September 10, 2008
Roode relishes homecoming
By GREG DAVIS - Peterborough Examiner
This is one opponent Bobby Roode likely can't pin. The pro wrestler will be grappling with a roller-coaster of emotions on Sunday when he steps inside the wrestling ring at General Motors Centre in Oshawa for a match as part of "No Surrender," Total Nonstop Action Wrestling's first-ever live pay-per-view show in Canada.
For the 31-year-old Peterborough native, whose first series of headlocks and hip tosses toward a career as a professional wrestler began in this region a decade ago, the opportunity to return to perform in a sold-out arena in front of friends and family in attendance and a multi-million TV audience is humbling.
"It's like things are coming full circle, so to speak," said Roode. "It's going to be fun in Oshawa and it's going to be very emotional as well. It's kind of a weird feeling, too, but it will be a lot of fun."
Roode wrestles as Robert Roode, a character he describes as a "straight-edge, cocky, financial genius" who is billed as being from Wall Street.
He's the proverbial bad guy -- the heel in wrestling lingo -- doing anything he can to conjure up a chorus of boos.
But Canadian wrestling fans are known for supporting their own -- face or heel -- so the Oshawa crowd response for Roode, which will include his wife Tracy, children Bobby, Riley, Nicholas and parents Bob and Sandy Roode at ringside, may not follow a wrestling fan's normal protocol.
"You never know -- at the house show (untelevised) in the same building in December 2007, I was kind of received as a heel. It will be interesting to see what happens and how the crowd takes to me and my partner."
His tag team partner is James Storm (portrayed by James Allan Black), a "hillbilly drunk," Roode says. Combine the two and you have Beer Money Inc., the reigning TNA world tag team champions.
The duo won the belts on Aug. 10 at the "Hard Justice" pay-per-view show in New Jersey over the Latin American X-Change (Homicide and Hernandez).
LAX will battle Beer Money Inc. in a rematch for the titles in Oshawa.
"We kind of have that oddity between us," Roode said of his and Black's characters. "But the chemistry in the ring is great and coming off really well on TV. We've had a lot of success lately and having a lot of fun."
So just how much is Roode like his character outside of the squared circle?
"Pretty much nothing close to it," quipped Roode. "It's actually funny -- James and I, off camera, often take on each other's roles. He's the one usually thinking about how to make money and I'm the one sitting around drinking beer.
"That's the great thing about professional wrestling -- you can pretend to be someone you're not and have fun with it."
Having fun is how Roode describes his four years since signing with TNA Wrestling, the second-largest wrestling promotion in North America in competition with the WWE. It has been a long, challenging climb for Roode, who has worked with a number of independent promotions and had tryouts with the WWE.
He's now in his third reign as a TNA tag team champion (after two stints with former partner Eric Young in a faction known as Team Canada).
It appeared Roode was on the cusp of a blossoming singles' career in 2007 and early this year, working with a number of top talent such as Booker T, Kurt Angle and Christian Cage before returning to the tag team scene in June.
"I really don't have much of a say -- it's what they what me to do and what the stories are at the time," said Roode. "I kind of broke into wrestling as a tag team fan. I was trained by Val Venis (Sean Morley) and he was part of a tag team with Shane Sewell.
"I've always been a huge tag team wrestling fan, but in the business you also like to be the singles star. But right now, I'm really happy with what I'm doing -- we can't complain. I'm one half of the tag team champions."
Roode says TNA is putting more emphasis on promoting the tag team scene as opposed to the WWE.
"Unfortunately tag team wrestling has become a lost art," he said.
"Back when I was growing up there were the Hart Foundation, British Bulldogs, Killer Bees, the Legion of Doom -- there were so many tag teams back then. Now you try to think of teams and they're all gone, especially in the WWE where there aren't a lot of traditional teams.
"We have Team 3D -- one of the all-time great teams, us, LAX, the Motorcity Machine Guns -- we have a real solid division. Compared to the WWE, we're head and shoulders over them."
TNA is also growing as a competitive promotion, which means Roode is kept busy with more shows, more promotional events and appearances. He estimates that he will be away from more than 200 days this year. TNA airs its two-hour "Impact!" show on Spike TV every Thursday.
"We seem to be going every weekend," said Roode on Monday evening after spending the weekend in New York City for several shows.
"It's a real busy time -- my schedule right now until Christmas I'll be pretty much going somewhere every weekend for something."
But unlike wrestling plots which are developed for the long-term, the six-foot-one, 250-pound wrestler says his career is not exactly written in stone.
"I'm doing my thing and take it day by day and try not to look too much into the future," said Roode, a Kenner Collegiate graduate.
"My contract comes up in the spring of 2009 so it will be interesting to see what happens.
"I'm really happy with TNA, it's a great wrestling company and I'm proud to be a part of it.
"Hopefully I can be around a lot longer."
NOTES: Bobby Roode is now featured in a video game. Yesterday, Total Nonstop Action Wrestling released its first-ever game, titled "Impact" available for Playstation 2 and 3, X-Box 360 and the Nintendo Wii consoles. "I always wanted to be in a video game and wanted an action figure -- I've got both now so my life is complete and now I can retire," quipped Roode.... Beer Money Inc.'s entrance theme song is "Sorry About Your Damn Luck" by Dale Oliver.... Pro Wrestling Illustrated magazine ranked Roode No. 71 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in 2007.... TNA uses a six-sided ring as opposed to the traditional four-sided ring in most wrestling promotions. "Personally I never had much of a problem adapting to the six sides. I don't know why that was," said Roode..... Along with Roode, other Canadians in TNA include Christian Cage, Eric Young, Taylor Wilde, Angelina Love, Traci Brooks, Johnny Devine and Petey Williams.