Joe Hendry: A real impact player
By Mike Pankow
August 26, 2018
Joe Hendry named The Rock and Chris Jericho as two of his biggest influences in him getting into professional wrestling.
IMPACT Wrestling’s newest sensation from Scotland is a natural on the microphone much like his idols. Hendry is perhaps best known for singing a customized entrance song to get under the skin of his opponent, like he did against Eli Drake on a recent episode of IMPACT on Pop.
“One of the cool things is IMPACT has really given me the creative freedom with this,” Hendry, 30, said during IMPACT Wrestling’s weekly teleconference last Thursday. “They trust me with this. When it comes to the stuff I do on the show, it’s a real collaborative process. Everybody is involved.”
Hendry said fans were clamoring for him to be paired with Drake as an opponent, because of both men’s ability to entertain on the microphone.
“It’s my job to make fun of Eli at every opportunity,” Hendry said. “All jokes aside, he’s a former world champion. He’s one of the most charismatic guys in the business right now. He has a star quality about him. I’ve challenged myself to step up to that level.”
Hendry’s star is quickly rising as he split a recent series of television matches with Drake. Upon arriving, he immediately impressed IMPACT brass Scott D’Amore, Don Callis and Ed Nordholm.
Currently, Hendry is paired with fellow Scot Grado and veteran women’s wrestler Katarina (fka Winter and Katie Lea Burchill). Initially the group consisted of just Grado and Katarina and Grado often referred to Katarina as “his girlfriend.” Then in May, Hendry joined them and the chubby and whimsical Grado appeared to get jealous of the attention the well-sculpted Hendry was getting from Katarina.
“I think it’s just a celebration of platonic friendship,” Hendry said of trio. “That’s really all it is. I know there’s some weird things being said about myself and Katarina, but I assure you we are just good friends.”
Hendry is more than just his singing and his looks – he’s also demonstrated heart and kindness.
At the recent IMPACT Wrestling TV tapings in Toronto, Hendry invited a 7-year boy named Steven Spice to accompany him to the ring for a match against veteran Canadian wrestler Tyson Dux. After Hendry defeated Dux, Hendry invited him into the ring and had Steven pin Dux as well.
Steven is no ordinary 7-year old. He has a Chiari malformation, a structural defect in the base of the skull and cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls balance. His cerebellum extends into the upper spinal canal, leading to a condition that could lead to symptoms including, but not limited to, neck pain, hearing or balance problems, muscle weakness or numbness and dizziness. Steven has endured several surgeries to help alleviate his condition.
“All he wanted was to come and be involved with IMPACT Wrestling,” Hendry said. “It was a lot of fun for him. You have all these landmark moments in your career. That was one of the biggest moments in my career.
“Moments like that just remind you the impact you can have on people, people who need our help. It was amazing just to be part of something like that. Steven had an amazing time. He asked me to autograph his shirt, then he wanted to autograph my shirt.”
Hendry said he plans to maintain contact with Steven and his family and adds the experience was “humbling.”
But Hendry is more than just a sports entertainer with a good heart, he’s smart (he holds a master’s degree in business) and he is a true athlete.
He has competed internationally in amateur wrestling, including in April’s Commonwealth Games. He lost to Austria’s Nicolaas Verrynne in the 97-kilogram (approximately 214 pounds) quarterfinals. Hendry also is a black belt in judo.
Hendry also names WWE and IMPACT Wrestling Hall of Famer Kurt Angle, who won a wrestling gold medal in the heavyweight division in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics for the United States, as another influence.
Growing up in Scotland, Hendry also watched and interacted with other stars in the United Kingdom such as William Regal, Stu Bennett (aka Wade Barrett) and Drew McIntyre.
“William Regal has been really helpful anytime I’ve had the chance to learn from him,” Hendry said. “He’s very generous in imparting knowledge to younger talent. I think Stu would be a huge acquisition for any company. He’s got that main-event experience.”
Hendry, a five-year veteran of the professional wrestling business, is excited to incorporate something different and exciting to IMPACT with his UK-influenced style.
“When you look at the British style of wrestling, it’s a beautiful style of wrestling. It’s smooth, it’s efficient, it’s believable,” he said. “I’m still a student of the game when it comes to that. I’m looking to bring a little bit of that to IMPACT Wrestling, something that’s a little different. I will never forget the influence that the UK has had on my wrestling career.”
Hendry is excited and optimistic about his future with IMPACT Wrestling, which has reshaped its roster over the last several months to include many fresh, international talents, and said his goal is to become world champion.
“Joining IMPACT has been a huge step in my career. It just feels like the right place and the right time,” Hendry said. “This is an environment where everyone is treated well. It’s a real positive place to be. I got the sense that they were going to let me be me.”