Matt Striker Talks Being Outed As A Wrestler While Teaching, Signing With WWE, Working WM, ECW
Wrestling INC: You had received a lot of praise during that time when you were commentating for ECW. Your style did seem to change when you moved to the Smackdown brand. Was that intentional or were you told to change or was it just different broadcasting partners?
Striker: I just think it was a different broadcast. It was a different show. It was a different tone. It was a different audience. So I think collectively, both amongst myself and the company, there was a concerted effort to just, you know, kind of drive a different car. Still the same speed, still on the same road, just drive a different car, a different vehicle. You can see the differences between my style and say, Michael Cole's or Jim Ross's.
Wrestling INC: Speaking of which, did they give you a lot of tips, Jim Ross and Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler?
Striker: Oh yeah. One thing about WWE a lot of people like to say is that people like to keep other people down. People are real protective of their spot. But it's the people that are truly comfortable in WWE that want to see other people succeed, and that's something that I learned from Shawn Michaels and from John Cena, was if you're good at something, you almost want to challenge anyone to try to be as good as you. So Cole and JR would always give me tips and always be watching just to see how good is this kid going to get, because it's a reflection on them. So they were always there to help.
Wrestling INC: During that time with ECW you also wrestled at Wrestlemania 23. What was that like?
Striker: Sometimes I have to go back and watch it just to prove to myself that I was there. It was absolutely surreal to me, but taking myself out of the equation, just to look back and know that guys like Tommy Dreamer and Sandman and Sabu got their Wrestlemania moment, that makes me really proud to, again, contribute to this great business. I don't know if I'm ever going to be the guy that leaves indelible memories in the minds of fans, but I will be the guy that contributed to some of the greatest moments in the last 20 years in one way or another. So, just to be a fly on the wall and to be a part of that moment in history was a humbling, humbling honor.
Wrestling INC: I'm assuming you were a big ECW fan?
Striker: I'm a wrestling fan, so yeah, I liked when ECW first came around. For me, I would watch it at one, two o clock on the morning on the MSG network. It was different. It was renegade. It was rebel and it was just something that changed the business forever. A lot of credit has to go to Paul Heyman and Tommy Dreamer and Sandman, the Dudley Boyz and everyone else that made ECW what it still is today. Not something people overlook. 2013 we're doing this interview, ECW is still relevant. That says a lot, dude.
Wrestling INC: Absolutely. The revamped ECW, you were a big portion of that brand. Looking back on it, what are your thoughts on them bringing it back?
Striker: I thought it was great. I thought it was great because if someone wants to sit on their couch and pooh-pooh and say, that's not ECW. I'm not watching. Then don't. But, there are people who go oh wow. I remember ECW. Cool, I'm going to watch this. Or, oh, I never saw ECW before. What's this? As long as what WWE creates creates a portal for fans to research the past, and to get involved in pro wrestling, it's a good thing. It's easy for the people to pooh-pooh it and say ahhh. Obviously, it's not for you. It's for that one person would would have never known who Spike Dudley was had it not been for the new ECW. Look at it like that.
Make sure to check back tomorrow for the second and final part of our interview, where Striker discussed commentating, if Vince would yell at him on commentary, being replaced by Booker T, Vince as a boss, "Macho Man" Randy Savage not being in the WWE Hall of Fame, his WWE departure, TNA and much more. You can also follow him on Twitter @Matt_Striker_.
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