Quinn 'Moose' Ojinnaka on Why He Stands Behind Impact Wrestling
Moose found the perfect outlet in pro wrestling to showcase his impressive athletic ability and showmanship after transitioning from the NFL. These days, the 35-year-old, real name Quinn Ojinnaka, is more proud than ever to be part of Impact Wrestling as it continues to build itself from the ground up Tuesday nights on AXS TV.
As the company gears up to return to Moose’s old stomping grounds for A-Town Beatdown, we spoke to the former Atlanta Falcons player about his unwavering loyalty to his current team.
One of the things about you that stands out is your appearance — you’re always dressed to the nines. How soon did you realize that was an asset in pro wrestling?
Moose: Very early on, actually. I was blessed to be in a locker room with a guy named Ethan Carter III. One thing I took from him is he always made his appearance on TV a big deal ... The way he appeared on TV was to be the star. I learned a lot from him. I also learned a lot from Jay Lethal in Ring of Honor, who did the exact same thing. Those two guys wanted their appearance to be larger-than-life — not in size, but how they carried themselves and looked.
I already have the size part of it. If anything, I wanted to make myself different from other guys on our roster. There really isn’t a guy on our roster that takes this attention to detail of his look offscreen or when he isn’t wrestling. I can take advantage of that.
Compared to your time in Ring of Honor, with Impact Wrestling you’ve been able to develop and fine-tune a persona. What would you say you’ve gained as a performer for Impact?
EC3 and Jay Lethal have helped. Also, there were guys I was inspired by during the old school days of wrestling like Scott Hall, Ric Flair, the greatest of all time. Then, there is Macho Man. Those guys I named I use all those guys to create my character.
You call yourself Mr. Impact Wrestling. It’s such a competitive market in the landscape of the business. Why are you, at this moment, so behind this company and the product today?
I would be lying if I said I was the longest-tenured person in Impact. You’ve got Eddied Edwards, who has been in the company for five years, and Rosemary, who has been in for four years. In July, I’ll have been here for four years.
One thing we all have in common we were in the company when it was going through a bit of a storm. Guys weren’t getting paid, and checks weren’t coming in. It wasn’t as entertaining, and we didn’t have a lot of fans coming to the show. Now with a new regime, they’ve just pumped Impact full of blood where we are selling out shows, our presentation looks way better, our show is way better. It’s the hard work and dedication that they put into reviving the company and bringing it back to life and I support that. I’m all-in trying to keep the product afloat and making it entertaining.
Impact isn't afraid to push the envelope. They’ve done that with Tessa Blanchard as the first female Impact Wrestling champion. What are your thoughts on her making history in this way, having men working with women in matches regularly?
It has created some buzz. In the past, I haven’t been a big supporter of intergender wrestling because I believe most people don’t do it right. It doesn’t have the same dynamic of a man wrestling a man. That’s another conversation for another day, but I’m happy for what Tessa has done. She has pushed the limits and showed people women are allowed to be in the ring with males. She has done a good job with it. I just wish it was done overall in a different way with intergender wrestling. Just tell a different story, use your creativity.
You haven’t held the Impact Wrestling championship. Does that keep you motivated?
No. I’m not worried about it at all. At the end of the day, it’s a prop. If I’m in character, I would say Moose would love to be a world champion. Being a world champion is something Moose is set on doing in 2020. There is a pride in it. Outside of it, I’m just happy to be part of the story each week on TV.
This week, you return to Atlanta. You have a lot of history there with football and wrestling. How special is this city to you?
It’s very special. Fans know I pretty much call Atlanta home because I’ve lived the majority of my life in Atlanta over the years. As much as I’m the heel and the bad guy and expecting a babyface reaction when I come out, I don’t really want that. But every time I come through Atlanta, people are so supportive. It’s special here. I was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons. I spent four seasons here. I’ve lived 12 years of my life here. Atlanta holds a special place in my heart when I come back home.
Being a former professional football player, what are your thoughts on the XFL? Do you think it will succeed?
I have not watched one game, to be honest. I don’t know the teams or who all is playing in it. I’m never one to wish failure on anything. I hope Vince McMahon is more successful than he was the first time around because it’s giving more avenues to guys and more jobs for people to support their families. I hope it does great.
How do you see your relationship with Impact going forward? Do you see yourself continuing to help them develop the company long-term?
I’m in Impact for a little bit longer, at least. I’m happy where I’m at. I do believe Impact Wrestling is the place to be. It’s only going to get better.
If you could bring anyone from the outside to Impact right now, who would it be?
If I could bring anyone, it would have to be Jay Lethal. He is one of my really close friends who taught me a lot about being a professional in and out of the ring. I’ve had really good matches with him. I would definitely love for Impact to bring him in. I know his deal is up soon with Ring of Honor, so hopefully Impact offers him enough money to bring him in. I would love for him to be part of the roster. He will only make our company better.
Impact Wrestling, Tuesdays, 8/7c, AXS TV
Moose joins the other stars of Impact Wrestling for two nights of action March 6-7 at the Coca-Cola Roxy as part of its A-Town Beatdown. Visit Impact’s website for more details.