Former WWE star Simon Gotch aka Seth Lesser recently talked to For The Win. Here are some highlights;
YOU HAVE MORE NAME VALUE ON THE INDEPENDENTS BECAUSE A PROMOTER CAN PROMOTE YOU AS “FORMER WWE SUPERSTAR.” BUT WHAT Does YOU HAVE TO DO TO BECOME A VIABLE PERFORMER AWAY FROM WWE?
“I’m kinda living and dying on my own sword at this point. With the WWE machine, it’s very easy to go out there and do your thing. One bad match isn’t going to break you, but now companies are going out of their way – and some are companies that don’t necessarily have a lot of money – to invest in you and you have to deliver on that investment.
“A nostalgia act only lasts for so long. At a certain point, fewer and fewer people will care that you were in WWE for any length of time so it becomes what can you offer beyond that. That’s where I am now. I’m not trying to make a quick buck off what I’ve done. I have to demonstrate what I can do and why the people should continue to pay attention to me long after they forget that I was even WWE.”
YOU HAVE ONE OF THE GREAT MUSTACHES IN WRESTLING HISTORY. HOW DID YOU DECIDE TO GO WITH THAT LOOK?
“It started in 2010 originally. I had been doing the same thing for much of my career. I hadn’t changed my look up all that much, maybe a different haircut, but I hadn’t found a solid look that I wanted to stick with. I’m a big fan of this band called Gogol Bordello. They refer to themselves as gypsy punk and their lead singer, Eugene Hutz, has a big handlebar moustache. Then there was the movie Bronson with Tom Hardy. I thought that was a cool look. I grew out my moustache. It was my birthday, Oct. 18, and I took the first photo with it done up and waxed and it just became a thing.
“Over the next few years, I started thinking about modifying my character and thinking more about a carnival-style catch wrestler. A derivative of that moustache played into it. If I was going with this sort of character, I thought it would be a worthwhile thing to add to the aesthetic. It stuck from there.”
THE ENTRANCE WITH THE CARNIVAL BARKER, THE BLACK AND WHITE, THE HANDSHAKE AND THE “QUITE MANLY” POST WAS A BIG PART OF WHAT MADE THE VAUDEVILLIANS DIFFERENT. HOW DID THAT COME ABOUT?
“We had a very little warning that we would be debuting, maybe a week or 10 days. We go in that morning of our debut and we had to pick our music and a team name. The Vaudevillains is actually Aiden English’s idea. We had to come up with an entrance. The way I got in the ring, and the way English got in the ring under the second rope, were things we already did. I think the first time we did it, we announced ourselves with the megaphone. We announced ourselves at a combined height, combined IQ and combined intestinal length. We were trying to come up with the most obscure things instead of using weight. It was all done a day off.
“It’s like anything else, sometimes certain ideas come together so smoothly you don’t need a lot of committee time and back and forth and pitch this or that. It all went pretty quickly.”
PEOPLE LOOK AT THE SMACKDOWN TAG TEAM DIVISION AND SEE THAT THERE IS OFTEN NOT A LOT OF TV TIME WITH TWO HOURS OF SMACKDOWN VS. THREE HOURS FOR RAW AND THEN SEE THE SMACKDOWN TAG TEAM TITLES ARE THE ONLY TITLE NOT DEFENDED AT WRESTLEMANIA. IS THERE A LACK OF COMMITMENT TO THE TAG TEAMS ON SMACKDOWN?
“There’s the artistic commitment and then there is the professional commitment. The professional commitment is second to none. The way contracts are set up you’re paid based on what work you’re doing. If you wrestle on TV, you get paid more than if you don’t wrestle period. It would be easy for the company to say we’re not booking any of the tag teams tonight or we’re not doing a dark match. As much it might seem like to the naked eye they’re not putting them on TV, but they’re actually doing them a great favour financially by putting them on the show at all.
“There’s limited time to tell stories with a two-hour show. That’s what it comes down to. But with the network, WWE.com, YouTube and social media platforms, there are avenues for talent to still get out there, especially the tag teams. The company cares about the guys. They care about the tag teams. They clearly are trying to make sure they get the opportunity and stay fresh in people’s minds. The company does better when people care about every single person on the show. They sell more tickets, sell more merchandise and have higher pay-per-view buy rates. It’s always in the best interest of the company to make sure guys stay relevant and that’s absolutely the goal.”
THERE IS A REPORT GAINING TRACTION ONLINE THAT THE NIGHT BEFORE THE COMPANY CALLED YOU TO RELEASE YOU, YOU WERE INVOLVED IN AN INCIDENT IN CATERING BEFORE SMACKDOWN LIVE. CAN YOU EXPLAIN WHAT HAPPENED?
“The actual story is that it happened at WrestleMania. I was sitting in catering and the chair I was in was kinda flimsy. I go to shift to it and it just collapses underneath me. Being a ham, my immediate reaction was to demand someone pin me. ‘Someone pin me quickly.’ The guy who comes over, I think he works for us. I didn’t realise he was a local technician and was not a WWE technician. He was someone who worked on the set at ‘Mania. He came to help me up and I’m like, ‘Nope, you gotta pin me. C’mon, man.’ And he’s not going along with the bit. He thinks I just fell and he’s trying to help me. I see the bit’s going nowhere so I take the chair and I just kick it off to the side, drop it like a little punt and let it lay where it lands. That was it. I saw the story online, saying that I fell in the chair and made this big scene and was yelling and screaming. No part of that is accurate.”