He heads over to me sporting a pair of a dockers and we walk over to a quiet corner where we sit down directly opposite each other. It’s an hour before the start of ECW’s November to Remember pay-per-view event. Backstage at Buffalo’s Burt Flickenger Athletic Center, P.J. Walker (aka Justin Credible) walks out of a closed door meeting with booker Paul Heyman.
No matter how many times I interview a wrestler backstage, cognizant that I’m intruding on their territory, I can’t help but feel a little leery. This was no exception.
Credible immediately picks up on my apprehension.
“Don’t worry,” he joked. “I’m not going to kayfabe you.” He chuckled after uttering the statement. His laugh is disarming, and quickly put me at ease as we proceed with the interview.
His main event match as part of ECW’s marquee event of the year is a mere three hours away. Yet, this young superstar has a quiet confidence about him that speaks volumes. As a result, he’s in a contemplative and introspective mood, openly answering questions about his career and on the state of ECW.
“I’m so thrilled,” admitted Credible. “I never thought in my wildest dreams I’d be where I am today.”
As one half of the Impact Players with Canadian Lance Storm, Credible has quickly become one of the company’s top and most important wrestlers. He’s also become one of the most over and believable characters in ECW history.
And while Credible’s work ethic and solid in ring skills have had a lot to do with it, he never loses sight of how he got to the top.
“Paul (Heyman) has given me the opportunity to do a lot. He’s done a lot for me and helped me. He gave me a lot of ideas for the Justin Credible character. He masterminded the whole thing.”
The return of Jim Fullington, better known as The Sandman, has fueled a lot of rumours of dissension in the ECW locker room. Fullington left ECW earlier this year on not-so-friendly terms by failing to give his employer proper notice. Heyman, wanting to set an example for other wrestlers thinking about leaving the company for greener pastures, said publicly he would never take Sandman back because of the unprofessional way he left the company.
WCW recently released Fullington and, despite his prior decree, Heyman snatched him up. For Credible, the rehiring of Sandman is not an issue.
“There is resentment with some of the guys,” admitted Credible. “But I think a lot of guys see the opportunity (Sandman) brings here. He’s one of the most over characters in the history of this company. Paul would be foolish if he didn’t take him back because he adds to what we do. He will be a great asset to us.”
“I think (Sandman’s rehiring) is better for business,” continued Credible. “If it’s going to help but food on my table and help us do better business then I have no problem.”
Addressing the sensitive issue of relations between Sandman and Heyman, Credible said “that’s between Jim and Paul to iron out.”
Sandman’s return has also sparked another controversy over whether or not Credible will be allowed to use his cane. Part of Sandman’s schtick, aside from his chain smoking and beer guzzling, is his infamous cane swinging. It’s an issue that Credible is keeping an eye to see how it will develop.
“The cane thing is a very sensitive issue with me,” confirmed Credible. “We’re going to have to see over the weeks where it goes. I think there’s only going to be one guy with a cane in ECW. We’ll have to see who gets the stick.”
Not wanting the end the interview on a down note, Credible steers the conversation towards ECW’s TV deal with TNN.
“It’s been very beneficial to us,” stated Credible. “Our numbers have improved, we’re being seen by more people than ever before and we’ve jumped five to ten years with this exposure.”
Our time up, Credible extends his meaty paw dwarfing mine as we shake hands. We exchange pleasantries and he heads off in hopes of finding partner Lance Storm to go over last minute details about their match.
Credible has a show to put on. And he always gives the fans their money’s worth.