“I haven’t had my Nando’s yet! I have a serious Nando’s fetish, an obsession with Nando’s, I LOVE NANDO’S,” he declares. “Later on, I’ll slide over to the Curry Mile.”
He talks enthusiastically about the delights of Manchester, including his as-frequent-as-he-can-make-them jaunts to Old Trafford to watch his team Manchester United. (And you can tell he’s a genuine football fan, because he doesn’t call it “soccer” like most of his compatriots do, and he knows very well that “soccer” as a word was a bastardisation invented by the English: “You guys invented that word! And now when we say it we get in trouble.”)
MVP surged back on to TV screens at the turn of the year as TNA’s new “mystery investor”, and is delighting in his role.
“I always look forward to new and exciting challenges,” he says.
He refutes the claim that his recent actions – turning on champion Eric Young, for example – are backstabbing or corrupt, though.
“I wouldn’t necessarily characterise it as evil,” he says, with impressively convincing amazement. “I model myself on politicians. They tell you exactly what it is that you want to hear, so that you get in a position to trust them and put them in power so that they can make the decisions that benefit them. I learned from the best – Parliament, Congress, whatever you call it.”
Much as he’s enjoying his time in TNA, he intends to move on in good time and end his career in Japan.
“I’ve always visualised retiring in Japan. That’s always been my first love and my first passion. People talk about the legacy of one’s career – I look at guys who spend their entire careers with one wrestling company, and if they’re happy, that’s good for them. I spent time in WWE, and then I moved on, I went to Japan and I moved on. I haven’t wrestled in Mexico, I’d love to do that – and when all’s said and done, I’d like my last match to take place in Japan and at that point I’ll call it a career.
“Norman Smiley introduced me to Japanese wrestling, and the first time I saw the brutality of it, the twisted, sick, imbalanced individual in me just thought, ‘I want to do that. I want to get suplexed on my head, that looks like fun!’ I love that in Japan, wrestling is still presented as sport rather than spectacle. There are no 20-minute promos – the story is told in the ring. I love the pure physicality of Japanese wrestling.”
During this trip to the UK, he’s promoting the forthcoming TNA special event Slammiversary, but also featuring in PCW’s Supershow Weekender.
“I know what I’ve heard from my colleagues who’ve performed there, and it’s nothing but good things,” he says. “The fans are amazing, PCW uses the best talent from around the UK, and I’m excited for that. I’m looking forward to performing for that crowd and being part of the company.”
MVP’s gift of the gab means that as well as his in-ring bookings he’s much in demand for media, so it’s no surprise that he cheerily signs off our chat with: “Remember, I’m still half-man half-amazing, and the greatest professional wrestler on the planet today!” Soundbites like that demand inclusion.
TNA Slammiversary on June 15th features MVP versus Eric Young for the title; PCW’s Supershow Weekender runs at Evoque in Preston on Friday 30th and Saturday 31st May.