By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Shane comments on appearing at the NJPW Strong tapings: Our illustrious New Japan career that everyone remembers, I had one match [Haste laughed]. I had one match in [New] Japan. Mikey [Nicholls] had the few and he trained at the New Japan L.A. Dojo, so him coming back to New Japan was a huge, like a real cool, huge thing. For me, it just was that’s somewhere I’ve always wanted to go and do a serious run at and then seeing how well Jonah’s been doing there and I’d go along to the shows and hang out and man, the vibe there, this atmosphere, the crowds, it’s awesome. I love it.”
Whether he’s interested in teaming with longtime partner Mikey Nicholls in NJPW World Tag League 2022: “Yeah, man, that’s our goal, that’s the goal. TMDK, me and Mikey [Nicholls], I’d love to see us in it [World Tag League]. I’d love to see other versions of TMDK as well; JONAH, Slex, Marcius Pitt, Damian Slater, we got Hartley Jackson, Kane Broadrick. We got some good members in that and I’ve said this many, many times, my goal now is to get — well I mean, stabilize myself and get my spot but to bring as many of those TMDK guys over, get them exposed on that national, international level of Japan where they deserve respect that they’ve — they’ve earned respect and deserve to be shown it in pro wrestling, where sometimes you know, you come to America and it’s a different kind of show, a different kind of vibe but in Japan, there’s so much more respect with it and I really want those boys to have a feel of that even if it’s just one tour, you know what I mean? That would be awesome because a lot of them have their jobs and their families and they’re pretty set in Perth. Like man, the world’s gonna open back up, Perth’s a direct flight to Tokyo, it’d be sick. So yeah, I wanna see all of TMDK at the Tokyo Dome.”
On wishing he stuck to his guns more often rather than be a company man in NXT: “I look back at it with pretty fond memories. I try to forget all the negative stuff because once you get stuck on the negative, you just get dragged into the dark side. Things that I would have liked [to do was stick] to my guns a little bit more, especially knowing now how thriving the pro wrestling world is. I’m like damn, I really should’ve died on my sword more and been willing to, I don’t know, get fired over things. We were very — me and Mikey [Nicholls] made a career of ourselves before that by doing what the company wanted. We’re company men, we’re good workers, we’re good hands.
“You ask us to do something, we’ll go do that better than what you think can be done and in Australia and Japan, that got rewarded in the right ways. I found that in NXT, they have ideas and you just go with it and sometimes that can be a detriment because not all ideas are great ideas. We had been proven in Japan that as ourselves, we were good and we were successful. When you go there, they wanna have their hands on it a lot more. They want more control, which I’m like, you know what? Billion-dollar company, you gotta know what you’re doing and so, we let them. Some things I’m like, ‘Eh, I don’t know’ but I’m like, ‘All right, we’ll do it. I’ll trust what you’re saying first’ and then obviously, I’m not a multi-time world champion millionaire so, it didn’t quite work out that way [Haste laughed]. You know, I’m doing fine.
Being on he and Mikey not being on one of the tours of their native Australia and being told they weren’t big enough stars: “Well this is the thing, my mom would always say stuff like that. ‘Well why don’t they bring the Australians to it?’ And I’m like, well, let’s say — what’s a big band at the moment? What’s the biggest band? BTS, let’s say BTS toured Australia. Do you think just because they’re coming to Australia, they should add an Australian singer to it? No. You wanna see — you wanna see the stars that you see on TV. You wanna see those big names and it’s a treat to see the Americans, the people from all around the other parts of the world, but, in saying that too, Australians are very proud and patriotic people as well so they do wanna see their own people and I can’t remember which Australia tour it was; I’m like, ‘How are we not on this?’ And they said, ‘You’re not big enough stars.’ I’m like, ‘Well you control that. Make us bigger stars.’ You see how quickly they can turn someone into a star. It takes a couple of weeks. You control this. You write it. Write us to be bigger stars.”
Working with AOP in NXT: “Well there’s that thing of saving it for the right moments [Haste & Nicholls displaying their power and athleticism in NXT]. That was a good payoff, especially with the AOP guys [at TakeOver: Toronto 2016] because we worked them so much and they were getting told, ‘Don’t get picked up, don’t get bumped,’ all this stuff so we — I remember once, they were like we weren’t allowed to duck a clothesline from them because it made them look stupid for them to swing a clothesline and me to duck it and give him something and they wanted to do stuff and they wanted to take stuff too so that Takeover match and even the next year’s Dusty Cup then, they were more than happy to get bumped and lifted and things like that and because we hadn’t done it every single match, it did mean more. So there is that side of [it] and the other side of [it] is other people they were wrestling were doing it every single match with them and they were like, ‘Well if they’re bumping them,’ picking them up and stuff like that every single match, then of course people are gonna see that and go, ‘Yeah! Every single time.’”
Making the WWE 2K22 roster despite no longer being with the company: “It’s just the way that they work. Everybody gets so mad at the talent roster [for WWE video games] and [gives them] sh*t for it because it’s really 2K21. It’s last year’s roster. They can’t predict the future of the roster, you know what I mean? So of course it’s gonna be the older roster. I think Shane Thorne’s been in every single one [WWE video game] since 2017 I believe. So, people looking out for me there. I think there’s 20 or something people in this game that aren’t with the company anymore. But like [I] said, it’s 2021’s roster. It’s fun, it’s fun. It just makes for a fun situation, you know what I mean?”
Shane explains the Crocodile Dundee character he used on Smackdown dark matches: Yeah, I was trying more character-based stuff [with the Crocodile Dundee character]. A lot of my career, pretty much all of it, I’ve just wrestled as myself. So, when I first went to Smackdown, I had singles gear and stuff like that and I’m like, ‘All right. I’m just gonna be this guy who’s been in NXT before’ and now — I really wanted to do like a moment on Raw Talk or Talking Smack straight after we left Retribution and I wanted to be like, ‘You don’t realize you’ve hit the bottom and the way [Mustafa] Ali treated us, showed me that I was at the bottom so I’m done with that darkness and I’m ready to be a more positive person.’ I just wanted to be more positive about every situation that I was in and yeah, being in Retribution got pretty rough by the end of it and so I’m like, I wanna leave that behind and that’s kind of the real life — character reflecting real life and I’m like, ‘I didn’t realize I was at the bottom and looking at Ali and how mad and angry he was-was like looking into a mirror and I didn’t like what I saw so, you know, being away from him now on Smackdown is a fresh start for me and I’m ready to show the world.’
“Just put me on Raw Talk where I can just freeform say this and if you don’t like it, it’s only on YouTube, no one really cares, and then there were a lot of wrestler wrestlers out there like [Bryan] Danielson and Cesaro on SmackDown so I’m like, I’ll just be a babyface who’s a good wrestler and we just put over I’m a good wrestler. I’ll go out there, have great matches then go have some f—ing fun in the backstage but that stuff just kept getting — not happening so then I was looking at more, just any way to get on TV man. Just any way to get my face on TV and Nikki [A.S.H.] started doing her superhero thing and I know that was her idea and it was just to be more marketable and be more herself. A huge — I think one of the biggest markets in WWE is kids. Everyone always goes like, ‘Oh, when — it was better back in my day when I was younger.’ I’m like yeah, that’s because you were younger. So there’s kids who are that age now who probably think now’s product is the best and they’re gonna go, ‘Back in my day…’ So, that was my thought; just being something more marketable.
“I’ve gone through a lot of different looks in WWE at the time by that point and I’d never gotten an action figure not being marketable in that way so, and there was so many guys who just wore wrestling gear. So I was like, ‘All right, I gotta take a different direction with this. What’s something no one’s doing?’ And that was like the authentic, outback Australian look and so that’s where I got the look from was Dijak [T-Bar] giving me shit about, ‘Just go be Crocodile Dundee’ and I’m like, ‘I’m not gonna f—ing –’ no, he’s like, ‘Be the crocodile hunter. Go be Steve Irwin.’ I’m like, ‘I’m not gonna f—ing go be Steve Irwin, I don’t wanna be Steve Irwin’ and I was like, ‘Fine. I’m gonna be f—ing Steve Irwin.’ If that’s what you Americans want, I’m gonna stop being an Australian that Australians want to see because Australians, I don’t think they want to be seen as a joke and I’m like screw it. I’m not wrestling for Australians here. I’m wrestling for an American, my bosses are all American. So I’ll be the Australian Americans want to see.”