www.PWMania.com recently had the opportunity to speak with former WWE and WCW star Shawn Stasiak. Shawn Stasiak goes in-depth on why he was released by WWE, working in WCW, drugs in wrestling, becoming a WWE World Champion and what he could bring to WWE. Shawn Stasiak also speaks on the WCW Invasion, the politics backstage at that point and much more. Below is a few highlights of the interview:
Andy Steven: Firstly I would like to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview for www.PWMania.com.
You are the son of former pro wrestler & WWF champion Stan "The Man" Stasiak, how was it growing up having a champion wrestler as a father?
Shawn Stasiak: It was very unique and dynamic. Everywhere we went whether it was the grocery store, restaurants, walking through a mall, a park, at the pool, etc. You name it; he was recognized and asked for autographs. I really looked up to him as a Father and as a wrestling hero. I idealized for what he did and ultimately that is what inspired me to want to get into the wrestling business myself. He also inspired me to want to become a doctor of chiropractic as when I was a little boy, I would jump up and down on his back as if it was a game, all the while his back would pop here and pop there and giving him some temporally back pain relief. And he used to always talk about how much he loved going to the chiropractor's office. He was such a character. So funny, he was like a big kid and used to always make me laugh. He was a very caring and loving father. He will continue to be missed.
Andy Steven: You made your WWE debut in April 99 and were released in December of the same year; reports suggested you were recording conversations with wrestlers. Was that the real reason for your release, and what were the alleged conversations about?
Shawn Stasiak: Apparently it was believed that I was tape recording some of the wrestlers' conversations in the locker room without their consent. The truth of it all is that I had no wrongful intent whatsoever as I played a joke in a car and in an airport with some particular wrestlers I was traveling with and was going to play back to them what I had recorded earlier of them arguing and acting like little girls as everyone was irritable and tired that day. The joke/prank back fired as the next day, someone went through my gym bag and found the recorder and played it back to only hear the people being recorded on it. It made me look real bad in everyone's eyes and looking back; I understand how everyone felt as I probably would have felt the same. I never had the chance to really explain myself as no one really wanted to listen. Two weeks later, the company (WWE)released me and I ended up going to WCW which I ended up being treated more fair and used more productive. So in essence, it was a blessing in disguise. Bottom line is is that there was absolutely no wrongful intent. It was a stupid thing to do looking back at it all but people make mistakes and if at the time if everyone could have only known that that was just me always messing around with tape recorders, video camera's, etc. They would know that I had been doing that for years growing up in high school and undergrad and that it was all just for fun. That's it, that's all. But you live and learn. And that's just life!
Andy Steven: You signed with WCW in 2000, how different was it from WWE, do you feel you were treated better their and why?
Shawn Stasiak: Yes, I actually enjoyed working with WCW better than with WWE because they gave me more good TV time, was a two time WCW tag team champion, used me more productively, made more money, got to be on PPV's, travel the world and have a fair chance to develop some on air on camera personalities that helped refine skills in the ring and on promos.
I never really got that with WWE. Ironically enough, my father worked for that promotion and that was the only wrestling company I ever wanted to work for as I felt a lineage and a loyalty for some reason.
I am fortunate and grateful to get my training and start with the WWE but ultimately at the end of the day, they never gave me the ball or the opportunity to develop my skills to the level that I know I can be at and where and who I have become today. I have found other means to get to my refined skills of what I have today. And a lot of those is being a real person as well as a wrestling entertainer.
Andy Steven: When you heard that WWE had brought WCW what were you and the other WCW stars thinking? Were there different reactions to Shane McMahon's presence?
Shawn Stasiak: I didn't even see any of the WWE representies that day. I heard that they were there but never saw anyone backstage or anywhere until Shane McMahon walked out on live television during the broadcast. I think there were quite a few talent feeling a sense of insecurity as that would be normal if their jobs were on the line. But honestly, I felt confident that my contract would be of the ones that would be bought over and that I would be back with the WWE. I may have had a thought or two regarding my situation on why they let me go the first time and if enough time had elapsed for me to make a return. But I ultimately felt good about my over all performance with the year I was with WCW and felt that they (WWE) knew that I had improved and grew some wisdom being away working with the other company as that company gave me the time and effort.
Andy Steven: Was there any politics between the stars that were brought in from WCW and the WWE stars?
Shawn Stasiak: I am sure that there was. There is always politics involved in any business. Especially the wrestling business. Knowing the mentality of that industry, I am sure there were plenty of existing WWE talent worrying and wondering if their "spot" would be replaced by someone else, especially with a WCW talent. So I think that created a little tension and maybe some animosity among talent backstage. I also think it made some matches better too. When ever someone feels their job is in jeopardy and must perform to an up and above performance will usually create a better product. Whether it is for a position, ratings, money, etc…
To read the comeplte interview click here.