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Chris Harris (english)
CAGEMATCH: Thank you for giving us from www.cagematch.de the chance to ask some questions. What first made you want to get into pro wrestling? Were you a wrestling fan growing up? When did you say, "That is what I want to do"? And what did your family/friends say about that?
CHRIS HARRIS: I was always a fan as a kid growing up. I would watch on Saturday mornings about two feet from the TV. I watched in the mid eighties, but after watching Mania III (Steamboat/Savage) I was hooked. Everything was about wrestling then. I wanted to do it, but it wasn't until I went to college that I decided...if I am going to do it, I have to do it now. As far as family and friends...I can count on one hand how many people supported me... and still have fingers left over. Everyone thought is was stupid and that I would never make it.
CAGEMATCH: You trained for about a year in Ohio before you got your first match in front of a live crowd in 1994. What was it like to be in the first match? And looking back, what do you think about the match itself?
CHRIS HARRIS: I get asked that a lot and the truth is...I don't really remember. I am sure that I was nervous, but I do remember being comfortable. I felt like I belong in the ring. I remember thinking no matter where I go from here, I made it as a pro wrestler. As far as the match itself...I did pretty good for the first time. It wasn't a great match, but the crowd was into it. One thing that not many people know about my debut...the ring didn't show up! We wrestled on the floor. That was my start in the wrestling business.
CAGEMATCH: Please give us a short overview about your wrestling carreer from your debut match till your time with WCW.
CHRIS HARRIS: For the next 5 years, I spent my time in the Ohio/Kentucky/Indiana area. I was getting a lot of work and gaining a lot of experience. Those were some of the fun times in the business. I was ready to break out, but didn't know how. For some reason I thought that "they" would come to me. But no one even knew Chris Harris existed. I wasn't aware that I had to break out of thelocal scene first. Through a friend, I was put in contact with Bert Prentice in Nashville. He was impressed and I started working for him at the end of 99. By the beginning of 2000, he had me booked in my first match with WCW. (I wrestled Booker T)
CAGEMATCH: As I said, in 2000 you finally had the chance to be a part of a major promotion. WCW offered you a contract and you signed it. What did you think when you realized that they want you as a part of the company? What did you expect?
CHRIS HARRIS: I worked with them throughout 2000, but wasn't offered a contract until October of that year. I was getting paid per show up until that point. Terry Taylor was responsible for me getting my contract and I felt like everything was finally started to happen for me. After all of this time I had signed with one of the "big two". I didn't want to expect too much, but I thought there would be an opportunity because a lot of the Power Plant guys were getting a shot. Then they came up with a great angle involving the country music video that I was in. It was an original idea and I started to get excited. Within days, the angle was shot down. A few months later, the company is bought.
CAGEMATCH: As we all know WCW was purchased by the WWF, just when it seemed that you have the big chance. What was it like to learn that the first big chance slipped right out of your hands?
CHRIS HARRIS: Helpless! After all of the years that I had worked and everything that I had sacrificed it was like the rug had been dragged out from under me. There are a number of letdowns in the business, but that one hurt. 2000 was one of my most successful years in the business. I saved, but that only lasted a matter of months. There was no where to go. 2001 was nothing but more letdowns and by the end of that year, I was going through the roughest time not only in my career, but in my life.
CAGEMATCH: Then, on June 1st 2002, it was another turning point in your carreer. You faced “Tennessee Cowboy” James Storm in a singles match on a legends show in what some call one of the best US indy matches in 2002 and it was your stepping stone into NWA:TNA. I know you’ve been asked this over and over again, but please give us a short look on your thoughts on that match.
CHRIS HARRIS: In the beginning of 2002, my old buddy Bert Prentice came to the rescue again. He knew how down and out I was and offered me a spot to come back. Problem was I couldn't even afford to get down there. We worked it out, and I went back to work in Nashville. With all of the expenses on the road I wasn't even breaking even. I didn't know how long I could do it. Within months he started talking of a new company called TNA. I had already experienced enough letdowns to not get excited. June came around and he was putting together the card for the Legends show which is always big in Nashville. He wanted to put Storm and I together. We had worked together in the past so we knew we could have a good match. He put us in one of the high profile matches of the show. We knew we had to tear the house down. On top of that we had heard that the TNA scouts were on hand looking for talent. The pressure was on, but that made us want to perform that much better. We put our heads together and put off an incredible match. It stole the show. To this day it is one of my most memorable matches. We were hired by TNA within a few days.
CAGEMATCH: So you both did it to what may become the “2nd force” in US wrestling. Who came up with the idea of putting you and Storm together in a team and who created the “America’s Most Wanted” gimmick? And, of course, what are your thoughts on the gimmick?
CHRIS HARRIS: Bob Ryder was the first to suggest it. I think they wanted to use us, but didn't know what to do with us. So they threw us together just to see what would happen. They didn't expect much. Storm and I didn't like it at first, but knew that this may be our only shot. We went with it and put 100% into the team. Storm came up with the name. It grew on me and from then on we were AMW. I love the name and the gimmick, but I think there is so much more we can do with it. If we ever get a chance to run with it, it will be much more entertaining.
CAGEMATCH: You had some great tag team matches with Storm as your tag team partner, so we just have to ask you what do you think about him, both as a wrestler and as a person?
CHRIS HARRIS: As a wrestler he may not be the biggest or the strongest, but he is one of the best workers that I have been in the ring with... both as an opponent and partner. He has more charisma and fire than anyone I have been with. As a person we have learned that we are very different, but also share a lot in common. We have different lifestyles, but put us on the road together and we are like brothers. We have our arguments, but he has become one of my best friends.
CAGEMATCH: On May 7th 2003 we saw you and Storm facing each other in a singles match. Do you see yourself more as a singles wrestler or as a tag team wrestler in the near future? Do you think you are a better singles or tag team wrestler?
CHRIS HARRIS: Right now I am concentrating on teaming with Storm. He has been injured so I have changed my focus to making a run in singles against Jeff Jarrett. You can't test yourself anymore than that. As far as which one I am better in... I have proven myself as a tag team wrestler. Now I have to prove myself as a singles. Only then we can decide.
CAGEMATCH: On June 25th 2003 you and James Storm regained the NWA World Tag Team title in a Steel Cage match. This match is considered as the match of the year in NWA TNA by many fans and it ended with you doing a legdrop from the top of the cage. What are your thoughts on that match and what did you think when you stood on the top of the cage knowing you will jump back in the ring with a legdrop?
CHRIS HARRIS: At this point, that match is the greatest in my career. Not only because we felt like it was one of the best, but it was also the first cage match for TNA. For the company to have that much faith in us made us want to deliver. The four of us worked our asses off and the result was an incredible and very exciting match. About the legdrop... I really don't think I was thinking when I looked down. We gave it all we had and then hit the "death sentence". When Chris Daniels kicked out we knew we had to take it one step further. I had thought about it that day, but didn't know if I would go through with it. After Daniels kicked and I knocked Elix off of the cage one last time, adrenaline set in. I looked back at Storm and he gave me the signal. At that point it was all action and no thought process. I did it... and we became 3 time champs.
CAGEMATCH: Like I said before, NWA:TNA may become the "2nd force" in the wrestling business in the US. Do you think that they have the chance to become serious competition for the WWE one day? Any thoughts on what should be done different in TNA (as it seems that the “TNA product” struggles a little bit)?
CHRIS HARRIS: I don't believe that it is the "product" that struggles. TNA has a great product. I just don't think enough people know about us. It has been said before.. all we are lacking is a national TV deal. I believe that will come and TNA will gain success with each passing day. It is too early to say whether we can become serious competition. WWE has been on top for a long time. What I do think is that the timing is right because wrestling fans want to see an alternative and that is what TNA is giving them.
CAGEMATCH: You are also wrestling for some independent promotions (like USA Championship Wrestling). Is there a difference for you, when you wrestle for an independent promotion instead of a live PPV for NWA TNA?
CHRIS HARRIS: I have always been taught... whether there is 5000 people or whether there is 50... you give 100%. I have tried to stick to that philosophy. There is no doubt that every Wednesday is like the Superbowl to us. Every Wednesday is important. There is a lot of pressure and you have to make sure you deliver. The indy promotions are important to a lot of people as well. For some that is all that they have. For us, we can relax and have some fun.
CAGEMATCH: You held some titles in your carreer. Does “wearing a championship belt” mean something to you?
CHRIS HARRIS: It always has and always will mean something to me. No matter if is is an indy promotion, TNA, or even WWE. To me it says that the company has enough faith in you to carry the torch. Winning a title should always be looked at as an honor.
CAGEMATCH: If you have to choose one part of your career that helped you the most in the business, which part is it and why do you think that it is that part?
CHRIS HARRIS: I believe every part of my career has helped me in one way or another. It has been a long 10 years. My first big turning point was going to Nashville and breaking out of the local scene. That was my first big opportunity. The one that has helped me the most would have to go to TNA. They took a chance on me and I hope I have delivered. They helped put my name on the wrestling map worldwide. That is what I needed.
CAGEMATCH: We have to do the old “dream match question”, of course ;-). So who would you love to face in a singles match and in a tag team match and why?
CHRIS HARRIS: This one is easy... I would love to step in the ring with Bret Hart. He was my inspiration coming up in the business. As a tag, Storm and I have said on many occasions that a dream match would be with Bret and Owen.
CAGEMATCH: What do you think about the fans? Do you feel fans today are too demanding? Is it to much “we want more high spots and bumps”?
CHRIS HARRIS: If they are demanding it is because we have made them that way. They have seen us perform everything there is to do so they naturally want more. I have always said that wrestling will go full circle. It is the same way with the fans. If we work more toward the basics, than when they see a high spot or incredible bump it will mean more to them. Fans will enjoy it more. As far as the fans in general...without them I wouldn't be here. Whether they like me or not, as long as they keep watching, I am grateful.
CAGEMATCH: What was the funniest story you’ve experienced inside a wrestling ring/locker room?
CHRIS HARRIS: There has been so many stories or ribs that it would be hard to narrow it down to one. One of my favorites was a rib I put on Abyss. It was a few years ago and we were wrestling in Cincinatti. We were teaming up and were both babyfaces. He hates being a babyface and couldn't wait to turn. The plan was to turn on me that night. I created a plan with our opposing team, the referee, and even the promoter. When we all got together that day, the booker had laid out a new plan... I was to turn heel on him. All the guys were jacked up because we knew it was going to be exciting. It was the most depressing sight you had ever seen. Anyone that knows Abyss knows that he is one of the most sensitive people around. He walked around for hours looking like his best friend had died. He was asking all of us individually if he had done something wrong. We all remained positive about the match and heel turn... but behind his back we were laughing our asses off. We let that go on the entire night. We were the last match and just as the music played, we all came clean. We finished the match with Abyss turning heel on me, although all I could think of was how much fun I had had all day long keeping the rib going. When we got back he couldn't believe that we had done that to him. It may not be one of the best ribs...but it was one of my favorites.
CAGEMATCH: What are your future plans? Going to Japan? Trying to get into WWE? Stay with NWA:TNA?
CHRIS HARRIS: The plan is to travel to Japan, Puerto Rico, and even Germany. There is no interest in WWE right now. I love TNA and plan on staying for a while.
CAGEMATCH: Is there anything you want to say to your German fans?
CHRIS HARRIS: Hope to see you live someday soon. Thanks for watching and supporting TNA and AMW.
CAGEMATCH: Thanks a lot for answering our questions! We wish you all the best for your future!
CHRIS HARRIS: Thank you very much. I hope you enjoy the interview.
Sports Entertainment: as long as "sports" is in the name, I can go along with it
Wrestling is fake: bullshit! Fake implies that we don't get hurt. Look at the injury list.
US Indy Wrestling: neccessary for experience, I have a lot of fun with indy shows, too many promotions
Vince McMahon: king of wrestling
WCW: could still be around if it wasn't mismanaged, I had my first wrestling contract with WCW
Curt Hennig: gone to soon, a great teacher, I cherish every second I had with him
Jeff Jarrett: an incredible leader
Vince Russo: a great contributor to the business
Chris Harris: a future wrestling superstar
Randy Savage: amazing talent, he was my superhero growing up
Cagematch.de: thank you for supporting TNA
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