Moose Re-Signs With IMPACT Wrestling
Quinn Ojinnaka decided to go from the gridiron to the world of professional wrestling in 2012. He hasn't looked back since.
The man known as "Moose" has risen through the ranks pretty quickly, becoming one of the biggest stars outside of the WWE. He wrestled in Ring in Honor for about two years before making his debut at Impact Wrestling in July 2016.
Fast forwarding two and a half years later, Ojinnaka had a decision to make about his wrestling future with free agency looming. Would he stay with the company that put him on the map?
Ojinnaka sat down with Sporting News to discuss his new deal with the company, why he made the decision to stay and if there were thoughts about hitting free agency.
Sporting News: First, we at SN want to congratulate you on signing a new multi-year deal with Impact Wrestling. What was the biggest reason for re-signing with the company?
Quinn Ojinnaka: Thank you for the kind words, as I’m very excited. I felt like I re-signed with the company because I have some goals when I first signed with Impact that I haven’t reached yet. So, I didn’t want to leave without fulfilling those goals before I originally signed with the company.
What are the goals that you haven’t been able to accomplish yet?
I definitely want to be the world champion, first and foremost. I always said I wanted to help Impact get back to where it was years ago. Everyday we take a step closer to doing that. I don’t want to leave when I know we are so close to getting there. We have some great guys on the roster. We just made some new additions that will definitely help the company and I want to be apart of that.
Since you have joined the company, we have seen some of the growth with Impact that are you talking about. For the people out there who haven’t seen it as much as wrestling fans have and are just getting into Impact, what type of growth have you noticed from Impact from the time you signed with them to right now?
Since I’ve been with Impact, it’s been great. I know when I first got to Impact ... I’m not going to lie, I asked myself, ‘Maybe I made a mistake by coming here’. As soon as Anthem bought the company and (executive vice presidents of Impact) Scott D’Amore and Don Callis came on board, things have been working great. You could see the improvement TV show after TV show. Everything takes time for people to start seeing the improvement. I think we are showing that improvement. Fans just need to be patient and things will keep on getting better.
You said at the beginning of the last question that you were wondering why you came into the company. What were you seeing when you first got there?
I just felt the company was living paycheck to paycheck. That’s not a good scenario where you go somewhere and you see that. Talent wasn’t getting paid on time. That was the biggest complaint everyone on the roster had when I first got to the company. There was no organization. I was like, ‘I think I made a mistake’. A year later, the company was sold to Anthem. Since then, things have been running smooth. Our pay is on time, we are having better TV shows, the morale of the locker room is great, guys like actually coming to work and doing their jobs.
You talked about Scott D’Amore and Don Callis. Do you think that if they didn’t come in that you would still be with Impact?
Definitely not. I’ll be honest. I could easily say that if Scott wasn’t here that I wouldn’t be with Impact Wrestling. You look at some of the talent on the roster, like myself who wants to make this company better and keep this place growing — I don’t think we have reached that goal yet. So, why leave when we are almost there?
What is it about Scott D’Amore, as he’s always had pretty good reputation in the wrestling business? What makes you feel so confident about the positive impact (no pun intended) he’s had on you and the locker room?
Scott’s like a father figure to me. He’s really helped me grow. He’s one of the guys that trained me. He knows where I’m coming from. He knows how I work and how I like to get things done. We have a mutual understanding on that. Sometimes I can be a maniac on how I want to do things that he understands. He’s pretty patient on how I do things.
You talk about your competitive spirit. I seen a Twitter video you recently put up and you talk about being obsessed. Does that competitive edge come from when you played pro football?
Most definitely. It’s so weird. People say when I put my mind to do something that I’m going to be annoying about getting it done. I have an obsession in my head to get things done. All my close friends know that about me. It’s just the consistency in me. I can get why some people may find my obsession to be annoying. But once you understand how I do things, then I don’t have to deal with people continuing to be bothered by it and that's why I decided to continue with Impact.
Free agency is a big topic right now in pro wrestling. You got all these viable promotions such as Impact, WWE, All Elite Wrestling, New Japan and Ring of Honor. It’s a great time to be a pro wrestler in having all these options to ply your craft. People will say, 'Why not test free agency and see what your true value is?' Was there any inclination to test the market or did you go out and talk with people in other companies?
I feel like I do have a name in wrestling that if I had decided to test free agency that I would have a lot of interest. In that mindset, there’s no reason to test the market because you know with all the pro wrestling companies out there that’s going to be some interest. But at the end of the day, I had guys hitting me up and asking me what my contract situation was. I told them. But that doesn’t mean anything. At this point, I have certain goals that I have set and I don’t want to leave without accomplishing them. If I would have won a world championship and obtained those goals before my contract was up, then we might be having a different discussion.