Heath Slater was interviewed on Lilian Garcia’s Chasing Glory podcast this week. He spoke about his recent release from WWE, and how losing for 10 years took a heavy mental toll on him:
“I was burnt out man, like burnt the hell out. I knew it, my family knew it, my co-workers knew it. I was just burned out. Fourteen years, four years developmental, ten years on the road, to where you can be promised, you can be told, you can even have it in your hand and ready, and it just changes on the drop of a dime. Putting everyone over for 10 years would take a toll on somebody - with confidence, your drive, your fire, all of that. My goodness, I do everything you ask and I can’t get a bone? I went through those a lot. I wish I would have took more control, walking in there and saying why is this happening? Why are we doing this? Why can’t we do it this way? I have 1500 damn great reasons why we could do it this way, but why are we going that way? [It] takes a toll on you.”
Slater went on to explain how WWE’s creative process completely drained his passion for pro wrestling:
“In my younger days, I did go in there and try to talk. I did go in there and try to push. But I heard ‘no’ too many times, to where I literally said, you know what, shit, I ain’t going to push no more shit. Because when I do, it goes nowhere. Or if I do pitch something good, they give it to someone else. To where I’m just sitting there like, hello? Come on now. When you get tired of hearing ‘no, no, no, no, no, not for you, not for you, not for you, you can’t do that, no, no, no’, you kind of start believing it. You kind of start damn believing it.”
“Getting fired, I really believe I needed this. The times are crazy, the times are weird now because you can’t go out and make money. But I really believe I needed this to get the fire, get the hunger, focus. I can honestly tell you that out of the last 4 to 5 years, besides me and [Rhyno] winning the tag titles, which was [an] awesome little run, I have been so burned out and just not even really caring. To where this happened, to where I have to say thank you for lighting that fire for me again.”
Heath’s frustrations are a good reminder that being a pro wrestler isn’t as simple as just playing a scripted role and collecting that paycheck. As we’ve seen with so many wrestlers, whether they are at the top of the card or the bottom, being able to express your own creativity in the ring is a crucial component that feeds their passion for pro wrestling. Slater was told ‘no’ so many times, to the point where he found himself stuck in a long-term role that took the passion right out of him.
Slater goes on to talk about his optimism for what’s next in his career, and how important his family is to him. You can check out his full interview on Chasing Glory with Lilian Garcia here.