Josh Alexander will defend the X-Division Championship against TJP in the first-ever 60 Minute Iron Man match in IMPACT Wrestling history this Thursday. The majority of the match will take place on BTI with the match concluding at the start of IMPACT.

Those who saw the first-ever Iron Man Match between Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XII, mostly live, know how complex and gruelling a match like this can be. TJP and Josh Alexander are well aware of that. They will tonight path their way into the footsteps of legends of pro-wrestling. You will read later it adds a bit of pressure on both of them to make history on IMPACT. There have been rumblings of this being match of the year…

SteelChair Wrestling Magazine took part in a media call this Tuesday, hosted by IMPACT Wrestling Hall of Famer Gail Kim. TJP and Josh Alexander talked about the upcoming match, the respect and chemistry they have for each other, and how important this match is for them.

On the preparation and the pressure they feel for this match

TJP: “I always grew up kind of a Shawn guy and a Bret guy too, and I bring that up obviously because the white elephant in any Iron Man room is Bret and Shawn, the original. I guess the thing for me is like at least they had a few months (to prepare), they knew. We were given a little bit more short notice. Normally, I would say that that works in my favour, but I could probably count on one finger the number of people that have met like Josh that is constantly preparing, and I don’t think that it works quite in my favour. He’s constantly ready to do this sort of thing, and more so, for me, it’s been a little bit more of the same, a little bit more difficult. I just had to have some surgery on a fractured nose I’ve been dealing with for the last month or so, but I’m training everything the best I can like normal, but I can assure you that I’m sure Josh is doing as much or more because that is very much his M.O so, normally, what would be my Joker card is not to my advantage this time because I’m happy to be wrestling the one guy who will literally outwork everybody. That’s not a t-shirt slogan, that’s just reality, and that’s Josh.”

Josh Alexander: “I said it in the little promo package I did, the second I heard about this match, I literally smiled because, in my head, I didn’t think of any of the consequences that come with this the preparation or the pressure or anything like that at the moment. I just thought of the opportunity that was being given to me because I know a 60-minute Iron Man match on television in a professional wrestling sense is something that I can count on one hand, how many have happened? This is something that’s going to be special not only because it’s me and TJP, and I know it’s gonna be great, but because it’s a platform, an opportunity that only a handful of guys are gonna get. Now, leading up to it now, two days out from the match now, this is where the pressure is kind of overwhelming me. I’m definitely feeling it because now not only do you have this great opportunity, but you have to deliver, and if you do deliver well, it’s going to be monumental. It’s so what if, and that’s the pressure there, but when my backs against the wall, when everything’s pushing against me, I always seem to rise to the occasion so, hopefully, I can this time.”

TJP on his style fitting the length of the match

“I don’t usually think about pace when I’m wrestling. It’s not my fault that when I wrestle, it sounds like music, and I joke because that sounds so arrogant, but I don’t mean to really push the pace I actually am when I’m going to a match. I try not to think more than one or two pieces ahead of my face. I guess you could say, and sometimes just when the decision-making comes out really well, it looks like I’m pushing the pace or that I intend to. That’s just a product of trying to react to the situation, and the more experienced I get now, my experience yields more, I guess right answers and wrong answers, so then the pace ends up quickening because I’m firing off more quickly. In a match like this, I don’t approach it like anything else, every moment will be one step at a time, and if it unfolds slowly, which with a guy like Josh it’s a more complex chess match, to say the least, it might unfold slowly, or the pace might quicken and stay up. If it does, then I know I can get into that ballpark of time, but we’ll see I guess if the pace quickens, I’ll find out, but I’m the type of guy that’s willing to do that, ready fire, aim. So if I go out there and run out of gas and find out at the moment, then so be it. I try not to think ahead and worry about consequences too much. I’d rather just let it rip. Rock ‘N Roll.”

Josh on being the third Canadian to wrestle a 60-minute Iron Man Match 

“I’m extremely proud and extremely fortunate just to get this opportunity. I don’t think there’s any better match that you could book me in to showcase my abilities, no offence to TJP. I’m just saying for me, this is the thing that I daydream about every day when I’m on the stairs or running sprints or doing anything like that. When I’m tired, I think about Bret and Shawn, I think about matches like that where guys just had to dig deep and keep pushing through because, honestly, I’m a wrestling fan. It’s the only thing that motivates me. That’s exactly what I use as a motivator, so that’s it, the elephant in the room is the thing that motivated me the entire time.

“This match is important in my career in the sense that, for the first two years I’ve been here at Impact Wrestling, people have seen me as a tag team competitor, and I was very successful at that. I always knew I could be successful, in a singles sense, and that’s why I set my eyes on the X-Division Championship. The second I was off on my own, I’ve won it, but now I got to set the bar higher every time. As a champion and to be a defending champion, if I’m going to defend against the best, and that’s TJP right now, it’s going to be in the most gruelling physical match that can showcase either one of us, win or lose, so I think it’s monumental.”

TJP on how to make this match unforgettable and one of the best in the history of TNA/Impact Wrestling

“I think about the Bret and Shawn version a lot not just because it was like the original that introduced it to everybody, and not just because I was kind of a Shawn and a Bret guy growing up, I also went to that by the way. I sat 14th row for that Iron Man match, I sat through 62 minutes that day watching these guys, I was about 11 or 12-years-old, that was in my hometown. There’s like a cause, a cosmic link I think to me and that part of history. The first time I got to close out a WWE show was in that same building at the Anaheim Ponds, and I remember thinking specifically about that match.

“As far as making this match memorable or different or something like that, I guess repeating history. If one brash and arrogant little fellow beats the Canadian in this one as well, that would be a pretty interesting footnote. I hope that is the trend that we’re heading towards, but in all honesty, and I told Josh before, it’s not really about the result, it’s about the journey. This is probably Round 50 out of infinity for us and, if this is just the last round for right now,  hopefully, I come out with a victory, but we’re probably going to do it again sometime. For us, I think the idea of stakes and making history is a little bit different than other people, I think that they never really cared who won each individual fight, they just wanted to get out for the next round. There is no next round, but in their heads, they’re both thinking there’s another round, it might not be for a little while, but there’s another round. I think that’s kind of where I and Josh are at, and not a lot of people reach that space individually or with somebody that they’re linked to, and I honestly feel that that’s where we’re at.”

On Scott D’Amore’s promo last week announcing the match and talking about chemistry

TJP: “I think that, in a way, we’re sort of kindred spirits and that sort of thing. It is rare when you get guys that are cut from the same cloth that cross path, and then they become linked for a while, if not indefinitely. Josh is perhaps that guy for me, and I’ve had wonderful opponents for a long time, and I always say my favourite opponent was the last one, and my favourite match is the next one. I always say that because I never want to leave the ring when I get in it, and I think everybody is. Every time I get in the ring with somebody, in my opinion, he’s the best in the world because I don’t really think that there is a best in the world, I hope by the time I’m done there, the person that I’m in the ring with is perceived as or feels like the best in the world. In this case, I really think that Josh fits that bill, but more than anything else, the ring feels like a big playground when I’m in there with Josh, and that’s not something that happens very often. It’s like Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty playing chess, they can play that chess game in their head a thousand times and just keep resetting the board and, for me, that’s what Josh is.”

Josh Alexander: “I can agree with pretty much everything TJP had to say. I don’t know if it’s my ego or anything that I try to keep in check, I try to stay humble all the time, but Mike Johnson brought this up a couple of weeks ago, he said you guys are like Dean and Eddie, or Bret and Shawn. For me, I just try not to think of it like that, but when he said it, it clicked in my head, it’s exactly what it is, it’s just two guys who are competing and travelling the same direction, the entire time. We have the same mindset the entire way, and I think above all of that, we’re just two very passionate individuals about pro-wrestling, and it’s a rare thing to find all those attributes and the same things when you put us in the ring together. That’s why it flows like it does.”

On the importance of the X-Division title

TJP: “The X-Division title is a generational thing, and that’s really rare. You go to any regional company, they all have their own version of the X-Division. How often does something come along in wrestling that changes the very culture of it outside of the subject itself? I meet so many young fans that will tell me the X-Division is what got them into wrestling. When I was young, we used to look at the Intercontinental Title as like that was the working man’s title. Wrestlers wanted to be the Intercontinental Champion, the World title was just a glory moment, but the real passion was in that. To me, that’s what the X-Division is ever since the day I got in. To me, the X-Division title has always been the main title, and it’s not up to me to say what is more important to anyone else at all, but to me, that’s the most important one, and it always has been, and for the foreseeable future, it always will be. I think it really defines a generation and, someday, you’ll look back 20 or 30 years from now and see the X-Division changed history for so long like the Knockouts changed the way women’s wrestling was.”

Josh Alexander: “I think all of Impact Wrestling, we’ve talked about how it’s had a resurgence in the last few years, and it’s been nothing but growth for pretty much three or four years since the rebranding to Anthem and everything else, and it’s all been going great. I think the X-Division and the Knockouts Division are in of growth period, as well right now, and I think that we just have to continue to build upon that. The way we build upon that is by every single time we get the ring, we give everybody what they want to see, which is the best match possible by all competitors. We’ve surrounded our locker room with people that can hit home runs all the time if they really want to so that’s the only thing. I think we’re all here to work, I think we’re all here to try to make the product better and, to make the product better, we just have to give people pro-wrestling.”

On the offence one could worry about coming from the other

Josh Alexander: “The one thing I’d be worried about offensively coming from him, this is not to take away from all the attributes and all the boxes he checks off, I would just say the experience would be the number one thing I would be worried about as he is the senior in the match. He’s been wrestling longer than me. As I was coming up and learning the ropes, he was already gaining worldwide fame and experience, so that’s something that I need to be worried about going into this match because I know as a game of chess and experiences, experience is king no matter how strong you are, how fast you are, especially in an Ironman match. You need to be prepared and give some forethought into your game plan, and that’s something TJP’s going to have.”

TJP: “He’s got a lot more adaptability than I think that he gives himself credit for as far as being complimentary towards me. I’ve not met many guys that are as complete as Josh. I don’t know that I ever have to be honest with you, and I’ve been in the ring with a lot of guys, and I’d put Josh’s ability to check off every box up there with any of them, and I’m actually enjoying that people are starting to realize that because, from the inside looking out, I’ve seen that for a long time. Honestly, it’s act-react as far as that goes. I try not to worry too much about stuff that hasn’t happened yet, I’ll figure out what I’m gonna do next when something happens, so whether that be my leg, my back, whatever gives out first, I’ll figure out where to shift all the focus after that.”

Follow Josh Alexander on Twitter @Walking_Weapon and TJP @MegaTJP

IMPACT Wrestling is airing on Tuesday at 8/7c on AXS TV in the USA and Twitch worldwide. Before The Impact is airing every Thursday at 7/6c on Impact Wrestling YouTube channel, Facebook Live and Twitch.
In the UK and Ireland, IMPACT is available to fans for free within hours of the American broadcast on IMPACT Plus, with an encore presentation on 5Star late night on Fridays. PPVs can be watched through the FITE app, website or a Virgin Media box.

All pics, screencaps and videos courtesy of Impact Wrestling, AXS TV, and Fight Network