? Ever think of even working for DGUSA or CHIKARA?



Image: I've never really cared about making it "big time" onto a mainstream roster. I'm not in wrestling to get rich or to be famous. I'm in it because I love it. And that is good enough reason for me. WWE's schedule is usually 300-320 working days a year, with a lot of days off being travel day. I don't wanna work that schedule. I'm a guy that sometimes needs time to myself, maybe more than that schedule provides, so I'm not necessarily interested in working that often. I'm perfectly happy working 2-3 days per weekend doing independents. The fact that I get to take or decline whichever bookings I decide to, means I can make my own schedule and travel plans. I like that freedom. TNA would be a better fit for me since they do not really have a crazy road schedule. They work a lot of days yes, but the travel is as minimized as possible, and their TV is based out of Orlando which is a city I really love and would love to live in. I've never spoken to anyone at TNA who could get me a job but I do have friends that work and have worked there. I don't think my style fits DGUSA or Chikara, altho I do have a separate gimmick in mind that would fit Chikara perfectly, but I haven't pursued it or tried to contact Quack (Mike Quackenbush) about it.

Rallo: Keeping on the topic of mainstream wrestling, something I'd like to discuss is your opinion on, WWE today. As someone who always live Tweets weekly during, Raw, could you tell us of your general opinion on WWE as a whole at the moment? Could you tell us of your general thoughts on WWE as a whole and what they need to do in order to improve? Do you believe the heads of the organization are an issue? The booking team? Who do you feel is most responsible for the current WWE product? Any stars on the roster you feel have a particularly big future as well? Thoughts on the roster, booking, etc?

Image: I think WWE needs some help right now. The Rock's helped to boost ratings and interest, but that's very short term. They need to get rid of Hollywood soap opera writers and hire some WRESTLING writers, considering it's a WRESTLING company, as much as they want to claim they're not and that they're an entertainment company. Professional wrestling is not sports entertainment, it is an entertaining sport. They have a lot of great workers on their roster, I just think their booking and stories need to be more compelling to keep the audience watching every week.

Rallo: One of the issues I feel are particularly ridiculous was the fact that Triple H did not find UFC as direct competition {This was a quote Triple H said a few months back}. This leads to many believing that Triple H truly is, another version of his, father-in-law. Could you tell us of what you see for the future of Triple H in a lead role in the WWE? It is obvious if Vince McMahon truly steps down, Triple H is next in line and his recent comments and the recent booking of WWE really has seemed to lack. Do you feel as though people automatically assumed Triple H would be the one to "save the WWE" from the "clueless and idiotic" executives such as Vince and Johnny Ace? Also, what are your feelings on the reason MMA is destroying WWE at the moment? Can WWE ever overcome MMA again? Overall thoughts?

Image: I do think Triple H would be great as a figurehead because he comes from the "old school" mentality, especially by being trained by Killer Kowalski. Through no fault of his own, he would of course need to incorporate some "new school" ideas, since the business is always changing and evolving. In my opinion, UFC is definitely direct competition to WWE, and I think a lot of wrestling fans are turning to MMA due to its' realism and drama, which are legitimate, as opposed to scripted, or worked.

This concludes Part I of a two part interview conducted with Indy wrestler, Joey Image. The next portion will be posted up next week. You can follow Joey Image on Twitter @JoeyImage , Check all of his current happenings at joeyimage.com, and listen to him multiple times a week on PW247 Radio (PW247Radio.com). Next week, we will be discussing Joey's career right now, his future, road stories, and much more!




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