THE TRANSATLANTIC MAGAZINE
Josh Mathews: Impacting TV
Josh Mathews may not actually lace up a pair of boots and step into the squared circle himself but instead his dulcet tones provide the commentary to the action we see on Impact Wrestling every Sunday night on Challenge TV here in Britain.
mathews' route into the world of professional wrestling, however, was at the time an unconventional one as he was a participant in the first season of WWE's Tough Enough, which was a reality show in search of the next WWE Superstar. Although he came second, it's an experience he is grateful for.
"Oh man, that is many years ago," Mathews told The American. "It was cool, it was great, it was my way into the business that I had no idea of how to get into. Ever since I was a kid I had dreamed about being involved in the wrestling industry and when I heard the promotion for WWE Tough Enough I just knew I had to be a part of it and I knew that was going to my way of getting into this world.
"We did the Tough Enough 1 & 2 reunion in New York city and it was there they discovered my personality. I was a 21–year–old kid running around New York having fun and WWE wanted to do something with me and offered me the position of backstage interviewer.
"Tough Enough seems like a billion years ago now, I was 19–years–old at the time, I'm 34–years–old now, it was my way into the business but I've learnt and grown so much since then. WWE Network recently released the first series of Tough Enough and a little known fact is I've never actually seen the show, I never watched a single episode of it, even when it aired originally."
mathews was a big fan of ECW and two of his trainers on Tough Enough were old ECW alumni Taz and Al Snow, both of whom he now works with in TNA.
"It was pretty cool, having them as my trainers on Tough Enough and now to be working with them in TNA," he added. "I don't get to see Al much, only when we have our television tapings and things of that nature. I see Taz almost every week and I talk to him pretty much every day – he and I had a great relationship during our time in WWE and once I became an announcer we travelled together.
"Taz came to TNA six or seven years ago and when I came here in the summer he was the first person that I called when I parted ways with WWE to come here to TNA. Our relationship is great and it is fun to be working together with Taz once again on television."
Even as a member of the broadcast team Mathews got to work in angles with the likes of Kurt Angle, The Undertaker and Stone Cold Steve Austin and it is with the latter that sees his career highlight to date.
"Calling a WrestleMania and being stunned by Stone Cold Steve Austin in the middle of the Georgia Dome in front of 70,000 people was probably my biggest highlight," the 34–year–old said.
"In general just the life I had for so many years that I was with the WWE, getting to see so many different parts of the world and doing it on someone else's dime, that's what I will walk away with and will remember the most."
mathews made the transition from WWE to TNA last summer initially working behind the scenes before becoming an announcer on TV, during that time TNA have gone trough a major transition themselves moving networks from being on Spike TV, they are now on Destination America.
"Everyone is feeling really positive about it," he continued. "Destination America has been a tremendous partner, you can't watch a show on the network and not see a promo or commercial for Friday night Impact. A lot of places where I've worked before you didn't really see the big promotions for the shows, you got it during the show but that didn't really make much sense because you already had your audience and fans.
"With Destination America being a bit of a younger network I feel they're very hungry and it has been a great opportunity and partnership for everyone involved."
TNA's lead announcer has also been very impressed with the talented roster the company has at its disposal.
"I knew the likes of Kurt Angle, Jeff and Matt Hardy and Ken Anderson from my time in WWE but I've always known of the talent that have been in TNA as well, Bobby Roode, Austin Aries, Bram and the list goes on.
"I said it the day I came here and I will say it again now, I think you can put our roster up against any other roster and we are either on par or a little bit better – I think the roster here is just incredible. It is such a hard working group of young men and women who work together, it's a completely different feeling in the locker–room amongst the talent here compared to anywhere else I've worked."
You can follow Josh on Twitter @realjoshmathews and you can also hear Josh providing commentary on IMPACT! Every Sunday night from 9pm on Challenge TV in the UK.