Nick Dinsmore Interview

Former WWE Superstar and coach, Nick Dinsmore, took some time to chat with Rob McCarron on Shake Them Ropes. The former "Eugene" in WWE, Nick discussed a wide range of topics from returning to WWE to coach at the Performance Center to living in India for three months while taping Ring Ka King.

The full interview can be found here:

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On seeing the Performance Center… 
"No, this is something that when I first saw it, it blew my mind. I heard they went and looked at the New York Giants facility to see what the standard is for professional athletes, and I feel like the Performance Center far exceeds that."

On new talent coming in…
"There's a wide variety of talent there, from former professional athletes to actors to independent wrestlers… They're people that can perform. It's something special I saw at the Performance Center."

On Kenta & Prince Devitt's integration into WWE…
"Kenta would have English class every day to help with his English. Fergal had apparently never driven a car before, so he would have driving classes. WWE was right there to help anyone who wanted to take a college course to help them with their WWE product, WWE was a very helpful company. Phenomenal."

Nick goes into what his role on the training team was, the evolution of the Performance Center, talents to watch out for, why he was a good hire in 2013, and his thoughts on his release from WWE last week. He discusses his next moves, where you can find him, and even goes into his work on Ring Ka King in India. A fun interview with Nick Dinsmore, we hope you check it out!

Rob McCarron

RF Video Shoot Interview with Nick Dinsmore

This was filmed in 2010
It runs for two hours and thirty-four minutes.

The interview begins with Dinsmore asked if he was a fan of wrestling growing up. He said that he was a fan when he saw wrestling for the first time when he watched the Roddy Piper vs. Paul Orndorff match from “Saturday Night’s Main Event” and was hooked ever since.

In high school, he went to the same school as Danny Davis’ (the “Nightmare” not the evil referee) daughter, who would come to all of the pep rallies and events. Dinsmore wrestled and played football in high school. Yoshi Kwan was at the school one day and posted fliers that said you could pay $20 and wrestle a match. So, Dinsmore and his friend did it and they had no idea what to do and the crowd did not react but joked that he got double-crossed in his first ever match as the brother of his friend grabbed his leg when they were outside and he got counted out.
Dinsmore then went to Danny Davis’ (again, the “Nightmare” not referee) wrestling school in 1996 and in his first match, he wrestled against Jason Lee (He wrestled in OVW in the late nineties and early 2000’s). He said that in his first match, his family came up and Lee took care of him.
During training, Dinsmore said that Trailer Park Trash would chop the s--- out of your chest to the point that it would bleed. He remembered the date, April 1, 1997, when Danny Davis called him up and said that someone no-showed the USWA taping and they needed him to fill in. At first, the played it up as an April Fools Joke on Dinsmore but he ended up wrestling Tank from the Truth Commission. After that, he started doing TV jobs until the territory closed.
He also wrestled for Music City Wrestling at this time, which was run by Bert Prentice.  While Dinsmore was working for Music City Wrestling, he was attending the University of Indiana and working a full-time job making cabinets.
Dinsmore worked on the Brian Pillman Memorial Show against Trailer Park Trash. This is where he met Terry Taylor, who was working for WCW at the time. About  a month later, Taylor ended up calling Davis so he could ask him to let Dinsmore wrestle a few matches. Dinsmore said that he drove up with Bull Pain and did a match on WCW Saturday Night and a few others on Thunder and Nitro. He was really nervous and talks about how he was a fan of Malenko and when he approached him, Malenko briefly shook his hand then walked away. Dinsmore did say that he got to know Dean in the WWE and said that he is just like that sometimes and a great guy. Dinsmore said that he didn’t even realize that he was still booked to be on the shows until he ran into Shane Helms and Lash Leroux, who told him that he was still being booked. Dinsmore pondered what could have happened if he did stay with WCW until the end, especially because of the youth movement that was going on at the time.
He is asked about who he worked with while in WCW. Dinsmore said that he wrestled Ernest Miller once and said that Goldberg came up to them after the match and told Miller that his kicks looked good before telling Dinsmore that his German suplex looked good too. Dinsmore met Chris Jericho there and he said that Jericho talked to him a lot. He also wrestled Scott Steiner with Lenny Lane in a handicapped match. Dinsmore said that Steiner took care of him but during the finish, which saw Steiner put both guys in the Steiner Recliner, Steiner inadvertently made Lane pass out.
Dinsmore then goes back and tells us about the first time he worked for Jerry Lawler in the USWA. He was just 20 years old and was with Trailer Park Trash, who was drinking and driving. They arrived at the motel in Memphis, which was called the Admiral Benbow, that cost $25 a night. Dinsmore said the place was a shithole and that there were crack whores, pimps, and drug dealers all over the place. Dinsmore said that he went to bed but only stayed in his clothes and woke up to find out that Trash had left him to go gamble on the riverboat. Dinsmore said that there was a dirty pair of panties hanging on the lamp, which was plugged into the bathroom socket. The next morning, they went to TV and Dinsmore got his first check, which was for $25.
He was signed to a WWF Developmental Deal in November of 1999. This was just a few months after OVW was named a Developmental Territory. They would train a few days a week at the beginning. Dinsmore said that he was afraid of Rip Rogers at first because he was mean but would watch him wrestle as he was doing security, which is what the guys did at first when they got to OVW. Once he got to wrestle Rip, he learned a lot and Dinsmore said that Rip became his mentor.
Now, he is asked about Jim Cornette. At first, Dinsmore said that Davis would always tell the class that Cornette was a hard ass and that they better not screw around when he was talking. Dinsmore said that Jason Lee did this thing when he would pull down his shorts and fart into people’s faces when they were all sitting down and had to turn around to see the monitors. The first day Cornette comes down, everyone is nervous, so Lee decided to pull down his pants when he was near the monitor and fart but when he did that, he ended up shitting all over Jerome Croney’s face and got some on the arm of Vito Andretti, who was one-half of a team called the Andretti Brothers. Anyway, Dinsmore said that Cornette is a cool, fun-loving guy, even though he is still stuck in 1984 and wears Zubas. He tells another story about Cornette. He was part of a core group that included Rob Conway, Doug Basham, Damaja (Danny Basham), Jason Lee, and Derrick King that clogged the main event scene. When Randy Orton and John Cena worked the main event, they all huddled around to see if they could make their time cues and they ended up going four minutes long. Cornette got pissed off and Orton knew he f----- up and took off but Cena had no idea and started to go about his business in the locker room until Cornette took a bat and hit the lockers a few times, yelling about how he needs to go back and edit the match for TV then eventually calmed down and told Cena what he needed to do in order to get it right the next time he went out. Dinsmore said to Cena’s credit it was the only time he ever went long on a TV show.
Dinsmore is asked about Batista and how he was critical of OVW. He said that Batista was used differently than everyone else, who were mostly local guys. Dinsmore said he takes offense when Batista said he never learned anything in OVW. He said that he probably learned more in the WWE working with agents like Fit Finlay and Arn Anderson.
He is now asked if everyone who was called up from OVW prepared for the WWE. Dinsmore said that he wrestled in OVW until 2004 and was over prepared. He then said that Rip Rogers would stand backstage with a kendo stick and beat people who screwed up, with Dinsmore saying he made that mistake once. He then said that he was ready for the WWE but screwed up his own chances.
Dinsmore talks about pairing up with Rob Conway. He said that they gelled together and he was the best partner he ever had. He also said that he wished they got to team together in the WWE. He then talks about Kenny Bolin and how he would always schmooze his way into getting free stuff. He tells a story of how he accidentally hit him in the face during a match in a spot when he was supposed to knock him off of the apron.
He talks about how he was struggling at one point and even homeless for a few weeks, as he broke up with his girlfriend and barely making anything in OVW. He said during his time of homelessness, he lived off of the old Hostess products that Kenny Bolin brought in to the building from his girlfriend who worked at the Hostess factory. Dinsmore said that he moved in with a friend and because he could barely afford the rent, he resorted to “sweet talking” the girls at the shows and would convince them to buy his dinner, groceries, and even clean the apartment.
Now, Dinsmore is asked if he ever felt offended that guys who spent only a few months in OVW would end up getting called up due to their physique. He said that he did not because he was wrestling and able to live at home so he was fine. At one point, when the Bashams and Conway got called up, Dinsmore said that there were a new crop of guys that came him and saw him as a trainer as opposed to one of them, because he helped out Rip Rogers as a trainer. Dinsmore did say that he felt like the guys who complained the most got catered to instead of those who did what they were told. At that point, Dinsmore told Doug Basham that he was contemplating quitting and going to Japan or somewhere else. Well, Doug told Dean Malenko, who went to Vince and Dinsmore ended up meeting with him. Dinsmore said that Vince was very nice and asked him about his family then told him that he wanted to get to character-based wrestling. Vince was throwing out ideas and Dinsmore thought of his friend’s son who had Autism and thought that if they had a character who could copy what he saw on TV despite appearing clueless and limited, that it could catch on with the crowd and he could pull it off. Dinsmore said he never wanted the character to have Autism though. After he pitched the idea, Steve Austin walked in and asked Dinsmore who trained him and when he said Danny Davis, Austin said that he is probably one of the best and after that, Vince decided to go with the character.
Dinsmore tells a story of how he was teaming with Conway against Jason Lee & Derrick King while Johnny Ace was at the show. Dinsmore and Conway took most of the match and when they got the signal to wrap it up earlier than expected, Lee became emotionless and missed his moonsault and did not sell it one bit and tagged out. After that, he quit the company.
He is asked about his match against Chris Benoit at the OVW Christmas Chaos show. Dinsmore said that match made him in OVW. He said that the month before, WCW ran the arena but they did not sell out the building and they did. Dinsmore then said it was due to Steve Austin, Benoit, Kane, and other guys there. He said he was nervous the entire time but Benoit trusted him in the match. Dinsmore was also a substitute teacher at a high school at the time and would tell his students when he was wrestling and 40-50 of them would show up and scream and yell, which came off well on television.
Dinsmore talks about his favorite angle in OVW when Doug Basham came back under a mask as the machine after being away for a few years. He also said that Basham had previously worked in the WWF as one of the Undertaker’s “Creatures of the Night” but he decided to quit as he was getting married and had a real job but when he got divorced, he decided to get back into wrestling and being the nephew of Danny Davis he went to OVW.
He talks about teaching a beginners class at OVW on Saturday mornings. Dinsmore said that is where Mark Magnus (Mohammed Hassan), Johnny Jeter, and Chris Cage (Caylen Croft) all got their start.
They ask him if any of the veterans took liberties with him in the ring when he did was doing jobs on Heat and Velocity. Dinsmore said that he was so green at the time that he probably would not have known. He tells a story of how in USWA, Mantaur slammed him on the floor and dropped an elbow as he was on his side and that it still hurts him from this day.
He talks about how he wrestled as Doink on a PPV that featured the Easter Bunny, played by Aaron Stevens (Damien Sandow). After that, he was told that they wanted him to wrestle a fifteen minute match with Benoit on Smackdown but that they kept on shortening the match length and it ended up being brief. He did a dark match with Kenzo Suzuki, who he said was nice but barely spoke any English and would actually end up hurting himself and his opponent in the ring.
When asked if he had a lot of input with the character, Dinsmore said that they did and would just give him things to say but he had a lot of control. He then credits William Regal for getting him over, saying the whole reason he got over was the backstage interactions with Regal and if he did not have someone else to play off of, then character was dead in the water.
Before he appeared on TV as “Eugene,” Vince had him try out the character at a house show. Since all of his ring gear had his name on the back of his trunk or said “Mr. Wrestling,” which was his nickname in OVW, so Conway let him borrow his trunks and his friend Vito Andretti picked him up an 80’s ring jacket at a flea market for $7 and that was what he wore. He wrestled Lance Cade, who Dinsmore liked a lot. Dinsmore then told a story about Cade in OVW and how the fans called him “Big Bird” and would bring the stuffed animals to the shows. Dinsmore decided to whack Cade with it during a match but had no idea that the eyes were marbles and Cade told him after the match that it was the hardest he has ever been hit. At the end of the house show match, the crowd was chanting “Eugene” and he received a standing ovation backstage.
Dinsmore talks about traveling with Tajiri and how he hides the fact that he can speak English. He talks about how they would be driving together and Tajiri insisted that they go to McDonald’s because he could not pronounce “Whopper” at Burger King. They are in McDonald’s and Tajiri accidentally let it slip that he could say “Whopper” then quickly covered up and said is English is s---. Dinsmore then said how Tajiri reportedly addressed the locker room in perfect English that he was quitting, after years of saying that he could not speak English well.
He talks about the sketches he did with Jonathan Coachman. He said that he loves the Coach and says his favorite moment on TV was when they did a sketch with the Rock, calling it a career highlight.
When asked, he had no idea who came up with the story of having him being Eric Bischoff’s nephew. He did state that it worked out for him and made for a great story. He said that he got to know Bischoff better through this story and that he was nothing but professional with him. He then adds that Bischoff has a lot to give to wrestling.
Dinsmore is asked about John Cena. He said that when Cena first came to OVW, he was staying with him. Dinsmore said that he had an inflatable mattress for Cena to sleep on but had no idea there was a hole inside of it and in the morning, it was deflated. Dinsmore said that Cena is a great guy.
When asked, he said that Vince is approachable, even if he is intimidating. Dinsmore then said that Vince was hands on with everyone and even gave advice to a guy who came in for a dark match by telling him that he had huge legs and should make his trunks a little bit shorter to show them off.
Now they talk about his angle with HHH. Dinsmore said as the character progressed, it just made sense that he feud with him. The interviewer asks him about HHH, stating that he is a polarizing figure among those who have worked with him through shoot interviews. Dinsmore said that sometimes people assume things about him from what they see on TV then tells a story of how there was an elderly woman on a local news show who did not have cable but watched wrestling through DVD copies of the show and her favorite wrestler was HHH. Well, HHH surprised her on the show and the fan ended up going to RAW that night, where HHH went out of his way to have all of the other wrestlers meet her and he gave her merchandise. Dinsmore said that he is the best that the WWE has and how he never got rattled in the ring.

Dinsmore is asked about how he felt being in backstage segments with Vince McMahon. He said it was intimidating to work with him but they worked together and he would laugh and joke, making it fun to work with.

With regards to his match against Eric Bischoff at Taboo Tuesday. Dinsmore said that there were a few guys backstage who used to work for Bischoff in WCW that urged him to take liberties with him in the ring. Dinsmore said he couldnt bring himself to do that as Bischoff helped him with the Eugene character. He said that he struggled to cut his hair and Vince was yelling at him.

He is asked about his “Beat the Clock” match against Kurt Angle. He came back after tearing his patella tendon at the New Years Resolution PPV and came back early, which in hindsight was a bad idea. He said that he could barely run and was not even able to turn or pivot so Kurt just kicked the s--- out of him the whole time. Dinsmore said that was the hardest he got beat up in any sport, claiming that it wasn’t out of malice but rather due to Kurt’s rough style.

Dinsmore said that he worked with Christy Hemme, who he liked, but said the dynamic wasnt there and they really did not gel together.

When he was asked how he heard about Eddie Guerrero’s death, he said he was traveling from Minneapolis and when his girlfriend dropped him off at the arena, Val Venis informed him that he passed away. He said that all day, people were speculating about how he died and the song “Hurt” by Johnny Cash was playing and he thinks about Eddie every time he hears the song. Dinsmore said that he did not know Eddie that well, as they were on different brands, but that whenever he saw Eddie, he was always full of life. Dinsmore said that he cried a few years later after he read Eddie’s book.

Now, Dinsmore is asked about being hospitalized a few days after Eddie’s death and if he felt betrayed that WWE put that on the website. Dinsmore said he was not and takes full responsibility about what happened. He said he was taking painkillers due to the surgery from the torn patella and could not sleep tonight and had always seen Soma’s in wrestling and when he took them, they helped him sleep. Once he started mixing that with his pain meds, he said it was a “wild ride.” He then said that he came back to early and was struggling so he continued to take the pills and it became a pattern. The day he passed out  he was in Manchester. After drinking six beers and taking some Valium and Soma’s he was in his hotel room and got room service but when he went to get the food, he accidentally locked himself out. Dinsmore said that the last thing he remembered was that he went to go down to the lobby and get another key. He was told that HHH and John Cena found him but couldnt wake him up and all of the fans were there as Dinsmore was on the floor of the lobby and they apparently ended up wheeling him out on a luggage cart and from that, Dinsmore woke up in a hospital. After that, he was sent back home and to a “mental institution.”

Dinsmore was asked if he ever had any addiction problems prior to wrestling. He said he drank a bit in high school but did not abuse pain meds until he had been wrestling for several years. He did say when he underwent knee surgery, after he awoke he asked the nurse for pain meds and she told him he needed to be seen by the doctor but he had to wait a while and became agitated, swearing and throwing stuff around the room. He said that using the meds as a crutch to get through pain in order to get back in the ring sooner was a vicious cycle.

Dinsmore went to rehab for nine weeks in Atlanta. He said he learned the skills to get through his issues but said he was “sentenced” for nine weeks but the place he was at lasted for twelve weeks. Dinsmore said that there was a lot of people with “serious issues” at the facility and felt that his problems were much less severe. Dinsmore seemed to downplay his issues and confused me as he kept referring to being in a psychiatric unit but he seemed to describe a rehab facility. He did say that Chavo Guerrero helped him out during this time, offering him support.

Now, he is asked about Randy Orton. Dinsmore said that when Orton first arrived to OVW, he approached him and they were close. He also remembers when Orton worked his first house show and was nervous so Dinsmore decided to f--- with him and step on his back foot when he went to make his entrance and he almost fell down. Dinsmore said that Randy can be really “mean” to himself and that he has his own personal issues but has so much natural ability and he saw that in his first few matches. He said that Orton changed at one point and stopped being mean and says that he hope Randy stays on track and calls him a franchise player.

When asked if there were any plans to turn him heel, citing some of the newsletter reports that said it was being discussed. He said that if he broke away from the “Eugene” character, he would be himself and that didnt draw for eight years. Dinsmore said that people did not want to see Eugene as a heel and when they tried to go in that direction, the fans did not react well and it was scrapped. He said that he thought Eugene could be used to elevate lower and midcard heels.

He was asked how he got involved in the Donald Trump/Vince McMahon WrestleMania feud. He said that whenever he wanted wrestling and had an upcoming hair match, they would shave someone’s head who was a sympathetic character to sell the stipulation and when the office told him, he agreed as Dinsmore said he was a team player. He did enjoy being part of that and said that he spoke with Trump a few times and he was nice to him.

Now, Dinsmore is asked where he was when he heard about the Chris Benoit tragedy. He said that he was at RAW with Chavo Guerrero and Scott Armstrong when Vince sat everyone down and told them. Dinsmore said he took the news rough and looked up to Chris, who he said always asked him how his dad was doing. Dinsmore said that he met Daniel and took a picture with him as Eugene and Chris sent him a copy of it to him. When asked about the media coverage being fair, he sat that if he did not know Benoit, he would agree with the portrayal they had but finds it tough to see him that way.

With regards to the Wellness System, Dinsmore said that it is not just about being tested for drugs but they also perform medical check ups and says that due to that, they were able to find something wrong with MVP and perform the necessary procedure to correct the problem. He then talks about how people think that the wrestlers today are like the ones from the 80’s in terms of the excess partying but that is not true and they pay the price for that now.

They discuss his move to Smackdown. He said that his role was to work with guys they were trying to build up and get them over. Dinsmore said that role did not bother him at all.

Dinsmore is asked about returning to OVW. He said that today, Al Snow is the head trainer and Danny Davis is more into the TV production but is not at TV enough to see everyone and teaches the beginners class on the weekends. He does not believe that the camaraderie is there today as it was when he was there. He says there are a lot of young guys trying to take on the role of the leader but they are not experienced enough to help out the other guys who have just started out.

He said that the day he was released, he wrestled Mark Henry and was told the day before that he was being let go. Dinsmore said he was getting medication through a pain clinic and ran out then claimed that someone else gave him some medications that he thought was what he was prescribed but it wasnt and when it came up on the test, they decided to fire him based on his past history. He said he was disappointed in himself for making that mistake then said it was because he took three pills, two on Saturday and one on Sunday then tested positive the next day at RAW.

When asked if he felt the door was open for a return to the WWE, Dinsmore said he did not burn any bridges but did not exactly leave on the best terms. He said if the door was open, he could see it as a possibility. He has not been contacted by TNA but would not mind working for them. He also said he would not mind working for Ring of Honor or in Japan.

He is asked if there is anyone in OVW we should look out for, he said that Mike Kruel is someone he worked with that has potential. He also said that his valet Roucka (Rosa Mendes) has potential too.

Dinsmore is asked about the best rib he saw. He said that in OVW, he told David Flair that Cena’s sister was a great piano player and to ask him about her. In reality, Cena does not even have a sister. When Flair saw Cena and asked him about his sister, Cena got up and threw a barrel across the room and flipped out on Flair, saying that his sister does not have any arms. Flair did not know what to do after that. Dinsmore said that he felt bad about doing that.

The interview ends with Dinsmore plugging his MySpace page and his column on WrestleZone.

Final Thoughts: I thought this was a good interview. Dinsmore seems like a nice enough guy. The interview jumped around a lot when they were discussing his time in OVW and I tried my best to timeline that for the recap. Just seeing how much the guys under the early developmental deals struggled was eye opening. I knew it was rough but not that bad.

The one thing that caught my eye with Dinsmore is how much he downplayed his addiction problems. He was clearly an addict yet managed to rationalize his behaviors here. This was filmed very shortly after he was fired by the WWE and it was evident from this interview that he was still battling issues. The story about how he got fired by taking pills is the behavior of someone who is still abusing and not ready to admit that they have a problem. I truly wish Dinsmore the best of luck with his addiction and hope that he is in a better place today.

Dinsmore did not seem to want to bury anyone and was careful about what he was saying in case he did go back to the WWE. Even still, the interview was informative and worth a listen. A great interview for those who wanted to know about the early days of OVW. I do recommend this interview and felt that Dinsmore was an engaging storyteller.

Say It Ain’t So, Nick Diaz!

I'm saddened by Diaz's retirement following the loss to GSP, but glad to hear he still wants a rematch.  Gives all his fans hope for the future.  

Anyway, I actually thought it would end up 49-46 because Diaz seemed to win the second round, but really the one round difference is nothing anyway. Hendricks-Condit was a HELL of a brawl and had the bar applauding after each round and sometimes after each exchange, and hopefully Raffi will finally get his title shot.  Rest of the show was pretty blah, although it was fun watching Nate the Great getting knocked on his ass by Ellenberger. The last two fights really elevated this show into a strong thumbs up for me, and the wings were good, so it was a good night.