Former WWE star Kevin Fertig, f.k.a. Mordecai, was interviewed this week by John and Chad of The Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling podcast. During the interview, Fertig talked about how WWE's start and stop booking caused Fertig to grow frustrated with the politics of management, the re-launch of ECW on SyFy and more. You can download the full episode by clicking here, they sent us these highlights:
How WWE invests time and money into Development and NXT versus when he competed:
"When I was in the gym I was watching some NXT, I was watching Baron Corbin. It's crazy because I started at Power Pro which was kind of like USWA and so many guys came through there and I remember the rings from the Power Pro days and the USWA days that the rings were basically about to fall apart. They were water-hose and wire and went up and down the roads. Granted we did have live TV on Memphis Channel 5 which is to this day is one of the greatest wrestling television programs for ratings ever. When I got into Ohio Valley Wrestling, Jim Cornette tried to use Ohio Valley Wrestling as a way to put talents in Royal Rumbles and different ways to bring the championship up and it was always kyboshed. Cornette always had the mind for that if the developmental talent are stronger stars now, then they are only going to be stronger stars when they get up to the WWE. To me that's a huge thing. That's something to Hunter's credit he is trying to do. These guys are already on video games and here it is, they haven't even done anything yet for WWE and they are on the new video games and talking about action figures, they've got t-shirt sales now. They are already stars coming out of the gate. Hell, their Twitter followers are in upwards of 40,000 which unheard of but they are known."
The lack of effort in presenting a quality brand in OVW:
"I remember our 8x10s. I laugh at the photo quality of what we had. It was basically everyone stood in front of a black screen, took a quick picture and they printed it on a cheap piece of paper and they sold it for two/three bucks. These guys have got freakin' beautiful 8x10s and they are giving them out and signing them and selling t-shirts. Back in the OVW days it was a freakin' jam box that played the entrance music. With a curtain that was basically made out of two bed sheets. There was no guard rails. The production quality of what they have now as compared to what we had is insane."
Are the changes directly the evolution of WWE as a brand or an evolution of the Pro Wrestling business:
"I think that's just the way the evolution of the business has gone. There are no territories. When I was coming up, I think a lot of these guys would have been eaten alive by the likes of The Dudleyz and Bradshaw because at that time it was sink or swim. You had Bob Holly and Billy Gunn, these veterans that had been around and who were around when business was cut-throat and deadly. They instilled that in a lot of us. I was reading the Rene Dupree article that you guys did and he was saying that Bob beat him up and all that other stuff and that's unfortunately the nature of the beast at that time. I remember guys getting their sh*t cut, glued stuff in their bags and now it's so corporate that kind of stuff does not go on. It's just a different age I guess. Is it better? I don't know, I kind of like coming in with your butt clenched a little bit wondering what was going to happen or who is going to fight. It was always an interesting day just making sure you weren't the last guy to have heat on you, as long as you weren't the last it was never that bad."
Did Rene Dupree have instant "heat" when arriving at OVW:
"He was a kid that looked like an Adonis. I remember when Rene came in down in OVW, I was like holy crap because he looked phenomenal and right out of the gate he already had a pedigree because of his Dad and where he had been. He was a ten year 'vet' coming in at eight-teen/nineteen years old, he was already there as far as being around enough of "the boys" to kind of carry himself in that manner to me and I think that is what got him some heat. Some of the older guys just didn't get why he was carrying himself in that manner and granted he should have. I always thought Rene was a hell of a talent."
Has modern day wrestling past by Vince McMahon:
"It's one of those things where Vince is a hard guy to get to know. Unless you are a John Cena or The Undertaker or Hunter, those are the only guys who kind of knew Vince, you know those top guys like Hogan and Randy Savage back in the day. At what point do you care? It's kind of like Howard Hughes, he's got to have his peas a certain way. He's got a mind for it somehow. The basic concept of wrestling is never going to change. Good versus Evil. I think he proved a lot back in the Austin days of having the tweener heel as the good guy but still kind of a bad guy, I think that revolutionized the business for sure."
Being pitched the re-launch of ECW and introducing Kevin Thorn:
"At the time Tommy Dreamer was with Talent Relations and I had just been signed back and he was talking about they were going to redo ECW. But the problem was it's going to be on SyFy and SyFy wants Zombies, Aliens and all this other sh*t. About a year prior to that they were talking about bringing me, Gangrel and Shelly (Martinez) as being a vampire tag team. Tommy asked if I still had the vampire gear that I had bought and said that I was going to need it. He said they want you to be a vampire and at that time just getting signed back and not having a place on the roster, I didn't care what they wanted to make me at that point. I would have done whatever. The vampire thing was something that was always cool and something that I really enjoyed. But Gangrel probably did it the best out of anybody back in his days with Luna, but you can never go wrong being a vampire."
His chemistry and relationship with Shelly Martinez:
"Now it's great, then it was different, a little bit of different agendas at the time but when we finally started getting it going the rug got pulled out from underneath us. Look wise, she's incredible. Good looking girl, had a different look, she's not your average Barbie-blonde "diva". I would associate her to like Paige now in the way she looks. I think the Diva division now has become Barbie-cut-outs for the most part, within reason."
The ECW Originals role in the new ECW and the WrestleMania match of The New Breed vs. Originals:
"They were all cool. They came in and everybody was a good time that's for sure. Sabu and RVD were so talented with all their different stuff, but like Sandman a couple of times I was like why? But it's so cool to just walk through the crowd, crush a couple of cans of beer, throw your kendo stick and you are over. Who wouldn't want that role? But then he's getting in the ring, it just wasn't there sometimes and just like holy crap come on. But anyone would want to be as over as him throwing up a beer and walking through the crowd. Everybody came in thinking they were going to be a part of the second coming of ECW and as they got into it, it was like it's not going to be that ECW we remember. But WrestleMania was awesome. Walking in front of that crowd was insane. You look out and it's like a sea of people and you hear the crowd and it just like rolls, it starts at the front and just rolls to the back and then come back to the front and is like a wave of noise. For a while though we didn't even know we were going to have the match. Time restraints made it that we didn't even know we would have the match because a couple of times matches went over and our ten minute match went to like six minutes and then our six minute match went to four and when were out there we got five. I get to say I was in WrestleMania but it was a little nerve-wracking at the beginning. I love the match at WrestleMania but I think the match in Fort Wayne when we had as the rematch was ten times better with all the gimmicks. Had we had that match at WrestleMania we would have stolen the show."