Former WWE Tag Team Champion Curt Hawkins was recently interviewed by the Two Man Power Trip Of Wrestling Podcast. You can hear the full interview at this link, and check out some highlights courtesy of John and Chad below.
"This mass firing style of WWE has been going on for over a decade and I want to say the first one I remember was in around 2004. It shouldn't be too big of a surprise because if you aren't doing anything and you aren't in the mix as far as WWE television goes you shouldn't be so blindsided."
"I don't like anyone losing their jobs of course but as an Independent wrestler I do like when all these fresh faces come in and kind of recharge everything, fresh match-ups and things like that. I'm very good friends with Hornswoggle so I selfishly love that I am going to get to see him again all the time and (maybe) wrestle him and do a lot of cool things together. People just need to understand and these performers that got let go need to understand that wrestling is everywhere and just because there is not a WWE logo next to you where you walk out doesn't mean that it's not pro wrestling anymore. Life goes on and pro wrestling certainly goes on in many different places in many different forms. If you are good enough and are willing to put in the work and hustle a little bit a wrestling life can continue on."
When the next cycle of cuts hit and the WWE/NXT trained talents are let go, what can they expect once they hit the Independent scene for the first time:
"It's a case by case scenario because I saw so many guys get let go when I was in WWE and just sit home and feel sorry for themselves and their careers just go to nothing. But wrestling doesn't owe anybody anything and you've got to get out there and you've got to get on the phone and write some emails and cut some deals and get your face out there to stay relevant and that's what I've done and I'll continue to do it because I love wrestling and that's what I do but I know there is work that goes into that. I got let go on a Thursday and I wrestled Friday and Saturday of that weekend. I hit the ground running and that's what you have to do."
"Unfortunately, I do see the disadvantage for someone like say Alex Riley. I think he is a great wrestler and is a really incredible promo guy and I've really enjoyed his work but that being said he had no prior Independent wrestling experience whatsoever and he is somebody who went straight from College Football to the WWE so the shell-shock of what is out there maybe a shell-shock. But for somebody who like a Hornswoggle was on the indies for a lot of years and even though it was ten years ago just has to fall back into it and he'll be good to go. I do feel bad for those guys because that is going to be a completely different experience for them but it is doable and like I said you have to put the work in."
Is not being a lifelong fan a detriment to talent recruited to wrestle with no general knowledge or background of the business:
"Yeah, I think that hurts performers no matter what. There will always be the disconnect if you weren't a fan beforehand. I'm not bragging or anything but when I went to wrestling school, the guy said throw a drop-kick and I did a drop-kick because I have been dreaming and wanting to do this my entire life leading up to that one moment so I just knew. Whereas someone who didn't really watch wrestling or is a casual fan and didn't watch it growing up there will always be a slight disconnect to me in that sense or you need to be like a Brock Lesnar or Kurt Angle super-freak athlete to overcome some of those hurdles. What I think is cool is when I first started it was very shunned to express how much of a fan you were. You didn't want to be a wrestler who was labeled a "mark" also whereas now my generation is kind of now it's better to be a fan of the business and it's cool to show respect and how much you admire the people that came before you and there is nothing wrong with that and that you are informed and passionate about what you do."
Meeting Zack Ryder in wrestling school:
"The training school on Long Island that we started at I was there and Zach showed up about 2 1/2 months later. We grew up like 25 minutes from each other, we are the same age and pretty much immediately as he came in people said that he looked like Myers so we were thrust together as a tag team in the first month of knowing each other. We were together the entire time and we were lucky to have all of that fall into place because it was a lot easier to go through that together than go through it alone."
Was it a shell-shock being elevated quickly and learning the wrestling business at 18 years old?
"At the time I didn't really process it at all because we had no ego and we literally didn't know s--t. We were just trying to learn everything and we knew we were green so we were just like a sponge and just worked so hard in any situations that were put in front of us because we both just loved wrestling our whole lives and wanted this so bad."