Despite the current circumstances in the world, has the last year flown by for you with all the success you've had on your own?
Raju: It flew by pretty quickly because I was having fun as far wrestling goes. I tried to savor every second of that X-Division title run because at that time, you never know when this is going to happen again. From where I was in the company all of a sudden to what I was thrust into, I honestly tried to make every little second count with my run. I thought I had a really good run. I loved it, absolutely loved it. Real life was a kick in the ribs, but as far as IMPACT goes, it was probably the most fun I've ever had in my career.
How much input did you have with your character?
Raju: There was always stuff I was thinking of. I can't think of anything in particular, but I'd always go to creative and say, “Doesn't this make more sense?” or “Can we try this?” Whoever I was working with, like TJP, would have an idea and we'd go from there and we'd all work together. I cut a good promo because it's me cutting it. They'll give me bullet points from time to time and say, “Hey, can you mention this?” and they'll stand back and say, “I don't want to tell you your verbiage because we know you'll do your thing.”
They give me that freedom, and when you give me that freedom to go out there and talk or go out there and work, I'm going to do my best because I'm comfortable. When they would listen to my ideas with my run or the Defeat Rohit Challenge, it was great. I'll use this as an example. They didn't tell me to dress in ugly '98, '97 Rock shirts. I did that. I figured I'm a champion, I went from zero to hero, and I have to show that winning the belt already went to my head. What can I do? [Dress like] 1998 Dwayne. A lot of fans now don't even know what that is. I remember D'Lo [Brown] saying, “Man, that shirt's so loud I can hear it roar.” That's exactly what I want, I want that.