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Pandemic Forces Impact Wrestling to Get Creative and Moose Capitalizes

Past, meet present.

Moose is the “Real World’s Champion.”

The narrative isn’t new, but an integral piece of wrestling is taking pieces from the past to create a more compelling present. And with the (actual) Impact World Champion Tessa Blanchard missing television tapings due to travel complications, one of the more fascinating storylines in wrestling is Moose bringing back the big gold TNA Championship to Impact Wrestling.

“It’s entertaining now and it’s only going to get better,” said Quinn Ojinnaka, who is better known as Moose. “Looking back on my career, I’ve learned a lot from Cody Rhodes. I listened every time he said, ‘Do the work.’ I pride myself on that. That’s the goal every day: strive to be better today than I was yesterday. Working on my craft is the reason I am where I am right now.”

Ojinnaka has had some successful moments in wrestling, both in Ring of Honor and Impact, and he certainly can perform in the ring. But the foundation for his current success, and the reason he has the potential to elevate himself even higher, is his charisma.

Following a run of championing himself as “Mr. Impact Wrestling,” Ojinnaka has now changed course and embraced a different side of his personality. Instead of the babyface who defended Impact, he is now on a quest to wreak havoc in the company as the egotistical, self-centered—and self-anointed—TNA Champion.

“When I found out I was going to be a heel, I wanted to be different,” said Ojinnaka. “I feel like my first few years in professional wrestling, I wrestled the way I thought a big guy should. But that’s not what defines me. I am a combination of a powerhouse and a chicken s--- heel. That’s not always a combination you see, but that’s who I am.”

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Moose’s current story is a perfect example of necessity being the mother of invention. Impact’s creative team wanted a world title match at its recent two-part Rebellion special on AXS TV, but that proved complicated with Blanchard unable to attend—so the decision was made to have Moose announce himself as TNA World Champion.

The story has plenty of possibilities, which was apparent two weeks ago when Impact opened with an over-the-top, heavily edited montage of former TNA stars appearing to wax poetically about Moose’s star power and in-ring ability.

“The genius behind that was Eric Tompkins,” said Ojinnaka, referring to Impact’s Director of TV Production. “It was an incredible idea. Once I heard it, I knew we had to do it.”

Moose showed off his in-ring prowess last week on Impact in a victory against Suicide, and he is set to cut a promo tonight challenging someone to step up for his title. This run is his opportunity to finally show he is the complete package, and a combination of personality, charisma, and hunger have positioned him right on the precipice of his first-ever world title run in Imapct.

“With every opportunity thrown my way, I’ve been able to grow as a talent,” said Ojinnaka. “This is the opportunity I’ve always wanted. Management here has a lot of faith in me, and every time I succeed, they keep giving me more opportunities.

“You can’t be scared in this business. I’ve been taking more chances. So far, it’s been working out great.”

Justin Barrasso can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.