Former WWE superstar Shane Thorne (also known as “Slapjack” during his time in the RETRIBUTION stable) recently caught up with Andrew Thompson Interviews to look back at his experience in WWE. Now that he’s a free agent, Thorne admits that he wishes he would have branched out a little more instead of being such a company man.
“I look back at it with pretty fond memories [his run in NXT]. I try to forget all the negative stuff because once you get stuck on the negative, you just get dragged into the dark side. Things that I would have liked [to do was stick] to my guns a little bit more, especially knowing now how thriving the pro wrestling world is. I’m like, damn, I really should’ve died on my sword more and been willing to, I don’t know, get fired over things.
“We were very — me and Mikey [Nicholls] made a career of ourselves before that by doing what the company wanted. We’re company men, we’re good workers, we’re good hands. We did — you ask us to do something, we’ll go do that better than what you think can be done and in Australia and Japan, that got rewarded in the right ways. I found that in NXT, they have ideas and you just go with it, and sometimes that can be a detriment because not all ideas are great ideas.
“We had been proven in Japan that as ourselves, we were good and we were successful. When you go there, they wanna have their hands on it a lot more. They want more control, which I’m like, you know what? A billion-dollar company, you gotta know what you’re doing, and so we let them. Some things I’m like, ‘Eh, I don’t know’ but I’m like, ‘Alright, we’ll do it. I’ll trust what you’re saying first’ and then obviously, I’m not a multi-time world champion millionaire, so it didn’t quite work out that way. You know, I’m doing fine.”
After being a part of the infamous RETRIBUTION stable in WWE, Thorne had ideas for the character he would transition into on the main roster. He notes that it would have had similarities to Crocodile Dundee and The Crocodile Hunter – two easily recognizable Australian characters. That way it would be easy to market to a mass audience like the WWE Universe.
“Yeah, I was trying more character-based stuff [with the Crocodile Dundee character]. A lot of my career, pretty much all of it, I’ve just wrestled as myself. So when I first went to SmackDown, I had singles gear and stuff like that and I’m like, ‘Alright, I’m just gonna be this guy who’s been in NXT before’ and now — I really wanted to do like a moment on RAW Talk or Talking Smack straight after we left RETRIBUTION, and I wanted to be like, ‘You don’t realize you’ve hit the bottom. And the way Ali treated us showed me that I was at the bottom, so I’m done with that darkness and I’m ready to be a more positive person.’
“I just wanted to be more positive about every situation that I was in, and yeah, being in RETRIBUTION got pretty rough by the end of it, and so, I’m like, I wanna leave that behind. And that’s kind of character reflecting real life, and I’m like, ‘I didn’t realize I was at the bottom and looking at Ali and how mad and angry he was was like looking into a mirror, and I didn’t like what I saw, so, you know, being away from him now on SmackDown is a fresh start for me and I’m ready to show the world.’
“Just put me on RAW Talk where I can just freeform say this and if you don’t like it, it’s only on YouTube, no one really cares. And then there were a lot of wrestler wrestlers out there like [Bryan] Danielson and Cesaro on SmackDown, so I’m like, I’ll just be a babyface who’s a good wrestler and we just put over I’m a good wrestler. I’ll go out there, have great matches, then go have some f*cking fun in the backstage, but that stuff just kept getting — not happening, so then I was looking at more, just any way to get on TV, man. Just any way to get my face on TV, and Nikki [A.S.H.] started doing her superhero thing and I know that was her idea and it was just to be more marketable and be more herself. A huge — I think one of the biggest markets in WWE is kids. Everyone always goes like, ‘Oh, it was better back in my day when I was younger.’ I’m like, yeah, that’s because you were younger. So there are kids who are that age now who probably think now’s product is the best and they’re gonna go, ‘Back in my day…’ So, that was my thought; just being something more marketable.”
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