Former WWE head of security recalls why Paul Heyman vowed to punch Vince McMahon, why he had to ask Dave Batista to leave the backstage area, taking Vince to the doctor after he tore both quads

By Jason Powell, Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

“Andrew Thompson Interviews” with guest James Tillis
Host: Andrew Thompson
Full interview available at

James recalls taking Vince McMahon to the doctor after Vince tore both of his quads: “When Mr. McMahon got injured once, and I had to take him back to one of his doctors the next day and he had hurt both his legs. And just to give you an idea, I’m not trying to blow smoke at you or anything. It’s just that him and Shane, they just [have] an unbelievable toughness, but anyway, I had to take him back to a doctor in I believe it was in… Georgia? I’m not sure. But I had to take him on the plane and we get onto this private jet and I’m holding his leg, while somebody was trying to scoot a prop up under his leg and somebody said something to me and I turned to answer, dropped his leg. He was like, ‘What the hell!!?’ And his wife was there and I was like, ‘Oh my God!’ He looks at me and goes, ‘Are you kidding me!?’ That was probably one of the funniest things.”

James on the first time he met Batista and telling him that he couldn’t come into the backstage area without an appointment: “One day we were in Boston, and I used to keep the backstage clear and Mr. McMahon didn’t want anybody backstage. That was the number one rule. You could not get backstage, especially when I was there, and I kept that backstage clear. [A] gentleman came up to me and I said, ‘Excuse me sir, who are you here to see?’ He says, ‘I’m here to see Johnny Laurainitis.’ I said, ‘Do you have an appointment?’ He says no. I believe he said no… so I had to ask him to leave backstage, and he became one of my closest friends, after he’s a four-time WWE Champion, he’s the second biggest actor in Hollywood right now and I just look at him and go, ‘Oh my God’ — Dave Bautista, and he was a gentleman. He was a gentleman. He was like, ‘Okay.’ The next day, he came back, he had that appointment, the rest is history.”

On being stuck on a plane in the middle of a snowstorm with Paul Heyman (Side note: Nathan Jones quit WWE after this flight): “My scariest plane ride was we were on our way to Perth, Australia, and we started taking on — I think — there’s something going on where we had to get fuel and me and Paul Heyman were sitting next to each other, and we were near Siberia. We had to land — I believe it was in Russia or a Russia outpost to get fuel in the middle of a snowstorm where they had to clear the tracks and they wouldn’t let us off the plane obviously, then we took off at unbelievably — it was almost at a 90 degree angle to get out of this snowstorm and Paul Heyman looks at me and he says to me, he goes, ‘If we get out of this alive’ because trust me when I tell you, we were circling and it was getting kind of close and you can ask Paul Heyman. He goes, ‘I’m gonna punch Vince [McMahon] in the mouth if I ever get out of this alive.’ I was like, ‘Oh my God.'”


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