Posts Tagged ‘cm punk’

WWE’s Paul Heyman: Punk vs. Lesnar Is ‘Worth the Price of Admission’

August 13, 2013

Paul Heyman (WWE)

I am the best wrester in the world. I’ve been the best ever since day one when I walked into this company. And I’ve been vilified and hated since that day because Paul Heyman saw something in me that nobody else wanted to admit. That’s right, I’m a Paul Heyman guy…you know who else was a Paul Heyman guy? Brock Lesnar.” CM Punk – June 27, 2011 – Monday Night Raw

This Sunday’s SummerSlam is being billed as “The Best vs. The Beast.” In one corner you have “The Best in the World” CM Punk and in the other you have “The Beast” Brock Lesnar. But it could have easily been called “The Battle of the Paul Heyman Guys.”

However, that isn’t nearly as catchy.

I spoke to the man in the middle of one of the most anticipated matches in SummerSlam history before Monday Night Raw and had a chance to ask him about his boys coming to blows, John Cena’s legacy,  Daniel Bryan’s future, and more…

Gordon Holmes (@gordonholmes): SummerSlam is a few short days away, we’ve got “The Best” vs. “The Beast.” What can we expect from this Sunday’s showdown?
Paul Heyman (@heymanhustle):  On Sunday, you can expect “The Beast” Brock Lesnar to prove that having Paul Heyman in his corner makes him “The Best in the World” over and above CM Punk’s claim to that accolade.
Holmes: But surely there was something you saw in CM Punk that made you want to partner with him.
Heyman: CM Punk and I together were the best in the world. We held the WWE Championship for 434 consecutive days, the longest WWE Title reign of the past 25 years. Think about that. Names like Hulk Hogan, Shawn Michaels, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, The Rock, The Undertaker, all first-ballot Hall of Famers, and yet none of them could hold the championship as long CM Punk and I together. Obviously I saw in CM Punk a sports entertainer that I could mold into being part of a combination with me as the absolute best act on the planet. But without me? He’s only half the equation and I have “The Beast” Brock Lesnar with me.
Holmes: From a physical standpoint, it doesn’t look so good for Mr. Punk. But, Punk’s been overcoming those kinds of odds his entire career. Does that concern you?
Heyman: It doesn’t concern me, but it’s certainly part of the equation. I didn’t pick CM Punk out of obscurity and turn him into the top box office attraction for WWE because his skills were without merit. He is, in my opinion, the most serious threat to Brock Lesnar’s reign of dominance in WWE today. The only problem for CM Punk is that Brock Lesnar has made a career out of obliterating those threats.

Holmes: Wrestlemania had to have been very special for you. You had Brock in a main event against HHH, you had Punk in a main event against The Undertaker, and it all took place in your backyard at MetLife Stadium. Now that we’ve got two of the “Paul Heyman Guys” going toe-to-toe at SummerSlam, where does this one rank for you?
Heyman: It’s huge. Nothing short of it. And probably even bigger than that adjective. It’s exhilarating for me because you have the most unique, the most gifted athlete in the history of the WWE, or UFC, or college athletics in Brock Lesnar, going against a wrestler who probably has more heart, more determination, and the ability to overcome the odds better than anybody else that I’ve ever come across in my entire career in CM Punk. It’s a fascinating match-up. It won’t be over in 30 seconds. This is going to be an all-night affair. There’s an old expression in the professional wrestling business; “This match will be worth the price of admission.” I humbly suggest that Brock Lesnar vs. CM Punk is worth the price of admission alone.
Holmes: Last Monday, an angry Brock Lesnar turns to you and says, “Paul, say something stupid.” How do you keep a straight face?
Heyman: He wanted me to say something stupid! Brock Lesnar is a man who thinks in a far different way than your average beast walking down the street. This is a once-in-a-lifetime athlete. Brock made his point, he told the world, “I, Brock Lesnar, am better than CM Punk.” So, what else is there for us to say?

Holmes: The WWE Title match at SummerSlam will be John Cena squaring off against Daniel Bryan. Daniel Bryan seems to have “Paul Heyman Guy” written all over him.
Heyman: I’m not done recruiting Daniel Bryan. I think Daniel Bryan is a fascinating performer who has put on arguably the most consistent string of best matches of the past year. The striking thing about Daniel Bryan is the best is yet to come with him. Daniel Bryan still has more to offer. And having seen footage of him dating back to when he was wrestling in VFW halls and very small arenas and high school gymnasiums, he still has so much more that the WWE Universe hasn’t seen. I’m admittedly, and I will confess to this, a huge fan of Daniel Bryan.
Holmes: Now on the other side of the ring you have John Cena, who I feel is criminally underrated as an in-ring performer. Anyone can have a good match with Shawn Michaels, but Cena’s been delivering the goods with a wide variety of talent for a long time.
Heyman: I think there’s a streak going involving John Cena that both the WWE Universe and the media have failed to pick up on. The glory days of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin lasted two, maybe two-and-a-half years. That was the peak of his run. He came back as General Manager, but day-to-day, going to every city, main eventing every Pay Per View, the focal point of Monday Night Raw…Steve Austin’s peak was two-and-a-half years. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s peak was along the same lines. John Cena has been the focal point of WWE since 2005. For eight and now going on nine years, John Cena has not only main evented all the Pay Per Views, been the major attraction on Raw. John Cena has gone to every city, main events all the live events, and yet he still makes all these media appearances, he’s done more Make-A-Wish Foundation visits than anybody in history…and he’s a tireless workhorse. And he shows up last Monday with his elbow…looking grotesquely…is that a word? His elbow was so messed up and yet he says, “Wrap me up, I’m going out there to perform because the people are counting on me.” There is a work ethic to John Cena that is to behold.
Holmes: So it’s safe to say you’ll have a seat at the curtain for the WWE Title match at SummerSlam.
Heyman: Oh absolutely. How could I not? I have a vested interest in whoever emerges as champion.
Holmes: Alright, hold the phone…is Brock Lesnar painting a target on the victor’s back?
Heyman: I did not reveal to you that it is Brock Lesnar. I only suggested that it is a Paul Heyman Guy that has his eye on the prize.

Holmes: Sunday we’ll see Kane vs. Bray Wyatt in a “Ring of Fire” match. Bray Wyatt seems like another guy you would have had a field day with in the ECW days.
Heyman: I’m very interested in seeing how Bray Wyatt is going to survive the wrath of Kane.
Holmes: What do you think of the way Bray and his buddies have been presented to the WWE Universe?
Heyman: It’s an emotional presentation, and it sets him apart from everyone else which means that Bray Wyatt will stand out. Whether it’s in WWE or UFC or Major League Baseball or the NBA or the NFL or television or movies…any genre that is star-driven has the need for unique personalities. And Bray Wyatt is as unique as they come.

Holmes: Another interesting match is Damien Sandow against Cody Rhodes. Here we’ve got two young guys that seem like they just need a little something extra to help them move up the card.
Heyman: I think Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow need each other to get to that next level. They have a most interesting dynamic with each other and against each other. And here they have the spotlight of a featured match at SummerSlam. Think of the names that have not been announced in a featured match at SummerSlam so far. I don’t know who The Shield is fighting. I don’t know who The Big Show is fighting. I don’t know who Mark Henry is fighting. I don’t know who Rob Van Dam is fighting. I don’t know who Randy Orton is fighting. These are huge, top-line attractions. And yet, I don’t know who these performers are going to be wrestling against. But, I know that it’ll be Damien Sandow vs. Cody Rhodes. They have an extraordinary opportunity here. If they can put on a match that steals the show, they will both move up the ladder together.

Holmes: Speaking of Rob Van Dam, it’s good to see him back with the WWE. He seems very motivated.
Heyman: I think anyone that has watched Rob Van Dam’s matches since he’s been back with WWE can clearly tell that he is motivated and determined to put on the best matches of his career.
Holmes: Without getting into too much detail, it’s been like night and day.
Heyman: I don’t mind getting into detail. I think TNA squandered the opportunity of exploiting the talents of Rob Van Dam. And I don’t think that’s a mistake the WWE is going to repeat.

Check back Thursday for a look at Paul Heyman’s career, his thoughts on the sports entertainment industry, and more.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

Watch “WWE: SummerSlam,” Sunday, August 18, 2013 at 8 pm ET on Pay Per View.

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WWE’s Dolph Ziggler on Concussion Costing Him the Title: ‘It Kills Me’

August 12, 2013

Dolph Ziggler (WWE)

Everyone’s always talking about “Wrestlemania Moments.” Dolph Ziggler did something a little bit different; he created one of the few “Night-After-Wrestlemania Moments.” In front of a raucous Monday Night Raw audience he cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase and took the World Heavyweight Championship from Alberto Del Rio. The crowd reaction was awesome. The moment was unforgettable.

The glory was sadly short-lived.

In an unfortunate twist of fate, Ziggler received a concussion in the days after his victory. His reign was put on hold and then promptly ended once he was able to return. From there he lost both his girlfriend AJ Lee and his muscle Big E. Langston. For someone who has been on the verge of super stardom for quite a while, it had to be deflating.

I spoke with the self-proclaimed “Show Off” at this year’s San Diego Comic Con and had a chance to ask him about his rough couple of months, the upcoming SummerSlam card, and his potential second career as a stand-up comedian…

Gordon Holmes (@gordonholmes): Alright, first thing’s first. What’s AJ’s deal?
Dolph Ziggler (@HEELZiggler): You’re telling me. I thought we were pretty tight, but it turns out that…I don’t know what her deal is. I thought I’d taken someone who was kinda cool, kinda into wrestling, kinda had my back and turns out you can’t take the crazy out of a chick no matter how long she can put it off for. And that’s happened to me many times in the past.
Holmes: That’s rough, because the crazy ones tend to be the most fun.
Ziggler: Exactly, you have to take the good with the bad.

Holmes: You cashed in your Money in the Bank briefcase the night after Wrestlemania and it looked like we were headed into this new era of Ziggler. Now here we are two months later, the title’s gone, AJ’s gone, Team Big-E and Zig-E is no more…
Ziggler: Again with that?
Holmes: Sorry. But to go from the heights of your title win, to so much change that seemed to be spurred by a freak occurrence like your concussion, it’s had to be like a rollercoaster.
Ziggler: It literally has. I’ve never heard a reaction in my entire life for anything like that cash in the Monday night after Wrestlemania. It blew my mind. And watching it back days and weeks later it put chills up my back. What a great crowd and what a perfect night to do it. And very soon after that I got kicked in the brain and taken out for a month and a half. It was actually a very scary time because after a couple of weeks I was starting to wonder if I’d ever come back. Luckily I passed all my tests, the headaches went away, and I came back into the title scene. But, thanks to my old teammates I am now out of the title scene.
Holmes: It seemed like you were being set up for a good long run. Have you come to terms with how quickly that was taken away?
Ziggler: No. I have not come to terms with that. I know the business and I love what I do. I go out there every night to not just steal the show but tell the best possible story I can, whether it’s in two minutes or twenty minutes. Sometimes I put it behind me that I once again had another title with absolutely zero defenses.  But, it kills me. And I know everybody works hard, all the Superstars want to be the best. And to be given these opportunities and to have some scenario play out…it’s part of the reason I don’t sleep at night, but it’s part of the reason that drives me to go out there.

Holmes: Now that you’re a fan favorite, for lack of a better term, will there be any tweaks to your act at all?
Ziggler: Honestly, you’ve got to be yourself, and you just tweak it a little. You change some psychological aspects of your character, but you’re still you. You still go out, you can still be cocky and have everybody cheer you because it’s a gray line these days. It’s reality based. I’m trying to be a version of myself out there. If I totally change and start smiling out there, and doing weird things that I normally wouldn’t do, the fans are going to see right through that.

Holmes: What are your thoughts on Daniel Bryan vs. John Cena at SummerSlam?
Ziggler: I hate Daniel Bryan and I hate John Cena.
Holmes: Equally?
Ziggler: Yes.
Holmes: Wow.
Ziggler: Well, I hate Cena more, but Daniel is just a genuinely nice guy and I hate that so much. But, in different ways as a student of a game and a fan, I see what John Cena brings and I see what Daniel Bryan brings. I’m curious to see if on the microphone if Daniel Bryan can hang with John Cena and if John Cena can roll around with Daniel Bryan. I’m actually really looking forward to the match even though I don’t like either of those guys.
Holmes: Who’s your winner?
Ziggler: Cena always wins, it seems. But in this case it might be such an emotional outcry from the fans that they could turn the tide. I’d like to see Daniel Bryan come out on top.

Holmes: What are your thoughts on CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar?
Ziggler: I’ve got to root for the smaller guy because that’s usually me. And we’ve seen Lesnar kill everybody, so I’ve got to say I want to see Punk beat him.

Holmes: You’re a funny guy. We talked about your old YouTube show, you said you were working on some stand-up material and were trying to do a few open mics. Any luck there?
Ziggler: Yeah, I got on two comedy shows in the last month and a half or so. Luckily enough, they went well. But they also made me focus on being VERY funny. It’s like wrestling, you have a match and whether everyone is applauding or not, you know what you have to do better next time. That’s what makes you better. I had very positive feedback. I love doing it. It was such a thrill going out there and I can’t wait to go back and rewrite and find the spots…it’s like telling a story in a promo or a match, you find the ups and downs, you find where to get them, and then you leave on a high note. You leave them wanting more.
Holmes: How many people were there?
Ziggler: The first one 60 or 70, the second one maybe 30-40.
Holmes: Now what’s scarier, wrestling in front of 80,000 or telling jokes in front of 80?
Ziggler: Depends on your timing. If you’re talking about this Wrestlemania it was the easiest thing, I had a blast. It was so fun feeding off of them. And my first stand-up in front of 70 people…I was shaking before going out there. (Laughs) Once I got out there and Andy Kindler was on the show there and I was midjoke and I saw him laughing and in my head I thought, “He’s laughing at something I just said, this is unreal!” I was very fortunate to have that start and I can’t wait to do more.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

Watch “WWE: Summerslam,” Sunday, August 18, 2013 at 8 pm ET on Pay Per View.

WWE Superstar The Miz Breaks Down SummerSlam’s Big Main Events

August 2, 2013

The Miz (WWE)

For the first time ever, WWE’s SummerSlam will have a host. And that host is…awesooooooome!

I spoke with the Miz at this year’s San Diego Comic Con. While there we discussed Summerslam’s two huge main events, we were interrupted by a WWE Hall of Famer, and we did our best to annoy Dolph Ziggler…

The Miz: (While holding a Miz Rumbler figure that was made especially for San Diego Comic Con) Look at this guy. Only ten thousand made. A limited edition.
Gordon Holmes: Uncanny. Is this your first Comic Con?
The Miz: No, I’ve been to Comic Con quite a bit. My favorite story from Comic Con is I was doing an autograph signing a couple of years ago and Transformers was huge that year. Everyone was dressed as Transformers. And I see this guy and I point him out to a kid and I say, “Oh look! It’s Optimus Prime!” And the kids says, “That’s not Optimus Prime, you idiot! That’s Voltron.” So, I was schooled by a five-year old.

Holmes: Comic Con is known for its extravagant cosplayers. Is there any particular character you’re hoping to see? Perhaps of the female persuasion?
The Miz: Oh man, I always liked Jessica Rabbit. I was a huge Roger Rabbit fan as a kid, and then growing up into a man I realized how lucky Roger Rabbit really was. I think a lot of people like Ariel as well.
Holmes: A bit of a Harley Quinn man myself.
Mick Foley: May I interject?
The Miz: Absolutely.
Foley:  This is Mick Foley, WWE Hall of Famer. Miz, I concur.
The Miz: Thank you!
Foley: After three rides of the Roger Rabbit ride at Disneyland I found that I had a very real crush on Jessica Rabbit. It happens.
The Miz: If only she was real.

Holmes: Speaking of life-like representations, we’re here at the Mattel booth, what’s it like the first time someone hands you an action figure that looks just like you?
The Miz: As a kid I had all the WWE action figures. You name it, I had it. I had a wrestling ring that I would fling them out of. And now that I have these amazing action figures that are so detailed and so great, it’s surreal. I have like 50 action figures, and I have each one of them. I show them off to my friends when they come to my house. Whenever they say something to me and I don’t have a comeback I say, “Do you have an action figure?”

Holmes: SummerSlam is shaping up to be a good one.
The Miz: SummerSlam is the biggest event of the summer. One thing’s for sure is people are going to be talking about the Miz. You’ve got Daniel Bryan vs. John Cena for the WWE Championship. That’s going to be something to remember.
Holmes: Who do you like in the Cena/Bryan match?
The Miz: I’ve been in the ring with both of them. I have trained Daniel Bryan, basically, to be the superstar he is today. If you watched NXT he was my rookie. I take full credit for all of his success. And John Cena I defeated at Wrestlemania 27 in the main event. One of my most memorable matches. I know that Cena doesn’t quit, he doesn’t tap out. One of Bryan’s main moves is a tap-out move. I’ve never seen Cena tap out of anything. So, I’ve got to lean toward the WWE Champion.
Holmes: That’s interesting as I’ve noticed you’ve made the switch to a tap-out hold in the figure-four leglock.
The Miz: All the superstars want to use that, but I’m the only one that can actually tap people out with it.

Note: At this point in the interview Dolph Ziggler wanders over to where we are speaking.

Holmes: I heard a rumor that Dolph Ziggler was interested in that hold.
The Miz: He wished that he could put on the figure-four leglock as good as I can and as fast as I can. It just so happens that nobody can. It’s just one of those things.
Foley: Miz, can I interject again?
The Miz: Absolutely.
Foley: This is 2013 WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley again, I believe I only tapped twice in my career, but if I could go back in time, I would’ve tapped almost instantly to Miz’s version of the figure-four leglock.
The Miz: Thank you very much, Mick! Not Dolph Ziggler, right? The Miz!
Foley: And without any shame whatsoever. There’s no shame in tapping to Miz’s figure four.
Holmes: Dolph Ziggler’s is like a scalpel. Yours is more like a chainsaw.
The Miz: Exactly! His is like a thumbnail and mine is like an axe.

Note: Having had enough of our antics, Dolph Ziggler stood and walked away.

Holmes: Who are you picking in the CM Punk/Lesnar match?
The Miz: I know how Punk is and Punk finds a way to win no matter how big a person is. He finds a way. He calls himself “The Best in the World.” Granted, every WWE Superstar will say that, but he believes that. Brock has something coming to him, but man, Brock is a beast. I’ve been in the ring with him and this guy has power like I’ve never seen before. He has been defeated before, so there’s a way. I think Punk can find that way.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

Watch “WWE: Summerslam,” Sunday, August 18, 2013 at 8 pm ET on Pay Per View.

WWE: Daniel Bryan’s Real-Life Love Life Could Effect SummerSlam Main Event

July 22, 2013

Daniel Bryan (WWE)

There are dozens of ways to determine a new number-one contender. Battle royales, tournaments, fatal four ways, you name it. But, the WWE recently went with an unorthodox method that produced one of the most heartwarming television segments they’ve put together in quite some time…

They let the fans decide.

With a sea of challengers to choose from, the WWE Universe let champ John Cena know that they wanted the coveted SummerSlam title match to go to unlikely hero Daniel Bryan. When Cena gave the nod to the bearded Bryan, the reaction was deafening.

I had a chance to talk to the master of the “Yes” lock a few days later at the 2013 San Diego Comic Con. While surrounded by Stormtroopers, zombies, and other costumed characters we talked about the upcoming SummerSlam main event, CM Punk’s date with Brock Lesnar, and whether or not his love life will be a factor in the biggest match of his career…

Gordon Holmes: A year ago you told me that your career aspiration is to be where John Cena is. Now twelve months later you’re slated to go toe-to-toe with Cena for the WWE Championship at one of the biggest shows of the year. How did we get here?
Daniel Bryan: (Laughs) I don’t know. It’s really surreal because I shouldn’t really be here. I was doing a comedy thing with Kane and then for some reason in the last several months…it’s changed. I don’t know if the fans changed, if I’ve changed.  I’ve been popular for the last year, but in the last several months it’s been crazy. I don’t understand how it happens.
Holmes: I feel like sometimes the company wants somebody to succeed and sometimes the fans decide who they want to succeed. This feels like a win for the fans.
Bryan: Yeah, and it’s strange because I don’t know how that connection was made, but there’s a definite connection between me and the fans. It makes me smile every time my music hits and you hear that reaction. I look out and see everyone “Yes-ing.” And even here at Comic Con, people say, “We feel such a connection with you.” I feel it too. It’s almost like I’m one of them. I’m just a big, giant fan who just happens to wear spandex.

Holmes: I think part of what put you over the top was this thing you’ve started to do where you’ll just turn on this mind-blowing wave of offense. It’s almost like you have another gear you shift into. Do you have a name for that?
Bryan: I don’t, I just want to make things exciting. Some writers say they don’t know where their inspiration comes from. Stephen King is someone who says he just writes and lets the process do it for him. For wrestling, that’s the thing. I do what hits me and that’s what happens. (Laughs) I don’t know how to describe it.

Holmes: It’s not an understatement to say that this match at SummerSlam is easily the biggest in your career to this point.
Bryan: Absolutely.
Holmes: For the WWE Championship against the biggest name of this generation in the main event of a major show…do you approach it differently? Are there nerves? Walk me through the process.
Bryan: I’m not nervous at all. I’m very prepared for this. I’ve been wrestling almost fourteen years now. There have been matches where I’ve felt the pressures of expectations, and I know there are a lot of expectations going into this match. But I have no doubt in my mind that I’ll be able to live up to that. I’m really excited.

Holmes: Nothing has been announced yet, but I’m hoping to see CM Punk and Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam. Any thoughts on that one?
Bryan: I think it’s going to be awesome. Those are the kinds of matches I wanted to see when Brock Lesnar came back. I want to see matches with Punk, I’d like to wrestle Brock Lesnar because I think it’d be a different kind of match. I’m excited for it, it’s hard to bet against Brock Lesnar. When he beat up Punk on Monday it was pretty intense. But, I’m always rooting for Punk. Me and him are cut from the same cloth.

(Editor’s Note: Daniel Bryan is currently dating WWE Diva Brie Bella. John Cena is currently dating her twin sister, WWE Diva Nikki Bella.)

Holmes: Now, not to jump into your personal life, but I heard a rumor that your girlfriend looks an awful lot like John Cena’s girlfriend.
Bryan: (Laughs) Yeah, yeah.
Holmes: Is that accurate?
Bryan: That is accurate. And it’s funny because “Total Divas” (the Bellas’ new reality show) starts on July 28th and people will be able to start to see that before SummerSlam. I’ll be interested to see if WWE tries to wrap that in somehow.
Holmes: Are you worried at all that this match could drive a wedge between two sisters who get along so well?
Bryan: (Laughs) Well, if you knew them you wouldn’t think that they got along so well. They’re twins! They get into it a little bit.
Holmes: Either way, one twin will have bragging rights when it’s all said and done.
Bryan: Yeah, potentially.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

Watch the premiere of “Total Divas,” Sunday, July 28, 2013 at 10 pm ET on E!

Watch “WWE: Summerslam,” Sunday, August 18, 2013 at 8 pm ET on Pay Per View.

WWE’s Randy Orton on ’12 Rounds: Reloaded’ and WWE: ‘Payback’

June 5, 2013

Randy Orton (WWE)

Normally the voices Randy Orton hears are in his head. They talk to him, they understand. They tell him to punish his opponents with RKOs, punts to the head, and whatever he calls that awesome ropes-assisted DDT thing he does.

However, in his new movie “12 Rounds: Reloaded,” the voice Randy hears is over the phone. It tells him he has to complete a series of twelve dangerous tasks or something terrible will happen to the woman he loves.

I spoke with “The Viper” the afternoon of the release of his new movie and had a chance to ask about the learning curve that comes with your own starring vehicle, the match he’s looking forward to at Payback, and which WWE Superstar looks like Sloth from “The Goonies”…

Gordon Holmes: Randy Orton…third-generation star…the Viper…the youngest WWE champion ever…and now the baddest EMT of all time.
Randy Orton: (Laughs) It’s very exciting for me. It’s been a long couple of months here, the editing process takes forever. But, we’re finally here. It’s my first time doing anything like this. I’m anxious for what the WWE Universe and action fans in general are going to think.

Watch “12 Rounds: Reloaded” on XFINITY On Demand.

Holmes: As a sports entertainer, you’re used to telling stories. But, they always say the best characters are you with the volume turned up. This time, you’re stepping into someone else’s shoes. You’re Nick, an ordinary EMT who’s thrown into an extraordinary situation. How different was this process for you?
Orton: There are a lot of similarities, there are also a lot of ways you can contrast. I’m used to being on camera. I’ve been on camera for 13 years now with the WWE. Live television is stressful, it’s tricky, you’ve got to hit your cues. The biggest difference is that level of stress is non-existent on a movie set. For me, it was a little nerve-wracking at first because I was new to that world. But, I felt at home real quick. The actors, everyone from make-up to wardrobe to the director, they were all great. And they knew that this was my first time doing this, so they were there to help.
Holmes: A lot of guys have been making the transition from the ring to the big screen. The Rock, John Cena, Ted DiBiase, The Miz…any of them offer any advice?
Orton: Yeah, I had my script, this was a couple of months before we started shooting, and there were questions I had. I talked to Cena because he’s done more movies than anyone I know. Some of the questions I had were to do with the script, and the sides, wanting to know what to expect. I thought I had to memorize the entire script. I didn’t know. I thought you had to be ready to do any scene at time. So Cena was able to point me in the right direction. They can shoot in any order. He warned me that they can shoot any scene at any time, so you have to remember your state of mind. You could shoot one scene, but the scene that follows it you won’t shoot for another couple of weeks. You have to remember what your motivation is, what your tone is. That continuity really matters.

 

Holmes: The Randy Orton we get to see on TV, he’s a bit of cold-blooded killer. He doesn’t joke around like a Cena or a Sheamus. But, Nick gets to tell a few jokes, he gets to say a few four-letter words. Was it nice to get to explore that space a little?
Orton: Yeah, I’m one of the guys in the locker room that misses the times when we used to be a little more risqué. So, making a rated-R movie was (Laughs) definitely something that appealed to me. There’s nudity, there’s a little bit of everything. Not to mention violence and profanity. It’s rated R, so that’s what you get.

Holmes: I was going over your bio before this and it blew my mind that you’ve been a major part of the WWE roster for over ten years now.
Orton: Yeah.
Holmes: You can’t wrestle forever. Is acting something you could see yourself transitioning into or are you WWE for life?
Orton: I wouldn’t say I’m WWE for life, I’d say my near future will consist of me primarily being in the ring. Wrestling is my first love. The movie was fun, but the schedule was grueling because I had to fly off on my off days to film. Eight weeks went by and I had three days off. If I do the movie thing, I’ll be sure that I’m only doing the movie so I can concentrate on it. (Laughs) I think I’d be more sane that way.

Holmes: Do you know what you’ll be doing for the next Pay Per View, Payback?
Orton: Well, I don’t know what I’ll be doing, but I can guarantee that I’ll be a part of it.
Holmes: I’d hope so, your face is all over the literature.
Orton: (Laughs) One thing’s for sure, it’s in Chicago and that Allstate Arena is one of the best places to have a fight in. That crowd is awesome. CM Punk being a Chicago native, he’s going against (Chris) Jericho. That should be interesting. That’s a rematch from a few Wrestlemanias ago. They had a good one then. So, that should probably be the marque match. But Payback will definitely be a good production you won’t want to miss.

Holmes: How’re you feeling about Cena vs. Ryback in the Three Stages of Hell match?
Orton: I’m impressed with Ryback, that’s for sure. Skip Sheffield of the days of old, he’s come a long way. It’s a cool story, there was a point a couple of years ago, he’d had such a bad injury that doctors told him he wouldn’t be able to wrestle again. Now he’s jacked and looks like Sloth from the “Goonies.”
Holmes: Great, now I won’t be able to unsee that. Thanks.
Orton: (Laughs) No problem.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

Watch “12 Rounds: Reloaded” on XFINITY On Demand.

Watch “WWE: Payback” on Sunday, June 16, 2013 at 8pm ET on Pay Per View.

WWE Superstar Dolph Ziggler Breaks Down Wrestlemania’s Top Matches

April 4, 2013

Dolph Ziggler (WWE)

Quick Note: Wrestlemania season is heating up and XFINITY has you covered! We’re going to have interviews and insights from top WWE Superstars, on-location tidbits from Wrestlemania weekend, and more. Order Wrestlemania here. And be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute details.

There isn’t a physical “Road to Wrestlemania.” But if there was, the next sign would read “This Exit: MetLife Stadium.”

With the industry’s biggest show just a few short days away, I had a chance to chat with Mr. Money in the Bank, Dolph Ziggler, to get his thoughts on the evening’s top matches…

Gordon Holmes: Alright, let’s start this off with the most important match; Zig-E and Big E vs. Team Hell No for the WWE Tag Team Titles…
Dolph Ziggler: You’re really trying to get that to catch on. (Laughs)
Holmes: I’m still trying to make “fetch” happen. Now, whenever I see one of my girlfriend’s ex-boyfriends, they tend to be smarter and better looking than me and I get depressed. Is it weird to face off against two of AJ’s exes in Kane and Daniel Bryan?
Ziggler: It’s only weird if you make it weird. But me, realizing that I’m pretty much the trophy that I am compared to a little garden gnome guy and a deranged monster, either way I think I have the upper hand here. Those guys are really good performers, but I’m known for being one of the best. And when it comes down to that Wrestlemania match, I won’t be thinking if it’s uncomfortable, I’m going to be thinking about doing whatever I can to steal the show and show off to AJ that she made the right choice.
Holmes: Have you had any conversations with Big E about the difference between Wrestlemania and smaller events? Any concerns about nerves?
Ziggler: Of course there is, and honestly even for me, I’ve been around and been at Wrestlemanias and been in front of 70,000 people, it’s not something you can prepare for. The last couple of weekends I’ve been sitting him down and having some good talks with him. This is a big deal just to be on this card. There are a lot of deserving Superstars who aren’t going to be on this Wrestlemania. I feel like I should always be in the main event, but I am excited and happy to be in a match. Just to be there is a big step. Now I have to get it into his head that you don’t want to freeze up, you don’t want to freak out. It all comes down to having me as a mentor for him, and he’s been listening.  I think he’s going to be great out there.

Holmes: What is your take on The Rock vs. John Cena for the WWE Championship?
Ziggler: I hope all the fans boo them out of the freaking building.
Holmes: (Laughs)
Ziggler: I don’t want the cheers and the boos. I hope it’s 90% boos letting them know that this “Once in a Lifetime” match is happening again and that I or someone else should be the main event. But, that’s the great thing about the WWE Universe. They get to voice their opinions, they get to show their signs. And whether they like something or hate it, you’re going to hear about it. I’m excited to hear it.
Holmes: So when the “We want Ziggler” chant breaks out, it’s not going to break your heart.
Ziggler: No, I’m used to it. Especially in New York.
Holmes: What’s your take on the new championship belt design?
Ziggler: I think it’s pretty cool. For a long time people wanted to get rid of that Cena-recognized belt. As a championship I think it looks pretty cool. Like I try to do myself, I think it mixes a little bit of old school with a little bit of shiny bling. It gives you the best of both worlds.
Holmes: Have you had any interactions with The Rock since he’s been back?
Ziggler: We’ve had a couple of quick talks here and there. He’s usually pretty busy just like all of us when he gets here. He’s been pretty cool about everything. And it was pretty neat, he told me he liked my work which is a pretty cool deal because you know he’s watching the shows when he’s traveling. Like I said, having him back, it makes me a little mad. But, I love the business sense of it, having him come back and getting the crowd behind him. When he’s promoting movies, we’re holding down the fort, waiting for him to come back.

Holmes: Triple H is putting his career on the line against Brock Lesnar in a career-ending match. Who do you like there?
Ziggler: I don’t know. Brock is a legitimate UFC guy who has beaten the crap out of some pretty tough fighters and I think Triple H was lucky to get out of it alive last time. But, Triple H is obviously motivated, his career is on the line and that’s a huge deal. But, he’s also an office guy, so he always has that as a backup. I don’t know if Brock has any other plans but to go out there and destroy opponents. I’m assuming Brock will come out on top of this one.

Holmes: Undertaker vs. CM Punk…does the streak continue or does Punk prove he’s the “best in the world”?
Ziggler: You know what? That streak is one of the biggest, majestic pieces of what makes Wrestlemania, Wrestlemania. Every year you start to question it, and as we get closer to the match you think maybe this new guy, this young kid, is he angry enough, is he going to be the one to break the streak? And you never know if it’s going to go to 30-0 or end at 20-1. That’s the awesome intrigue and that’s one of the matches I’m looking forward to watching. If CM Punk were to win, that’s bigger history than anything else that happens on that entire card.
Holmes: Is that how it’s viewed now? The streak is more important than the championships?
Ziggler: Yeah. Honestly, it’s such a staple of the Wrestlemania Pay Per View. It’s such a big deal that I wonder if you were to ask someone like me, “Do you want to face Cena for the title or take a crack at the streak?” I might lean toward the streak because Cena’s been champ a bunch of times, Punk held it for over a year, but that’s twenty one years there. It’s such a big deal that it’s bigger than the championship in some sense. To me it would be.

Holmes: This match might have your attention; Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger for the World Heavyweight Championship.
Ziggler: I could care less, I hope they beat the crap out of each other and whoever is left gets laid out by the other one. I’ll be walking down the aisle and stealing the show with my cash in.
Holmes: I thought that was going to be a big secret, I was going to try to get you to confess that that was your plan. They knock each other cold, then cue Ziggler’s music.
Ziggler: You know, I’ve seen it before where it wasn’t exactly quite how I wanted it yet, so I can’t guarantee that’s going to happen. Cause when I cash this in, I’m not cashing it in to maybe win. It’s going to happen. So, somebody has to be out pretty cold for me to get back in there.
Holmes: Clearly you’re leaving Wrestlemania with two belts. And some guys will wear one around their waist and have the other over their shoulder, or both over their shoulders. Have you given much thought as to how you’re going to do it?
Ziggler: I honestly haven’t. Sometimes I’m old-school tradition. I like when the champion wears the title around his waist, so maybe both around the waist. But, I’d really hate to cover up these abs for all the girls that watch the show for me.
Holmes: I don’t have that problem, so I never would’ve thought of that. What if you snapped them behind your neck and wore them draped over your shoulders like a boxer would?
Ziggler: Oh…that’s very interesting. How about one facing the front, one facing back, I do my entrance facing out. That might work too.
Holmes: The clock is ticking, you need to figure this out and fast.
Ziggler: It’s not on the top of my list, but I’ll give it some consideration.
Holmes: I don’t mean to stress you out.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

Don’t miss WWE Wrestlemania, Sunday April 7, 2013 at 7 pm ET on Pay Per View.

WWE Superstar Chris Jericho to Step Back into the Elimination Chamber

February 15, 2013

Chris Jericho (AP)

As the number one entrant into the 2013 Royal Rumble, Dolph Ziggler had to know the odds were against him. However, that didn’t stop the self-proclaimed show off from letting everyone know that he intended to go wire-to-wire and win a trip to Wrestlemania XXIX.

The unwritten rules of pro wrestling say that the man who drew number two had to be someone that Dolph had an issue with. You could see it before it happened; someone’s music would hit, Dolph’s face would go from a smug smile to a horrified frown, and then it would be on. But who would it be? Dolph had been feuding with John Cena. He’d had a ton of great matches with Randy Orton. And, he’d been giving Sheamus grief lately.

Much to the delight of the fans in attendance, it ended up being the man Dolph had gotten fired five months earlier, Chris Jericho. And the reaction he got was one of the biggest of his storied career.

I spoke with the “Ayatollah of Rock and Rolla” in the days leading up to the Elimination Chamber Pay Per View. We had a chance to talk about his ability to come and go from the WWE, his big match this Sunday, and what the guys on the undercard can do to get to the main event.

NOTE: This is the first part of a two-part interview. In the near future we’ll be talking to Jericho about his exciting new “Robot Combat League.” Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news and info.

Order WWE: Elimination Chamber

Gordon Holmes: You’re stepping back into the intimidating Elimination Chamber this weekend. But, this is nothing new to you, you were in the very first one in 2002. What was it like that first time at Madison Square Garden?
Chris Jericho: Well, it’s funny because when they first unveiled that, nobody had seen it before. We were trying to put on the best match we could in something that had never existed until that day. So, it’s very unforgiving. The floor is hard, the walls are hard, the pods are hard. If you’re in a ring there’s a little bit of give. The Elimination Chamber has no give. It’s almost like diving into a cold lake the first time you take a fall in there, it’s almost like “Oh my God, is it cold in there!” So, it’s a really strange contraption.  There’s a different kind of art to it.
Holmes: As the guy who’s been in more Elimination Chambers than anyone else in the history of the WWE do you have any advice for someone who’s stepping in for the first time?
Jericho: The only advice I have is that it hurts. (Laughs)

Holmes: What do you think we can expect from CM Punk vs. The Rock round two?
Jericho: It should be good. Punk’s at his peak. He’s the best performer in the company right now. It should be a fun match to watch.
Holmes: You’re someone who has taken some hiatuses from the business. Is ring rust a real issue someone like the Rock is going to have to deal with?
Jericho: Of course you have ring rust. Anyone that leaves and comes back for one match a year is going to have ring rust. That doesn’t mean you’re not going to perform at the highest level. But, that’s the same for anybody. You always have to get back into the groove again, but the Rock is more than capable of dealing with it. He’s one of the best ever.

Holmes: You kind of have a sweet deal going with the WWE. It used to be back when there was more competition, if you were burnt out with one audience, say with the WWE, you could move on to the NWA, the AWA, or World Class. That doesn’t really exist now. But, you’ve kind of created your own territory system where you can do your music with Fozzy or go do TV shows like “Robot Combat League.”
Jericho: I’ve been doing wrestling for 22 years. But, I’ve never considered myself to be a wrestler. I consider myself to be an entertainer. I’m in show business. I’ve always built my career this way. And in this day and age, you have to brand yourself. It’s not about being an actor, being a rapper, being a vodka salesman. It’s about doing a little of all of that. It’s about creating a brand and that’s what I wanted to do with Chris Jericho. I do love wrestling, and I do love Fozzy. I love the opportunities I’ve been getting with “Robot Combat League,” “Downfall,” “Dancing with the Stars”, and the movies I’ve done. I don’t want to do wrestling forever, but I do what to be entertaining forever.

Holmes: Your last biography “Undisputed” had a lot to do with your debut in the WWE and the problems you had climbing up to the main event level. Obviously, that story had a happy ending. We’re heading into Wrestlemania season and it looks like we’re going to see a show headlined by John Cena, The Rock, Brock Lesnar, hopefully yourself. My question here is; what do the midcard guys, the guys like Kofi Kingston who are popular and talented need to do to break through the glass ceiling?
Jericho: You’ve just got to take a chance, man. Do something different and change it up. I don’t know what a glass ceiling is. Some people get more chances than others, but you’ve got to make your opportunities. If I lived under the threat of the glass ceiling I wouldn’t be talking to you right now. When I felt like I was doing my best work I’d make a chance and do something different. Be a little radical. You can’t be the same person every week for 52 weeks a year and expect people to not get complacent.  So, I’d change it up. I’d completely reinvent myself.
Holmes: That’s a good point. You, Cena, the Undertaker, HHH, you’ve all gone through some pretty significant changes over your careers.
Jericho: I wanted to be the Madonna of wrestling. And what I mean by that is she always changed her image. She always looked different every record. Her sound always changed. It was still Madonna, but she’d put elements of flamenco guitars or dubstep or rap or whatever’s hot at the time. She’d weave that into her music. And I wanted to do that within my career. Always keep people never knowing what to expect. When they know that you’re always taking chances, that keeps them excited to continue following you. It’s like the Beatles, that’s why the Beatles are the best band of all time. They never did the same thing twice, but they always remained the Beatles. That’s what I want to be.
Holmes: Oh man, my girlfriend liked you. Then you said the Beatles are the best band of all time and now I’m pretty sure she loves you.
Jericho: (Laughs) She loves me yeah yeah yeah.

Don’t miss WWE: Elimination Chamber this Sunday, February 17, 2013 at 8 p.m. ET on Pay Per View.

Don’t miss the premiere of Chris Jericho’s “Robot Combat League,” Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at 10 p.m. ET on Syfy.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

WWE Superstar The Miz Is Ready to (Royal) Rumble This Sunday

January 24, 2013

The Miz (WWE)

Every teenager who puts on pancake makeup in their high school production of “Oklahoma” dreams of Broadway. Every youngster who hits a seeing-eye single in little league dreams of the World Series. And, every kid who plops a toy championship belt over their shoulder dreams of Wrestlemania.

There are two differences between those people and The Miz. The Miz did it in front of everyone on MTV’s “The Real World” and he made his Wrestlemania dreams a reality. And if the aaaaawesome one has his way, this Sunday’s Royal Rumble will be his ticket back to sports entertainment’s grandest stage.

I spoke with the WWE’s “Must-See” Superstar in the days leading up to the Royal Rumble and had a chance to learn about his new relationship with Ric Flair, his picks and strategies for this Sunday’s show, and how he went from underdog to top dog…

Order WWE: Royal Rumble Today

Gordon Holmes: Good morning, Miz. How’s it going?
The Miz: I’m in Los Angeles, California getting ready for the Royal Rumble.
Holmes: Los Angeles? I’m in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania freezing my butt off.
The Miz: It’s 75 and sunny here, so I’m feeling pretty great about myself. I might go take a swim in my pool.
Holmes: You are the worst human being in the whole world.
The Miz: (Laughs)  I am.
Holmes: Not only that, but I was on hold and I expected the WWE’s conference call system to have some kind of cool Superstar theme music. Instead it was a weird muzak.
The Miz: Really? When they put me on hold for you it’s always some kind of WWE entrance theme.
Holmes: That’s unfair.
The Miz: I had to sit through Alicia Fox’s entrance music.
Holmes: Well, this leads to an important question, I didn’t want to lead off with it, but do you have the best entrance music?
The Miz: I will say I have one of the best entrance themes in all of WWE. I won’t say the best of all time because my favorite is The Brood. They didn’t even have words, and they didn’t need words. They had the best entrance as well coming up through the fire was just awesome.
Holmes: Nobody’s using that right now, can you swipe that entrance for Wrestlemania?
The Miz: Nope, that’s theirs. I’ll let them keep it. I’ll keep my marshmallow blow-up “Awesome.”
Holmes: Don’t bash the “Awesome” bounce house. That was cool.
The Miz: My friends all made fun of me when I first got them. They said, “Everyone gets this cool pyro. The Undertaker has the lights go out and fog. Then you come out with these blow-up marshmallows. Congratulations, you’ve really made it.” I’m like, “Thanks, guys. Thanks, buddies.”
Holmes: The “Awesome” balloons aren’t free. Someone put some money and thought into it.
The Miz: Right? Kids love it.

Holmes: Alright, this Sunday at the Royal Rumble, correct me if I’m wrong, but this is what I assume is going to happen; The Miz defeats Antonio Cesaro for the WWE United States Championship in the Internet show, then goes on to win the 30-man Royal Rumble.
The Miz: That’s exactly what I’m going to do. This is what’s going to happen, the pre-show I’m going to take the United States Championship from Antonio Cesaro, making it the most-watched pre-show ever. Then I’m going to go on to the Royal Rumble, and it’s going to be the most talked about Royal Rumble in WWE history as well because I’m going to win as the United States Champion. Then I’m going to go on to main event Wrestlemania and it’s going to be the most-watched Wrestlemania, not because of the Rock, not because of whoever else, not CM Punk, not John Cena, but The Miz. I’m going to be a multi-champion. It’s going to be awesome.
Holmes: This isn’t your first Rumble. What kind of things do you do to prepare yourself?
The Miz: A lot of cardio. Running, jump rope, any kind of thing that gets your heart going really fast. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. I was in that ring for 45 minutes last year. I was the first entrant, which is the unluckiest number out of them all. Not only does it take cardio, but it takes luck, it takes ability, it takes strength. One unlucky thing, one slip and you’re done. The best thing you can do is stay under the radar and hope nobody comes after you. If you’re Ryback or John Cena and you’re the favorite to win, guess who everyone is targeting?

Holmes: As the Royal Rumble winner you get to choose which champion you face. Have you given thought as to who you’re going to target?
The Miz: At this point, you never know who’s going to be the champion at the time. You’ve got CM Punk going against the Rock at the Royal Rumble. And, if the Shield is involved in this match, CM Punk will get striped of the title. That’ll be interesting to watch on its own. Then you have the World Heavyweight Championship where it’s the Big Show versus Alberto Del Rio, nobody wants to go up against a seven-foot tall, 450-pound man at Wrestlemania in the main event. So, it all depends on who’s going to be the champion at the time.
Holmes: You’re one of only three guys that has had a recent match with the Rock and CM Punk. Who do you like in that bout?
The Miz: Here’s the way I look at it; if I win the Royal Rumble, CM Punk…
Holmes: Whoa…if you win the Rumble?
The Miz: When I win the Royal Rumble I will have the choice between the WWE Championship and the World Heavyweight Championship. So, you look at it and you go, CM Punk vs. the Rock. CM Punk has held the title for 400-something days. He’s a proven champion and he’ll do whatever it takes to win that title at all costs. Then you have the Rock coming back, hasn’t been in the ring in almost a year now. CM Punk has been defending the championship for the past year. He’s crisp, he’s in his prime. The Rock might have a little ring rust. But, I want the Rock to win. The Rock is the reason I wanted to become a WWE Superstar. I would like to face the Rock in the main event of Wrestlemania, beat him, then solidify myself as the most must-see WWE Superstar of all time.
Holmes: You wrestled the Rock in his first match back at the 2011 Survivor Series. Was there any ring rust? Has he missed a step?
The Miz: Not that day. You heard the sold-out Madison Square Garden chanting at him, “You’ve still got it.” He definitely still had it then, but remember, that was a year and a half ago. A lot of things happen in a year and a half.  Obviously, he’s training and getting ready, but it’ll be interesting to see what happens.

Holmes: Alright, true confession time. A lot of people, and I include myself in this, were rooting against you. By that I mean, here’s this kid who gets some fame from “The Real World.” He wants to be a WWE Superstar, but does he appreciate what it really takes to make it? A lot of people would use that modicum of notoriety to get their foot in the door, but then wouldn’t have the work ethic to do anything beyond that. So, add me to the list of people who were wrong about you.
The Miz: Oh! Are you one of the naysayers?
Holmes: Yes, I was one to say “nay.” Did we help drive you?
The Miz: My entire life it’s been like, “You can’t do this, you can’t do that.” And, those are the people that motivated me to be the person I am today.  When I was trying out for “The Real World” people told me I wouldn’t make it because there’s 40,000 people trying out. What makes me stand out? And once I started trying out and they saw me be successful, all my friends tried out the next year. And when I tried to be a WWE Superstar there was, “You’re not big enough. You’re not athletic enough. There’s no way.” And, I went in and said, “Yes I am.” And once I got to the WWE, people said, “You’re never going to be a success. You’ll be fired in three months.” Everyone wanted me gone. I was kicked out of the locker room, everyone hated me. But I kept a positive head on my shoulders and kept working hard. Harder than everyone else. Anytime there was media, interviews, I was on it. I wanted it more than everyone else. That’s my workman’s mentality and it worked in the end.
Holmes: The confession I just gave you, have you heard similar confessions from other people in the industry?
The Miz: I don’t think people like to confess that kind of thing. Most people like to be right.
Holmes: I like to be right too, but I can admit when I was wrong.
The Miz: I guess the only one that comes to mind was when I was on “The Real World,” I asked an executive producer, “Why did you pick me?” And he said, “I didn’t pick you. I was outvoted. I thought you were a buckethead. I couldn’t stand you.” He called me a buckethead!
Holmes: I was going to say, “What’s a buckethead?”
The Miz: He said I was a buckethead. But he said, “As the season progressed, not only did I like you, but you became my favorite. So, I was proven wrong.”

Holmes: You’re starting to be cheered now.
The Miz: It’s weird, isn’t it?
Holmes: It is weird. Have you had to make any tweaks in this new role?
The Miz: I’d say it’s the same exact role I’ve played my entire career. I’m still the cocky, arrogant, egotistical Superstar. Now, I’m just their cocky, egotistical Superstar. I’m the guy who calls it like it is. Have I changed at all? No. It’s just the people that are coming up to me now are the people that most people hate. I’ve always been a person that what you give to me, I will give you right back. So, if you boo me? Guess what? I’m going to make you boo me even more. If you cheer me I’m going to try to make you cheer for me even more.

Holmes: You’re starring in a movie, “The Marine 3: Homefront.” Now, you’re the Marine and some guys have got your niece?
The Miz: My sister.
Holmes: Gotcha. My question is; why do these guys keep messing with these Marines?!
The Miz: (Laughs) I don’t know.
Holmes: It never turns out well for them.
The Miz: You’d think these people would get it. Alright, this guy’s a Marine, I can’t mess with him. But, they keep doing it. You don’t want to mess with a Marine, that’s number one.
Holmes: The WWE does a lot for the military with the Tribute to the Troops shows. Has there been any feedback about the movie?
The Miz: They’re always incredible. This year I went to Bahrain. Myself, Vince McMahon, R Truth, Layla, and Eve all got to see what our Navy does. And let me tell you, these sailors are incredible. I asked one guy why he wanted to be in the Navy. And he told me, “The reason I wanted to be in the Navy was because I was working at Lids, you know, that hat place, and I was having a daughter, and I wanted her to be proud of me.” And the thing is, he doesn’t get to see her often, but he knows he’s paving the way for her to have a great life. And I thought that was amazing. These guys sacrifice so much for our freedom. And I hope that I make every Marine proud with “The Marine 3: Homefront.” And I think I will. I’ve seen the movie and I was like, “Wow, this is incredible.” And normally I’m very critical of everything I do. But, this is something I’m very proud of.

Holmes: If Must-See Miz could go back and give some advice to “Real World” Miz, what would it be?
The Miz: I would tell him to do exactly what you’re doing, because whatever it is, you’re doing it right.
Holmes: It’s like “Back to the Future” and you’re afraid too much information about the future will screw him up.
The Miz: If I change one little small thing, something might change. And right now I really love my life. I love the memories I’ve had since “The Real World.”
Holmes: What’s the best advice you received when you were coming up?
The Miz: Probably from Billy Kidman back when I wasn’t in the WWE. I was actually at a Playboy party and he was there for Torrie Wilson’s cover. His best advice was, “Stick with it.” And it sounds so simple, so stupid, but so many times people find excuses to not fulfill their dreams.

Holmes: As far as your proudest moments in the WWE, was it winning the WWE Title from Randy Orton or participating in a “Woo” off with Ric Flair?
The Miz: (Laughs) You know, you really can’t beat having a “Woo” off with the legend Ric Flair. Not only that, but to have Ric Flair allow me to apply the figure four, it’s almost like…I hate to say a passing of a torch, but I felt so honored. To sit there and talk to Ric Flair on Miz TV and not only strut like Ric and “Woo” like Ric, but to have the honor of putting on the figure four and now using the figure four is just an incredible feat.
Holmes: Did he give you any figure-four pointers?
The Miz: Well, if you watched Raw I had trouble putting it on Dolph Ziggler due to Beat the Clock. Now I’ve been watching tapes of Ric Flair to make sure I never have problems again.
Holmes: In your defense, Ric Flair has been using that moves for decades.
The Miz: I agree. He’s been doing it for thirty years, I’ve been doing it for two weeks. I’ll take my faults, but the Twitter universe was on me. Man, they were killing me.
Holmes: Whoa…hold the phone. You’re trying to tell me the Internet was negative about something?
The Miz: (Laughs) I know, right? You take it with a grain of salt, then perform as best you can the next time out.

Don’t miss WWE: Royal Rumble this Sunday, January 27, 2013 at 8 p.m. ET on Pay Per View.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

WWE’s Ryback to The Rock: ‘I Am Not Someone You Should Overlook’

December 4, 2012

WWE Superstar Ryback (THQ)

The path from the bottom of the card to the main event is usually a long and arduous one. Everyone from “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and The Rock to John Cena and Randy Orton has had to put up with their share of setbacks on the way to the top.

Not our buddy Ryback. One minute he’s making local enhancement talent question their career choices, the next he’s facing CM Punk for the WWE Title on Pay Per View.

I spoke with the hungry one in the days leading up to his TLC title opportunity to get his take on his meteoric rise to the top, his sweet catchphrase, and those pesky Goldberg chants…

Don’t Miss WWE: TLC Live on Pay Per View – Sunday, December 16, 2012

Gordon Holmes: You have rocketed to the top of the card. Has that had a chance to sink in yet?
Ryback: I live my life one day at a time. I try to do my best each and every day. I don’t try to look too far ahead; I try not to dwell on what’s happened in the past. It’s been unbelievable to go from being in the ring with local athletes…fine local athletes might I add.
Holmes: Of course.
Ryback: Moving on up, essentially jumping to the main-event scene out of nowhere. It was like showing up one day and here we go. And I was prepared for it, thank God. But it’s been a tremendous opportunity. I feel I’ve done well. I feel very at home where I am now. I look forward to being in this position for a long time.
Holmes: Has anything about this new position surprised you at all?
Ryback: No, not at all. My goal is to become the WWE Champion and be the foundation of this company. It’s a great company, it’s a company I love and believe in. This is what I expected it to be. Every day is a challenge. I’ve got to work very hard outside of what you see in the ring. And I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It’s fun. That’s the most important part for me.

Holmes: You’re part of the downloadable content for the “WWE ‘13” video game. What’s it like to see a virtual you tearing up the competition?
Ryback: It’s unbelievable. I grew up playing all of the WWE games. To see myself in the game now with Attitude Era stars like Stone Cold and The Rock, Mankind, the Undertaker…it’s awesome. And it’s great that kids of this generation get a chance to play as Ryback and challenge whoever they want. Hopefully they’ll beat up CM Punk like I do in real life.
Holmes: Speaking of the Attitude Era, is there anyone from that time that you would’ve liked to have Shell Shocked?
Ryback: All of them, to be honest. I say “Feed Me More” because I’m all about competition. And more is never enough for me. I want people to give me more because I can handle it and I want to succeed. But, obviously “Stone Cold” Steve Austin was the top dog of that era; that would be the guy for me.

Holmes: You are a monster. You are a huge dude who just ripped through the competition. How do you differentiate Ryback from other guys who’ve cut a similar path?
Ryback: It takes time for people to see differences in Superstars. Our fan base is the most loyal in the world. They become loyal to someone. So, to be compared to someone from the past, it’s up to me to differentiate myself as time goes on. It just takes time. I’ve been compared to some great Superstars.
Holmes: You’re referring to the “Goldberg” chants?
Ryback: The Goldberg chants and whatnot, he was at the top of his game. He was at the forefront of WCW. He was the hottest thing going. To be compared to that right now is great. But, I’m different in many ways. I bring a lot to the table. As you see every week, I’m very intense. I look forward to speaking more as time goes on. It’s a slow build, we’re creating patience with people in a time when people aren’t very patient. It takes time, you know?
Holmes: Absolutely. And what happens if you ever step into the ring with Goldberg?
Ryback: You’re going to see a hell of match, that’s for sure. And it would end with Shell Shocked, one…two…three. You never say never in this business. If that’s presented to me I will welcome it with open arms. You’ll be hearing, “Feed me more.”

Holmes: Part of the challenge with your rapid rise has to be taking part in matches you’ve never had to deal with before. I’m thinking specifically of October’s Hell in a Cell and this month’s TLC match.
Ryback: Yeah. (Laughs)
Holmes: Are these things you have any kind of experience with?
Ryback: Coming up in developmental you’re not put into these matches on a regular basis. My big thing is film, watching past matches and the Superstars that were put in those situations. Just being a student of the game. Two weeks before Hell in a Cell, I got the DVDs and I watched them. I study what other guys do, I start and stop, what would I do in this situation? I prepare mentally because I feel like doing things in your head is pretty close to doing the real thing minus the physical pain and whatnot. So, that’s how I approach all of these things being thrown at me.
Holmes: Do you pop in the “WWE ‘13” video game and start smacking people with ladders?
Ryback: (Laughs) Yeah, that’s the cool thing about this game, you can do anything. It’s cool to see that the franchise has evolved.
Holmes: It’s a training tool.
Ryback: It is a training tool. You can come up with new moves just playing the game. I’m all about that.

Holmes: I think you’re very fortunate in that it seems like there is a world of talented guys behind the scenes who can give you advice and steer you in the right direction.
Ryback: Yes.
Holmes: Is there anyone in particular that you go to?
Ryback: I keep a very small circle of guys. Everyone offers advice, it’s up to me to take it and apply it. The guys that’ve really been instrumental to me so far are Arn Anderson, Triple H, William Regal, and Michael Hayes. Those are the guys that I have open ears for at all times.

Holmes: Guys that have had your kind of sudden burst into the spotlight…sometimes they get a big head as far as the business goes. Have you been taking steps to keep yourself in check?
Ryback: Yeah, definitely. You see that with guys, that’s not me. Anyone who’s known me since I’ve been with the WWE knows that I don’t get too high, I don’t get too low. I take things one day at a time. I’m very thankful for everything that I’ve gone through, whether it’s bad or good. I love WWE, I love being a part of the company. I want to be the foundation for WWE. I’ve always said; however much money you have, that doesn’t make you better than anybody. I’m just a guy that likes to work hard that wants to be my best and make a difference in the world eventually. As much as life has to offer, I want it. I want everything. But that would never go to my head. We’ve seen it before, but that’s not what Ryback is all about and it’s not what I’m about. I believe in helping others and giving and things of that nature.

Holmes: At TLC, you beat Punk, you take the title. What happens to The Rock at the Royal Rumble?
Ryback: Shell shocked. I was just saying, that’s cool that fans get to do that with the video game, they get to see that match beforehand. It would be a tremendous honor and I would be very thankful for the opportunity and that’s one of my goals. Punk and Rock are locked into the Royal Rumble thinking that’s the for-sure matchup. In this business anything can happen. Nobody expected me to be where I am now except for me. To be in the ring at the Royal Rumble and to hear The Rock’s music? I would not be shocked. I hope Dwayne takes notice because I am not someone you should overlook.

Watch WWE: TLC, Sunday, December 16, 2012 at 8 p.m. ET on Pay Per View.

Ryback is available as DLC for “WWE ‘13” on Tuesday, December 4, 2012.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

WWE’s Paul Heyman on Ryback: ‘Nobody Can Be Undefeated Forever’

October 25, 2012

Paul Heyman (THQ)

I don’t know if the Paul Heyman/CM Punk dynamic would work on screen. I don’t need a mouthpiece.” – CM Punk (August 17, 2012)

The Straight-Edge Superstar is right, he doesn’t need a mouthpiece. But he’s certainly benefiting from having a conniving advocate who lurks in the background.

I spoke with Paul Heyman, a man some consider to be the best creative writer in the wrestling business, in the days leading up to Punk’s big title defense at “Hell in a Cell.” During that chat we discussed how he’s enjoying his new on-air role, Brock Lesnar’s opinion of the wrestling business, and what’s best for Ryback’s career…

Order WWE: Hell in a Cell Today

Gordon Holmes: You’ve taken on a bit of a new role on TV in that you’re more of CM Punk’s advocate than his manager. Has that been challenging for you?
Paul Heyman: No, it’s just a different role to play. You know, with Brock Lesnar…Brock doesn’t like to speak so it’s natural for me to do the talking. And it’s very easy for me to advocate for Brock Lesnar because I’m a great believer in him. It’s not too much of a stretch to hype accolades about Brock Lesnar. With CM Punk, I don’t have to do a lot of talking for CM Punk. I would present the case that I’m more of a lobbyist for respect for CM Punk as being the best in the world. It’s a different role to play and  I love the challenge of it just because it’s not the same role I was playing with Brock. Like any other performer you don’t want to be pigeonholed everyday for the rest of your life.

Holmes: Speaking of Brock, I read his book that you collaborated on, “Death Clutch.” And it seems like his biggest problem with the wrestling industry is the travel. Now with the limited dates he’s working it doesn’t seem like that’s a big problem anymore. My question is; does he enjoy the business more? Because I really enjoy watching him wrestle. It seems like he was designed to do it. It’d be a shame if he wasn’t enjoying it.
Heyman: There’s an old expression in the professional wrestling industry; you spend 23 hours and 40 minutes of your day traveling and working out and eating properly and dealing with rental cars and hotel rooms and family situations and divorce lawyers. But, the 20 minutes a day you spend in the ring is not only the best part of the day but makes everything else worthwhile. I believe that is the case with Brock Lesnar. I believe that Brock loves to perform. And, I think Brock lives for the moments that he’s in the octagon or the ring. It’s getting to the octagon or the ring and all that it entails to get there and the time that he spends away from his family that he finds unbearable.

Holmes: CM Punk has a big title defense against Ryback this Sunday at Hell in the Cell. Anytime you have an undefeated character such as Ryback, it provides some unique storytelling challenges. If it was in your hands, how would you handle the Ryback character?
Heyman: I think Ryback is going to demonstrate to the audience on Monday exactly how he handles defeat. And, nobody can be undefeated forever, it doesn’t work that way in real life. And, it’s easy to look like the biggest tough guy in the world when you’re on such a winning streak. But, can you maintain that aura about you once you lose? Brock Lesnar did, and I don’t think that people look at Brock Lesnar today and think, “Oh yeah, I remember the night he lost to this guy.” I think Ryback will face the very same thing. Now, I know there are people out there who have presented the case that Ryback’s entire aura has been built on the fact that he’s undefeated. I think a stronger case can be made that once Ryback is defeated, he’ll be even a stronger character for WWE because you have gotten this out of the way.

Holmes: Probably my favorite thing you were involved with during your managing career was the Dangerous Alliance in WCW. You had Ravishing Rick Rude, some guy named Steve Austin, Bobby Eaton, Arn Anderson, Larry Zbyszko, Madusa…just an amazing line-up. If you were to recreate that stable in WWE, with CM Punk of course being the centerpiece, who would you pick?
Heyman: Wow…I find the fact that CM Punk and I are together…that makes us a Dangerous Alliance. I’d obviously never suggest that I should represent anyone else on television without first mentioning the name Brock Lesnar. As for rounding out the rest of the roster. I’d say we have the choice of cherry picking anyone. I’d certainly add Randy Orton to that group. And I’d take a young, hot, hungry tag team that is having an uphill battle with the system, someone like the Usos. I’d give them the stardom they deserve. And when it comes to the females. Since AJ doesn’t have the taste to accept my marriage proposal, I would probably grab someone like Nattie Neidhart who could probably tie everyone into a pretzel and make them tap out in 30 seconds of a legitimate fight.

Holmes: I understand you did some writing for the “WWE ‘13” video game. What did that entail?
Heyman: It entailed putting together the storylines for the Universe mode and for the Attitude Era. I have a viral marketing company called the Looking 4 Larry Agency and we were doing the viral marketing for this game anyway. And then THQ came to me about writing the actual storylines because I have a bit of product knowledge for that.
Holmes: A bit.
Heyman: Yeah. And so we were off to the races.
Holmes: As a writer, I feel like every time I branch out into a new format or genre I learn something new. Did you learn anything writing for the game? It must be much different than writing for a television show.
Heyman: The big difference between writing for WWE television and writing for the “WWE ‘13” video game is that once I wrote a storyline Vince McMahon didn’t yell at me about it.
Holmes: The guys at THQ didn’t chew you out?
Heyman: Who’s going to yell at me from THQ? I’m the guy they turn to to be the creative rabbi. Vince McMahon? He loves to yell at me.

Watch WWE: Hell in a Cell, Sunday, October 28, 2012 at 8 p.m. ET on Pay Per View.

The “WWE ‘13” Video Game will be available for XBox 360, PS3, and Nintendo Wii on Tuesday, October 30, 2012.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes


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