Goodbye, the beer-drinking gentleman farmer. Goodbye, the long hair and the funny character. Now baptized in the Holy Waters of the Church of Violence, Deaner is a new man, a new wrestler. He has kept his smile but put it at the service of Eric Young’s devilish plans. Violent By Design has probably been one of the best factions we have seen in wrestling for years because of the imagery, the wrestlers, the attitude. And because of Eric Young, who surrounded himself with more than partners in crime, but friends.

Like Joe Doering, like Rhino, like EY, Deaner has been in the wrestling business for 20 years. All of them met at some point in their respective careers. Maybe you have heard less about Deaner than the others because he has worked mostly in the indies in the USA and Canada, but that doesn’t mean he’s not one name to remember. He has wrestled or teamed up with some of the biggest names today, and the list is impressive.

SteelChair Wrestling Magazine had the chance to talk to Deaner this Wednesday. He told us about his new attitude, becoming IMPACT Tag Team Champion, wrestling the Legend Satoshi Kojima, Violent By Design, his longtime friendship with Eric Young, his charity work, and what the future may hold for him.

Last week, you wrestled the Japanese Legend Satoshi Kojima on IMPACT in his first-ever Impact Wrestling match. Following that, he put a tweet online praising the wrestler you are and the match you had. 

“It was an honour. I mean, could anyone that knows anything about not just Japanese wrestling but professional wrestling, in general, knows that Kojima is a legend. So, to be able to step in the ring with a legend like Kojima and have his first match in the United States on American TV was truly an honour. It meant a lot to me, first of all, that Impact Wrestling would choose me to be that person to represent Impact Wrestling in Kojima’s first match, and then, number two, the respect that Kojima showed me both in the tweet that he put out to the world afterwards, as well as some personal messages that he sent me, just shows me how much of a humble and respectful person that Kojima is. This is what he represents, what professional wrestling is all about, it’s about mutual respect between the wrestlers, and that is something that is alive.

“At Impact Wrestling, as a roster, we all respect each other, we take care of each other, we’re a family. Kojima grew up in wrestling the proper way to respect your opponent and respect wrestling, and he showed me that respect throughout the entire time that I was dealing with him at Impact Wrestling, then afterwards with following up. I just couldn’t have asked for a more respectful awesome human being and an awesome wrestler. However, I’m not looking forward to taking any more lariats to the face or machine gun chops to my chest from Kojima, if I can be completely honest (laughs). But I will say this, it’s not over with Kojima. There is more to come with Kojima and Violent By Design, that’s for sure.”

Since December and Final Resolution, you have completely revolutionized the character and the wrestler you are the wrestler. You said this is something that you wanted to do even before the Violent By Design idea came from the Impact management. After 20 years in the ring, did you still need to prove something to yourself?

“That’s a great question. I wouldn’t say it was something so much I had to prove to myself, but more so something I needed to prove to the fans and to the wrestling world. I’ve always been confident in my ability. Knowing that throughout my 20-year career, I’ve had 30-minute matches, 40-minute matches, 60-minute main-event matches with companies throughout the world, but those opportunities weren’t coming my way with Impact Wrestling to really prove what I had to offer. I just knew that it was time to evolve. If you’re not evolving as a performer, as a character in this business, then the business will just toss you aside. I just had a feeling in my heart and in my gut that it was time to evolve and time to make a change.

“When that opportunity kind of presented itself to me through conversations that I had with my good friend Eric Young, we started to get the ball rolling, and things started to happen pretty quick. Yes, it was completely my idea, a lot of people think that, in wrestling, an idea or character is kind of set up or just handed to a performer. That is not the case in Impact Wrestling. The name “Violent By Design” is a creation of the members of Violent By Design. The ideas for the promos and the vignettes are our ideas as a group. It’s very much our baby, our creation and our creativity that’s put into it, and that’s why when people say, “Oh, I can tell when you’re performing that you’re invested in it, and it means something to you, and you’re having a good time doing it.” That’s because the members of Violent By Design are part of the creation, we are a true unit both on-screen and off-screen.”

Eric Young is a very strong character, very mesmerizing. All the promos and images surrounding Violent By Design are also very mesmerizing, like the chains or the baptism scenes, but also very meaningful. People don’t necessarily remember that the four of you have had amazing careers. Some, for sure, have never heard about Joe Doering before Violent By Design. Because of that, that’s one of the strongest factions we have had in years. Who, in fact, had the original idea of all of this?

“Just to touch base on a few of those things that you said, I agree that the imagery is so important, and that was a creation of both us as a group, as well as the amazing production team at Impact Wrestling, David Sahadi and Eric Tompkins. We work together as a unit with the production team to put those vignettes together, they are completely original and completely unlike anything that’s happening in the wrestling business right now. It’s completely unique to us, which is super cool, and that’s a huge credit to the production team at Impact Wrestling.

“Joe Doering is an amazing performer. Anybody who knows anything about Japanese wrestling will know Joe Doering. Some people are unfamiliar with them, but he is a powerhouse, he is a megastar, and he is so important to the Violent By Design creation. Also, anything that’s successful in wrestling has an element of real-life truth to it. Eric Young helped train me 20 years ago, Eric Young was there the first week that Joe Doering started to train, I met Joe Doering in his first week in the wrestling business, I’ve known Rhino for years. He is from Michigan, which is just across the border from where I grew up, so I’ve known Rhino and wrestled with Rhino, and so has Eric Young for years. The connection that we have as a group is 100% real, and I think that comes across in the group. You have four guys that have so much experience and so much knowledge in wrestling that have been put together. I agree with you, Stephanie, that there hasn’t been a faction like this, with this much experience and this much momentum in a long, long time and to be a part of that is truly awesome.

“Now, how did this come about? There was a lot of kind of tangibles that came about, but I had heard that they were thinking of maybe putting some people with Eric Young, as that Eric Young’s world-class-maniac character was evolving. There were rumblings of potentially there being a group of people that might be associated with him and when I heard that, I immediately started to get my creative balls kind of moving. I talked to him, I talked to management, and then I pitched the idea of being involved in that group and how I could be involved in that group. All of those ideas actually came to life on-screen almost to the tee in terms of how we wanted that story to be told and the cool thing about it is there’s so much history between myself, Eric Young and Joe Doering and Rhino, there’s a lot of meat left on that bone, there’s a lot of creative stuff that where we can go with this, and we are going to go with this, as a group and as a faction, and the fans are just starting to see the tip of that iceberg.”

Three weeks ago, you became IMPACT World Tag Team Champions. Rhino invoked his Call Your Shot Gauntlet championship privilege he earned at Bound for Glory, and he and Doering would win the titles, but Eric Young invoked the Freebird Rule and you were given a share of the Impact World Tag Team Championship. 

“I’m going to correct you on that, Stephanie, we’re not going to be calling out the Freebird rule, it’s now called the VBD rule, which means though not only the world belongs to us, but the IMPACT World Tag Team Champions belong to us as a group and as a unit, 100%.”

After 2 years with Impact Wrestling, you finally have a belt that you and Rhino will defend at Against All Odds this Saturday. What does it mean for you to be a Champion on Impact Wrestling?

“I consider Impact Wrestling my home, it’s the company that gave me my first big television break in wrestling years ago, they’ve given me a break to come back into Impact Wrestling a few years ago as with the Deaners, and now I’m giving an opportunity with Violent By Design to really show the world what I have to offer. To be a co-holder of the IMPACT Tag Team Championship means that my name is now in the history books, with a lineage of so many amazing wrestlers that have defended that Tag Team championship, and now my name is in that history books along with those guys and, as you said earlier, some of the things that have gone down with that Tag Team Championship has been unexpected. Well, there are more unexpected things to be seen from Violent By Design and Impact Wrestling and the Tag Team Championships, you’re just gonna have to tune in to see those things on AXS TV, but also on Impact Plus to see some of those unexpected things. So get the Impact Plus app, for sure.”

You’ve been doing a lot of charity work for years now. When you suddenly change your character the way you did, does it change the way people are looking at you when you’re doing some charity work or motivational speeches? Do people see you now as a bad guy or are they able to understand and still appreciate you as the person who comes to talk to kids and do readings?

“It’s an interesting learning curve for some of the kids, but the kids that I do charity work with, I actually partner with them, so I have developed friendships with these children, I’ve actually been able to contact them and their parents after the character change on TV. Their parents explain to them, and they know that what they’re seeing on TV is a performance and, though it might be shocking to them, they know that there are two sides of me, there’s me on on the TV screen, and then there’s also me with the charity work that I do. I wasn’t running around and going acting like a wild crazy redneck when I was around the kids doing my charity work before, the TV persona I was doing before was different than what I was doing outside the ring, and it’s still the same now. Yes, it’s a little bit of a learning curve for some of the kids, but then once they meet me and I get to interact with them, which is one of my passions, to connect with young wrestling fans, they kind of realize right away that they’re watching a television show and they can appreciate the television show and the creativity of it for what it is and also make the difference between what is good and what is bad, what is true and what is created.”

Follow Deaner on Twitter @Deaner. If you want to know more about Deaner’s motivational-speaking and charity work and “Giv’er for Charity” campaign, please click here

Against All Odds will air live on Impact Plus and Fite TV this Saturday night at 8 PM EST (1 AM GMT). IMPACT Wrestling is airing on Tuesday at 8/7c on AXS TV in the USA and Twitch worldwide.
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 on Fridays late nights. PPVs can be watched through the FITE app and website or a Virgin Media box.

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