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Chris Masters On Issues With Prescription Painkillers, Heat With JBL & Bob Holly & More

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Chris Masters recently appeared on “Why It Ended With Robbie E.” During the interview, he opened up about his career in the WWE. Here are the highlights:

On The Mentality In OVW:

Looking back now, to me, it might have been the best times of my career. For me it was like college going in at 19 years old. Being around the OVW wrestling scene, which was very old school – Jim Cornette, Danny Davis, and Rip Rogers was the trainer. It was a culture shock, but it was just really interesting. You just got there and you realized that you weren’t in Los Angeles anymore. Jim Cornette would not let babyfaces hang out with heels. It was very old school; everything about it, the atmosphere around it, the guys involved with it. It made it a lot of fun. I didn’t know what to expect because it’s Kentucky, but we had such a good group – there was about 30 of us and 20 of us signed – a tight knit group and everybody lived within the same quarters and everybody hung out together. It was the last bit of innocence you have before you go up to the main roster where there’s so much money involved and there’s politics and all that stuff, so you can always look back at that as a time of innocence: bright eyed and bushy tailed.

On His Move To The Main Roster:

There wasn’t any definitive moment, I don’t think, where anybody told me, ‘OK, this is the deal.’ The next thing I knew I was on the road. I was working the OVW TVs and the next thing I know Tommy Dreamer was calling me and he was like, ‘Hey Masters, you’re on the road this weekend.’ I’d do the “Masterpiece” Chris Masters thing. I’d work the house shows and go back to Louisville every weekend. I did that for over a half a year. I worked dark matches at television and the next thing I knew they were shipping me off to shoot pre-tapes in Connecticut and the next thing I know they’re rolling the pre-tapes every week and flash forward, I debut about a couple months later. Everything was real incremental, as far as each step. It wasn’t one day I was out of Louisville and on television.

On Having Food Poisoning When He Debuted:

It was the sickest I’ve ever been in my life. I’ve never had food poisoning to that degree and how inconvenient of a day to have it too. I tell people this all the time – our fellow peers when they travel – watch out for any of those sandwiches you get at a truck stop or a gas station. We had a long drive the night before, like a five hour drive. I was starving, so I picked up a turkey wrap at gas station or a truck stop. It was our only option to eat and I ate it and the next thing I know, the next morning my stomach is rumbling. I went down to the lobby to the restaurant to eat breakfast like I normally do and I couldn’t take two bites. I took maybe two bites and I was done. I was just tapped out. It was after that we went to go tanning. That’s when I started throwing up and the whole day I couldn’t hold down anything. I was throwing up. Honestly, I was crapping [laughter]. I was a mess. I couldn’t believe it and I think I lost 10 pounds by the time I debuted honestly, just because of dehydration and not being able to eat and being sick. I make my debut and it was the match where I break Stevie Richards’ nose and his orbital bone, so all in all it was not a great start.

On Who Directed Him During His Debut:

The day of my debut it was Shawn [Michaels] and Hunter [Triple H] that were working with me on my entrance specifically. Remember I was sick as a dog, but I was up there and I was working with them and they were walking me through different routines to do up on the top of the ramp. From that aspect, they helped out a lot. There were many people that helped out on the wrestling aspect: “The Enforcer” Arn Anderson and Fit Finlay. It feels like a lot of people had their hand on my development there.

On His Thoughts After Receiving An Initial Push:

It was all so surreal. It’s one of those things where you can only look back after and reflect on it and be like, Wow that really happened. It seemed like the sky was the limit honestly. I know they were trying to push me towards that direction, in terms of working with [John] Cena and all that, but one thing I’ve learned about pro wrestling is that they may tell you one thing one day and that could change within the next week, let alone the next day or even the next hour. There was a lot of touch and go and it started right from the start. When I injured Stevie Richards, I was on Heat for the next month and a half – their B show at the time – to make sure I didn’t hurt anybody, I think.

On How A Miscommunication With John Laurinaitis Let To Vince Going Crazy Backstage:

A lot of interesting things happened. During the times we had Taboo Tuesday….I was teaming up with Gene Snitsky against whoever the fans picked and they picked, I think, Rey Mysterio and Matt Hardy. Vince [McMahon] was real adamant about me not being pinned, but nobody told us, so we put the match together in a fashion where I ended up taking the pinfall. We did the match and the match turned out great, but when we got to the back, Vince was going crazy because he didn’t want me to get pinned. The whole plan was to keep me strong to work with Cena in that next month or towards Survivor Series, but nobody had told us. John Laurinaitis had sworn that he had told me.

On What Led To His First Release:

Because I already popped on the wellness policy and basically I was a second time offender. All this stuff happened at one time; I was in Europe and ended up dislocating my elbow and I was sent home at the end of the tour because I couldn’t finish it. Then by the time I got home I was told that I had popped on the test and at first they were just gonna overlook it. Basically that’s what they told me, ‘It’s no big deal. Take your 60 days and come back.’ Around that time….that was around the time of Eddie [Guerrero] and Chris Benoit and there was a lot of heat on the company and it went from basically taking your 60 day suspension to, ‘Hey, we got to let you go.’ That’s what basically happened around that time frame.

On Misconceptions About His Drug Use:

That’s one thing I want to clarify too. A lot of people think automatically that it was performance enhancing drugs or steroids with me when my problem – I didn’t have a problem with steroids. My problem was painkillers and basically prescription pills and that was the demons I was battling at that time. It wasn’t, ‘Chris Masters couldn’t stay off testosterone for two months to pass a drug test.’ No. I had personal issues with those prescription pills, which a lot of people are facing today obviously.

On His Backstage Issues & Altercation With Bob Holly:

Big time. Big time. Big time. The first time I went to a SmackDown taping – there was a time when I was in OVW where everybody wanted to go to RAW and it wasn’t just because RAW was RAW. It wasn’t just because RAW was RAW. It was because RAW had a different crew. SmackDown was built up of JBL and Bob Holly and a lot of the older veterans at that time that were known for giving younger guys a hard time. I had a big problem as far as learning all the unwritten rules and etiquette. Bob Holly basically wanted to kill me at my first SmackDown taping because he already had a bad impression of me from OVW because I missed an OVW TV taping, which was a whole other story. I was doing the whole shaking hands things with everybody and for whatever chance, I had missed Bob Holly in the locker room. I think it was because he was with a group of people and they were talking. Bob Holly took it as a sign of disrespect and basically called me out and started yelling at me in the locker room. He tried to change his dark match that night from him vs Carlito to him vs me. It was a real uncomfortable scene. I left that TV taping not knowing if I’d even make it up there.

On His Reaction To Holly’s Verbal Thrashing:

I couldn’t believe it. I was in shock. I couldn’t even believe he thought I disrespected him because, to me, I looked up to all these guys. These were all the guys I watched throughout my lifetime and I didn’t have any disrespect toward anybody. It was just the way I looked and probably the fact that I might have kept to myself or been shy might have rubbed people the wrong way and specifically Bob. Like I said, I left SmackDown that day not knowing I would even last, if I ended up getting called up there. I was really worried.

On The Unwritten Rules Of Wrestling:

It goes back to…a young guy coming in and automatically when there’s big guys that have been up there a long time who have had spots and I think their automatic impulse is to worry about this person taking their spot or they have resentment toward somebody getting a push. I’m not necessarily saying that’s what they were feeling at the time, but a lot of things play factors in that type of stuff. Being a veteran and being involved in this business as long as I have, I do see a need for some of these: the handshaking and just showing respect to the guys that kinda paved the way for you.

On Who Helped Him Early On:

One guy that just automatically pops in my head is Viscera, King Mabel, whatever you want to call him. God rest his soul, but he was definitely a veteran who throughout my whole time up there was there to kinda wisen me up and let me in a little but on what is happening because there are so many unwritten rules and so many things you don’t know coming in as a kid that you kinda gotta follow. You need somebody to kinda smarten you up, as they say. Viscera was that guy for me because he’d been around. He’d seen it all and had been through it all. He was just always a great guy to me and a great guy to have around in the locker room.

On What He Learned From His Time In Wrestling:

As much as we have close relationships with people in the business through shared experiences and what not, one thing you don’t look for out of your peers in professional wrestling is sympathy. That’s one thing I’ve learned. You just don’t. That’s not a place you look for it…if I’m going through a hard time, I don’t expect anybody to put their arm around me, so to speak.

On JBL:

JBL was a big headache for me. He was one of the guys on SmackDown that gave me the hardest time. I had my first trip to Afghanistan; he was in the same group as me. He made my life a living hell. He was the WWE hazer at the time, but it’s just one of those things you had to deal with. I just kinda had to take it and shut my mouth. At that time, although it would have probably been better to Joey Styles him, but that happened the way it was supposed to. That was a storybook kind of thing right there, but he made my life hell. He really fu*ked with my head a lot and really tried to mind fu*k me and break me down, but he wasn’t successful.

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