By Ryan K. Boman, Editor in Chief
Even if you don’t see Moose coming, you can definitely hear him.
The sound effects that the former NFL lineman has been providing have been music to the Impact Wrestling audience’s ears. With his size and explosiveness, he quickly established a fan following upon his arrival to the company last year.
Not only that, but his ring entrances are amplified by the crowd chanting his name and pumping their arms along with his theme, Moose Nation. The bass in the place drops the minute he brings the boom to the room.
“The fans really get into it,” Moose said in an interview with TheGorillaPosition.com recently.
“No matter where I’ve gone in the world – It’s amazing when they get it going, and you see hundreds of people pumping their fist, and doing the Moose chant.”
And, while he’s currently taking his sound to the ring, his ability to bring that noise was originally fine-tuned on the football field.
Quinn Ojinnaka was a bulldozer up front for the Syracuse Orange, where he cleared the way on the offensive line. At 6’5″, and over 300 pounds, he quickly caught the eye of NFL scouts, and was selected in the fifth round of the 2006 draft by the Atlanta Falcons.
After seven years and a handful of stops around the league, he put behind his football career and began to re-focus on a new professional path. He initially trained for wrestling with Curtis Hughes, and would eventually fall under the tutelage of Ring of Honor booker Hunter Johnson (Delirious).
He credits his early days with ROH wrestling with helping him make the transition from the chinstraps to chinlocks.
“When I came in to Ring of Honor, it was still a growing company,” he said. “I feel like they gave me the recognition and what started my career. I definitely wouldn’t be a part of Impact Wrestling, or have the spot I have now, if it wasn’t for Ring of Honor.”
After warming up in ROH, he made the jump, and brought his special brand of thunder to Impact Wrestling in July 2016.
“It was a good situation and a good fit at the time. I know what Impact Wrestling has done for big names out there now like Bobby Roode, Samoa Joe and AJ Styles. I want to pave a path in a way like those guys did. That’s pretty much the reason that I signed on with Impact.”
In quickly capturing the company’s Grand Championship on two occasions, he announced his presence quickly and loudly. Moose says he could apply a gridiron-style gameplan to the title’s format, which calls for competitors to battle in rounds, instead of a standard time limit.
“It was kind of an easier adjustment for me than maybe some other guys, because of my background,” he commented. “It was similar to the environment I came from. In the NFL, you have four quarters, and in the Grand Championship, you have the three rounds. So, it kind of takes me back to my football days, in terms of the mentality.”
“I also think the guys wrestling for the title take on the challenge of adjusting to that, and to try and put on better Grand Championship matches. So, that was a challenge for me to constantly improve.”
He’s had a crossover with wrestling and football earlier this year, when he teamed with Pittsburgh Steelers running back, Deangelo Williams, to defeat Eli Drake and Chris Adonis at Slammiversary XV.
He also wowed fans earlier this month at Bound for Glory, when he made a thrilling leap from the top of the steel cage in a losing effort against American Top Team. That level of athleticism has him marked for a bright future with Impact.
Despite a lot of overhauling, which included the company’s owners, Anthem Sports & Entertainment moving their operations north of the border to Canada, Moose says he’s extremely happy with his decision to join Impact Wrestling and sees only good things ahead.
“I feel great about the company,” he asserted. “With any business, comes change. No business stays the same, Whether you know about it or don’t know, there are always changes going on. It’s just in our case, most of the changes have been publicized.”
Then, the former lineman used a football example from his past.
“I was with a Patriots team that had 150 transactions in one season. That’s how many changes we made, and we won 14 (out of 16 regular season) games.”
“And that’s what Impact is doing now. Change doesn’t always necessarily mean bad things.”
With 2018 right around the corner and two titles already on his resume, many fans are wondering aloud if Moose is tabbed for the top spot in the company soon.
“Winning the Impact Global title is something I’ve been striving for,” he said. “But to be honest with you, I’m not looking past anything. I’ve got some unfinished business to handle right now. Once I’ve put all that behind me, and I can think about what I’m going to pursue next, and I’m sure that, eventually, it’s going to be the Impact Global Championship.”
Strike up the band… Moose is coming.