RF Video Shoot Interview with Fred Rosser (AKA Darren Young)

This was filmed on March 10th, 2018

The interview was conducted by Rob Feinstein

It runs at two hours and three minutes long


Rosser said his dad got him into wrestling as a kid by watching Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant and became hooked. His favorites growing up were Shawn Michaels and Ricky Steamboat as Rosser said Steamboat made you believe that he was really getting destroyed.


He is then asked about playing football as Rosser said he mainly did so to stay off of trouble on the streets. Rosser did say he caused a lot of fights in football by hitting late.


After graduating high school, Rosser met Sean Donovan who wrestled out of IWF in West Patterson, NJ through a family friend. He started training on September 11, 2002.


He was trained by Kevin Knight and learned to act professional and look the part. Rosser said that Knight’s style was from the 80’s then goes ahead to what Tom Prichard once told him about wrestling being ice cream and there are many different flavors. Rosser also talks about doing backyard wrestling in high school.


Rosser talks about Chris Candido once telling him he should never be tied down to any organization unless they are paying you a six-figure salary.


His first ring name was “Bonecrusher” Fred Samson. He then worked for Jim Kettner in ECWA and learned about the entertainment side of the business and was called “Frederick of Hollywood” and that was the character that got him signed by the WWE.


On WWE, he talks about doing tryouts from 2003-2009 when the company came to the Northeast. He also did paid tryouts and was told by Tom Prichard to show up and if doing something get asked for reimbursement but was later told he could not show up unless invited.


Rob asks about doing enhancement work and mistakes guys make. Rosser says you need to listen and play your role backstage as you should speak when spoken to because its a hectic place.


Rosser said he got signed along with AJ Lee at a paid tryout with 75 people (Rosser said that was the norm back then to pay for tryouts).


After getting signed he went to FCW. He talks about arriving to the building a couple of hours early and would sweep the floors and clean the toilets as they had to maintain the building, which is no longer the case with the Performance Center. He also talks about loving to do work with the community and helped organize food drives.


He puts over Tom Prichard as being a great teacher and person. He then tells a story of a “popular” FCW wrestler that once got too drunk and called Prichard for a ride home. Prichard cursed the wrestler out but picked him up then thanked him for calling instead of trying to drive while intoxicated.


The Darren Young name was created by Dusty Rhodes. And he was then paired with Percy Watson as part of the South Beach Party Boys. Rosser puts over Dusty for helping him promos as Rosser calls himself an introvert.


On the first season of NXT, Rosser said he would almost have panic attacks because they never found out about the challenges until they got to the building.


Rosser then talks about while living in Tampa when down in FCW that he lived next door to Roderick Strong and would borrow tapes from him and even took the Gut Check finisher from him as Rosser also puts Strong over as a great friend.


On CM Punk, Rosser says that CM Punk is rough around the edges but when he came out as being gay, Punk congratulated him and said to let him know if anyone gave him problems.


He talks about Season One of NXT and how he wrestled the first match on the show against David Otunga. They were first told they were getting six minutes for the match but told to “go home” less than a minute into the match.


Rosser jumps ahead to say it was his idea to be aligned with Bob Backlund after his run with Titus O’Neill as the Prime Time Players ended as he spent about 25 minutes proposing the idea to Vince, who liked the idea and called up Bob on the phone. They filmed the vignettes in Stamford, CT which was also close to Backlund’s home. Rosser also talks about getting close to Backlund and his daughter due to working together.


When asked about the Nexus angle, Rosser said they were all told about it the afternoon before they attacked John Cena & Punk to close out RAW. Rosser said that Cena, Vince, and Arn Anderson talked to them about the segment. Rosser said that they (Nexus) were also told to not talk to the media or anyone in public.


On Daniel Bryan’s firing, Rosser said it surprised him and the time. He is then asked about Michael Tarver and John Cena having heat and tells a story about Tarver getting pissed backstage because Cena hit him with the ring steps as Rosser says Tarver was an angry person.


Rob asks whether or not Cena hindered the Nexus stable. Rosser said he helped and got Wade Barrett over then said he was “cordial” with Cena. Rosser thought he would have some momentum as a babyface once he was exiled from Nexus but mostly stayed on Superstars.


Rosser said he was upset over the match at 2011 SummerSlam because he was one of the first eliminations. He was happy that Daniel Bryan was brought back and felt the return would make him more popular.


On NXT Redemption, Rosser said he looked at it as a positive. He was paired with Chavo Guerrero and said he was great then tells a story of how one of his first extra gigs with WWE was a detective in a Los Guerreros skit and how they helped calm his down as Vince produced the segment and said he did not buy Rosser as a detective.


When asked about failing a Wellness Policy test in 2011, Rosser said he was taking supplements that had certain chemicals that showed up then talks about the company now having an app that tells you what or what you cannot take under the policy.


Rosser talks about teaming with Titus and how they basically brought what they were doing backstage behind the scenes to the screen. He then tells a story about Titus in Developmental fighting with a wrestler named Lennox McEnroe and how Titus hates driving and eats before his matches.


He said his storyline with Tamina was just for NXT then talks about how they traveled together and even roomed together. Tamina also told him that she always knew he was gay as Rosser said Tamina would always ask him to hang out (Rosser believes she had a crush on him) and he would come up with excuses so they would not be alone together. Rosser considers her as a sister.


When asked about being managed by Abraham Washington, Rosser said he was amazing and always helped him out then said his firing was a tough as the act was taking off. Rosser also notes that Washington did it to himself in terms of getting fired.


Rosser is asked about the decision to come out on TMZ. He talks about tired of “living a lie” and also living in Florida with his boyfriend and wanted to bring him to his events. He did not think it was a big deal when he first did the interview but says Cher of all people said his story helped one of her friends come out and that’s when he knew it was a much bigger story. Rosser also said he told his family two years before he came out to the public.


He then talks about working as a face when Titus turned heel on him and liked that and said he helped Titus slow down in the ring.


On tearing his ACL in a house show match against Fandango, Rosser said he was coming to the outside with a flying double axe handle but noticed that Layla was right behind Fandango and did not want to knock him into her so he landed straight down and got hurt as a result. He also talks about being big into injury prevention and will be going over that on his YouTube channel. He also talks about staying in contact with Seth Rollins when his injury happened as they had the same injury.


He loved being part of the Tag Team Elimination Chamber match and said that Steve Austin called him the MVP of that match on his podcast.


On winning the Tag Team Titles at Money in the Bank, Rosser said they did not find out until the last minute and calls it the highlight of his WWE career and a good overall feeling.


Rosser is asked about Titus’s suspension due to unprofessional behavior after he grabbed Vince. He talks about liking both men and says that Titus is a great ambassador for the company then said he hopes Titus learned to keep his hands to himself.


On being part of the final three at the WrestleMania 32 battle royal, Rosser said he asked the producers for that as he was going to be doing the stuff with Backlund afterwards.


He talks more about Backlund and how they would get to the arena early where Backlund would occasionally try to choke him out when they grappled as Rosser said he did that to keep him ready. Rosser also said they both knew each other prior from doing work at the Special Olympics. He also said that Backlund would essentially sit and watch him drive when they traveled and brings up an Instagram video where Backlund said the ride was good and complimented him for staying in the middle of the lane while driving.


Rosser is then asked about Miz. He talks about he could not stand The Miz when he first started because Miz was his character 24/7 but put him over when they feuded as he said Miz is great at his job and always puts over his opponent first. Miz also helped Rosser with promos and was all for dropping the Intercontinental Title too.


He needed Tommy John surgery after hurting his elbow and while off the road found out he was released. Rosser said he was surprised because he did a lot of PR work. Mark Carano called him up as Rosser said he took it in stride and can only let it break you down so much and that nothing lasts forever.


Rosser said he has not heard from any other companies like RoH and TNA but will be part of the CHIKARA trios, teaming with Justin Gabriel & Michael Tarver. He also says there is more to him than wrestling and has done auditions in Los Angeles and is an LGBT advocate.


His favorite towns were Seattle and loves the Midwest because of their appreciation of wrestling. His favorite arena is the Allstate Arena in Chicago.


When asked about his favorite rib story, Rosser talks about when he first got signed to FCW he overslept and came late to a talent meeting run by John Laurinaitis. He tried to sneak into the back door but was told he better just go home by someone named Alfred, who I guess did security at the building. He then went to the live event later that evening got called up by who he thought was Laurinaitis about missing the meeting and was told he would be fined and would have to think over some other things. Rosser said he was just about crying he was so nervous then saw Tom Prichard and Norman Smiley laughing as it was Prichard who called him up as Laurinaitis never even found out he missed the meeting.


He is then asked about several talents. Rosser says that Undertaker is very helpful and well respected. Rosser says that Dolph Ziggler is always smiling and does stuff to make people laugh and said his favorite match was against Ziggler in Cairo, Egypt. Rosser says he does not have issues with Enzo Amore and that Enzo even got him a hookup at Best Buy when he moved out to Los Angeles. Rosser said he did not like Sheamus at first but grew to like him and they even traveled together as Rosser says Sheamus is also part of his “Block the Hate” movement. Rosser says that Kevin Owens was a family man and would always compliment him on stuff he did in the ring and kind to any guests he brought backstage. Rosser also puts over Randy Orton for supporting him when he came out and is a very open and honest person. Rosser then says that Kurt Angle is one of his favorites and played the officer many times while Angle did his Gold Medal Invitational and said Angle always knew the names of the extras and when Angle came back to WWE he gave Rosser his number if he needed support.


Rosser closes out the interview by saying his main goal is to be the “voice for the voiceless” and to do more work with the LGBT community.


Final Thoughts: Rosser seems like a nice guy but this was a rather boring interview. The questions asked were not too exciting and not only did they not dig deeper into him coming out but even some more talk about the Nexus angle would have been nice and they just glossed over the most notable angle of his career. Even though he did not have the most exciting career as a performer there is a lot of stuff that could have been asked to make this more interesting. Also, seeing how he is doing charity work now, Rosser was not going to rip the company to shreds or anything.

Anyway, unless you subscribe to a service that has this interview (RF Video Vault), then I’d pass. And even at that, I’d recommend you watch something more interesting.

And, if you are interested, you can purchase the DVD for $12 or download a Digital Copy for $9.99.