This weekend the TNA Tour arrives in the UK, with a card of wrestler reaffirmed and strengthened by the reformation of popular tag team, Beer Money. James Storm’s decision to return to Impact Wrestling from NXT has turned some heads in the wrestling industry, but there’s no doubting that TNA is a stronger place for his presence as well as the ‘It Factor’, Bobby Roode.
“We’re back to have some fun,” explains Roode. “It’s been five years since we were last an official tag team and we’re looking forward to coming back to the UK. There’s no better place to do it, we have a lot of fun here and the UK fans, are so receptive to us as individuals, but especially to Beer Money. The fans are so much fun to perform in front of, it makes our job a little easier”.
Beer Money’s roots lie a little deeper in a sentimental sense with the UK experience as Roode recalls, “The first time we tagged together was over here in the UK tour, in Liverpool, before Beer Money was officially ‘Beer Money’. This place has always had a pretty special place for us as far as wrestling goes”. As a tag team, it’s a pairing that’s always seemed to just work. Storm explains how they tried to get over as heels in the early days. “As a tag team it just clicked and was pretty easy. When we first brought on as Beer Money we were the heels and me and Bobby said, ‘we’ve got to come up with something so stupid, so ridiculous that the fans will boo us every time we do it’, and that’s how the Beer Money Suplex came about. We did it as a joke but actually over time the fans took to it and it got over”. Roode exclaims “It was the most devastating double suplex in the industry. It keeps guys down for 20 seconds, we were just too stupid to make the cover!”
TNA has always been famous for putting on fantastic live experiences that often differ in the feel of the TV product, and Roode explains this tour will be just the same. “If you’ve never been to one of our live events before, it’s always very family oriented, it’s a lot of fun, high energy and great wrestling. It’s always fun to sit on your couch and watch wrestling, but until you’ve been to a live event, you don’t really know what it’s like and TNA do it better than anybody else”. Storm reiterates “I don’t think you get the full experience sitting at home. We always try and find the loudest and craziest people in the audience and interact with them as much as possible”.
For those unfamiliar with Beer Money’s style or work, it’s not hard for Storm or Roode to recommend a plethora of matches for the new fans to find and watch to get a feel for their style of performance. “Our best of five series with the Motor City Machine Guns, everybody still talks about that today” states Storm. Roode adds, “That entire series is fun to watch, but the fifth match is the best. It was a TV match, we had twenty minutes; I watched it back the other day and from the moment both teams enter to the end the entire arena are on their feet. It was pretty electric”.
This tour marks the farewell of one of the finest superstars in the industry of all time in Kurt Angle. Both Storm and Roode have had plenty of dealings with Kurt during their TNA run, and both hold the former Olympic Gold medallist in high regard. “You really don’t know how good he is until you get in the ring with him” says Storm. “It’s hard to explain how ridiculously good he is. He’s just so smooth and crisp”. Roode explains, “I’ve always said pound for pound Kurt is one of the greatest wrestlers of all time. When you think back to when he first broke into the business, from his first match to now, the guy has never had a bad match. Olympic wrestling and professional wrestling are two totally different things and for him to catch on in the way that he has is pretty special. I’m looking forward to having my match with him at Wembley”.
Catch Beer Money, Kurt Angle and UK stars Big Damo, Will Ospreay and Jimmy Havoc on the MAXIMUM IMPACT 8 Tour.
– WORDS AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY JAMES MUSSELWHITE
Having spent the day with Bobby and James, we’ll have even more from Beer Money in a future issue of Calling Spots magazine.
The MAXIMUM IMPACT 8 Tour will see TNA TV tapings take place in Manchester (Friday January 29), London (Saturday January 30) and Birmingham (Sunday January 31). Tickets can be purchased from www.gigsandtours.com and www.ticketmaster.co.uk