August 29, 2010
An interview with Viscera
Gary: Before I get to the WWE/WWF side of things I was just wondering how the All Japan tour is going at the moment?
Viscera: Itís going great, you know. Itís hard work, you know, it takes a bigger heart than WWE I would say but itís going really well, Iím very happy over here.
Cool. If I may bring it up just before I go on Ė obviously Lance Cade was booked to be on tour with yourselves (AJPW) but obviously sadly passed away last week. What were you thoughts about Lance?
I was on the last tour with Lance in All Japan. We got a chance to spend about 3 or 4 hours together before he went back home and ironically one of the things that he said to me, that sticks out in my mind, is ďthe last thing in the world that I want is for my daughters to grow up and have to say that my father overdosed on pillsĒ and then it (his death) happened, like, two weeks afterwards. I think thatís kind of ironic. He was truly like a brother to me. I watched him grow up in the business, through developmental and we worked in WWE together and Memphis and we came to Japan together so, you know, it was like losing a family member. Itís just really sad.
Yea, it really was. If we can jump back a bit, what drew you to the wrestling business?
Well, the fact that when I was growing up I noticed that I was a lot bigger than everybody else. When I was in the eighth or ninth grade I was bigger than a lot of the seniors! I always loved it. I grew up in North Carolina, so I grew up on the NWA. Iíve always been a fan of it, and I figured I had to use what God gave me, so thatís what basically drew me to it.
When you signed for the WWF in mid-1993 yourself and Bobby came in as ĎMen on a Missioní, along with the rapping manager, Oscar. How did you feel about that?
Well, actually, going back to that time I thought it wasÖÖI thought my name in particular was the dumbest name Iíd ever heard of in my life. I begged Vince to give me another name, but insisted on using Mabel. He was ďyou know itís like the boy called Sue. The giant guy called Sue that nobody made fun ofĒ. My dream was coming true but I felt like, you know, that was the catch that I had a dumb name and kind of a dumb gimmick, but it really caught on and people still to this day call me Mabel. It really turned out great.
A year or two later you turned heel and won the 1995 King of the Ring, and then you headlined against Kevin Nash/Diesel for the title and then feuded with Undertaker at the end of 1995. Did you hope that this would lead to a real sustained push or run on top for you?
I had hoped that it would, but one thing that a lot of guys will never find out because theyíll never reach that level is that itís truly lonely at the top and your best friend will turn against you. You have a bullseye on your backÖÖÖitís good in a lot of ways but in a lot of ways itís not good. It was an experience and I hoped that it would have lasted longer at the time but it was circumstances that did me so, you know, no regrets.
Were you made any promises by Vince or by management in relation to it (the push) that didnít come through?
No - ultimately I knew that the whole King Mabel push was to ultimately get Kevin Nash over. Like, slay the mighty dragon type of thing and I was fine with that because I was getting my limelight out of itÖÖ.sometimes you get pushed for you and sometimes you get pushed for other people and thatís basically what that was all about.
You left in 1996, but when you came back in 1999 you were obviously back as Viscera in the Ministry of Darkness with an altogether different look. How did you like the transformation?
I loved it man! It was like Halloween every day! You got a chance to actually become a part of the entity of the Undertaker and his aura in these arenas around the world. It was a great experience, man. I thought that they could have done a lot more with the Ministry. I think that we honestly could have ran roughshod for at least a couple of years, if not more. But it was great, just to be a part of the Undertaker and to be a part of all of that was a brilliant, surreal experience every day.
You left again in 2000, only to return to WWE in 2004. Before I move on I just wanted to ask; you were there for a couple of years, gone a couple of years, back a couple of years, gone a couple of years. Was it a case of creative had nothing for you, as ends to be said, or were you just burnt out?
Basically a couple of times it was because I got injured. A lot of times when you get injured by the time you come back your spotís gone or theyíre going in another direction or whatever the case may be. Iíve always been not happy about being released, but I knew how to take it, so I could come back and not display an attitude and burn a bridge or whatever, but just say ok, Iíll be back soon.
From a personal point of view, one part of your career that I enjoyed in your runs with WWE was your time as ĎThe Worldís Largest Love Machineí, particularly some of the segments with Lilian (Garcia) that I found entertaining. What brought that storyline around?
Well, actually, TV time opened up on Raw. Hunter had his quad injury and that takes a long time to heal. He had a whole lot of TV time, so it was TV time opening up and we had the dress code at the time and I was trying to be the best dressed big man in the locker room and Vince, he always would see me and say ďYouíre dressed to the nines.Ē He loved that and one day he just looked at me and said lets try this love machine character with Trish (Stratus) and see if this could evolve into something. And it really did evolve to the point that they had to pump the brakes on it because it was getting too popular. It was really a fluke that it even happened but Iím telling you that was the most fun I ever had.
How did you feel about being drafted to ECW?
I was excited, because it was a chance for me to get anther gimmick over. Thatís one thing that Iíve never a problem in doing is getting a gimmick over. Vince and I, we had to negotiate the look of Big Daddy V. He wanted me to come out basically like Stone Cold, with the whole tights thing and the boots (laughs). We negotiated down to what it actually turned out to be and I had fun because I love hardcore wrestling, I always have, and it was just another opportunity for me to show that I could get over with the WWE Universe once again and I truly feel like if given the opportunity to do another gimmick I could get that gimmick over too. Iíve had five different gimmicks up there and theyíve all been good, so I accept any challenge!
Do you have any regrets about your runs with WWE?
No I donít, man, because you can sit there and say I should have dome that or wouldnít have done this or whatever but I have no regrets whatsoever. If I had to do it again I would do it all over again.
Thereís been a lot said recently on the whole WWE/Bryan Danielson situation, with the release in June and then the hiring back at SummerSlam. I just wondered was there anyone in your time there that you saw money in but who for one reason or another never reached their potential?
You know what? They called him American Dragon back when I was in Memphis and I always thought the guy was super talented. He used to wear a mask and him and Brian Kendrick and Lance Cade Ė all those guys, I thought they had tremendous, unbelievable talent. Given the right opportunity they could all have been big money makers. Itís all about preparation meeting opportunity, thatís all that it is.
You have filmed a few movies over the last couple of years. Do you see yourself moving in that direction eventually?
You know what? Iím blessed to have done a couple of movies so far. A lot of wrestlersÖÖÖÖJim Duggan, when I showed him my SAG card he just stared at it, and he was like ďIíve been trying to do that for thirty something years and nothing ever materialised out of it.Ē Iím totally blessed to have been a part of those movies, and Iím looking forward to doing some more, but like everything else itís not easy. Itís gonna take time and you gotta be patient, so thatís what Iím doing.
Since January weíve had Hogan & Bischoff coming into TNA and there was a bit of a war, for a little while. Have you had any interest in the last few months from TNA or WWE?
You know what? Iím a WWE guy until the day I die and I would ultimately like to go back at some point, in or out of the ring. Anything that helps he boys is good, so Iíd like to see TNA do well, Iíd like to, of course, see WWE continue to do well. This new Florida promotion that they have opening up, I hope it does well because all of these hard working men and women need as much opportunity to work as possible, so my hatís off to all of them, I wish them all the best.
You mentioned Florida. I donít know how much of NXT you have seen or are up with, but they seem to be going through a lot of new talent in developmental. Some of them coming up are very green. Do you think that the lack of territories has had an effect on that?
Well as far as NXT goes, to me itís unbelievable that kids today can get an opportunity to actually get on worldwide television and learn their trade, kind of like on the job training. Itís a hell of an opportunity for them. Iím not hating on them by no means, but at the same time it takes experience to get the job done. Itís not always about being the best wrestler, or things like that, itís a combination of a lot of things that help you connect with the WWE Universe or any other wrestling Ďuniverseí. Kudos to those guys with the NXT thing, but Iím a true believer that experience, thereís no substitute for that. Thatís where the veterans come into play and I really would hope that after this NXT thing kind of smoothes over that Vince would give all these had working men and women whoíve sacrificed for years and years opportunity to come in and get the job done.
How do you feel that you have left a mark on the wrestling business (so far)?
Well, one thing about it is, I made my own way Ė Iím not second generation or third generation. Nobody in my family or nobody that I knew was in it, I just basically had to pursue itÖ..just doing it the hard way and, I guess, doing it the right way. I guess at the end of the day my mark would be to say that anything is possible. A kid from a small town on North Carolina that made it all the way to the top along with my partner Bobby, who was in the same situation. We were denied and told no so many times, so many people tried to discourage us, but we just wouldnít take no for an answer. Any kid out there that wants to get into it, donít take no for an answer. Youíve gotta have a thick skin. You will hear a thousand nos before you hear the one yes that makes all the difference in the world.
Youíve almost answered my last question! What advice would you give to anyone that is thinking of getting into the industry?
That would be it! Get ready for a lifetime of pain and never give up!