Show: Wrestling Epicenter
Guest: Rich Swann
Your Host: James Walsh
Rich Swann has overcome a lot. From the streets of Baltimore to injuries that would have ended the career of a lesser man, Swann stands on the top of the mountain as the Impact Wrestling World Champion. And, he finds himself involved in a story that crosses company lines and breaks all the rules we thought we knew about professional wrestling.
On Saturday night, January 16th, Impact Wrestling presents Hard to Kill where Impact Wrestling's World Champion teams with the legendary "Motor City Machine Guns" Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley to take on AEW World Heavyweight Champion Kenny Omega and Impact Wrestling Tag Team Champions the "Good Brothers" Karl Anderson and "The Big LG" Doc Gallows. Check out www.ImpactWrestling.com for details on how to watch the pay-per-view live and also take part in the cell-abration virtual fan fest that morning as well.
To listen, visit www.WrestlingEpicenter.com.
On his injuries that nearly ended his career last year:
"You know, it was excruciating, it was painful, it was something that I wouldn't ever wish on my worst enemy. I broke my leg, my fibula, my ankle... Everything in my ankle, my foot... And then, not only that, my back. My lower back was broken. You know, I was told that I probably would never wrestle again let alone walk the same way again. That was just another something that I had to overcome. So, when the opportunity came to me and the doctor said I was cleared and ready to go - After all the physical therapy I had to do... Quarantine was the thing. So, people couldn't go to the store and only one member of the household could go. Doctors offices were closed, hospitals were paying attention to COVID. So, you know. At that time, Doctors were giving me the physical therapy to do at home and I was doing them on my own with no physical trainers. Then, when things opened back up, the Doctors said, "I can tell you've been working very hard. Why don't you try going back and do what you love?" I did! And, once that opportunity arose, you now see where I am today!"
On what being the Impact World Champion means to him:
"So many great guys have come through Impact Wrestling. So many great names... So many legendary names! If I was to start naming guys, I would probably be disrespecting the guys who came before me because there have been so many great people. To be the world champion of a company that has done so much and that has made so many stars is just... I can't even put it into words! But, to try, you know... The crown is heavy on the head. (laughs) You know what I'm saying? But, I'm rocking it!"
On wrestling in front of no fans upon his return:
"You know, it took a little time to adjust. But, at the same time, I love wrestling and doing what I feel like I was born to do. When I'm working at the training center with my buddies, we're going hard like we're in front of 20,000 people sometimes. So, it is almost the same way. At the same time, you know that people are going to be seeing this and hard working men and women will be paying their dollars to watch this on Impact Plus or on AXS TV You know that people are watching to see what you're going to do and you want to go out there and kill it just like if they were sitting right there."
On Impact working with AEW:
"I think it is awesome! I think it is great for professional wrestling. I love what both companies do. I think the fact that we're getting to cross over, and this is only just the beginning, I feel people are paying attention to everything as the ratings show. People that I talk to that haven't been wrestling fans in a while are looking at wrestling again now like it is a new premise. I'm happy to be a part of it."
On the Good Brothers appearing on AEW Dynamite and the "Club" Reunion:
"I'm not surprised. Every time Kenny Omega has appeared on Impact Wrestling on the bus, the Good Brothers have come in and made a reunion, if you will, of the Elite Bullet Club or whatever you want to call it - Club, OC. It was just a matter of time before you saw the Good Brothers come in and throw up something that is just a little bit too sweet with Kenny. Can I say that I don't like it? Nah, I'd be lying. It was awesome to see for the professional wrestling community. But, come Hard to Kill, we're going to see what that alliance is going to be."
On if he and the Motor City Machine Guns have the chemistry to take on Kenny and the Good Brothers:
"You know, I'm a studied man when it comes to the Machine Guns. Like I said on Impact Wrestling the other night, I've been an experienced machine gun in the inner city. But now repping Motor City, I'm going to show everybody that our styles just mesh so well. We clash so perfectly. The things that we've done are just unspeakable when it comes to high flying and when it comes to what we can put together scientifically in the squared circle. And now, myself, Chris Sabin, and Alex Shelley? We're going to show everyone what our brains can do. I think people are going to be mind blown!"
On if Kenny Omega and Don Callis calling the AEW the "Real World Title" gets Under His Skin:
"No, it doesn't get under my skin because I know what I had to do to win the World Heavyweight Championship. So, for someone to say that they're the "real" world champion, guess what? You are the real world champion... in AEW! Maybe thanks to the tactics that he used with Don Callis, don't forget to mention! I did it the old fashioned way - With heart, determination, and the power of love of professional wrestling. If you look at our wins, if you compare those two, who is the real World Champion?
On if he'd be welcoming to a Unification Match for the Impact Wrestling & AEW World Titles:
"I'm from Baltimore, Maryland. I'm not afraid to step into the ring with no man. I fear no man and I only fear one thing. The thing is, that is not one thing that I would ever fear. If he (Kenny Omega) wanted to step into the ring and do a Unification... We've it. We've seen seen him go into Mexico and he beat Loredo Kid in AAA. Do I think he could come into my house and do what he did there? I don't know. Time will tell."
On if he thinks the Ravens will go all the way:
"I don't know. Time will tell. I was always a Ray Lewis fan. There's no more Ray Lewis on the Ravens anymore. But, I hope they go all the way... But, on the real, to turn heel on Baltimore... I'm really an Eagles fan! (laughs)"
On Impact Wrestling keeping the fans connected during COVID with virtual meet & greets:
"I always love meeting with the fans be it in person, on social media, on Zoom, on Twitter which I don't do anymore. But, I always love conversating with the fans because we all share that common love of pro wrestling. That, sometimes, is the only way a performer can grow is by listening to the people who love what we do as well. We all grow together!"
On final thoughts heading into Hard to Kill on Saturday night:
"My final thoughts are I hope the Biz Quiz are coming ready to do biz because the Machine Guns are coming with a whole lot of ammunition and we're ready to unload! What I am saying is... And I want you to know... We're Hard to Kill! (laughs)"