Gangrel's most notable run in WWE spanned only three years, but he made an impression on many fans, including one future US President.
Gangrel gives credit to Vince Russo for a few aspects of his on-screen character during his run with WWE. Spitting blood was The Vampire Warrior's idea as a nod to the rock band KISS. The Brood rose from a firey hole in the ramp rather than making a normal Superstar entrance, which Gangrel said came from Russo's mind. In a great example of WWE's last-minute decisions, Gangrel explained how he was required to quickly arrange his ring attire after getting a call from WWE saying his fangs and services were required.
"The entrance was Vince Russo," Gangrel said. "Coming up through the fire, the blood spray that was mine, that's kind of my tribute to Gene Simmons of KISS. Vince Russo was 100% on getting this elevator lift and wanting to come up through the ring of fire.
"So that was Vince Russo on that for sure, but it was cool because he called me on a Friday and said, 'hey do you still do the vampire thing?' I go, 'for when?' and they go, 'Sunday.' So I'm like, 'oh crap.' So they told me that WWE had never used a vampire gimmick before so I ran out in a panic to Hot Topic and came up with the white puffy shirt and whatnot and this and this and that. I'd wrestled as a vampire since 1990 so there wasn't an issue with fangs or anything like that.
"I can't believe they came up with that entrance with the lift and the fire and all that, that was an amazing thing. With Jim Johnston's music, everything, the entrance and all that just became a perfect storm."
Gangrel's 2001 release from WWE didn't stop him from working the indie wrestling scene. He was brought back to Vince McMahon and Company a few times over the years as well with his last WWE match being a 2006 ECW house show loss to CM Punk.
During his run with WWE, Gangrel's entrance isn't complete without the blood spraying spot. He stands on the ring steps, and after taking a swig of the stage blood held in the goblet he carries to the ring, Gangrel spews a fountain of red mist over the fans at ringside.
Gangrel became famous for this gothic shower as a standout part of his character, even to the point where Vince McMahon enlisted in Gangrel's help to prank Donald Trump. McMahon's taste for practical jokes is well-known, neither Trump nor Gangrel was smartened up about the event until The Vampire Warrior spit blood all over the future President Of The United States Of America while he sat ringside at Madison Square Garden.
"I was talking to my sister the other day, and she goes, 'all those years you wrestled and everything else and the most you're known for is spitting on Donald Trump and beating up Geoffrey The Giraffe,'" Gangrel said as he laughed and admitted it is weird to have those unique notches on his belt.
"The Donald Trump thing, it was a rib and Vince [McMahon's] plan," Gangrel said. "I wasn't even on the show at The Garden and all of a sudden, they called me at home and said, 'Vince wants you at The Garden show.' It's last-second, you know I was all excited, I had always dreamed of wrestling at Madison Square Garden with WWE. I mean, The Garden is such a great venue.
"So I was stoked and I get there and I see I'm a special attraction with Kane. I go, 'wow, I don't know why they really needed me. I'm just going to be chokeslammed in three minutes and be done, but whatever, it's cool. It's The Garden.'
"I go out to the ring and I see someone and say to myself, 'that guy doesn't really fit here,' but I got the sunglasses on and the red lights are going and the energy's going so I pretty much rush through it. I go up the steps and I can hear the people really getting behind me. I'm like, 'Woah, this is cool. I'm over in The Garden.' I start drinking [from the goblet filled with stage blood] and the deeper I kept drinking, the louder it got. I spray [the fake blood] and it roars so I'm guessing this whole time I was drinking down, people were trying to pull Donald Trump back, but he didn't want to be touched so MSG security were pushing themselves against the guardrail. So they're trying to push him even further away and I didn't see them and I just spray as hard as I ever could spray."
Gangrel had no idea Trump was there, but he soaked the future POTUS carrying out McMahon's prank. The ribbing didn't stop there as Gangrel got backstage and found himself in the middle of stage two of McMahon's trickery.
"I was super scared I was going to get in trouble," Gangrel said. "Stephanie told me, 'my dad's upset, Trump is his friend.' She wound me up for like a day and a half or something and it turns out Vince set that whole thing up. He double-ribbed all of us."
Gangrel said he'll be wrestling for 31-years this September, but his encounters with Trump and Toys R Us' mascot remain two of the most talked about events in his career. He also had a hand in training Rusev and now operates Gangrel's Wrestling Asylum where he is grooming a new crop of indie wrestlers.
If you use any portion of the quotes in this article please credit Chair Shots To The Cranium Show with a H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription