Mr. (Ken) Anderson, known as Mr. Kennedy during his WWE days, is one of the TNA wrestlers making his way to Harrington for a July 23 bout at the Delaware State Fair. And unlike his ring persona, he’s not quite the jerk — to put it mildly — he seems to be.
Q You’ve been with TNA for a couple years now. Have your fans from WWE followed you?
A I believe so. I was always anti-MySpace, Twitter, etc., but right after I was released from WWE, I knew that I had to have some sort of communication with fans to tell them I’m still here, I haven’t gone anywhere. So a good majority of them came over, and I still get people who Tweet me and say, “It took me a while, and now I’m here.”
Q What are some of the behind the scenes stuff that we as viewers don’t see?
A It’s a two-hour show every week, and they get to see us for five to ten minutes. If you get a 15-minute segment on TV that’s a long segment because we have such a long roster. So they think you have it made. They don’t see that we do three non-TV events a week. I’ll get home, wash all my clothes, re-pack, and go out for a really, long loop. Then we do two TV shows and then we’re traveling, we drive ourselves from city to city. If we’re in Milwaukee and then Chicago the next night, we have to drive after the show to Chicago. And we have to find a gym, and a place to tan, and make sure we’re eating properly, and it’s 11 at night and nothing healthy’s open. Those are the things that people don’t see that we do.
A lot of times we work 16 to 18 hour days, and don’t think twice about it. For normal people, 12 is pushing it. A lot of people work 8 hours shifts and go home.
I always go back and think this beats the hell out of every job I’ve ever had.
Q Have you played a lot of state fairs? How do they differ from shows in arenas?
A I’ve been in this business for 13 years, and starting out I did a lot of outdoor shows; I wrestled anywhere I could, bars, armories, bar mitzvahs ... anywhere.
The difference is that in an arena, the sound is trapped, so 500 people can sound like 2,000 people. So in the outdoor arena, the sound goes up and away, so it’s a little challenging because as a performer are trying to constantly get reactions from a crowd, whether good or bad; we want them to be loud. But I like challenges, and I can speak to most of the roster that we all enjoy challenges from time to time. There’s a special feeling about doing it at an outdoors show, everybody’s there to have a good time.
Page 2 of 3 - You can smell the corndogs, which are my Achilles heel.
Q What’s the rush of getting a bad reaction?
A I’ve always looked at our business — and for some reason a lot of people don’t look at it this way — as a movie or any other kind of TV show. We tell stories of good vs. evil. There has to be a good guy and a bad guy, and conflict. I’m sure you’ve had that feeling while watching that movie where you’ve wanted to jump through the screen and throttle the bad guy. That’s the rush. If I get a bad reaction, I’ve done my job. People want to see the good guy kick my ass.
Q Guys like Ric Flair have had careers for decades now. How long would you like to keep at it?
A If I’m still doing this five years from now, please, just shoot me. I love the wrestling business, I love entertaining people, but it doesn’t define me. And for people who are defined by this, that’s fine. I don’t judge them or look down on them, but it’s not for me. After 13 years of taking abuse I have aches and pains, and my wife calls me the old man a lot — more than I would like for her to call me. But I know that I can’t do this forever.
Q What would you like to do in the future?
A “E.T.” was the first movie I ever saw in the theater, and I remember looking at my mom and asking, “How does somebody do that? I want to be Elliott.” It just so happens to be that I live in the greatest country in the world where you can do anything you want. And if you want to be an actor and you work hard at it, you can do that. I’d like to transition into movies, TV, maybe some behind-the-scenes stuff here at TNA, or as a commentator.
Eventually, my plan is to move to Wyoming on a big place of land and hunt, and fish, and spend time with my family and travel, and do some charity work.
Q Would you recommend a career in wrestling to someone interested in it?
A I would recommend it. Just know when you’re getting into it that it’s not an easy profession. The finishes are predetermined. Like I said, it’s a movie, we’re telling stories. People watch “Terminator 2” and see a guy drive a motorcycle off a 10-story building and latch on to a helicopter and then some guy morphes into liquid metal and people say, “That was freaking cool!” But then they say “wrestling’s fake.” They’re both fake.
Page 3 of 3 - We take a beating day in and day out, and that’s something you have to get used to.
Q You said you’d like to travel more once you finish wrestling. Where has TNA taken you? Where are some of your favorite places?
A There are so many, in the past 13 years, I’ve been to: Canada, Mexico, Panama, South America, the Philippines, Japan, Korea, Europe. Every country in the European Union I’ve visited. My favorite place besides the U.S. — we have it made here — I would have to say is Japan, by far. Everybody is so kind there, there’s low crime there, everybody is respectful. In Japan, they wait for you, give you gifts, ask your permission. They’re just so kind and gracious and their food is amazing, and their sites are amazing, too.