|By Raj Giri||December 26, 2012 | Comments|
WrestlingINC: What were your thoughts when ECW folded in 2001?
Richards: I really had none except people were out of work and I was hoping that they'd get work after that.
WrestlingINC: You were with WWE for over 8 years. What would you say were some of your favorite highlights during that span?
Richards: Actually, I was there for over nine. [Laughs.] Still, it's a long time either way and I was very fortunate to be there. Personally for me, the most fun that I ever had, the most memorable stuff I ever did, that I enjoyed and was mature enough and knew enough about the way the company worked to be comfortable with my spot was Stevie Night Heat. Which shocks a lot of people.
They figure Right To Censor or ECW One Night Stand. But no, Stevie Night Heat was just something that every week was fun and cool and just enjoying it. It was a reason to be on the show rather than just feel like you were punished and relegated to that show. So, I really enjoyed being creative and being a part of that.
WrestlingINC: While you were there, that's when they did the first ECW reunion show. What was your reaction that they were going to be doing that?
Richards: Just hoped for more work and money. Opportunity equals work, which equals money. That's what I always strive for when I worked there.
WrestlingINC: Were you surprised when they brought back ECW?
Richards: A little bit. But, they bought the tape library. Just like WCW and everything else, Vince will monetize it and market it the way that he sees fit. The One Night Stand concept was really a great nostalgia thing and from what I understand, that and the Rise And Fall of ECW DVD -- even the current ones they have out now -- are very profitable for WWE.
WrestlingINC: Do you think it could have worked out if they had taken a different direction than they did?
Richards: Absolutely. But I think people found out very quick that that was not the agenda that they had. What their agenda was? I'm not sure. If it was just to get Punk over, then they did a great job. But if it was actually to make a viable third brand and an alternative -- I don't thin that that was what they wanted to do.
WrestlingINC: What lead to your eventual release from the company in 2008?
Richards: A combination they always give: creative has nothing for you and it's a budget thing. [Laughs.] Yeah, you can take that for what it's worth. But, well over nine years in WWE and not being a top name like Triple H, Undertaker, Steve Austin, I think I had quite a run there. Never got in trouble, never failed a drug test and I never will. I can guarantee you that of either one of those things. I was really a model employee.
Listen, I owe nothing to them and they owe nothing to me. We had a work-for-hire contract. They gave me everything they promised, I gave them everything I promised them and then it came to an end.
WrestlingINC: You're wrestling Luke Hawx at Extreme Rising [this Saturday]. I know you guys wrestled this past summer. What can fans expect this time around?
Richards: You can both of us to be ready to go, be in top shape and really have a hard-hitting match. It's funny. Luke, I've seen some video of Luke training, doing some striking with probably one of the toughest guys I've ever seen named JJ who is a professional stunt man as well and an MMA fighter.
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