Host of the Talking Tough podcast Rick Bassman made a return appearance on The Wrestling Inc. Daily podcast where he and Wrestling Inc. Managing Editor Nick Hausman sat down and talked about UPW and Bassman’s time as a WWE consultant. Bassman has helped bring many talents into WWE, including John Cena, and he talked about his connection with The Miz.
“I got a call out of the blue one day from Scott Freedman,” Bassman recalled. “Scott is an old friend who was the president of Bunim-Murray, [who does] Real World, Road Rules, one of the top companies in reality. And he goes, ‘Hey Rick, we’ve got a guy in the New York house right now on the Real World who thinks he’s a pro wrestler. He’s adopted this pro wrestling persona. He’s been terrorizing everybody else in the house all season. I’m wondering. We want to play a joke on him. Do you know any famous pro wrestlers in New York? Maybe they can stop by the house while we’re filming one night and scare the s–t out of this guy,’ and I’m like, ‘Let me think about it.’ So came up with Roadkill from ECW.
“He’s the only got in New York City I could find. Roadkill got all gimmicked up in the Amish deal [and] went over to the house. The Miz, Mike Mizanin, marked out big time because he was a big fan. He knew everybody, and Roadkill just gave him a load of s–t. And so anyway, Scott Freedman called me after, he’s like, ‘Thanks man. I got to tell ya Miz actually was a little scared, but he was totally appreciative also,’ and this comes full circle in a moment.”
Bassman later talked about how The Miz later came to UPW to train under him. He then answered Hausman’s question on whether he saw in The Miz back then that we see now.
“A few months later, Scott calls me,” Bassman stated. “He’s like, ‘Hey, remember the guy that you sent Roadkill to scare?’ I’m like, ‘Vaguely.’ He goes, ‘Well, he’s moved to LA, and he actually wants to train to be a pro-wrestler. May I send him to your school to meet with you?’ I said, ‘Sure.’ So he comes in. Nice guy, good personality [and] no physique at all and back in those days, I was focused on the monsters. The Nathan Jones’, and the John Heidenreich’s, and the Luther Reigns’ so on and so forth but seemed nice enough [and] seemed earnest enough. Murray was willing to pay his tuition to go to the school. Sign him up.
“Did I recognize the potential? No, not at all. Absolutely not. The day John Cena first walked through the door, you don’t have to be a genius or an accredited talent scout to look at John Cena and go, wow, there’s obviously something there. You can see it immediately, the look, the face, the body [and] the way he carried himself. The Miz, you didn’t see it, and I didn’t see it. And I have to admit that. He worked really really hard. He worked really hard in the school, but to me, The Miz and Paul London are very synonymous with one another.”
Bassman elaborated on why he links Paul London and The Miz together. He talked about London doing whatever he could for his pro wrestling career, and he admitted that he also didn’t see what he we would see later in London.
“For me, they are personally, and here’s why, because Paul London relocated himself from Texas, when Shawn Michaels’ school closed down, on his own dime to come to UPW because UPW at that time, my organization, was known as a place to be groomed and to be seen,” Bassman noted. “And it wasn’t only WWE. We’re sending people to WCW if WWE passed on them or to ECW or to Japan.
“I mean hundreds and hundreds of guys and girls out of our little organization on to other bigger and better things. So Paul London relocated himself on his dime, and dude, I barely registered the fact that Paul London was in our midst. I was never dismissive of him or The Miz. I wouldn’t go that far, and I don’t think they would say that either, but I didn’t give them any special attention.
“I didn’t recognize anything there in either one of them, and they both turned out, even after that, to be really really good, solid appreciative guys in my experience and in my eyes. The exact opposite was true of other guys who I went all in on and did everything for, basically f–ked me. Whatever, it’s life. That’s how things work. So The Miz, didn’t see it but couldn’t be happier for him because he’s a good dude. He worked his ass off, and he deserves it.”
Hausman asked Bassman if he sees The Miz in the WWE Hall of Fame someday. Bassman said he does and talked about The Miz’s longevity and consistency at or near the top of the card.
“Absolutely because what is one of the most important criteria for a Hall of Famer? Longevity and consistency,” Bassman said. “He has been at the top or near the top for how many years now? A dozen at least and the vast majority of people will never have that kind of length in their career. I mean, there’s a lot of guys that have been up for 30 years, but at that level. I haven’t been in touch with him for a long time. There’s no reason for it.
“We just lost touch, but if we were, I would congratulate him on everything he’s achieved, and his consistency by all accounts, from what I hear, he’s remained that same good, humble, solid genuine person all these years. So that’s awesome. Paul London, by the way, same exact thing. Paul became WWE Tag Team Champion. He doesn’t have the length at or near the top that The Miz has, but the reason they’re similar to me is because my experience was the same. Paul I am in touch with these days and the nicest, most genuine most humble guy you can meet from this business for sure.”
Hausman noted his unique experiences with London. Bassman called London “quirky” and noted that he’s a guy that “marches to the beat of his own drum.”
“Paul is a quirky guy man,” Bassman remarked. “I’ve heard the words ‘Paul London’ and ‘crazy’ many many times in the same sentence, and I think that’s what you’re alluding to here. I would just say this. I don’t think, by definition of the word, Paul isn’t all crazy, but he’s certainly marches to the beat of his own drum, put it that way.”
Rick Bassman hosts the podcast Talking Tough which can be found on all major podcast platforms. You can follow him on Twitter @Rick_Bassman. Bassman’s full interview aired as part of a recent episode of our podcast, The Wrestling Inc. Daily. Subscribe to get the latest episodes as soon as it’s released Monday – Friday afternoon by clicking here.