By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
On Team angle: “They looked at our background, they knew we were amateur wrestlers. I think what helped Shelton and I and my brother a lot is that we were fans of pro wrestling growing up, big fans, and that’s why we got into amateur wrestling. We thought it was pro wrestling, but it was actually amateur wrestling. We didn’t read that part in the junior high book with the tryout for sports. I know, but we stuck with it. And I think the work ethic that amateur wrestling teaches you just to take care of yourself and your balance and that mental toughness. You just fight through everything. I think that has a lot to do with why we were so successful. Amateur wrestling is very hard. The practices are hard. And so we would show up like Shelton and I, my brother in law, we’d show up to wrestle, and we would wrestle and practice. If it was like amateur wrestling, I had to learn to move. I had to learn the technique. I had to learn how to work the arm, how to work the different ways to go to the arm, the leg, the ridge, the back, the neck, whatever. I had to go in a different way. I had to learn everything I could. So they came in and said, hey, we want to do Team Angle. Kurt’s red hot. He was f—ing red hot, man. It was unbelievable. And it was like how great do you give him guys underneath him, like a tag team, like a faction, kind of like the Varsity Club. That’s what they were shooting for. Like a varsity club. Just enhanced.”
On his time in WWE: “I didn’t know what was his thought. I thought I was going to get released. Then, like, a month after he [brother Russ Haas] died, I was wrestling Hugh Morris or Bill DeMott in the ring, and he did, like, this baseball slide tackle that he was trying… some new move, and it wasn’t intentional or anything, but he clipped my knee on accident. I tore my ACL. So I went from having the death of my brother to a month later being on the shelf for six months because of the knee injury. And I thought I was going to get fired. I remember driving, and Johnny Ace [John Laurinaitis] called me. He’s calling me, and I was like, here he goes. He’s like, ‘Hey, we’re sending you to OVW. You got to be there by tomorrow.’ I was gone. All right. You don’t have to ask me twice. Jim Cornette, I think he felt bad for me. I think he was really pushing for me. Jim Cornette had a lot to do with saving my career with WWE and rebuilding me and helping me and teaching me how to be a babyface, how to be a singles wrestler. And I was red hot as a babyface down there, rocking and rolling. And then they decided to put Shelton [Benjamin] and I together and start the Team Angle gimmick back, and well, it worked. Thank God for that, and Arn Anderson.
On Kurt Angle: “That’s like amateur wrestling. They give you a warm up suit with the hoodie. We’re just doing exactly what we did in amateur wrestling. You’re right. It was red, white, blue for Kurt’s Olympic gold medal run. It was just bad time. Kurt broke his neck, had to have this surgery. So we were together for a year, but only on TV together for six months. And then he got hurt. So we carried on the Team Angle thing for six months. So he came back and then they broke us up and we ended up with the World’s Greatest Tag Team. I don’t know. I know evolution was red hot on the other side. And we were doing Team Angle, which is unfortunate with Kurt’s neck. When they brought him back, they wanted to bring him back as a babyface. I thought they should have brought him back as a babyface, had this huge pop, and then we screwed Brock [Lesnar] again. And then we come back and reunite. That’s how I would have booked it.”
Having Shelton Benjamin as his partner: “Shelton came along. He had the same work ethic and the same desire that I did, that we just wanted to be successful. We wanted to make it. He was someone that I didn’t worry about that was going to no show or not show up and I was the same way. I was going to be there for everything. Became my brother on the road and my brother in real life basically. Russ passed away, moved on, kind of like a guardian angel, I guess, I don’t know, but we talk every day and he was the best man at my wedding and godfather to my daughter and I’m very grateful for him and that I was able to find a partner like that because when it worked. And they threw us into the fire, basically it was sink or swim and we swam right off the bat. It just worked. So a lot of it is because I had a really good partner with Shelton. We had the same goals and we had a great mentor with Arn being in the ring and teaching us how to become the world’s greatest tag team.”
Other topics include Kurt Angle, Team Angle, Shelton Benjamin, Impact Wrestling, his new podcast, his WWE run, Vince McMahon, what he is up to today, and more.