Chris Masters Talks His WWE Run, Talent Brought Up Too Early, HHH, HBK & His Wellness Violation
Masters: It was great, it was like college. I hadn't finished, I didn't graduate, I kinda left early for a job. I didn't grow up with the most money or anything like that so I had to pay my way, so in a way I guess that's paying your dues in a different way. For the most part I got a pretty easy ride into the OVW because of my physique, you know which leads to a lot of the criticism. I still had to sacrifice a lot. I dropped out of school.
I got signed and I was in OVW by the time I was 19 and it was like my college, we really had a good group, the kind of group that stuck together. I didn't know many people outside of our group, to be honest. Various girls I dated when I was in Louisville I guess, mainly, the only people I knew was the guys. There was a lot of guys and it was cool because I got two different… you know my first half was Rip Rogers, who basically taught old school fundamentals - head locks, take over routines, a lot of throw back wrestling. It was kind of a good core foundation to have that but eventually, Rip... I don't know what happened with Rip, but he ended up getting fired or released or whatever and then they brought Lance Storm.
Lance Storm was great because he was much more up to date than Rip Rogers, so we had the fundamentals of what Rip Rogers sort of gave us and then Lance Storm kind of broke it down. Instead of having us do four hour practices, he had us save our bodies a little more and he had us focus on what we would actually be doing in WWE, which for the most part aren't those long matches that Rip was kind of training us for. It's more like 4 or 5 minutes, sometimes 10 if you're lucky and you gotta hit your time cues, so we focused a lot more on the current pro-wrestling product and what we needed to deliver. Then with Bill Demott it was more like boot camp, he just beat the hell out of us. That was kind of their two rules, we would have a week with Lance and then a week with Bill. Some of the best memories of my career were with OVW… a lot of fun, I was just a kid and you know I learned a lot of lessons. Life lessons and a lot of pro-wrestling etiquette lessons.
WrestlingINC.com: Did you feel you were ready when you got called up to the main roster?
Masters: Definitely not, but you know I could have… I wasn't ready, but if I didn't make some of the mistakes I made - like I fell off the wagon with the Wellness Policy violations and what not - I think if I would have had my head on straight and I was really focused like I was with the second run that I just had, which was a lot easier for me, I think I would have been able to adapt and get better and really take it in. You know it was my first… I don't know, I think I just fell into some problems and I wasn't appreciating it the way I should have.
I eventually felt like I think everything just kind of came to me to easily and I started to make mistakes, like I said the violations and falling into prescription pills, and it stops your growth as a person and in turn it stopped my growth as a wrestler. You know I was working with great guys like Shawn Michaels, and you know eventually Shawn was letting me call of our matches and I was at a point to make great progression and probably rise to the top of the business, but kind of around that time I started making my mistakes and I messed up and eventually I got sent to rehab. Those are roadblocks in life… you know, I couldn't have seen it back then, but looking back I really kind of derailed my career right there and it's been a rocky up and down slope every since.