Former WWE star Big Cass sat down with Chris Van Vliet to discuss the addiction issues that almost cost him his career. Cass was open about being in denial about his issues.
“A lot of people would tell me I had a problem,” Cass said. “But I think I was so delusional. Even after I had that first seizure in Philadelphia, I still didn’t think I had a problem. The next day I thought I had a problem, then 2 days later I was like no I can drink again.
“I guess after the rest of that year, with all the incidents that happened, and then finally when I went to rehab, was when I finally admitted that I had a serious problem.”
On the topic of the seizure, Cass took Van Vliet through the events of the day, from what he can recall.
“I remember doing the signing, I remember I went to lunch with Gangrel and I remember talking with Bubba [Ray Dudley] and Tommy [Dreamer] in the locker room, going over my promo with Dreamer. I was supposed to be on right after intermission, but I had to go sign at intermission.
“I remember dumping my water bottle over my head back in Gorilla. My comb was on the table, and that’s the last thing I remember. I must have walked out to the merch table and I don’t remember anything except being loaded into an ambulance.
“I did what I did best and lied, tried to come up with some b------t, said maybe I’m dehydrated or I’m not sleeping enough, it’s exhaustion. I knew it was alcohol withdrawal, but I was too embarrassed to admit that to anybody. Some people knew because I had a bottle of liquor in my bag that I didn’t drink from. But I was super embarrassed.”
Van Vliet asked Cass if his alcoholism could be traced back to his release from WWE in June of 2018. According to Cass, things were already on the wrong track.
“I think I had a problem way before,” Cass said. “The release gave me the opportunity to live that way with no responsibilities, which is a horrible thing for an addict. 2017 was when it started to go downhill. You’re wearing a mask, you’re hiding and you’re making everybody think you’re ok.
“You drink in your room and you make sure that nobody sees you. There were so many things going on mentally, I was really struggling but I didn’t want to say anything. It shouldn’t be embarrassing but I was embarrassed and humiliated.
“I guess there’s a stigma around mental health, which is toughen up. Especially in wrestling or any kind of tough person business. It was telling myself ‘Just toughen up.’ But that’s the wrong way to go about things.”
With his life back on track, Van Vliet asked Cass what his new goals were. For the big man, it’s all about taking things one step at a time as he makes his comeback.
“So right now I am loving what I am doing,” Cass said. “I get to pick my own schedule, work the shows I want to work, enjoy my time alone with my girlfriend. Tampa is a great city, we have two French Bulldogs, so spending time doing our own thing.
“Ultimately I want to get back to a big stage, because I have a lot of things that I didn’t accomplish in wrestling that I want to accomplish. Enzo and I, we had a good run, we were very memorable. I always want to be memorable. Being a champion to me isn’t worth as much as being super memorable.
“I want to be memorable as a singles star, that’s a goal of mine. I want to prove to myself that I can do it, because there was a long time where I thought I couldn’t do it anymore.
“Also, keep speaking out about my story, addiction and mental health. Just help others, that’s the goal in life. I had money, fame and all this stuff, that doesn’t amount to sh*t. I get so much joy out of helping one person. So the goal in life is just to help other people.”
Van Vliet then asked about Enzo. Cass was nothing but complimentary to his friend and former tag team partner, and credits him for helping to get his life turned around.
“He’s been tremendous,” Cass said. “I was staying in New Jersey with him for a while. He was a big part in finally getting me to go to rehab. There’s so many stories of where I was in a hotel room in this city or that city, he’s have to fly out to come and get me.
“He’s been tremendous, and he’s been super supportive. He’s also super supportive of me getting back into wrestling, whether it’s us or just me. Enzo’s like do your thing man, I want to see you rise.”
Cass then discussed the infamous invasion angle at New Japan and ROH’s G1 Supercard show at Madison Square Garden. Cass left no stone unturned detailing how it all came together.
“That was crazy and out of control,” Cass explained. “Nobody knew, so I couldn’t quite get Enzo to process. I said ‘there’s 8 guys in the match, we’re only taking on 2 of them after the match. There’s 6 other guys involved, very formidable wrestlers, that don’t know this is happening. We might get our asses handed to us by 8 people.’ We were super nervous, and when we went out there and did it, that felt amazing. There were 6 people in the world that knew about this, including me and Enzo. We got changed at a friend’s office a few blocks by, we walked over to the building and we sent the text to person x. They came down, got us and put us in a room in the back.
“It was kind of helter skelter too. We had to watch the screen and wait for our cue. There was shock value, the heat we got I think came from guys not knowing. A lot of the times fans like to be smartened up as to what’s going on. There was resentment from some fans at least, they were like they got us.
“No matter what anyone says now, 20,000 people in that building and I don’t know how many people watching at home, not one person watching at that time thought Enzo and Cass are going to hop the guard rail. The heat transferred from us to the management because we were just doing what we were told.”
You can watch the full interview below.