On episode 157 of You're Welcome! With Chael Sonnen, former WCW star Buff Bagwell discussed his WWE departure in depth. During the interview Bagwell said he made peace with being released by WWE about five years ago, though he thought it was strange that his WWE Monday Night RAW debut match against Booker T did not take place in Atlanta, Georgia. Bagwell indicated that he had nearly 30 stitches and a concussion from an altercation with Shane Helms prior to the RAW match with Booker T. Also, Bagwell suggested that even if he mother, Judy, called WWE Talent Relations on her son's behalf, it would not be a valid reason to release him.
"I got over it maybe five years ago I would say and it [has] been around 18 or 19 years now, but I would say five years ago, I totally let it go. But I don't know that answer and that's what hurts. I've got assumptions. I've got ideas. But I don't know. Nobody told me why. I was told I was released. The facts that I have is this, real quick and real simple. Booker T and Buff Bagwell was the first match of the invasion, one of the biggest things that ever happens in pro wrestling history is going to happen and that is WCW is going to wrestle the WWF for the very first time ever. To kick that [angle] off, they pick Buff Bagwell and Booker T. And the problem is, we decide to do it in Tacoma, Washington, which WCW had never wrestled in 11 years there before and the next week was Philips Arena [in Atlanta, Georgia]."
Bagwell continued, "why would these guys not wait one week and put Booker T and Buff Bagwell in the Philips Arena in Atlanta, in Ted Turner's backyard? So we at least smelled poop out of the gate. We knew something was up. You don't put Booker T and Buff Bagwell in Tacoma, Washington when all you've got to do is wait seven days and you've got 100,000 fans coming through the roof for us. Instead we come out and we get booed out of the building."
According to Bagwell, he had 28 stitches in his head and a concussion from the Shane Helms water bottle incident at the time of the Booker T match. In light of the injuries, the former nWo member did not question Jim Ross giving him the weekend off.
"Then they called me and told me to take the weekend off, Jim Ross did, and here's where it gets ugly. Well, I was hurt, so I 100% believed it. I had knocked out, well, I open-hand slapped, not knocked him out, open-hand slapped Hurricane Helms, but he wasn't Hurricane Helms yet, he was just Shane Helms. We got in an argument at wrestling school one day because we were supposed to go to wrestling school to get used to the 20-foot ring. So I open-hand slapped Helms one day over a discussion we got at that got out of hand. And I go to turn to walk away. Well, I didn't know it, [but] had a water bottle that was like an ice brick, icing his ribs under an ACE bandage and I didn't know it. So I go to turn to walk away, and, brother, I get hit by a brick except it's ice. Wham! Right in the head. So when I wrestled Booker T, I had 28 stitches in my head that night. You just couldn't see it because I put makeup on it. I had 28 stitches and a concussion the night I wrestled Booker T on RAW, but I didn't complain. I went to my doctor. The wrestlers convinced me to lie to the company and say nothing happened, so I say I fell."
Bagwell stated that Helms cried after the incident thinking he just cost himself his job, as it was apparent that 'Diamond' Dallas Page, Booker T, and Buff Bagwell were keepers. 'The Stuff' indicated that the former WCW stars trying to segue into WWE convinced him to lie about the water bottle incident. When he got the cold shoulder from Helms and The Hardy Boyz at RAW, Bagwell decided to come clean about the incident.
"I come back to RAW and I see Helms. Helms was holding the towel on my head and he was crying because everybody knew that I had a spot. It was no doubt that Buff Bagwell was going to be in the WWF. I mean, come on. Buff Bagwell, WWF, it's a no-brainer. Everybody else was digging for their job, but DDP, Booker T, and Buff Bagwell, everybody knew had a spot. It wasn't even cocky. It wasn't even ugly. It was just a fact. So Helms is in there crying, holding a towel on my head, thinking he just screwed himself out of a job. Well, the boys convinced me to lie and say that I fell, so nobody gets in trouble."
Bagwell recalled, "so I lie. I get to RAW and I see Helms and he's walking with The Hardy Boyz. And I said, 'hey Shane, what's up, buddy?' He [didn't] wave and neither did The Hardy Boyz, so I went straight to Johnny Laurinaitis. Right then, I knew it was already out and I was the bad guy somehow, so I went straight to Johnny Ace and I told him the truth."
Bagwell explained that he was fired at RAW after Ross gave him the weekend off.
"Jim Ross calls me and I've only got three witnesses to this, it's God, Jim Ross, and me, which are not three good witnesses because one of them can't speak. So, and the other one, they're going to believe over me. So he calls me, but he goes, 'hey man, how are you doing?' I go, 'fine.' He goes, 'how's your head?' And you know me, I go, 'it's great. I'm ready to go, man. Ready to go.' He said, 'I'll tell you what, we've got big plans for you on Monday. Why don't you take the weekend off. It's just Augusta and Birmingham [Georgia]. Just take the weekend off. And we've got big plans for you Monday. We want you to be rested. We want you to just worry about your body. Diet [well], train, get a good weekend of rest. We'll see you on Monday.' I said, 'man, thanks so much, Jim.' I show up on Monday and I get fired."
As for Ross' claim that Bagwell's mother called Ross to give her son the weekend off, Bagwell acknowledged that he does not know whether it is true because he only has his mother's word that she did not make the call. In Bagwell's view, even if she did call Ross, it would not warrant firing the former American Male.
"Lets say it's true [that his mother called Ross]. Lets go worst case scenario. Lets say that mom really did it and lied to me. Okay, lets go that route, right? Worst case scenario. Do you fire Buff Bagwell? I don't [think so] either. Hey, you want him. 'Tell your mother not to f--king call.' Excuse my language. 'Tell your mother not to call here. You're a grownup.' But you don't fire Buff Bagwell at 31 years old with 10 years left in him."
Check out the podcast here. If you use any of the quotes from this article, please credit You're Welcome! With Chael Sonnen with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
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