Former WWE star Tucker joined The OTR Show to discuss his WWE career. Best known for teaming with Otis as part of Heavy Machinery, Tucker was asked how quickly the two former amateur wrestlers clicked as a team.
“Pretty quick,” Tucker revealed. “He was on the Greco ladder, he was a top three senior level Greco guy. He was a bronze medalist at the Pan-American games. We were both heavyweights and, on top of that, we’re both kind of small town kids. He grew up in Superior, Wisconsin, I grew up in this small town, Hubbard, Oregon. There’s just a difference between kids who grow up, I mean there’s like kind of growing up in the sticks, the suburbs and the city. I was on the edge of the suburbs, but where I grew up was kind of the sticks. And where he grew up was the same, kind of the sticks.
“So what’s understood doesn’t have to be said. We both grinded hard to put food on the table for ourselves as wrestlers. And we’re both heavyweights, we both get it. ‘You put it on the line and looked a bunch of men in the eye. So did I. We’re not going to try and measure dicks here, we’re in this thing together.’ So yeah, there was definitely, like I don’t know if it was instant, like love at first sight. But within a couple weeks of us talking, it was pretty apparent to me that ‘we’ve got something. I don’t know exactly what, but there’s definitely something here that we can make work.'”
The duo worked in NXT for two and a half years before being called up to the WWE main roster. Tucker was asked to describe the transition from one WWE brand to the next and he kept coming back to one term.
“Culture shock man, a culture shock,” Tucker said. “It’s a different world up there. I think for the first year, actually, I think we were doing very good. I think the situation kind of panned out the way it did and I feel like COVID had a big piece to do with that. The dominos kind of fell after that. But yeah man, I thought our first six months were pretty good. I thought we had a couple of good pay per view matches. We had a match with Daniel Bryan and Rowan that I thought was a quality, PPV worthy, twenty minute match. We wrestled at the next PPV after that, I think it was Extreme Rules, triple threat, with those two same guys and also New Day, I think it was E and Xavier Woods. I thought that one was good too.
“And then yeah. I was trying so hard during that time to pitch us as the Barbeque Guys too. I had aprons made up for us. Otis was going to wear a bikini apron and I had this straight up Heavy Machinery apron that I was like ‘we can sell this.’ For whatever reason we could never get it going. That was disappointing. I was thinking, this is how I pitched it anyway, APA style. Just like, ‘if we’re never on the show, we’ll just stand in the back and we’ll just barbeque. Just come interact with us. You’re not going to tell me you’re not going to get good stuff.’ So yeah. It was a culture shock going up. But like I said, I felt we were on a good roll.”
Tucker also discussed meeting with Vince McMahon and pitching him ideas like the barbeque one. Ultimately Tucker, who was released from WWE back in April, thinks timing and several other factors led to those ideas falling on deaf ears.
“We had some good meetings with Vince,” Tucker revealed. “We touched on some ideas and he seemed to like them. He seemed to like the barbeque idea. I think the timing was just, everything’s about timing there. We kind of pitched it and he really liked it, but it was right around the move to Fox, so I think there was a lot of other things going on and it kind of fell by the wayside. Maybe we were new enough that we didn’t understand enough to keep our foot on the pedals and like, which channels to keep pressing on. That was definitely one thing I learned but it was kind of too late, how the machine operates. That’s why I keep saying culture shock.
“It’s just so much bigger of a machine. It’s like whole buildings taken up. There’s like all these different apartments. And you’ve got to kind of like try to learn what everybody does and how to work with them and how to get them to help you and how to help make their job easier. So that was like, like when I say culture shock, there’s like three hundred and fifty people or something, when you count all the production people, that comes and goes. So imagine you’re the new guys walking into the building with four hundred people. They’re all meeting each other every week, doing this thing, and now you’ve got to try to assimilate into that, find your way in and meet everyone.”
Tucker continued, comparing the transition to the main roster to the one he had from amateur wrestling to NXT. He revealed how he had to change the way he looked at pro wrestling and had to figure out, on the fly, certain aspects of the business.
“To me, it felt the same as when I first came into NXT and people were throwing around terms like heat and shine and cut off,” Tucker said. “And I’m like ‘this is probably going to sound stupid guys, but when you say heat, I don’t know what you’re talking about. I need you to explain it to me further.’ The jargon of pro wrestling was a culture shock to me when I first came in to NXT. It was the same kind of way where I was like ‘man I didn’t consider how this was going to be difficult. And now I’ve got to figure it out.'”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit The OTR Show and provide a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription