Last week we had to pull an article with Matt Striker. We apologize. But we went out and got a hold of AJ Kirsch who is making some noise himself. He is on the upward swing of his career. You might remember him from WWE’s Tough Enough with Stone Cold Steve Austin. He was also a candidate for TNA’s Gut Check. Kirsch is an independent wrestler and promotes Hoodslam Wrestling. While he did not grow up strictly Jewish per say, his father’s whole family is Jewish and he was just interviewed by Larry King (so that’s cool). Kirsch is an extremely nice and entertaining guy. Here is what he had to say:
1) Tell TGR a little bit about yourself? What was your Jewish upbringing like?
Well, my Dad and his entire family is Jewish, but we went to church as kids because my mom was far more involved in religion than my Dad was. Gotta keep Mom happy! (laughs)
2) First recall you on Tough Enough; did you wrestle before that? If so, where and what was your training?
I did. I’ve been performing as a professional wrestler since 2005. And when I say “professional wrestler,” I mean the kind on TV. Not to be confused with mixed-martial arts (MMA) fighting. Signing with WWE has been the dream since I was 12.
Training was absolutely brutal. I remember taking my very first bump, which is wrestling jargon for taking a fall, and I just remember thinking “This hurts so bad! I’m not sure I wanna do this anymore.” But I kept coming back because I had made up my mind that that’s what I wanted to do.
3) What was the Tough Enough experience like? Do you keep in touch with any of those guys?
Tough Enough was absolutely surreal, an experience I treasure to this day. Just getting a chance to learn under some of the greatest to ever lace a pair of boots is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. There were moments when I literally had to remind myself out loud that I wasn’t dreaming.
I became good friends with Eric Watts. Martin Casaus and I have also become friends since the show. I keep in pretty regular contact with those guys.
4) Said story about the eventual winner, Andy Levine (not sure if he is Jewish too). Are any of the competitors still wrestling?
I think most, if not all of the competitors who were in a ring prior to Tough Enough are still wrestling.
5) You were up for TNA’s Gut Check. What was that like? Will we ever see you in a TNA ring?
TNA Gut Check was just a way to keep my name out there, keep people talking. It was humbling to see how many people on my social media networks supported me throughout the competition, but I sincerely doubt you’re going to see me in a TNA ring any time soon, if ever.
6) You were recently one with Larry King. How was that experience?
Another surreal experience that I never thought would actually happen. It’s always something special to meet someone who is the best in the world at something, and this was no exception. I was really nervous just moments before the interview, but once we started talking, it was like it was just me and him.
7) If you could get in the ring with Randy “Macho Man” Savage, Goldberg, or Kevin Nash who would it be and why (note they are all Jewish)?
Probably Kevin Nash. I have a blast wrestling big guys.
8) Have is the best wrestler you have had the chance to be in the ring with? What was that like?
I actually got in the ring and rolled around with both “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and The Rock on WWE Tough Enough. Don’t make me choose! (laughs)
9) Whats next for AJ Kirsch?
I’m concentrating mostly on building Hoodslam, an Oakland-based wrestling promotion that’s kind of the antithesis of the WWE. Hoodslam has me more excited about professional wrestling than anything I’ve ever been a part of.
10) Anything else you’d like to share with the TGR world?
Yeah, I encourage everyone to follow me on Twitter @AJKirsch. I also accept all friend requests on Facebook (www.Facebook.com/AJKirsch). Thanks for having me!
Thank you to Kirsch for his time. He is a great guy and we appreciate it. Big things ahead and we look forward to seeing him in the ring.
And Let Us Say…Amen.
– Jeremy Fine