Impact Wrestling star Chris Bey talks winning the X-Division Championship, his opportunity to regain it tonight, his upcoming EP, and much more.
Back on June 18, 2020, we witnessed the 16th annual Slammiversary as Impact Wrestling presented their premiere summer pay-per-view.
While most people were talking about surprise appearances by Heath, Eric Young, EC3, Luke Gallows, and Karl Anderson, the night also saw Chris Bey secure a huge win by defeating Willie Mack for the X-Division Championship and his first taste of gold in Impact Wrestling.
At only 24 years old, Chris Bey already has four years of in-ring experience and over 150 matches on his resume. Exactly four months to the day after Impact Wrestling announced he had been signed by the company, Chris Bey walked out of Slammiversary 2020 as the X-Division Champion.
X-Division = Finesse Division
While he only held the title for one month before losing it to Rohit Raju on night one of Impact Wrestling Emergence, there’s a chance he could recapture that title tonight. When I spoke to Chris Bey ahead of tonight’s episode, he first discussed how it felt to capture the title on a stage like Slammiversary.
“It was a dream come true. I always wanted to be the X-Division Champion. I dreamed about that moment from a very young age, and I always was a huge mark for the show Slammiversary in itself. So, for me to come in and fight for the championship at Slammiversary and win the championship at Slammiversary 2020, it’s something that will never be taken away from me,” Bey said.
“It’s something that will be written in the history books forever,” he continued. “For it to be the perfect time and the perfect place and against the perfect opponent, and even to have my own spin on it where I have this gimmick of ‘The Ultimate Finesser,’ and being able to call it ‘The Finesse Division,’ everything just fell into place perfectly. I think I’m very blessed to have had that moment for myself and had it on such a grand stage that, once again, it’ll never be taken away from me.”
The X-Division Championship is a critical part of the history and legacy of Impact Wrestling, going back to the TNA days, and the list of former X-Division Champions includes some legendary names in this industry. When we spoke, I asked Chris Bey if there was any other champion whose legacy he tried to live up to during his reign.
“Not at all. I try never to compare myself to anyone, because everyone is great in their own ways. Some people hold the championship for a year and they’re considered the greatest of all time, and some people have a reign of three or four weeks or a day, and people still remember it when they were a champion and it’s significant to them,” he said. “My main goal for everything I do is to provide memories for people within whatever time frame I’m given, or whatever I have to provide it for people, where they remember that for whatever reason and it’s sentimental to them.”
“So, I don’t try to live up to anybody’s expectations. I’d rather just make sure that I’m happy with what I’m doing and that people are enjoying it, and I think people did enjoy it. For the moment that it lasted, I think people enjoyed it. So I enjoyed it,” Bey said.
When Rohit Raju proposed his addition to the X-Division Title contest at Emergence to watch Bey’s back, the champion accepted and added him to the match only to lose the title to Raju that same night. Considering the way things ultimately went down, I asked Bey if he regretted adding Raju to the mix at Emergency.
“I don’t regret it because I try not to regret things, but I learned from it. You can’t be ‘The Ultimate Finesser’ until you’ve been finessed, right? For me to let my guard down so easily, I learned a valuable lesson,” he said. “We’ll see as my career continues and I win the World Championship and get put in more scenarios where there are targets on my back, we’ll see how that scenario has taught me in the future and see how I change and adapt my style.”
“There’s a difference between he and I, because I gave Willie his rematch the first night, and Rohit’s still been dodging me and ducking me,” Bey continued. “Rohit was tryin’ to get TJP to come in and compete for the championship. I was so relaxed about it. He’s scared. He’s runnin’ wild. He’s makin’ everybody else face each other. I’m the real fighting champion. I’m the guy. So I don’t regret anything. I just know that when I get my hands on him, he’s gonna regret what he did. He’s gonna regret taking this time for his 15 minutes of fame.”
On tonight’s episode of Impact Wrestling, Chris Bey may finally get his hands on Raju. If he can defeat TJP and Trey in a triple threat, he’ll then face Rohit Raju for the X-Division Title. Chris Bey discussed some of the things he’s been doing to prepare for tonight’s opportunity.
“I’ve been in the gym twice a day making sure that I’m getting my workouts in, making sure that my cardio is up, because I know how fast both these athletes are. I know how sneaky Rohit is, so I’m keeping my eyes open to everything,” he said. “I’m working on my agility, my timing, my submission escapes, because I’ve unfortunately tapped out at the hands of TJP. I’ve seen what Trey did. I saw how he beat TJP, so I’m watching for aerial attacks. I’m just keeping my eyes on the game.”
“I was very close to the monitor watching TJP and Trey have their one-on-one match, and I was studying every single mistake they made,” Bey said. “Every single counter of each other’s that they had shows me that there’s a way out of everything that they do, and I will show in that triple threat match that not only am I the better man, but I am the rightful champion. And Rohit, I’m going to beat him when we go one-on-one, there’s no doubt in my mind. It’s gonna happen, because I’m ready for him. There’s nothing he can do to possibly catch me off my game, because I am the whole system.”
Over the last year, we’ve seen Impact Wrestling show their willingness to embrace intergender wrestling. When we spoke, I asked Chris Bey if there was anyone in the Knockouts Division he’d like to see transition into the X-Division and potentially share the ring with.
“I love intergender wrestling myself, and we have so many talented Knockouts that I could easily say I’d love to see them all here. Taya Valkyrie herself is the longest reigning Knockouts Champion, so for her to come in, that would be pretty crazy,” he said. “Jordynne Grace is pretty impressive, pretty strong. I know she could probably handle her own in this division. Kylie Rae, I would love to wrestle Kylie Rae. She has proven how much of a talented performer she is all across the board. The three of those come to mind off the top.”
Competing during COVID
We’ve seen the industry adapt due to the ongoing global pandemic, and Impact Wrestling is no different as they’ve continued to host their shows without a live audience. Chris Bey took a moment to discuss how he’s felt at these events, and the challenges of wrestling without a crowd.
“It’s great,” he said when asked about safety precautions being taken. “They take care of us really well, and we’re all super safe. I don’t feel any concerns at all or at risk. They do a great job of just making sure that we all are handled to the best of everyone’s capability.”
“I think I’ve adjusted really well,” Bey said of working without a live audience. “I think the first maybe two performances were a little awkward for me, not as far as actually execution, but it was just different. It took a little getting used to, but I’m used to it. There’s been indie shows that I’ve been on where I’ve been in the main event, and when I walk out there’s three people sitting in the crowd. So for me, it’s nothing new to perform in front of no one, but I know that regardless of whether we have fans in attendance or not, there’s more people watching at home than there ever will be in attendance.”
“So, it’s important that I master my skills and performance for that at-home audience, and I think I’ve done a really good job adjusting to it and letting my character and my persona shine throughout that,” he continued. “Being able to be more vocal in the ring and talk more trash, at Slammiversary there’s this moment where I’m talking and I’m calling Willie Mack ‘Willie Whack,’ and people loved that type of stuff right there, but if a crowd was there, not to say that it was impossible for that to happen, but maybe I would’ve said it but it wouldn’t have even audible got through, but now people have extra audio and they’re able to listen to that, and I think that’s helping enhance my character.”
Dark Dreams and Shiny Things
At only 24 years old, Chris Bey already has plenty of tattoos adorning his body. I took a moment to ask him if fans could expect any new ones coming soon, and he insisted people need to watch at Impact Wrestling Bound for Glory, also known as Bey for Glory.
“I will not tell you what it will be, but I will tell you that if my schedule goes correctly you will see it unveiled at Bound for Glory, or as I like to call it Bey for Glory. So I will tell you that, and I will let you know the artist will be Cleen Rock One,” Bey said. “He’s a very talented artist. He’s been on Inkmaster on Spike TV a handful of times. He’s one of the best in the world. He’s done some of my tattoos before, and I’m very excited to work with him again and just create a super original piece, and like I said, if everything goes as scheduled you’ll see it at Bound for Glory, at Bey for Glory.”
While most fans see his creativity expressed on Impact Wrestling either backstage or in the ring, Chris Bey is also an accomplished musician. He’s already released a handful of singles, and he took a moment to discuss when fans should be on the lookout for his upcoming EP “Dark Dreams and Shiny Things.”
“There’s no date on it currently. Possibly winter time, because I feel like a lot of these songs have that winter feel to it where maybe you’re bundled up in your covers or maybe you’ve got your hoodie on, got your jumper on, it’s that type of vibe. So I’m most likely looking for the winter time, and it’s gonna be on all platforms,” he said. “It’s gonna be on Spotify, Apple Music, iHeart Radio, Pandora, Tidal, YouTube. Wherever you listen to your music, it’ll be available for you. Whatever streaming platform you have. I will be promoting mostly the Spotify and Apple Music links, but it’ll be everywhere. You can probably look for it this upcoming winter, it’s titled Dark Dreams and Shiny Things. So it’ll be pretty cool.”
More than just a great wrestler
In his relatively young career, “The Ultimate Finesser” Chris Bey has only recently begun to experience what it’s like to be a signed talent rather than a free agent. He took a moment to discuss how that different has helped him invest in his character and showcase a different side of himself.
“It’s great, because I now have storylines that I can invest myself in, and promos and segments, which is stuff that I love to do. I love to get my persona over and show people that I can talk. Which is something that a couple companies on the independents have picked up on and have given me a live microphone and let me talk,” he said.
“I can talk, and I love to talk, and this has given me that platform to do something, because over the course of my career it was a lot of ‘oh, this man’s a great wrestler, he’s a great wrestler.’ I’m a great character. I’m a great performer. I’m a great sports entertainer,” Bey said. “People just don’t get to see that on the indies, because there’s not a lot of opportunities for that. There’s not a lot of segments. There’s not a lot of this, but now people get to see me backstage in my locker room, or they get to see me interact with this superstar. Now it just really gives me a chance weekly on a television platform to show that I belong on television and I’m the whole package, not just a great wrestler.”
Moving forward, fans can catch Chris Bey on Impact Wrestling tonight, and fans based in the UK now have another way to do that. On top of US fans being able to watch for free on Twitch, Impact Wrestling is now available for free to UK fans via the free tier of the Impact Plus app. Bey talked about the importance of that move, and how it’ll help people see what they’re all about.
“Oh, they’re real pivotal because that’s the whole issue that a lot of people have is that they don’t know how to access or they don’t know where to see it. Maybe they don’t have access, so they can’t watch on Tues-Bey nights,” he said. “Maybe they didn’t know that it was on Twitch, so they can’t just log onto Twitch and check it out. For it to be available on the Impact Plus app now, it gives that ability for people to tune in and see what they’ve been missin’ out and see what the talk is about.”
“If they’re given an opportunity where they can check it out, and for free, of course they’re gonna see a kick ass show. We’ve got the best show out there, so they’re gonna see it and become a fan. It’s just about having it available to them, and now that it’s available it’s gonna be a gamechanger,” Bey said.
As our conversation came to a close, the former X-Division Champion took a moment to speak directly to his fans before making sure people know to stay tuned to Impact Wrestling moving forward to see what the company and “The Ultimate Finesser” still have in store for everyone.
“Of course I always shout out to all my fans all around the world. Wherever you’re at, I just appreciate the support. I appreciate the love and energy for me being able to do what I wanted to do when I was a kid, and me doing it now and entertaining people,” he said. “Whether you like me or you hate me, I want everyone to stay tuned because every time I’m out there I give it my all, and I only plan on evolving and taking it to the next level every single opportunity that I’m given. So if you think that we’re doing something impressive now, just know that we haven’t even scratched the surface to what we’re gonna do, and you can see me on Tues-Bey nights. AXS and Twitch and the Impact Plus app. It’s about to get real crazy.”
“If you think that coming in and winning the X-Division Championship at Slammiversary in six months or so, if you thought that was impressive, stay tuned, because I’m ready to just level up,” Bey continued. “And I’m doin’ it for the people, and I wanna be that representation for people who were like me. Who were maybe a belt mark, or maybe a super wrestling fan who people say ‘you can’t make it there if you’re this’ or ‘you can’t do that if you’re this.’ I feel like I’m the living proof for that. So if you are similar to who I am, and you can look back at my old YouTube days and see what I’ve come from. If you are anything like me, don’t be afraid to be yourself, because the sky is not the limit. There is no limit. You can be whatever you wanna be. Just keep proving yourself and be authentic.”
Check out Impact Wrestling tonight on Twitch, AXS TV, or the free tier of the Impact Plus app (for UK fans) to see Chris Bey challenge TJP and Trey in hopes of challenging and defeating Rohit Raju to reclaim the X-Division Championship.