By Ryan K. Boman, Editor in Chief
Somewhere in the kaliedoscopic mind of Johnny Impact, there are a myriad of thoughts. They hold the inner-workings of an artist, mixed with the aggression of an athlete.
Perhaps those thoughts are on the sights and sounds of his ring entrance. Or, maybe, it’s an idea for a stunt on a movie set. Or, possibly even the lyrics to a song.
Because for John Hennigan, the multi-talented man under the mink, creativity seems to have no boundaries.
Known for his aerial artistry, Hennigan has flashed through the skies of international federations like WWE, Lucha Underground, AAA and now, Impact Wrestling, for over 15 years. All the while, maintaining a reputation as one of the most exciting and versatile stars in the industry.
He premiered in Impact in late 2017, prompting a huge buzz around the company. It appeared that he was lined up to immediately win the Impact World championship at Bound for Glory 2017, but he came up just short at the box office.
Hennigan says that despite not getting his hands on the ultimate prize yet, he’s had a great experience so far with the company. And, he thinks that in the short time he’s been on board, there’s been a steady improvement in the product.
“I think Scott, Don, Sonjay and all the people behind the scenes have really turned the company around now,” Hennigan said, in an interview with TheGorillaPosition.com this week. “We’ve got great new talents like Brian Cage and Sami Callihan coming in, and there’s been a lot of exciting things happening here.”
“It seems like there were some negative connotation with the brand, I guess. Im not really sure where those come from, because my experience here has been nothing but positive.”
He says the new members of the roster don’t dwell on things that happened before they got there, and are only focusing on the future.
“All I see right now, is that everyone backstage is just really excited with what we’re doing with the brand.”
While Hennigan has been working steadily with Anthem Sports, he’s also had the chance to expand his creative freedom a bit.
“I’ve been to a ton of awesome promotions recently, and had the opportunity to win championships all over the world,” he said. “I’ve worked with some amazing wrestlers and promoters in so many companies to name – Wrestle Circus, AAW in Chicago, Wrestle Circus, IWR in Oklahoma, Defy, that’s just naming a few… Just all these tremendous places where I’ve had the chance to go.”
“There’s all these really cool promotions that I’ve had a good time wrestling at, and that’s of course, helping me stay sharp,” he said, before adding, “I would love to go to New Japan someday. I’ve never been there before.”
Though he’s worked in nearly every corner of the world, the running joke has always been that everywhere he goes, he’s named something different. He’s been known as everything from Nitro to Morrison to Mundo to now bearing the namesake of the company he primarily wrestles for.
“As everyone knows, I have had to maneuver around at times, and use different identities,” he joked.”But at the end of the day, wherever I’m at, under whatever name or in whatever capacity, I’m going to do my best to entertain the people.”
Hennigan has been studious about the portrayal of his many roles. He says that when he was asked to play a Jim Morrison-like figure in WWE, he began listening to The Doors and reading poetry written by the band’s famous frontman.
And, much like Morrison, Hennigan was also a film major in college, earning his degree from UC-Davis. That background has led him to take on several Hollywood roles, including being a part of the NetFlix series G.L.O.W., based on the campy women’s wrestling show of the 1980’s.
It would be in the 2017 action-comedy Boone the Bounty Hunter, where Hennigan took on a starring turn. He was the lifeblood of the entire project, as not only its leading man, but the writer and creator of a custom-made, tour de force.
Playing a wise-cracking skip tracer, Hennigan may have surprised many observers in his first starring vehicle, by dropping one-liners like Bruce Willis, while springing into action like Jackie Chan.
“Most of the stuff that I write is action-comedy,” he explained. “It’s schematically similar to Boone, or Big Trouble in Little China”
“It’s always sort of from the perspective of the self-deprecating, reluctant hero. Like, I’m supposed to have this day off, and NOW I’m in the middle of this mess.”
“That’s what I gravitated to as a kid. I think that type of ‘real’ character, but thrown into an over-the-top situation, is fun to watch.”
Meanwhile, back in the ring, Hennigan says he’s ready to take on another role. The one of Johnny Impact holding the gold.
“My main goal in Impact, is of course, to win the World title, and hold it as long as possible” he said. “I’ve held all three titles in Triple A for the majority of 2017. I held the Lucha Underground championship for the majority of 2017.”
“During that time, I went all over, and defended those belts all over the world. I think I can do the same in Impact, and be a great champion here.”
The current Impact World titleholder, Austin Aries has done a lot traveling and belt collecting himself, recently. The two men met earlier this month at Crossroads, with Johnny Impact coming up just short of the gold again.
For now, Johnny the Wrestler says he will continue to pursue that elusive championship, and outside the ring, Johnny the Actor just had a table reading for another Hollywood role. So fans can expect to see a lot of him in the coming months.
In the meantime, John Hennigan, the Man, has a pretty important date, as well. He will wed Impact Wrestling Knockout, Taya Valkyrie (Kira Forster), on June 1st.
“My wedding day is going to be the most important day of my life,” he said. “Out of everything, it’s by far what I’m definitely looking forward to most in 2018. “
And, when asked to sum up what his professional schedule will look like- for both wrestling and entertainment- Johnny Impact gave very few spoilers. Instead, he seemed to coin a phrase, like one from his silver screen, alter ego, Boone.
“I’m just going to keep doing what I do,” he chuckled. “Kicking ass… and making up names.”