You recently released your new book, "Looking at the Lights: My path from Fan to a Wrestling Heel." Why did you feel now was the right time to write this book and what are you hoping to accomplish with its release?
"First of all, I wrote it because for years after being released, I would always find that people were always huddled around me. Whether I was playing softball tournaments or whatever, in between games people were always huddled around me and asking questions about wrestling and loving all the stories I had to tell. I always wanted to do this and just having the ability to actually put it to paper and share it now is a blessing. I'm getting a lot of great feedback from the book and people love the stories and anyone that is a fan of the Attitude Era will really love this book. That's pretty special in itself.
"What I'm trying to accomplish actually is to give people an idea of what it was like and what we had to go through. At one point we had some negative press and people said we should be selling insurance, but nobody has the story I had. Vince McMahon literally took myself and Rodney off the street and put us in the ring with the best in the business without even knowing how to take a bump and told us to go out there, don't kill ourselves and put these guys over. The truth of the matter is it was only supposed to last a couple weeks and we got a reaction from the crowd. That showed Vince gives the fans what they want. People loved hating us so much that they kept giving us opportunities and those opportunities kept growing and growing. We were able to parlay the opportunity that we got into a three-year contract, which is pretty amazing in itself. Any wrestling fan that watches wrestling probably thought what it would be like to be in the ring with the Rock or Stone Cold Steve Austin and we got to live that dream. I always wanted to do this and all of a sudden, they had us go and get this opportunity and it's basically how we took advantage of this opportunity and really ran with it. We had to prove how tough we were not only to the fans, but to the boys in the back and earn their respect."
Many fans like myself look back at the Attitude Era as the best time period of wrestling. As somebody that had the opportunity to perform during that time, why do you think it is looked back at so fondly and what made that era so special for you?
"What made it special is there were no rules. You had a locker room full of stars and I'm not talking about us as much as I'm talking about the roster. Everybody was over and it just had that edginess to it that really attracted people to it. You look in the crowd and you see everything from a guy with a big beer belly, to a girl with no clothes on, doctors, lawyers, stockbrokers and every kind of person. Everyone can relate to a lot of the stories and people loved the edginess to it. Unfortunately, they want ratings and sponsorship like Snickers and all that stuff, so now they can't be as edgy and it's more child friendly like it was back in the 80s. At that one period, Vince in order to win the ratings war had to turn it up a notch and he did and everybody remembers that part of it. I think it always be known as the greatest era in wrestling."
As a long-time friend of Shane McMahon, what were your initial thoughts when he returned for a match against Undertaker at WrestleMania 32 and what did you think of his match against AJ Styles at WrestleMania 33?
"First part, I found out because someone had called me the day he had come back from Detroit. There was a rumor floating around he was there so I called him and spoke to him. When we spoke, he was in New York City and he was delivering a guitar to his son. We talked for a little bit, we got off the phone and I was convinced he wasn't going to be on Raw that night. He kayfabed the s--t out of me. He didn't tell anybody anything, he lives by kayfabe. Sometimes I love him for it and sometimes I get pissed at him for it.
"He ends up going to Raw and I'm sitting on the couch with my wife and I listen to the first segment and when his music hits my jaw dropped. I got goosebumps and my phone was blowing up. Then as soon as Vince said he was going to face the Undertaker in the cell, I turned to my wife and said, "We're going." She asked why do I want to go so bad and I said he's going to jump off that cell. My wife still laughs about that cause she said that I just know him so well. I said he has always been an adrenaline junkie and he will always do whatever it takes to steal the show if he can do it. Any match he has ever had, there's never been one where you would say that it really sucked or just something about that match wasn't good.
"As far as the AJ Styles match goes, I absolutely loved it. I thought it was great and I was in sitting the eighth row. I heard all the criticism leading up to WrestleMania how AJ is going to have to carry Shane, Shane doesn't know how to work, everything he does is a big stunt and I felt like Shane proved a lot of skeptics wrong. To his credit, I thought he held his own. AJ is the best in the business in my opinion and is probably one of my favorites. Yes, AJ brought it as well, but Shane was right there. I thought what he did was, excuse the pun, but it was phenomenal."
Is there anybody that stands out to you as being the most fun to work with in the ring?
"That's a tough question because there are so many guys. When you get to that level in WWE, you have so many guys that you have so much fun with it, it's a lifestyle. It was the greatest three years of my life. To name just a few, you're going to think I'm crazy, but I liked working with the Acolytes. When I first started with them, I was scared as hell because they beat the hell out of me, but I love the physical part of it. I knew we could get into it with them and part of me likes getting into fights. That was our way of proving our toughness and getting respect in the ring. I was close to guys like Prince Albert, D-Lo Brown, Mosh from the Headbangers, and Val Venis. We would be in the ring with these guys and we would have a battle royal of some kind. I'd be in the corner with Prince Albert and he is grabbing my fat and I'm grabbing his fat, we are talking about where we're going next, where we can eat after the match, calling each other fat and making fun of each other. Everyone just ribs on each other.
"As far as workers there's only one worker that stands out in my mind and that's the Rock. He is an absolute perfectionist and it's easy to tell why he is as successful as he is. He literally made sure that you were dead on with everything he did. I remember I took the first ever Rock Bottom on SmackDown in the first segment which I'm pretty proud of. He always made sure you were in the right position and it's just a credit to him and just goes to show how special he really is."
One of the forewords of your book was written by John Bradshaw Layfield. With his alleged involvement in a bullying scandal, what are your thoughts on JBL and did you see any bullying during your time in WWE?
"I was brought up in an era where you didn't get a trophy if you came in last place. I feel like there are people that are very sensitive to certain topics. I personally know JBL and he likes to bust balls. Sometimes when people don't know how to handle that, whether they've been coddled or whatever the case is, their reaction is totally different from someone who like me had brothers and got teased and ribbed all the time.
"JBL's a lot of fun. JBL is loud and he's in the back cracking jokes. When he's doing all that stuff, those same people that are b---hing and moaning now, I guarantee they were f--king laughing their asses off in the back of the locker room or catering or wherever. Everybody had certain personalities and I could tell you straight up JBL is a bad ass, he's a physical guy, he likes to get into it and stuff like that, but he never bullied anyone. He would have fun with us and tease us, but that's it. I remember going through a series of beatings when we had to face the Acolytes back in the day.
"I remember being at my house with my girlfriend and we were sleeping at like 12:30 at night and my phone rings and it's JBL. He was in town doing some stuff for the studio and he was down at the bar and when I answered the phone I thought I was dreaming. He goes, 'Come on down to the bar you son of a b---h and have a drink with me.' He's just that type of guy and that's his personality, but in no way, shape or form do I feel like he's a bully. If people don't understand his personality and that's where he can come across as a bully, but he really isn't. He's a guy that likes to have fun and is loud. He's a big guy and very intimidating size wise, but it's all about having a good time. Sometimes like I said, people were brought up differently and just don't get it. Bullying to me is you just ride someone so much and you're mean to them and you are nasty. You make the person feel like absolute s--t. Whether it's Mauro or whoever made those comments and felt like they were bullied, their interpretation could be a lot less severe. Their line is not in the same spot. I'm not wording it properly, but the bottom line is the guys not a f--king bully at all."