After nearly 14 years as a pro wrestler, Brian Cage, finally claimed his first world championship at a major promotion by winning the Impact World Title. He defeated Johnny Impact at Rebellion despite suffering a brutal back injury during the match.
Cage spoke to Wrestling Inc. on their WINCLY podcast about winning the title and how it feels to be the face of Impact Wrestling.
"It's awesome and I can't believe it's real. This is the aspiration and goal for anyone and everyone in our business. I've always been asked, even during the whole program with John, people were asking me 'Why haven't you won the big won?' That was the million-dollar question as it never happened and I never really got the opportunity," said Cage.
"Not being able to compete and defended the title as regularly as I'd like [because of the injury] is a bummer, but it's awesome. I'm very thankful."
Cage was hurt during a spot at Rebellion but continued and finished the match. He discussed the injury and his initial thoughts after the pain set in.
"It happened during the Spanish Fly onto the floor. We get hurt a lot and I was differentiating between being hurt and being injured," revealed Cage. "I kept thinking, 'Maybe it will subside. Maybe it will subside.' But there was no subsiding."
Cage said he thought he ruptured a disc and was terrified. He even thought that he would need surgery and that his career could be over.
"The initial injury was caused by the Spanish Fly onto the floor off the stage and that powerbomb afterwards [from Michael Elgin] didn't help either," admitted Cage.
In situations like this, the referee will often stop the match or go for a quick finish to end it early. However, Cage wanted to finish the match as planned.
"I feel like a lot of people wanted the match to stop except me," stated Cage. "I was like, 'No, no, no. We're gonna see this thing through the end.'"
Impact EVP Ed Nordholm accompanied Cage to the hospital even though Cage was initially unaware that Nordholm was even there.
"He was the one who drove us there and he stayed until we left," Cage said of Nordholm driving he and his crew to the hospital. "Ed's real cool and funny. He's a very easygoing guy and very easy to talk to. Real chill, real relaxed. It's really cool that he took us and tried to make us as comfortable as possible while we were there.
"In the heat of it, I was in so much pain and so tired and so hungry that it didn't even really hit me until after the fact [that Nordholm was at the hospital]."
Cage is eager to defend his title and he revealed what his recovery timeline looks like.
"I don't know when I'm gonna return, but my goal and hope is to be back by Slammiversary," Cage said of the July 7 event.
Cage also talked about recently gutting it out and competing at Warrior Wrestling in a cage match against Austin Aries and Wardlow.
"I took [a piledriver] right on top of my head which is where I wanted," said Cage. "I was like, 'Oh, don't drop me on my back. Just drop me on my head please.'"