Hosts Jack E. Jones and One Inch Biceps welcomed A.J. Kirsch back for a return visit to IYH. A.J. was a participant during the 2011 season of Tough Enough on the USA Network and ended up placing fifth.
A.J. shared that most recently he has been posting a series of videos on his YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/iamajkirsch). He said it has been about a year since his experiences on Tough Enough and he has been doing a lot of thinking and reflecting and decided to use YouTube as a platform to vent his opinions, frustrations, and feelings. He said so far the response has been overwhelming and that he has more videos to come.
Jack asked A.J. about Tough Enough and was he surprised that Andy Leavine and Luke Robinson were the two finalists. He said he was not surprised that Luke was a finalist because he had been pretty consistent and he thought he would make a good heel because of his persona, but he felt that Martin Casaus would be the other finalist until Martin got hurt. A.J. felt that Martin’s injury both extended his stay on the show and opened a path for Andy to eventually win the competition. Jack said that he felt that Luke was robbed in the finals and A.J. shared that he would have chosen differently if the decision had been up to him. A.J. said there was a bit of controversy because Andy and Christina Crawford were already under contract to Florida Championship Wrestling (WWE development territory) prior to Tough Enough and because of that it gave the impression that the competition was pre-determined. He said in reality all Andy won from Tough Enough was job security and that he immediately put that in jeopardy by violating the WWE Wellness Policy last July. A.J. felt that was what started the ball rolling towards Andy’s eventual release from his WWE contract last month.
OIB asked a question as to whether A.J. had ever had any contact with the original Tough Enough winner Maven. A.J. said that he hadn’t, and the only Tough Enough alumni he met were John Morrison and The Miz. Jack asked if either of them gave A.J. any advice on how the other wrestlers would treat him if he ever got on the roster and A.J. said that he was told he would have to pay his dues tenfold before he would earn his spot. He mentioned this is why he has so much respect for The Miz because nothing was ever handed to him and he had to earn everything that he’s achieved.
Jack asked A.J. what went through his mind when he heard Andy had been cut. A.J. said he gets no pleasure from someone losing their job but it opens up opportunities for somebody like himself to step up and fill that position. He said he has been talking with Tough Enough trainer Bill DeMott and based on his advice he is looking to get some experience wrestling overseas in hopes of increasing his attractiveness to the WWE.
Jack referred to A.J.’s YouTube channel and asked if he felt that Zack Ryder’s success with his online show may have opened up chances for others to self-promote themselves and get on TV. A.J. said that he felt that Zack Ryder’s YouTube channel is one of the reasons why the WWE has gone so heavy into social networking with the talking about Twitter and Facebook and putting their pre-PPV matches on YouTube. A.J. went on to say that social media is a great way to promote yourself and you get out of it just as much as you put in.
A.J. then shared his experiences from the 2012 Cauliflower Alley Club Reunion. He talked about getting to talk with Steve Austin and Bill DeMott and that they were both OK with his YouTube videos. He also shared that this was the first Cauliflower Alley Club Reunion he had attended and that he would go back in the future because he learned a lot and it was a lot of fun getting to meet some of the legends of the wrestling business.
A.J. then answered questions on a variety of topics:
- Would you pursue TNA and Ring of Honor as a means of getting experience?
A.J. said at this point he is looking to get as much experience as he can and is reaching out for every bit of work he can get.
- How do you feel about Tough Enough not being renewed?
A.J. said that was news to him if that actually was the case. As far as he knows, Tough Enough 2 will be on hold until the WWE network has been launched because they are going to need a lot of programming to fill an entire network full of entertainment and Tough Enough would be the reality vehicle for that network.
- Was there any trainer on Tough Enough whose opinion you did not respect?
A.J. said he respected everyone’s opinion because it was impossible not to considering those involved with the show (Steve Austin, Booker T, Trish Stratus, and Bill DeMott) had done it all in the wrestling business.
- What is your opinion of the Funkasaurus Brodus Clay?
A.J. brought up the fact that he had been squashed on “WWE Superstars” by a pre-Funkasauras Brodus. He said that the first time he saw the “Funkasaurus” character he walked out of the room because Brodus had been billed as a monster for so long and he thought nobody would now be able to take him seriously. He does admit it is a fun gimmick and it’s hard not to enjoy it because it looks like Brodus is having a great time doing it. He did admit, however, that it drives him nuts that Ariane Andrew, who was the first person eliminated from Tough Enough, is now on RAW every week as one of Brodus’ dancers.
The interview closed with Jack thanking A.J. for being on the show and with A.J. again promoting his YouTube channel as well as his Twitter and Facebook accounts.
This interview is available for listening at