Former RAW Tag Team Champion Buddy Murphy was on the latest episode of the WWE After The Bell podcast where he recalled his WWE tryout. He talked about how some Australian talents like Tenile Dashwood, f.k.a Emma, and Peyton Royce were going over to train at Lance Storm’s wrestling academy, but he wanted to go a different path, and he did when he decided to fly out for a tryout in Florida.
“Tenille, Emma, she ended up getting signed. She ended up going to Canada,” Murphy recalled. “She was doing the Storm Academy. She got that, and that was cool. That was kind of a bit of an opening, and I was like, ‘Well, do I go do that? What do I want to do?’ Everyone seemed to have been going to Storm [Academy] at that time. I think Peyton did. A lot of Australian guys, they all were going there.
“I didn’t really want to follow suit. I didn’t want to be just like everyone else, and I was working with my stepdad, who got me a job doing construction. And I was making the best money that I’ve ever made, and I was driving two hours there, working all day, two hours back, go to the gym [and] sleep. I was doing that five days a week. Someone sent me a text from Bill DeMott putting out a tweet saying that there’s a tryout, and if you want to show up, you should apply, so I did it.
“I was like, ‘Ooh, I want to apply for this.’ I went to my stepdad and said, ‘Hey, I need to do this,’ and I only just started working with him maybe a month prior and now I want to take three weeks off, two weeks off. And I go, ‘I have to do this. There’s something telling me right now that I have to do this, and if you have to fire me, I understand,’ but I had the money that I could do. I never had the money to do something like that.”
Murphy admitted that the tryout was focused around Sami Callihan. However, Callihan got hurt, but Murphy said he struggled to stand out amongst the larger football players.
“So I did it man. He gave me the thumbs-up,” Murphy said. “One of my friends wanted to do it too, so we bought the tickets [and] went over to the FCW arena. And there were 80 people trying out. Sami Callihan was one of them, and I swear to this day that that tryout was for him, but he got hurt. You know how you feel when you’re there. They’ve got their eyes on someone. Sami Callihan was hot. He was the indie guy at the time.
“I was like, ‘Oh, this is just to get him.’ He got hurt on day one or day two, but there were these football players. Like I said, I’m not a big guy, and we’re sitting there and these football players would knock you out of the way and stand there. [They’re] like 6’0-6’6″. You can’t get in. So it was tough to stand out in the in the pack.”
He said that the football players started falling out as the tryout got harder and harder. He said Norman Smiley and Robbie Brookside called it “the toughest tryout they’ve ever been a part of.”
“I had so much determination. There was nothing that would break me, and sometimes, I wish that I still had that determination and that focus,” Murphy admitted. “To this day, Norman Smiley and Robbie Brookside say it was the toughest tryout they’ve ever been a part of. You had Bill DeMott, you had Joey Mercury, Norman [and] Terry. It was just four days of hell. Then at the end of it, you have to do a promo for Dusty
“Norman says it to this day that I caught his attention from another ring by just taking a shoulder tackle and how I attacked the mat. I have a unique way of doing it, and I feel like I’m very good at making other people look good. I’m all for the for the product and to get the best out of it.”
Murphy recalled the promo he cut that was different than the others that people cut in front of Dusty Rhodes and the other panelists. He said he pulled from his real life as someone that was not popular in high school, which impressed the judges.
“At the end, there was all these promos, and I think I was number 60 out of 80, and everyone was doing these promos, but everyone’s promo was kind of similar, like ‘Hey guys, just want to thank you. This was a dream of mine,’ and I’m just sitting there looking at the panel, the judges,” Murphy recalled. “And they just didn’t care for that, and then you’d be like a character.
“Then you look at the panel, and you’d be like, okay that’s kind of reacting. And I was like, ‘How am I going to stand out? I’m not a promo guy. I’ll admit that, but everyone else was standing up, so I ended up going, and I sat down and crossed my legs. And I just started talking like really calm, and I started getting in a mind frame of what happened in school like not being fully accepted. And at the end of my school thing, I was kind of getting thrown under the bus and getting bullied a little bit.
“So I kind of took that real-life scenario and was just talking about it, and then at the end, I pull out a lighter out of my pocket that I found. And I just light it up, and I’m just staring at the flame. And I do a pyromaniac character. We’re basically, ‘You’ve bullied me so much. You have to be careful because you’re gonna get burned.’ Basically, ‘I’m going to burn this place down.'”
Murphy revealed that they only offered one contract at the tryout and that was to him. He admitted to being surprised after having little to no expectations, and he talked about how everyone there went from being happy for him to hating him because no one else was offered a contract.
“We sat down. We’re all sitting there,” Murphy stated. “There’s almost like 60 people left, and then they say, ‘Alright guys, it was great four days. It was torture. Hope you learned something out of this. Basically, we have a contract offer. So the contract we have to offer is to Matthew Adams,’ and I just sit there. I was in the back wall, and then my friend starts hitting me. He’s like, ‘Bro, that’s you.’ I’m like, ‘What?’ He goes, ‘They announced you.’ I go, ‘No, what?’ And I kind of stand up. I shake their hands.
“Everyone’s like yeah. They’re tapping me and all that stuff. I walk up. Then they go, ‘Yeah, that’s it guys,’ and they gave one contract out. And then everyone turned on me. I was the villain. Everyone was so supportive of me 10 seconds ago. No more contracts. ‘F–k that guy. That was how I did it man, and then obviously, I kept getting pushed back and pushed back because the PC keep getting pushed back, and then I started in July 7, 2012.”
Murphy has gone from losing the name “Buddy” to now getting the name “Buddy” back. However, he revealed that the original name that was pitched for him was “Jag Cooper”, and he talked about how “Buddy Murphy” came to be.
“So obviously, we pitch names, and I wanted to use ‘Matt’ so bad, but as you know, there was a lot of Matt’s. Using the name Matt was the forbidden fruit,” Murphy pointed out. “So I pitched a whole heap of these names, and it’s funny because I put a lot of effort into these names. And when I had sent the email Byron [Saxton]… when he got the email, I had all the names scattered. So he just picked ones that matched, and he pitched it.
“And then when they pulled me into the office, they said, ‘These are your names,’ and I look at the names. And I’m like, ‘Okay, well, there’s one clear winner here.’ He goes, ‘Yeah, there is,’ and I was talking to Bill. I said it’s this one, and it was ‘Jag Cooper.’ I was like, that’s kind of cool, Jag, and then he’s like, ‘Yep, that’s it.’ So then Bill would pull in Norman and goes ‘introduce yourself.’ I go, ‘Hey, I’m Jag Cooper,’ and Norman goes, ‘Jack?’ No Jag. Because of my accent, ‘no, redo it,’ and then I go, ‘Gooday, My name’s Jag Cooper’ (Murphy puts more emphasis on the G).
“It sounds weird, but then Bill would start pulling in all the coaches, and I would have to introduce myself as all these names. And then it came down to ‘Gooday, I’m Buddy Murphy,’ and then it basically came down to an autograph. Jag Cooper and Buddy Murphy and my real name is Matt, so I have a nice M and B’s easy to do in autograph form, but to do J-A-G in capitals, that’s tough.”
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit WWE After The Bell with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.