WrestlingINC.com: So was it based on Luger's gimmick at all, or were there just similarities?
Masters: I never liked the comparison… nothing personal against Lex, I just met him about a month ago for the first time, but he wasn't one of my guys growing up. It's not a comparison I want, but I hopefully had… I was 21 at the time and I came off as kind of a cocky kid 'cause I was putting up a front. A lot of it was… everything was happening. I didn't like the comparison, but I knew it was the body thing. I figure of course they can make that comparison, but I can still make it mine and some other things about it was cool, like the entrance. Eventually when I got it right, throwing off the robe or the cape and hitting the poses to the dongs and all that.
But yeah, definitely Paul Orndorff. I guess Vince said I remind him of Paul Orndorff, or I did at the time, so they really wanted me to take a look at him and actually had him work with me a little bit in order to pick up his style a little bit, and to take some things of his. You look at certain guys, I was looking at Paul Orndorff, Rick Rude... not necessarily Lex Luger, you can add him to a list of guys and what can I take from these guys that I like and make mine - not necessarily steal from them - but you know, that is what people do, you take it and you make it yours.
WrestlingINC.com: During that first run you were talking about how Shawn Michaels was one of your favorites growing up and you got to work with him. What was that like, working with one of your idols?
Masters: Oh, it was like a dream come true! It was like winning the world title basically, just 'cause you know I'm under the impression that he is probably - and I think a lot of people would agree - that he is probably the greatest in ring performer ever. And I had watched his whole career, probably like a lot of people who are reading this interview, and I get to watch this amazing career that started as a tag wrestler and progressively to where you get to work up to where you are the world champion. You know, for me to actually get to break into the business and work with him on a pay-per-view before he retired, I mean that's a rare thing for any kid to be able to do. Any kid who looks up to a childhood hero, you know to watch like Kobe Bryant and then get to take him in a basketball game. You know, that's very rare and it was really cool experience for me. I mean, we said a prayer before the match… Shawn was really good to me, especially when I first came in, he did a lot to help me and he always took credit for making the Masterpiece… until I messed it up.
WrestlingINC.com: When the failure happened, did they ask you to go to rehab and you just chose not to or…
Masters: It was an intervention and uh… no, I didn't want to go. I was at a place, you know where most addicts are early on, where you don't really think you're an addict. It takes a long time for some to people to really get that through their head, and looking back on it, I mean… you're like, "you don't see this?" For instance, like with the Matt Hardy thing, for me I was just wondering what accident, what situation is it going to take for him to finally realize it for himself to actually get better.
To go back to your question, yeah, it was an intervention and you know eventually I just realized I had to do it. But I did it more to appease the company, I still wasn't under the impression that I had a problem. But you know, I did quit and I gave in to the process and I learned a lot. It was an interesting place that they sent me to, it was like in the outskirts of Tennessee on a ranch… so it really was like this hippie holistic rehab center and it was cool. You know, there were a lot of guys my age, it was like a fraternity without the booze and drugs. It didn't work, because I still eventually relapsed, because again, deep in my mind I still didn't believe I had a problem… and you know that eventually led to my release later on.
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