Rhino Talks His Time With ECW, Vince Interrupting His Match, Leaving WWE, TNA & More
|By Raj Giri||December 19, 2012 | Comments|
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In the first part of our interview below, Rhino talks about his time with ECW and WWE, Vince McMahon interrupting his match with Tajiri at a live event, signing with TNA and more. Make sure to check back Friday for the second part of our interview, where Rhino discusses his time with TNA, why he left, the differences between the WWE & TNA ECW reunion shows, his second round title tournament match with Devon Storm at Extreme Rising, why he wasn't a part of the first two Extreme Rising events and more.
WrestlingINC: What were your thoughts when you first got your big break with ECW back in 1999?
Rhino: It was just one day at a time, take it as it comes. It was just about going in there and making an impact. Try to get a job and keep a job.
WrestlingINC: You were there during a crazy period for that company. Did you see the writing on the wall that there was a good chance it could fold?
Rhino: No, not at that time because we were still drawing really well. They were just trying to land a network deal which they had -- I want to say -- six or seven months after I had got in there. Some guys had left prior to that and we were needing to build some new talent. Paul [Heyman] was really good at doing that.
WrestlingINC: When it did fold, were you nervous? At that point, did you see it happening? What were your thoughts during that time?
Rhino: I was in disbelief, you know? I didn't think it was going to fall because business was still pretty strong back then. I thought we were going to get another TV deal. I mean, the writing was on the wall but I didn't think it was going to fold. I still claim to this day, and I don't have any insider information, but I think Paul was just burned out and tired. Just so physically, mentally burned out and tired in every which way.
He burned the candle at both ends. His fight was done. Not saying that he gave up on the fans or anything but I think when a person burns himself out, there's nothing you can really do.
WrestlingINC: You then worked with Paul in WWE shortly after that. Did you see a change in his demeanor?
Rhino: Oh, yeah. Not having to have all the pressure on him. When I saw him a few months after, he looked like a new man, batteries recharged. I think in a lot of ways, he got out of it at the right time because it didn't kill him and he was able to bounce back as a person.
WrestlingINC: When you signed with WWE, what was that feeling like? Were you relieved because WCW was going under at the same time or were you kind of expecting it at that point?
Rhino: No, I actually got a call from Bruce Prichard and this was three weeks after ECW closed. We had touched base before it closed because I got a call to call them. Then, it was like 'Hey, if something happens, I'll be interested. But, right now, we still have a pay-per-view coming up.' That's the one where I won the title. I didn't even know I was going to win the title. Anyways, I go 'If something happens after that, I'd be interested.'
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