John Hennigan is back to his day job as a professional wrestler after his Survivor dreams were put down for the count on this week’s episode. Hennigan aka Johnny Impact aka The Mayor Of Slam Town was blind sided after two idols were played at tribal leading to his departure from the game.
CBS Local’s Matt Weiss spoke to Hennigan about his time on the island, his wild elimination and the business of professional wrastlin’.
MW- Good morning John, how are you doing?
JH- Doing good, how about you?
MW- All’s good over here, still reeling a bit from last night where you were involved in the craziest elimination of the season to date. Can you walk me through what was going on in your head as things unfolded?
JH- It was the craziest elimination that I’ve ever experience, also the only one [laughs]. Shocked, if I had to describe myself in one word it’d be shocked. I thought Christian was going home and I actually felt guilty about it. It was kind of ironic that I threw out there that we were going to have this #BrochachoBlindside. It ended up being a Brochacho after all, just not the one I thought.
I’ve had some time to reflect and I’ve watched it back. Everyone spends a lot of time thinking about their personal experience and then they end up in Ponderosa after getting eliminated and I felt like what I saw last night on TV was an authentic representation of how I felt things were going into that tribal. I obviously didn’t know anything about the idol which is why I was so surprised.
MW- Despite your size and charisma coming from the business of professional wrestling, I felt like you did a great job of flying under the radar. Do you agree with that assessment and was that your strategy going into the game?
JH- It was definitely my strategy going in to stay as under the radar as possible. That was why early on in the game I was always really happy with Alec doing so well in the challenges. I showed up in pretty much full wrestling gear which aesthetically can be pretty intimidating for people so I had to balance out my personality with my appearance. So to answer your question, yes it was definitely my strategy to try to be as under the radar as possible.
MW- Survivor wasn’t your first foray into reality television you were also on WWE’s Tough Enough back in the day. Two very different shows but both in that reality genre. Can you compare your experiences at all and did Tough Enough help you on Survivor?
JH- Yea, I got my start in the business of professional wrastlin’ on Tough Enough like you said, we shot that in 2002. I won that show and the deal is someone gets cut every week and the winner gets a contract with WWE. The big difference between Tough Enough and Survivor is the cuts on Tough Enough were made by Al Snow and Kevin Dunne, people who are considering who would be the best professional wrestler. In Survivor it’s more of a social game, you’re not necessarily competing to be the best survivor. Everyone is voting each other out and they usually vote out whoever they think is the biggest threat.
So it’s two different things. It’s a physical, athletic, mental competition with Tough Enough. With Survivor the element of strategy is so important. They’re really two completely different games.
MW- You went from that early season of Tough Enough and now you’re the Impact Wrestling World Champion after beating Austin Aries almost a month ago to the day. You’ve wrestled for WWE and Lucha Underground, you competed on Survivor, you’ve appeared on TV shows and in movies. What’s next for John Hennigan?
JH- Oh man, the movie that I’m most proud of actually just came out earlier this year it’s called Boone: The Bounty Hunter. I co-wrote, produced and starred in it. It has a combination of pro wrestling, parkour and stunt coordinating. I play a bit of a childish hero and I’m really proud of it so if anyone wants to watch you can stream it now. January 6th in Nashville I’ve got a huge Impact title defense against Brian Cage who is one of the toughest and also most talented and also muscular people out there today in the world of professional wrestling.
Aside from that my wife and I bought a house, so I’m doing house stuff. We’re closing right and going to move in in a couple weeks. I also shot a really fun horror movie Taya and I wrote on our honeymoon. It’s the first thing that I’ve directed on a larger scale in a long time. It’s a short but it’s a really intricate short.
MW- A lot on your plate as always so I really appreciate you squeezing in the time to talk to me today, good luck against Brian Cage and with the new house!
JH- Thanks to you too man, have a good one!
Survivor returns with an all-new episode next Wednesday at 8:00PM ET/PT, only on CBS. Check your local listings for more information.