Known as 'The Human Suplex Machine' for most of his career, Taz was first known as the Tazmaniac when ECW was 'Eastern Championship Wrestling'. In the 90s gimmicks were very popular and Taz wanted to come up with one, but as he told Bill Apter and Josh Shernoff on The Apter Chat, he did not want to be like every other gimmick.
"The Tazmaniac gimmick came from the Tasmanian devil because back then gimmicks were popular," Taz said. "Everywhere, everybody had gimmicks. Everybody had a different reptile, or bird, or a dog walking to the ring. So I didn't want to do that. I figured I needed a gimmick and being that I was an undersized guy, being like 5'9, I figured I needed something. I always had a nickname, cause I was shorter, thicker, stockier and I had a dark complexion, guys would always call me, when I was younger, Taz.
"I had a Tasmanian devil stuffed animal in my car and I was like 'you know what this might be a good gimmick', but I didn't want to be comical. I changed it, because I figured I don't want to get sued by Warner Brothers, I was a nobody, like Warner Brothers going to send a cease and desist to a guy that's making forty bucks a match. I said 'let me make it the Tazmaniac', which is a little different. So basically the gimmick in my imagination, in my mindset, I've always been a pretty creative guy, it was The Missing Link, between the wild Samoans and the Steiner Brothers when the Steiners first started out doing different suplexes."
Taz would later become 'The Human Suplex Machine.' He revealed that not everyone he wrestled was a fan of the character.
"That's why they hated me for the most part because I acted that character, the Human Suplex Machine, I would show up to the arena three hours before the show and I was the Human Suplex Machine," Taz said. "I couldn't break that in my mind. I wasn't trying to work anyone, but to portray that character, I had to live that gimmick.
"No one could ever say to me that I was playing wrestler. I believed I was Taz. I believed I was the Human Suplex Machine. I was the Tazmaniac. That's who I was and that's important to succeed as a wrestler even to this day today, in 2018, it don't matter."
You can listen to the full interview with Taz on The Apter Chat with Bill Apter and Josh Shernoff in the player below. If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit The Apter Chat with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.