By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
On his main roster deal not kicking in until January of 2021: Yeah, the money [on the main roster], a lot more money. But the funny thing on the money is our contracts didn’t hit until this past January of main roster and then two months later I got let go. So once COVID hit, we got called up and they said, ‘Hey, we’re working on contracts but as of right now with COVID hitting, they had to take the budget cuts back’ and they said, ‘We’re gonna send you guys a contract but it doesn’t go in effect until January of 2021.’ So okay, cool but we still got paid our downside of NXT, but then we were also getting paid TV bonus extra for — we were pretty much making our upside for that which still was great, great money. But yeah, didn’t connect until January of 2021 this year.”
Communication in WWE: There is [communication]. It’s just to a certain extent of where you’re at on the totem pole-type thing, because he’s [Paul Levesque] gonna have his guys and like any business, even Vince [McMahon] has his guys and that’s how it works. They pick who they’re — ‘This is who I want at this time’ and that’s kind of how it’s booked around. You gotta think back to Attitude Era. You had [Steve] Austin, that was probably the first person brought up in every meeting. I’ve heard stories of that as well. Austin, Rock, Taker, Hunter and then it’s just a pecking order of this is the mainstay of what we have to book for TV and then it kinda goes down a list, and that is when you find your way and find your niche of getting on there. That’s just — you gotta think, it’s a TV show.
Change of gimmick to a modern day version of the APA: Not until — we were out for about eight months and [Wesley] Blake and I were pitching ideas like I said, just week after week. I pitched an idea of us as a new version of APA. where we kind of wanted to still be us, but we’d be doing things in the back and then we’re pitching ideas for Farooq [Ron Simmons] and Bradshaw [JBL] to even be there and obviously nothing came of it but just to get — you got the legends coming on TV at that time and just getting better airtime for having no crowds. I was [like], ‘Alright, how can we make this work? How can we make this work?’ And just nothing was sticking to them and it was keeping us off TV.
On nearly winning the Smackdown Tag Team Titles: I could see where the story was headed and I think the title switch would have happened at Extreme Rules 2020, where Kofi Kingston and Big E dropped the tag titles to Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura. Yeah, we were (going to win). We were supposed to win them [Smackdown Tag Titles] from New Day, which kind of sucks now thinking about it but at the same time, I try not to harp on it anymore. It’s a letdown and it’s obviously, we know where it could’ve been but then it’s also it wasn’t meant to be. We kind of figured it out and the way it was booked and kind of talking with Big E and Kofi [Kingston], just kind of where we were kind of going with the story and even after we were taken off TV, we saw Cesaro and Shinsuke [Nakamura] get slid into it and they won the titles the next pay-per-view and we would’ve been in Extreme Rules and going through tables and stuff and I’m just sitting there just, ugh, chopping at the bit because all I ever wanted to do was that type of match sometimes too. Just to get that little bit of, that Mick Foley, the [inner] kid of myself, let the garage out. But doing all the hardcore stuff, having fun with them and just being creative too. But yeah, we saw kind of where the writing was going and just like I said, wasn’t meant to be.
The situation with Jaxson Ryker: No [there was not a concrete plan for us], you kinda just kinda saw the writing on the wall of how we were getting talked about and our promos and where it was going. We were told we’re going to New Day and where that was gonna kind of go and even talking with Big E and Kofi [Kingston], they kind of smartened us up to a lot of things and they were so generous to us. Two great human beings and just two great professionals too because it was the first time [Wesley] Blake and I had ever really — well even on the main roster with anybody, just kind of everybody was very generous and giving and open to just doing things and keeping us looking strong because we’re new and we’re going to a certain story and Big E was really — and Kofi were a big part of that, for that whole process and it was a lot of fun with them. I wish we got to tear it up. We had a lot of ideas coming down the line and then of course, everything kind of happened with the tweets so…
Other topics include Mark Carrano, Vince McMahon, more details on his release, promo class in NXT, his NXT run, the Monster Factory, Danny Cage, and more.
You can listen to other shows apart of the TMPT Empire including Shane Douglas’ Triple Threat Podcast, Taking You to School with Dr. Tom Prichard, Talking Tough with Rick Bassman, Taskmaster Talks with Kevin Sullivan, Pro Wrestling 101 with Justin Credible and the University of Dutch with Dutch Mantell. H/T to POST Wrestling/Andrew Thompson for the transcription.