No matter what stands in his way, Matt Cardona is “Alwayz Ready” for a challenge! Since making his shocking IMPACT debut at ‘Hard To Kill,’ Cardona has been at odds with his former best friend and tag team partner, Brian Myers. Cardona is here for one thing and one thing only – opportunity. Will Cardona’s determination lead him to championship gold in IMPACT Wrestling?
This introduction you can find on the Impact Wrestling website pretty well sums up who and why Matt Cardona is on IMPACT. The challenge, the opportunity, the Gold. After more than 15 years working for another company, Cardona is now free to choose where he wants to work, free to challenge the wrestlers he wants, free to be himself. On the Impact Zone, he found out his old frenemy Brian Myers, which led to a series of interesting matches. And the story seems to not be ending…
SteelChair Wrestling Magazine had the chance to talk to Matt Cardona this Wednesday. He told us about his first six months with Impact Wrestling, his goals, the wrestlers he would like to face, his long-time story with Brian Myers, and what the future may hold for him.
You had a great debut at “Hard To Kill” against Ace Austin. You already had the chance to work with Ace Austin, Sami Callihan, Brian Myers, among others, and even to take part in a number one contender match for the World Championship. What are your general thoughts of your first 6 months on IMPACT?
“It’s been a lot of fun, I’ve got a lot of opportunities, and I thank the Impact Wrestling management for those opportunities. That’s why I came to Impact Wrestling. Like you said, I’ve wrestled a lot of the top stars, but there’s also a bunch of people I haven’t been in the ring with, most importantly the World Champion Kenny Omega. I know he’s from the other company but, right now, he holds the title. It doesn’t matter if it’s Kenny or Sami Callihan or Moose. It doesn’t matter to me, if you have that Impact title, I want it.”
Are there any other people on the roster that you have an eye on?
“There are so many guys like Tommy Dreamer, who’s still around. I thought I retired him over 10 years ago (December 2009 in WWE), but he’s still kicking. If I need to retire him for good, one last hardcore match, I would love to do that. Eddie Edwards, I’ve teamed with, but I’ve never wrestled him. I love his style, I love what he’s done with himself over the past couple of years, more violent style and again. Someone I’d love to get in the ring with, maybe a hardcore match with him. Brian Myers, after Slammiversary, I just want to be done with Brian Myers. I deal with him enough every day with the Major Wrestling Figure Podcast. I don’t want to team with him on IMPACT, I don’t want to wrestle him, I’m done with Brian Myers. He’s somebody who when he runs his mouth, you just want to slap him in the face and, trust me, if I get that opportunity at Slammiversary, I’m gonna slap the teeth right out of his mouth.”
After ‘Under Siege’, we thought there will be a kind of exclamation point to the storyline that didn’t really happen.
“I’ve been begging Scott D’Amore like, “please, give me Brian Myers at Slammiversary.” I don’t care if it’s an unsanctioned match, a blindfold match, a submission match, it doesn’t matter to me. I just want Brian Myers, and I just want to beat him one last time, and then that’s it, I’m done with Brian Myers.”
You were recently seen in GCW asking Nick Gage for a match, tempting yourself to hardcore, even deathmatch. Do you also feel like Impact Wrestling is the place where you can develop that kind of wrestling for yourself and put it in your repertoire?
“I love Impact because there are all these new opponents and there are some certain guys like Gallows and Anderson who I’ve wrestled before, but we’ve all grown as wrestlers, so I would love to get in there with them again and with Impact. They’re very understanding and let me go do things outside, so I can go wrestle other opponents. This is like just a very, very fun time for my career, but I’m loving that. Every week on IMPACT, I get to get in there with somebody and try to steal the show, and there are no handcuffs, there are no restrictions, it’s “go out there and make this show the best it possibly can be” and all the wrestlers are trying to do just that.”
After 15 years in the same company, you’re a free agent and, all of a sudden, the big book you have written through time, the chapter closed and like you said the handcuffed enters were removed and you have now a big white page to fill with new storylines, new companies. You said with Impact you were given the possibility to have the handcuffs removed and to open this new chapter. Am I wrong?
“It’s not even a new chapter, I think it’s a new book, a whole new book, and that’s the best part about it. I’m very grateful for everything I’ve accomplished in my career so far, but I am not done yet, I’m only 36 and, in wrestling, that’s still being a baby, so I still got a lot of time left. Look at Dreamer, he’s like 50 years old, he got a World Title shot. If Dreamer can do it, I can do it. I mean a retired Dreamer 10 years ago who he’s still wrestling.”
And do you feel like now that with that it opens a lot more opportunities, at the same time to be on IMPACT but also because you are on IMPACT, you can do a lot of things like the EC3 Pretty Narrative show or GCW thing?
“I love being able to do so much. With Impact, they have an arrangement with AEW where anybody can show up at any time and I love that. That’s what makes wrestling so exciting. I think at Slammiversary, Kenny is actually in danger of losing that IMPACT World Title to Sami, so I wonder if you’re going to see like the Young Bucks or somebody doing a little run-in. And what about the Good Brothers? Whose side are they on? I guess we’ll find out at Slammiversary.”
You also said that for you it was making sense to come to Impact Wrestling. What was your relationship with the company, as a wrestling fan, as a wrestler?
“Obviously, I watched TNA when I first started up. I had the TNA action figures, but I didn’t really have any connection like I met Scott D’amore once. Of course, my buddies were on Impact like Gallows, Anderson, Heath, Eric Young, Brian Myers. I knew Tommy Dreamer, but I really had no connection with Impact management. We had some talks for a while and it never really went anywhere until the day before my debut. I got a text message saying, “Can you be at the pay-per-view tomorrow?” I said, “Yeah, I’m always ready.” I showed up jacked, tanned, and ready to compete. Ace Austin, he’s a hell of a competitor, and he’s definitely going to be a future star, a future big name in this business. It was great to mix it up with him, and I would love to wrestle him again, but once I did that once, into that first night, and I got a taste of Impact, I knew Impact was the place for me.”
Every time a wrestler I saw before in another company comes to IMPACT, I feel like I always find out something new about the wrestler and the people because suddenly they have the freedom to do what they love and enjoy it.
“We’re all artists, and we have this blank canvas now to just draw whatever we want, and that’s the best part about Impact, all this creative freedom and all these opportunities, and I think the sky is the limit with Impact. I think it’s on the up and up. All the wrestlers there in that locker room are hungry, they all want Impact to keep getting better and better. I think we’re going to do it as a team but, at the end of the day, if we’re in the ring with each other, we’re going to beat the hell out of each other and have the best match possible for the fans.”
Legendary wrestler Kojima is currently on IMPACT. If you had the chance to wrestle him, would you?
“I would wrestle anybody that the Impact Management puts in front of me because it’s always a chance to learn and to grow and to pick up something new. I love the clash of styles in wrestling, that’s the best part about it. I think the more you wrestle, the more you learn, you don’t stop learning, so I would definitely love to wrestle him.”
Of course, there were a few people that you know in the roster, and also some you didn’t, but was it easy for you to become a member of the Impact roster?
“Everyone was very welcoming behind the scenes when I got there. I was kind of just thrown in the mix which I appreciated, it’s kind of like a sink-or-swim situation, “you say you’re always ready? Okay, here you go, here’s Ace Austin, this top prospect. Go out live on pay-per-view and prove that you’re always ready.” And I was able to do that. Every time I go back to Impact, I’m just more and more excited to come back for the next time and, with Slammiversary coming up, I hope Scott D’Amore reads this, I hope he puts me in there with Brian Myers because I want to have one hell of a match and, spoiler alert, I already got some pretty badass gear made, so I want to be able to wear it.”
Brian Myers and you are like something that never ends. Some things have to have an end but there’s a bond that couldn’t be denied between you and him.
“I’m sure we will be. We broke into the business together, I’ve known him since I was 18 years old. We’ve won tag team titles in high schools, in stadiums. We’ve wrestled each other on pay-per-view. Now, thanks to Impact, we’ve done it all. We have the Major Wrestling Figure Podcast together, so I’m sure we’ll always be linked together, but I just want to be done with him on IMPACT. Honestly, I’m sure it won’t be over. I’m sure somehow someway we’ll always find a way to get back into each other’s careers but, for now, I want to wrestle somebody new, and unless Brian Myers is the IMPACT World Champion, I don’t want to wrestle him ever again.”
Do you see Impact Wrestling as a step in your career, mostly when you spent 15 years somewhere, as a step in this new chapter that you’re creating or a place to settle?
“I was actually thinking about this today. I don’t like to plan ahead, I don’t like to look five years down the road or one year. I like to just live in the moment and take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves because you never know especially in this business, anything can happen, so I like to just take it one day at a time, one match at a time, but Impact is the place to be right now, and I’m just excited for Slammiversary. Like I said, I hope I get that match, and then we’ll deal with what’s next.”
Fans will be back at “Slammiversary.” I’m sure that you are looking forward to, having an audience back in the Impact Zone.
“Luckily, I’ve been able to do a couple of independent shows recently with fans, and it just changes everything because the fans give me that extra energy, that extra motivation. It’s so hard to wrestle without them. We’ve been doing that because of the pandemic, but now, with the fans back in the Impact Zone, so to speak, I’m very excited, I know all the wrestlers are excited, and it’s going to make Slammiversary that much more special.
“When you’re out there, there’s nothing playing, so you don’t hear anything, there’s like silence. You hear yourself breathing, you hear your heart beating, and that can really take a toll on you mentally because you’re like, “oh, man, can I continue?” When the fans are coming, it gives you that extra adrenaline. When you could hear a pin drop and you could hear your heart racing and you could hear like the air getting sucked out of your lungs, it’s a scary feeling so, for that reason alone, I want the fans back.
“It was a hectic year plus, and I’m glad that there’s finally some light at the end of the tunnel, we’re gonna have fans back, we’re still gonna make sure everyone is safe, but it’s time to move on, the show must go on and the show did go on for so long. Impact and all the wrestlers, we kept going, we kept fighting and now, with the fans back, there’s going to be extra motivation, extra excitement, and it’s going to make Slammiversary a can’t-miss show.”
I’m sure you saw a few videos about “Slammiversary” about the world going to change. Do you have some people in mind that you are interested to see come or come back to impact?
“I’ve seen those vignettes and commercials. Last year, all these people showed up, will we see that again this year? I don’t know, but there is somebody I know who actually lives in my house (his fiancée Chelsea Green), whose dates kind of line up with Slammiversary… Anything could happen in wrestling, anything could happen in Impact Wrestling, that’s all I’m going to say…”
Slammiversary will air live on Fite TV on Saturday, July 17 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, Basil Mahmud, Dan The JOBR ManErratic TJ, Fite TV, and Fight Network