I recently spoke with former WWE star Gabe Tuft, f.k.a. Tyler Reks. In the second part of the interview below, Reks talked about getting pushed down the ladder after the John Cena incident, wrestlers losing their pushes, the lack of long-term angles, if the creative team asks for their input, Triple H coming up with the Magic Mike gimmick and more.

Click here for the first part of the interview, where Tuft talked about breaking into the business, if he was ready for the main roster when he debuted, his first WrestleMania experience, his issues with John Cena, how Cena reacted, his Body Spartan fitness book and more.

Make sure to check back tomorrow for the third and final part of the interview, where Reks discussed quitting WWE in the midst of a push and the company's reaction, the schedule, transitioning from wrestling to starting his company, if he would return to WWE, if TNA would be an option and more.

You can check out Tuft's fitness website, Body Spartan, by clicking here. Tuft's digital marketing business, Local Marketing 2.0 is at LocalM2.com.

Wrestling INC: Did you notice anything change after the incident with John Cena (details)?

Tuft: It didn't really work out for me so well after that. I was doomed to Superstars and shortly thereafter it was done and I was demoted to NXT. [Curt] Hawkins was there too kinda sitting around and we were like "we need to team up."

Wrestling INC: When you notice that you're getting demoted or pushed down the card, are you told anything? Are you talked to about it, or is it just "well, this week you're losing in two minutes on Superstars?"

Tuft: You're not told anything, ever. When I walked out the door, I was just like, "I'm done." When the head of talent relations asked why, I said there were several problems and outlined them. They asked me to do an exit interview and I accepted and one of the things I said was the talent sits there clueless. You're told what you did, what your agent thought about your match. That's it. You don't know if you have heat, you don't know if you're demoted. If you're not booked, you're not told why. It's this super-secret thing and it's really clicky and it's like high school all over again except the teachers won't tell you what's going on.

Same thing in FCW - you got a little feedback but only if you really, really asked. After that I was told they were implementing monthly reviews with the talent. I was told they wanted to make sure their investments succeed, and I told them they were letting their investments rot.

Wrestling INC: It seems like this happens a lot and they blow the opportunity to push new guys. It's really to everyone's detriment.

Tuft: The only guys who get over are the guys who are already over, and that's the problem. When 'Taker started to make fewer appearances and Edge had to retire because of his neck people like me and Hawkins were thinking, "they better do something soon, cause when all these guys are gone, they'll have nobody left." That's the trend you see. You see guys like John [Cena] still on top and [Big] Show still on top. I know they're working to build guys like The Shield and [Roman] Reigns and Moxley [Dean Ambrose]. Had they started doing that a long time ago I think they'd be in a better position.

I think creative is really dropping the ball. I don't know if it's because of the production meetings they have where Vince changes everything last minute or they don't put a lot of effort in to it. It's not planned out more than a couple of weeks in advance. There are never any long-term angles any more. If I grew up on that I wouldn't have any long-term investment in the product, either.

Wrestling INC: Whenever I talk to people who have worked on the creative team, they seem to know what the problems are and the lack of long term vision. When they do take their time with a storyline and have a clear direction, it seems to get over big.

Tuft: I agree. I've heard the script for Raw is due Friday so Vince can read it over the weekend and make changes. I've talked to writers that don't know why they write a script because Vince just re-writes it in the production meeting anyway. By Monday morning it's 90% fresh, and he doesn't even read the script until the production meeting. That's why there's not a lot of foresight. If your team knows it's going to get shredded, I know I wouldn't have any motivation to be creative.

Wrestling INC: Did you ever work with creative at all to pitch ideas to how to get your character over? Did they ever ask for input?

Tuft: We were told by agents and team from FCW to talk to writers as much as possible, then we go to talk to them and they're not ever available because they're too busy doing TV. They gotta be there to do segments, at Gorilla to watch the segments, they're not accessible. So then we're told to write it down and get it to them. I pitched a truck load of ideas, I wrote essays and books on angles that would last. I asked Michael Hayes if he wanted long drawn out stuff, bullet points, and he told me just to do whatever I thought was best.

So I wrote this whole angle after I'd been taken off ECW and before I was being re-debuted for Bragging Rights 2010. I wrote a pitch about Reks being this crazy guy they found in an asylum, and there's a bunch of vignettes that I wrote out in great detail, and I end up talking to myself. I give that to them and I never heard anything. Lo and behold a few months later R-Truth comes out and starts talking to himself. I can only assume they took a portion of what I wrote and gave it to Truth. I love Ron [Killings] so I never had any hard feelings about that. I saw stuff like that happen. Why would I write something and I never get any input on it, even when I talk to Hayes about it directly. The only time we ever had help is when Hunter had an idea for us [the Magic Mike gimmick] and suddenly everyone was on board. He was telling us how to act, what to do, we went out and got dancing lessons, that's when everyone got on board. It's a crap shoot.

Wrestling INC: You always hear that acts have to get themselves over, then you see guys like yourself and Curt Hawkins who did the YouTube series. You see Zack Ryder who had the YouTube series and you get punished because you got over yourself and they didn't get you over.

Tuft: Oh yeah. It worked great for Zack and I'm convinced he's the reason Vince knows about YouTube and decided to turn to the internet. When Curt and I did the Midcard Mafia series we were pulled into Johnny's office and told that we're idiots because we're only catering to 2% of the audience. So when we made those cartoons, Johnny really thought that the internet audience was only 2%. To me that says that people who watch Raw don't use the internet or watch YouTube. That shows me how far behind they were. Yeah we got punished or it because we were snarky and made fun of some people we shouldn't have. We were stepping on heads trying something that we hadn't done before. With Zack, he got a great push out of it but I think he was just used and then they were done with him.

Wrestling INC: If WWE called you and offered you an office position and said "name five things you'd change about the company right now," what comes to mind?

Tuft: Number one would be foresight. Think beyond the next couple of weeks.

Number two, I'd say we grade our talent better. I say that carefully because I don't know what's changed since I left. The Performance Center is up and running, but if not much has changed then somebody needs to be grooming them when they're in NXT.

Three, when they are brought up to the main roster someone should be assigned to that talent to keep grooming them. Someone to say "what are your ideas? I have some ideas for you."

Four, monthly evaluations where you sit down with your agent and they tell you how you're doing. They tell you what you're good at, what you suck at, and what they want out of you.

Five, I'd say pay the guys better. It was getting crappy when I left, and the guys I've talked to now say it's beyond crappy. People assume you once you're on TV you make a load of money and drive Lamborghinis and stuff, and that's just not the case.

Here's a perfect example: I hate to spill my salary on the internet, but when I left I got a bump to $100,000 a year. But a third of it goes to road expenses. The only thing they pay for is your flight. You pay for your own hotel, and car, and food. Could you imagine trying to eat out five times a day? As a body guy, you have to maintain your physique and that means eating five times a day. Spending all your money trying to maintain that? Good luck. Then Uncle Sam takes 20%-30%. You guys do the math and see how much I walked away with, which was next to nothing. I was making more money fresh out of college as an engineer fresh out of college in an entry level position than being on TV. That's gotten worse from what I hear. They do a ton of tours, and some guys would be making $30,000-$40,000 in the day. I went to Europe and I think I brought home $5,000. Then there was one tour I flew overseas and did a ten day tour and made less than $2,000. I made less than $500 a show. The video games are getting worse - guys used to get paid up to $100,000 for being in the video game and now it's much, much less. The reading audience will think that's a lot of money, but when you're on the road it's not. We don't all have busses like John and Punk and Show. You're breaking your body to barely pay the bills.



Wrestling INC: You're in this Dorito's hopeful Super Bowl commercial. How'd that come about? (The commercial entry needs to have the most five-star ratings possible to win, you can view Reks' entry in the video above, and you can rate the video by clicking here.)

Tuft: A friend of my wife's is with a partner in Culture Pop films. They're also my client for digital marketing. We did a photoshoot and he said "Gabe, this is on me. I'm gonna call on you, I'll need you to retun the favor someday." I got a call and they said they were doing a commercial for Dorito's and needed me, and I said I'd be happy to do it. It was a lot of fun. There were a lot of endings. One has about 80,000 views. I think it has a chance to be in the top 3, and the top 2 will air during the Super Bowl. I think it'd be kind of cool to be in a commercial. I'm really stoked about that.

Click here for the first part of the interview, where Tuft talked about breaking into the business, if he was ready for the main roster when he debuted, his first WrestleMania experience, his issues with John Cena, how Cena reacted, his Body Spartan fitness book and more.

Make sure to check back tomorrow for the third and final part of the interview, where Reks discussed quitting WWE in the midst of a push and the company's reaction, the schedule, transitioning from wrestling to starting his company, if he would return to WWE, if TNA would be an option and more.

You can check out Tuft's fitness website, Body Spartan, by clicking here. Tuft's digital marketing business, Local Marketing 2.0 is at LocalM2.com.

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