Do you believe in Joe Hendry? The Impact Wrestling star is hoping you already do – but if you don’t, he’s going to do whatever he can to make you a believer. Whether that’s through his creative and hilarious music parodies or his matches – including the one coming up this Saturday at Impact’s Slammiversary pay-per-view event, which marks the company’s return to Windsor, Ontario. Hendry will be defending his Digital Media Championship against Kenny King on the Countdown show to kick off the night.
“That’s going to be a huge personally and professionally,” Hendry told SlamWrestling.net in an exclusive interview in the days leading up to Slammiversary. “I made my debut with Impact Wrestling in Windsor back in 2018. I was to face Eli Drake – who’s now known as (WWE’s) LA Knight. And now, here I am, walking into Slammiversary as a champion. It’s amazing how things change in five years.”
Whether or not Hendry walks out as champion remains to be seen, but he acknowledges that King is certainly a threat to his title reign.
“In my opinion, (King) is the most underrated, high quality, consistent talents in the business, I know Kenny is highly competitive, as am I. So I’m sure that we’re going to go out there to prove something. I’m very excited about it.”
Hendry didn’t tease whether or not he’ll be debuting a new parody video for King to top the one he debuted last week, which referenced Kenny’s time as a male exotic dancer.
The music videos are a signature trademark of Hendry’s, and he’s been using them for most of his ten-year career. The videos, which are used to mock his opponents, are a major reason for his popularity, and have been effectively used to further his feuds, including previous ones in Impact against Matt Cardona and Moose.
Tapping into his musical background – Hendry spent nearly ten years in a band prior to becoming a wrestler – he’s able to write a song and create a video in very short order, and he shared how one of his creations comes to life.
“It’s literally a case of ‘You need to do a video on this talent or that talent,’” he explained. “And usually I hand them in (to the Impact production team) super, super late. It’s a lot like how the South Park guys write that show (at the last minute, to stay current and topical). I can’t come up with ideas until the pressure is on – way too late. So I always end up making something the day before or even the night before (it’s needed).”
“All the good ideas come in the last minute. For example, when we did the Edge’s B—h video for Matt Cardona, that was done the night before. I finished in the recording studio at 11 p.m., spent about two or three hours filming the video in my house, and then edited it on my PC, just before I left to get to the airport in time. It’s very last minute.”
In terms of how he thinks up the ideas, Hendry says it depends on the subject matter.
“Sometimes I’ll maybe have the concept of the video in my head,” he said. “So there’s a few talents where I know what I’m going to say, where I know what the main joke is going to be. But the actual video itself and the recording of it doesn’t happen until the night before.”
While he’s certainly proven his talents in the production side of things – Hendry does all the vocals, plays all the instruments, and films and edits the video himself or sometimes with the help of a friend – a return to music on a full-time basis isn’t anything he’s considering in the near-term.
“I’ll be (wrestling) for the next 68 years,” he joked. “I’m 35 years old now. If you look at Hulk Hogan when he was 35 – if you look at the way people used to talk about wrestling stars when the Monday Night Wars were going on, for example, if you were in your late 30s or 40s, you’d hear, ‘They’re over the hill.’ Now, at 40, you’re at your prime.”
Which means that Hendry has many more years to accumulate those airline rewards, given the extent of his traveling. Hendry still lives in Scotland, so must routinely fly in for his Impact Wrestling commitments and any other appearances. He says that takes a physical toll of a different kind than being in the ring.
“I have about 15 flights a month,” he noted. “And let me tell you, I’d rather get superplexed off the top rope than doing a 15-hour flight. But that’s the price we pay. Thankfully, Impact has been very accommodating of allowing me to live in Scotland. I do really enjoy living here in the UK and just having a completely different experience when I come over to America. Like I still feel like I’m on holiday every time I go to America or Canada or Australia. It’s a good life.”
It’s also a good life, he said, to be the Digital Media Champion, which Hendry has currently held for over 260 days – nearly doubling the reign of the next-longest reign. And it’s something that he is not anxious to give up, to King at Slammiversary, or to anyone else.
And “anyone” is apt phrasing, as the title is an intergender one – meaning that any member of the roster, including the Knockouts Division, can compete for it. Hendry hasn’t yet had a female challenger for the title, but he said that wasn’t by design or by a reluctance to compete against a woman.
“I’m trying to think of the females that I’ve wrestled in my career. Kay Lee Ray, who is now wrestling in WWE as Alba Fyre, and Viper, who is now Piper Niven. As far as I’m concerned, they’re top-quality, world-class professional wrestlers. And that’s all there is to it for me,” he said.
“We’re in the business of entertainment,” he continued, “when I consider the women that I’ve wrestled thus far in my career, I don’t think gender plays a factor into that. I don’t think it matters. If they’re in the ring with me, I’ll be happy to defend my title against them, beat them to keep the championship. And I’d happily do a music video entrance on anyone,” he laughed.
He noted that his willingness to give it his all – in the ring, on the mic, or in the music studio – in any and all situations is part of the reason why people not only sing his theme song, but, as per the lyrics, believe in Joe Hendry.
“I think the results speak for themselves,” he theorized. “What I try and do is create content – promos and matches and songs – that transcends wrestling. I try and create things that one of your friends or family that doesn’t have any interest in wrestling would still find funny or entertaining.”
But it would be short-sighted, he cautioned, to assume Hendry should be seen only as a comedy figure. Indeed, he actually has quite the legitimate wrestling background, including having won a number of British Amateur Wrestling Championships. He looks to Kurt Angle as an inspiration of someone who was able to find the right mix of true in-ring skill with comedy and personality.
“I was really inspired by Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar, guys who really legitimized themselves. I won two national titles, and represented my country at the Commonwealth teams,” he noted, “so I don’t think my physical skills are in question. I think doing that allows me to have even more fun in the same way that Kurt could have all the fun in the world. Because they knew (his comedy) was underpinned by legitimacy.”
“What can be difficult is when you are a specialist like I am in the entertainment aspects. Because you have to give even more thought to the (mix) of the in-ring, the promos, the entrances, the physique. So that there’s no disparity, where you excel in only one area and the others fall behind.”
“You may have noticed that my physique is significantly improved from where it was a few years ago,” he continued. “I believe that my matches are getting much better than they were a couple of years ago, and my promos. I believe I’m constantly improving, because I’m very hungry to succeed in Impact Wrestling. I really, genuinely believe in my heart that one day I will be the talent that can take this company to a whole new level, and I’m just trying to become that talent every day.”
“If you’re not here to be at the top of the company than what are you doing here? I’m not saying I’m there yet – because look at our roster, it’s incredible. So I have to challenge myself all day, every day, and make sure that every single time that the audience sees me, they see me consistently get better. So that one day, they’ll ‘believe’ that will indeed be the case.”
TOP PHOTO: Joe Hendry at Impact Wrestling Sacrifice on Friday, March 24, 2023, at St. Clair College in Windsor, Ontario. Photo by Brad McFarlin
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