Former ECW star Rhyno recently spoke with Alex Obert of the Journey of a Frontman website. Below are some highlights:
His recent appearance at WWE NXT:
Yeah, it really came out of nowhere. I was just finishing up a loop one day and they’re like, “Hey, you wanna come down to NXT?” I’m like, “Yeah.” That’s all I’ve heard about, NXT this and NXT that from the fans. Really, if you’re gonna make a splash, you want to do it where everybody’s talking about.
Who in NXT has his attention right now:
Gosh, who doesn’t? From top to bottom, you see it in their eyes and you see it when they go out there. They’re hungry. You see it everyday when they get up. I don’t just tune into the program, I see who’s working the hardest in that Performance Center. I see and I listen and I hear and I ask questions. I have been in wrestling for twenty years, I have a lot of friends and I have eyes and ears in all different places. Not that I’m spying, but I’m asking questions and I’m doing my research. There’s a lot going on.
Being released from WWE in 2005, showing up on RAW and One Night Stand, then going to TNA:
Well I was released from WWE for a little incident, but it’s not a secret. It involved alcohol and I was going through a difficult time in my life. Alcohol wasn’t an issue, I just happened to be drinking. And I was very irresponsible. As a man, you have to take responsibility for your actions. Every action. There was no physicality, I just threw a flower pot. I laugh at it now and my ex-wife laughs at it now. But like I said, you have to be a man and stand up. No matter what was said or done, there is no excuse for the behavior. And when you behave, you have to be responsible. I understand what I had to do, I had to work hard and work towards the indies.
We already had the One Night Stand booked and I fulfilled my commitment with that. They wanted me to honor that commitment and we did good business. We professionally parted ways. They were good on their part and did everything as far as they were contractually obligated to, they did not try to mess around or anything. It was just one of those things where it was a very good learning experience. But it was a good situation for me. I made it a good situation by learning from the mistake and that mistake becomes an error, then I move forward in my career. I put my nose to the grindstone and worked to keep my career going. I moved forward, there’s no dispute about it. I began to create some good memories like working with “The Monster” Abyss, he’s a great talent. I worked on the independents and developed a great relationship with the fans. I met and interacted with them, one on one, on a smaller intimate level. You have that time and you have that ability. When you’re doing the bigger venues, it’s harder because there’s so many more fans and it can get chaotic.
What NXT means to him now that he’s had the experience:
At this moment in my life, the fans of NXT and their passion, I see that same emotion and that same passion and that same drive from all the fans that I did fifteen years ago. I see that same passion and drive from the performers that I did fifteen years ago. They had something to prove fifteen years ago in the company that I worked for, we all know the company that I’m talking about, don’t even have to say it. They were rejected, look at each and every single talent, they had something to prove. Stone Cold Steve Austin was fired from WCW, they said he’d never make it and that he’d never be anything better than a midcarder. Where did he go for six months to prove his worth? He had something to prove because he was rejected and he proved it in under six months.
Then he went to WWE and within six, seven months, he started taking off. The rest is history. Kevin Owens has something to prove. Sami Zayn has something to prove. The list goes on and on. Finn Balor. The list goes on and on. It’s the same stuff that happened then, people crave that same passion. There’s a lot of great wrestling out there and there’s a lot of great things happening in wrestling, just with a little different formula. And that brings a person alive. That brings me alive. I feel alive all the time and I feel great, but this makes me feel really young again. The fans and their passion makes me feel really young again. You’ve just gotta feel it. Whether you’re in the crowd or in that ring, it brings you alive.