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New Interview With "Wildcat" Chris Harris
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Looking back to February, 2006 “Wildcat” Chris Harris was on top of the world. He was in the middle of his seventh reign as NWA World Tag Team champion (sixth with “Tennessee Cowboy” James Storm). He was part of America’s Most Wanted; the most dominate tag team in the near five year existence of TNA Wrestling. That all came crashing down thanks to a beer bottle shot from Storm on the December 14, 2006 episode of Impact which led to Harris suffering serious damage to his eyes. Since that day Harris has been virtually silent until he surprised Storm and his fans after a match on the Against All Odds PPV February 11th.  Thanks to Jeff Jarrett and Ross Forman, Alan J. Wojcik was able to sit down for his fourth interview with Harris to get the truth on many rumors.

 

Alan J. Wojcik: When we last talked it was weeks before TNA’s March 2006 debut house show in Detroit where you took on the Naturals (Chase Stevens & Andy Douglas). What has the house show experience been like for you and do you see it becoming a full time thing for TNA?

 

Chris Harris: The house show experience has been awesome; it’s something TNA has been talking about doing for a few years now. Now it’s coming to reality. With the UWF and Hermie Sadler working with us it was a win-win situation because he was busting his ass to promote the shows. We are getting the PPV’s on the road to St Louis and supposedly Nashville so we are getting the TNA name out to the public. It’s another part of the puzzle making TNA bigger and better.

 

Alan J. Wojcik: At the Lockdown PPV you were part of Jeff Jarrett’s team (with Storm and Scott Steiner) where you took on Sting’s Army (with AJ Styles, Ron Killings and Rhino). What was it like to be in the deadly Lethal Lockdown bout with some pretty high profile names?

 

Chris Harris: That was a crazy night especially with what AJ and Storm did on the top. Adrenaline sometimes gets the better of your judgment. Everyone survived and that match put us on the main event marquee again. I am old enough to remember the War Games (NWA/WCW’s double cage with a roof match) so I got taken back. It was a great feeling to be part of that team and the match itself. No one enjoys cage matches with eight people beating the holy hell out of each other, except the fans watching.

 

Alan J. Wojcik: At Sacrifice and Slammiversary you and Storm defended against the X Division stars AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels. (AMW lost the belts at Slammiversary) Did you and Storm have difficulties working with them considering their working in the X Division, and I know the moniker “It’s not about weight limits, it’s about no limits.”

 

Chris Harris: You know it better than anyone Alan, Storm and I have always been called the guys who can adapt to any style. I feel we can wrestle with the highfliers and brawl with the best of them. I think the matches were so great because all four of us can work that way. They were a great team even though they pissed me off and got on my nerves being so good. We got the majority of victories but it took one for us to lose the belts. It got complicated when Gail (Kim) and Sirelda got involved. They were the better team for that night.

 

Alan J. Wojcik: In July 2006 AMW worked for Dory Funk Jr.s !BANG! promotion in Ocala. Talk about that experience and did you pick the brain of the former NWA World Heavyweight champion?

 

Chris Harris: No instead we beat his brain (laughs). It’s always an honor to meet former champions and Dory is full of knowledge. On that night he was the opposition and I had to fight off the guilty feeling of beating on an old man. He was on the other end of the Death Sentence but he walked away. That is one tough SOB.

 

Alan J. Wojcik: On August 13th you were supposed to be part of Hard Justice but a fire in the ceiling cancelled your match (AMW vs. Naturals vs. Bentley/Kazarian vs. James Gang). What was the atmosphere like backstage and were you surprised the PPV went on?

 

Chris Harris:  I think the main concern was the safety of the fans and the wrestlers. You hear FIRE and your mind gets worried right away. No one wants the PPV to stall or even end and the majority of us thought it was over. The office kept their heads in check and when the fire people cleared it, we went back on with the show. It was a high profile match but I understood why it got scrapped. I wish it hadn’t because I had my family in the audience fly down. It was in the back of my mind but its business and everyone had a great PPV.

 

Alan J. Wojcik: The Impact right after the fire Storm’s interference with the deadly beer bottle led you to lose a 4 way match against Chase Stevens, BG James and Frankie Kazarian. Do you like working matches with multiple opponents and what were your thoughts with the teased dissension?

 

Chris Harris: I am more for tags and single matches. But its 2007 and you see more multiple opponent matches being booked. It does raise the bar for competition and you need to step up your own game to survive. As far as the beer bottle it was definitely a sign of things to come. That caused lots of problems for months. I’m no angel and I’m no saint. I have used my handcuffs to win matches and I have also watched and supported Storm use the bottle to help us win some matches. I am not proud of it but I saw the beer bottle causing us some problems. Timing got messed up and I nearly got hit by him. I began to change my tune and want the bottle out as I knew we could win without it. But we all know how that drunken cowboy is. We did lots of teasing and I had no idea where it would go.

 

Alan J. Wojcik: October 22nd took TNA back to Detroit for Bound For Glory where AMW lost a four way tag match (with Team 3D, the Naturals and James Gang). What were your thoughts on the first PPV outside of Nashville or Orlando?

 

Chris Harris: At the time it was the biggest event we have had. We had a crowd of 5-6,000 fans that wasn’t filled with residents of Nashville or Orlando. It was people who traveled to Detroit from all over the world to support TNA. The roar of that crowd all night kept the locker room buzzing and energized all night. We had a good match with three other teams and the overall consensus was it is something we will do again soon. 

 

Alan J. Wojcik: When the Latin American Xchange (“Notorious 187” Homicide and Hotstuff Hernandez) took the belts off Styles and Daniels at the PPV AMW became top contenders. But before an Impact taping things got violent when LAX attacked you at an autograph session which saw Storm suffer temporarily paralysis (Hernandez hit Storm with the Border Toss to a wall). Are you a fan of doing those angles and what damage did you suffer that day?

 

Chris Harris: There are lots of similarities I see in LAX to AMW. We were the original thugs in TNA. LAX is willing to do anything to win like us. It wasn’t about the belts it was about four hotheads blowing up and they fired the opening shot by putting out Gail. It was a scary moment when Storm was Border Tossed into a stone wall. I was told twice they were taking him to the hospital. I had no idea what was going on because they tried to shatter my wrist. But both of us got in the ring and went for revenge.

 

Alan J. Wojcik: The Genesis and Turning Point PPV saw AMW and LAX do battle where the roles were reversed as the fans turned AMW face after LAX threatened to burn an American flag. How did you and Storm feel about the change and did it change the way you and LAX approached the match?

 

Chris Harris: To be honest Alan I never thought the fans would ever take us back. I think when LAX attacked Gail that sent anyone against us over to our side. They attacked a woman and you don’t do that. Then they attacked us and left lying beaten down, actually it didn’t matter who LAX wrestled because they wanted to burn the American flag. We have done lots of wrong but we have never turned our back on the USA. It brings out your patriotism and you want to step up to the plate. It created an intense feud and it was fun.

 

Alan J. Wojcik: You have seen Storm destroy people with the beer bottle shot to the head but during the Flag Match when he blasted Homicide, the shards went into your eyes taking you out of the match. Storm called you out publicly but the Impact afterwards he blasted you in the face with the bottle. What’s it like to wrestle with one eye covered up and what’s worse being hit with that bottle or a chair shot?

 

Chris Harris: Now we are getting into the area I really don’t know how to answer. That was where Storm seemed to change his attitude and I don’t know what happened to him. As far as the match goes, the fans were behind us and we needed their support fighting for America. There was no way we would go down but it was the beer bottle costing us problems again. I think Storm’s heart was in the right place but that glass shattered and went into my eyes…. I never once got into his face when we had these problems. Sure tempers flared a couple of times but I was in the right in my mind and I am sure Storm felt he was right. I understand he was hot because we lost and the Mexican flag got raised to the rafters. I think it bothered both us that we let everyone down. He apologized after cooling down and we got a rematch the next day. Like I told JB (Chris did an interview on Impact with Jeremy Borash) I wasn’t going to let the same thing happen. So I taped up my eye but I next thing I remember I was out with another beer bottle broken on the face. It’s been downhill since. The James Storm I have known for years is not the guy you have seen the last few weeks. Maybe you or someone can explain it to me because I still don’t have an answer.

 

Alan J. Wojcik: Now for the obvious question, why did AMW break up? Was it a creative decision or a mutual one between you and Storm or is it the “Tennessee Cowboy’s” ego running loose?

 

Chris Harris: I think the safe answer is all of the above and then some. If people remember this isn’t the first time there was a teasing to break up AMW. It goes back a few years (during the Nashville PPV’s there was some teasing.) I am sure the office wanted it because it’s a hot feud when a team breaks up. This is the sincere part, Storm and I we felt we had to say to the office we felt there was more life in AMW. We had that happen 2-3 times. Look back to when Storm got hurt and I had my singles run against Jeff. They could have done it then, have Storm come back and be jealous of my success. We decided against it and Storm supported me while I tried to win the title. We have done things different from the traditional teams you grew up on.  I was tired of people saying; “I read online AMW is breaking up.” This time it was teased for months. The other side is the fact Storm and I aren’t the same guys we were, going back at least two years. We had a professional and personal relationship but people change and things haven’t been great for a while. I always will look at him like a little brother. In that interview with JB I said Storm was like family. That was true we traveled together, both our families met and we spent holidays together. There is a work and a shoot and when it came down to it, I have always been honest there has been a singles run in my mind. But there is a time and place for that. I knew it would happen eventually, not at the expense of a beer bottle to my face. I never expected it. I had made suggestions to the office. How many times have we seen a tag team spilt up ambically and say this is what we have done over the last five years and time to go our separate ways? I told that to Storm a few times if we end this, you do it here in front of me. That’s where it got confusing.  He chose not to do that. Now TNA, the writers and the fans are going to get what they want. They will see Storm vs. Harris because we are two guys that hate each other.

 

Alan J. Wojcik: Looking back over the last four and a half years do you regret ever allowing TNA to create AMW? Do you think you would have gone further in the promotion as a singles worker since you were signed that way?

 

Chris Harris: I think it was one of the best ideas TNA came up with. Had you asked me when it started I would have thought it was dumb. You know from our other talks, Storm and I laughed about it. We were two singles wrestlers signing to this new promotion wanting singles runs. At the time, being no names we knew you had to use established names to sell the product. We might have gotten lost in the shuffle as younger talent. They saw two talented guys, obvious because they signed us, thought what do we do now? We don’t want to cut them and they go off to have success elsewhere. They said we might as well team them up. We both said no way are you going to put us together. I looked at him with that dumb cowboy hat and the guns he shot off before matches (Storm stopped that after shooting out the lights in the Asylum in 2002, literally). That was when we realized this was our only shot to make names for ourselves. As far as the singles question…I think everything happens for a reason. Maybe I could have been successful. I am going to have that chance now. I have had five years as a tag team guy and I have the confidence to break out. I don’t regret it one second.

 

Alan J. Wojcik: It has been almost three years since you wrestled for a singles title (Harris unfortunately lost to then NWA World Heavyweight champion Jeff Jarrett in Nashville, but the Best OF AMW DVD.) Have you been itching to get back to singles work and what do you hope happens now that AMW has been killed by your partner?

 

Chris Harris: That wasn’t necessary to bring up me losing to Jeff.

 

Alan J. Wojcik: I did say unfortunate. You think I was happy you lost to Jarrett?

 

Chris Harris: Back to me now. My first goal is to settle things with Storm. I can’t focus on something like a title shot, with Gail and Jacqueline involved and getting revenge. I have a feeling this could go on for a while. Sometimes I watch title matches thinking what Chris Harris vs. Kurt Angle would be like, or a rematch with Christian Cage or even Samoa Joe and Abyss. Looking back to that run at Jeff I was new to being in that position. I didn’t think I would be able stand with guys like AJ Styles, Raven and Ron “The Truth” Killings. When it came to the end I was able to be at that level and fight with Jeff. If I am in the same boat I think I can be at that level. You have to begin with the top and that is Christian Cage. It was about a year ago I wrestled him on Impact. I think a rematch could happen and I know he would welcome it. We have become friends and talked about working together again. It’s something but I am not too focused on it.

 

Alan J. Wojcik: You made your surprising return at last night’s PPV. Were you shocked by the reaction you received?

 

Chris Harris: I was a little shocked. I couldn’t focus on the reaction because I was so into getting Storm in my hands. In that interview with JB I said was more confused and hurt then angry. I couldn’t get answers to why AMW exploded. I have been sitting at home doing nothing but thinking. While I was sitting there I was thinking about the talent working and it was eating me up. I had even asked the office could I come down just to be around my friends. They wanted me to stay home and rest. My eye maybe messed up but my body isn’t. Last night was the right time and place and Storm had to know it was coming. Did he honestly think I was never going to come back? I think somewhere in his mind he knew to be looking over his shoulders. He abused Gail and I told her I would be there for her. Last night I was surprised by the reaction I got because the fans hated AMW for so long. There’s the guy I was partnered with making an ass out of himself every week, it makes you think are they going to care about me or him? Will it fall flat and we have nothing to do. The fans were excited and knew something great was going to happen.

 

Alan J. Wojcik: In closing do you have anything you wish to say to the fans that may have sent get well messages to your website?

 

Chris Harris: Yeah I got a lot and I still get asked about my eye. The truth is I don’t have a doctor release yet.  I can’t think of wrestling ever again, I need to get it out of my head. Whether TNA will sanction a match is out of my hands. If I have to, I will keep jumping that rail every time Storm comes out. The fans will get out of my way so I can kick his ass. Thanks to everyone who cheered for me last night and sent well wishes.

 

Thanks to “Wildcat” Chris Harris for his time before Impact. Thanks to Jeff Jarrett, Steven Godfrey and Ross Forman for approving the interview. For more information log onto www.wildcatchrisharris.com (run by Chris’ brother) and www.tnawrestling.com !BANG! can be found at www.dory-funk.com