So I moved back and was in my parents house in Connecticut where I took a job with Enterprise Rent A Car in Stamford. I remember Titan Towers was literally a block away. Literally, I could throw a football and hit it from where I was working at Enterprise. A lot of the wrestlers would come in there. So I would sit there and jump all over them and walk them to their car, rent them their car, hook them up, things like that, and beg them for info on how a guy gets started.
I remember one time Tom Prichard came in. Of course, I knew who Dr. Tom Prichard was, who didn't? I was a wrestling fan. He gave me the idea to start showing up to the gym, they have a gym there at Titan Towers, and start coming in there. I had a friend who wrote for the magazine, for the RAW Magazine at the time, and so between those two I would go work out at the gym on Friday nights. [I thought] hopefully, maybe I'd bump into Vince McMahon because I heard he worked out on Friday nights with his trainer.
I went every Friday night for about eight months straight without seeing the man. I kept hearing that I just kept missing him. So, I was coming up from work on Friday nights, so I didn't have many hours to be able to do this. One night I finally hit it and I met him and I introduced myself. He obviously looked at my size and was asking how big I was and things like that. "What's your name? Where are you from?" That kind of thing. He was pretty shocked I was from Connecticut and he hadn't heard of me and I explained to him that I never wrestled, never trained, I didn't know much of anything, I had my money taken from me from an independent trainer in Hawaii. I asked him, "what's the best bet for someone like me to make their start in wrestling? I really want to do this."
He goes, "You don't play any other sports?" I go, "I've got a combine with the Rams coming up very soon." He goes, "I think you would owe it to your family and yourself to at least go to the tryout. You at least owe it to yourself. There's no guarantee in wrestling, no matter how big you are." I was like, "okay, and if it doesn't work out?" He was like, "well, you talk to Tom Prichard and maybe Tom can set you up with something." So I talked to Tom Prichard. The combine for the Rams did not go well, [but] I couldn't have cared less because my mind wasn't even on it. I already wanted to be in wrestling. When your mind's set on something else, it's kind of hard not to make up for that. So when your mind and your heart is really set on something, after I talked to Vince McMahon, it felt like the dream was starting to come together in a weird way, a very slow, weird way. What was the next step to take?
So I called Tom Prichard. My NFL camp didn't work out. He said, "they're doing this Tough Enough thing now. You would be great because you have zero experience. We wouldn't have to untrain any mistakes you made on the indys that you learned. I can't guarantee anything will work out for you. You clearly have to go there, bust your ass and impress whoever's judging this thing, whoever the talent scouts are because it's just as much MTV's decision as it is WWE's. So got out there, bust your ass, show them your heart, your passion, and hopefully you can make it. That would be my advice to you to get started."
So I sent in an audition tape for Tough Enough 1, because this was going to be a brand new concept at the time. They hadn't aired any commercials or anything yet. I sent Kevin Kelly my audition tape. Kevin was going to put it into the mailbox of whoever sifted through the audition tapes for the judges to see. Somehow it got lost. I don't think he forgot to do it, I think what happened was somewhere in there it fell between the cracks. I don't know how, but it did. So I'm watching Tough Enough air on TV and I'm going, "son of a b---h, how the hell did I not make this?" The athletic arrogance kicked in. I could do what these guys are doing. I was kind of fired up about it for a little bit, but I let go. I got to find another way in other than Tough Enough.
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