Highspots Presents: Developmentally Speaking with Brian Myers (Curt Hawkins)

This was released on May 5th, 2015

The interview was conducted with Brian Myers and the guests are Tomasso Ciampa, Colt Cabana, and Chris Hero

It runs for one hour and fifty minutes long

Just to give you all a quick rundown of the concept, this features guys who worked in the WWE Developmental System as they all talk about their experiences and how they got hired.

The interview starts with Myers asking the guys about their experiences as extras on WWE television. He starts off by saying he got called to show up to Madison Square Garden with his partner, Zach Ryder, to work as extras for a RAW/Smackdown super show. Cabana joked about having around 15 matches on Velocity and Heat before getting signed. Hero then asked him about the wackiest experience he had as Cabana talks about wrestling Big Vito, who was wearing a dress at the time. At first, the match was going to be 60/40 in Vito’s favor then that changed to him getting completely squashed, which Cabana said should have been the original plan to begin with. Myers goes back to his story and how Zach and himself had no idea there was a separate dressing room for the extras so they sat in the regular locker room and saw Bob Holly staring them down looking pissed off then luckily for them Johnny Nitro came in and told them were to change as they also had to change in their too as MNM just debuted and despite being the Tag Champs, still had not earned the right to change in the regular locker room.

Hero then talks about his first experience at a WWE event. It was in 2004 as we was with Zach Gowen, Alex Shelley, Nate Webb, Jimmy Jacobs, and Truth Martini. They went into the ring before the show and chained wrestled with each other for like an hour without any supervision from the office. Hero said this was the night that Brock Lesnar threw Zach Gowan into the post and he bled like crazy. Hero then tells a story about how Arn Anderson went up to Gowan and asked him about “getting color” for the first time but Gowan was paying attention to the dark match on the monitor as it featured his trainer, Truth Martini. Gowan told Arn he was paying when in reality he was not so Gowan made himself a blade that was way too sharp and big and that was why he bled the way he did.

Ciampa now talks about his first experience as an extra. He was booked to face Jamie Noble, who just returned from Ring of Honor, and was told they want Noble to be extra aggressive as Cabana laughing about how they wanted Ciampa to get the shit kicked out of him. He then tells another stotry about teaming with Kofi Kingston (they both were wrestling in the New England Independent Scene) against Cade & Murdoch. Ciampa took their High/Low finisher but got his legs taken out first then got clotheslined and took a horrific bump on his neck and said that he felt a tingling for a minute then walked backstage, where Shawn Michaels ran up to him. Shawn first asked Ciampa if he was okay then told him he needed to be honest with him as they were going into a program with them and needed to know that they were safe workers. Ciampa told Shawn they were and once he got into the extras room, Ciampa told Kofi that he felt like he broke his neck and wonders if he should tell Shawn. After a debate on whether for not to tell him, Ciampa left the room to look for Shawn. He ended up running into Mick Foley, who told him that bump was the worst he has ever seen so after that, Ciampa decided just to pretend that he was fine and never tell anyone.

We get another story from Ciampa as he was selected to be the lawyer for Mohammed Hassan on a segment that aired on Smackdown. He talks about having to read lines in Vince’s office as HHH was making Vince a “Muscle Milk Shake.” Myers chimes in on how they no longer have indy wrestlers play those roles today as they hire actors.

The interview now moves on to when they all got signed. Myers starts by saying how its a lot easier to get signed today as they want to fill up the Performance Center but it makes it even harder to get to the main roster. Cabana speaks about being in Developmental when the company started FCW and how they had three rings at the time as the company started to hire as many guys as possible as they wanted to fill the place with bodies.

Cabana then tells the story of how he got hired by the WWE. He wrestled Eugene and they had an entertaining match. Jimmy Yang went up to him afterwards and said that he could not believe he did not get a contract offer after that. After that, John Laurinaitis looked him up and down and asked him how long he had been wrestling for but nothing happened. Cabana then said that CM Punk, William Regal, Ken Anderson, and Shawn Daivari among others kept going to bat for him to get signed but Laurinaitis kept saying no. One day, Cabana got a special tryout in a  Detroit and was supposed to get watched by Finlay, who ended up getting drunk with Dean Malenko instead. Cabana said he waited in the ring for three hours and no one came so Daivari kept on texting Laurinaitis, who was also getting drunk at the bar, then they finally got a hold of him as he spoke with Cabana and offered him a job for $750 a week, because he had a bit of a name on the Independents. Cabana said he made to sure to call him the next day and confirm that this was legit and it was. Cabana then talked about how Laurinaitis told him he was going to sign Matt Sydal (Evan Bourne) and Claudio Castagnoli (Cesaro) next. He also said he was given the choice to go to OVW or Deep South and chose OVW because of the horror stories he heard about that place. Cabana said that OVW was also not that bad of a drive from his house and talks about how he got $2,000 to move and only spent about $50 as he got furniture from guys who moved.

Hero talks about getting signed. He was with Castagnoli and their contracts were expiring. They had tryout matches against the Usos before the show s Myers talks about how its the shittiest experience ever to wrestle in front of no crowd. Hero also said that Tony Nese and Papadon were with them. They wrestled both heel and face then HHH pulled them aside and told them they would be signed as individual talents as that is what Vince wants.

Myers talks about his first tryout. He was there with 13 guys and only five were trained wrestlers. He said just a few of them got matches while the rest watched. He said that he wrestled Tim Arson, the ECW Zombie, in a terrible match while Zack Ryder wrestled Mason Rage. Myers said that Jerk Jackson (Bobby Fish) blew everyone away but never got signed, even after Dreamer said that if anyone got signed it would be him. Myers said that the only reason he can come up with for how Zack and him got signed were because they looked together. Myers said he got signed but had to finish up his semester at college so basically partied while getting paid by the WWE. He then tells a funny story of how when they first reported to Deep South, Laurinaitis was there and put over new signees Kenny Omega and Chris Rombola then went over to both of them and saw there hair was no longer blond and yelled at him “why the fuck isn’t your hair blond, change that shit.”

Ciampa then talks about how he believes it is much easier for a wrestler just starting out to sign a Developmental Deal with the WWE than someone who has been wrestling on the indies for a few years and has an attitude that he should get signed because he is a good wrestler. Ciampa said he went to a bunch of tryout camps shortly after starting wrestling school and kept taking their advice and that was how he got signed. He viewed this as “college assignments” and did not have an attitude about anything. He talks about being in the same camps as Kofi Kingston, Damien Sandow, Chad Wicks, and Palmer Canon.

Hero talks about Ciampa’s point a bit and says the WWE loves “hunks of clay” that they can carve out and mold into what they want as Cabana jokes about how they emphasize on the “hunk” part. Hero then says that the company believes they can get 10 starts out of 100 guys they bring into developmental and how that does not always work that way as Cabana disagrees and thinks it does. Myers gives an example of Titus O’Neill, someone with hands-on WWE training only since 2009 and how he still sucks while Cabana says that WWE fans think he is a star. Myers says he doesnt believe the fans think he is good and knows the office does not think they are while Cabana says is barking act is over with the crowd.

Myers stays on this subject and says how the WWE gets these freak athletes who have no experience and pick up wrestling easily and how they think it can happen to anyone but that is not the case. Hero then talks about wrestling in developmental and how “green” guys can have an awful match but get applauded for not hurting anyone but guys with experience like himself would get yelled at for any little thing. Cabana then tells a story about Afa Jr. (Manu) and how he went for a tryout and acted like he did not know how to wrestle, despite wrestling since age 14. Myers then talks about Afa’s first day in Deep South when he got into the ring and busted out a Blue Thunder Driver on Zack.

Myers talks about going down to NXT and how he wrestled against Rusev at a live event and that Bill DeMott was on a headset basically calling the match and dictating when they could get heat as Myers said it was confusing and that the referees would usually get chewed out if things didnt go a certain way. Hero said they would first only do that at the FCW building but then started to do that at live events and would even do commercial break spots in matches to get the guys used to that before making it to TV.

Cabana talks about his time in OVW and how there was no curriculum or communication from the office and that Al Snow taught everyone how he thought they should be trained and thought he knew more than everyone. Ciampa then talks about a class Snow did as he would tell the talent to not do anything unless he told them too and the whole match was wrestled like that as Ciampa questioned what was there to benefit from this. Hero says that this might be the product of these guys getting trained in the territory system and not having a structured environment. Cabana also talks about how Developmental should be getting guys in shape for TV and cannot believe that the WWE does not have a sponsorship with a protein company as it would give them enough free product to give the guys in Developmental, who typically do not have much money. Hero also talks about how the trainers would contradict each other, making it confusing.

They now discuss the guest trainers. Myers talks about Greg Gagne and how he probably had not watched wrestling since 1989 and showed them stuff that no one does in wrestling anymore. Then after hours of training with Gagne, DeMott came out of the office and told them all to disregard everything they just learned. Cabana says that Brian Blair came down and told them they would learn stuff they had never seen before then proceed to show them all how to skin-the-cat as Cabana thinks that in Blair’s mind, he had to teach them something that he thought no one else was showing them. Hero takes it a step further and talks about how everyone learns through different ways and by teaching 30 people to do something one way, some people get lost in the shuffle. However, if you give more individual attention, you have a better chance at teaching as some people respond to tough love while others need to be spoon-fed.

Cabana then asks everyone who helped them out the most. He said it was Norman Smiley for himself, who always told him that he was better than he was. Myers said he got the sense from DeMott and Snow that they wanted to be wrestling and not training guys while Tom Prichard was really helpful. Hero said that some of the trainers would hold the fact that they have all of these resources in the Performance Center against them because they did not have those same things when they were breaking into the business.

Ciampa and Cabana talk about having to do a book quiz on Dr. Death. Myers said that heard Dr. Death practically called Nova up crying that no one read his book as Cabana tells the story. He said they were given copies of the book but never told they had to read it then got quizzed. Ciampa talks about the questions and remembers one of them was who did he have for a roommate in his Sophomore year at college as they laughed at the ridiculousness of the question, which was fill in the blank and not multiple choice. Cabana said everyone got yelled at and threatened to get fired so the next day he stayed up all night reading, thinking there would be another quiz but there was not as they all talk about the book for a minute.

Myers talks about the “Make a Deal” Friday they had in Deep South where they came up with some wacky idea to prevent them from having to practice. He then tells a story about one time when they raced shopping carts, Deep South was in a shopping center, and his teammate was Brooke Adams (Miss Tessmacher) and remembers this because they had to pick up quarters with their butt (as he says she has the best butt in wrestling) and walk with them and try to drop it in a solo cup that was on the ground. The others couldnt believe they did this stuff as Cabana asked them if the training was so hard they’d rather to that as Myers talks about how it was brutally humid there and everyone got shitfaced Thursday nights and come in the next morning for tape review. And instead of practicing hungover, they came up with ideas to get out of practice, which were all ways to humiliate each other. Later on, Myers learned that DeMott would bury them behind their backs to the guest trainers for doing anything it took to get out of practice, adding that the whole idea was DeMott’s.

They talk about the trainers as all the guys who had Steve Keirn talk positively about him. Myers said that Ricky Steamboat was very long-winded when giving feedback as Hero agrees. Cabana goes into it further how they trained all day and while the love and appreciate wrestling, they wanted to go home at the end of the day but Steamboat would go into 1.5 hour-long speeches. Myers then said he saw Steamboat at an Independent show and asked how his son was doing and he talked for so long that Myers’s entrance music started playing. Hero said you don’t mind those speeches at the beginning of the day though.

Hero talks about his time in NXT and how there were two classes: morning and afternoon. He was in the afternoon class, which had all of the diva’s and the second generation talent along with a few other guys. He said the more experienced talent was in the morning class. He thought it was cool as he got to know people he never met before and went in with an optimistic attitude but after that Terry Taylor came in and there wasnt much of a direction. Cabana adds to this and how the system will never be perfect and how they (besides Myers) never got called up might sound bitter and say it didnt work while those who made it would say it was great. Myers and Hero talk about how they would write up report cards on the talent yet never tell them what they need to improve on or what they are doing wrong as they think it is fucking stupid. Hero said he heard agents yell about guys doing stuff wrong while the person doing it thinks they are supposed to be performing it that way because they are never told the correct way.

Now, Hero talks about how he sat down with Bill DeMott one day, who had him run a class as they were busy. Hero said he had no idea how to run a class and after that guys would gravitate to him for pointers so he would help them out but after that got knocked by the office for teaching guys and that he needed work in other areas so he shouldn’t be passing on any bad habits.

Myers asks them who was the one guy in developmental they were sure would make it to the main roster but never did. Myers said it was Mike Kruel, as he was a focal point of some of the TV’s and Cabana said Laurinaitis came down one day and said he would put Kruel on TV right now but he ended up getting sent to FCW and buried until he was released. Cabana said it was Jacob Duncan (Ryan Wilson or Trytan in TNA) as he was a big guy with a great look who loved wrestling and thought if he couldnt make it to the main roster then he certainly could not make it himself. Hero said it was Briley Pierce (Dolph Ziggler’s brother) as he improved, had an amateur background, and also came up with a million ideas. Cabana said that before he was let go he had a show on WWE.com and was doing commentary and while he came up with a lot of ideas, the top officials never liked them as he suggested that Kevin Dunn didnt like him for being “chubby.”

The guys talk some more about the guest trainers. Hero loved Perry Saturn, saying that he told a ton of funny and crazy stories but also taught them a lot of technical wrestling as well. Cabana said that he loved Pat Patterson, as he would tell them to have fun, unlike Jim Ross who they all said was a downer. Ciampa talks about how easy it is to fall in the hole of hating wrestling when trainers constantly knock you and tell you that you are shit.

Hero talks some more about disagreements he has with the Developmental philosophy as you have to figure stuff out on your own and guys are only doing stuff because they are told to instead of incorporating what you learned into different situations. Hero said you cannot be good just by trying to copy Ricky Steamboat in the ring, which Myers comments that was basically how Steamboat himself acted as a trainer, as what works for Steamboat will not work for everyone. Myers said when he was a white-meat babyface throwing armdrags, Steamboat loved him but when they became heels, Steamboat did not care and never taught them anything.

We get another story from Hero when Vader was a guest trainer. Leakee (Roman Reigns) and Leo Kruger (Adam Rose) were wrestling in the ring. They both had long black hair at the time with similar builds. Hero was near Vader at the monitor and heard him say “Why the fuck is Sika’s kid doing an African Hunter gimmick?,” which was the gimmick that Kruger had at the time as Vader could not tell the two guys apart.

They talk about guys who spent a long time in developmental like Kruger, Damien Sandow, Konnor, and Viktor. Cabana talks about how they need experienced guys in Developmental as two “green” guys will not learn from wrestling each other and having veterans to work with them constantly and put them over, giving Chad Collyer as an example, will help them get better. Cabana says those guys are in their 30’s and about to quit wrestling because they cannot find work so hire them for the sole purpose of working in Developmental to put guys over and guide them through matches at house shows.

Hero talks about how one of the diva’s at the Performance Center ended up hurting herself while training in the ring unsupervised and after that there was a new rule that stated no one could be in the ring unless a trainer was supervising them. Hero said he understands that from a liability stand point but it hinders progress as you can learn in the ring with each other and sometimes trainers would say they were busy when asked if thy could watch them for a minute.

Myers asks them all if the Performance Center is for the best. Hero said it is in most ways as you have a million resources and can watch your own promos and easily pull your stuff from a database. They also put over HHH for knowing who everyone is while when they broke in no one really had a handle on anything. Ciampa says the new system is for the best as Cabana says when he was in OVW and FCW, guys who trained when Memphis was the Developmental territory probably thought they had it great and now he thinks the NXT talent has it great and how it will keep on getting better. Hero said the one thing missing the most is learning in matches and how to feel it out instead of doing the same matches over and over.

They then talk about doing the “Street Team” stuff as Cabana tells a story of how he had to drive 1.5 hours to Cincinnati and put up flyers to a show that no one was going to go to anyway and how he wasnt going to make money regardless then the next time he had to do it he took all the flyers and threw them away and took the rest of the day off. Hero said that it was a way to build camaraderie, as you all had to the same shitty tasks, but that came to an end when Canyon Ceman said guys who they were grooming as stars should not be doing this and that is when the Social Media team was developed.

Final Thoughts: I really enjoyed this interview. As Myers said, the way they started in WWE Developmental is now a thing of the past with the new Performance Center. The guys all told interesting stories and spoke of how disorganized things were back then. They also agree that its much better with HHH overseeing things.

As far as the guys themselves in this interview, Myers is always great in shoot interviews. But as far as an actual host, he was solid. He doesnt cut anyone off and let his guests do the talking. Hero really dominated this shoot, especially the last half. He spoke for a majority of the time. I thought he was interesting here but a little too talkative at times. Cabana was a lot more quiet than I thought he would be. He offered a good amount of insight but I got the impression he hated being in the system. Ciampa was soft-spoken and told a few good stories but was practically silent for the last half-hour.

I hope there will be more installments of this series in the future. Its an interesting concept and plenty of guys you could feature.  Plus, you get to hear a ton of great stories.

I recommend this shoot and think it gives great insight into how the developmental system works.

You can purchase the DVD of this interview for $19.99 or the Digital Download for $14.99 by clicking on the links below:

http://www.highspots.com/p/develop.html

http://www.highspots.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Store_Code=HS&Screen=PROD&Product_Code=VD_devolopmently_brian_meyers

Next week, I will be recapping the Kayfabe Commentaries 1989 WCW Timeline as told by Jim Cornette, which will be released on 5/19..

Here is my schedule for the next several days:

Friday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 6/14/87
Saturday: RoH Bitter Friends, Stiffer Enemies 8/16/03
Tuesday: WWF Madison Square Garden 6/14/87
Thursday: 1989 WCW Timeline as told by Jim Cornette

The Kevin Kelly Show Episode 28 – Brian Blair

On Episode 28 of The Kevin Kelly Show, Kevin welcomes in for WWE superstar and current CEO of the Cauliflower Alley Club, Brian Blair. Brian talks about the upcoming Club event, Kelly Kelly, the final days of the Killer Bees, his time wresting in Florida, an amazing rib that he was the target of and much, much more!

Kevin & JR then discuss the road to Fast Lane, whether or not Daniel Bryan is going to main event WrestleMania, the future of NXT and Kevin Owens’ chance of becoming a top WWE star plus more. They also do some sports talk as well as the ever popular Trending Topics, including stories on getting fired over Twitter, Bruce Jenner and Legend of Zelda! Kevin then wraps up by starting to build his very own Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame!

So please join us for another great episode of the Kevin Kelly Show!

The Kevin Kelly Show Episode 28 – Brian Blair

September Classics: Brian Pillman vs. Johnny B. Badd – Fall Brawl ’95

The opening match of Fall Brawl ’95. Here, Johnny B. Badd shows how far he had come in terms of in-ring skill. Pillman was still a babyface at this point, the Horsemen heel turn not yet developed. This was for a shot at the US title, back when it still had some meaning. Both show the fans that THEY WANT A TITLE SHOT! Excellent psychology, and a pretty spectacular show opener.


48. 95-09-17 Johnny B. Badd vs… by puropwgwwestuff

Highspots Presents: Brian Kendrick and Paul London’s Excellent Adventures, Disc Two

This is the second and final disc of the shoot. It runs for one hour and forty-seven minutes.

If you have not read the recap for Disc One yet, click on the link below.

http://www.rspwfaq.net/2014/01/highspots-presents-brian-kendrick-paul.html

They are asked memories of their four-way ladder match at the Armageddon PPV against MNM, Hardy Boyz, and Regal & Taylor. Kendrick said he was supposed to perform the Sliced Bread off the ladder but was petrified and did not perform the move. London said that they were not informed that it was going to be a four-way match until a few days before the PPV. They both said they had no idea Mercury got his face sliced open as during the match, they were busy and just noticed that someone was missing. London talks about how most ladder matches are structured as a spotty match but when it involves grabbing a title, it becomes a lot more realistic instead of performing crazy spots to get a pop from the crowd.

When asked why there wasn’t a rematch when it was announced, Kendrick said that it is all on a whim and everything changes daily as London said he heard that Vince saw him all over the show and nixed that. London said that they would try to talk to the writers and ask where the angles are going and they would blow them off. Once, they asked Dave Lagana about where they were going, referencing them as the champions, as Lagana told them he was going to Taco Bell. London calls Lagana a “faggot” then hints that he got fired for sexually harassing Mordecai, which seemed to be in a joking manner but who knows for sure.

Kendrick is asked about making it to the top of the WWE. He said he is a stubborn person and you have to put up with a lot of bullshit to get to the top but if you stick around long enough, you can make it provided that you have talent. London jokes that in the WWE, the jizz rises to the top and if you can nut on the bosses face, you can cement yourself on the “bearskin rug” roster.

They are asked about working with MNM. Kendrick recalls while in developmental in Memphis he did a spot with Bobby Eaton when he gave him a hurricarana off of the apron to the floor and someone apparently told the office about the spot and Eaton got fired and guys were blaming Kendrick for getting him fired, especially Mercury. Anyway, Kendrick talks about how Mercury is good as schmoozing to people that will get him ahead and tells a story of an office working telling them that they overheard Mercury telling Deuce & Domino not to bump for them. Kendrick then approached Mercury at a bar and asked him about what he heard and Mercury said that he didnt remember because he was on a lot of pills at the time and told Kendrick that he will just say that he did say it, which had Kendrick question as to why you would admit to something that you do not remember doing. Kendrick said he likes Nitro but he has no spine. London talks about how Mercury was nice to him in RoH but different when he got to the WWE as they were the hot team then he was banging Mickie James so he thought that he was the man then London bringing up her pictures and how everyone has seen them which leads to Kendrick interrupting to tell a story of how Batista put up those pictures all over the locker room once and how it was the funniest thing. Anyway, they talk about Mercury blaming drugs for his behavior rather than taking responsibility for his actions.

Now, Kendrick talks about the Hardy Boyz. He likes them both and says that he originally had a bad feeling about Matt but after he was invited to his house, he said he was nothing but gratious and has drank and partied with them many times.

London talks about his history with the Hardy Boyz. Growing up, he really loved what they did in the ring and gives them credit for creating a following. Getting into the WWE, he had a series of dark matches and his last one was with Matt, who gave him a lot of offense, even hitting him with his finisher twice. He talks about how while sitting at a casino, he got “mauled” by Ashley Massaro and ended up getting into a relationship. He barely even knew about her relationship with Matt but knew they were over. At that point, London said his confidence was shot at the time due to his standing in the company and Ashley won the Diva’s contest and he was starting to get a little bit of attention. As it went along, London realized that there was a lot of feelings between Ashley and Matt and London said it led to a stupid love triangle. He goes on about how he believes that if people are no longer in a relationship, then they should be able to date whoever they want and then talks about how he wasnt going to be like Johnny Nitro and let Batsita bang his girlfriend without saying something to him. London said Ashley would tell him all of these horrible things he did to her and London said he didnt want to judge Matt based off of that and thinks that Ashley might have possibly lied to him about her standing with Matt and he said that she was leading him around. London said that he went to both of them and said he wanted them out of his life. From that, London said he was thinking of all he heard about Matt and couldnt believe that no one could see right through him.

He then talks about Jeff Hardy and how they had an awesome ladder match in Mexico City. Thy day before, he got a black eye after Holly hit him during a match but London said he loves Bob and didnt care and Bob liked him because he didnt bitch about it leading London to say “this isn’t ballet.” The match came about after Kendrick hurt his foot. Anyway, Kendrick interrupts and said how awesome the match was with tons of nearfalls and crazy stuff and when they got backstage, Dean Malenko told them that it could have been more sudden, leading Kendrick to ask him what was wrong with the match and it leads to Kendrick talks about how nothing was wrong with the match and some people just want to critique others to justify their job. They both talk about how he just has “it” and is insanely over. London closes by stating the Hardy Boyz are a legendary tag team.

In regards to Haas & Benjamin, they both liked them and would like to see them in TNA, where Kendrick was at the time of this shoot. London liked them but said that they took their collegiate accolades a little too seriously at times but had fun working with both of them. They both talk about how Haas is very intesne and how he could rip your arm off during an arm drag.

They now talk about Cade & Murdoch. Kendrick describes a “slapping” incident with Murdoch during a match. They said that Murdoch did a lot of “fat guy” chops, which is when you slap guys on the back and chest but not delivered in the traditional manner. Anyway, Murdoch did that to Kendrick without warning and he was livid and told him he was going to slap in in the face after the match and he did it on TV again then Kendrick started to slap them in the face. He likes them both though and had them over his house. London said that they lobbied to work with them and Kendrick said that Murdoch told them thanks for keeping the belts warm while in South Africa. They close by stating they were both safe in the ring and fun to work with.

Now, they discuss the time they got pedigreed by HHH on RAW. They ran in to save HHH from Cade & Murdoch and when they cleared the ring, HHH went to shake their hands but instead kicked them and they both got the pedigree. Before that happened, HHH approached then backstage and said it is from the office and not himself, stating it was from Kevin Dunn. Anyway, they both asked if they were going to get any sort of chance for revenge and they got blown off, with both guys saying they ended up looking like pussies. London then takes the opportunity to make HHH jokes about him sucking the cocks of the McMahons.

When discussing the Undertaker, London said you saw the good Undertaker and then he would do stuff that you would shake your head at, like being dragged out of your room at 3am in Australia to look at the veterans hold “Wrestlers Court” to watch Undertaker to act like Judge Judy. Kendrick said that they worked with MNM all tour and did great then had to go down and watch their valet, Melina, get put on trial for not shaking hands in the women’s locker room. They were all forced to bet as to how long it takes her to cry and London ended up winning. Kendrick said that guys would act differently around Taker and those who you thought were your friends would tell him gossip and rat out guys in an attempt to get ahead. Thy both said that Taker seemed to relish that position.

London talks more about Taker, stating he is not a fan of those who wear their own merchandise and drive around town with “Dead Man” on their license plate.

They both love Randy Orton, with London saying that he could be a crossover star into entertainment. He calls him a flawless performer and that the agents love him too. They also had a lot of good times with him too. They then tell a story of how they were in South Africa, they nearly pissed on the band Air Supply from the balcony. London said that despite the fact the office hated him, he always got great accomodations when they traveled to foreign countries and on this occasion, got an awesome suite. He thinks it was due to his name being a bit similar to Paul Levesque. Anyway, they were in the suite with Cade, Murdoch, Orton, and Robbie McAllister, who they both thought was “cool as shit.” They look out the window and saw John Cena with a lot of other top guys sitting at the pool area. He said they were both “mentally elevated” at the time and Kendrick thought it would be funny to piss on Cena, because he might think it was funny and he said he bought his rap album at the time and thought it was awful. They both love Cena by the way. When Kendrick went to piss, the wind carried it over and they were told it hit the band but Kendrick ended up pissing all over hotel management.

Both guys also love Batista, saying he is super-jacked and cool. Kendrick says his motorcycle was great as London talks about how he would throw parties when they wrestled in Washington D.C. and pick up everyone’s tab as Kendrick said he always did that. Kendrick said that Cena and Orton picked up tabs too and realized that they made a lot more money than the undercard and appreciated them. London mentions how Benoit would pick up tabs for them as both guys said they liked him.

London tells another Benoit story. He was with Benoit and Jamie Noble in Buffalo and Chris was hungry so they pulled over at a Hooters. It was 11:30pm and they were getting ready to close and as they were shutting the door, Benoit stuck his foot in and asked if they were open. Anyway, they sat down and a table near them were being loud and disrespectful to the waitress so Benoit told London that he should go over and say something to them. He went over and told him to keep it down and how they were irritating his friend. The guys told London to bring his friend over to them but after a minute they stopped. They leave and approach them to say they were sorry and they recognize Benoit and when one of the guys went to put his hand on his shoulder, Benoit told him to get his fucking hand off of him. After the waitress thanked London and took their order, Benoit told him that the “seeds were planted” and that he could now go fuck her.

London tells another story of how Benoit told him that he and Kendrick were the future of the business and London said that no matter how shitty they were treated by the office, it was worth it to have respect from guys like Benoit, who they admired.

Neither guy was surprised that Benoit snapped and murdered himself and his family. Kendrick said the day they were told, they had an idea something happened and when the news was broke, Matt Stryker apparently cried and wailed loudly. London said that a few weeks before the murders, Benoit called London, who was in a funk at the time when he came back from injury and was having bad marches. He said that he wanted to check on him. Kendrick said that Benoit loved the bible and how all of the crazies love the bible.

London is asked about memories of teaming with Billy Kidman. He said that he was a fan of his when he wrestled in WCW. He felt that Kidman wasnt really into the team and would bury him when they were in the locker room but not when they were alone. London said that he got fed up when Kidman when they feuded with the Dudley Boyz and he never stood up for him. He said that Bubba had an issue with him and was trying to test him and would whip him with a belt buckle without telling him before hand, even when the cameras were not rolling, prompting Kendrick to say that is low. London called Bubba a pussy and a baby then says that he stiffed him in a house show in Canada and he rolled outside and stayed their the rest of the match and backstage, he asked Bubba what happened and that led to Kidman actually sticking up for him when he told Bubba that he probably meant to stiff him in the ring .London then tells a story when he they were supposed to get the belts from the Dudley’s, Fit Finlay approached them backstage and told him how they saw the Dudley’s camping outside of Vince’s office and Fit asked them if they were gonig to change the finish of the match and they said no before shrugging their shoulders and walking away.  They tell a story of how London hit a shooting star during a house show in MSG with Kidman getting upset over him stealing his shooting star press, despite the fact that he stopped using the move at the time, in the gorilla position.

London tells another story of how Bubba was a dick. Over in Italy, London said he was with Rene Dupree and they took a walk as they were both down about their standing in the company and when they came back to the locker room, Bubba was trying to bury him and he stood up for himself, which had the Undertaker come up to him and tell him how he handled himself well in the locker room.

Kendrick talks about his time in TNA at the moment. He said he is there for a week and if that isnt enough, he can go to other independents too. Kendrick said that he wants to take the X Division away from “car crash” style of matches. When he arrived, he was placed in a multi-man match and the agent told them to have a “car crash, video game-style” match. Kendrick said he isnt a video game wrestler but was able to wrestle the style he wanted and he is able to put his word in a little, more so than in the WWE.

Both guys talk about how they never did steroids and that was the one thing Kendrick’s mother promised him when he started in wrestling. London talks about how guys gooverboard on steroids and it makes them useless in the ring. He said that Carlito was all gassed up one time and tore his pec taking a simple move because he was so jacked up.

They are now asked about Vince McMahon. Kendrick said he had limited interactions with him but would give him the time when he had to meet with him. London says that Vince is close-minded and stuck in time and only remembers one time in which he felt like he didnt hate him and that was while waiting in Gorilla, Vince told him he liekd his beard and asked why his partner did not have one. London then talks about how it is disgusting to watch people lay down and give away all of their power to him. Kendrick talks about how Vince created what he loved but does not want to spend another day in the WWE, no matter how much the money. He says he knew it was his fault for being a pain in the ass and smoking weed and one day he got fired. He does not regret it but he was mad and it was tough to explain to his wife and would rather work at Home Depot.

They are asked what led to the team splitting up. They had been going nowhere and knew they were fucked and not going to move up the card, despite the fact that they were perfect for each other. They talked about trying to be called “The Hooligans” but the office said no because no one would know who they were when they split up.

London talks about how the WWE do not always know what their fans want and how they are a bastard child of entertainment, no matter how hard he tries to get into Hollywood. He then said that Vince is in the business to create stars.

Both guys talk about Rene Dupree. They both say he is hilarious. London tells a story of how Rene was lactacting once while he was on the juice. He then tells another story of how he filled his hotel bathtub with vomit after the video game challenge at WrestleMania weekend in Chicago when he had a ton of sweet potato fries at the buffet afterwards.

They talk about guys they were friends with. London said he was friends with Carlito in OVW but that he changed a lot when he got called up to the main roster, thinking that he was a lot bigger star than he really was. Knedrick calls Santino the funniest guy on the planet that he knows.

Kendrick is now asked about how his “The Brian Kendrick” character got created. He said that he pitched it to the boss and it came time for him to debut. He had new gear that his wife made and a promo. However, Michael Hayes wanted him to use a promo that he created and wear his old gear. Kendrick ended up changing into his new outfit and HHH liked it so he told that to Hayes who wanted Kendrick to get the OK from Vince. He didnt care but Hayes didnt like his promo so Hayes rearranged it and when he gave that promo to Vince, he hated it and asked him if he wrote it and Kendrick said no and gave him the promo he created and Vince loved it and told him that he should add “The” to his name. Ezekiel Jackson was added when Kendrick was working a match against Dolph Ziggler, who he said is extremely talented. Ziggler had Rob Terry as his valet at the time and during the match, Terry kept missing his cues as Kendrick was livid. They kept changing the finishes and Kendrick went backstage and nearly knocked over Steamboat by accident and started to flip out, stating that if he can make the guys he had been facing look good that he could do the same for HHH. Hayes went over to talk with him as he was threatening to quit as he went off on a tangent about putting over shitty guys like the Gymini and Deuce as Johnny Ace approached him and said they would talk to Vince. As Kendrick is waiting in front of his office, Ace sees him then walks the other way and disappears as he is by himself with Vince. He tells Vince that he is ready to quit and if he can make shitty wrestlers look good, imagine how he could make the top guys look. Shortly after that, Ace told him that he was fired and could help him get into Japan, which he said he didnt need.

They talk about Mark Henry for a second and Kendrick said that Henry threw his bachelor party for him. London said that Henry would look at porn and take out the centerfold in the locker rooms and even on airplanes.

Both guys are asked about Bryan Danielson signing with the WWE and how he will fare. Kendrick tells a story of how he cut a promo while still in the WWE and was cutting a promo about finding the perfect tag team partner but his microphone got cut off and he was livid. Originally, Kendrick pitched the idea to the WWE that Danielson be his partner but Brian Gewirtz and Johnny Ace couldnt come to an understanding and it never happened. They both say he is awesome as London calls him a positive person and that he should go to the WWE and experience it for himself instead of hearing people who were unhappy when they left.

London is asked about being in PWG. He said that everyone was nice to him and he felt appreciated. He is asked about the hybrid dolphins and said that he spend the day on the beach eating pizza an seeing the mammals and dolphins in the water then had a shitty match and was asked to come back and cut a promo, as he was high as a kite. He then came up with the idea then.

The interview closes with Kendrick talking about 9/11 conspiracy theories an states that it was the result of holograms, with London looking at him like he was an idiot.

Final Thoughts: A highly entertaining disc. Lots of funny stories sprinkled in with some insight. I will say that Kendrick comes off as being a lot more responsible for his actions than London, who does seemingly go into blame mode at times. Then again, it was known that London was not exactly in a mentally stable place during this time. It also didnt help him that he was extremely fucked up during this interview.

I will say that the interviewer was completely useless. He did not make any attempts to reign them in when they went off track. He also never challenged London on why he cracked up during the segment when Vince McMahon walked past the entire locker room en route to his limo. London himself had been rumored to have a lot of issues during his time that had been reported such as going out and doing promos that were not approved by the office and asking for time off.

I recommend this shoot though. Lots of funny stories were told and it gave a good glimpse into the atmosphere and locker room of the WWE during its run. This shoot also spawned several other shoot-style pieces by Paul London as well as a sequel. In the sequel, London is only drinking coffee and both guys come off as somewhat apologetic from this video.

Highspots Presents: Brian Kendrick & Paul London’s Excellent Adventure, Disc One

This is a two-disc set that was released in 2010. This post only contains disc one as I will post the second disc tomorrow. Disc One runs for one hour and thirty minutes

The interview starts with both men passing around a joint, already stoned. They are also drinking.

The first question is about how they met. Kendrick said that they met in California while trying to make their way through the independent scene. London talks about growing up in Texas but believed that in wrestling, you have to be away from your element and move away. He wound up in UPW. He then talks about liking to surround himself with quality human beings who inspire to be something instead of lazy people. London is high as a kite right off the bat but coherent.
Kendrick talks about signing up with Shawn Michael’s Wrestling Academy and how it was from 9-12, three days a week. He talks about Rudy Boy Gonzalez, who would be there Monday through Saturday and Kendrick would show up an hour early and leave three hours late.
Kendrick then said that he went up Johnny Ace after watching London tear it up in his dark matches against Saturn and Matt Hardy and wanted him to be his tag team partner.
London talks about being trained by Ivan Putski but went to Shawn’s to learn more about psychology. Kendrick said they never knew each other while in Texas at Shawn’s academy.
Kendrick got his first big break after 9/11 when a wrestler named Mikey Henderson turned down a chance to go to Japan and wrestle for Zero-One out of fear over the terrorist attacks so Kendrick said he would go over. This was on less than two days notice too. He had to wrestle three matches in 40 hours and would do everything from drink protein mixed with water to jerking off in order to stay awake.
London talks about people making excuses for why their career never took off and saying that people in the Indy scene in Texas would never want to travel and stayed there as he didn’t care if he had to drive all over the country for no money as this is what he wanted to do and you have to go get it if you want to make it big. You also had to not take no for an answer and never want to settle. London babbles on for a bit here but his main point makes sense.
They talk about getting into Ring of Honor. Rudy Boy rented a van and they drove from San Antonio to Philadelphia in a van to take a chance on a new promotion. London said they were losing money at the time and he was actually at college full-time at that point but was skipping classes in order to wrestle.
They then have the first of several “Stoner Moments” when they talk about bullshit stuff. My guess is that these segments came about because they talked forever, mostly due to being fucked up, and when they got off topic, they would throw these in between. I am not going to bother recapping these.
Back to Ring of Honor, London said that it helped put himself on the map but that Kendrick was already known so it just enhanced him. Kendrick said he owes a lot to Gabe Sapolsky. London said that originally, he went up there as a standby but the week before the show he got put in a match. He talks about his first match was three minutes long but he was amped and he felt horrible because his friend, Chris Marvel, snapped his ankle after catching him after an Asai Moonsault. London said that the locker room was really supportive after he was feeling awful. This does lead them to talk about locker rooms being referred to as family, which they say is bullshit, but they still loved everything about RoH.
Kendrick talks about himself as a wrestler, saying that he can make shitty guys look good and tell some sort of a story in the ring but he was never going to be a guy that a company looked at as the star. He then tells a story while in the WWE when they were six months into their Tag Title reign, an agent approached them stating that Vince wanted them to get rid of their masks because he didn’t understand why they were wearing them and just found out they had them six months into their reign. Kendrick said that his wife made them and he felt horrible as he had to get rid of them. London said that John Laurinaits told him in the parking lot that they had to get rid of them.
London talks about his various tryouts with the WWE before he got signed. He said that they tested you a lot and during one of his empty arena tryouts, he could hear the WWE wrestlers laughing at them while critiquing their stuff. London said that TNA offered him a one-year deal at the time but he turned it down as he was still going to school and wasn’t sure he wanted to be there but Kendrick put in a good word for him and he was signed.
When asked about the most jarring differences between the Independents and the WWE, Kendrick talks about the shorter matches in the WWE than in the independents and how you can be under contract and not have anything to do when you show up for TV tapings. When that happens for a while, you lose your hunger and start to think, what is the point of being here. He brings up how Paul told him he sounded like a different person after leaving the WWE. Kendrick says that the WWE is not an evil company but that it just wasn’t right for him as they wanted different things and the independents give him more self-satisfaction as he can do more. London then talks about how when you sign a contract, you give your power away to the company. They talk about when you get to the WWE, there is a list of 10-15 guys and the shows revolve around them only. He then talks about at the beginning of his run, he had a series of matches with Jimmy Yang that were well received by everyone but when they made it to TV, they were all edited heavily. London then reiterates the fact that the WWE is not for everyone and then jokes about how unless Vince pays him a gazillion dollars he is not returning. London then said that Vince’s balls would wind up in HHH’s mouth, like they always do. This is the first of many instances throughout the shoot in which you realize that Paul London will never, ever work with the WWE again.

They both now talk about the list they mentioned in the above paragraph about the company revolving around 10-15 guys. They, along with Gene Snitsky (who they both liked), were taking a tour of the corporate office in Connecticut as part of the WWE’s effort to show the wrestlers that they are working for them. Anyway, they are almost done with the tour of the building and they go into a room with Shane McMahon, who gives Snitsky a hug and offers him a cigar. He then blows off London and Kendrick, with Kendrick noting how they were treated like douchebags. After looking around the offices, they see all sorts of photos of different wrestlers and characters but did not notice any tag teams. Kendrick asks Shane what do you have to do as a tag team to get on the walls of the office and he told them that he has not cared about a tag team since the Legion of Doom. Kendrick then says he found out that the WWE is just a TV show and not a wrestling company.

After talking about how they were like the recurring characters of a TV show and learning that the actor who played “Boner” was just found dead, the interviewer then asks them about Chris Benoit. Kendrick said that he always got the vibe from him that he was crazy as London said they referred to him as being “tripolar,” but they both liked him while they were in the company. Kendrick said that Benoit was very complementary of his work and London adds that when guys would ask Benoit on how to perform a move or hold, he would tell them to go ask Kendrick. They then talk about how Benoit and Bob Holly didnt think they were taking their jobs seriously because they were not always in the gym. Kendrick even recalls being in the shower after a show one night in Nashville when Benoit opened the curtain to ask him if he worked out that day. London said that Benoit and Holly took them under their wing early on, helping them out. After a month, Kendrick left, stating that they were lunatics and the whole thing was crazy. London said that by 9am, they would have worked out for two hours, eaten a huge breakfast, then do a ton of pushups with Holly and Benoit.

Now, they tell a story about Benoit at a Bob Evans. London and Kendrick were sitting on one side of the table and at the other side were Jamie Noble (who London refers to as “Mini Benoit”), Bob Holly, and Chris Benoit. Benoit orders an insane breakfast, demanding his steak be steamed, with Bob Holly asking for twice as much food. London said he ordered egg whites and and a small steak to not piss them off but Benoit made him get the big steak. When Kendrick ordered, he asked for pancakes and waffles with all sorts of syrup and as the waitress was taking the order, Benoit reached his hand across the table and pushed down the waitresses pad and made Kendrick order what he had and watched him as he ate everything on his plate. London said he valued these experiences though and unerstood some of what they were trying to teach them.

Kendrick talks about his time under a WWE Developmental deal in the Memphis territory. One day, Memphis was shut down and they were originally told that they were either going to OVW or HWA. Joey Abs was the first guy in and he was told that he was being fired, instead of getting reassigned. Shooter Schultz and the American Dragon (Daniel Bryan), go in next and they are fired too. Kendrick got fired too by a guy named Dennis Brandt, who had never seen any of them work before. A week later, after watching a higlight reel, Brandt called him up and said that he was pretty good but at that point, Kendrick was going over to Japan.

While Memphis, Kendrick said that William Regal, Tracy Smothers, and Bobby Eaton were all awesome and great trainers but that the Office didnt think that Tracy and Bobby were the office types.

London talks about his experience in OVW. He didnt want to be there and believed he was just there to appease the office. He also didnt think he would be there long and didnt want to be either. He was only there for about three months. He didnt despise his time there at all but just did not want to be in Louisville at all. He had one TV match against Aaron Stevens (Damien Sandow).

He then talks about the developmental system and how they trained everyone like robots and that everyone wrestled the same matches with the same moves. He disliked Rip Rogers, stating that he would just bury everyone and make people give him yogurt protein bars and if you did give that to him, you could sit out on a training session, prompting London to say “What kind of faggots are they training here.” He then tells a story of Bob Holly coming down and ripping on everyone, which he said was hilarious. He tells a story of Jillian Hall trying to do 450’s off the top rope with her gut hanging out when a few hours prior she sat out a training session citing an injury and after Bob called everyone over, he told her to cover up her gut and that he would never lay down for her 450. London said OVW was also his first experience of the ass-kissing side of the business. London did have some positives in OVW. He really liked Danny Davis and Kenny Bolin.

Next, they are asked about Michael Shane. They like him a lot but at first, London said he disliked him, which prompts Kendrick to say that he is an asshole but still likes him. London even added that he tried to get Shane booked but promoters would be hesistant due to stories about him being difficult. He said that when they worked for Ring of Honor, they hit it off and became friends. London is surprised that he didnt make it to the WWE and put him over for being able to throw great punches but again, Kendrick reiterates the fact that he is an asshole as to why he never made it into the WWF.

London tells another story while in Reno with Shane. At first, they got pulled over and almost arrested. After one of the guys they were with got shorted over pay, the came back drunk to the hotel room and London slammed a lamp on the ground. He said it didnt break and he felt like an idiot but as he was reaching to pick it up, Shane walks over and stomps the lamp.

They talk about being in Japan for a minute. The talk about how they are weird over there and very perverted. Kendrick says that he feels great over there because as a “short-dicked Irish man” the Japanese condoms are very small but at the same time the Magnums are American and way too big. London said that the Zero-One Promotion would always put the wrestlers in hotels right near Roppongi, which is a party district. Then after a while, they stopped that as all of the guys would take buses into town and go to all of the bars. London then speaks of the Japanese porn channels in the hotel rooms and all they censor penetration. He then talks about a wrestler named Tom Howard who came up to he and Low Ki to tell them about a “stomper bar,” which is a place you would pay money for them to stomp on your nuts or even gerbils. Kendrick then said he got tied up once there and burned with candle wax while getting whipped, prompting him to say how he loves those “goofy gooks.”

London then talks again about the WWE and how he said no matter how hard he worked, he never felt the reciprocation from the company. He remembers being excited just for the fact that he got to be in the Royal Rumble match, which was his favorite PPV. When it came time for him to be eliminated by Snitsky, he said he wasn’t going to get thrown out in some lazy manner like most people did and wanted his elimination to stand out and he worked out the spot in which he got his head taken off by a clothesline and flipped off of the apron onto the floor where an ambulance took him to the back. He said when he got backstage, they asked him if he was alright and he said yes then they told him his elimination looked “too good” and that it took away from the match and London said he got heat over that spot. He said that he wasn’t going to be like the rest of the “clones” and refuses to settle for mediocrity.

Now they are asked about if they had agents lay everything out for them or if they had freedom. London talks about how he usually had either Ricky Steamboat, Arn Anderson, or Dean Malenko as agents and liked all three guys but that the agents usually worked under the umbrella of the office and did not have much freedom at all themselves. He then talks about other agents that would lie to their face, like Mike Rotunda, that would never consider of even ask the office about their suggestions, even when he said he would speak up to the office itself. London says that it works better as a collaboration but that did not happen much. Kendrick is more diplomatic and said that the agents had to do their jobs but some were better than others at laying out things for you.

Next, they are asked if they had doubts after being told by Shane McMahon that he hasn’t cared about a tag team since the Legion of Doom. Kendrick basically said that they were fucked anyway but thought they were getting over as a team. He also said the crowd responded to him as well but that when he asked backstage, they told him they heard it but it might not be a big as what they did so he could be wrong in that aspect. London said that over time, they got respect from the wrestlers and the agents for their work but at the end, most people in that company are powerless. At the end, both guys state that despite the fact that they were frustrated while in the WWE, others should try it out for themselves instead of listening to people who were bitter about their experiences.

The guys now talked about wrestling against Deuce & Domino and state how Deuce is the worst wrestler they ever wrestled with. They said he was a trash talker and would never even bump for them. For instance, London would fly across the ring and dropkick him in the face and still wouldn’t bumpand just held on to the ropes. Kendrick says that Deuce lives off of his dad’s (Jimmy Snuka) laurels but is dad was really cool. He then mentions how Snuka told him that when he first met him as a student he was going to kill him but at the end he said that they loved him and how they now bum smokes off of each other. London jokes that Deuce would make a better gay porn star than wrestler.

On working with William Regal & Dave Taylor, Kendrick first talks about how he trained under Regal while in Memphis and owes a lot to him. He got along with Taylor a lot too. London didnt have a problem with them but noted for some reason, whenever he went to dropkick Taylor he would always hit him in the ribs. London then joked how Taylor looked like Don Flamingo from “Mike Tyson’s Punchout.” London then says it was a pleasure working with hose guys who are veterans but would still bump for them and take everything they would give without complaining and even suggesting more from them. This leads to more bashing of Deuce who refuses to bump despite not having accomplished anything in wrestling himself.

They say the proudest accomplishment was getting a really good match out of KC James and Idol Stevens (Damien Sandow). They both say that KC James is awesome then talk about how after their PPV match against them, they were clapping when they came backstage from the gorilla position. Six months later, they had split up and James became an enhancement talent on the new ECW as James Curtis but was still under contract. One day backstage, Vince walks by and looks at James and said “look at this guy, sign him” then walks away. London tells another story about KC James when in England. There was a notorious rat over their called “Big Bird” who London said was nasty. Anyway, James told him how she wanted him to romance her and he did not want to do any of that so he told him that he went into the bathroom and took off her clothes only to come out and stick his cock into her face, which horrified her and she left. They then talk about how James was born twenty years too late and would have fit in the 1980’s style of wrestling perfectly with his look and attitude.

Final Thoughts: I found this to be entertaining, although disc two is better and mostly all about everyone they worked with in the WWF. A lot of the interview strays off topic and the interviewer doesn’t even attempt to lead them back to the topic at hand. Most of the rambling is probably due to the fact that they are high and drunk. London comes off a lot more bitter than Kendrick and as the this progresses (you can tell a lot more in the second disc), London gets a lot more fucked up. Still, they show a decent amount of insight and you can tell just how passionate they were about wrestling when they were starting out.

Brian Christopher

Hey Scott,


Someone over on reddit has posted a scan of a WWF magazine from January 1998 (clearly written before Montreal): http://imgur.com/a/YR89f#0

One of the striking things about the issue is how high on Brian Christopher they were. Did they really have big plans for him? And if so, what actually happened instead?

Thanks,
Tom

For a while they thought he was gonna anchor their light heavyweight division, but once the Too Cool thing caught fire he had a series of drug problems and then got detained trying to cross into Canada with something untoward in his possession.  He was pretty much blackballed from the promotion after that, and you know there's gotta be bad blood since his dad has continued to work for them for another decade and they didn't even offer him a pity shot on one of their numerous anniversary wankfests.  And even TNA stopped using him after a while!  

Was Brian Clark under-pushed?

Why the hell do I have TWO e-mails about Bryan Clark in my inbox all of a sudden?

Scott,
How did Bryan Clark never end up being anything?  That dude had the look (and agility in his earlier days), but never really made it big in any company. As a kid, I remember seeing him on a Clash as The Nightstalker and thinking he was as terrifying as Sid Vicious.  Then, despite the Adam Bomb thing being a bit goofy, the dude seemed like exactly the type that Vince loves to push.  Back to WCW, the Kevin Nash match essentially cut off any rise in status he was ever going to enjoy.  Then his team with Brian Adams came after his window as a 90s Monster closed.  Was he a bad lockeroom guy?  Just unmotivated?  Both companies surely pushed shittier in-ring performers due to "look" and "intensity" (Sid!!!), but this guy never really got a look at the main event, even as a one-off PPV monster-of-the-week for Undertaker (WWF), Sting (WCW), or Goldberg (WCW again!).  What gives?  At the very least, a 1993 monster tag team of BamBam Bigelow & Adam Bomb could have been pretty sick.

Hi Scott,
I've read a lot of stuff from fans over the years about how Brian Clark was an underutilized guy. He seemed quite good overall- he was big as hell, looked like a million bucks as far as physique and bad-assitude goes, he moved well for a big guy (his Slingshot Clothesline was pretty sweet), he was a good power wrestler with some sweet moves, and he had some nasty charisma at times.
Yet his career never really turned out to much. As Adam Bomb he was a forgettable Midcarder, often being beaten clean all over the card (like Earthquake at WrestleMania X in a quickie match), and got a face turn for no apparent change in push. As Wrath he was pretty much the same, until they decided to build him up as a new bad-ass Monster who kicked the shit out of tons of jobbers. What happened next has become somewhat notorious, as Kevin Nash beat him clean on the road to fighting Goldberg and essentially ruined him. He was solidly pushed as a member of KroniK (they were the dominant team of the crappiest WCW years), but that was short-lived, and he quit the WWF soon after they joined the InVasion.
So was he really under-pushed after all? I liked the guy and found him to be a pretty interesting wrestler to watch (especially as Wrath), but did he deserve a bigger run in your opinion? And also, just HOW awful was that loss to Nash overall? I'd argue that a guy like Wrath shouldn't have been beating Nash (who WAS a big-name main eventer and fighting the World Champion soon), BUT that it was a pointless waste of a guy who was getting quite over by jobbing him clean, ESPECIALLY since they didn't push him much afterwards- it seems like all that work went into building him up just as a speed-bump for Nash to get more over.

I think he just wasn't very motivated to go any further than he was.  He seemed like the kind of guy to go along with whatever stupid ideas were given to him (like jobbing to Nash or being the Nightstalker) and never really seemed to put much effort into getting better.  I always liked the guy and would have been fine with a bigger push for him as Wrath.

By the way, instead of bringing them in as Kronik in 2001, they should have repackaged them as a Demolition 2001 type of deal as Wrath and Crush.  That dynamic would have worked against Undertaker & Kane about a hundred times better.  

Tryout: Brian Bayless Reviews NWA-TNA

June 19, 2002 Live from the Von Braun Civic Center in Huntsville, AL Jeremy Borash is the ring announcer. Don West is announced first. Watching it live, I found it hilarious that the guy shilling sportscards on the “Shop At Home” network was on a wrestling show. Seriously, that show was the fucking funniest thing to watch late at night. You think he was apeshit in TNA then you haven’t seen him blow a gasket at opening up a pack of basketball cards to find a Chris Mullin rookie card. He does an alright job of pumping up the crowd though. Ed Ferrara is out next and billed as the “most influential man in wrestling.” Even more ridiculous than that is his hairstyle, which consists of awful looking dreadlocks. I’ll call them shitlocks. Anyway, he cuts a lame bit about being a fan of TNA but not necessarily a fan of Total Nonstop Action. The crowd doesn’t care about Ferrara. He then turns it over to Mike Tenay at the broadcast booth and refers to him as the “Professor of Vanilla.” Tenay puts over the history and tradition of the NWA. He goes on about respecting history and plugs the “Gauntlet for the Gold” tonight that will feature 20 wrestlers. He explains the rules, which is two wrestlers in the ring every 90 seconds and an opponent is eliminated when he goes over the top rope and on to the floor. Jeremy Borash is in the ring to announce the legends of the NWA. Harley Race is out first and looks decent all things considered. Dory Funk comes out and still looks like he can kick some ass, even at age 61 . Jackie Fargo is out next and Tenay brags about him being a first-ballot “Wrestling Observer Newsletter HOF” as Ferrara sarcastically pretends he has never heard of the publication. Bob Armstrong is out next to a decent reaction. Corsica Joe and Sara Lee are out next , looking ancient. At least Sara Lee seems to know where she is as Joe looks completely lost. Bill Behrens is out next. Exactly how is he a legend? Ricky Steamboat is out last and cuts a passionate but long-winded promo about the importance of the NWA title. He talks about his match with Flair in Chicago 89 to become champion and states the NWA belt means more to him than any other belt then proceeds to compare it to every other sport’s championship. He mentioned that the NWA representatives have picked 20 wrestlers for the Gauntlet and that he will be referee when the last two left. Jeff Jarrett comes out and Tenay is livid that he interrupted the festivities. Jarrett calls the gauntlet the biggest joke and runs down the legends while frequently stating how having a battle royal to determine the title is stupid. Fargo then incoherently cuts a promo, forgetting that you actually need to speak into the microphone. He makes Jarrett the 1st contender in the gauntlet, who states he doesn’t care and will win by kicking 19 other asses. Ken Shamrock comes out and also thinks the gauntlet is a dumb idea. Great, even the faces are shitting all over the idea of having a battle royal. He tells Jarrett that he can kick the other 18 asses in the gauntlet but not his. Shamrock is not that great of a promo guy and certainly wasn’t anything special here. Hall comes out from the crowd, who Tenay calls “Wrestling’s Real Outlaw.” Hall also agrees with the other two about the gauntlet being a dumb idea, but says its going to happen and to quit crying and focus on one person, Scott Hall. Jarrett disses everyone and says Fargo will regret his decision of making him #1. This whole segment was idiotic. It begins by promoting the tradition of the NWA and ends with the three top contestants stating the gauntlet, which is the main event and going to determine the NWA champion, was a dumb idea. No one came off looking good here. Backstage, Goldylocks interviews Puppet the Psycho dwarf. She is not good in her role at all. He says midgets are the true stars and came to TNA to see “midget blood.” At least Puppet can cut a halfway decent promo. Jarrett can be seen yelling about Fargo and kicking a barrel in the background. Cage dancers are shown before the competitors are announced. They look quite skanky. AJ Styles & Low Ki & Jerry Lynn vs Flying Elvises (Jorge Estrada, Sonny Siaki, Jimmy Yang) Before the match, the legends are shown backstage looking at the monitor. They show them looking proud at the faces and shaking their heads in disbelief at the Flying Elvises. Tenay plugs the X Division, stating there was no weight limit and mentions the round robin next week to crown the first ever X Division champion. The faces get attacked from behind to start but quickly gain the advantage and dump Siaki & Estrada, leaving Yang and Styles in the ring. AJ gets a powerslam and knocks Yang down with a chop. Yang then pancakes Styles and nails him with a leg lariat for two. Styles breaks up a suplex with a forearm and tags Lynn, who lands a few stomps. Lynn reverses an Irish whip and hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for two. Yang charges the corner and eats a boot from Lynn. Lynn gets a tornado DDT but Yang pops right up and hits an enziguri. He then gets a moonsault kick in the corner and tags Siaki. He misses a somersault leg drop and Lynn comes back with a tilt-a-whirl headscissor takeover. Bulldog off a wheelbarrow gets two for Lynn, who tags Low Ki. He lands some chops but Siaki quickly regains control and hits a spinning neckbreaker for two. Siaki misses a charge but ducks a kick and gets a backbreaker for two. Estrada tags in and gets a split-legged moonsault for two. He puts Low Ki on the top turnbuckle and gets a running neckbreaker. Running shooting star press gets two. Low Ki manages to dropkick the knees of Estrada and kicks the shit out of him. Both men make the tag and its now Styles and Yang. Styles gets a flying forearm, which Yang sells quite dramatically. Styles hits the phenomenon for two. Yang floats over on a german suplex attempt and kills Styles with a spinning heel kick, which gets two before Low Ki makes the save. Low Ki back drops Yang on the apron and takes him down with the tidal wave. Estrada comes in and hits a spinebuster on Low Ki and Lynn breaks up the pin attempt at two. He hits the cradle piledriver for two but is nailed from behind by Siaki, who gets a neckbreaker. Styles crushes Siaki with a kick. Yang comes in and Styles holds him up for Low Ki but he escapes and Styles eats the kick. Estrada comes off the top with a missle dropkick to the back of Low Ki and it allows Yang to go up and hit the Yangtime for the win (6:21). *** Thoughts: A spot-fest but a good way to showcase the idea of the X Division, which was plugged during the match as being “extreme.” All 6 men had a chance to shine and it made you intrigue to see what will happen next week. Hollywood vs Teo Hollywood nails Teo from behind and gets in some punches. Teo manages to duck a clothesline attempt and hit some really sloppy looking headscissor takedown. That looked awful. He gets Hollywood in the corner and pulls his shirt over his face before chopping his chest. Headbutt to the groin is followed by ten mounted punches in the corner capped off with pelvic thrusts to the face. The crowd loved that. Hollywood catches Teo in the corner and gets a Michinoku Driver for two, then yells at the ref for counting slowly. Teo manages a quick rollup for two but his immediately put back down by a clothesline. Hollywood goes to the top rope and gets a splash for two. Teo manages to gain the upper hand and hits a side Russian legsweep in another awful looking spot. He goes up top and overshoots the senton by a mile but Hollywood sells it anyway and Teo gets the win. (2:49) ¼* Thoughts: Even as a quick match, it was terrible. The crowd did enjoy the comedy spots so it served somewhat of a purpose. Don West and Ed Ferrara are in the ring to bring out the contestants for next week’s Miss TNA Lingerie Battle Royal. Francine is introduced first and the crowd reacts to her a bit. Miss Joni is out next to no reaction as she is a complete unknown. Shannon is out next as West screws up and mentions how she was known as Daffney in “ECW” before correcting himself. Alexis Laree (Mickie James before the cosmetic enhancement surgery) is out next to a decent little reaction. I should mention how the camera work is just awful here. They keep panning to the wrong girl as they are being introduced. Sasha is out next and I have no clue as to who she is either. Erin Bray is the next unknown to be announced. Elektra is next and gets a bit of a pop from the crowd. Taylor Vaughn is out next and actually looks like someone who could be a star, despite only having brief cups of coffee with WWE and WCW a few years prior. Rebecca Briggs is out next and I have no clue as to who she is either. Francine grabs the mic and calls West “pudgy” before running down her competition. Elektra steps up and mention how Francine bankrupted “another company” and that there is no “extreme” here. The two have a catfight and Elektra gets her shirt ripped off and gets covered up by West. Francine goes outside and mentions how she will be crowned “Miss TNA” after winning the battle royal. Between the shitty camerawork, the lackluster competitors, and the general overall presentation, the whole thing came off as third-rate garbage. I mean, compared to what the WWE Divas consisted of at this time, it was like night and day. Goldylocks interviews manager Mortimer Plumtree. He goes on about how his team, The Johnsons, does whatever he says. A generic promo that introduced the new team. Plumtree did fine in his role. The Johnsons w/Mortimer Plumtree vs Psychosis & “Cowboy” James Storm Before the match, Storm stands on the top rope and fires off cap guns, prompting Ferrara to mention how he thought cowboy gimmicks were outlawed in 1992. The Johnsons, named Richard & Rod, are the Shane Twins (Or the Gymini if anyone remembers that uneventful run in the WWE with Simon Dean) under masks and generic looking body full costumes. They are impossible to tell apart under the masks. Johnson #1 starts by booting Psychosis. Double underhook suplex get two. Snap suplex gets two. Psychosis ducks a chop and manages to get a spinning heel kick. The other Johnson comes in and gets nailed with an enziguri. Tag to Storm who hits Johnson #1 with a missle dropkick. The Johnson’s regroup outside as Alicia (Ryan Shamrock) comes down the ramp. The camera continues to focus on Alicia as Storm and one of the Johnson’s lock up as West and Ferrara make god-awful penis jokes. He takes Storm down with an armdrag and tosses him over the ropes, who skins the cat and stars firing away. He gets a bulldog and makes the tag to Psychosis. Basement dropkick on Johnson is followed by a few chops. Psychosis boucnes off the ropes but gets pulled down by the illegal man, allowing the Johnsons to hit a few double team moves. Psychosis gets beaten on for a while until he gets a facecrusher off of a powerbomb attempt. Both men make the tag and Storm is on fire. The crowd is completely silent during all of this. Storm manages to get a hurricarana and all four men are in the ring. The Johnsons hit stereo belly-to-belly overhead suplexes. That looked good, actually. Storm and one of the Johnson’s are left in the ring. Storm gets a roll-up but is tossed while attempting a tornado DDT. Plumtree distracts Storm by tripping him up, allowing one of the Johnson’s to hit the TKO for the win. (4:49) *1/4. Post match, referee Slick Johnson is stopped and harassed by Alicia as he walks up the ramp. After some pestering, he gives her a wad of cash. Thoughts: The Johnsons did some decent power stuff and Storm showed something here despite no one having a clue as to who he is. However, the ending was lame and the match itself was meaningless. The Alicia bit was a waste of time. Goldylocks interviews the Dupps backstage, who are drinking beer. The Dupps consist of Bo, Stan (later known as Trevor Murdoch in the WWE), and Fluff. Bill Behrens comes out and says how there is no “beer drinking” allowed in the locker room and that he does not want intoxicated wrestlers in the ring. He couldn’t have possibly sounded like a bigger dork in this segment. We learn that Bo and Stan share Fluff and goldilocks walks away, disgusted. Another bush-league segment. NASCAR drivers Hermie Sadler and Sterling Martin are in the ring. They go on about their upcoming races as K-Krush (Ron Killings) comes out and runs down the drivers for not being athlete’s like “his kind” are. He goes on for a bit and grabs Sadler until Brian Christopher comes in for the save. The drivers toss K-Krush out of the ring and Christopher issues a challenge for next week, stating how his kind will be there. He appears to be coked out of his mind. A stupid angle that hinted a racism while bringing in celebrities. Backstage, Jeff Jarrett is choking out Jackie Fargo until refs and officials make the save. The Dupps w/Fluff Dupp vs Christian York & Joey Matthews Fluff distracts York & Matthews, allowing the Dupps to get the advantage. They beat on Matthews for a bit until York gets back in the ring and hits a springboard dropkick on both Dupps. Double suplex on Bo. Stan gets a full nelson slam and tags in Bo, who boots down Matthews and hits a splash for two. Stan tags back in and lands a few chops before getting caught with a neckbreaker. Both men make the tag and York cleans house. Bo blocks a sunsetflip but misses a sitdown splash. York with mounted punches to Bo in the corner and hits a back elbow smash on Stan, who was trying to make the save. York with a fireman’s carry slam and he yells a lot before hitting a senton . Stan breaks up the pin attempt at two. Matthews comes back in the ring, only to go right back out as he takes out Stan and himself with a crossbody. York gets a tornado DDT on Bo and does some more posing and yelling. He comes off as incredibly annoying, not a good idea when you are the face. He goes up top and stands up there for way too long before Fluff crotches him and Bo gets the pin for the win. (3:39) ½* Thoughts: Bad match. The end looked terrible and there was no flow at all. Another meaningless tag match that the crowd sat through silently. 20 Man Gauntlet for the Gold Jeff Jarrett is #1 and Buff Bagwell comes out as #2, getting a nice pop from the crowd. He beats on Jarrett for a while and hits the blockbuster. He charges at Jarrett but ends up getting backdropped to the floor and eliminated. Lash Leroux enters at #3 and immediately gets destroyed. He is carrying about 30 lbs more in his gut than when he was last seen in WCW. Jarrett tosses him through the middle ropes and beats the shit out of him before throwing him back in the ring. He hits the stroke and tosses him over the top rope and on to the floor. Norman Smiley is #4 and the crowd reacts favorably towards him. He immediately is met by stomps. He tries the big wiggle but is clotheslined down. Smiley manages to get a scoop slam but plays to the crowd for a bit too long, allowing Jarrett to get a low blow. He hits the stroke and eliminates Norman by tossing him to the floor. Apolo enters at #5 and catches Jarrett with a spinebuster. He tosses Jarrett over the ropes, who manages to land on the apron. He comes back in and Apolo has him up for the press slam when entrant #6, K-Krush, comes in and breaks that up as the announcers go on about how stupid that was and hint at a possible allegiance between K-Krush and Jarrett as the two take turns beating on Apolo. Slash, with James Mitchell, enters at #7. Quite the different look than when he was Wolfie D. He does nothing of note and just blends in with everyone else. Del Rios is in at #8, looking like a Scott Steiner rip-off. He even has the Superman logo on the back of his trunks. He gets bitten by Slash and also does nothing of note. Justice (Abyss) enters at #9. He boots down Jarrett and Rios. Jarrett attempts to eliminate Apolo but falls short. Konnan enters at #10 and hits rolling clotheslines on everyone, capped off with a jumping armbreaker to Justice. He actually showed some fire here. Joel Gertner comes out and rhymes about himself before introducing Bruce of the Rainbow Express, who is led to the ring by Lenny Lane as entrant #11. He does nothing of note and blends right in with the rest of the dead weight. Rick Steiner comes in at #12 and clotheslines the shit out of everyone. He eliminates Slash with an overhead throw and Justice with a clothesline. Malice comes in at #13. He was the Wall in WCW and is noticeably lighter here. He chokeslams just about everyone then eliminates Bruce, K-Krush, Del Rios, and Konnan by tossing them over the top rope. Steiner charges at Malice and he gets backdropped to the floor. Scott Hall is #14 and gets a nice reaction. He hits the razor’s edge on Jarrett after cleaning house on everyone else. Country star Toby Keith comes out wearing a bandana and gets a good looking vertical suplex on Jarrett, then Hall joins him and they toss Jarrett over the top rope and on to the floor. Toby then casually leaves the ring. Apolo and Hall join up to beat on Mailce. “Wildcat” Chris Harris enters at #15, looking lean and in shape, basically the exact opposite of what he looks like now. He shows some fire but the crowd couldn’t care less. Vampire Warrior enters immediately after at #16. I guess the 90 second rule does not apply to him. He stomps on Apolo for a bit. Devon Storm is #17 and him and Harris take turns chopping each other. Hall begins to rest in the corner and then perches himself on the top turnbuckle. Way to collect a paycheck. Steve Corino is #18 and he teams up with Storm against Hall. Not a whole lot going until Ken Shamrock enters at #19. He kills everyone until he jumps at Malice, who catches him in mid-air and slams him down. Brian Christopher is #20. He immediately throws out Harris, Storm and the Vampire Warrior. He then eliminates Corino via clothesline before walking into a chokeslam by Malice. Shamrock, Malice, Hall, and Apolo all stare each other down until Shamrock runs over and tosses Christopher, eliminating him from the match. Apolo charges towards Malice and gets eliminated via backdrop. Hall attempts to get Malice up for the razor’s edge but gets backdropped and eliminated, leaving Malice and Shamrock as the last two contestants. (30:35) ** Thoughts: A dull battle royal. The competition was weak but the formula of the match seemingly consisted of a guy coming in, hitting a move, and then blending right in. The eliminations were not memorable and the confrontations were forgettable. Apolo came out of this looking somewhat decent but overall, a waste of time. NWA World Title Match Special Guest Referee Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat Malice vs Ken Shamrock Malice boots Shamrock and gets a sideslam for two. Vertical suplex gets two. Shamrock’s attempt at a sunsetflip is blocked but he manages to block a chokeslam with a cross armlock. Malice eventually makes it to the ropes. He makes a brief comeback with chops but misses a clothesline. Shamrock catches Malice’s foot and turns it into an anklelock. Malice makes it to the ropes as Shamrock and Steamobat argue about breaking he hold. Shamorck kicks Malice in the legs but gets booted down. Malice again tries for the chokeslam but Shamrock blocks that and hits a belly-to-belly suplex for the win. (6:22) *1/2. The camera cuts out back to show Fargo and Keith being held back from Jarrett by security. Jarrett makes his way down the ring and continues to bitch about the gauntlet being a ridiculous idea. He punches Armstrong, knocking him on the announcers table before Scott Hall runs for the save and brawls with Jarrett. Ferrara plugs Hall vs Jarrett for next week. Thoughts: What the fuck was that? The promotion debuts by having a champion win the title with a belly-to-belly suplex. Gimme a break. As for the match, it wasn’t good and you could actually hear Malice call a spot at one point. The end of the show focused on Jarrett, the heel, and him being screwed out of the title. Final Thoughts: A terrible start for NWA TNA. This did not come off as an alternative to the WWE as it was third-rate sports entertainment for Southern stereotypes. You had midgets, Country Music singers, NASCAR drivers, Elvis impersonators, rednecks, and a tag-team made to look like penises. The production values were subpar and the whole overall presentation of the product was poor. Hell, even the WWA shows at this time were better. Besides the opening match, there was nothing worth seeing.