“The Mecca” Brian Johnson recently spoke with WrestleZone writer Colin Tessier, and he discussed his run in Ring of Honor. Johnson looked back on his newfound time in the spotlight on ROH Wrestling, the company’s weekly television show.
Though “The Mecca” has impressed the fans with several outstanding performances, Johnson has struggled to earn any recent victories. But Johnson says he’s determined to reverse this unfortunate trend.
“I’m gonna change my win-loss record because it hasn’t been admirable, I’m not gonna lie,” said Johnson. “Things haven’t gone my way. Yeah, this attitude’s great, and people are looking at me, but people are looking at me pile up losses, and that’s no fun. I wouldn’t want to be on the New York Jets, but I’d want to be a football player.”
Johnson has received a few opportunities to win some notable matches since Ring of Honor returned last fall. From a clash with former ROH World Champion Dalton Castle to a heated battle with Dak Draper, Johnson has quickly become one of the company’s regularly featured on ROH programming. Still, Johnson has capitalized on his time in the spotlight, and he’s proving his doubters wrong.
This process reached a new level when “The Mecca” faced Dalton Castle on ROH Wrestling. The company booked the match when Johnson disrespectfully threw water in Castle’s face backstage. Though Johnson lost the bout, he says he learned a few valuable lessons from the experience.
“The next time I throw water in their face, I’ll slap them too,” said Johnson. “That’s what I learned. I mean, I hung with one of the very best wrestlers in the world. He was the Ring of Honor World Champion, [so] at one time, people thought he was the best wrestler in the world.
“And I didn’t just hang with him, I beat his ass. And no one expected me to, I get it. That’s the rap, right? Oh, ‘It’s Brian Johnson, he’s not gonna win this.’ But I took him to the limit. So if I have to keep opening eyes by plucking some feathers, then so be it.”
Johnson’s match with Castle opened the eyes of many fans, as “The Mecca” came quite close to defeating the former champion. Before the Ring of Honor “restart,” the thought of Johnson facing Castle would lead many fans to expect a squash match in this potential bout. By going toe-to-toe with the one-time face of the company, “The Mecca” proved that his braggadocious nature on-screen is backed up by his genuine talent in the ring. This performance took many viewers by surprise, but Johnson made it clear that he believes in himself. He says that he tunes out the naysayers because their criticism doesn’t matter to him.
“If I started listening to you jackasses, I would never win a match in my life,” said Johnson. “I wouldn’t be able to tie my boots, chew bubble gum and breathe at the same time. I’d trip over my two left feet and have no talent whatsoever if I started listening to you guys. So what do I think when you guys [criticize me]? I don’t think about it because I don’t give a s***.”
Despite Johnson’s lack of in-ring victories, it seems like he’s winning some people over. The fans are getting behind Johnson, as he recently won a poll in the ROH The Experience Facebook group to earn an ROH World Television Championship Match against Dragon Lee. “The Mecca” currently has his sights set on Lee’s title, but he has an “endless” list of competitors he’d like to face.
One wrestler is at the top of that list, as Johnson made it quite clear that he has some unfinished business with Danhausen. The fan-favorite star earned a contract with Ring of Honor after he beat Johnson via disqualification at ROH Final Battle. Danhausen controversially defeated “The Mecca” when he convinced the referee that Johnson hit him with a microphone. Johnson remains quite angry about this outcome, as he pinned Danhausen at one point in the match, but the official couldn’t count the pin because Danhausen accidentally spit some disembodied teeth into his eyes. As a result, Johnson made a fair case for a rematch, and he also made his disdain for the unorthodox star quite evident.
“Since I was cheated out of it, of course I want a rematch, and you know, keep watching Ring of Honor television because I bet you, if they don’t listen to me soon, I’m gonna force them to give me a rematch with Danhausen,” said Johnson. “It’s only fair. I had him beat. I’m not poking fun. I legitimately can’t stand him and everything his bulls*** represents. He pays for a Halloween costume, and people think he tries hard because he does a couple drives here and there on the weekends, and they think he deserves a spot at Ring of Honor, a place where Daniel Bryan, and Nigel McGuinness…he’s a jackass and I’m insulted that I was having my first Final Battle match with him, to be honest with you.”
Johnson’s boastful personality is paired with his tendency to display fiery bouts of rage. His anger arguably cost him his match with Castle, and it has been an obstacle throughout his career in Ring of Honor. In a moment of self-reflection, Johnson admitted that this pattern plays out in his life away from the ring, too.
“A lot of my losses come from being angry,” said Johnson. “Unfortunately, I’d argue a lot of my mistakes in my real life have come from anger issues and it’s stuff that maybe I need to work on.”
“The Mecca” is known for his cockiness and his explosive temper, but deep down, he’s a driven competitor with a lot of heart. Several months before Johnson received the opportunity to shine by himself on ROH Wrestling, PJ Black took a chance on him. “The Darewolf” saw Johnson’s potential, and he tried to help “The Mecca” master his anger.
“PJ’s able to see past that and that’s something that I’ll appreciate,” said Johnson. “He’s a veteran that’s travelled to more countries than I can even count. He’s been involved in wrestling almost as long as I’ve been alive, and he calls me a future world champion…. [But] he still annoys the hell out of me with all his breathing techniques and his yoga exercises and external bulls***. Me and PJ Black, we’re not peanut butter and jelly. We’re the opposite.”
PJ Black teaches Brian Johnson a valuable lesson when it comes to prepping for in-ring competition by connecting his mind with his body through breathing exercises… @darewolf333 @Bjo_Mecca pic.twitter.com/ac5wBNHwUB
— ROH Wrestling (@ringofhonor) January 26, 2020
Still, while he appreciated his time with Black, Johnson was just as quick to say that he’s moving on. “The Mecca” is more than ready to break out on his own.
“While I appreciate the time with him because he got eyes on me, I think everybody can tell this locomotive has left the station, and this Mecca locomotive is on the rise,” said Johnson. ‘This is a one-way train and it ain’t turning back.”
Check out our full interview with Brian Johnson at the top of this post and be sure to check out the Recap Of Honor podcast each Monday night on WrestleZone’s Facebook page!