By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
The Chris Van Vliet Show with guest Alex Hammerstone
Host: Chris Van Vliet
Interview available at Chris Van Vliet’s YouTube Page
Why he almost quit wrestling after his third WWE tryout: “It ended up being like ‘Hey, well I think we want to bring you in. We’re going to start the hiring process’. And I remember, I was on the toilet at work when I read that email and I had to read it four times over and then I started crying because I was like ‘Holy crap! Dream come true! It’s happening.’ And then I literally burst out of the bathroom and knocked on my boss’s office. It was just like an involuntary reaction, I was like ‘Jeff, read this!’ and he was like ‘Oh my God!’ and he legitimately called a staff meeting to tell everybody what had just happened and everyone congratulated me. This was probably the end of November, 2017. The conversation with WWE was basically like be ready to move out to Florida by May or maybe June.
“So I start getting all of my duck in a row to move and we’re going through a couple of steps like sending in all of my paperwork and doing my background check. The next step is my whole medical test and it’s not happening, it’s not happening, it’s not happening. And then I start pestering them to see what’s going on. Then in April, and keep in mind in my head I’m moving there in May, so in April they say ‘Sorry to inform you but we’re just way too full right now, we hired too many people this year and we can’t bring you in’. And it doesn’t say like ‘Give us three months’ or ‘Give us this’ it just says ‘We can’t bring you in’. And that was it. And I was like, what? And for the next couple of months someone every once in a while would be like ‘Hey, when are you going to Florida?’ and I’d have to explain the whole thing to them. I had to explain this so many times and every time it was like a punch in the gut, you know? So it was rough, man. It was a rough time and literally that experience almost made me quit wrestling. I was very close.”
He gave up a full scholarship to pursue his dream of becoming a pro wrestler: “I dropped out of college and I went to my mom’s house to tell her I was going to be a pro wrestler and she was pissed. She was like ‘No, you’re not’. Because I had a full ride scholarship. I had a full ride academic scholarship to university. And I was like ‘No, I’m not going to do that. I’m going to be a pro wrestler’ and then I just kind of went down that direction and I had so much that I left behind me that I was like, I can’t just pussyfoot around, I have to do this now. And not only that, as much as I wasn’t invested in the idea of going to college at the time, I was still prepared for a big task. I was mentally prepared to take on a big task and a big workload. So I think I approached pro wrestling as if was a career. I was like: I have to go to training this many times, I have to have my perfect diet, I have to have my workout routine, I have to study these matches. I approached it like here’s this class, here’s this class, here’s this class. I tell people all the time, sure wrestling’s a 1 in 1000 chance of succeeding but that’s because people approach very much like it’s a side hobby. If you approach it like it’s a career, then that 1 in 1000 becomes more like 1 in 50.”
His first memory of wrestling: “When I grew up I didn’t have cable so if we were watching wrestling, we were staying up super late on a Saturday to watch Shotgun Saturday Night or maybe even like Sunday Night Heat. But two things are definitely burned into my memory as one of my first wrestling memories and it’s either The Brood’s entrance or something to do with DX.”