During a recent interview conducted for The UK Mirror, TNA Champion Bobby Roode spoke on a wide range of topics, including whether or not he feels the company is "legit," and whether or not the company needs Ric Flair, who is rumored to be departing. The following are excerpts:
"For us to be… I'm not going to say 'legit', because I believe that we're a legit company but it's just… for that more professional look and a different look it'll make our company that bit better."
That word: legit. Does Bobby feel that wrestling fans don't feel the TNA product is legit? And is he stung by such criticism, if he perceives it to exist?
"No," he insists. "It's just one of these things where people didn't see us making it this far.
"I was here back in the days of the weekly PPVs where people didn't give us a chance. It used to be that the morning after the weekly tapings there was always speculation about whether we'd be back next week. We were all living cheque to cheque, show to show, until we got our TV deal – and then there were three months when we had no TV and everything was aired on the internet. That was a very scary time. But thankfully Spike came in and now we're on in a primetime slot I think it has really elevated our company.
"With the Hogans, the Angles, the Stings and the Hardys – and being able to produce stars like James and AJ and Joe – I think our company is growing month by month, week by week."
During the course of Roode's media tour, reports that TNA was in the process of suing WWE over accusations of obtaining secret contract information in an attempt to poach Impact Wrestling's performers made the international news wires. Further reports suggested that Ric Flair's tenure with TNA may have come to an end due to such legal action.
It wouldn't be fair to quiz Bobby too strenuously over the matter – but if Flair is done, will TNA miss him?
"I believe so. I think just the name, having that legendary name around was beneficial," he says.
"But I don't think it is going to hurt us, we have a lot of talent.
"I think Impact Wrestling can stand on its own without Ric Flair but its always nice to have a guy like that around.
"He has always been a pro. He's a fun guy to be around."
Reflecting on the times he and Flair have worked together, Bobby picks out a moment off camera that he'll always remember.
"During the best of five series we had with the Motor City Machine Guns, we came into the back and the first person to shake our hands as we came through the curtain was Ric Flair.
"He'll always be the Nature Boy. He has been one of my main inspirations. I really don't know [about the legal situation] and I really don't care to know."
You can read the interview in its entirety by clicking on the above link.