He’s set the United Kingdom on fire as one of the most talked-about wrestlers not signed to a major North American promotion. Now, Joe Hendry no longer falls into that category as he’s inked a deal with IMPACT Wrestling and will debut inside the IMPACT ring in the next few weeks.
For Joe Hendry, the spark to become part of pro wrestling began when he was young.
“I only got absolutely addicted when I was actually about 14 or 15 and it was all I could think about. When I was in school, supposed to be listening to the teacher, I’m thinking about different suplexes and things like that. I just never thought it was possible. I thought it was an unachievable goal.”
Hendry didn’t immediately pursue his dream, though it was always in the back of his mind, nagging at him until he just couldn’t take it anymore.
“It was New Year’s Eve going into 2013, and I said to myself, I can’t be satisfied with my life unless I go for this dream. And I decided that first of January 2013 I was going to give every single ounce of my being to achieving this dream.”
Hendry began his training at the Source Wrestling School with notable British headliners like Big Damo (now Killian Dain), Robbie Brookside and Marty Jones. He established himself with Glasgow’s Insane Championship Wrestling, and later Defiant Pro Wrestling.
It wasn’t long before Hendry had captured the attention of the rabid UK fan base, not just for his in-ring performances but also the virtuoso entrance themes and videos. These extravagant productions simultaneously served to slam his opponent and aggrandize himself. Hendry, a trained musician who was at one point being courted by Sony Music, produced these often-elaborate music videos in the vein of “Weird” Al Yankovic or The Lonely Island with basic recording equipment and the help of his brother.
“Basically how it works is we use my phone, me and my brother sit down for an hour, talk about our opponent, talk about some stuff we find funny, shoot the shots that we need, I take it back to the computer and I just cut it up. As for the song, it’s just me by my laptop, tiny little MIDI keyboard playing the chords, and trying to think about what works.”
“The first one I did was my original song, and then I started doing parodies of famous songs. I’ve done ‘Wrecking Ball,’ I’ve done ‘Bohemian Rhapsody.’ I did that one in front of 6,000 people with all their hands waving.”
Hendry considers his unique themes as much an art form as what he does in the ring. “With the entrance videos, it’s a weird style of comedy because you have to deliver the joke, and then you need to give a few seconds of almost nothing happening for the audience to digest what’s happening. You need to be able to see the reactions of the people that are involved and then go to the next joke. So they almost have to be designed with these peaks and valleys very carefully. It’s this unique, weird comedy thing that I’ve brought to wrestling.”
With Hendry rising the ranks, he re-dubbed himself “The Prestigious One,” and as he indeed grew in prestige, it would soon be “Local Hero” against “American Hero.”
“I got to main event a pay-per-view against Kurt Angle, with Jim Ross and Jim Cornette calling the action. It was kinda one of those moments where I had all my family there, and I was like, ‘This is getting pretty real now.’”
“I gave up my day job and just started focusing on everything to do with being a wrestler.”
Hendry set his sights on worldwide success, which you’d think would be enough of a challenge on its own. But in the midst of this, Hendry also decided to begin competing in amateur freestyle wrestling, sparked by a challenge made in a BBC Three documentary. It didn’t take him long to seamlessly make the leap.
“I started that at 26, and by 29 I’d become the British Champion.”
Hendry competed on Team Scotland at the recent Commonwealth Games held on the Gold Coast, Australia, and proudly wears his amateur accolades on his trunks. “I’ve got the Scottish flag at the front, and then on the side I’ve got 2017 with the British Championship and then 2018 with the English Open Championship.”
“There’s a lot of personal sacrifice. I don’t see my loved ones a whole lot. It can be tough at times. It can be quite a lonely place when you’re in pursuit of this goal because nowadays, I’m training multiple times a day, I’m doing four shows a week, and I’m a Twitch partner as well. On top of my five gym sessions and six or seven cardio sessions, I’ve got my freestyle time on the mat, and my schedule is full. I just wouldn’t have it any other way.”
The greatest accomplishment of all, Hendry says, is joining the IMPACT Wrestling roster. “When I announced that I was going to be starting with the company, the response was huge. I knew people would like it but I didn’t realize that level of response. People seemed to really dig it. I put up this little teaser video of just a few seconds of what my entrance theme was gonna be and it got 50,000 views within a day.”
“I feel extremely proud. I’ve been following this product since 2003 and I remember watching it from the very first shows with AJ Styles, Jeff Jarrett and Ken Shamrock. I’ve watched it through all the incarnations, and now to think that we’re here in a situation where IMPACT Wrestling is allowing me to be creative, do my thing and show my personality… I recognize the investment that they’re giving me and how valuable the TV time is, and I intend on taking that ball and running with it. I’m delighted and excited to be here, and I recognize the magnitude of the opportunity I’ve got here.”
As one of the most hotly-tipped international talents to ever enter IMPACT Wrestling, Joe Hendry comes in with high expectations – not just of fans, but of himself. And the former have already begun fantasizing about the marquee matches Hendry could be part of.
“In terms of dream matches, where do you begin? There’s so many. My dream match is with whoever the champion is because I want to be the champion. That’s my goal. So whoever’s got the belt, that’s my absolute dream match.”
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