Posts Tagged ‘summerslam’

WWE’s Paul Heyman Predicts Sports Entertainment’s Next Big Thing

August 15, 2013

Paul Heyman (WWE)

It’s hard to believe, but it’s been well over a decade since the original incarnation of ECW closed its doors. So, if your first memory of Paul Heyman is that of the color commentator for Wrestlemania X-Seven, or Brock Lesnar’s agent, or even CM Punk’s best friend, you’re excused.

But for the rest of this interview, it’s important to note that Paul Heyman is on a short list next to Vince McMahon of people who have truly revolutionized the pro wrestling industry.

I spoke to the former “Mad Scientist of Extreme” in the days leading up to “The Best vs. The Beast” match at SummerSlam and got his thoughts on sports entertainment’s next revolution, John Cena’s unique appeal, and the moment he hopes he’s remembered for…

Gordon Holmes (@gordonholmes): If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, it’s probably safe to argue that nobody in the wrestling industry has been more flattered than you over the past few decades.
Paul Heyman (@HeymanHustle): (Laughs)
Holmes: ECW has been imitated and rehashed so often that there’s no way it can be the next big thing for the business. I guess what I’m getting at is; what will be the thing that sparks the next boom period?
Heyman: The next big thing as far as presenting professional wrestling will be star-driven. It will be a personality that changes the game. Whose approach in the ring and in interviews is unlike anyone else that is out there today. And therefore his matches would have to be wrestled in a manner that no one else has been doing, at least for the past few years. And when that personality catches on, the industry will go along with him. That has always been the history of WWE and of professional wrestling. When the (Bruno) Sammartino era was over and they put Bob Backlund in as champion, Bob Backlund needed all of that support from the undercard to carry the load. But when the Hulk Hogan era took off, the entire company was built around Hulk Hogan. When the Steve Austin era took off, he had great support, but Steve Austin’s name and box-office attraction, and merchandise sales alone would have made this a multi-multi-multi million dollar company. And it’s the same today. If a personality catches fire to such a degree that it becomes a one-man cottage industry.
Holmes: I’m trying to think of a really unique personality and I keep coming back to Dean Ambrose. Could he be the guy?
Heyman: I think all three members of The Shield have the opportunity to grab the top spot in WWE and carve an image for the next several years for this company.

Paul Heyman Breaks Down Sunday’s SummerSlam Card

Holmes: John Cena has one of the most interesting dynamics I’ve ever seen in that half of the audience loves him while the other half hates him. Is there any way to course correct to bring everybody on board?
Heyman:
With all due respect, I think you’re missing it. The dynamic of children loving Cena and adult males hating Cena with such a passion is what makes him so fascinating. When there are 40,000 people in MetLife Stadium screaming “Let’s go, Cena” and 40,000 people in the very same stadium at the very same time challenging that half of the crowd saying, “Cena sucks.” That’s 80,000 engaged fans that paid for the privilege of being there. It’s very simple mathematics to me. John Cena drew 80,000 people who wanted to react to him. And to me, that makes him the top guy.
Holmes:
The fans eventually turned on Hulk Hogan.  The fans have turned on The Rock several times. The fans never turned on Steve Austin. So ideally would you rather have someone who is universally loved like a Steve Austin or someone who gets this intense mixed reaction like a John Cena?
Heyman:
Do you prefer a ridiculously hot blonde or a sexy, sultry brunette?
Holmes:
(Laughs)
Heyman:
I’ll take them both. Steve Austin can draw 80,000 people to cheer him on. Brock Lesnar can draw 80,000 people to boo him into the next country. And John Cena can draw 80,000 people who will debate whether he should be cheered or booed. I just care that they pay to see you.
Holmes:
An excellent point.

Holmes: Your friend Brock Lesnar is back in the WWE, you’re having wars of words every night with CM Punk. Is this the happiest time in your career?
Heyman: I’ve been remarkably blessed by the fact that I’ve had many different careers in this industry. I can’t truly compare the difference of being the lead color commentator with Jim Ross with being the owner of the upstart company that breaks every rule, breaks every taboo and spearheads a movement that actually gets it on worldwide Pay Per View with ECW. I can’t compare that with being Brock Lesnar’s advocate, going into SummerSlam in this focal-point match against my former protégé CM Punk. These are different careers to the point that it feels like I’ve lived many different lives. And to compare them would force me to look back on what I used to do and I never look back, I’m always looking into the future. All eyes are on SummerSlam, and my wheels are always spinning to what we’re going to do at Survivor Series, into the Royal Rumble, and ultimately Wrestlemania.

Holmes: You don’t like to look back, but I’m going to ask this anyway. You tweeted a picture of your children outside of the old ECW Arena. And if years from now, if they ask what Dad did for a living and you could only show them one match or one moment, what would it be?
Heyman: I will confess to you that your question has caught me off guard. In all candor, I would hope that just simply based on the decade in the making of “The Best vs. The Beast” that what Brock Lesnar and CM Punk will pull off this Sunday at SummerSlam will be so epic, so compelling, so riveting, and of such premium quality that if one day my children want to show their children, “Here’s what the old man did for a living,” my children will show their children that match.

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 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.

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 Champ CM Punk on SummerSlam, Why He Laid Out The Rock

August 17, 2012

WWE Champion C.M. Punk (WWE)

It’s been quite a year for CM Punk.

Since cutting the promo that changed his career, the straight-edge superstar has had classic matches, been proposed to, and most importantly enjoyed a WWE Championship reign that is one of the longest in recent memory.

So why would he let the Rock come in and steal his thunder?

I spoke to the Voice of the Voiceless in the days leading up to his SummerSlam title defense to find out why he put the People’s Champ on his back, what we can expect from his triple-threat match, and his take on Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H…

Gordon Holmes: At Raw 1000 you shocked the world when you made the Rock eat your knee. What inspired that sudden move?
CM Punk: I don’t think it was sudden at all. I’d been very vocal about the Rock coming back and cherry-picking the days he comes in. So, when he comes in I’m going to smack him in the face.
Holmes: And how did it feel to finally act out on that?
Punk: It felt very good. It felt like instead of talking that I was backing it up with action.
Holmes: For those who are unfamiliar with your complaints about the Rock, why exactly did you make that move?
Punk: I just think there are a lot of people who work their asses off here. I’m here 24/7, 365 days a year and he’s here like three days a year. So when he comes in here and tries to lay claim to our success and things people have worked hard to establish, it’s a little offensive.
Holmes: It has to be a big compliment career-wise to be the next guy in line to face this huge name. The guy’s had something like two matches in the last eight years.
Punk: We’ll I’m in line to face the huge name if I hold on till the Royal Rumble. The WWE’s like a minefield. Any guy can beat anyone on any given Sunday. So hopefully I’ll make it and I’ll prove to the Rock that you can’t just walk in and pick your days. There’s some tough bastards here.

Holmes: This past year has been pretty amazing for you. And all throughout this, I don’t want to say you were clean-cut, because you’re not, but you were clearly the good guy. Now there seems to be more shades of grey in your character. What is your goal with that?
Punk: I think the goal is to just be myself. Not try to play a character; I’m trying to be me. The best characters in wrestling and sports entertainment are just extensions of themselves. I think the Rock is a great character because that’s him. He’s larger than life. He dials himself up to eleven.
Holmes: But it does feel like there’s a bit of an edge after Raw 1000. Were you holding back before?
Punk: I wouldn’t say I was holding back. There are necessary evils to everything. And, it’s a television show. You can’t show all your cards. We need things to do on a weekly basis and this is a progression of the storyline.
Holmes: What kind of feedback have you been getting about the recent change?
Punk: It varies from extremely positive, like “Welcome back, Punk” to “You’ve turned your back on the WWE Universe.” I think it’s very interesting and dynamic because I really haven’t done anything bad.

Holmes: You’re the WWE Champion, yet John Cena’s matches always go on last at the Pay Per Views. You’ve taken the attitude that it doesn’t matter where you are on the card as long as people are talking about you when it’s over. Is that something that drives your character?
Punk: One hundred percent. I’m the kind of guy, you put me first? That’s the main event. Everyone else can follow me. You put me fifth? That’s the main event. There isn’t going to be anything else on the show that reaches the quality of what I do. You can put whoever you want on last. On the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday show? I’m going out last. That’s the way it is. If they want to put someone else last on television, that’s fine, but they have to follow me.

 

Holmes: This Sunday is SummerSlam. You’ll be defending the WWE Championship in a triple-threat match against John Cena and the Big Show. What can we look forward to in that bout?
Punk: I’m looking forward to it, first of all. I find it interesting because my last two SummerSlam opponents the previous years have been John Cena and the Big Show. There is a variable in there in a triple threat match where the champion doesn’t have an advantage. The Big Show could pin John Cena, John Cena could make the Big Show tap and I’d lose my title. I don’t have to be involved in the decision. I think that’s going to make me more aggressive. And you’re definitely going to look for the three of us to try to steal the show.
Holmes: The whole Voice of the Voiceless thing kind of kicked off with you against Cena. And Cena, people either they love him or they hate him. But it’s one thing to chant “Cena sucks” and another thing to chant “You can’t wrestle.” Does that get to him?
Punk: You know, I don’t think that gets to John. I think our audience; some of them can be pretty cruel. And they like to hang their hat on that “John Cena isn’t a good wrestler” thing. I haven’t seen that for years. The guy has been a top-level performer for almost a decade.

Holmes: Brock Lesnar is going to get back into the ring this Sunday against Triple H. What are your thoughts on that bout?
Punk: I’m very much looking for to it. Last time Brock Lesnar was in the ring it was a complete spectacle. The guy commands attention, you want to see him wrestle. It’s going to be interesting to see how he mixes with Triple H. He busted open John Cena. Could he do the same to Triple H? I don’t know. Triple H is no slouch himself. He’s a multiple-time WWE champion.
Holmes: My thing with Lesnar is; he’s so entertaining. He’s so fun to watch and seems like he was genetically engineered to be a sports entertainer. It’s a crime that he doesn’t seem to enjoy it.
Punk: Yeah, and that’s why a lot of people are going to want to see this match. I know they called John Cena and the Rock at Wrestlemania “Once in a lifetime,” but this thing is definitely once in a lifetime.
Holmes: Brock will of course have Paul Heyman in his corner. You have called yourself a “Paul Heyman guy” in the past. What’s your relationship like?
Punk: I’m happy to see him when he’s here. It’s great. Before I could only hang out with him when I did shows in the Northeast. I got to grab a bite to eat with him. Now, he’s not here as often as I’d like, but when he shows up on Mondays it makes my day easier. He’s a dear friend I can bounce ideas off of.
Holmes: He gives you advice?
Punk: Of course.
Holmes: Is he someone you’d want to work with in the future?
Punk: I’d love to. But he’s busy with Brock. And I don’t know if the Paul Heyman/CM Punk dynamic would work on screen. I don’t need a mouthpiece. And I think we’re two separate entities. But behind the scenes we get along famously.

Holmes: Last time we talked, I asked you if you could work in any territory, which would you choose. You went with the Crocketts in the ‘80s. I spoke to Arn Anderson a few weeks ago to get his thoughts on that.
Punk: Oh man.
Holmes: I asked him, would CM Punk be the fifth man on a Horsemen War Games team or would he be the guy the Horsemen stomp in the parking lot?
Punk: (Laughs) I’m so interested to find out what he said. This is awesome.
Holmes: What do you think he said?
Punk: I think he said I would have been on the team.
Holmes: No, he said you would’ve been selling tickets with Dusty Rhodes and the Rock and Roll Express.
Punk: Wow. (Laughs) I don’t know if that’s an honest answer cause he always calls me such a heel. It’s flattering either way.
Holmes: I think I agree with him because I have a hard time seeing CM Punk with the tattoos, the piercings, and the straight-edge lifestyle meshing with the limousine-riding, jet-flying playboys.
Punk: Maybe not in this lifetime, no.
Holmes: Another thing we touched on was how you wanted to work with Ricky Steamboat. My question for you now is; how does that feud work with you and your no drugs and your no alcohol in the era of “Just Say No” against someone who was ridiculously clean cut.
Punk: It’s how you spin. I think that’s the fascinating things about me is I can spin it any way I want depending on how I want the crowd to react. There’s a million ways you could do it.
Holmes: Let’s hear an example.
Punk: That’s way too easy, just pick on his family. Remember when I sang “Happy Birthday” to Aaliyah Mysterio?
Holmes: That’s fair…and creepy.
Punk: (Laughs) Thank you.
Holmes: So you serenade Ricky Jr. and boom, instant Clash of the Champions main event?
Punk: I wish. (Laughs) That would have been fun. I was born in a different era. For me, the most flattering compliments I get are from those old-school guys who say I should have been around 20 years earlier.

Holmes: I was reading about your appearance at Chicago Comic Con, and you spoke of a retirement looming in the future. Is that accurate?
Punk: Well, eventually. I’m not going to wrestle forever.
Holmes: Well, yeah.
Punk: (Laughs) I would definitely say I’ve passed the middle point of my career for sure.
Holmes: What goals remain for you?
Punk: Not many. I kind of want to make a few guys and girls. And I think I’ve done a little bit of that with AJ (Lee). I want to make sure there’s a future for the wrestling business when I leave. I want to make sure there are people that fill that void.
Holmes: Are you someone who could just stop, or do you have some Terry Funk in you and we’ll see you two weeks after your retirement?
Punk: I don’t know. I can’t really figure that out. I’ve never done nothing, I’ve never had a break. Maybe I’d miss it in a year.
Holmes: Chris Jericho seems to do it right. It’s almost like he’s got a territory thing going on where he can wrestle, then take a break to let the people miss him, then come back.
Punk: I think that’s a smart thing for anybody. Look at anybody in our industry who’s been injured for any period of time. Like Triple H for instance, he tore his quad and when he came back the response for him was overwhelming. That kind of put him on a new level.
Holmes: When you do call it quits, what’s next? Straight-edge husband? Straight-edge dad?
Punk: (Laughs) Oh boy, I don’t know. Maybe a dog owner first.
Holmes: It’s all baby steps.

Holmes: The one movie I was super psyched to see this year was “The Avengers.” Now that I’ve seen that, the next thing I’m psyched for is the CM Punk DVD I keep hearing about.
Punk: To me it’s not a wrestling DVD, it’s just a hell of a story. Obviously I’m biased because it’s me, but I don’t think we’ve put out a DVD that’s this honest and raw and touches on where somebody came from, all the way to the point where they are now. There’s a lot of real-life stuff in there, Family stuff, from the day I started to Wrestlemania. Some of it’s touching, some of it gets me mad when I watch it. It’s an emotional story. And I don’t think you can write something better than that. It’s real, it’s raw, and it’s me.
Holmes: Any word on which matches are going to be included on it?
Punk: The funny thing is when I heard we were doing the DVD, I immediately was like, “Well, I need to be hands-on with this project.” I thought I was going to be picking all these matches and be really nit-picky about what goes on there. But, the documentary is really where I focused all my energy and I really didn’t care which matches went on. The thing about WWE DVDs is a lot of matches get put on different DVD, I just wanted to make sure that the matches that I picked told the story. There’s a beginning, a middle, and an end. You see the progression of my career and how I got to where I am now.

Holmes: Now that “Monday Night Raw” has been extended an hour, who would you like to see featured more often?
Punk: There’s a crop of young, hungry talent in FCW who are hopefully going to get their shake. As far as the people you’ve seen on TV now, Antonio Cesaro is somebody who has a good future in this sport. I’d like to see guys like Tyson Kidd get more air time. And really a lot of the girls. Having an extra hour will give us more time to tell more stories with matches. Hopefully we’ll get to exploit a lot of the hidden gems that we have.

Holmes: You’re also the cover…guy. Wasn’t sure what to call you there, for the new “WWE ‘13” video game. Congratulations.
Punk: Thank you, thank you very much.
Holmes: Is there added pressure on you to be better at the game now that your face is on it?
Punk: (Laughs) No, that’s the one thing I haven’t been asked to do yet, is play it. I’m out promoting it. I’m shooting commercials for it, I’m talking about it. I really haven’t had time to play it, but it is awesome. I can’t wait for it to come out.
Holmes: If I’m Kofi Kingston, and I school you in the game that has your face on it, you’re going to hear about it.
Punk: Yeah. But to go back to my DVD, there’s a Blu-ray extra entitled “Kofi vs. CM Punk.” We throw down a video game challenge. I’m not going to tell you what happens; you’re going to have to see the DVD to see who is the true video game master.
Holmes: I think I know who wins with the way you’re building it up.
Punk: (Laughs) I don’t think I’d be talking about it otherwise.

Holmes: I heard you’re going to be a “Scooby Doo” character?
Punk: Am I?
Holmes: There’s some kind of “Scooby Doo” movie that takes place at Wrestlemania. (To the WWE representative) Is this accurate?
WWE Representative: There’s going to be a variety of voices, but I can’t check my email so I’m not sure. But I think Punk is going to be one of the voices.
Punk: That is awesome. You bring good tidings, my friend. I would love the chance to say, “And I would’ve gotten away with it if it wasn’t for those meddling kids and John Cena.”
Holmes: So you’re hoping when they pull the mask off of the ghost or whatever that the face underneath has slicked-back hair and a lip ring?
Punk: That would be nothing short of amazing. That’d be awesome.

Holmes: I have a theory about you.
Punk: (Laughs) A lot of people do. But I’m interested.
Holmes: Are you immune to peer pressure?
Punk: Yes, one hundred percent. I can’t put into words how I’ve never understood peer pressure. And I’ve seen people cave to do numerous amounts of things. The same people have tried to get me and they give up pretty quickly because they see I’m not interested.
Holmes: Is that the trick? You need to shut people down immediately and then they’ll learn not to even bother?
Punk: I think it has something to do with body language. Because if you dare someone to do something, you can see they’re nervous or scared about it and then you can kind of push their buttons and can goad them into doing something.

WWE Representative: Hold on one second, just to go back to the “Scooby Doo,” I just checked the press release and as of right now CM Punk is not a voice.
Holmes: Now I feel terrible.
Punk: (Laughs) Get me on this!
Holmes: C’mon, work some magic!
WWE Representative: We can do our own.

Holmes: Social media is changing the face of entertainment. When I was a kid, the WWE Superstars were these untouchable heroes, now you can jump online and have a conversation with them. Do you lose some of your…I don’t know…your aura by opening yourself up to the public?
Punk: No, I don’t think so. I think the appeal of my character is I’m just a regular guy. I’m one of the people. A kid who wants to tweet something to his hero John Cena? I think that’s awesome. Making us more accessible to the fans makes us larger than life. A lot of kids look up to us like we’re heroes, and tweeting a yes or no answer to his question can makes his day.

Holmes: You strike me as very much an “I’m not a role model,” kind of guy. And yet, straight edge, with the no drinking and no drugs, does seem to be a very positive message for kids.
Punk: I get a lot of moms and dads at autograph signings. Their kids will come up with “Drug free” written on their fingers in markers and they’ll be X’d up with their wrist tape. For me, it brings me down to Earth and makes me feel nice to hear moms say, “My kid wants to be like you. Thank you.” That’s humbling to me. I try not to be preachy about it, but if a mom thinks they can put their kid in front of a TV and say, “OK, you can watch this.” That’s very flattering.

Watch WWE: SummerSlam, Sunday, August 19, 2012 at 8 p.m. ET on Pay Per View.

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

‘SummerSlam’ Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H: WWE Superstars Share Their Picks

August 14, 2012

Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H (WWE)

The Cerebral Assassin is all set to square off against the Next Big Thing in the main event of this Sunday’s Summerslam. We had a chance to touch base with some WWE Superstars to get their thoughts on this dream match-up…

Brodus Clay: It’s establishment against the rebel. Triple H is the heir apparent to the WWE crown and Brock Lesnar has done everything his entire career to not be a part of the establishment. He’s always done his own thing. One guy is a cerebral assassin; he’s mentally destroyed guys for two decades. And Brock has just destroyed everything in his path. Even in his match with Cena, Cena got the win, but did he really win that match? Brock was toying with him at points. It’ll be interesting.  A gun to my head? I like Brock.

Zack Ryder: It’s definitely going to be a fight. You’re not going to see headlocks and armdrags. And if I’ve got to pick a winner, I’m going to go with Brock Lesnar.

WWE Hall of Famer Arn Anderson: I never thought I’d say this about Triple H, but I’m a little bit afraid for him. John Cena is a Neanderthal and I wasn’t worried about John getting hurt. But John got beat up pretty good. Lesnar’s an animal. And if Triple H isn’t prepared for an animalistic-type fight, there’s a chance he could get hurt. We’ve already seen that Brock is dominant in several different arenas. If it’s under ten minutes, Brock Lesnar wins. If he can last more than ten minutes, I’ll go with Triple H.

Daniel Bryan: I think Brock’s kimura was awesome. I’d rather it be me and Brock, I think we could have a different match than any match in WWE history. But I’m going to have to go with Brock.

World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus: Ya know, If Cena didn’t have that chain at Extreme Rules, I don’t know if he could’ve beaten Brock. But Triple H is different, he has a lot more experience, he’s more of a street fighter than Cena. Brock’s more of a ground-and-pound guy. I honestly don’t know who’s going to walk out the winner, but I’ll tell you what; both of them are going to remember that fight for a long time. Their bodies are going to remind them. As for a winner, I’m going to go with Triple H, fella.

WWE Divas Champion Layla: That’s going to be a match that I don’t want to miss. It’s going to be exciting and fun. People are going to be glued to their sets. I’m going to go with Triple H. Even though Brock Lesnar is a butt kicker, Triple H is the business. He’s got all of the psychological tools. He knows what he’s doing

Watch WWE: Summerslam, Sunday, August 19, 2012 at 8 p.m. ET on Pay Per View.

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

WWE’s Adam ‘Edge’ Copeland Cleans Up Syfy’s ‘Haven’

August 5, 2011

Whenever I interview a pro wrestler, I always ask them how they prefer to be addressed.

Adam Copeland is the first to request his real name.

I didn’t think much of it at first until we started talking about his sudden retirement due to injury. It was then that I realized that he’d been Edge for over a decade and was now forced into being Adam.

During the interview we discussed his transition from wrestling to acting, how working on “Haven” has helped him deal with an emotional time, and when it’s appropriate for Canadians to use baseball analogies.

Gordon Holmes: You seem to suck at retirement. You only retired a few short months ago and you’re already back working in Syfy’s “Haven.”
Adam “Edge” Copeland:
It was kind of one of those happy accidents. Like you said, I’d retired and got a call from WWE, I think it was within like three days, and they asked if I’d be interested in flying out to Nova Scotia and doing an episode of “Haven.” I thought it’d be fun. I figured I’d go and try not to be too horrible at it. We did one episode to test the waters and they liked the character, or what I did with it, and then they brought me back for three more episodes.
Holmes: What can you tell us about your character Dwight Hendrickson?
Copeland: He’s the clean-up hitter. If things go strange or need to be swept under the carpet he’s the guy that comes in after the fact and takes care of that kind of stuff. So that the strange happenings of “Haven” don’t make it past the people that already know.
Holmes: Clean-up hitter? Are Canadians allowed to use baseball analogies?
Copeland: Well, we’ve got the Blue Jays. (Laughs) The catcher for the Twins is Canadian. He’s pretty good.
Holmes: Joe Mauer is Canadian? OK, I’ll accept that.
Copeland: I should’ve used a hockey reference. I guess you could say I was a goon. But Dwight does more than just fight.

Watch Full Episodes of “Haven” on Your Computer

Holmes: With your wrestling background, I’m sure you have to deal with a lot of surly characters. Did that help you with your motivation for Dwight?
Copeland:
Yeah, and that was one of the reasons I enjoyed it so much. The storylines are kind of dark and creepy with all of those supernatural things going on. And I’ve always gravitated toward that kind of thing whether it be WWE and the larger-than-life aspects of that or music. It was a natural for me once I got on the set. “Haven” has a little bit of a comic book element to it that I really enjoyed.
Holmes: You’ve been in the WWE for quite a number of years. We won’t get into the exact number.
Copeland: Thanks. (Laughs)
Holmes: You’re a young retiree. We’ll leave it at that. But when you’re wrestling you have to be big to sell it to the cheap seats, where in television your head could be 10-feet tall and every movement is magnified. Was making that transition tough for you?
Copeland: It was because I have a naturally big head anyway. (Laughs) That’s been the biggest challenge in anything I’ve done so far. I’m so used to going over the top, and like you said, getting the point across to someone who could be 70,000 people away. Now the camera picks up every little nuance, every eyebrow raise. And because you can’t see yourself, thankfully I had some really good directors. They really helped me along with “OK, pull back here some.” But at the same time, I think it’s easier to pull back than to push forward.
Holmes: I’ve always heard it’s the actor’s job to go out there and the director’s job to pull him back.
Copeland: Yeah, and for me…this is all new to me. So I was kind of hoping that would be the case. In this one episode Jason Priestly was the director and I asked him if I was doing OK. He said, “If you weren’t, I would tell you.”
Holmes: Jason Priestly is Canadian right?
Copeland: Yes he is.
Holmes: I’d bet I’d get hockey analogies out of him.
Copeland: (Laughs) There were a lot of Canadian jokes because Lucas Bryant grew up 20 minutes away from me. He plays Nathan. So, there was a lot of Southern Ontarian humor.

Holmes: Your wrestling retirement was extremely sudden. How hard was it on you to be defending the title at “Wrestlemania” one day, and then out of the business the next?
Copeland:
It was an interesting time. The first couple of days I went through that period of feeling sorry for myself. I was, “What? What are you talking about? I know better than you, surgeon.”
Holmes: (Laughs) Well played.
Copeland: (Laughs) But then what I said in my retirement speech was true. I talked to Christian and he said, “Sit down and think about it. Get past everything else.” And in that respect, it’s actually a pretty good way to go out. Because of the fact that it was because of injury is frustrating. I haven’t missed doing it yet. Also, with “Haven” falling in my lap, it’s helped the process. It wasn’t 120 to reverse. Now it’s 120 to like 60. It was nice to gently dip my foot into retirement.
Holmes: Christian has been given a chance to step up in your absence. Does that help ease the transition?
Copeland: It does. He deserved the shot whether I was there or not. And one regret, well, I won’t even say regret, but we were building to him and I going against each other. Which for us would have been fun. But, if any positive can come from me leaving, it’s them realizing that they’ve got to give him a shot. And I know now that he’s got that shot he’s going to kick the door open. He always has. The fans have always seen him there. They’ve always understood that he deserves to be there. But I think it was going to happen regardless of if I was there or not.

Holmes: There seems to be a new direction with Triple H becoming the COO and C.M. Punk taking off. What’s your take on that?
Copeland:
You know, I haven’t watched “Raw.” One of the things I need to do in the process of getting away from it has really been getting away from it. I’m just not ready to sit down and watch it, well, I’ll watch (Christian’s) stuff.
Holmes: You are going to be in Los Angeles for “SummerSlam” though, right?
Copeland: Yes, and I probably won’t watch it. (Laughs)
Holmes: So you’re not ready to enjoy it on that level?
Copeland: I’m not ready to watch it and not do it. Not yet. I don’t know when yet will be. You’ve seen guys who can’t turn it off, and they can’t not be the character that they played. I’ve always really tried to make sure that isn’t the case. And I think part of that is stepping away from it.

Holmes: It looks like they’re building up to John Cena vs. The Rock at this year’s “Wrestlemania.” Not a lot of people have worked both of them, but you have. What’s your take on that bout?
Copeland:
I think it’ll be good for business. I don’t think there are many instances where you can take guys who are at the forefronts of different eras.  I think the last time you got that was Hogan and Rock. And you saw how that turned out. I think match quality-wise it’ll be better. And I know both guys’ attitudes, they want to go out there and leave it out there, as cliché as that sounds. I may watch that. I’ll probably be down there for “Wrestlemania.” Maybe by “Wrestlemania” time I’ll be able to sit down and watch an entire show.
Holmes: I understand.  It’s like you want your ex-girlfriend to do well, but you don’t want her to do too well.
Copeland: (Laughs) You just don’t want her to do better than you.

Watch “Haven” on Syfy, Friday nights at 10 p.m. ET.

Follow me on Twitter: @gordonholmes


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