MVP was a guest on “Why It Ended” with Robbie E. During the interview, MVP went in depth on many topics, including his experience wrestling with Chris Benoit, bouncing with Kimbo Slice and why he asked for his WWE release. Here are the highlights:
On Working With Kimbo Slice As A Bouncer:
I was working on South Beach. I started bouncing. People were like, ‘Hey man, you’re a big dude. You know how to look after yourself. You ever tried bouncing?’ I was a convicted felon, so it was a bi*ch trying to get a job anywhere ’cause they do a background check and they’re like, ‘You’re convicted of robbery and kidnapping? We don’t want you here.’ So, getting a square job was difficult. Down on South Beach, it wasn’t quite so hard. Pretty quickly I found myself working at The Living Room, which at that time was the most exclusive club on South Beach. Me and Kimbo Slice were holding down sh*t at the door. Back then he was Kevin Ferguson. He hadn’t discovered the Kimbo Slice gimmick yet, but we used to hold sh*t down. We got to be good friends.
On Missing Out On A Chance To Work With WWE Earlier In His Career:
Here’s a little trivia, a little piece of information that I’ll drop on your podcast that most people don’t know. Way before that….Carlito had a bodyguard and he got hurt….and they were talking about bringing me in to be his bodyguard. I remember for the first time being excited because I talked to Ann from travel about flying me in. I’m getting looked at. This is it, right? I was chilling with this chick….We’re having a nice little intimate moment. It’s all good. Things are about to go down, if you will, and my phone rings and I see it’s that unknown number. I’m like, ‘Oh sh*t, I’m waiting for a call from them.’ It’s Tommy Dreamer and he says, ‘Hello Antonio Banks, creative has changed their mind. They’re going in a different direction, so we’re not gonna be flying you in next week, so we’ll see you when you come down in February. Take care. Give me a call, if you need anything.’ Dude, you want to talk about a heartbreak letdown. I bullsh*t you not. I looked at that chick. I got up. I walked out. She said, ‘What’s wrong?’ I said, ‘I just got some really bad news.’ As I walked to the car I was thinking, ‘You bad luck fuc*ing bit*h, I’m never gonna talk to you again.’ I never saw that girl again, never talked to her, never spoke to her.
On Asking John Laurinaitis For An Opportunity:
I used to get booked as an extra for the WWE when they were coming to town and I remember roping Johnny Ace off one day and [said], ‘Hey Johnny, you got a minute?’ He said, ‘I’m busy kid.’ I said, ‘Johnny please, just thirty seconds.’ ‘Busy kid.’ ‘Johnny give me 10 seconds.’ And he stop and goes, ‘Alright kid.’ ‘Just tell me what the fu*k I’ve got to do to get hired.’ I said it just like that. Johnny told me. He paused for a minute and looked at me like, ‘Do you know who the fu*k I am talking to me like that?’ The other part was he was kinda like, ‘This kid’s got some fu*king balls, alright.’
On Laurinaitis’ Response:
When I talked to Johnny that day, he said, ‘Look, we like you.’ I told you that to let you know I was on their radar. They knew who I was. They liked me. They just didn’t have anything for me and Johnny said, ‘We’re going back to more of a character based deal. Come up with something that we don’t already have that you can do and get back to me.’ I remember being like, ‘These mother fu*kers are just blowing me off again.’ They know who I am. I’m on the radar, but I wasn’t 6’7 300 pounds, so they weren’t going out of their way for me.
On How The MVP Character Came To Be:
Working down on South Beach, I came up with this idea. Every week you turn on SportsCenter, there’s some pro athlete saying or doing some stupid sh*t or getting into a scuffle or getting suspended. Working down on South Beach I used to see these athletes show up and I’d see guys like Shaq, Dr. J, Jim Brown, Barry Sanders. Here are guys who are first ballot Hall of Famers, legends. They’d be so cool and so humble and they’d stop to speak to you. They just conducted themselves differently; but, then you see guys that are first round draft busts, guys second-third round in the draft or whatever. They’d show up with an entourage of fifteen people. We’ve got a dress code, but they’d show up with their shorts and speakers just demanding sh*t, ‘Hey man do you know who I am? You better let me in.’ ‘Man, fuc* you man. You haven’t scored a touchdown since you got drafted. Fu*k off.’ But, it triggered a light bulb and I realized that hasn’t been done in wrestling yet, so I came up with this idea to take everything bad about Deion Sanders and Ocho Cinco and Terrell Owens and Ron Artest and Allen Iverson, everything you can think of bad and apply it to a pro wrestler that comes in with a lot of ego, but a lot of ability. Whether or not that ability pans out depends on whether or not he shows up to play.
On Vince McMahon‘s Initial Reaction To His Character:
Court Bauer showed it to Dusty Rhodes and Dusty Rhodes remembered me. They loved the sh*t. They took it and showed it to Vince and Vince allegedly said, ‘God damn it, let’s get that kid on TV.’ They said, ‘Vince, he’s not signed,’ and Vince said, ‘Why not? Sign him God damn.’ And I got a call.
On Bill Demott As A Trainer:
His pendulum swung both ways. There are times when I can tell you he was one of the coolest funnest guys I ever had the pleasure of hanging out with and there were times when he was one of the biggest most miserable fu*king pricks I ever had the misfortune of having been around. Just depended on what Bill you got that day. Sometimes he was awesome and sometimes he wasn’t and his training style was very demanding, brutal, sometimes, in my opinion, reckless. He would have us do sh*t where all four of us had to stand on the top turnbuckles while two people would hit the ropes criss-crossing and then we’d have to squat. I was like, ‘Is this fuc*ing wrestling training or ninja training?’ Bill would just do stupid sh*t to us sometimes to pop himself. He would make us circle the ring imitating animals and sh*t because it was funny. Fuc*, I ain’t doing that sh*t. ‘Banks isn’t a team player. He’s too good for this. He’s better than everybody else.’ That sh*t used to make me hot like, ‘Dude, what the fu*k are you trying to do here? How is this gonna make us better wrestlers?’ There was other times when he was serious – it’s politically incorrect, but we referred to it as Retard Saturdays, where Saturday you’re off. You don’t have to come in and train. You could do whatever the fu*k you wanted to, but if you wanted to come in, Bill would be there for a couple hours on Saturday morning, if you wanted to work on sh*t. If you wanted to get in the ring and work on some holds and needed to learn how to bump better or whatever the fu*k you needed help with. He wasn’t getting paid for that. That was just him on his time. For me, if I see Bill Demott right now, I’d shake his hand and speak with him, but there were times when sh*t between me and Bill wasn’t so pleasant, but then there were times when I’d give the guy a hug and say, ‘Hey man, you’re fu*king awesome.’
On If Kenny Omega Would Have Succeeded In Developmental Back Then:
Regarding Omega, with the way the developmental system was at the time – the way Bill was running it and sadly Vince McMahon’s mentality at that time – I don’t think Kenny would have thrived in the WWE arena because I remember specifically hearing when Vince was like, ‘If he’s under six feet tall and 200 pounds I don’t want to see him.’ There was that time when no little guys were getting signed. He wanted big guys and six feet 200 pounds was the cut off.
On Working With Chris Benoit:
Benoit, because he was a friend and mentor from back in my indie days, he knew what I could do. With Benoit, all of a sudden people found out, ‘Oh sh*t MVP can really wrestle, like he can go.’ ‘Yeah dude, I can go.’ Our first WrestleMania match we were coming through the curtain and people were giving me high fives and congratulating me and Stephanie [McMahon] came over and she goes, ‘Wow that was amazing! Who knew you could do that?’ And Chris Benoit in typical deadpan Chris fashion just stepped in front of me and looked at her and said, ‘I did.’
On His WWE Costume:
I thought it was a rib. I thought it was a fu*king joke. My whole concept of MVP and I had a meeting with Vince, Johnny, and the seamstress…I pretty much laid it out, ‘If Deion Sanders was allowed to design his own uniform, what would it look like?’ So take this concept of Under Armour, who was a brand new company at the time, unheard of. Nike dry-fit was the leading close fitting athletic gear. I said, ‘Let’s take a Nike dry-fit top and jazz it up, like bring it out.’ So, it was like an artist drawing of what the outfit should look like and I’m like, ‘Yeah, that is perfect. Just bedazzle it.’ So the day of my debut, I walk by and see the outfit, the blue outfit with the upside down Star Trek triangle on it and I start laughing and I’m like, ‘This is definitely a practical joke. This is not what we discussed.’ She goes, ‘Do you like it?’ ‘Oh yeah, it’s great. It’s awesome. Thanks.’ At this point I’m thinking this is all a test. They’re just fuc*ing with me….this outfit, they’re just gonna see how I react. We get close to the showtime and Johnny Ace says, ‘Hey kid, did you see your outfit? What’d you think?’ ‘Oh, it’s great!’ ‘Put it on. Let’s see it.’ I’m like, ‘Here’s the rib. Here’s the HAHA.’ I go and put that stupid sh*t on and come out of the bathroom. There’s Chavo [Guerrero] and Booker [T] and they both started laughing and sh*t. I nod my head. I’m gonna soak it all in. Right at that moment JBL walked up and said, ‘God da*n it I smell heat. That’s fuc*ing heat.’ I tell Johnny. I’m like, ‘Alright man, where’s the real outfit? The one we discussed?’ He’s like, ‘That’s it. You don’t like that?’ I’m like, ‘Hell no, I don’t like this sh*t. This is not what we talked about.’ ‘What’s wrong with it?’ ‘Man, I don’t look like a high performance athlete. I look like a figure skater in this sh*t man.’ Then Batista walks up. He’s like, ‘John, what the fu*k. Guys got some big arms. At least let him cut the arms out.’ We went over to see Vince and as I walk up to Vince, Vince eyes me up and down and goes, ‘I love it. Your egos gonna get that over.’ I’m like, ‘Awww sh*t.’ So I had to be make my debut in that stupid ass fu*ing outfit.
On Asking For His WWE Release:
I was in a tag team with Mark Henry that they really didn’t do anything with and I was just kind of floating around RAW. Then I got sent back to SmackDown and not long after that I asked for my release, so I could go pursue my dream of wrestling in Japan. I had a year left on my deal and they were trying to get me to sign a 5 year deal. I just wasn’t interested. WWE for me was a goal. New Japan [Pro Wrestling] was a dream. Wrestling at a WrestleMania was a goal. Wrestling at the Tokyo Dome, that was my dream. That was what I was looking to accomplish.
On Being Able To Keep The MVP Name:
[I was able to use it because of a] deal I had in place with WWE. Much to their credit, when they signed me, MVP was my creation. I pitched it to them. They could have said, ‘OK, just sign it over to us in its entirety,’ and I would have. I didn’t have any leverage. I couldn’t have told them no and our contractual arrangement regarding the use of MVP and the ownership was contractually worked out, so that it was beneficial for both of us, so they didn’t fu*k me over for my shirt.
You can check out the full episode of “Why It Ended” with Robbie E featuring MVP by clicking HERE
Credit: Why It Ended. H/T Wrestlezone