Nick Dinsmore, better known to WWE fans as Eugene, had one of the most memorable gimmicks in recent memory. His character as a “special” wrestler may not go over in today’s PC era but Eugene connected with the WWE Universe during his three-year run.
Because of the uniqueness of his gimmick, Eugene got to step in the ring against many different types of WWE Superstars. He was asked who he thought the best person was when he joined The Chris Van Vliet Show.
“I mean, Triple H is called the ring general. He made his way because he’s really good. It reminded me of the way I used to work with [OVW trainer] Rip [Rogers], because Rip could puppet those people and work slow, be mean, have those people suspend that disbelief, bite in, get hot, and Triple H could work the same way at a slow pace. Then, feed somebody for a comeback. It’s very similar,” said Eugene who then recalled all of the big names he got to work with.
“I worked with Kurt Angle. I was in the ring with Cena. I helped work out with him. I was in the ring with The Rock. I was in the ring with Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania 21 to have my WrestleMania moment. It’s tough to say what’s the best of them all.”
Before joining WWE in 2005, Eugene worked in OVW and then after being released from WWE in 2008, he returned to OVW as a trainer. During most of this time, OVW was WWE’s developmental territory so Eugene spent a lot of years under the WWE umbrella.
Eugene left WWE for good after being released in 2014 and he was asked if he ever thought he would be released by WWE.
“I don’t know. I wasn’t really thinking about it. I guess because, at one point, I lived in Louisville. I moved to Phoenix for a couple of years as I was Eugene. Then, I was phasing back into a coaching job at OVW,” stated Eugene. “So, I moved back to Louisville. So, yeah, I was intending on moving to the coaching side of it, which I did eventually at the Performance Center. So, I think I’ve had maybe 12 to 14 total years, working for him.”
Eugene’s last stint with WWE came from 2013-14 when he was an NXT trainer. That was when WWE transitioned away from FCW and opened up the Performance Center, and Eugene got to work with many of the Superstars we see every week on Raw and SmackDown.
However, the stint didn’t last that long and Eugene admitted it was probably on him as to why WWE released him again.
“When they moved from FCW to Orlando, to the Performance Center, I was in the first group. I was one of the coaches. I was a coach for a year-and-a-half,” said Eugene. “I don’t know [why it didn’t work out]. I just know I probably wasn’t putting out my best performance because I was in an environment where I was uncomfortable. I was uncomfortable because these were people I looked up to. There was Terry Taylor, Dusty Rhodes, Triple H sitting next to me.
“I would get nervous sometimes and I might just be quiet and assess the situation, but I’m not really putting out a lot. I feel like in that environment, you got to be on and going. I would kind of sit back and I knew what was going on. I was aware. My mouth was shut. My ears were open. That might have not been the situation for it.
“I love the coaching aspect of it. Didn’t necessarily care for the producer aspect of it, but it’s a great education to see the tools that these guys are given now and what they’re expecting of WWE Superstars today. The fact that I got to teach that, so, I know what they’re looking for. I feel like I do, but it’s an ever-changing process.”
Eugene then mentioned several of the Superstars he helped train and the original gimmick for one of WWE’s top current performers.
“So, Braun Strowman started in my class. Chad Gable started in my class. I worked with Charlotte. I worked with Sasha Banks. Right before I got released is when Finn Balor and Kevin Owens were hired, and they were sent to the Performance Center. The first month somebody comes to the Performance Center, they generally don’t let them participate. When I was there, they didn’t let them go in the ring. The first month was get yourself settled, find out what’s going on, and then we’ll get you in there,” revealed Eugene.
“So, Kevin Owens is sitting ringside because he’s just watching the class. I sit down next to him. He said the first time he ever wrestled was for Jacques Rougeau. He kind of acted like somebody else really helped train him, but for some reason, the first show was Jacques Rougeau. So, a couple of days go by. I come back and said, ‘They got a new character for you. They’re going to bring you in as the new Mountie.’ He was starting to cry (Eugene clarified on Twitter that he was joking about Owens crying). ‘You can’t let them do that.’ I said, ‘No, it’s going to be great! It’s going to be awesome! You’re going to have the red thing. They might even bring Jacques in. It’s going to be great!’
“He was beginning to panic. Needless to say, it didn’t happen.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit The Chris Van Vliet Show with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Mehdy Labriny contributed to this article.