Posts Tagged ‘kane’

WWE’s Zack Ryder: Kane and Eve ‘Basically Killed My Career’

July 17, 2012

Zack Ryder (WWE)

It was the feel-good story of 2011. In a last-ditch effort to save his job, Zack Ryder, the long-forgotten, fist-pumping bro from Long Island had turned his tiny YouTube show into an Internet sensation. He rode that wave of popularity to a thunderous ovation at the Survivor Series and a United States Title victory over Dolph Ziggler at TLC.

Then he was destroyed by Kane and dumped by Eve Torres.

Wave hits wall…feel-good story turns bad.

But things are looking up for the self-professed “Long Island Iced Z.” At the Great American Bash a few weeks ago he made Eve look foolish and ousted Kane to win a battle royal.

I recently had a chance to sit down with the Internet’s favorite Broski at San Diego Comic Con to find out what he plans to do next, the fate of his Internet Championship, and more…

Gordon Holmes: At the Great American Bash you were finally able to get revenge on both Eve and Kane. Was it nice to finally get some closure on those issues?
Zack Ryder: I needed that redemption big time. I was on such a roll at the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012 and the whole Kane and Eve thing killed my momentum. Basically killed my career. So, to turn that around and get revenge on them was something I needed. Hopefully it’ll get the Ryder Revolution back on track.
Holmes: What’s next for you now that that’s behind you?
Ryder: The United States Title, I had that for a hot minute. I’d love to get that back. In 2011 I think I proved to people that I’m not a joke, I can be taken seriously in the ring. And hopefully by the end of this year I’ll have a major championship.
Holmes: A lot of guys when they make the step to the next level, they feel the need to shed some of the…I don’t want to say goofy…but some of the more fan-pleasing parts of their personas. I’m thinking of The Hurricane dropping his superhero ways and Rikishi dropping the dancing…
Ryder: Right.
Holmes: Is that a concern for you? Is that a direction you’ll head into?
Ryder: I think maybe in time, I can’t be the same old guy forever. But that doesn’t mean I’ll have to drop all of the parts of my character to get to the top. I think eventually I’ll evolve. If you’ve followed my career I was a Major Brother, then an Edge Head, now I’m Zack Ryder, I’m sure in three years I’ll be completely different.

Holmes: In coming up with these questions I thought of a merchandise idea for you.
Ryder: Sweet, let’s hear it.
Holmes: Remember the foam Steve Austin “What” voice bubbles?
Ryder: Yeah.
Holmes: We need some “Woo Woo Woo” bubbles.
Ryder: That’d be sweet! I’d take it.

Holmes: Your story is kind of amazing. You weren’t getting any attention, so you took matters into your own hands and figured out how to make social media work for you. Do they ever come to you for advice on how to make social media work for other guys?
Ryder: No. It’s funny though, now they have meetings about how to use hash tags or whatever. And I’m like, “Are you serious, bro?” All this stuff that I’ve been doing for years, not saying that I originated it, but I’ve been doing it best. It’s cool though, I’m glad WWE is finally embracing social media.

Holmes: You’re obviously a huge fan of toys and pop culture, what with all the references you make on your YouTube show, so what was it like the first time you saw a Mattel Zack Ryder action figure?
Ryder: It was great. I’ve been a wrestling fan all my life and I’ve collected wrestling figures my whole life. So, of course a dream of mine was to be in the WWE and to have my own figure. When I got my first Mattel action figure I was ecstatic. I’d always check on the Internet and try to see the new lineups. When I saw the prototype image, it was one of the best moments of my life.
Holmes: I had intended to ask you if they were ever going to make an Internet Championship for your figure, but they just announced one is on its way.
Ryder: Yeah!
Holmes: You created that. That came out of your brain.
Ryder: What’s crazy is the Internet Championship is something I created for my YouTube show and I’m not allowed to bring it out on WWE TV. Yet, it’s on this WWE t-shirt I’m wearing here. And now it’s on the action figure. So, someone’s telling you no, but you still get to do it. It’s ridiculous. I love it.
Holmes: What is the reasoning behind not allowing you to wear the title on television?
Ryder: I don’t know. As soon as I got it made I showed it to some people and they were like, “Absolutely not.” I’m not going to put up a fight about it, if they don’t want to use it, they don’t have to use it.
Holmes: Cause I’m an old-school fan, and I know for a fact that Ted DiBiase’s Million Dollar Title was never a sanctioned WWE championship and it was on TV all the time.
Ryder: That was my argument! It’s just like the Million Dollar Title, it’s a gimmick. Obviously I wouldn’t be defending it. Unless of course Wrestlemania 29, I don’t know if you’ve heard, but Zack Ryder against Dolph Ziggler for the Internet Title.

Holmes: The next big thing from Mattel is their Brawlin’ Buddies plush dolls. Now, when I was a kid there were Wrestling Buddies…
Ryder: Yes, Wrestling Buddies, I had those too.
Holmes: Is that the next step?  A Zack Ryder Brawlin’ Buddy?
Ryder: I don’t know if this is a spoiler…
Holmes: Oh, you’re going to get us in trouble.
Ryder: (Laughs) I recorded sayings for the Buddies so I’m hoping I’m in the next lineup. You know, the “Argh!” and “Errr!”

Holmes: Are you going to get a chance to see any of the sights here at San Diego Comic Con?
Ryder: Yeah, I definitely want to get out and see the Star Wars stuff and the Ghostbusters stuff. I’ve always wanted to come here as a kid.

Holmes: Edge had some heartfelt words for you and your former partner Curt Hawkins during his Hall of Fame speech. What did it mean for him to take the time to address you during his big moment?
Ryder: Edge, whether he knows it or not, saved my career, saved Curt Hawkins career. We were the Major Brothers at the time, doing nothing on Smackdown. And we’d pitched this idea to be Edge’s cronies. He didn’t have to say yes. But he put the green light on it and along the way we learned so much from him. And for him to retire and to talk about us and give us words of encouragement, it was very humbling. It was great.

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

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WWE World Champ Sheamus on Daniel Bryan’s Popularity, Brock Lesnar’s Return

April 27, 2012

World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus Is Ready for Sunday's Extreme Rules (WWE)

You can’t watch a television commercial in eighteen seconds. You can’t make a bag of microwave popcorn in eighteen seconds. But at Wrestlemania 28, WWE Superstar Sheamus was able to win the World Heavyweight Championship from Daniel Bryan in eighteen seconds.

Understandably, Mr. Bryan would like a rematch.

I spoke with the Great White in the days leading up to his two-out-of-three-falls rematch at Extreme Rules and got his opinion on his opponent’s new-found popularity, the grudge match between John Cena and Brock Lesnar, and his work with the Be A STAR anti-bullying campaign…

Watch WWE: Extreme Rules, Sunday, April 29, 2012 at 8 p.m. ET on Pay Per View.

Gordon Holmes:  At Wrestlemania you defeated Daniel Bryan in only eighteen seconds. At Extreme Rules you’ll be facing him in a best-two-out-of-three-falls match. Is it your goal to end this match in thirty six seconds?
Sheamus: (Laughs) Absolutely. The first person to get two falls wins. Who knows what’s going to happen?
Holmes: I couldn’t tie my own shoe in eighteen seconds.
Sheamus: It wasn’t what I was expecting. Daniel Bryan beat Big Show, Mark Henry, Randy Orton…he went through a lot of guys. And he’d been using AJ or any means necessary to get himself disqualified to hold onto the World Heavyweight Championship. And the Monday before on Raw, it was me and Randy Orton taking on him and Kane and I was preparing to kick his head off when AJ figured into the match. It basically cost me the match. So, when I saw him kiss AJ (at Wrestlemania) I wasn’t sure if he would try to use AJ again, so when I saw the opportunity I kicked his head off because I wasn’t going to let him screw me out of the World Heavyweight Championship. He got too cocky and that’s what happened.
Holmes: Since then, Daniel Bryan has amassed a huge cult following with his “Yes” chants. Are you worried that you’re going to be facing a hostile, “Yes”-crazy crowd in Chicago at Extreme Rules?
Sheamus: I wouldn’t expect anything else other than a hostile crowd in Chicago. That’s what makes performing so fantastic. The crowd makes up their own minds, they’re as much a part of the show as we are.
Holmes: How does the Windy City usually react to you?
Sheamus: Chicago is a fantastic place to perform. The first time I ever got the crowd behind me was at Money in the Bank last year when I put Sin Cara through a ladder. The more unpredictable the crowd, the better. I’m expecting a hostile crowd. I’m expecting lots of “Yes” chants. I’m expecting it to be a great night, and me and Daniel Bryan are going to steal the show.

Holmes: The other big match this Sunday is of course John Cena squaring off against the returning Brock Lesnar. It seems like Cena’s had a rough run lately with a large portion of the fans turning against him and his Wrestlemania loss to the Rock. What’s your take on what he’s been going through lately?
Sheamus: You know, John raised his game in taking on the Rock. Cena’s done everything in about eight years in the WWE. He’s created an incredible foundation. People come to see him whether they want to boo or cheer him. And everybody has ups and down. But Cena always bounces back. I think he’s going to bring it Sunday against Lesnar, I think it’s going to be a great match. It’s exciting times for everybody.
Holmes: You’re excited to have Brock back in the fold?
Sheamus: I think it’s great, man. It creates a buzz around what we do. It brings attention from outside of the WWE Universe back in, like people who have strayed away, it brings them back. And I think that’s only a positive thing. People will tune in to see Brock Lesnar taking on John Cena, but guess what, there’s going to be a two-out-of-three-falls match between two of the most exciting superstars right now in the WWE, that’s Daniel Bryan and Sheamus. And we’re also two of the most hard-hitting superstars.
Holmes: John Cena had given the Rock some grief about being a part-time wrestler. The same could probably said for Brock Lesnar. When people like the Rock and Brock come back and don’t go on the big tours, is that something that bothers you at all?
Sheamus: It doesn’t me in the slightest, fella. These guys coming in are bringing attention to the WWE and attention to the product. I thought Rock coming back was great. As far as I know, I think it was the highest grossing Wrestlemania ever. How positive is that? That’s incredible. For me, it’s fine, it happens. People come and go.

Holmes: You’re in a fascinating business. You’re backstage and you’ve got people in crazy costumes and guys like the Big Show and guys like Hornswoggle. What’s been the most surreal moment for you?
Sheamus: It’s kind of funny, you see all these people and they’re kind of like family now. We see each other more than we do our families. But I remember when I first started, I came up to UK for a tryout and I remember walking back and seeing everyone from Triple H to Shawn Michaels, Ric Flair, Big Show…all the superstars there. It was unbelievable. It was very intimidating. You try not to say the wrong thing or do the wrong thing. It’s very important to make a good first impression. But now it’s business as usual. They’re a great bunch of guys and I’m happy to be working with them.

Holmes: You’ve been on the main roster for about three years now; you’ve held two WWE Championships, the World Championship, King of the Ring, Royal Rumble. All of this, and you’re still a young guy. Are you worried that there are less stories to tell or less places for you to go?
Sheamus: I don’t worry about that at all. I’ve had a lot of success early, which is fantastic. But there are a lot of superstars I haven’t really mixed it up with yet. Like Punk or Jericho really, a lot of superstars coming up from FCW like Claudio Castagnoli and Ryback. Lord Tensai has come in, Brock is back, Alberto Del Rio is back. I don’t see any shortage of stories. There will always be interesting stories. And that’s all that matters.
Holmes: Which superstars do you think have the potential to break through and be the next big thing?
Sheamus: It’s difficult to say, there are a lot of guys on the cusp. Alberto Del Rio, he’s got an incredible resume. I think you’ve got some tremendous talents like Dolph Ziggler, Cody Rhodes has a lot of promise as well. Wade Barrett is coming back. There’s potential in Drew McIntyre too. His work is incredible. Of course Claudio, Ryback, Lord Tensai…it literally could be any one of them. Whoever steps up. All of those guys could bring it.

Holmes: You’re a super huge guy. Like a big, walking muscle with pale skin and bright red hair. What’s something you could tell me about yourself that would shock me? Do you knit?
Sheamus: (Laughs) I’m a pretty laid-back fella. I know it sounds like a cliché, but when I get home I chill out and relax, I’ve got two dogs. I like reading Celtic mythology or chilling out to music. I literally am enjoying every moment of this job because I scraped so hard to get to it. It’s funny, and this might be going off topic, but when people talk about ROH (Ring of Honor, a popular independent wrestling organization) they talk about Claudio and they talk about Daniel Bryan and CM Punk, the indie darlings and stuff like that. But funnily enough, myself and Wade Barrett and Drew McIntyre, we were on the indies in the UK. Obviously we didn’t get the exposure that they did in ROH, but we worked for free and we paid for flights to the UK and Ireland. We worked as much as we possibly could to get experience. But now that we’re here we appreciate everything we do and we’re loving every minute of it.

Holmes: You do a lot of work with the Be A STAR anti-bullying campaign. What inspired you to get involved with that initiative?
Sheamus: It’s very important to me. I volunteered for that program because of my experiences as a kid being bullied.  I didn’t always look the way I look now. I was a small, chubby kid with red hair. I was an introvert so I was an easy target. I had a tough time. I can relate to a lot of the cases that are going on now. I see some tragic stories with kids taking their own lives. I’ve met some kids at the schools, I had one kid actually who had a stroke as a teenager. He was being bullied and was pushed down some stairs by three or four guys. Having a stroke as a teenager? How tragic is that? These things are happening to kids. We feel like we have the ears of these teenagers and we’re trying to bring a positive message. A lot of bullies don’t know what they’re doing because they’ve never been in these situations themselves. So, we’re trying to educate them and we’re trying to teach kids to stand up to bullies in a non-violent way. We’re trying to tell these kids not to be ashamed of themselves because they’re not the problem.

Holmes: You recently returned from an international tour of Europe. What was it like to compete in front of your hometown crowd?
Sheamus: That was unbelievable, man. It took a lot for me to hold back my emotions. It was an incredible feeling. I used to stand in that arena, the O2 Arena in Dublin, working security or whatever. And just to see the superstars up close was like a parallel world. And to go from that to working in front of a packed house as World Heavyweight Champion, that was just a really special thing for me. It was probably one of the highlights of my entire life.
Holmes: Are Irish fans any different than US fans?
Sheamus: They did those “Ole Ole Ole” chants that were made popular by the Irish football team, or soccer team as you call it. It was incredible. I can’t tell you how proud I was.
Holmes: You aren’t a tiny guy. Those international flights have got to be rough.
Sheamus: (Laughs) Yeah, but you kinda feel bad when you look around and see Khali and Big Show. I don’t know how those guys do it.
Holmes: Not to get too graphic on you, but can you guys even fit into those tiny lavatories?
Sheamus: It’s a struggle, fella. But, it can be done.

Watch WWE: Extreme Rules, Sunday, April 29, 2012 at 8 p.m. ET on Pay Per View.

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

WWE Superstar Kane on His Career, WWE Action Figures and Voltron

August 3, 2011

For as long as I can remember, WWE announcers have been telling people that they’ve got to see Kane in person to appreciate how big he is.

And they’re right…the dude’s ginormous.

I went eye-to-eye (more like eye-to-chest) with the man they call The Big Red Machine at this year’s San Diego Comic Con. While we sat above the bustling Mattel merchandise kiosk we talked about his impressive, lengthy career, his collection of Kane memorabilia, and the WWE’s youth movement.

Watch Full Episodes of ‘WWE Smackdown’ Online

Gordon Holmes: Everyone always talks about the Undertaker and his 21 years in the WWE, but you’ve been around for quite some time yourself. What’s been the key to your long… long…
Kane:
Longevity?
Holmes: There’s the word. Who’s the writer here?
Kane: (Laughs)
Holmes: What’s the key to THAT in the WWE?
Kane: It’s being able to adapt to changes and also to reinvent yourself. Always being able to do something new. To be able to sort of go with the flow as our business changes. Because it does change and our audience changes.
Holmes: As someone who’s seen a lot in this industry, what advice would you go back and give yourself if you could?
Kane: I think I’d tell myself to have more fun. What we do is hard work. We travel a lot. Of course everybody knows that it’s physically taxing. And we have our other responsibilities; promotional and that sort of thing. I think I’d tell myself to be a little less serious.

Holmes: As I said, you’ve been in the WWE for quite some time. You’ve had quite a few action figures. It seems like they keep getting more and more realistic. Does that freak you out at all?
Kane: No. I think it’s neat to see the process of the figures getting more realistic. And also the different spin the artist uses in the process of making the figurines. You know, they’re all slightly different and have a different look to them.
Holmes: I noticed we’re going to be seeing a classic masked Kane action figure. Does that bring back any bad memories at all?
Kane: (Laughs) No, not at all. In fact I think some of the masked figurines are the best ones. I was just looking at their display of all the different things they’ve done with Rey Mysterio and it’s really impressive.
Holmes: Do you collect Kane memorabilia? Do you have a collection at home?
Kane: Yes…somewhat. This is going to sound sort of weird.
Holmes: Go for it.
Kane: I had some of it displayed at my house and after a while I thought it was really pretentious of me. It’s all boxed away now. There’s just been so much stuff, that it’s boxes and boxes and boxes of stuff at this point.
Holmes: What’s the weirdest piece of Kane merchandise you have?
Kane: Well…I don’t know how much commercial success it had…but there’s the one where you put water into the figure and it would sweat. I don’t know if they appeal to many people, but I thought they were neat.
Holmes: C’mon. Who doesn’t want sweaty wrestler toys?
Kane: Who doesn’t want that, right?
Holmes: You saw some of the legends figures over at the Mattel booth. Are there any legends you’d like to see them do?
Kane: I’m a big fan of Andre the Giant. He’s the ultimate, larger-than-life superstar. So, the more they can do with him the cooler. You know what would be really cool would be a huge one.
Holmes: Would you like to see an Isaac Yankem?
Kane: No. (Laughs)

Holmes: Do you get a chance to participate in the WWE’s charity initiatives?
Kane:
Yeah. We do a lot with Make-A-Wish. Those are always bittersweet because it’s awesome to bring joy to somebody’s life. But then you meet these children and some of their stories are just tragic. It’s one of the things that WWE has done that maybe a lot of people don’t know about that we’re very proud of.

Holmes: There seems to be a lot of new talent on the shows these days. Does anyone in particular stand out to you?
Kane:
I think there’s a number of guys. I think, even though he’s been around for a little while, that Sheamus is going to do well. I’m a big fan of Daniel Bryan’s. He’s always fighting the odds. It’s one of those deals where whoever emerges and is given an opportunity you hope they’ll be able to carry the ball. You never know.
Holmes: Do you think C.M. Punk has the potential to be the next big thing?
Kane: I don’t know. We’ll see.

Holmes: As a WWE superstar, you’re used to people running around in crazy costumes, so do you feel right at home here at Comic Con?
Kane: A few years ago I was at Comic Con, and I’d gotten up really early to go work out before I did my appearance here. And I’m walking through the streets of San Diego and I’m seeing rebel starship fighters and Princess Leia clones. For a moment I forgot where I was, and I was like, “What in the world is going on!” And some of the costumes are amazing, it’s like they walked off the set of a movie.
Holmes: Now Kane, you just rattled off “Star Wars” characters like you knew what you were talking about.  Are you some kind of closet sci-fi fan?
Kane: (Laughs) Everybody’s a “Star Wars” fan, I think.
Holmes: Likely story.
Kane: Actually in our appearance today in the Mattel booth, they had a gigantic figure of Voltron. And I was like “Oh wow!” It’s sort of neat now that some of the retro stuff from when I was a kid has become more popular.
Holmes: You’re a big dude. That Voltron figure’s gotta be around 12-foot tall. Why don’t you just hoist it over your shoulder and take it home with you?
Kane: (Laughs) I don’t know, I don’t think I can get on an airplane with that thing. It’s huge.

Holmes: So, you’ve done everything. Won every championship…well…except for the one she’s got. (Motions over to Kelly Kelly who’s seated a few feet away holding the WWE Divas championship.)
Kane: (Laughs) Yeah, I don’t want that one.
Holmes: Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice. But pink really isn’t your color.
Kane: Yeah, I know.
Holmes: How much longer do you think we’ll see you in the WWE?
Kane: I don’t know. Seriously, I don’t.
Holmes: Do you still enjoy it?
Kane: Yes…sometimes. I enjoy performing, but the travel really does get to you over time. If I can keep it being fun, I’ll keep on doing it.

Note: As we concluded the interview, a representative from Mattel presented Kane with a brand new Voltron action figure.

Watch Kane on WWE Smackdown, Friday Nights on Syfy at 8 p.m. ET.


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