John Hennigan on the Fatal Mistake That Ended His Run on Survivor

Pro wrestling superstar John Hennigan was the latest on Survivor: David vs. Goliath to be blindsided as an unexpected split vote silenced the “Mayor of Slamtown” (as he’s known in the wrestling world). SheKnows recently had the chance to chat one-on-one with Hennigan, and he explained the one move his alliance should have made that could have changed the course of the game. Plus, he offered his thoughts on why fellow Survivor contestant Angelina Keeley is constantly being targeted and talked about the hilarious reaction some of his wrestling fans have had to watching him compete on the show.

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SheKnows: You were eliminated in a big blindside after the Davids split the vote between you and Angelina. Why do you think they picked you?

John Hennigan: I don’t know. Probably because they’re stupid [laughs]. I’m just kidding. To me, in retrospect, everything makes sense. I didn’t really talk strategy that much with the Davids — especially not Nick and Davie. It seems like those are the guys that spearheaded everything. I hadn’t spent much time at all with those guys because I was never on the same tribe as them. Of the people they could choose to throw votes at, they perceived me as the biggest threat and got me out of there. It was a solid game play.

SK: What was going through your mind after that epic Tribal Council?

JH: I was shocked. That’s the main thing. I was laughing at something that might have otherwise made me cry because I was really sad to go. I thought I was playing a good game, and I wish I was still in.

John Hennigan voted off Survivor: David vs. Goliath
Image: CBS.

SK: Instead of piling all the votes against Christian, did the Goliaths have any potential plan on splitting the vote, too?

JH: No. I feel like we clearly should have. I should have thought everything through more strategically. The tough thing about when you have the numbers, you can’t split the vote and keep the numbers. There wasn’t very much talk about us splitting the vote even though, man, we should have.

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SK: Do you think that was your biggest mistake in the game?

JH: I think splitting the vote could’ve saved me for sure, but I think not reading things and acting on my gut instinct more effectively was my biggest mistake in the game. Ultimately, that was my one-way trip to Ponderosa. If I had talked more with Nick and Davie, and if I had strategized with Christian more, it’s very possible they would’ve voted someone else out.

John Hennigan competes in challenge with others on Survivor: David vs. Goliath
Image: CBS.

SK: Tell us a little bit about Angelina. People have conspired to vote her out multiple times, but she has survived elimination so far. What makes her such a repeat target?

JH: I think that she’s very intelligent. She is playing the game very hard. I think that playing the game that hard put a target on her back a couple times, obviously. Then there was the jury management thing with Elizabeth. She’s just playing the game really hard. It’s funny now, but sometimes it got annoying out there that people are losing their tempers and getting upset. It’s kind of illogical to get mad at someone else out there. When you sign up and go to play Survivor, the biggest part of the game — maybe the most important part of the game — is the strategizing, the scheming and the blindsiding. Who to trust? Who to betray? All that stuff, to me, is not something to be angry about. You should be disappointed in yourself for misreading people. I deal with that stuff by laughing a lot of times.

SK: You have a successful wrestling career. How did you end up on Survivor?

JH: Survivor is a pretty big deal in Slamtown. I’ve been a fan of Survivor. I even sent in audition tapes for Season 2 and 3. Then I got on the wrestling express train, and I’ve been on that for 16 years now. I put all this time into being the best at pro wrestling that I can be, and sometimes when you pour that much time into one thing, you neglect other aspects of your humanity. Survivor seemed like a cool experience in which I would be able to turn off wrestling for a little bit. Like I said in my Ponderosa video, I wanted to work on being a better human and some of the aspects of my life that I feel get overlooked because I’m busy taking Slamtown all over the world.

John Hennigan competes in challenge on Survivor: David vs. Goliath
Image: CBS.

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SK: What has the reaction been from your wrestling fans?

JH: Generally, across the board, very positive. A lot of people have said they love seeing me on Survivor. Once in a while, I get the type of reaction that makes me laugh sometimes because they don’t understand why I’m not more dominant in slamming people in the challenges [laughs]. That’s the difference between the “Mayor of Slamtown” and John Hennigan. I didn’t play the game of Survivor in character. I played as me. The reaction was that it was refreshing to see me as me.

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