Former ECW heavyweight champion Taz is now a member of the AEW broadcast team, and he was this week’s guest on the AEW Unrestricted podcast.
He first spoke about how there are no backstage politics whatsoever going on in the AEW locker room, and gave credit to the front office for not hiring those kinds of people:
“I think here, the reason is, the front office here is very careful on who is brought into this company. No matter if you’re a wrestler, broadcaster, referee, backstage coach, whatever you are. Because there are a lot of piranhas, and scumbags, and shitheads in this business. And unfortunately a lot of them are from my generation.”
“I think here it’s the right people...it’s fun here. It should be fun, but there’s got to be accountability. And I do think that happens here...It’s got to be fun, but it’s work too. It’s business. We got to make money. We got to get shit over.”
Later in the podcast Taz went through his time in WWE, and he knew the backstage politics there would bury him right from his debut night at Royal Rumble 2000 at Madison Square Garden:
“When I wrestled Kurt [Angle] at the Garden, when I came out, when I heard that pop, I knew I was fucked. I knew I was doomed. I knew it....It was a legit surprise and a legit pop in the world’s most famous arena. The reason why I knew I was doomed is because that pop did not come from WWE. I was a made guy before I got to WWE, and WWE at that time, they never would admit it then, and they won’t admit it now, they didn’t want made guys. They want to make guys. So as I’m walking out with a towel on my head looking bad as a motherfucker, I’m saying to myself, ‘oh my god, shut up, don’t cheer, don’t pop, just boo me, do something, just don’t say nothing’. Even though it was an awesome feeling, I knew I was...”
Taz explained that Kurt Angle was green, and Kurt’s lack of experience led to poor timing on a suplex spot, which opened the door for his burial:
“That spot helped some of the piranhas backstage bury me, that’s what I’ve heard from a few very credible sources, that they were running to Vince, and Vince saw it and was freaking out...that night as great as it was, Vince got the wrong idea. I knew I was really fucked, it was first match of the Royal Rumble, a massive pay-per-view at the Garden, I walk through the gorilla, there’s nobody there when I’m done with the match...Everybody was gone. No one wanted to be near me or see me or talk to me. Nobody. I’m like, ‘oh boy’. Because even though it was my first night in the company, I know how things work.”
Taz then talked about his departure from the company in 2009, and how his frustrations with Vince McMahon micromanaging him on commentary became unbearable:
“I would sit in the rent-a-car in show prep. I didn’t want to be in the building. I didn’t want to be around any of them...I just didn’t want to go. This went on for, no lie, at least three months. I just didn’t want to go, I didn’t want to be there, I didn’t want to hear Vince in my ear. Fuck, I know it’s a leap frog dude. I know it’s a dropkick. You don’t have to tell me it’s a bulldog. Yeah, no shit. How many bulldogs have you taken? How many have I taken? Shut up.”
“That kind of shit, the micromanaging, got to a point where he was not just in my ear, but the play-by play-guys were getting it a lot worse than the color commentators, and still do. That was a big part of it...I didn’t want to be around anybody named McMahon at that time. They were fucking annoying. The pompous, the arrogance...the disposition of that elitist attitude, it got to the point where it’s like, you know what, fuck off, I’m out.”
Taz was happy to leave on his own terms rather than being future endeavored:
Taz: “I was so proud to be able to do that. Because at that time, people were getting future endeavored. So if they would release someone, they would get future endeavored. Yeah we wish Joe Blow the best in his future endeavors. Which is like a real shithead thing to do.”
Aubrey Edwards: “It’s like, where else are you going to work buddy?”
Taz: “Yeah exactly. It’s not bad enough we just release you, but we’re gonna fuckin’ zing you on the way out the door. How much of a heel fuckin’ deal is that?”
Taz did say he was grateful for his time in WWE and what the McMahon family provided for him, but enough was enough, and he’s thrilled to be in a company in AEW that doesn’t have any of these issues.
Taz also discusses his time as a green wrestler when he was unfamiliar with terms like “squash”, “kayfabe”, and “powder”, and how it led to some very awkward moments. He also talks about how much he enjoyed working with Bam Bam Bigelow, and how worried he was about taking the famous fall through the ring at ECW Living Dangerously 1998.
You can catch up on all those details by listening to the full AEW Unrestricted podcast here.