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Exclusive Interview With "PrimeTime" Elix Skipper
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“Prime Time” Elix Skipper was a TNA original. He was a member of SEX (Sports Entertainment Xtreme Vince Russo’s clique in the Nashville PPV days), one third of XXX (w/Low Ki and “Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels), a multi-time NWA World Tag Team champion and had one of the 50 most memorable moments in TNA Wrestling history (his cage walk and the match held at Turning Point 2004 was ranked #6.) So how did he go from being part of that energy and excitement to being released by TNA Wrestling along with his Diamonds in the Rough partner David Young? Alan J. Wojcik wanted to find out so he did the following interview with Skipper via telephone on Saturday February 24th. This interview was approved by no one.

 

Alan J. Wojcik: Let’s begin right around our last interview (Elix was part of the Slammiversary 2005 PPV). How long after that PPV was the idea of being teamed with David Young and managed by Simon Diamond proposed to you and what was your initial reaction to the Diamonds in the Rough?

 

Elix Skipper: It was weird because they initially told me it was a group not a tag team. The truth is TNA didn’t have anything for me at that time. The hardest part was getting the fans to forget David’s past, he had lost I think 80 or 100 matches in a row. So we had to get the perception we were losers and at the same time get used to us as a team. Simon was perfect as a manager but it took a while for the magic to happen.

 

Alan J. Wojcik: How long do you think it took for you and David to function as a cohesive unit and how much input did you; David and Simon have in the direction the team took creatively?

 

Elix Skipper: I don’t think we had any input. We got together and had a bunch of ideas but it felt like we were another team that the others on the roster could have a good match with. It was never about us just the other teams. I don’t know if we had to prove ourselves worthy of a push but I always felt it was never about us. We decided to go out there and do what we know to do.

 

Alan J. Wojcik: You were part of a huge angle involving legendary manager Bobby “the Brain” Heenan and Chicago White Sox catcher AJ Pierzynski which got coverage on several mainstream media outlets. What are your memories from the ceremony Simon Diamond crashed which led to the Turning Point 2005 match (The Diamonds lost to Sonjay Dutt, Chris Sabin & Dale Torborg)?

 

Elix Skipper: I think they gave that thing to us because they didn’t think it would blow up as huge as it did. It backfired and we all over were on ESPN, CNN and in Sports Illustrated. It got notice because the baseball fans didn’t know what was going to happen. When it got all the national attention they took full notice of us and gave it time on the PPV. We had the idea of going to White Sox training facility because they had invaded our turf. But once again because of it being our angle I don’t feel it was pushed properly. Simon had about 4 ideas and the writers shot them all down.

 

Alan J. Wojcik: Around this time you and David wrestled each other on a Ring of Glory show run by current TNA writer Vince Russo. Please describe for fans what kind of show Mr. Russo runs under the ROG banner.

 

Elix Skipper: It was great. Working for Vince at that time was nice. That was his second show; on the first one I wrestled Jeff Jarrett. Ring of Glory was a church style audience so we had to watch our language. It was really nice crowd and it helped deliver a positive message to the fans.

 

Alan J. Wojcik: You also worked for 1PW in England against Low Ki (TNA calls him Senshi) and your former partner “Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels. There have been stories that English fans are starved for wrestling. How was this trip different from other overseas trips you have taken?

 

Elix Skipper: I have been to Australia and Japan in my career and this trip was great. I wrestled one of their local stars the first night. The second night was the promoter being smart. He knew people wanted to see XXX together in America but couldn’t (XXX had to disband after losing the Turning Point 2004 match to AMW) so instead of teaming us he decided to have us face each other. We had wrestled each other in single matches but never in a three way match. Let me tell you when the match began with Low Ki and Daniels and I walked out the crowd went crazy. I told them there was no way all the members of XXX in the same building and not have them in the ring. They acted like Hulk Hogan in his heyday was there. The promoter was so excited he beat everyone to making the match before anyone in the world.

 

Alan J. Wojcik: You and David were part of the TNA house shows co-promoted by Hermie Sadler’s UWF group. Please talk about the house show experience and do you think TNA is ready to become a full time touring promotion like WWE?

 

Elix Skipper: It’s up to TNA if they want to set their mind to do it. They have the stars on the rosters to do it. Of course there will be cities they draw well in and nights they might bomb. You have to survey the country and realize where you can draw. The people will look at say you can only draw in Florida. But some of the places we have been were new fans who saw us on PPV or Spike TV. Time will tell what TNA does.

 

Alan J. Wojcik: You have wrestled many different teams as David’s partner. One of the teams that has changed personas and raised plenty of eyebrows in wrestling; The James Gang AKA the Voodoo Kin Mafia (Kip and BG James.) What was it like wrestling the former WWE Tag Team champions and what did you think of the VKM skits featured on Impact?

 

Elix Skipper: I haven’t seen the VKM stuff but friends tell me it’s really funny stuff. Working with them was fun. Just like lots of things in wrestling it used to be fun. Wrestling them was like having a night off.

 

Alan J. Wojcik: Fans will remember you were part of the Lockdown 2006 PPV in the Xscape match (w/Chase Stevens, Petey Williams, Shark Boy, Chris Sabin and Puma). But some people don’t know what happened to you the night before in a match against Slyck Wagner Brown for SCW. Tell the fans what went down and did your wife give any special instructions before you entered the match on PPV?

 

Elix Skipper: My wife told me nothing crazy and definitely no cage walks. Any ideas I had I had to get cleared by her because at the end of the day she is always there for me. The day before you were there in the crowd and saw me hit Brown with a spinning plancha to the floor. But when I came down on him I came down to the floor awkward and broke a finger. I got him back in the ring and told Brown and the ref my finger was broken. You could see it was twisted the wrong way, all the way around. So I got him in a front facelock and when I pulled back on him I popped my finger back in place. I taped my finger up the next day and went into the cage. Another day in the life of a wrestler I guess.

 

Alan J. Wojcik: While you were working for TNA you have also worked for NWA Wrestle Birmingham and NWA Georgia Championship Wrestling. For fans that have never attended a show in what used to be called the Mid South territory and Georgia, describe the difference in the fans there as opposed to NWA Cyberspace in New Jersey?

 

Elix Skipper: The fans attitude in the south is totally different. Some wrestlers don’t know how to get the fans involved. The thing at a Birmingham or a southern show is the fans want to be part of the show. They can watch it at home but they came out to get involved. In the north you will get them into the match but down south they will be part of the match whether you like it or not.

 

Alan J. Wojcik: Since I brought up NWA Cyberspace any memories you wish to share about the owner of the group, the late Billy Firehawk.

 

Elix Skipper: He was a real nice guy. People may call him a money mark or a money holder. But every time I worked there I was cared for. Like any other promoter he got wrapped up in politics and financial issues. I told him several times not to take it too personal or he could give himself a heart attack. Not to yell at guys because no one likes to be yelled at, especially guys working on a national level. It’s a shame he is gone.

 

Alan J. Wojcik: On the October 12th Impact it looked like the Diamonds in the Rough broke up as David and Simon left you in the ring with Ron “the Truth” Killings. Was there a plan for you, Truth and Monty Brown to form a group and what happened to it?

 

Elix Skipper: That idea happened before XXX was ever formed in Nashville. We had an idea to get us together because Monty wasn’t a superstar yet and Truth was over already. We looked good together and put the idea to Jeff. He said, “Oh no I’m not putting you guys together. I can’t control you individually what do you think would happen if I make you a group.” We thought it was a good idea even after XXX ended and Ron was in 3LK. Monty and I were doing nothing so I asked again to put us together. The writers said put some ideas together. I got some stuff on paper but each of us was in contract issues with the office at that time. It looked like Monty was going to leave then he came back so it was scrapped again. We told them we could get the asses in the seats. It got out to the internet but at the last minute they dropped the idea.

 

Alan J. Wojcik: Your last in-ring TNA appearance was at the Bound For Glory 2006 PPV in Detroit (Elix was part of the Kevin Nash battle royal). What was the atmosphere like at the first PPV held outside of Nashville or Orlando?

 

Elix Skipper: It was a really great feeling because I had been with TNA since it started. The office was worried about filling the venue but we knew it would be packed. We knew we would make the magic happen. Look back to the Nashville days when people were paying ten dollars and the place was packed. We put on great shows whether it was twenty or two thousand fans. We proved that TNA could survive outside of Nashville and Orlando. It wasn’t about one match carrying the show, each match held its own. It wasn’t about someone topping the other guys it was about us working as a unit to make it the best PPV we could.

 

Alan J. Wojcik: Time for some questions some people probably don’t want me to ask. Was there ever a reason given to you by the office why you were kept off TV since Bound For Glory?

 

Elix Skipper: Don’t worry Alan I got nothing to hide. First I was told I was going to repackage me after a couple of months. Toss out any ideas I had and they would look at them, the problem with that is if it wasn’t an idea they thought was good for you they would use it for someone else. A couple of months go by and they told me we don’t have anything for you but as I am sitting home they are bringing in new talent. All these characters and only one hour of TV, they thought Spike was going to give them two hours. I wasn’t alone in waiting home for their characters to be brought back.

 

Alan J. Wojcik: This past week the news hit the internet you and David were released by TNA. Was this something you expected or had you asked to be released?

 

Elix Skipper: I asked for my release in October and they didn’t give it to me. Everyone has different deals with the office. Some guys have guaranteed deals. Mine basically required me to wrestle or I wasn’t paid by TNA. If I am not working in Orlando I am only bringing in money from my independent dates. With that being said I was home and they said they weren’t bringing me back. I am not allowed to work else where but I have a wife and family who I needed to provided for. So I called Terry Taylor (TNA’s Director of Talent Relations) and he said he would try to do something for me. Then Vince Russo called me and he said give it some time he was working on stuff. Even without the two hour show happening they were kicking around ideas. One was putting XXX together or the group with Ron and Monty that we talked about but supposedly Jeff didn’t like those ideas.  Meanwhile I am still at home. When 2007 rolled around I called again. Many people can call this griping, well get in my shoes. Hermie wanted to use David and me on the UWF shows. He loved what we brought to his shows. He said since we aren’t being used on TV he wanted us on all of his shows, he would even work around our schedules. That sounded great but something happened and TNA didn’t want any of their talent working for Hermie. Then it changed to six people were allowed to work for him. We were told this and worked for him anyways. We did the show and they told us to stop. Remember Elix Skipper only gets paid by TNA when he works in a TNA ring. So this was a lose-lose situation for me. Either wait for TNA to find something for me to do or sit at home losing money.

 

 

Alan J. Wojcik: Looking back to your entire career in TNA, do you have any regrets over storylines like the dissolving of XXX or any politics that went down?

 

Elix Skipper: I think XXX ran its course. When we were paired up they weren’t sure if it was going to work because our styles and attitudes were so different. As much as we love wrestling we knew the business and knew it was a gamble. The only thing I regret happened in Nashville, on a show where Ki and Chris were in Japan. All three of us had been working overseas; I was working for All-Japan. When we held the titles it worked because two of us scheduled ourselves to be in Nashville. This one time I was the only one in Nashville and Jeff talked to me about it. He asked out loud how the office was going to handle it. He wanted us to make a total commitment to TNA so he could build us up. I thought about what he said the whole week and the money I was making real good money in Japan. The only drawback to Japan was being way from my wife and family for two or three weeks a time. I thought about what Jeff said with my wife and we felt there was a bright light at the end of the tunnel. The next week I talked to Jeff. I told him I was going to stop going to Japan and work all of my other dates around TNA. He told me he was real appreciative and said he would get me booked on each week’s PPV. He did and I was on each show even when Ki and Chris were in Japan. Looking back I wish I had kept working for All-Japan. They kept calling me asking when I was going to come back, even when we were doing the Wednesday PPV and TV in Orlando the next day (before Spike TV TNA was on Fox Sports Net Friday afternoons). I wish I hadn’t taken Japan out of my loop because now look at me TNA dropped me.

 

Alan J. Wojcik: Now for the other obvious question. With your release from TNA have you received offers from other promotions like going back to All-Japan, ROH or even the WWE and would you work for WWE?

 

Elix Skipper: Everyone knows wrestling is a business and if someone like WWE thinks you can make money they will use you. I love wrestling and if WWE is the place or All-Japan is where I can make money while they’re making money from having me on their ring. I want to be in the ring making money and having fun. When it’s not fun it’s time to stop. I love my wife and she was with me before wrestling and she will be with me if I was to walk away from wrestling tomorrow. Not many wrestlers can say that despite our ups and downs. If I can’t take care of my family by using wrestling then wrestling has to go.

 

 

Alan J. Wojcik: In closing what do you hope the future holds for “Prime Time” Elix Skipper?

 

 

Elix Skipper: Same as always. I want to enjoy life every day. I don’t know if I am going to continue wrestling. To be honest I am beyond the working shows for $50. Not to sound cocky but I did my time at that level. I need to make money doing it for my family. I have made money before wrestling. I ran McDonald’s franchises for years. That stuff made me humble and to appreciate everything I have.

 

Thanks to Elix Skipper for taking time out of his day with the family. For internet info log onto www.tnawrestling.com or www.uwfusa.com  for the shows run by Hermie Sadler.