I spoke to former WWE Raw GM Brad Maddox recently for an exclusive interview. Maddox opened up about his WWE firing, what he's been doing since the firing, Vince McMahon and Triple H backstage, his favorite storylines, and much more. You can check out the full video version of the interview above, and audio at the bottom of the page!
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How are you feeling after everything went down?
"I'm doing good. Thanksgiving maybe wasn't as fun as it could have been, but I'm getting things ironed out and worked out, and formulating a plan for the future. I'm excited about the opportunities that are out there."
You got to watch the Hornets, though.
"Yeah, I get to watch the Hornets more. I get to sit around on Sundays and watch the Carolina Panthers without worrying about flying out after."
Obviously the release was a surprise. The release came due to the "cocky pricks" verbiage, correct?
"Yeah. It was to the general mass of Indianapolis (laughs). My job at that time being the opening dark match is to get the crowd riled up and responsive. You don't really have the general rules of TV. I can talk directly to the audience, I can talk about their football team, I can call them smelly, get them worked up. I threw that in there at the end, not thinking it was a terrible word to use, and I guess it was."
I've seen poeople called b-----s and bastards in promos written for them. Was the issue that you didn't have permission?
"Yeah, that would be the difference. They get stuff OK'd, and I didn't talk to anyone ahead of time. I never thought anything of it. I've never used 'prick' as a curse word. I've never thought of it as inappropriate. It's a lot like saying 'screw you.' I didn't think much of it."
You underwent a bit of an image change over the last few months. Was that your doing, or something WWE asked you to do?
"I've been trying new things for a couple of years now. I figure if they're not picking up on one thing I'm doing, I'd try something else. The hair was giving myself a cosmetic change to see if something strikes a chord with someone and they like it. You never know. I never stopped trying."
You came to the main roster as a referee. Was the plan always to transition you out of that role in the CM Punk angle, or were you just brought up and given that later?
"I dont think there was a whole lot of a plan. I think they needed someone to fill a role for CM Punk's storyline. CM Punk needed another dastardly way to win a match. At the time I thought they had a plan and there would be character development coming out of it. Looking back, I realize there wasn't a plan, because it was about CM Punk. I should have went into it realizing it's not so much about me. I could have been more proactive speaking to Vince and speaking to head writers and making sure there is a direction and communicating more. They know I'm not a referee, I trained to be a referee like a week. I'm a trained wrestler who has been in the developmental system for years now, and I'm pretty good at what I do, so is there going to be a plan going forward? There really wasn't. The reason I stuck around is because Vince threw a promo at me about a week later and was mildly impressed, so it just morphed into a speaking role as a GM."
Did it surprise you when you were given the GM role? Were there any long term plans with that?
"I never really knew the plans. That's still a part of the time where I should have been more proactive in talking to Vince and finding out what he wanted from me instead of waiting around and assuming the writers are going to come up with some great plan for me. I would talk to some guys and tell them I wanted to wrestle, but I didn't go to the right people. I heard vague things and possibilities, but not a grand plan to get me rolling in the ring, obviously."
I remember hearing you say that Vince's door was more intimidating than him. Was he open to ideas and talking to people, or only the top talent?
"I don't know if there was a change in the locker room over the past couple decades. I hear stories of lines of guys waiting to talk to him, and there was never that when I was there. I think the stigma kind of grew that Vince is kind of inaccessible. I never went and knocked on his door the first year I was there. It wasn't until they sent me home for a while, that I decided I was going to talk to Vince and do the things that you should do. When I did it, Vince was surprisingly very easy to talk to. He likes when people have the balls to talk to him and take their careers in their own hands instead of relying on writers."
Were you a fan of wrestling before you got into the business?
"Yes. I grew up watching it like most people did. It got really hot in 98, I was in middle school. Most of us were WCW fans, but there were a few weird WWF fans. When WWF started winning a war, that was literally happening at my school. People were transitioning over. Then I got into sports a little more in high school. Went to college and got a business degree. My last two years in college I picked up on it a little more. When I went out into the world and got a job I realized I don't want to wear a tie, and don't want to work in an office, I don't want a regular job. I was either going to follow this dream or move to LA, which seemed really financially far-fetched. I ended up moving to Louisville and enrolling in their beginner's class."
Was that when Nick Dinsmore ran the beginner's class, or someone else?
"Nick helped with the beginner's class for a couple of weeks. Joey Mercury was really the guy that broke me in. He was really old school. The first hour and a half of every class was squats and jumping jacks and running the ropes and just killing us. I used to go on my off days with another buddy in the class, and we would train our ass off just to prepare for his class."
I always ask OVW alum, do you have any crazy ass Rip Rogers stories?
"(Laughs) His language is always entertaining. If you would shoot a guy into the corner and they did and up-and-over without setting it up first, if you didn't do something he thought was common sense basic stuff, he'd stop the match and cuss you out, and end it with 'thank you, love'. His psychology is so masterful. He was very entertaining. My first week there, I was in the beginner's class, and stuck around for the intermediate class, which was Rip's class. I went up to him to ask if I could stick around, and I called him 'Kip Rogers.' I don't know why I said that. He didn't pick it up at first, and I could see that it hit his brain, and he stopped what he was saying and says 'You know you look like Eric Bischoff?' only he threw in a few adjetives before the name. He clearly meant it as an insult. He kind of went off on me a little bit. That was my first interaction with him (laughs). He has unlimited stories.
He's such a colorful. As a fan of wrestling, what was your first meeting with Vince McMahon like? Was that intimidating?
"I didn't have a lot of interaction with him at first. The first time my writer gave me my promo script after Hell in a Cell, I was given a little time to go over it, then I had to go in Vince's office and cut it for him. That was extremely nerve wracking. At the time I was concerned with saying every word that was written down correctly. I wish I hadn't have done that and made it my own."
Did they leave the door open to return after your release?
"I wasn't able to talk to Vince afterward. I wish I could have, but I wasn't able to. They didn't really say anything like 'We're going to fire you now, we'll bring you back in three months,' they just gave me my walking papers, and that was it. I don't know what the future holds."
I know you started your Youtube page, and you were once known in WWE as a Youtube sensation. You had that cave video, please explain that. People were actually worried about you!
"(Laughs) That's what I was looking for! I've done my best work on Youtube. That was during the period of nine months where I was sitting at home. I was looking for an angle to get back on TV, and thought I'd do it through social media and would make it a shoot. So I made like I was on vacation and I was lost in a cave, to look like I was losing my mind, then the lights come on and I'm in a closet. So the story is I really have lost my mind, but it's not from being in a cave, it's from losing my dream job of being Raw GM, and everything I love and it's slowly driving me insane. I could split off into multiple personalities. I wanted to be a real ass that had a real stunt that had people calling Mexican authorities. Something ridiculous that people would actually buy into for a minute. I was hoping that from there, the writers would pick up on it and morph that into a character, but it never turned into anything. Although my video had 100,000 views with zero help from WWE. I was proud of that. "
What kind of content can we expect to see on your Youtube page?
"I probably wont be in any more caves. The cave thing was actually on WWE's account. I was working with them on it. They had to OK everything, they promised me they were going to put up some big article on WWE.com, that was going to push for this character, they didn't end up doing much at all and it became kind of a hassle. I would click on the video and there were advertisements connected to it and I told them they were killing the gimmick. It was supposed to be a shoot, and people are going to watch a commercial before they found out I was inside a cave. I didn't appreciate that too much. My Youtube page, I just changed the name of it to UnrealisticallyReal. The stuff I have up there is split personality stuff where I'm talking to three other of me playing card, or stuff I do with my daughter. I'm going to get back on there and see if I can figure out more entertaining stuff to do."
You got a lot of attention for your video, a guy like Zack Ryder got himself over on Youtube, too. Were they just not willing to use it?
"Maybe they didn't notice it. Zack did his a lot longer and was much more consistent. That's what you have to do to get over on Youtube. He had a weekly show and a few million more viewers than I ever did."
You also mentioned recently it seemed like Vince McMahon was on board with an Adam Rose & Brad Maddox team. Were you optimistic about that?
"I had some other ideas at first I was pitching. We worked some house shows together, so we just started messing around. We came out in towels like we were hard body guys and it caught a little traction because we were entertaining. Then that Tuesday we pitched a new concept to Vince and he seemed to like it. I don't know if it would have gone anywhere, but I was fairly optimistic that day."
Did you see Adam Rose's 'Rosebush' segment? Thoughts on that?
"I did! I hope it works for him, because he needs to get going again. I'm glad he's on Raw all of a sudden. I hope he gets over with it."
They showed his story on ESPN earlier this year and got over with some people for it. Should they use more realistic-based stuff in WWE?
"I don't know. It's interesting the things they pick to deal with, and other things they don't. I don't know why the decision was made not to run with it."
At what point were you told that you were being moved from your GM position? Did they tell you if you had anything else for you?
"That was a period of time where I was pushing to wrestle, but I wasn't talking to Vince, and I wasn't talking to Hunter. I was talking to writers and assistant writers about it. They said they had a few ideas but mainly they wanted to get me out of the GM role so I could start wrestling. But they were never specific ideas. That was a period of time where I should have gone to Vince and asked what I was doing if he was taking me out of the GM role."
What were your favorite WWE angles?
"I was always hoping they'd put me in an angle where I could be a sneaky, chickens--t heel, but I always ended up getting my ass kicked. I thought with the Ryback match, 'They're not going to just have him kick my ass right? They can do something with this.' I was hoping that mid-way through our match when I'm getting killed CM Punk comes out and punches me in the face. I'm DQ'd and I'm awarded a contract or something. Just a slimy way to win a contract. I was hoping for something to evolve, but I have a lot of cool memories working with Vince, Hunter and Stephanie McMahon. Sitting in Vince's office going over promos with him and Daniel Bryan. It was a cool spot to be in, but I've definitely missed wrestling the last couple of years. It was really helpful talking to Vince when I came back. I wish I had done that up front while I still had momentum. I wasn't taking my career into my own hands at the time."
What are your thoughts on the current WWE product?
"They're having to transition new guys in. It's like SNL, every few years people say it's the worst cast ever. Then you give it a couple years, Kristen Wiig is really funny, Will Ferrell's pretty funny. It takes time to get to know them. The wrestling is better than it's ever been on Raw. Hunter's brought in guys that have worked their asses off. You have guys like New Day. I'm happy for Xavier. Those guys are so entertaining. I don't know if you know how hard it is to orchestrate a three man promo, and have it synced to the level they have it. It'll just take a little bit of time maybe."
It's pretty much a four man promo, because the trombone is one of the most over characters on the show. I wanted to talk about your ProWrestlingTees page. You're making lemonade out of lemons, here. You have an Indianapolis Pricks shirt.
"Well, I have nothing else to go off of. I figure I have my own T-shirts for the first time in nine years, I had to go with something."
Definitely check out that page guys. On Twitter, you said you were looking for gimmick ideas. One of my favorites that I saw was someone telling you to get a full-size Torito outfit and be 'The Mad Ox Mad Braddox.' I died laughing at that.
"There were some decent ideas! I'm trying to be more proactive on Twitter. I'm short on ideas, maybe I'll see what people think, maybe reaching out will help."
Do you have any appearances scheduled or are you waiting around?
"I don't have any appearances yet. I'm putting my plan together and working on some non-wrestling things. I'm going to be diving into acting more heavily, but I'm not done wrestling. I'll be back in the ring at some point. I'm excited to do what I want in the ring, like the old days in FCW when you could go out and have fun, be carny and stupid."
How much of the WWE in-ring work is mapped out for you?
"I guess it just depends who you are. At house shows, you put your own stuff together, but there's always input from the producers. It has to be like that when you're writing a live television show. You can't have guys going out and doing whatever they feel like."
Have you done any acting before?
"Not really at this point? It's something I grew to love after getting into wrestling. It was something I was too afraid to do. I would have never done a play in high school, I was way too shy. In Dusty Rhodes promo class is where I really dove into character work, and doing different scenes, and showing different emotions. We would have to do weekly promos, and I would get bored with standard wrestling promos a month in. That's when I started with serious characters and comedy. That's the level of my experience. But I'm excited to get started on that."
Where can fans follow you on social media?
"At this point it's still BradMaddoxisWWE on Twitter and Instagram, I'll probably have to change that. They probably don't care, but I'll have to iron that out at some point (laughs)."
You can listen to the full interview in the video player above, or you can download it directly at this link. You can also listen via the audio player below. If you use any transcripts from this article, please credit Sean Ross Sapp and Wrestling Inc.