April 14, 2012
Roode looks to prove doubters wrong again at Lockdown
By MATT BISHOP - SLAM! Wrestling
Six months ago, Bobby Roode went into the biggest match of his career, competing for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship for the first time against Kurt Angle at Bound For Glory.
Roode has grown a lot since then, not only as a performer, but as a person. Having matured and learned a lot about the business, Roode is in the driver's seat when he defends his world title Sunday at Lockdown against the man he took it from — former tag team partner James Storm.
"Every opportunity that I have, I make people remember me," Roode said Wednesday on a conference call. "This Sunday is no different. The stage is set, the talking is done. This is more than business, it's very, very personal. It's more than a wrestling match. I'm going to go out there Sunday and prove to the world why I am the world heavyweight champion."
For Roode, this match is his biggest since the Angle bout and for him, it brings a different sort of pressure than he faced that night in Philadelphia.
"The pressure I had going in with Kurt, it felt like I was a child, I was a kid on Christmas morning," Roode said. "Waiting for that opportunity to raise that world title for the very first time. There was pressure from everywhere to perform, including from my tag partner at the time, to go out there and win because there was such a huge buildup. This time around, I'm a little more mature, I'm relaxed a little more. I've been the world champion for the better part of six months, been in there with the best, defeated the best, so I'm confident. But I'm very, very anxious to get in there Sunday just to basically to go out there and shut James' mouth and prove that I've always been better than him."
It's from that match that Roode still gains motivation. In fact, he calls it the most important moment of his career, saying it taught him a lot about life and the business.
"I learned a lot from that match," he said. "That match really changed me as a human being and changed me as a professional in many, many different ways. Losing that match might've been the best thing that's ever happened to me. It was a wakeup call and here I am today, I can't complain. I'm as happy as can be."
This match means so much to Roode. Not only is he facing the person he went up-and-down the road with, the same person he captured the TNA World Tag Team Championship four times with, he'll be defending the world title he worked so hard to earn and keep.
"Every match as a world champion is important, but this match, there's such huge hype around it being one of the biggest pay-per-views in our company's history, being in Nashville, the city where it all began, it's going to be a meaningful night and a meaningful match on a lot of different scales," Roode said. "This match has been building for a lot more than just six months when I turned on him and cracked that bottle over his head. It's been building for the better part of 10 years. It's an opportunity for two homegrown TNA talents to walk in to a main event, take that spotlight and prove to the world why we belong in the main event picture."
From hearing Roode speak, it's clear that he, Storm and many of the other TNA originals feel the need to perform and steal the show to constantly prove themselves to both management and the fans.
That's why keeping his championship Sunday at Lockdown is so important to Roode. That title validates everything he's worked for throughout the years and he doesn't want to see all that hard work he's put in night-in and night-out, proving himself as world champion, go up in smoke if one cage match doesn't go his way.
"The last six months, I've proved to a lot of doubters that I deserve to be a world champion," Roode said. "I am, in my belief, the most dominant world champion this company has ever had. And after I beat James on Sunday, I will continue down that path. I will continue to dominate and maybe hit legendary status. I don't see my title reign ending anytime soon. My confidence level has never been higher, I'm in the best shape of my life and I've defeated the best."
Despite the enormous pressure he and Storm must be feeling heading into Sunday, Roode says there's no spot he'd rather be in.
"I thrive on pressure," he said. "This is something I've wanted my entire life. This is something I've sacrificed for, this is something I've always wanted. I'm right in my wheelhouse right now."