PERFORMER: The X-Division competitor in action
PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING organisation TNA (Total Nonstop Action) is generally seen as the second biggest company in the industry behind the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment).
One of the standout features about TNA is the X-Division – where fast-paced in-ring ability is mixed with spectacular high-flying feats of athleticism – and Kenny King is the X-Division titleholder.
A wrestler since 2002, the Las Vegas, Nevada native speaks to the Voice of Sport’s Ben Lettman about his excitement at seeing Hulk Hogan at work, his dream match and his love of Fat Burger.
BL: Who were your favourite wrestlers growing up?
KK: Wow…erm, well my favourite wrestlers growing up – I grew up in the peak of the WWF [World Wrestling Federation, WWE’s previous name] era. My very first match was Strike Force versus Demolition at Wrestlemania IV and that’s the match that made me fall in love with professional wrestling. So growing up Demolition was my favourite tag team. I liked them better than the Road Warriors. And Mr Perfect and ‘Ravishing’ Rick Rude. I loved Mr Perfect’s style. He was technical but he was very arrogant and he was damn good. The same for Rick Rude. And it’s no secret that RVD (Rob Van Dam) was one of my favourites as well.
BL: And what’s it like wrestling in the X-Division with someone you admire like RVD?
KK: It’s a dream. When you get in the business you don’t think that you’re going to get to wrestle guys that you idolised. When you do get an opportunity to do so with guys that you’ve watched, who were the reasons why you loved it so much as a fan, it’s definitely an accomplishment.
BL: How much fun is it to compete in the X-Division as a whole?
KK: Well if you look at the history of TNA, the history of TNA is the X-Division. AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, Amazing Red, Christopher Daniels; these guys consistently perform at high levels and TNA noticed. I’m having a great time. It’s another one of those little personal checkmarks off of my list to be able to wrestle in the X-Division, wrestle in matches like ultimate x and to wrestle for the X-Division championship.
BL: In January you guys performed at the Wembley Arena. How did you find that experience?
KK: Bro, it was insane! I remember watching Michael Jackson live at Wembley Stadium on HBO and I was like ‘man, that place would be amazing to perform in’. To be able to perform just on those same grounds, it makes you feel very important. And the crowd was amazing. They loved every moment of it. I was very fortunate to be apart of that tour.
BL: Hulk Hogan works with TNA as an on-air wrestling authority. What’s it like going into work and Hulk Hogan is there?
KK: [Laughs] Let me ask you a question. Were you a fan of Hulk Hogan when you younger?
BL: Definitely! From since I was young.
KK: So imagine just coming from the airport, walking in, putting my bag down, turn around and ‘oh, there’s the Hulkster. [chuckles] There’s that six-year-old kid in me that still pops [a wrestling term meaning excitement] everytime and then there’s the professional that has to shake his hand. I still pop everytime I see Hulk Hogan because it’s Hulk Hogan and he’s the reason why anybody does this.
BL: What would be your dream match?
KK: Hmm…[long pause]. Umm, I tell you what. The one that I’ve been thinking of the most was against Shelton Benjamin one-on-one. We wrestled plenty of times in tag matches but one-on-one for whatever reason it never happened. But I really am looking forward to the day I get to wrestle AJ Styles.
DON'T TRUST THIS MAN!: King offers his opponent a handshake
BL: Have you got any guilty pleasures that you probably shouldn’t be indulging in?
KK: There’s a place in Las Vegas – if you ever come to the States, go to the West Coast, there’s a place called Fat Burger. [Laughs] I think you can understand exactly why they call it that but it’s like mother’s milk, man. It’s amazing. That’s one of my guilty pleasures. I don’t get to see Fat Burger very often but when I do I enjoy it.
BL: What can fans expect to see in a Kenny King match?
KK: In a Kenny King match you cant expect to see showtime and to see something you’ve never seen before. I pride myself on my ability to use my body in ways that most people can’t and that’s why I do it. That’s why you’ll see me celebrate a little bit because that’s the package that is Kenny King.
*Watch TNA IMPACT WRESTLING every Sunday night on Challenge TV at 9pm.