Wrestling Inc.'s Andy Malnoske caught up with former UFC and WWE trailblazer Dan Severn at WrestleCon in Manhattan. Severn opened up about WWE missing the target on a Ken Shamrock feud, Brock Lesnar, and the sensitive issue of deaths in wrestling.
Regarding a potential feud with Ken Shamrock, Severn believes WWE missed a big opportunity to capitalize on the crossover of UFC and WWE performers.
"Vince McMahon, his creative team, they missed out on a great opportunity," Severn said of WWE missing the boat. "Were were before our time? If you look at MMA guys crossing over professional wrestling, we were just before our time or we were the pioneers of that."
Severn also said that crossover phenomenon Brock Lesnar has been fortunate to be successful in both UFC and WWE. Especially considering both industries are extremely dangerous and do not focus on longevity.
"The man has made a lot of money in both industries so I can't say anything bad about that," Severn said. "Ultimately, he's evolved in an industry that you don't have a long career. The fight industry is not a long term career. You're only as good as your next match. You have a game plan, your opponent has a game plan. Someone's about to come up on the short of the stick. You better have game plan B, C, and D. Plan A is not always going to work for you. Have other things you can fall back onto and that's something a lot of professional wrestlers just don't realize. They think their careers are going to go on forever and it's not."
Severn elaborated more on the dangers of the fight industry. Severn pointed out the extremely high death rates of professional wrestling while highlighting the amount of medication needed to maintain a career in the field.
"People don't realize that this actually has the highest death rates of all professionals," Severn claimed. "Now, a lot of it is due to chemical cocktails but nevertheless, the number of matches that take place, the pain killers, the muscle relaxers, something to get them going in the morning, something to put them down at night. Then all the other stuff that's going in in-between. 'I need to have gargantuan muscles, I need steroids, I need growth hormones!' It's just a vicious cycle."
Regarding the hot button topic of health insurance in professional wrestling, Severn said he believes professional wrestling will 'eventually' put a health insurance structure into its model as he referenced other sports industries that have an insurance system already in place.
"When you think about both industries, there is no pension program," Severn said. "You are basically a contract of labor. When you see other sports, there is something for NBA and NFL teams. There are things that they can fall back upon. There are unions in the nature. Eventually, it is going to happen. Key word is eventually. Who holds all the power? The athletes actually hold all the power but they are lured by the almighty dollar."
Additionally, Severn admitted he always looked at fighting as a part time hobby more than he did as a job but did admit that he earned the most money while working for WWE.
"It was always a part time job to me," Severn said. "Not even a job, because there was no real money in the UFC. No money in the independent scene. Ironically, I made my best paydays working for the WWE."
You can check out Dan Severn's full comments in the video above.