Wrestling legend Rhyno was interviewed by Sporting News to talk about his recent return to IMPACT Wrestling, and provides details on the multi-year contract that he signed. Rhyno also discusses the differences between IMPACT now, and when it was run by Dixie Carter before explaining why he decided to leave the WWE. Highlights are below.
What it means to be back with IMPACT:
It means a lot on several different things. One, just for the simple fact that it’s a company on the right path for almost two years. They have been moving in a direction where wrestling fans want a company to go in terms of letting the talent be the talent, having bookers booking the matches on the card opposed to writers.
I think a lot of fans are drawn to a promotion like that. Not speaking against other promotions, but you other promotions doing it differently because they’re very successful. But I think there’s nitch where you have to let talent be talent and have enough talent where it’s not drowned out too much and where you don’t have enough TV time and run enough shows to use them. It’s up to the talent, whether to sink or swim. And Impact because guys have more control when their contracts are up.
Thoughts on his first run with the company:
I had a lot of fun. I got a chance to work with guys like AJ Styles, Abyss, Sting, James Storm, even to Rob Van Dam, who was one of my last feuds there. It was a lot of fun. Look at Van Dam now. He’s still so talented.
I’m happy he’s back here and to be in the same locker room as him, especially in a company like Impact that has the mindset of just letting the talent do what they do, and we’ll book them and guide them in a way that will be very beneficial not only to us, but the wrestling fans.
How he feels about his last run with WWE:
I loved it. The last three months of my contract, I was sitting at home. And a lot of people would say it’s a punishment. It wasn’t. It was just business. I can’t say one bad thing about WWE just for the simple fact of that they allowed me to make money. You have to be responsible for your actions.
I think what had happened is when I was going into WWE, I was burnt out because I was running for office. I was on the road making all of my bookings on the indies and then doing the shows on the weekend. Then during the week, I would spend 10 hours a day knocking on doors from 10:30 a.m. until you couldn’t go anymore because it would get too late and you can’t knock on people’s doors amid summer time in the heat and running a campaign and figuring things out. You have to remember it’s just a business.
And I didn’t take that time to go and get in better shape. When I got there, and I’ll be honest with you, every time I went to the ring, I gave 110 percent. But I got lazy. I got comfortable. I didn’t diet. I always went to the gym to stretch and do a little cardio. I really didn’t go crazy. With me, I have to have a low carb (diet), eat every couple hours in small portions because that will keep my metabolism up and workout five days a week. It was unfortunate. WWE never said anything to me. They never said anything to anybody to the best of my knowledge. I just didn’t put in the effort.
Having time off before starting this new venture with Impact made me realize, look back and reflect on what I did wrong, what I did right and what could I improve on and what could I not improve on and what needs work. I think that was a blessing in disguise. Sitting at home proved to be beneficial. Money isn’t everything because I had a downside guarantee.
Turning down a new WWE contract so he could sign with IMPACT:
That is true. Basically, I was talking with Mark Carrano (WWE Senior Director of Talent Relations), and Vince (McMahon) threw out a number. It was double my downside. It was more money than I would have made in wrestling altogether. I love being on the road whether it’s working with independent promotions or with Impact, AEW, or WWE.
My window of being on the road is closing. I realize that. My thing is I enjoy being in the locker rooms and helping people out. My goal is to find the next John Cena, the next Steve Austin or the next RVD. I can’t do that if I’m sitting at home. I’m more beneficial to being on the road.
One of the things I talked to Mark Carrano about is putting in the car with guys that are coming up from NXT or currently in NXT. I don’t need to be on TV. Put me on the live events. I can show up at TV’s and do whatever. A lot of the men and women who get to Raw or SmackDown are very talented in the ring.
I told Carrano, ‘You and I both know it takes a lot of money to get a talent to Raw or Smackdown. And then you’re investing more money in TV time to get them over. And if they mistake in this day of age, they are in trouble due to the social media and are likely to be fired. I can get the talents in the car for a few weeks and teach them the ways of the road and do something like that’.
But I thought I wouldn’t be on the road and be able to do that because there are so many people under contract. So that’s one of the reasons I turned it down. I figured I would throw a stupid number out there and if they bite then if I sit at home, I’ll have to learn how to be happy. But I realized money doesn’t always make you happy. I’m glad they turned down my counter.
They made a counter and wondered if we could meet in the middle. I was like, ‘No, I don’t think we’re going to meet.’ I realized there that I just didn’t want to collect a paycheck and told them we’d just part ways respectfully. There was no heat or anything. At the end of the day, I would have been miserable, and there isn’t an amount of money to make you happy when you can’t do something you love.
How much longer he wants to wrestle:
I would like to try for eight years. That’s my goal. Hit 32 years in pro wrestling. I was watching a thing on former NASCAR driver Richard Petty and he drove for 32 years. Along with winding it up, I’d like to get more involved in my community. I own a marina in Monroe, Mich. called Big Daddy’s Boatyard and want to work on that.
I don’t know about becoming a wrestling coach, but I think you owe it to wrestling business to do like autograph signings for the fans or help build another talent by taking more of a behind the scenes approach. These major pro wrestling companies need to help bring guys in to help develop the future behind the scenes. Hopefully, my career ends eight years from now, so I can help the younger generation because I don’t want to abandon the business like that whatsoever.