Duke “The Dumpster” Droese had a tailormade gimmick for the 90s, as he was a garbage man who would often use his trash can as a weapon. He had a two-year WWF run in the mid-90s but essentially retired from the ring afterwards apart for some one-offs.
He discussed what led him to leave the wrestling industry when he talked to Spencer Love of the WCSN.
“People say, ‘when did you quit watching?’ It was the Katie Vick incident,” revealed Droese. “What I’ll see is, I’ll see people talk about certain matches on social media in the comment sections. I’ll listen to people argue about wrestling and if something catches my interest, I’ll go check it out on YouTube or something.
“I don’t have – I don’t even own a television, I don’t watch TV,” he added. “I don’t have any of this stuff. I don’t have the WWE Network or any of that kind of stuff. I do have internet with YouTube. But yeah, that’s about the extent of it. I don’t watch any of the current wrestling except to catch something after the fact. If enough people are talking about it, I’ll check it out.”
Since he no longer follows the day-to-day going ons in professional wrestling, Droese was asked if he still considers himself a wrestling fan.
“Yes, I would. But I would tend to try and watch ? I’m still a fan of a lot of the older stuff. I just joined a group on Facebook that is strictly Championship Wrestling from Florida from the old days, and I love watching that because that’s the stuff I grew up on,” said Droese. “I love watching the old WWF stuff, older than my time even. But I do still consider myself a fan.
“One of the other reasons, besides the Katie Vick incident, that I stopped watching wrestling was – and this is the truth and a lot of wrestlers will say this – is a lot of the storylines are the same. It’s the same old thing rehashed over and over, and all they do is they just plug in new names. Basically a lot of the storylines are things they’ve done many times over, and over, and over again.
“So, from our standpoint, it can kind of be a bit tedious. But again, I will try to [keep up with some of it]. If something’s spurs my interest, I’ll try to catch it maybe on a replay, or on YouTube, or something like that.”
Droese’s complaints with the product are similar to the ones lots of fans also have. Even though he’s mostly stayed away from wrestling, he did revive his Dumpster gimmick for the Gimmick Battle Royal at WrestleMania 17. He also talked about other comeback attempts prior to that, and asking for advice from two of WWE’s biggest stars.
“Well, I tried to come back and they made me try out, which was interesting. It’s like, ‘why do you need to see me try out if you already know how I wrestle?’ And I also had to try out about the same time with WCW. I was trying to get into both. I wanted to get into either one,” admitted Droese.
“It was interesting because during the time I was getting ready for those tryouts, I asked advice from a couple of people. One was Bret Hart, one was Steve Austin; I asked what they thought I should do and Bret Hart said to do both of them. That was the professional thing to do. And Austin, who you could tell he was getting ready to take off, but he had not fully – I mean, he was on his rise.
“But anyway, Austin said, ‘just pick one, because these are very vindictive people, and if you do both, you’ll probably piss everybody off.’ Well, once again I took the wrong advice. I took Bret Hart’s advice and I did both,” Droese explained. “Apparently, I pissed everybody off because they didn’t bring me back in.
“So then fast forward to the time I came around for WrestleMania 17. I was severely addicted to drugs. I was going to a methadone clinic in Miami, so I was in no shape to wrestle. In fact, I had to bring some methadone on the road with me so I didn’t get sick during the WrestleMania weekend.
“So, I was just kind of hiding in the locker room. I really didn’t want to see a lot of people. It was just a kind of weird feeling. Everybody was really nice to me but I was just happy to get in and get out of there and get the payday because, like I said, I was in no condition to wrestle,” he continued. “At that point I wasn’t trying to come back. I was just trying to get a payday and get out of there.”