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 411mania » Wrestling » Columns

411 Wrestling Interview: A.J. Kirsch
Posted by Justin Watry on 03.07.2014

Over the past few years, A.J. Kirsch has been one of the most talked about and most successful wrestlers in the United States. Not just inside the squared circle but doing everything outside the ring as well! This past week, I was able to ask them an him a couple of questions on HOODSLAM, Daniel Bryan's rise in WWE, CM Punk leaving, as well as other topics. Enjoy!

Justin Watry: As always, please feel free to introduce yourself to the wrestling world and what you have been up to. You seem to have a lot on your plate - both in wrestling and out of wrestling.

A.J. Kirsch: My name's A.J. Kirsch, and within the wrestling world, I'm best known for my time as a contestant on the most recent season of WWE Tough Enough. And, yeah, I have a lot on my plate right now. I'm the host and one-half of the commentary team at an Oakland, CA-based 21-and-over promotion called Hoodslam, I'm headed to New Orleans for WrestleMania in a few weeks, it looks like I'm hosting a seminar at Cauliflower Alley Convention this June in Vegas, and what started as a little side-gig doing acting and commercial work is turning into quite the formidable career. In fact, I just booked my first leading role in a TV show. So, yeah...a lot going on right now. But I am loving every second of it.

Justin Watry: Very good. Let me just cut through the nonsense and jump right to it. There are rumors of many Ring of Honor/independent stars heading to a WWE tryout at the end of March. Any plans for AJ Kirsch attend? If not, who are some guys or gals you want to see on Raw/Smackdown every week that WWE is not paying attention to?

A.J. Kirsch: As of yet, I have no plans to be a part of the tryout at the end of March. I'm not aware of who WWE is and is not paying attention to, but I was extremely excited and proud to see they just signed Drake Younger to a developmental deal. Drake is as genuine a human being as he is talented and passionate in the ring, and with NXT recently picking up Brian Tannen, another Nor Cal talent, I think it's going to bring a lot more WWE attention to the west coast wrestling scene. Younger and Tannen are shining examples of what's been happening out here for years and the WWE is better off for having signed them. I'm incredibly proud of both of them.

Justin Watry: Before we continue discussing WWE some more, your feelings about TNA Impact Wrestling were made very clear after your Gutcheck participation in 2013. With the company focusing more on younger talent and no longer the older guys, has your opinion changed?

A.J. Kirsch: Nope. I honestly pay precisely zero attention to TNA. Their product does nothing for me.

Justin Watry: One last thing on TNA - how do fellow free agent wrestlers look at a possible stint in TNA with all the constant reports swirling around their future compared to ROH, WWE, or even this mysterious Jeff Jarrett project?

A.J. Kirsch: Again, I pay no attention to TNA whatsoever, so I'm not aware of how free agent wrestlers look at a possible stint in TNA. They provide a platform with TV, sure. But it seems like that's about it. Jim Ross recently said on an episode on his podcast that he thinks talent have a better shot at landing a development deal with WWE coming out of ROH than TNA. That speaks volumes.

Justin Watry: Moving to Batista returning to WWE, how do you feel about this as a fan...and how do you feel about the annual influx of part-timers around WrestleMania season? Does it matter if they stick around full-time (like Batista is set to) or do you understand the hype machine focusing on the January-April time frame?

A.J. Kirsch: Batista coming back? Who cares? It sure as hell seems like the fans don't. It's not gonna make me, as a longtime fan, wanna tune in any more than I have been. As for the annual influx of part-timers, I think it's great. It's a way to grab fans of a previous era or generation and get them interested in professional wrestling again, even if it's just for the time surrounding WrestleMania. It also educates the younger generation of fans on the important characters of past eras. Whether they stick around full-time or not depends on who we're talking about. I doubt Hogan will stick around much longer after 'Mania, but his being a part of the event makes it that much more special. Having someone like Hogan or Undertaker stick around after for too long would make their 'Mania involvement less special.

Justin Watry: On the flip side, with talent coming in, one in particular has left in CM Punk. My feelings have been well known - he walked out and quit without notice. What do you make of all this? Should he have given a two week notice? Is he right to up and leave? Would YOU take him back if you were running a company and trust him again? All around thoughts on this massive story before WMXXX...

A.J. Kirsch: I don't know what to make of the CM Punk situation. But, again...ultimately, who cares? Should he have given notice, what he right to do this or that? I have no idea what the specifics were surrounding his abrupt exit, so who am I to say? It's a shame he won't, as of the time of this interview, be a part of WrestleMania. Punk is one of, if not the most compelling character on WWE TV in recent years and he adds a unique and intriguing element to any show or storyline. Part of me hopes it's all a part of a storyline and we'll see him re-enter the picture just in time for WrestleMania. If it's all legit, that's a shame. WWE lost one hell of a talent. But, as the saying goes (and long before that drunk-driving skidmark Justin Bieber hijacked it), "never say never." Of course, I'd take him back.

Justin Watry: Lucky for us, Daniel Bryan has stuck around and been the focal point of WWE TV since last summer. Are you a fan of his and does he close the story and become WWE Champion in the end? Fantasy book us Daniel Bryan come Mania and beyond.

A.J. Kirsch: "Lucky for us" is right! I am a fan of his. It's exciting to see someone as over as he is right now. The crowd is never more fun to watch than when he starts doing the "YES" chant. It's a spectacle. If I were booking, he somehow wins the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania. I don't know how, but he does it. If this is WWE's plan all along, they're dangling that carrot beautifully. And if it's not, wake the hell up!

Justin Watry: Staying on WrestleMania XXX for a second, give us some BOLD predictions for what you wish to see in New Orleans on April 6th after last year's lackluster event in New York/New Jersey.

A.J. Kirsch: I know WWE is not big on blood nowadays, but I'd love to see a brutal, barbaric bloodbath between Taker and Lesnar. If you remember, the last time they faced off was at No Mercy, 2002 when Lesnar left Undertaker a bloody, quivering mess inside Hell in a Cell. I'm a huge fan of that match and I'm hoping their WrestleMania encounter mirrors it. But, PG era and all, I doubt it will happen. Either way, I think it's shaping up to be a hell of a card.

Justin Watry: Moving away from wrestling, you have been interviewed by Larry King and Stone Cold Steve Austin. Two very different personalities. How would you compare (and contrast) the two when talking to them?

A.J. Kirsch: It's easier talking to Steve because we shared the Tough Enough experience together. We've also kept in touch since the show, so when I was on his podcast on the "Tough Enough" reunion episode (listen here: http://podcastone.com/Steve-Austin-Show-Clean?showAllEpisodes=true), I was far less nervous than when talking to Larry King (watch here: http://www.ora.tv/larrykingnow/rory-bushfield-pick-larry-winner-aj-kirsch-0_3bz31fqs). They are both absolute legends in their fields, but really, they're both very down-to-earth and easy to talk to.

Justin Watry: Since we are on the topic of interviews, your best buddy in the whole wide world Jimmy Fallon recently got a big promotion. If he were to offer you a spot on his talk show, would you accept?

A.J. Kirsch: Uh, duh! Of course! You know what? Maybe it's time I revisit his stuff. A lot of friends keep talking about how funny his show is, and to be honest, I haven't seen anything he's done since SNL. It might be time to revisit Jimmy Fallon.

Justin Watry: Okay, this Friday features yet another HOODSLAM event. Let everybody know about this all and convince the non-believers this is well worth checking out.

A.J. Kirsch: Hoodslam is professional wrestling that doesn't insult your intelligence as a human being. It's for that person who was a fan during the golden era in the 80s or the Attitude Era in the 90s/early 2000s and wants to feel, as a grown-ass adult, the way they felt when they were a kid watching wrestling. It's live music, it's burlesque, it's comedy, it's theater, but all centered around a ring. It's at a venue with a full bar. There are no barricades around the ring. And we draw 700, 800 ravenous fans every single month. If you're in the San Francisco bay area and wanna check it out, it's at the Oakland Metro Opera House at 630 Third Street in Oakland. Tickets are $10 and the show runs from 9pm til midnight. And DON'T BRING YOUR F'N KIDS!

For a taste of Hoodslam, track us down online. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube - it's all @Hoodslam. You can also check out the official website at www.BirdsWillFall.com.

Justin Watry: Thank you for the time sir. Please inform everyone where they can follow, tweet, support AJ Kirsch or any upcoming plugs you wish to post.

A.J. Kirsch: Always a pleasure! Here come a slew of social media plugs: you can follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Tout, all @AJKirsch. You can add me on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/AJKirsch. I accept all friend requests. You can like me on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/AJKirschFan. I also encourage you to follow my Hoodslam persona, "Broseph" Joe Brody on Twitter @BrosephBrody and on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/BrosephJoeBrody.

Thanks again for having me. 'Til our paths cross again!


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