Chris "Masters" Mordetzky recently spoke with Raj Giri of WrestlingINC.com about his start in the business, his WWE runs, drugs in wrestling, TNA, Ring Ka King and much more. Here is part two of the interview, click here to check out part one where Mordetzky talked about breaking into the business, his wellness violation, Triple H's controversial crack at his weight loss, wrestling Shawn Michaels and much more.
WrestlingINC.com: When you were, what were your thoughts when you were released from WWE in 2007, did you kind of see it coming? Or were you blindsided by it?
Masters: Nah, I wasn't blindsided by the first one, I kinda' felt like I brought it onto myself. I was trying to turn things around right at that point, but I had messed up. It was a dark period for me because I also got injured a week before I got released. I dislocated my elbow and then a week later... first I was suspended for 60 days and then I think - that was on a Monday - then Tuesday rolled around and that's when Vince [McMahon] had done either a Bob Costas interview or... something happened that day. Or there was some kind of thing with the government, putting a lot of heat on Vince. By Wednesday, they had changed their minds and released me, but I kinda took responsibility for that one, you know what I mean? I knew that I had kind of lost my way, lost my focus, and that I was making mistakes. And that I probably wasn't at the point where I should be there and I went off and did my thing. Looking back, I don't regret it, 'cause then I was able to have such great memories with like NWE and American Rampage. I went to Japan and I got to see a whole other side of the wrestling business, that I hadn't seen before, just since I went straight to WWE
WrestlingINC.com: After that first release, while you were doing the independence and came back, you were greatly improved from the first run. Was there any particular place on the independent scene that you felt really upped your game?
Masters: I didn't think it was... a lot of people always are like, ah you know, he went to Japan he got good, or he this or he did that. I don't think it was any of that. I came back in 2009 and I was just happy to be back. I don't think that my work was really up to par.
I think it was after about a year of being in there and seeing that they had no incentive to do anything with me. Then Hunter did this big speech after the WrestleMania where he had wrestled Shamus about who is going to step up and you know, just gave this big speech and I just thought to myself, why can't it be me? I also knew myself personally and it was a personal mission of mine to shake the body-guy image and show people that I could be a great in-ring worker, because that's what I looked up too so much with the guys that I grew up watching. So that became my mission over the next year.
I remember one of the first things that stood out was when I had a good match with Dolph Ziggler. I really just started going out there and tried to get emotionally involved in every match and watch every match I had every week numerous times. You know? Just to be super critical. I remember Michael Hayes criticized my selling in this one specific match and I remember that was like, that was it for me, back to the drawing board. I re-evaluated my whole game, I stopped thinking about all of the wrestling that I had watched over the last 20 years and what not and I just started going out there and reacting to what guys would do to me and how I would really feel.
Eventually I feel like I became one of the best sellers in the company, and then it all became a puzzle for me at that point, like my selling became my strong point. If you watch any of my matches in my last year, I don't think anybody would disagree… and then the next thing was my babyface fired up because it didn't feel organic, it felt like I was forcing it. So the next piece of the puzzle was getting emotionally invested and taking the heat the heel would give me and bringing it back with emotion, bringing a real fire up. So that was eventually the next thing that came along.
I just really started to feel like I was starting to understand the business a lot better. I was starting to mentally, you know? I was past the point of this spot and that spot and more thinking of what's the story? How am I going to really get these people to believe I'm hurt? What camera can I work to do this? Where are we gonna' be at this play and it became an outlet every week. Even though I was on Superstars, there is nothing more I enjoyed, having some of the matches that I had. It's like the last match I had with Drew McIntyre back in April last year was probably one of my best.
WrestlingINC.com: How did your return to WWE happen? Did they contact you, or did you contact them?
Masters: Well, it was the Denver Debacle, where they were supposed to go to Denver and ended up coming to Staples Center. My mom called me on the phone that week... I had gotten clean about 6 months prior to that I think. I remember I had I was on tour in Spain and had finally had my revelation and I looked in the mirror and it was, like, wow! I have a problem! I looked back at the past, everything I had lost, you know... lost my job with WWE and I had spent tons of money. I really just took an honest look at myself and got myself straight.
I used a lot of tools I learned in rehab, but it was ultimately me and then I guess I had in the back of my mind that I knew I would come around. And when I got that phone call from her, saying they were coming to town, I was just like, "oh, this is it, I am going to come down there and charm Johnny [Laurinaitis] and I'll charm Vince and I'll show 'em I got my head on straight and just see what happens." And that's what I did. I went over there, took a chance, talked to Johnny for about an hour and everything went real well. Everybody could see a big difference in me so a couple of weeks later I got the phone call.
WrestlingINC.com: When you came back it was kind of like you had a reduced role right off the bat then you had before. Were you surprised about that? Or were you happier about that?
Masters: I didn't know what to expect with coming back. I mean, I obviously wasn't happy about it but... I didn't really know what to do 'cause I was so happy to get the second shot that I didn't really want to neglect that and automatically just get jaded. But it was always in the back of my mind too, that I still had the two strikes that carried with me and it's like I never knew if I could break out of the "is he a solid investment? Can we trust him that he won't mess up?"
You know, get them to the point where they would put the machine behind me like they did when I initially came in. I don't know if the wellness policy, or faith in me as a performer, or what it was essentially that led to the second release. My understanding, I had several times been pulled aside by Hunter himself, relaying messages from Vince and him telling me how I'd just come leaps and bounds as far as my ring work and they wanted to do something with me. And it was from numerous people, they would tell me "Oh Vince was going crazy and was like, 'we gotta do something with this'." So I kind of a felt like it was gonna be my year. I really felt like I'm gonna turn s--t around and this is going to be great and finally I can bounce back from all the mess ups that I've made. And uh, that's why when you asked me about the first release, that one not as surprising; the second one, very much blindsided... it was very much blindsiding and disheartening.
WrestlingINC.com: Yeah, it definitely seemed odd especially because you had improved so greatly in the ring.
Masters: You know, I know a lot of people wouldn't be surprised 'cause they were like, "he wasn't in any storylines and major angle in forever." And like what I said, from what I was being told, and the work, and the performance that I was starting to put on on a nightly basis, I just kind of figured that everything is going great, I'm really starting to get this and I am enjoying it because I'm getting it. When you first get in, you're just like nervous, but I was starting to strive and my excitement matched my nerves and it was just such a blast to go out there. But again, it just came down to I was on Superstars and never kind of got a chance to have an angle or try something different. You know what I mean?
WrestlingINC.com: When you were drafted to RAW last year did you think that they were finally going to do something with you?
Masters: Well, again, I didn't know what to expect. I was optimistic; they had talked to me about taking me off TV for 3 months, 'cause the thing is after they kind of bury you for so long... I mean in 2009, I pretty much lost for a year straight and through those losses is when I started to kind of getting real good. And then they started taking notice and then they started flippin' the script and then they had me start winning basically all my matches... again, on Superstars though. So I was thinking "I'm picking up, you know this is obviously a good thing." What was your question? To go back to it, I'm sorry…
WrestlingINC.com: Just that when you were drafted to RAW, if you thought they were going to do something with you?
Masters: Oh yeah, I was hoping. I was optimistic because of those conversations that I had, and like I said, this wasn't me coming up to Hunter, this was them coming to me on a few occasions, me hearing this from other guys. Like Big Show telling me, "Hey, Vince is going crazy for ya!" But at the same time I looked at the landscape and I was like, "gosh this is crowded," 'cause they traded so many of the Smackdown guys over to RAW. It was just like, how are we going to find any time for you on television, how are we gonna get any time to actually do anything? I tried to pitch angles for Drew McIntyre and myself, to do a program so we both could try to get each other over. RAW was just jam-packed, I think Smackdown would have been the better place to stay.
WrestlingINC.com: Do you think if you would have been stayed on Smackdown it probably would have been different?
Masters: I don't know if it would have been or not. I got to a point a couple of weeks before my release where I knew that they needed babyfaces much more than heels, and that they weren't doing anything with me and I just thought to myself, "if they aren't planning on doing anything with me now, are they ever?" I was really at that point… and like I said, I had had those conversations with them, but it wasn't materializing to anything. I wasn't taken off TV, but I was just on Superstars winning matches. So I already was thinking to myself, "maybe I should get out now, maybe I should reach out to the opposition or something." But I opted not to, and then they came up to me two weeks later and I got the call.
WrestlingINC.com: Do you think there was anything you really could have done different during that last run? Do you think maybe uh, because you didn't go to management or you know…
Masters: Yeah, yeah, I could have probably taken more initiative. I was kind of involved in this mindset where I was like, "let my work speak for itself, let me go out there and really just try and put on the best performance possible every night." But I could have definitely probably focused and taken more initiative on pulling Vince aside and telling him, "hey I'm ready, give me something," or pitching ideas to Hunter 'cause I was starting to build some better rapport with him as far as our conversations. So I definitely think I could have probably taken more initiative in that aspect, and not completely focused on, "oh let me just become the best worker I can." I could have been thinking of different ideas to maybe repackage myself because that was what the ultimate thing in our conversations was. He was like, "we don't know what to do with you... we want to push you but it's either we take you off TV for 3 months or maybe we repackage you," or as he said, a "fresh coat of paint."
WrestlingINC.com: What was the reason they gave you when they released you?
Masters: Company restructuring is what I was told. What that means, I don't know. I know they have a lot of people in developmental and that was a really bad week for the market, but I still don't know necessarily if I should have been one of the expendable few just because I feel like I was coming along so well. I just needed the right opportunity to re-insert myself and just some kind of reinvention of myself. But in the long run, it can always be the best thing too. Again, I am staying busy working, I'm doing other things and if it's meant to be you know, maybe I'll be back there. If it's not meant to be, I won't. I am 29 years of age and I still feel like there is a lot of things I can do with myself, you know wrestling and non- wrestling. You know, sports entertainment and wrestling is always going to be my ultimate passion. So I don't see myself going anywhere anytime soon.
WrestlingINC.com: What were your feelings when you did get released? Because it seemed like it wasn't necessarily fair because you did improve, you got a lot better, you were better than when you first started and it didn't seem like you did anything wrong.
Masters: I felt a lot of things; I was surprised, shocked. I felt kind of betrayed because I felt like I had worked so hard over the last year and not to have a conversation of really why. After having some of the talks I had with Hunter and hearing about how high I was on everybody's list, it would have been nice to know a little more specifically like, "well hey, this is the deal, we really just don't know what to do with you right now." You know what I mean? "It's best if you go off and do your own thing" rather than just tell me the company was restructuring. I mean it was a combination of things; it was shock, betrayal, a lot of things. Looking back now, if they weren't going to use me at that point rather than continue to be buried or just on Superstars, it would probably have been better to do my own thing and stay low on the radar out here for awhile and then maybe see what's up in a couple of years.
WrestlingINC.com: Who were some of your favorite guys to work with?
Masters: Well, definitely for my first run working the legends was you know, Shawn, Flair, Hunter... I mean working with all those guys was just amazing. During the second run, which was obviously a very different landscape, a lot of guys there had started after me. Two guys that stood out to me were guys that I wanted to have a program with, Dolph Ziggler and Drew Mcintyre. Dolph Ziggler to me is kind of like the Shawn Michaels, Curt Henning of this generation; he's a heel, he can make a comeback awesome and pounce around. He is so athletic, he can just sell really well.
With Drew McIntyre, he's got a very snug style, which I like. He also paces a match so well and he gets the details, he is very detail oriented and he always has a good idea to bring to the table that really gets things cookin', you know, something interesting or different. So it was always a pleasure to work with him and he was one of my favorite guys up there. Him and Tyler Reks, too.
WrestlingINC.com: And now you're doing the independents, you're also doing Ring Ka King over in India. What are your thoughts on wrestling in India and doing the show?
Masters: It was great, a great experience all around. I think everybody who was on that tour will tell you we had a blast. We went there twice, slipped home for season one. It's on their top network, which with their population is incredible. It's three times at least the population of the U.S... maybe even bigger than that. It was real cool, we had a great set... real professional.
Jeff Jarrett was an amazing guy to work with. I had never met him before. I'd never met Abyss, who is one of the coolest guys I've met in the business. I think we have an interesting group of talent. It's a mix of TNA guys, former TNA guys, former WWE guys and... the challenge of that whole thing was working with a group of Indian wrestlers who we're trying to build as stars, and these guys are all very green. They are only literally a month or two in the business. So every American guy that was there was kind of strategically picked to make sure we could lead these guys to passable matches. So a lot of people who will watch in America will probably think, "oh you know, compared to today's wrestling standards this is very basic," or whatever. But that's the situation, that's the hand we were dealt… so for the amount of experience of these guys had, all the matches turned out real well and went real smooth.
WrestlingINC.com: I find a lot of the booking for Ring Ka King actually being a lot better than a lot of stuff you are seeing right now. It is more of the basic old school style, but it works.
Masters: Oh yeah, totally, it totally did. I guess, and we had fun, great crew. Big Poppa Pump is awesome. We are hoping to do big big business in India, hopefully you know, obviously we are off to season two. You never know, maybe we'll be touring India before the end of the year.
WrestlingINC.com: And uh, with Ring Ka King, and it being a subsidiary of TNA, have you thought of going to TNA? Does that seem like an option?
Masters: Oh, I am definitely open to anything at this point in my career. I mean in terms of whether it being going to Japan, or I will be going back to Europe with NWE in April. But TNA, as far as American wrestling, that's really the only alternative. There is a lot of great talent over there and I think a lot of it will have to do with how Impact kind of takes shape over this next year, and how "their company restructuring goes," and if there is a place for me. I think I'm definitely in the peak of my career and have something to contribute and a fire lit under my ass. So I definitely know that I can bring something to the product, especially at this point. I've got that soldier's "man on a mission" mindset mentality right now. I definitely love the stage.
WrestlingINC.com: Do you have any final comments for the readers of the site?
Click here to check out part one of the interview where Masters talked about breaking into the business, his wellness violation, Triple H's controversial crack at his weight loss, wrestling Shawn Michaels and much more.