Scotty Riggs Talks Leaving WCW, ECW's Dying Days, Working With Paul Heyman & More
The interview was conducted before Riggs underwent gallbladder surgery last week. You can follow Riggs on Twitter at @REALScottyRiggs and send him your well wishes as he recovers from the procedure. We here at WrestlingINC.com would like to wish Riggs the best as he recovers.
WrestlingINC: So, you basically left when Vince Russo came back with Eric Bischoff. Shortly after that, you left?
Riggs: Right. Everybody goes, 'He just got fired or released.' The true story of it was that I was supposed to get a pay raise. Went in there, met with J.J. Dillon, had a conversation, talked out a nice, little deal for another one year contract. I get called back in about three days later and they're like, 'Well, we're bringing these guys back. We're bringing Jeff Jarrett in. We're doing this and we're doing that and we're not going to be able to give you that pay raise. We want to put you on a nightly deal. You'll still make X amount of dollars, but it's more of an incentive-type thing. We'll work you, but we're not going to guarantee you anything. Do you want to accept that?'
I went, 'You're going to yank what you just gave me and want me to come back and work, in a sense, just as much but not having anything guaranteed? So, if I get hurt, I'm screwed?' The one thing that happened is that I did have a few injuries where I separated my shoulder and kept trying to work and stuff like that but was basically told to take time off. 'You're getting paid anyway, take some time off and heal. Make your appearances like we need you to do but you don't have to wrestle.'
So, I'm like, 'Now, all of a sudden, you take away all of my security? You want me to be happy about it? No.' So, basically, when I turned down their deal, they said that they were about to let me go. I said, 'Well, fine. I want to leave anyway.' It was not a happy place to work. When they started bringing all these guys and everything started getting re-done and everybody had to be a certain persona -- like, me with he mirror was not the happiest of times but it was something that they wanted me to do. [Laughs.]
That was not the way I wanted to be and towards the end of that thing, I just got rid of the mirror and just started being myself. Just started being Scotty Riggs -- just a wrestler -- and that was not what they wanted.
WrestlingINC: When you finally decided not to take their nightly deal, did you try sending feelers to WWF or did you just want to go directly to ECW?
Riggs: The funny thing was that I was living in Atlanta and ECW actually came in to do a show at Center Stage. I had been good friends with Rob Van Dam for a long time. Since '93, we really had known each other. We had talked and had phone calls and traveled and everything for a long time. We just kept in touch.
With him and some of the guys coming into town, Rob was like, 'Why don't you just come to the show?' So, I came in and the first guys I really bumped into was Tommy Dreamer and Paul Heyman. They kind of pulled me aside and said, 'Hey, we'd love for you to come here. Do you have a clause where you can't do this or you can't do that?' I said, 'I'm still receiving paychecks for X amount of weeks from these guys. Tommy said, 'Well, I don't want to mess that up for you but we want you in here.'