Today’s episode #261 of The Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling features former WWE Superstar and 1/2 of The Dudebusters Tag Team (along with Trent Barretta), Caylen Croft. Croft was a longtime member of WWE’s pre-NXT developmental system with stays in both FCW and OVW including a reign as the OVW Heavyweight Champion. In this excerpt, the former Dudebuster discusses how OVW’s creative backing of Jim Cornette and Paul Heyman helped the developmental team ascend to the main roster at a time where developmental was viewed very differently by WWE brass. The full episode can be downloaded at this link.
Nearly being paired with The Miz in 2005:
“I remember in the summer of 2005 I got put on the road and it was like all summer with Raw and Miz and I teamed. The Miz and Matt Cappotelli were going to be a tag team and they were going to do a “Real World” gimmick and then Matt got hurt and I don’t remember what happened but I filled in with The Miz. I was Chris Cage then and they say said that even though they liked Cage, when Matt came back they wanted to go back to Matt and The Miz. I had been in OVW for some time now and I was ready to go and wanted to try something different so Johnny Jeter and I wanted me to go heel. We went to Paul Heyman and pitched it and he wasn’t so thrilled about it but we ended up doing it. I turned on Cappotelli, I had never knocked anyone out except for this one time and when I turned on Capportelli I knocked him out. I went to the doctor with him and that is where we found out that Cap had brain cancer. He is okay now (thank God) but that is how we found out about it and it actually ended up being a good thing that it had happened.”
“In January (06) Howard Finkel called me and said that it is unfortunate for Matt but it is good for you and now me and The Miz were put back together. We were on the Raw house shows every week during January, February and March. I was really cool with Tommy Dreamer (the head of developmental at the time) and he always had the inside scoop for us because they wouldn’t tell us anything and finally in March he told me that they were going through with me and The Miz doing the reality TV gimmick. But now the wellness policy just came about because Eddie (Guerrero) had died not too long ago and wrestling was getting some bad publicity from deaths. The Miz and I were getting called up and going to Stamford, Connecticut to do our vignettes and the weekend before that happened we went out and I got really messed up drinking that night and I had to go to the hospital. WWE found out about it and the timing of it and everything they just said we have to make an example of this guy and they fired me. It was a pretty big deal at the time and it was good for me at the time because I needed to be away from the wrestling scene for a little bit and it ended up working out and I got my act together. “
Being brought back to the company:
“When developmental had officially left OVW and was in Florida I kept working out and in September of 08, John (ACE) came back down to OVW and said he had hated to fire me like that and asked if I would like to go to Florida. I said heck yeah. That got me down to FCW and then I got paired up with Trent and we got called up from there.”
The difference between working for Jim Cornette and Paul Heyman in OVW:
“That is a good question because they are both (and I hate to throw around the word) genius but Cornette really is and Heyman is too. Cornette is just more “old school”. I think he has accepted that over the years because often when I’m at work I’ll put on YouTube and I’ll listen to Jim Cornette shoot interviews (laughing). I think Cornette has changed just in the last 15 years because when I was in OVW he was still fighting the internet and I remember we were at an HWA TV Taping up in Cincinnati and Lance Cade said something about highspots.com and Cornette said when he broke into the business it was five years before he knew what I a highspot was. It was serious. In OVW guys would get fined (heels and baby faces) being out together in public but I think over the years fans have just become so educated that you can’t control that. They are both very passionate about the business and are very smart in booking wrestling and knowing how to write compelling TV. I’d really say it is their personalities because one is from the North and one is from South. But now that I think about it they are just two of the best guys to work under.”
Paul Heyman’s “kayfabe” reports on OVW TV:
“The word was that Heyman use to write up a report and I mean like a kayfabe report of the OVW TV show and send it out on the internet under an alias. He would put the show over because he wrote it. That was always the word but nobody could prove it (laughing). The stuff he would write he would put over and the stuff he didn’t write he would bury.”
The chemistry and pairing of The Dudebusters:
“I came to FCW and I had two matches as singles and one week they put me with Trent and everybody thought we were great together. Trent is super-cool and super-chill and easy to get along with (and so am I too) plus our chemistry was good . The only thing that I think was a difference was our age difference and ring experience. Not that I was any better than him but Trent was 21 and I was 28 and it is quite an age difference.”
“Trent still had that I’m indestructible mindset and that is cool but that is the only time we ever butt heads and I know now he had a triceps surgery and a couple other things with his knee and after that happens a couple of times it is not that you hold back, you just become more aware. You know if you do get that you won’t be doing any wrestling so maybe you won’t dive to the floor tonight and you start thinking about longevity. But we get along great and just had chemistry in the ring right off the bat “
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