Former AEW World Tag Team Champion Frankie Kazarian of SCU was on the latest episode of the AEW Unrestricted podcast with Aubrey Edwards and Tony Schiavone. Kazarian signed with WWE in 2005, but he asked for his release and moved on. During the fan questions section of the podcast, Kazarian was asked if he spoke with WWE before signing with AEW.
“The minute the concept of AEW itself was pitched, I was on board,” Kazarian admitted. “We still have a real tight bond, SCU and The Bucks, and Cody and [Hangman] Page. We were all together all the time, and we were kind of on the ground floor of this. It was just one of those things that comes along, and you can’t turn down. At the time, I was coming up at the end of my contract, and there was some mild talks. And those came about because I have several friends up there.
“One of them reached out to me and said, ‘Hey, somebody would like to give you a phone call,’ and I said, ‘Certainly, I’ll take a phone call’ and talked. And at the time, I really couldn’t say much because again, AEW wasn’t a thing, so I really couldn’t say much. I was just like, ‘Oh, there’s some other things going on,’ and they probably, at the time, thought I was going to stay with Ring of Honor or who knows what I was going to do. I kind of danced around it, and I didn’t really let the talks get serious because my mind was kind of made up, but there were certainly talks.
“I’m a businessman, and I’ve been around long enough to know that you don’t not take phone calls. So there was mild talks, and like I said, I’m have a lot of friends up there. I grew up watching WWE, so if it wasn’t for WWE, I don’t know if I would be the fan I am, but AEW, for me, I could not pass it up. I could not imagine my life now if this wasn’t around. I don’t know what I’d be doing. It’d be weird.”
Kazarian went on to praise the way AEW President and CEO Tony Khan has treated talent. He talked about the closeness of the locker room and how it compares to other promotions.
“We say this all the time, and I say this to the younger guys and Tony, you can attest to this. It’s not like this in other wrestling companies,” Kazarian noted. “The camaraderie we have, the closeness, the way we’re taken care of, Tony Khan treats us all so well. We’re treated like athletes, and we are fed and we are taking care of. I can’t say enough good things. I’ve never felt more respected as a talent in any other wrestling company, and that’s no disrespect to the other companies I’ve for, but this is just on another level.”
Outside of his signature SCU catchphrases and bits, Kazarian is known for his “Do Ya!” catchphrase. He explained the origins of “Do Ya!” and how it came from an interaction with Bob Holly in WWE.
“So the origin of ‘Do Ya!’ is my first ever opportunity to wrestle a dark match for the then WWF was late ’99 or early 2000, and the match was going to be a tag team match with me and another local guy. We were going to wrestle Bob Holly and Crash Holly at the time, and I’m super nervous,” Kazarian recalled. “I’m 20 years old, 21 years old, whatever it was. We kind of talked about the match. This was different times. In fact, they were going to give us a promo for the dark match. We were going to go out there and challenge anybody to come out, and The Holly’s were going to come out. You wouldn’t see that now.
“We’re putting the match together and kind of standing there in Gorilla waiting for it to start, and I’m nervous. I got this stuff called Hot Stuff sprayed all over me, and Bob Holly’s just there and he’s pumping up. And he’s looking around. He’s like, ‘Who the hell is wearing hot stuff?!’ And I’m just slowly backing away, basically sprint back to the locker room and hose myself off. Come back and sitting there waiting. The four of us are there, and he’s pumping up and he has his bands. He’s just pumping up, and I’m right there next to him. There’s this real awkward silence.
“I’m thinking I should really start a discourse just so we can get on the same page, and at the time, I liked Bob Holly’s entrance music. I thought it was good. Bob Holly’s right there pumping up, and I just looked over and in my head, this is what I sounded like, a prepubescent teen. And I just went (Kazarian does an squeaky voice impression), ‘Hey, I really like your entrance music.’ And Bob Holly just stops working out and looks at me and goes, ‘Do Ya?!’ And then continues working out and I just go, ‘Yeah, it’s real heavy. I like the riff.'”
Kazarian said he met up with Holly later on and told him the story again. They laughed about the situation, and Kazarian revealed why Holly said “Do Ya!” to him.
“I told Bob Holly that’s because Bob Holly and I became very friendly on a tour of the UK, and he remembers that,” Kazarian revealed. “But I tell him the story, and he goes, ‘You know why I said Do Ya?’ And I go, ‘No, I thought you were just being like Da Ya Mark?’ And he goes, ‘Because I liked it too but I thought you were just screwing with me.’ I go, ‘Bob, why would I? You know what I want to do before I’m about to wrestle Bob Holly? I want to mess with him. I want to fire him up.’ So we joke about that. So that’s where ‘Do Ya!’ came from. It’s such a way to put someone in their place without swearing at them. Just ‘Do Ya!’ and there’s no answer as I learned. It’s lasted the test of time. That catchphrase, I think, is going to be my ‘Damn!’ What ‘Damn!’ is Ron Simmons, ‘Do Ya!’ is gonna be for me, and I’m perfectly fine with that.”
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit AEW Unrestricted with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.