LAS VEGAS – It’s fairly standard when interviewing a wrestler to ask them about the goals they’ve set for themselves. Ask Jay Lethal that, however, and you’d better have a backup question.

“Uh uh,” he said, shaking his head when so asked by SLAM! Wrestling. “No way.”

Jay Lethal holding the X-Divison championship. Photo by Bob Kapur.

By means of explanation, Lethal offered this rationale: “I think I’ll jinx myself if I (verbalize) a goal. I’ve been lucky enough that I’ve been in a video game, I’ve had an action figure, I got into TNA and won the X-Division championship. All of these things came without me setting a goal. I’m almost afraid of setting a goal, you know what I mean?”

What he is willing to say is that no matter what goals he achieves, he is hoping they will be as part of TNA Wrestling, and preferably in his current persona of “Black Machismo.” For Lethal, playing that character, a tribute/impression of Randy “Macho Man” Savage, is particularly meaningful.

“It allows me to pay tribute to (Savage who is) my favourite wrestler of all time. Macho Man got me to start watching wrestling — he and Dean Malenko inspired me to become a professional wrestler. It’s also so much fun,” he added.

Based on the reactions from fans for Machismo, they continue to have as much fun watching the character as Lethal does playing him. But what about the Macho Man himself?

“I’ve never talked with him face to face,” said Lethal, “but I have talked with him on the phone. I was a little skeptical that it was really Macho Man Randy Savage, because there are a lot of people out there who can do his voice. Two months later, I was wrestling (Savage’s brother) Lanny Poffo, who confirmed it for me.”

And Savage’s thoughts on the impression? “He was all for it, he gave it a big thumbs up. Hearing that was a huge thrill for me.”

That sentiment could be said about nearly every experience Lethal has had since he joined TNA in 2005. The most recent was capturing the X-Division championship in September 2007 by pinning Kurt Angle.

“(Beating Angle) is the highlight of everything I’ve ever done in my entire career,” he stated. “It’s still hard to believe that I beat a wrestler who many call the greatest wrestler of all time. He’s a guy who I used to watch, and to have beaten him, I still can’t believe it. For him, and guys like Sting and Booker T — guys who I hold higher than I hold myself — to be in the locker room with them, and for them to (treat me) like I’m on their level … I couldn’t have set that goal. But for it to have come true? Really, that’s me living the dream.”