RF Video Shoot Interview with Curt Hawkins

This was filmed on July 21st, 2014

The Interview was conducted by Rob Feinstein

It runs at two hours and fifty-three minutes long

The interview starts with Hawkins talking how he has seen the most shoot interviews out of anyone Rob has shot with as Rob says that Hornswoggle also buys a ton of shoots. Rob then asks, prefacing he is not doing so to put himself over, if his interviews are popular among the locker room. Hawkins says not necessarily as a lot of “fanboys” buy them but if an interesting trailer comes out everyone else will talk about it and watch it, noting how when Nova’s trailer came out it was the talk of the locker room.

Hawkins says he was a fan at age 5 when his older brother rented WrestleMania 6 and was hooked then would rent tons of Coliseum Home Videos from that store. His first live show was the 1990 Survivor Series. His favorites then were the Rockers along with Texas Tornado, Curt Hennig, and the Ultimate Warrior.

He had an aspiration to become a wrestler in high school but went to college first. He played football, wrestling, and baseball in high school and took a partial scholarship to attend Western New England College. He then talks about going to some Ring of Honor shows in High School, with his favorite being the One Year Anniversary show and reports being scared during the riot that took place as he did not know they were plants in the crowd. He also talks about attending ECW shows in White Plains, NY. He also talks about tape trading and getting shows from Mexico and Japan.

Onto his training, Hawkins said that he first got trained at USA Pro Wrestling by Chris Candido and Balls Mahoney, who he said had no game plan at all and asked the class what they wanted to do so Hawkins said he would take backdrops, which he said was the dumbest thing you could do and could not do safely without training but he did them anyway and was excited just to train. While leaving that first day, he noticed Candido and Mahoney argue with promoter Frank Goodman over money and they never came back so there was no trainers and just a ring. He also talks about meeting Sean the Mic (Writer from Declaration of Independent site) and went to a lot of shows with him.

After that, he went to NYWC and trained their for the Summer then went off to college. He came back later on and Mikey Whipwreck was the trainer and brought the structure that it lacked before.

Hawkins met Zach Ryder while training and said that they both looked alike and actually didnt like each other at first but bonded as they both collected wrestling figures and talked about that. He also said that Trent Baretta trained with him, despite only being 16 years old at the time.

On how he first got on the WWE’s radar, Hawkins said that Tommy Dreamer teamed with him and Ryder for a six-man at NYWC then got a message on his phone from Whipwreck that Dreamer wanted him and Ryder at Madison Square Garden for a RAW/Smackdown taping. He said they got grilled by Bob Holly backstage as he had no idea where he was supposed to be changing. Hawkins said that MNM also changed with them, despite being the Tag Champs as they just got called up to the company and had not earned the right to enter the locker room. Hawkins said it is no longer like that today but that it should be and credits John Morrison for saving their ass that day and showing them where to go. Hawkins also said that Ryder did a squash for Matt Morgan that day. When asked Hawkins said they were still green at the time and nowhere ready for the WWE.

Ten months later, they did a tryout at the Nassau Coliseum with Dean Malenko and Tommy Dreamer putting them through a bunch of matches and drills. Hawkins said that Bobby Fish killed it and stood out above everyone else and thinks he did not get selected because he looked just like Gunner Scott (Bret Albright) at that time and he was getting groomed to be something in OVW. Hawkins think that he and Ryder got picked as they were young and looked alike. Dreamer then called him up and offered him a deal. Hawkins told him that he was in college so Dreamer said that the WWE wouldnt want him to quit so he told him move after the semester ended. Hawkins said that he spent the final three months in school partying as his roommate got booted out of school and had the dorm to himself and knew he was leaving for the WWE anyway.

He is asked to describe an average week of training. Hawkins said that he got the toned down version of Bill DeMott as a trainer and it was still crazy. Hawkins does say that he likes DeMott and has always gotten along with him but has heard from others that DeMott has talked s--- behind his back. He even credits DeMott for taking a liking to him and Ryder. They started with a 45 minute workout then they did drills just for the sake of doing drills that made no sense. He never wanted to quit because back then they were so young and didnt care but now he doesnt know about that. Hawkins credits DeMott for busting on him because you need thick skin in wrestling and said he would purposely f--- with your head. Hawkins also said that if DeMott did not like you he’d write you off. He even talks about how Ryder would have night terrors and barely sleep due to anxiety about the training. When asked about Kevin Matthews and what he said about DeMott, Hawkins said he likes Matthews but thinks he might not have been prepared for how hard it would be then said that DeMott’s claim about Matthews breaking up with his girlfriend leading to his problems there was false as they broke up after he got fired from Developmental.

He is asked about the photo that was posted online of a naked Developmental talent named Melissa Coates. Hawkins said that every Friday would be tape review and mostly everyone was hungover. They then said DeMott called it a Lets Make a Deal Friday where you could propose a deal to DeMott to get out of practice. He recalls some instances like onetime they had shopping cart relay races. This particular instance, there was a match between Bradley Jay and Tommy Suede where Bradley wanted to do a spot but DeMott said no as they would f--- it up so Bradley pleaded and DeMott said if they f----- it up he would have to eat a dozen jelly donuts. So, they f----- up the move and the next day Bradley complained after eating about three donuts so the others decided to come up with something. One idea was for Ryder to lie down with donuts on him while Luke Gallows would splash him naked then Coates sat in the corner with the donuts in her mouth taking the “Umaga” bump in the corner.

On Jody Hamilton, the owner of Deep South, Hawkins said he was nice to them and even helpful at times but too old and dated for the position.

He is asked about some of the talents he worked with at Deep South. Hawkins hinted that he had relations with Angel Williams (Angelina Love). He did not like Eric Escobar as he always had a “woe is me” attitude. He calls Brodus Clay the man and they bonded over being huge fans of wrestling. He said no other human on this planet can drink as much as Mike Knox. Hawkins also said that he is a great person too. He calls Luke Gallows the best and there is something wrong with you if you don’t like him. Hawkins said that Vladimir Kozlov was a nice guy and tried hard but that the wrestling business was something he could not grasp. On Kenny Omega, Hawkins said that he was not going to play DeMott’s game or change who he was and commends him for that. He talks about Kofi Kingston and says sometimes he gets taken aback by how good or a person that he is and talks about Ryder and him would pick Kofi up when his wife needed to use the car. He also loves Ray Gordy (Jesse) and said that he invited everyone to his wedding to break the ice. At one time he thought that Ryan O’Reilly (Konnor) had a star quality but no longer thinks that and can’t believe that he is still in Developmental seeing how he began in Deep South during the Summer of 2005. Hawkins then said that Big Vito was the worst and how he thought he was great and he sucked and once told a kid who was wearing a Jerry Lynn t-shirt to give him 50 pushups for wearing a shirt of someone who did not work for the company.

He then talks about how the writers would come down to see them cut promos and wrestle and how it sucked as they did it in an empty arena and how you need to wrestle in front of people to make it work.

On house shows, Hawkins said that Jody Hamilton never promoted them and one night they wrestled in front of 13 people and 9 of them were members of Kofi’s family and they had to beg Hamilton to get Kofi on the show.

Hawkins is asked about how Deep South shut down. He talks about how people would write anonymous letters to the office about DeMott and says that although it might be justified it was a chickenshit thing to do and even said DeMott would get off on that and post the letters and stuff from the dirt sheets on the bulletin boards. One day they came back to the office waiting in the bleachers as John Laurinaitis came out and said that this place (Deep South) was bad business and then told them all to get every piece of WWE property out of the building “right the f--- now” and if you come back here after today, you would be fired on the spot. Hawkins said that he and Ryder were the first to start as they ripped down a banner and they were all taking PPV chairs and posters as Laurinaitis told them to take whatever the f--- they wanted and after that chaos ensued. Once that ended, Laurinaitis told them all to meet him and Mike Bucci (Nova) at Hooters where he would buy them drinks and they went there and drank all night.

After Deep South shut down, they were told to go to OVW as they were further along than most while the rest went to FCW. Shortly afterwards, Nova called them up and said to go to Alabama as they were going to debut on ECW.

On his debut for ECW, Hawkins said that they were billed as locals who would get to win the match by surprise then win like they had won the World Series afterwards. He then said years later he found out that they were trying to make them a modern day version of the Mulkey Brothers. Then after the debut they were supposed to work with Mike Knox & Derrick Neikirk but that got squashed so they had nothing to do.

Hawkins tells a story of how backstage the night of his debut, which was after WrestleMania 23, they saw Vince McMahon walk by with a doo rag on and Vince asked them if he wanted to borrow it before he started to laugh as he walked by.

Regarding the locker room, Hawkins again speaks on how it was different back then and how after a few months dressing with extras he had to ask the Undertaker if he could dress in the locker room and he said yes. He also mentioned other guys would get kicked out of the locker room and said how Paul London would change with them and that the Miz would have to get ready in the hallways because he had so much heat but also stresses how this is no longer the case today. Hawkins said that Miz was eating fried chicken in the locker room without a plate and it was getting all over people’s bags and referee Scott Armstrong saw this and told Undertaker and Benoit, who kicked the Miz out.

Chris Benoit took him under his wing when he started out and would take time to watch tapes of their matches to help them out. Hawkins also mentions how he was always intense and would be chewing on a coffee stirrer. Benoit also told them to come to him with their problems and not take s--- from anyone.

He briefly talks about OVW and how it was completely different from Deep South. Hawkins said that he was a huge mark for CM Punk as a teen and Ryder would bust his balls, even telling Punk that Hawkins was a mark for him to make him look like an idiot but it actually got Hawkins friendly with Punk. He said that Punk was great to him outside of the ring but has also seen Punk be a real dick to people.

Now, Hawkins is asked about turning heel and joining Edge. He said they were doing nothing at the time between OVW and Smackdown. They saw Michael Hayes in the hallway and asked him what they could do and Hayes said to show him something different. Hawkins said he and Ryder were huge fans of Edge and watching a lot of the show “Entourage” at the time so they raided the merchandise bins for Edge gear then came out to his music and started to argue in the ring about picking up his protein and dry cleaning in front of the writers in OVW. Everyone loved it but nothing came from it as Hayes asked them how they would get with Edge as you just cannot come out and be with him. So, at the time, Edge came back to blindside the Undertaker and during a drive he and Ryder came up with ideas. Hawkins said that he came up to Edge and asked for his email about an idea and Edge said yes then when he got the idea, Edge loved it and pitched it to Hayes and that was how the Edgeheads were born.

Hawkins then puts over how a year of basically shadowing Edge and seeing him go over matches with all the other stars and veterans gave him an Ivy League-level education on pro wrestling.

When asked about the name changes, Hawkins said that he had the day of after the Armageddon PPV. The Edgehead idea was supposed to be a one-time thing originally as they were going to be the Major Brothers with Edge. However, they were told that Vince got pissed that they were not real brothers and wanted them to change their names. John Laurinaitis came up to him and said they needed “hip” names like Slash and Razor. So, at one point they were going to be “Kiedis” and “Cobain” but then Michael Hayes told them they just wanted normal names. So, Hawkins took “Curt” from Curt Hennig and the “Hawkins” part from Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins, who looks like Edge. Ryder then took “Zack” from Zack Morris of “Saved by the Bell” while he has no idea how he got the “Ryder” part.

He calls Batista one of the nicest guys ever but at first is very intimidated. He tells a story of how Batista invited a lot of people to his house in Tampa and he and Ryder were riding with Punk and Domino, who were invited and took them to the party. When they arrived, Batista greeted them then looked at him and Ryder and asked who the f--- invited them and as they froze, Batista said he was just kidding and told them to come inside. Hawkins loves Rey Mysterio and said he was so fluid in the ring and so over that it makes it easy for him. He said that the Undertaker was intimidating but really nice one he got to know him.

On working with Shawn Michaels and Ric Flair in a cage match, Hawkins said that Michaels went up to Edge and thought they were too green to up against them but Edge assured Michaels they would take care of him as he was their idol. Hawkins also said that he hurt his knee and was worried he would get pulled from the show but they added Chavo Guerrero to the match to help out. He also says that while not PG at the time, they were told no blood for the match as Flair said f--- that as he was getting color. After the match, he and Ryder were covered in Flair’s blood and sat in the locker room amazed.

Hawkins put over the experience he got from working with Edge but at the same time realized that they were not going to get a chance to be stars and how they did not get a chance to develop their own identities.

Feinstein then asks Hawkins about Ryder and the bad rep that he gets from the office. Hawkins said that if you do not know Ryder he is hard to udnerstand but that he means well. On the bad rep, he said that it might start due to the office not thinking that he could win in a real fight, which he thinks is stupid because its all entertainment anyway.

He is now asked about winning the Tag Team Titles. Hawkins said that they did not find out until they day of the show. He also joked how normally the WWE fucks you over in your hometown. Hawkins said that it was a big deal when you win the belts and anyone winning a title who tells you otherwise is lying. Hawkins then talks about having no other teams to work with when they were champions and does not understand why those titles are shunned as the hot tag in a tag match should get one of the biggest pops on the card.

Hawkins is now asked about several workers. He said that Bam Neely was his own worst enemy and how after his debut he came up late to practice at FCW then was eating fast food and asked why as he said that he wears a suit and that is does not matter so a week later they had him wrestle in trunks. Hawkins also said that Neely bitched about having to fly coach as well. On Colt Cabana, Hawkins said that no one in importance understood what they had in him. He puts Chavo over for being helpful but said he got “pissy” at the end. Hawkins puts over Kane for being a great guy and would compliment him on occasion. He said Teddy Long was hilarious and denies any reports of him being a stooge for the office. He jokes about the divas saying that if he wasnt trying to hook up with them or if they werent dating a friend of his then he tried to avoid them because there was so much drama among them. He said Jimmy Yang is cool and probably too laid back. On the Big Show he said that he is a nice guy but a baby at times and can talk your ear off.

On dropping the Tag Titles, he was originally told that day they were squashing a team then after that they were losing to Carlito & Primo in a non-title match then after that they lost the titles.

After splitting up during the 2009 draft, Hawkins had nothing going on so he voluntarily went to FCW. When asked, Hawkins said he was not depressed but rather pissed off and determined. Hawkins said he was getting paid his downside at the time. He was pitching a varsity-athlete type gimmick but did not realize Alex Riley was doing the same thing down there.

In FCW, he said it was more structured and made more sense than Deep South. He also puts over how helpful Dusty Rhodes was on promo day.

Hawkins said he was never worried that he was going to get fired as he never let negative thoughts in his brain and how being “job scared” was something he never wanted to be.

He got teamed with Vance Archer and said the office did not like Archer and was paired up with him because the office viewed him as a “good hand.” He said they got a very brief run but had a terrible match with JTG & MVP and it was over after that.

In 2011 he switched over to RAW. He then talks about the draft shows and how they were shoots as no one knew where they were going until it was mentioned on TV. When asked if they purposely try to split up couples, Hawkins said maybe then talks about how they just concentrated on putting out a good product rather than f------ with people.

Hawkins tells the story of how he found out he was a “good hand” in the company. At a production meeting, Vince McMahon was trying to figure out who should face Adrian Neville in the dark match and decided it should be Hawkins because he is a “good hand.” So, Road Dogg came out, keeling over in laughter, telling Hawkins that Vince called him a “good hand,” the same term he used for his brother Brad Armstrong. Road Dogg then told him that it “f------ sucks” and walked away. Hawkins himself said it sucked he was labeled that but at the same time its part of the business.

He then talks about teaming with Tyler Reks and says that they were on the “B” shows and it gave them a lot more freedom because the company was hands off on them and were just obligated to get them out to foreign countries because the WWE had money coming in from them.

On writers and football players who were not part of the wrestling world, Hawkins said that it sucks when football guys come in and do not put the effort into wrestling. He credits Alex Riley and Big E for working hard and always listening to advice as they had no prior experience in wrestling, or were even fans growing up.

Now he is asked about some guys he worked with in NXT. Hawkins said that at first he didn’t like JTG but that was due to him unfairly lumping him in with his partner Shad, who Hawkins said is “full of s---.” Once he spoke with him he started to like him and said that he is a great guy. He says that Santino is hilarious but they do not get along due to some “dumb s---” that happened when they were drunk. He thought that Percy Watson was going to be something as he looked great and could talk, stating his character was money but that the office did not understand his character, thinking that he was gay. Hawkins said that he was a smooth-talking ladies man in real life. He calls Titus O’Neill a nice guy but that he is clueless to the business. He loves the Usos and cannot realize it took the WWE this long to realize how awesome they are. He likes Yoshi Tatsu but says that he is clueless and constantly getting ribbed. He thought that Maxine was “hot as s---” but also said that she was full of s--- too then tells the story he heard about how she got hired. Maxine was working at the Hooters near FCW and John Laurinaitis was there and got drunk then gave her his business card. Hawkins said that Derrick Bateman (Ethan Carter, III) was hilarious and charismatic but again, the office did not understand what they had in him.

Hawkins is then asked about the cartoons that Tyler Reks made that got them heat from the company and the wrestlers. He said that Reks bought all sorts of software to make cartoons then started to hound Drew McIntyre, Tyson Kidd, and himself to do voice overs for the cartoons. Hawkins did some and said the cartoons were terrible but didnt think anything over. The next day, Hawkins walked by Mark Henry, who was pissed at him, as he heard there were complaints that it came off racist. Hawkins said there was nothing indicating racism but they decided to do a second cartoon focusing on Michael Cole because they were getting a lot of buzz then after the third they made another Mark Henry joke and the office shut them down as both Laurinaitis and HHH talked to them and said it was not worth it as Mark Henry was made and they also made fun of HHH’s movie “The Chaperone,” calling it the “Craperone.”

On Ryback, Hawkins denied that Ryback was unsafe with him in the ring and was happy that he got a shot after being down in FCW.

He is then asked about the new stripper gimmick he was going to have with Reks. HHH pulled them aside after the Money in the Bank PPV in 2012 and told them they needed a gimmick and that they reminded them of a couple of “dick dancers,” meaning male strippers. HHH saw Hawkins was not digging this as Hawkins told him about The Dicks and the Heartthrobs  but HHH reassured them that they would be all business in the ring, like Rick Rude. So, they were asked to come up with gear as Hawkins said he basically stole the trunks Shawn Stasiak used when he did the “Meat” character. A week later, they were told by the office they had to go to male stripper dance classes and did that on his days off. Hawkins then recalls back to how HHH said that “Magic Mike” was a hot movie and has a theory that Kevin Nash got into HHH’s ear and told him about it as HHH had no idea about pop culture at the time. They then did a pretape for Smackdown in which Teddy Long told them they had to show him something as Reks said that he “can’t go back to that” which would lead to him reverting back to his stripping days and convincing Hawkins to go along with him. The next week they were told they would be shown caught dancing by Booker T and Teddy Long but a writer called them up and said that Vince loves their idea and wanted them to debut in a match squashing local guys. They had to scramble and buy suits so went to the closest place which was WalMart and got everything. They did the match and the boys were clapping in the back as Hawkins said this push was something that had not happened in a while. Hawkins then talks about how much Vince loves dancing, citing all of the gimmicks the WWE uses, then said that they had to show Vince their attire while he was eating a steak in his office and how surreal that was. The next week at Smackdown they were supposed to be firefighters and Vince wanted them to incorporate the hoses into their dance. Hawkins gets there and sees Mark Carano, who told him that he would be on every single Smackdown and live event going forward as Hawkins was ecstatic, citing how he spent over a year putting over the entire roster. Mattel was there and showed him a new action figure of him that made him even happier. As he was going to get the fireman costumes off of the prop truck to give to the seamtress he sees Reks and they walk up towards the seamstress as Reks said that he has to tell him something and told Hawkins that he quit as he no longer wanted to be a wrestler. Hawkins then said he had to start thinking off what to do then found HHH, who also heard that Reks quit. Hawkins suggested to HHH that he team with Johnny Curtis (Fandango) but HHH was unsure as he didnt know if he could dance as Hawkins speaks about not understanding why that was important because there is no heat in that but if he is a dick who sucks at dancing but thinks he is great, you have something. HHH said they would figure it out at the next meeting. Later on he saw Road Dogg, who apparently was the agent for the “fun stuff” and informed in that Reks quit as he said Road Dogg was serious for the first time in his life and knew it was bad as he took that as a sign Vince was really going to give them a push. After that, he was told that he was going to be jobbing to Brodus Clay then saw Carano who told him that he was now off of all Smackdowns and live events.

Shortly after the stripper team gimmick got shelved he got a call to fill-in on RAW shows to be a babyface against Wade Barrett and said he looked at it positively as he did not want to be a “woe is me” type of person. He said he had fun working with Barrett but got hurt taking a powerbomb and got sent to the hospital and had a torn PCL and MCL then everything was done as Arn Anderson told him that if he didnt have bad luck, he wouldnt have any luck at all. He missed four months after that and never got booked regularly as he languished in NXT. He then tells a story of how he asked to go to his best friends wedding but got called at the last minute because someone got hurt as Hawkins joked how he told his friend he couldnt go to his wedding because he had to put over Sin Cara in Canada.

On if he was mad that Reks quit, Hawkins said that he couldnt be mad at someone who left because their heart was no longer into wrestling.

Feinstein then asks him about a rumor that he and Ryder asked to be teamed up again. Hawkins talked about how Ryder was one of the most over wrestlers in the WWE but they did not want that so they brought him back to square one as he was doing nothing so they suggested to team up again as a writer pitched an idea for it to happen on one of the “B” shows right after WrestleMania 29 but it never happened then Michael Hayes told him that the idea hit a “bit of a roadblock.”

When asked why HHH disliked Ryder, Hawkins thinks it was because HHH never got his humor and didn’t think he was funny as well as thinking he was not a tough guy and could not beat people up. Hawkins puts over Ryder for being the first person ever to get himself over without any TV or push from the office and never got even as much as a thank you from the company and even got punished for it as he talks about the hypocrisy of the “brass ring” speeches and how they don’t even bother doing those anymore. Hawkins also adds how the office just picks and chooses who they want to push and they all know that as they saw Ryder get punished for busting his ass to get himself over and how that sends a terrible message.

He said at the time they did not realize Ryder’s character was getting killed off of TV as they started to laugh and thought it was funny at first but afterwards they realized how shitty it was for the company to do that to him.

On whether or not hard work is appreciated, Hawkins said it feels like that sometimes as they never got noticed for doing a good job. He does state how they are writing way too many hours of TV for that and he made sure to go out and do everything that was asked of him to the best of his ability.

Hawkins said that he was somewhat relieved when he got released as he was almost getting depressed at the time but decided to open up a wrestling school without telling the office as he was at home doing nothing but sleeping and going to the gym 1.5 hours a day.

He opened up the school with Pat Buck and talks about how the NYWC thought that Buck brainwashed him in order to start a new school as Hawkins talks about how the NYWC was a shitty building without the heat turned on or even any students to train.

About CM Punk quitting the WWE, Hawkins said that while he had frustrations while wrestling on “Superstars” he can only imagine the stress that Punk went through on top.

Hawkins said it was absolutely unfair for the WWE to move the PPV’s to the Network and not tell the wrestlers how they would be getting paid from them. He says that the WWE has a stranglehold on wrestling and can get away with that. He then talks about how he watched a shoot with Raven and how when he was in the WWE he felt that Johnny Polo was a dead end character and reached out to ECW and SMW with the Raven character as he realized there are no options like that available anymore as the Indies are uncertain. When asked he would be open to joining TNA as his goal is to make a living wage while in wrestling.

On the future of the WWE with HHH and Stephanie, he says we don’t know as he suggests that NXT is a little window into the future as that is the baby of HHH but currently Vince and HHH work together and you cannot always tell who is coming up with a certain idea.

He sees Sami Zayn as a future star. Hawkins said is similar to Daniel Bryan but that he cosmetically does not fit the mold of a WWE Superstar so the company will probably stick it to him but he has such a magnetic thing with the fans that he can make it happen.

Hawkins then discusses the Performance Center and said that it is almost too nice for pro wrestling and that they even have janitors there to take care of all the work. He then says it is nothing like the “shopping mall, storefront b-------” he trained at in Deep South.

When asked about training the Rock for his matches against John Cena, Hawkins said that the office called him up while he was on his day off with his friends. He thought it was originally bad news as it was Laurinaitis but then he got patched through to a three-way call with Joe Hennig (Curtis Axel) were they got informed they would help train the Rock to get back into ring shape. They went to New Orleans where the Rock was filming and got put up in a hotel where at random the Rock would call them up when he had any free time to train.

The first day of training with the Rock he said he was nervous as they were in some warehouse locking up as the Rock stopped and suggested they play some music. The Rock then had his guy bring in a Bose Surround Sound Dock and blasted 2 Pac as Hawkins said the Rock could not have been nicer. Hawkins also talks about how the WWE paid for all the training and would stock the places with whatever the Rock wanted. They first got him ready for his tag with Cena against Awesome Truth then again for the WrestleMania 29 match.

Hawkins said he also loves Cena and never witnessed him play any politics as he puts him over for being hands on and helping people out. He is also blown away by his schedule with all of the “Make a Wish” commitments and time he spends working out and in the ring.

Now he is asked about several guys. He never got the chance to do anything with Chris Jericho but was nice to him and had a lot of great conversations with him. He always loved Bray Wyatt, even when he was in FCW starting out as Husky Harris. He calls Dolph Ziggler his favorite wrestler today. When asked why he isnt pushed to the top of the card, Hawkins said that if this baseball Ziggler would be batting third and have the “C” on his uniform but its entertainment so those with the most skills are not always pushed the most then says that it might be political but he is not certain about that.

On who he wants to wrestle on the Indies, he said its AJ Styles and that the match is booked for PWG.

His favorite town was Chicago because he would get to stay at Punk’s “secret mansion” and they have a great crowd. He has witnessed too many ribs to single out just one.

The interview closes with Hawkins saying that he thinks he will be back in the WWE down the road as he spent 8.5 years there and is just 29 years old.

Final Thoughts: One of the best interviews to come out in 2014. Hawkins was open and discussed everything. He was not bitter and enjoyed his time in the WWE. By watching this you find out just how much of a fan he is and how he truly enjoys wrestling.

Another great thing about this interview is the insight that Hawkins provides in today’s WWE and how much it has changed over the past couple of years. He shares his frustrations on the end of his run with the company yet is able to realize why some of those changes took place.

The story that got my attention the most was when he seemingly got a renewed push only for his partner to quit the company then see that get taken right away. What a shitty thing to have happen to someone. Its tough not to feel bad for Hawkins after listening to that story.

Its also surprising that he spent 8.5 years with the company and that he is only 29 years old. Goes to show how much you forget about guys that are barely booked for the main shows.

This interview also had a lot of funny stories mixed in between the insight. He is also one of the only people I have ever heard that loved their time in Deep South.

In the end, I became a huge fan of Hawkins as a person. Its tough not to like the guy after listening to this. I give this interview one of my highest recommendations.

You can purchase the video for $15 at RFVideo.com by clicking on the link below.


Curt Hawkins on the Shining Wizards Wrestling Podcast

Recently the Shining Wizards Podcast spoke with Curt Hawkins. Here are some highlights:

About the creation of Create A Pro Wrestling School:  Not being booked in The WWE, I became completely paranoid and fearful of being called on the road and being out of ring shape.  And any wrestler knows that you can’t really duplicate what we do in the ring conditioning-wise.  You can’t duplicate wrestling unless you wrestle.   To be honest with you, I just wanted a place to train.  One night, Pat Buck and I were just spitballing at dinner after a training session at The Pro Wrestling Syndicate School in Rahway, NJ, and I said I’d love to open a school in New York, and Pat Said he’d love to do it with me and I was like, “ok” and it just caught fire from there.  It was something I was always going to do and it was always a dream of mine to open a wrestling school, and it might have happened a little sooner than I ever thought, but now that I have it and we’re cooking on all cylinders and I get the satisfaction of teaching guys, and seeing guys develop and understand stuff.  I can’t wait ’til these guys to have matches.
On working with top names like Edge & Undertaker:  It was a once in a lifetime, indescribable, priceless learning experience.  I can tell you honestly that I probably pitched 400 ideas the whole time I was in WWE and that was the ONE time they said, “Yeah sure” when we pitched can we be Edge’s henchmen.  You know we’ll look like him and they actually went with it.  That’s how hard it is to get things going.  I don’t know what it is or why they say yes or no.  Sometimes I feel like they need to be the ones that have the idea for it to work it but I’m forever grateful for it because the opportunity was indescribable.  I mean, I wrestled Shawn Michaels & Ric Flair in a steel cage in Chicago.  I’ve wrestled The Undertaker more times than I can remember.  I basically shadowed Edge for an entire year seeing him prepare for world title matches on PPVs and WrestleMania.  I saw it all first hand.  It was an incredible learning environment that could never be duplicated again.  I’ll always be grateful for that.
On NXT:  I loved NXT and performing and being a part of the shows.  The live arena crowd is absolutely awesome.  They are lively and passionate fans and that’s all you can ask for as a performer.  I had no interest in being a part of NXT and training or things like that because I’m ten years in and I don’t think I need to be in there going over headlocks and armdrags, or taking unnecessary bumps that I don’t need to be taking.
On his WWE release:  It was expected to an extent.  Really I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.  They weren’t using me and I was just living this life of sitting and waiting around and not able to commit to things in my real life.  Like if I wanted to go a wedding, I never know if they (WWE) are going to come calling.  It was kind of annoying, to be honest with you.  And anyone that knows me knows that I’m just crazy about wrestling, and I’ve had my pulse on the Indy scene and it’s something I’ve been dying to dive into and now I finally can.
For more with Curt Hawkins, including his main run in WWE, not being used, Brian Pillman’s influence on his career, his future, and more, go to www.shiningwizards.com and listen to Episode 156: Shining Wizards Wildlife Foundation, Hawks and Fish. The Shining Wizards Podcast is available on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, AudioBoo, Geek Life Radio, Clutch and Wiggle Entertainment, Marks 4 Life, and the Shining Wizards Network (www.shiningwizardsnetwork.com).

NXT – April 11, 2012

Date: April 11, 2012
Location: Hampton Coliseum, Hampton, Virginia
Commentators: William Regal, Josh Matthews

Reviewed by Tommy Hall

It’s that time of the week again. After last week’s disappointing ending to the Who Stole Striker story, it’s time for more Regal vs. Hawkins/Reks, because that hasn’t been done to death yet around here. We’ll also see Maxine trying to get her hooks into Regal, which is probably an idea they came up with in FCW and are using here. Let’s get to it.

Percy Watson vs. Johnny Curtis

Maxine comes out with Curtis and Watson isn’t pleased. He thought they weren’t together anymore but Regal cuts off his complaints and tells Maxine to stay away from the ring. Maxine sits next to Regal and he can’t speak as well all of a sudden. Watson speeds things up after a slow start with a one footed dropkick where he lands on his feet. That was pretty cool. They fight over a top wristlock and Watson takes over with an atomic drop and a legdrop for two.

Maxine is whispering into Regal’s ear as Curtis takes over with right hands. He sends Percy’s shoulder into the corner and out to the floor as we take a break. Regal is now off commentary and talking to Maxine. Curtis controls with a wristlock but Watson comes back and rams some shoulders into Curtis’ ribs. Regal is frustrated that he isn’t focused on his job as Curtis hits a cool move by dropping a leg on the arm of a standing Watson for two.

Back to the arm hold and Watson can’t break out of it. Elbow to the arm gets two. Josh doesn’t seem to get what’s wrong with Regal. Regal tries to focus and talks about Curtis a bit but still isn’t all there. I’d assume this is connected to whatever the list of stuff Regal is into that Maxine and Curtis were supposed to get their hands on last week or the week before. Watson starts his comeback with his usual strikes and the dropkicks as Regal leaves with Maxine. Belly to belly puts Curtis down and Watson is distracted by Regal leaving, allowing Curtis to roll him up for the pin at 8:13.

Rating: C-. This was ok but Curtis is just such an uninteresting character, as is Watson. Watson’s character basically is that he’s an athlete while Curtis is weird. The weird part is fine when he’s talking, but in the ring it doesn’t really do anything at all. The match was more about Regal and Maxine, which is ok because it gives us some intrigue. He looked distracted when they left so something is up.

Hawkins and Reks talk to Maxine in the back who is minus Regal now. She talks to them and asks if they did that thing. Reks isn’t sure what they she means but apparently Regal is going to be talking to them soon. She doesn’t get Striker back until they know she didn’t screw them over. Why does she want Striker back? They leave and Maxine pretends to cry when Bateman and Kaitlyn pop up. Maxine cries on Bateman’s shoulder and asks for help with Reks/Hawkins. He says he’ll do it because she’s the worst thing that ever happened to him. He and Kaitlyn leave and Maxine smiles. This is a confusing story.

Tamina comes out of a dressing room and runs into Titus. She yells at him for leaving Young last week but Titus has a peace offering: a coconut tree. She seems legitimately pleased and kisses him on the cheek. Tamina walks off and runs into Young who doesn’t seem happy with Titus giving her a gift. Young walks up to Titus and Titus says he was just proving he was better than Young again. Titus leaves and Young is mad.

Back to Kaitlyn and Bateman with the one with better legs saying that she misses the old days of NXT. Bateman disagrees but they hear screams from a closet. They open it up to find Striker bound and gagged holding Hawkins’ cane. Bateman wants to get him to the doctor but Striker says he’ll handle this. He leaves while Bateman and Kaitlyn shrug.

Raw ReBound is about Cena and Lesnar.

Regal comes up to Reks and Hawkins, saying he’s underestimated them. He squeezes their necks and wants to know where Striker is. They don’t know and Regal says if anything is wrong with Striker, there will be serious consequences. Regal leaves and they go to find Striker. They open the closet and find that he’s gone. Are we supposed to believe that a guy that was kidnapped in whatever city has been in the same closet for a month now? Anyway Maxine comes with Curtis to laugh at them.

Michael McGillicutty vs. Tyson Kidd

Regal is back on commentary and is all messed up still. We get a quick recap which is based around Kidd not being a Hart and this is the rubber match in the feud. Regal seems back into it once the bell rings. Kidd works on the arm to start and arm drags him to a stalemate. He keeps making McGillicutty miss by using his speed, including sliding between his legs to clothesline him to the floor. Kidd dives over the top but crotches himself on the ring skirt. McGillicutty sends him onto the announce table as we take a break.

Back with McGillicutty holding a chinlock as Regal talks about leopards. Kidd gets up quickly but a shot to the back of the head puts him right back down. As he did earlier, Kidd speeds things up and has better success. An armdrag puts McGillicutty down and then fires off the strikes. A dropkick to the side of the head gets two. A Sharpshooter is countered but Kidd comes back with a Blockbuster for two. I could go for seeing that move becoming someone’s finisher again. Kidd kicks him in the head and tries his springboard cross body but Michael dropkicks him out of the air for two.

McGillicutter is countered into a backslide for two. Saito Suplex puts Kidd down and McGillicutty hooks a Sharpshooter on Kidd. Tyson makes the rope so McGillicutty tries the PerfectPlex, which should have been his finisher since the day he debuted. Kidd reverses it though and sets for the Sharpshooter. Instead of that though, he puts his foot above McGillicutty’s shoulder and leans forward, wrapping his feet around Michael’s head and pulling back on his arm as he leans back. It’s like a triangle choke but with their legs intertwined and it gets the tap out at 9:24.

Rating: B. This was an entertaining match with a cool finish as Kidd goes up a level to beat McGillicutty. Regal talks about Kidd doing submission training with Bret every day off he has which plays into this as well. This was a very solid ending to this feud and hopefully Kidd can get actual TV time soon instead of being the best wrestler on NXT.

Overall Rating: C+. I certainly got my wish about this show: Tonight’s episode was certainly not boring. I’m not completely sure it made sense, but it definitely was not boring. However, we got a very good main event (by NXT standards) and some plot twists that have me wondering what’s coming next. That alone is good enough to make this a good show and I’m curious as to where this is going.

Johnny Curtis b. Percy Watson – Rollup
Tyson Kidd b. Michael McGillicutty – Leg Trap Triangle Choke

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NXT – April 4, 2012

Date: April 4, 2012
Location: Orlando Amway Center, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Josh Matthews, William Regal

Reviewed by Tommy Hall

We’re done with Wrestlemania now and NXT is still going. Tonight we’re supposed to find out what happened to Striker as I think we’ll get the list of demands from the kidnapper. I would complain about Striker being on the Wrestlemania pre-show doing commentary, but I don’t think enough people know about the angle going on here anyway. Let’s get to it.

Tyler Reks vs. Percy Watson

Reks and Regal have been having a Twitter war and Regal apologizes because it’s been bullying on his part for how dominant he’s been in it. Reks takes him to the mat but Watson wrestles out of it. A one footed dropkick sets up an armdrag to send Reks to the outside. We actually get a Percy Watson chant. Back inside Tyler pounds him down and stomps Watson in the corner.

Reks keeps him down with knees and chinlocks. This match is going by quickly but I can barely remember anything about it. I don’t know what it is about Reks but he’s very forgettable. Watson gets his feet up in the corner to stop Tyler’s offense, allowing Josh to say that Percy is building momentum. Watson uses those good jumping abilities for some clotheslines but won’t cover. It doesn’t really matter though as he rolls up Reks out of a backdrop for the pin at 6:09.

Rating: D+. I have no idea what they’re going for with Watson as he’s been having the same match for months now. I think they’re trying to push him as a Shelton Benjamin type incredible athlete but it’s only kind of working. Watson needs a story to keep people interested in him, and that’s not going to happen here because his name isn’t Derrick Bateman.

Reks and Hawkins get ready to beat up Watson but Regal says cool it. If they attack Percy, they’ll be suspended for six weeks.

McGillicutty comes up to Natalya in the back and says if he beats Bateman tonight, he gets a rematch with Kidd. He hits on her and Natalya cuts him off. This goes nowhere but at least there’s no Natalya “comedy”.

Natalya vs. Kaitlyn

New music for Kaitlyn and Kidd is on commentary. Nattie takes her down and Kidd says there’s nothing going on with them. Bridging rollup gets two for Natalya. I think Natalya is a face here but I really have no idea. Kidd admits that he isn’t a Hart, which ticked him off when McGillicutty rubbed it in his face weeks ago. Natalya works on the arm and uses more holds on whatever part of the body she picks. Kaitlyn’s first offense is a cross body but Natalya laughs it off and the Sharpshooter gets the submission at 3:30.

Rating: C-. This was a squash for Natalya as she picked apart Kaitlyn with ease. I’m so glad they’ve dropped that idiotic gimmick she’s been using for the last few months as she’s very talented and can make even someone like Kaitlyn look good. I’m still not sure if she’s a face or a heel though, but I doubt WWE has put any thought into it either.

Young says he doesn’t need Titus’ help with Tamina. He’s gotten her a coconut tree. Tamina and Alicia come up and Young hits on her with some really corny lines and she walks off. Young: “Tamina where you going? I’ve got reservations at McDonalds!” That’s the first funny thing Young has said in almost three years.

Titus O’Neil/Darren Young vs. Usos

Young and Jimmy start things off with Young grabbing a headlock. Jimmy speeds things up and Young tags out. Titus kicks Jimmy’s head off in a great looking shot. Back to Young for about two seconds before O’Neil comes back. They tag again and then a fourth time in the span of about fifteen seconds.

A fifth tag results in a belly to back suplex by Young for two, followed by a chinlock. Jimmy gets up and comes back with a powerslam and there’s the tag to jey. Titus comes in as well and everything breaks down. O’Neil yells at Young and walks into the Samoan Drop and Jey hits the Superfly Splash (cross body according to Josh) for the pin at 4:20.

Rating: C. Pretty good fast paced match here and hopefully this wraps up the Tamina/Young story because stories like that one are so repetitive on this show that they lose any interest at all. Hopefully the Usos get another tag title match soon and maybe even get the belts as they’ve got nothing left to do here.

Raw ReBound is all about Lesnar’s return.

Bateman and Percy tell Kaitlyn they still think she’s awesome. Maxine pops up on her phone shouting about needing something. She’s eating a doughnut when Curtis comes up. Everyone else leaves and Curtis says he’s got a message from the kidnappers, saying meet us in the basement. Bateman is still there apparently and says this is getting weird. Curtis: “That’s my line.” Bateman: “That was my fiance.” Maxine and Curtis leave when Kidd comes up to talk to Bateman. He wants Bateman to be ready for his match tonight. Not much to say by Kidd but I’m liking these rapid fire backstage scenes.

Curtis and Maxine are in the basement/boiler room when Reks and Hawkins pop up and Reks chokes out Curtis. Hawkins: “Reks and I are the kidnappers.” They did this to get Regal off their backs and they’ll frame Maxine/Curtis if they don’t get Regal off Hawkins/Reks’ backs. They leave and Curtis says it gets real weird next week. Dang it they had a good story going and they use it on the same people AGAIN.

Derrick Bateman vs. Michael McGillicutty

They exchange chops to start and then they exchange harder chops. Regal talks about Maxine’s mother coming up to accuse him of having an affair with Maxine at Wrestlemania. There’s no followup there. It just happened apparently. Bateman sends him to the floor and hits a flip dive from the apron to the floor as we take a break. Back with Bateman still in control.

McGillicutty gets in a knee to the ribs and takes over. Off to a chinlock which Derrick breaks, only to be sent into the ropes again. Dropkick gets two. We get the sequel to the chinlock but Bateman breaks it up again. A Russian legsweep sends the back of Michael’s head into the middle buckle and both guys are dazed. Now Bateman goes after the knee and hits a move that I don’t think would really hurt.

He gets McGillicutty in a DDT position but shoved McGillicutty forward. I think it was supposed to slam Michael’s head into the mat but it didn’t come close. There wasn’t a cover so it doesn’t matter but it was really different. Bateman hits the flipping neckbreaker that Morrison used to use for two. He really likes those falling forward moves. Derrick goes up but misses a top rope crossbody. McGillicutty tries a Sharpshooter but Bateman breaks it up. It doesn’t really matte though as the McGillicutter gets the pin at 8:30, earning McGillicutty a rematch with Kidd.

Rating: C. This was ok but I think it was more lengthy than good. I really don’t like Bateman’s in ring style as he uses some very weak looking moves such as the falling bulldog and that ridiculous looking reverse DDT. The match was ok and it sets up another step in the McGillicutty vs. Kidd feud which is good, but at the end of the day it’s another respect feud.

Overall Rating: C. This show had some ok stuff on it as far as the in ring parts, but I’m really disappointed in the culmination of the Striker kidnapping thing. Hawkins and Reks are so uninteresting as heels because their story has basically been this: they whine, Regal does something, they whine some more, Regal does something else. Nothing ever changes from that and it gets really boring really fast. And that’s what we get after a few promising weeks. I can’t say I’m surprised though, because this is the land of broken hopes.

Percy Watson b. Tyler Reks – Rollup
Natalya b. Kaitlyn – Sharpshooter
Usos b. Darren Young/Titus O’Neil – Superfly Splash to O’Neil
Michael McGillicutty b. Derrick Bateman – McGillicutter

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