By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
DAZN interview with Damian Priest
Interviewer: Steven Muehlhausen
Available at DAZN.com
DAZN: WrestleMania has always been associated with celebrities. Sometimes the talent gets in the ring. Sometimes they’re enforcers outside the ring or ring announcing. You look at Bad Bunny, and no one was really like, ‘Okay, here’s this musician. How well is he going to do?’ We’ve seen some flops in the past, but we saw last year with Pat McAfee in one of the best performances for the first time in a wrestling match. He was putting in the work, though, at the WWE Performance Center. What did it show you about the dedication he put towards the craft because some celebrities come in, cash a check, and bounce out?
Damian Priest: “We started working out because I trained with him from the get-go. Every time he was in the ring, I was with him and others like Norman Smiley, Adam Pearce, Drew Gulak, Brian Kendrick. Other hands helped his training and getting him ready. But I was there the entire way—every single time. We got in the ring before the Royal Rumble. I worked with him to get that crossbody. We all made sure that he was ready for every little step. He put in work at the PC. He also put in work before Raw. Sometimes we’d have to go to Tampa and put in work before Smackdown. We didn’t have to be there, but he wanted to put in extra time. He needed extra time. So he’d say, ‘Hey, is there any way we can get in the ring?’ We had extra rings at the time we were at Tropicana Field. He wanted to get some ring time there. So let’s go for two hours, let’s drive two hours to spend two hours and then drive two hours back.
“It was all worth it. He had no issue putting in the work. I knew he would surprise a lot of people because though again like you said, nobody expected it. Nobody knew. You hear that he’s training. Anybody can train. That doesn’t mean you’re going to be any good. It doesn’t mean you’re taking it to the fullest seriously. There’s been other celebrities, and they train, but they didn’t train to the level he did mentally. He took this very prideful. He didn’t want to embarrass himself, the company, his fans, our fans, me, and anybody else in the ring because the first thing he was worried about was earning respect.
“He didn’t want to disrespect anybody. He wanted to make sure that people didn’t like him just because he was a celebrity here. He wanted to earn the respect of the boys and girls first and then go from there. I remember the Friday before Mania, Randy Orton going up to him and saying, ‘Hey, man, I want to say thank you because nobody, I’ve never seen anybody treat this business the way you have. So thank you for doing that and being so respectful to our stuff.’ Bad Bunny is a humble dude. He’s quiet and shy. He was just like, ‘No, no, my pleasure. Thank you for accepting me.’ That’s who he is. I was so happy that he got to deliver the way. He did shock everyone because he earned it. He really did earn that opportunity and that moment.”
Other topics include the humbleness of Bad Bunny, getting a prominent spot on WrestleMania 37, and what Triple H has meant to his career.