Former TNA and current ROH star Kazarian is this week’s guest on Turnbuckle Weekly with Chuck Carroll.
– Walking away from WWE and TNA
– Ring of Honor locker room vs WWE and TNA locker room
– In-ring freedoms at ROH vs WWE and TNA
– New TNA TV deal and their future
– The next wrestling popularity boom will be different
– ROH fans vs. WWE and TNA fans
– Why pro wrestlers aren’t in a union
– Would a union crumble pro wrestling?
Thousands of aspiring grapplers dream of the day they join the ranks of pro wrestling’s elite in WWE or its chief competitor, TNA. Millions tune in to watch each and every week — often more than once.
So what would possess someone to walk away from living the dream of wrestling on national TV not once, but twice?
Lack of maturity and burnout.
Frankie Kazarian is best known for capturing the TNA X Division Title five times and as one-half of Bad Influence with Christopher Daniels.
Like CM Punk he’s bid adieu to WWE. But he’s gone a step further and also said au revoir to TNA.
The reasons for parting ways with each company couldn’t be more different.
Kazarian shed some light on his decisions for me last month ahead of Ring of Honor’s Tag Wars 14 in Baltimore. He and Daniels will be wrestling for the Pro Wrestling Guerrilla tag titles Friday across the country in Reseda, California.
He debuted for TNA in 2003 and wrestled there until signing with WWE in February 2005. Kazarian honed his craft at Ohio Valley Wrestling, WWE’s developmental territory at the time. By July he worked his way up to the main roster and began appearing on television. But his tenure would be short-lived, and by mid-August he was gone.
“With WWE, that was a situation where I wasn’t mature enough as a wrestler and as a person to be there in that big of a company, as efficient of a company as WWE was,” he told me.
The following July he returned to TNA where he went on a remarkable eight-year run that included a host of X Division championships, and capturing tag team gold with Daniels on two occasions.
He remained with Dixie Carter’s promotion until earlier this year.
“With TNA it was a matter I’d been there a long time,” he said of parting ways with the company. “They were in the process of a lot of cost cutting measures and it just kind of coincided with me probably needing to get out of there and them needing to cut costs. So, it kind of worked out for both parties.”
Kazarian had been feeling under utilized and wanted a change of pace, but the decision wasn’t necessarily an easy one.
In hind sight, he said he’s 100 percent confident in the decision. And why shouldn’t he be? The 37-year-old has flourished on the independent scene and in Ring of Honor of late.
And while Vince McMahon recently stated the WWE locker room isn’t as passionate as it once was, Kazarian says everyone on the ROH roster — a blend of veterans and fresh-faced wrestlers — wants to grab the proverbial brass ring.
“It’s a very hungry locker room. A lot of guys are looking for knowledge, looking to seek knowledge in a lot of veterans. (And a lot of us) are willing to help out and give it,” he said. “First and foremost you have a locker room full of incredible wrestlers. That’s why Ring of Honor puts on the best pure wrestling in the world.”
Kazarian is available for bookings by emailing Kazbookings@gmail.com.
The full interview can be heard at the top of the page and is more than worth your time.
Chuck Carroll is former pro wrestling announcer and referee turned sports media personality. He once appeared on Monday Night RAW when he presented Robert Griffin III with a WWE title belt in the Redskins locker room.
Follow him on Twitter @TheChuckCarroll.