A true staple in the presentation of IMPACT Wrestling week in and week out has been Rohit Raju. The former X-Division Champion has carved himself a strong reputation in the ring and an even stronger persona out of it.
Joseph Galizia of Wrestling Headlines conducted an interview with “The Mocha Skinned Manimal” and a great deal of X-Division’s past and present was touched upon. Raju had one strong particular candidate as to who epitomizes the belt’s rich history.
“I think AJ Styles right off the bat. I think a when I first started watching TNA Impact, he was the guy,” Rohit said. “I didn’t know who he was, you know what I mean? He was just I was like, Who is this dude? And he was honestly phenomenal. The stuff he was doing and then watching him grow into who he is today as a fan. It’s awesome. It’s awesome to see that. I loved Petey Williams run as X-Division champion. I loved watching Chris (Sabin). I loved Low Ki. I loved the stuff between Christopher Daniels, Samoa Joe and AJ.”
Raju is very pleased with how diverse the competition is in the X-Division’s current landscape and mentions TJP right off the bat.
“As far as today goes, TJ brings a whole different level of experience to the conversation. I think a lot of people don’t realize that the guy’s been wrestling for 22 years. He’s been absolutely everywhere. He’s been a huge mentor to me backstage. I’ve learned so much, my competence level has improved so much, just from being in the ring with him and talking with him and listening to his philosophy of professional wrestling. He’s been a huge impact on my life. As far as my career. I love the fact that Chris Bey is a young up and comer, he’s so over and the people love him. He has his own style. He has his own swag. I love to see that. Ace Austin…he’s back on top…the King of the Mountain. Two-time X-Division champion. Then you mix Josh Alexander in there who I think is the future of the company right there. I think the guy can be World Champion tomorrow. If they wanted it. I think he could go in the ring with absolutely anybody. So I think the exhibition is fine. Um, I like to when you were talking about my style, I want to be different.”
Raju is a one time X-Division Champ, but firmly believes he’s ready for reign two. He believes that first run with the belt was a great way to catch eyes on his capabilities.
“I think it was an eye opener for a lot of people. I was already ready to be in that position, I wanted to be in that position, I wanted that smoke, I wanted that pressure. So me being able to cut promos go out there and have these matches. That’s what I wanted. So I was in my comfort zone, I was ready to show them and everybody else that I deserve to be able to have a seat at the big table. I loved it. I thought it like I said, I thought I proved a lot of people wrong. I thought I opened a lot of eyes. I showed the world that I can be a player and I am a player at Impact Wrestling, especially on the mic. There’s not anybody… I’m gonna say.. there’s not anybody on the roster that is touching on that microphone. And I think a lot of in the world of professional wrestling, there’s not too many people that are touching me on that microphone. Does the rest of the world see that? No, I still think there’s a lot of people sleeping on me. And they’ll continuously sleep on me until there’s a huge wake up call.”
Transcription credit should go to Joseph Galizia of Wrestling Headlines
Check out the full interview below: