VOC Nation interview with Ryan Nemeth
Also available on Stitcher: VOC Nation Radio Network
Show available Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. ET at VOCNation.com
On if his injury ended his WWE Career: I felt like I was on the way up... main event of every house show. Feeling good, good responses, good rapport... they loved me and (Brad) Maddox together. Everything was going great. Dusty said they were looking for tag teams in WWE, main roster, and he picked us. Maddox got called up to be a referee and I was home rehabbing. Everyone would call me asking if I was debuting and my leg was in a cast and I can't walk... I'm drooling on myself. I'm sleeping on the floor every night because I'm sad. So then I would tell them I come out at the end and I knock out Brock [Lesnar]. I'm happy for them. There are times I'm like, "everyone in this battle royal or whatever it is on Raw, I wrestled with all of them and I'm the only one not there.'
"That's the kind of thought you have to acknowledge, accept, and let it go. I'm doing cool shit that they can't do and I wouldn't be able to do if I was still signed. Road Dogg was producing at NXT and he came over and goes 'You are so good on camera and have so much personality. If your in-ring skills can eventually get to where your brother's is and your brother's microphone skills can get to where yours is, we can have tag champs for the next 100 years. Road Dogg told me that. You know when something makes you feel good? That lasted for weeks and months. Damn, man. That's another one I was like, I see my brother on TV and he's awesome and doing great... and then Road Dogg and Billy Gunn are champs.
"I'm thinking, 'What the Hell? You guys moved up? You finally moved up from Performance Center, bro?' If I was still there doing that, I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing now. If I want to wrestle and take a booking, I can. I'm wrestling in Australia. I can't do that signed to WWE. There's a tendency to get negative or bitter or 'Oh, he got signed but I didn't get signed. Screw that guy', you can't live like that. If someone gets an opportunity, be happy for them. Maybe you'll get one... maybe you won't. But being mad at someone else isn't going to change it.
On future wrestling bookings: Rob Terry from TNA and I are going to Australia next month. Can't say what I will be doing there but I will be in attendance in that building May 23.
On getting released by WWE and how Dolph Ziggler knew before him: I was eating lunch somewhere before an NXT house show. Mr Sakomoto kept calling and texting me like crazy. I called him back and he told me he got a phone call that he was released. I thought to myself, 'We just started going. We had a long-time program written up. We just had our tag team started on NXT.' All the creative guys were pumped about it. There is nothing funny on that show except for us. I thought this ruined everything... I have to start over again. Great. I have to redo everything again. This is one of my best friends. He has to leave the country. This sucks. and then I'm driving back to my house to pack my stuff for the show but, as I'm driving, I'm stopped at a red light and it hit me. I'm getting fired today. I totally knew it.
"Why would they axe Sakamoto? He didn't have the best English and I was in the guy in NXT/WWE that all of the Japanese guys gravitated toward me. For one reason or another, they always became my buddies. He wanted me to call Canyon Semen to ask why he was fired.I was starting to put together a lot of clues. Then I had all these calls from Canyon Semen anyway. I thought, if I don't answer, he can't fire me. So I didn't answer. It was originally my Dolph's idea. I told him I think someone really wanted me out of here for the past 6 months and it finally worked. I won't tell you everything he said but he said not to pick up the phone. He gave me the idea not to pick up the phone. I'll tell them my phone broke. I called him back eventually, "So-and-so finally convinced you to fire me, huh?' and he goes 'yup.' He listed the reasons and I said 'y'know that's not true, right? Thanks for firing me, anyways.' He goes, 'Look, Ryan, I know you're going to be a hit in the entertainment business and make millions of dollars.' So I said, 'Yeah I know. I told you that. I wanted it to be with you but I guess it will be with someone else.' I remember thinking in my head, you're releasing me from an entertainment company and the entire time you're laughing. I hope you look back in 10 years and go, 'Whoops!' I said, 'One last thing. Will you still let my brother be world champion?' and he said 'Yup!' and then I hung up on him.
"I'm told I'm the blue chip, most hardworking, most entertaining NXT talent... my brother is World Champ for a second time... you're telling me I'm done for? Let him think about that for a while. I handled it professionally and my own flavor and taste. My brother texted me, 'Hey. So-and-so called me to tell me they're releasing you. A very respectful company called someone who's not me to tell me I was being released before they actually spoke to me. I will say I had some good times there, entertain some people, make a little name for myself, get some publicity for my book... did some charity. Had some good times. I was someone's younger brother. I haven't been wrestling for 10 years. I wrestled for a year before they picked me up for OVW. I remember Camacho telling me people got hired who didn't even know about wrestling-- football players and model girls. There is no one right way to do it. I have a chip on my shoulder about the people who say 'Oh, you haven't been working the indies for five, ten years, I shouldn't have a job.'
On how his comedy improv helped him in wrestling: "It did help me a lot. I had been spending summers in college in Chicago, working in improv, training at the place where people like Amy Poehler and Chris Farley got their start. I was always viewing that, theater, and OVW as similar things in my mind. They were both kind of like... the guy who's teaching you either way... this old, crotchety crazy person... like I'm thinking of Rip Rogers in OVW. He was the head trainer for WWE for a while and was still at OVW. There is always a legendary, cranky old man figures. Insane people who cannot function in a normal society but have the tools to teach you how to be good in whatever craft you're in. There's always someone like that. Comedy... wrestling...In wrestling, it was Rip Rogers. and I'm sure if you interview who passed through OVW, they'll tell you about him. Whether it's guys on the indies now... or people like CM Punk or John Cena, for sure. It was cool to talk to the guys like Cena, Orton, and all of them and we had that connection of OVW and Rip Rogers and we would exchange funny stories about him."
On how fellow wrestlers supported his book, "I Can Make Out With Any Girl Here": "There was a time when someone bought my book... I think it was the athletic trainer at FCW/NXT... a lot of people bought my book and I was excited. Brad Maddox took the book, read it, and started giving it to everyone else in the locker room. I was on a roll where a lot of people were buying it and I was getting royalties... and then Brad Maddox was lending it out. No one is going to buy it if you're giving it to them for free. Camacho, Rusev, Cena, a lot of people read that book. Sara Del Ray has it but won't read it because it's very vulgar."
What inspired him to start writing: "It is something I have been doing my whole life. Throughout grade school, high school... I was always excited when homework involved creative writing. That was my favorite thing to school. If there was ever a newspaper in school, I always wanted to contribute to it. I didn't want to submit interviews or articles, I would want to submit drawings I did. I would make up fake text messages and submit it to the comic section."
On dealing with social media and recent death threats: "I would rather you un-follow me than threaten to kill me and my family... I've been getting a lot of those recently. I am honored that anyone would even take the time to type something and send it over the Internet to get to me so, whether it's graphic or polite, y'know, I appreciate it. The attention is nice. But, I have been getting... the last few days or weeks, a few people I don't know on Twitter telling me that they're going to kill me or they can't wait 'til I die. So, y'know, I do get extremes. I get that. I think it's the same for anyone. There's people who hate you and people who love you so... take the good with the bad."