Joey Mercury: “I was going to die”

SLAM! Wrestling conducted a revealing interview with Joey Matthews (real name Adam Birch, formerly known as Joey Mercury in WWE), in which he talks about his drug addiction problems and gives rare insight into the mindset of a pro wrestler. It’s a great read, and here are some notable quotes:

“I was lying to them because I wanted to get back [from rehab] so soon.”

“I didn’t want to tell anyone that I had a problem [with painkillers]. I didn’t want anyone to think that rehab had failed. I didn’t want it to look bad on me because at that time I was on almost every Raw and Smackdown, getting a lot of work and being in a lot of good spots. Then one day, before a taping, I took some pills that somebody handed me — they weren’t prescribed to me. I knew it was wrong but I took them anyway because that’s the nature of the beast.”

“Vince sat me down and said ‘We’re not concerned about your work because we know you can pull it together for 30 minutes every night. We’re worried that you’re going to die.'”

“The WWE gave me every opportunity to get better and I’m the one who f*cked up. I was one of those guys that you’d prop up after a match, put on a plane and just get to the next town. Once my music came on, I was fine.”

“I was going to die…”

“I’ve overdosed three times and I’ve wrecked ten cars — I’m fortunate to be above ground. But now I’m at the top of my game, and I want to be the comeback of the year.”

He also talks about how he’s been an alcoholic and drug addict (ranging from crack to cocaine, heroin and, most recently, painkillers) since he was 15 years old, and got into wrestling when he was 16 (he is 28), claims he’s had over 10 concussions, says he’s glad he was punished by WWE, and describes the MNM/Hardyz feud, saying their first match-up was a “dream match.” The full story is here.

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