I spoke to former TNA Television Champion Gunner recently about his time in TNA, his exit from the company, as well as his plans now that he's a free agent. You can check out the full interview below, as well as part one at this link.
You feuded with Eric Bischoff's son when you came in. What were your feelings on that and the Hogan-Bischoff era as a whole?
"I enjoyed Hogan and Bischoff, being able to work with them. It was a chance to learn from them from a TV side, that part I loved. I don't get into the politics, but there were so many missed opportunities to push younger guys. You could still use them as the centerpiece, but push younger guys around Immortal. There were times they would kind of start giving me the ball, like with the TV title or me and James Storm's feud, and after that it was an undercut and I was gone again.
"Garrett and I get along and we were good friends. I feel like there was more we could have done to make that feud better. He had literally just started training just before we began our program, so it was a rough spot for me to be in as a new guy in the company and Garrett was really green. We did a lot of stuff on house shows together, too. Fans weren't really behind me as a heel or Garrett as a babyface, so it was a hard position to be in, but we made the best we could out of it."
Was that a worrisome thing? You're in there with the boss' son.
"No, I never worried about that. Me and Garrett have a friendship and me and Eric always got along. He always believed in Gunner as a character, and was very easily approachable. Garrett's a man's man and will get into a bar fight in a heartbeat, so when it came to taterin' each other, I never worried about it. Not like I was in the back going to beat the crap out of him, and he definitely didn't complain. He was always super cool."
You also worked with another polarizing character in Sam Shaw. What did you feel about the character, and the storyline that was going on there?
"Man, I loved it. He's a friend of mine, we still talk. Him getting released right before me just sucks. We took the opportunity after the James Storm feud to take two young guys in a feud. But they built vignettes around us for weeks, and it was storytelling. It was different. There was a different side of Gunner, and Sam Shaw had a chance to tweak the creepy gimmick. He took that gimmick and did far more than they expected him to do with it. Sam in real life is an artist. He draws, he's smart when it comes to character development. I thought there was another lost opportunity when we had that match in December. He's one of my favorite guys to work with, and another I feel like has a lot of potential in the business.
You also tagged with James Storm, what was that like for you?
"That was me coming back after an 8 month hiatus. I think that 8 months off was good, because it revamped the whole Immortal Gunner to bringing back the military Gunner. They put the titles on us really fast. I've always been a tag team wrestling fan and James knows what he's doing. The feud with him was another great opportunity, that feud I needed in my career to build me as a singles guy. James helped me a lot with that, getting better. His promos are always on point, so you gotta be ready to keep up with him in the ring. Bringing my Dad into it was a lot of real life emotion. It took me to a main event against Magnus where James turned on me, and then me and James had a really good I quit match and it helped catapult me, and I thought it would catapult me further, but it seems like a recurring theme where they'd cut me down and use someone else instead of me."
Have you spoke to any of the other talents that left TNA recently?
"Yeah, me and Sam Shaw speak almost every day. We're good friends when it comes to wrestling, bodybuilding, nutrition, anything. Me and Magnus keep in touch together. That's really about the only two I keep in touch with. I do shows in Virgina where Magnus and Mickie James live. We're all three young guys, and have good opportunities with Ring of Honor, WWE, the doors are just opening up with us."
What are your post-TNA plans?
"Ever since I was 5, this is what I wanted to do, so I'm already living my dream. I have independent appearances, I do quite a few auditions for television appearances in LA and Atlanta. My main goal is WWE. If I try and they say no, so be it, but I still want that WrestleMania moment. You look at Owens and Balor, well known guys on the indies, they know how to take these guys, young talent, and build them into bigger stars. I have to try WWE."
Why do you think this huge pool of talent is gone from TNA all at once?
"That's a good question. I don't know the whole inside scoop on the TV situation, if they're getting pulled, if they're trying to save money. It's hard to tell. When you have the caliber of guys that have left over the last month, it makes you wonder. Those are some guys that the company had been built around, so you wonder what the future of the company is. I pray that it's good, I don't want to see any wrestling company fail. It's better for business when there's more around and I have friends with families still there."
Do you think TNA will be on Destination America in October?
"I think so. What I heard was that if they keep their ratings up, they'll be ok. I don't follow the big ratings thing, but they seem to stay about the same, but I hope they stay on. Seemed like Destination America put a lot of time and money into us when we signed there. To cut Impact within a year doesn't make sense to me."
What was the conference call like after the ROH/Destination America announcement? I'd heard there was a lot of frustration on the call.
"Yeah, there was. And I think it had been building up since the Spike TV stuff last year. We were all very cordial. I just kind of sat back and listened to the questions. I think it was a lot of guys just wondering why Destination America couldn't put out one tweet about it. Why couldn't they have put out a small tweet about keeping Impact? A lot of the guys were worried, I was worried. I'm not as much anymore because I'm not with the company, but I have buddies that still work there. There's still frustration going on there I'm sure."
There were rumors that Spike had an interest in buying a stake in the company, that Jeff Jarrett and Toby Keith wanted to buy the company, did you all hear that and how did you feel about it?
"I heard a little bit about the Toby Keith thing. He's been around a long time, so having a guy like that with a substantial bit of money. The Jarrett thing, I'd just heard he was putting on his own promotion, Global Force Wrestling. There were rumors here and there, but we never believed anything until it happened. Obviously you had Jeff show up at Slammiversary that has people speculating. There's so much going on with that company you literally don't know what to believe until it's put out there by Impact Wrestling or Dixie Carter."
Is Global Force and option for you, and have you had any conversations with them?
"Oh yeah. I have a good relationship with Jeff. He's the one that really helped get me a look when I started with Impact. He's a smart business man, he knows what he's doing. If he contacted me about doing some shows, I'd love to do some stuff with him."
Do you have any shows coming up?
"I have bookings all the way through September. I always tweet my schedule as well. I'm doing a big Peach State Festival in South Carolina, I go to Korea at the end of August for a military appearance."
What other projects do you have coming up?
"I have the Navy Seals vs. Zombies coming out in October. I finished another one up called Carter in June, it's supposed to be released on Netflix and DVD early next year. I'm doing a signing on the 15th and 16th in the New York/New Jersey area which I'll tweet out, and I'm headed to the UK again for Fight Nation Wrestling on November 6. UK fans are great, very welcoming. I'm always posting my stuff on social media. I also like doing speaking engagements with kids, and youths and athletes and churches."
Where can fans follow you on social media?
"My Twitter is Gunner_ChadLail. I use my wrestling and my real name because of the acting and professional wrestling. My Instagram is the same thing, and my Facebook is Chad Lail. There are a few fakes, but you can always send me a message."