Credit: Steven Fernandes and PWInsider.com, Live Audio Wrestling:
Rhyno Interview Highlights
On what led him to be released:
Rhino says for the last couple of years, he hasn’t been the person that everyone had seen in ECW or the person that came into WWE in 2001. The neck surgery mentally played a toll on him. It made him a moody person. Ever since he was 11 doing his paper route, he created money for himself. He was always working. After the neck surgery, he felt helpless, and took it out on other people. He came back to the ring, and didn’t feel the same. He was working hard, but creatively he wasn’t feeling the same. He felt things weren’t going his way, so he began drinking a lot. Everything started coming down all at once. He filed for divorce last September. They are great friends now, but they got into an argument and he lost his cool. He was just frustrated. He says he’s met a lot of new people who talked and helped him through things. For his child’s sake, he and his ex-wife are good friends. He says he threw a potted plant and acted every unprofessional. He says if he was Vince, he would fire himself too. He says he has cut down on his drinking, drinking only once in a while. He doesn’t drink and drive because he could kill someone. He is a better and happier person now.
How frustrated was he creatively after coming back:
For last two years, he was pointing fingers and also drinking, and not bettering himself. The last couple of months, he was thinking ‘What would Vince do?’ Because Vince is a go-getter. If someone told him he couldn’t do something, he’d find a way to get it done. He talks about how you can call the writers and ask them if they have anything for you. If they say no, ask them what about next week, or how about this idea or that idea etc. Sooner they’ll start to say ‘this squeaky wheel is starting to bother me. Let’s throw some oil in it’ and they’ll put you in something. He says in ECW, he showed up, found out what he had to do and did it to the best of his abilities. He says the last couple of years while he was with WWE, he always worked hard, but his attitude was just to get through a match and hit the next town, it wasn’t how can he make a match stand out. For the 90 days, he sat back and thinking whether he still wants to do this. He found his love back for the business again.
On the ‘House show match with Tajiri that was stopped by Vince’ incident:
He surprised a lot of people haven’t asked him about it. He probably thinks they feel bad for him. He says you can’t argue with Vince, because there’s just no way that you can argue with him. He is always on top of thing. Before the match, Vince told them they could anything since it’s a house show. He adds for the record, that his pay for that night was very good. He was thinking that he should get kicked out of the ring more often. But Vince told them to do anything, but something must have pissed him off about the match before theirs. Rhino was told before hand that if the crowd chant ‘boring’ during a wrestling hold, don’t try to get out of it and do something else or don’t let them judge your match. Rhino was like okay, he’s just listening to the agents. He guesses that’s what pissed Vince off. The ‘boring’ chants. Vince said that if they are chanting ‘boring’, they are bored. What Rhino would have liked to have told him is that if they are chanting ‘boring’, they are at least chanting something. They might be telling him that they are bored. Does he get up and do something? If they chant to Dawn Marie ‘Show your boobs’. Should she show her boobs? No. So in a way, you can’t let then dictate your match. In ECW, if they chanted ‘boring’, he would slowly work out of those wrestling holds and move onto something else. Rhino’s point was that if they are sitting on their hands and talking to other people and not making a sound, then they are bored. If they are chanting ‘boring’ and you just sitting there laying down, like taking a nap, then you are just a piece of sÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Ât and lazy. But if you are sitting there working the wrestling hold, and more people start chanting ‘boring’, then more people are starting to get into it. They are interacting with you. Rhino’s thinking was its Vince’s business, it’s his company, and he is paying him. And he did get good money for that night. A lot of people were saying that Tajiri and Rhino are hard workers and what Vince did was unprofessional. Rhino says it’s his company. If he acts unprofessional, it doesn’t matter. Who’s gonna fire him? He jokes that Linda could fire him.
Being on the ECW One Night Stand PPV:
He says he loved the whole ECW thing. He says there were WWE fans there too and they were chanting ‘you got fired.’ He thought that was hilarious. He drove in with a friend, and in his section, a couple of people were chanting ‘Rhyno’s a wife beater’. That was hilarious too. He doesn’t take any of that seriously. The fans can chant what they want. A lot of it is funny. If he had a way to leave a company, and if it’s for good, never work their again, that’s how he would want to leave. He wished his match could have more time, but it was what it was. It meant Sabu having a good match. It was fun working with Sabu and RVD and seeing all the other guys. He thought it was a great PPV from top to bottom.
Was his match at the PPV an ‘audition’ to see what WWE was missing?
He went to Puerto Rico right after he got fired. WWE booked him there, and then did the PPV. He enjoyed his time off. WWE paid him the 90 days, and he can’t really speak badly about them. If he had something negative to say, he would. He adds ‘It’s not like I am trying to kiss ass and get a job back.’
Chris Benoit Interview
On Brock Lesnar coming back:
Benoit says it will be interesting. Its gonna turn a lot of heads, and be under the microscope for a long time, not only with the office, but with the locker room and the fans. Brock brings a lot to the table, but he’s also got a lot to prove.
On whether he was disappointed that Brock had left:
He says he wasn’t disappointed that Brock chose to leave, but was disappointed in the manner he chose to leave. He says it’s hard to pass judgment on someone because you don’t know if something is going on in their personal life outside of wrestling had something to do with it. Brock has to answer all that. But Benoit is glad to have him back.
Being at the ECW PPV:
It was very good. It was neat watching backstage and seeing a lot of familiar faces. It brought back a lot of memories. But to feel the crowd and the energy they had was amazing.
On ECW being incorporated into storylines or keep it as a one time thing:
He feels if they were going to incorporate it, it would have to be on its own. He would love to see them have their own show. Whereas, a once a year thing would be a treat for the fans.
Did the ‘We want Matt’ chants affect him during his feud with Edge?
It didn’t affect him. At the Backlash PPV, they were chanting a bit, but then they got them into the match which made Benoit feel good. They let him know they were following what they were doing. He doesn’t know if it affected Edge, because he has never spoken to him about it.
How the neck is holding up, especially after doing a suicide dive to the outside at the Backlash PPV:
The neck is fine. Everything else is hurting. He has the usual wear and tear, and aches and pain that everyone else has. But the passion is still there. He loves the ‘bell-to-bell’ time.
Any limitations on taking moves:
No limitations in taking, only in giving. He used to do dragon suplexes from a full nelson. But he hasn’t tried doing that after the neck surgery. (Note from Buck: Several reports have come in that Benoit used a Dragon suplex last night in his Velocity match with William Regal)
Any regrets for not doing the same surgery procedure as Kurt Angle:
Everyone he has talked to felt Dr. Youngblood’s procedure was better, since Kurt Angle had to do more surgeries later on. But that was just with Kurt. Who’s not to say someone else could have done the same procedure and have different results. Everyone heals different so it’s hard to say. He doesn’t regret going to Dr. Youngblood at all.
On being moved to Smackdown:
He was told about it the Monday before it happened. It was quite a surprise.
On doing another best of 7 series with Booker T:
He would love to. He was talking with Booker last week and they would like to do something like that again. He remembers back in WCW, they did it over TVs and house shows so they had a good 8 weeks out of it, which helped mold and perfect what they did.
Update on Harry Smith:
From what Benoit has heard, he is Japan right now. He is sure we will eventually see him in WWE.
On keeping up to date with the Japanese stuff:
He doesn’t have the time anymore. He is on the road a lot, and any free time he has is spent with family.
On having any contact with The Dynamite Kid:
Benoit would love to induct him in the WWE Hall of Fame. Last time he spoke to him was several years ago, and they just lost contact. He believes he is someone that really belongs in the Hall of Fame.