As a guest on the latest WWE After the Bell Podcast, Rick Boogs joined the show to talk about where his interest in wrestling came from. The 33-year-old told a detailed story of how he became interested in the WWE, and even quit his job before the tryout to add more pressure on himself.
“I guess it would go back to college. I had a wrestling coach that wrestled at Oklahoma, and when he wrestled, he was roommates with Jack Swagger,” Boogs mentioned. “I was a thicker individual on the program. I was a heavyweight and he told me, ‘You should think about doing WWE. I’ve got a buddy who’s doing it and is really successful.’
“What do you do with amateur wrestling? You either go to the Olympics where you have to be the best in the world. And even if you’re the best in the world, how much money do you make after that? Olympic gold medalists are not getting rich unless you have amazing agents or something like that. I was thinking, well, maybe pursuing sports entertainment down the road but it was something that seemed far fetched.
“Fast forward: I graduated, I’m a strength coach for a couple years. I’m working in sales for a couple years. I hate that. I’m going back and forth. I feel like I’ve hit a dead end, that my ceiling is very low. I start uploading YouTube videos, breaking my back, trying to do the most absurd lifts, trying to somehow break through in a fitness niche or something like that. I would have blown my back out a thousand different ways and I’d cut promos and get very intense and psyched up. I started building a following, and people would say you should try out for WWE. I would see these messages over and over again, and eventually, it’s like, I should. I remember my college wrestling coach and am reaching out to him to see if I could get a tryout. There was Tough Enough in 2014. I told my wife I think I’m going to tryout for that, and she was pregnant at the time, so she wouldn’t let me.”
“I feel like I’ve hit this terrible point. I reach out to my old wrestling coach, one thing leads to another, I’m talking to Gerry Briscoe and getting a little tryout. When I thought the tryout [for WWE] was going to be in September, I quit my job. The reason I quit my job is because you’ve got to be all in, right? I wanted to have the pressure of either I do this or I’m unemployed and provide nothing for my family and I’m screwing the family over big time.
“I didn’t even know what to do. How to ever get ready for the tryout? All I knew was I was jobless and my family is hungry, right? Needless to say, I brought my A game. I didn’t gas out on any of the drills. We had a minute promo we had to cut. I didn’t prepare for it at all, I don’t know why.”
Boogs revealed that he suffered a nasty knee injury while in WWE Developmental which took him out of action for a year. The guitarist spoke about where the idea for his character came from and why he came up with the moustache and other things.
“I thought I was going to set the record, and in-fact, I did set the record. It was the record for the longest recovery. They didn’t clear me for over a year,” Boogs said. “I don’t know why, maybe there was no rush to get me back because I didn’t do anything yet. But it was hard, but I’m very thankful because all I could do was work on promo stuff, character stuff. I was doing three promo classes a week thinking of ways [to stand out]. A silly little moustache, a little pink headband, and growing all the hair out. Just little things.”
Boogs also spoke about letting his character loose and being more wild with it. The 33-year-old even revealed he had pitched a character to WWE named Art Von Boogs which was very similar to that of Dexter Lumis.
“I think that’s what it was, just taking the chains off,” Boogs said. “I’m just going to be wild. I was new with it all and I didn’t know how to approach it at first. Once I lost everything and had surgery and couldn’t train, it was like, maybe I’ll get released if I don’t become a character. What else can you do at that point? I figured I would go as big as I can with the character stuff. I was cutting wild promos, man. Art Von Boogs I pitched. I threw everything against the wall, every week I was coming up with something different.
“I was a painter, the overalls and the jean overalls all stems from Art Von Boogs. A French beret, I was really about my doodles. Kind of like Dexter Lumis, he does a sketch but I was kind of the same idea. When I’d cut promos, I would draw the promos, I would draw the opponents, I would draw anything. And it was crazy drawings. That’s the thing, anyone can draw. I would connect the dots, draw half man, half chicken. I would have it all come full circle and I would explain it. I loved the Art Von Boogs gimmick, but I think they thought it was a little too out there.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit WWE After the Bell with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.