Josh Mathews On GFW/Impact’s Ongoing Troubles, His Time In WWE & More

Josh Mathews
Josh Mathews

Impact Wrestling announcer Josh Mathews joined Interactive Wrestling Radio this week to discuss the turmoil in GFW/Impact, his time in WWE and almost joining the broadcasting team of Lucha Underground. Here are the highlights:

The Global Wrestling Network streaming service:

“It is super exciting. In 2017 and going forward, I think you almost have to have a footprint and a presence on these OTT platforms. Not only will we have Global Wrestling Network, GWN, but we’ll also be on Pluto TV which is a streaming over the top service – free service. We are also on Rock Fighting in Germany, that launched last week. We are really growing exponentially digitally. So, it is an extremely exciting time for all of us here.”

Why there are always reports of GFW/TNA’s Demise:

“I don’t know. I wish I knew. At this point, it becomes white noise. We’ve seen it so many times. Even when I was in WWE for 13 years, you’d see it monthly or weekly that Impact or TNA, whatever it was going by at that time, was going away and wasn’t going to exist anymore. Now being here, and defending it, and constantly seeing these stories that I call “The Fake News”, it gets tiresome. You have to stop looking at it, stop paying attention to it and just know where we’re going and know what we’re building towards.”

Why he never worked that first TNA Wednesday PPV He Was Booked On:

“Because i got an offer from WWE to work there and that was, at the time, my number one priority. I was able to tear up the contract that I had with this company and go and pursue the opportunity and the goal that I had set for myself from a very young age and get to experience my career there before I came here.”

How WWE knew he wanted to be an announcer:

“When Season 2 of Tough Enough ended and they flew us back to do… What do they call those? Reunion episode! It was there that I was approached to be an announcer. I flew to New York a few weeks later. They just saw me having fun, not really caring about what was happening. It was two long days of filming. I was in New York which is my favorite place in the world, and they saw me just having fun and they thought that was something they could put on television. At the same time, I was talking to MTV about being a VJ. This was before they changed everything and got rid of the VJ… So, the hosting was an opportunity that presented itself to me that I never saw coming when I was training to be a wrestler.”

The “Greatest Play by Play Guy” Tweet Turning Him Heel:

“No, because I had been saying it for a while! (laughs) It wasn’t something I had come up with that day. I said it when I left (WWE), I said it to Wade Keller the next day! I said it on numerous platforms. And, I said my contract not being renewed from there (WWE) had nothing to do with talent. That was the only issue I had with them. I believe it, I said it, it had legs, and we ran with it.”

Advice for announcers that call indy shows:

“Well you have to remember it isn’t about you calling it. The best advice I ever got was if I get someone over, I get over in the process. So, if I get a talent over, I’m getting over and that is just the way it was presented to me at a very young age. It didn’t really sink in until a few years later. But, if I can get someone else over I am getting myself over without trying.”

Vince McMahon the commentator being an influence:

“Absolutely! He was the second half of my career, he was the audience that I was working to – Not that I was trying to appease one audience, I’ve heard that said in the past. But, he’s the one that is listening to every word that you’re saying while you’re calling his shows and he wants you to call them a certain way.”

Getting used to saying “Wrestling” After WWE:

“Not really. I still don’t say it a whole lot. I also didn’t say TNA even though it was the name of the company for 2 and a half years while I was calling shows because it was something that I just didn’t like. You find ways around it. Look, they are bigger than wrestlers. They are bigger than wrestling! So, you can change it and call them stars. I love the branding of Knockouts – I think that works super well. I think the Knockouts, that branding, is better than any branding of female wrestlers anywhere. Stars just seems to fit with the male talent – athletes. There are ways to work around it if you don’t want to use the word “wrestlers”. Look, I wasn’t allowed to say the word “belt” for a number of years but I still don’t think you should call it a belt – It’s a championship!”

Almost joining Lucha Underground:

“I had a contract in my home office for both companies – A Lucha Underground one and one to come here to Nashville. I decided to come here. Lucha was kind of always there. I was in LA when they were getting ready to tape their first shows. I was working on another project. Their play by play guy couldn’t make it. Again, they called me. “We know you’re here. You’re right down the street. You don’t have to sign a contract. You can come up with whatever you want. We’re really in a bind here.” I stuck with the decision I made to come here to Impact and not pursue what they were doing even though it was very tempting after seeing an episode and seeing what they were doing, it was very tempting to go and be a part of Lucha Underground.”

His thoughts on Lucha Underground’s product:

“Honestly, this isn’t me trying to make a joke or be insulting but I don’t watch it. The only wrestling that I watch is our product. Everything we produce, I watch. And then, I’m wrestling’d out after watching all of our stuff. (laughs) I have so many different interests and so many other things that I don’t have time, or the desire quite frankly, to watch any other wrestling.”

 

His on-air feud with Jeremy Borash:

“It was fun! It was a little uneasy at times. Looking back, and I don’t look back at anything, I think the outcome got us to where we want to be and especially going forward. That is the most important thing to me.”

If Mike Tenay was considered to call Slammiversary 2017:

“Yes he was. I don’t know what happened. But, I do know that yes, he was.”

If wrestling at Slammiversary made him want to wrestle more again:

“No, I think it put all of that to rest for me. No, I never had a desire to do that once my career went on this path. I did it willingly. I had fun. But, it is not something that I regret, the decision.”

The future of GFW Imapct Wrestling:

“We’re moving at 5 to 10 yard increments. We’re not moving at Hair Mary’s. It is one of those deals where, you know, stick with us. We’re not going away. The reports of our demise have been greatly exagerated again.”