March 27, 2013
Gary Mehaffy
@GaryMehaffy on Twitter

An interview with Chris Masters

Thanks for giving me some of your time this afternoon.
I was wondering where you were at, actually, as you were saying your time zone was over 3 hours and I was thinking “What?” I’d forgotten you’re over in Ireland! I’ve spent some time over there – I remember one time we were stuck in Belfast.

I remember seeing that. I was at the show that night and then the next day I remember hearing that.
It was crazy. We watched Raw in the hotel lobby. The whole Raw crew watched Raw from the hotel lobby. (laughs)

I remember seeing Cena and a few of the guys interviewed on the TV. It was funny, on one hand, but I’m sure it wasn’t funny for all of you. You were probably wanting to get back at the time.
Oh yea, but I was looking at the people on the news who had no place to go and were sleeping at the airports – we were at least taken care of. We were in a hotel and what-not.

The last time we spoke was around 18 months or so ago, just after your release from WWE. Could you let everyone know what you’ve been at in the time in between?
Basically a full time indy wrestler – if there is such a thing! I work most weekends. I have a gap here and there, with the bulk of it being here in the U.S. nationally, then some of it in Mexico and a lot of it in Europe. I always seem to go to Europe every couple of months. And then, of course, there was Ring Ka King, which was a TNA affiliate.

Was there ever talk, or serious negotiations, as far as going to TNA off the back of Ring Ka King?
I mean there were no serious talks or anything. I just kind of looked at it like it was a cool project. We were going to India to film TV. It ended up working out real good. We had to take these Indian who basically had no experience and try to put them through a match. It was a tough one for the people they booked, as far as the American wrestlers, because you have to have some talent to be able to get a guy with three months of training and get a decent match with him, let a alone a good match. I did work a dark match for them (TNA) and everything looked like I was actually going to be hired. I was actually told that specifically by Hulk Hogan. To me, I wasn’t emotionally invested there. If they’re going to grant me the (dark) match, cool – and I got a great reaction from their crowd – but I realise I come with labels as a WWE guy and I might not be used there properly. To be honest, the only place you can really get rich in pro wrestling is WWE, so with TNA, for instance, half of the indy work I’d do on the side I wouldn’t be able to do, because they won’t let any of their wrestlers do any indy shows that are filmed or done for television. So, there’d be a lot of things to take into consideration. Also, I don’t know if they have the formula down for success. Vince has a formula. They (TNA) have all the talent to do so. Vince has found a way to do it, obviously, and really formulate it. I didn’t really go into the thing (the dark match) with any expectations outside of let me see what this place is like. I’ve got friends there – Rob Van Dam and Frankie Kazarian and all these guys. It was good outing when I worked the dark match there. It was only a four minute match against Robbie E., but that’s where I was at with that. It was what it was.

Was there expectation or hope of Ring Ka King being run again?
I don’t think there were expectations but we were all, like, “Cool if it does.” The population in India is so huge and the show was on one of the number one networks in India – called ‘Colours’ I believe – and so we were optimistic but there was never any expectation. I get booked for different indys that are always trying to spark a TV deal and they try to fire you up about it, but I’ve heard it so many times at this point that……..I’ll compare those to Ring Ka King. Ring Ka King was the real deal. TNA did a great job on that. You come out of these things not having expectations. I think the first time I really got optimistic about anything was back in NEW a few years ago when we had the Warrior comeback, and we were selling out houses and I was like “Wow, this could be its own European promotion or territory.” You could kinda use one good promotion out there – because there are so many great fans throughout Europe – that just isn’t WWE and they’re waiting for WWE to come twice a year, you know what I mean? If season two did happen that would be cool. There was talk about touring and there’s always talk of trying something like that in different territories, whether it be Dubai or whatnot. There were rumours, and I don’t know how it did, but I haven’t heard anything about a season two.

Jumping into something slightly different for a second; How frustrating do you find it, personally, that you are labelled a ‘body guy’ when it’s perfectly obvious to anyone who watches closely that improvement to where you are know from where you were when you came up to WWE at first that you……
Well, it’s become such a rib now with Carlito being ‘Body-guy-lito’. It’s almost funny at this point. I almost embrace the title, as opposes to any other year if you had of asked me I would have resented it. I always have from the beginning because it was what got me in the door but I’ve always wanted the fans to know “Hey, I’m not a guy like the Ultimate Warrior who was big and got an opportunity.” I never started working out until I decided I wanted to become a pro wrestler. I hated it! I knew where they were coming from and I almost wanted to connect with them and say “Hey, I know where you’re coming from but understand that that’s not me. I just got my opportunity and now I’m going to work my ass off and show you guys that I’m not just a body guy, per se, and that I can out on a good match.” That took a lot of years, because I got signed at 19, I was on the road when I was 21 and the way I look at it now is that I was decent back then – I could follow someone who was better than me and put on a good match. You have to remember that I was working guys that had been in the business like Shawn Michaels, but I couldn’t have a good match, necessarily, with guys of my talent or lower/greener. But as time went on, as with anything……there were territories back in the day where guys would work 5, 6, 7 or 8 years before they made it to WWE. When I was in my eighth year in the business I was in the middle of my second run with WWE, and that’s when I feel like I started understanding the emotional involvement of a match, the art of a match, the psychology of a match. Then it became much more about the story. That’s one of the things I never understood, when Bret Hart would talk about the art of it or when people would talk about telling a story, I didn’t get that in my early career and it wasn’t until later that I started to see the art in it and understand how as a babyface you get sympathy from the crowd and how to do that – all of those really important things that only come along with time. Your first few years in the business you’re thinking “What’s first? What’s next?” You just don’t wanna F up, honestly!

That’s what was frustrating for me, and I know we talked about it 18 months ago, how….
Yea, I mean not everyone had seen Superstars but I think word of mouth on the internet…..most of the fans that I read did take notice of it. On one hand it is frustrating but on the other hand it’s one of the things that I took from my second run, that at least some of those – not the main WWE audience – but some of those harsh critics at least swayed their opinion about my work rate, which was important to me. I wanted the push and all that again, but I wanted to show people that I loved what I do and I love this biz and I want to be the guy to go out there and get a good match out of anybody on the card, any hell on the card – no matter how good or how bad.

I was reading on your Twitter last week where you must have been responding to a question and you said that you felt the WWE ship had sailed. Do you really think that that’s the case?
You know, I don’t really know for sure, I just really don’t know. At this point I’m going to continue doing it as long as I can make money doing it, because it’s what I love and have devoted my life to. As far as the ship sailing, it’s really a matter of timing. I’m thirty now, so I would definitely look at it in two or three years from now if you ask me that question and I’m not there I’m going to say “Yea, the ship has sailed.” But seeing as I’m thirty you never really know. All I can do is to wait and see at this point what happens.

Have you heard any word from any of the guys that you know (in WWE)? There have been talk of them bringing back the likes of Shelton Benjamin and some of the guys who have been there before that the fans would know, so you would think that WWE, if they had sense, would look at the like of yourself and go “He’s still young, he can go, let’s bring him back.”
Maybe they will, I don’t know. I hear those things too and from what I hear the show could use it. From what I hear they have a lot of green guys – it’s just a revolving door nowadays. You have to give guys time to build equity. You can’t just push them and then if they fail bury them and take them off. With a guy like me I was reaching the prime of my career – I was probably in the prime of my career – so I don’t want to use the events of last week to motivate it, but you never know. Being hailed as a national hero definitely has some weight I’m sure, especially in a business which has heroes and good guys and bad guys.

Just for those who don’t know exactly – and I have read bits and pieces of what happened – can you say to everyone what exactly happened with the house fire and stuff?
I got a call from my mom’s neighbour of thirty years and she told me that the police had been to my mom’s house and that I should come down and check it out. I called her (the neighbour) and asked her if the police were still there and she said no, but that I should still come down because something might be going on. I tried to call my mom and I got no answer. Usually I either get an answer from her or my uncle, who lives there too, or the answering machine, but I didn’t get any one of those three. That’s when I left the gym and went straight to my mom’s house and found that my uncle was locked out of the house. I’m asking him “What’s going on?” and he’s kind of talking through the door to somebody, telling the guy “Come on!” and this and that. I stepped in and started talking through the door, and I hear, basically, the neighbour through the door. I had met him two days prior and he seemed like kind of an odd dude, but basically he was demonizing my uncle and saying he’s the devil and he’s trying to kill my mom, saying some outlandish stuff. I thought, originally, his beef was with my uncle, so I tell him “My uncle has stepped back, he’s ten feet away, I’m here, I’m her son – let me in this door.” Then he just goes into this rant, saying “No, listen – I’m her son now too, she’s my mom!” And then the alarm goes off in my head, “Oh my god! I’m dealing with a wacko!” I’m insisting with him that he opens the door, but he won’t do it. The window’s next to the door, so I started yelling in to my mom, checking is she’s ok, and she’s speaking in code. She yelled out at one point “Back window!” to me and then I heard something about “Don’t do anything. Fire!” cause he is threatening her. I don’t know this, but at that point he has the front door barricaded and also my mom’s door barricaded, so she’s locked in her room and the front door is completely blocked off. So, I started surveying the house, trying to figure out a way to get in and I came back round to the front after not finding a good way to do so and I’m really starting to get fired up – you can imagine what I’m thinking at this point! This guy won’t freaking let me in the house and I’m on the verge of kicking the door down, and then I thought to myself that if the door doesn’t go down it might incite him to do something and I’ve got no back up. So I get my uncle over and I walk to the street. I signal to my uncle to keep him talking and I call the police. I tell them “Hey, you guys were just here but for whatever reason you left. I don’t know why! But my mom is trapped or imprisoned in the house and I’m about to kick the F’n door down, so get over here!” They get there about five minutes later and we explain the situation to them and the section me and my uncle off and they form a perimeter around the house. At this point, one of the police officers had gotten a key to the top deadbolt. I don’t know if he’d originally taken it when they were there the first time, because my uncle is locked out of the house and when they come back the second time all of a sudden they have a key – that’s a whole other part to the story that I’m sure will come out when this guy is tried. Anyway, they formed the perimeter and my uncle and I are about fifteen feet away from the house, maybe twenty feet, and they go to start unlocking the door. I don’t know what the guy shouted, but he shouted something through the door and all of a sudden all the police get very alert. Their body stance changed. I’m thinking I’m not leaving this to chance so I started moving in – I’m not going to stand off where they put me. Then what happens is, the biggest police officer – a dude bigger than me, with some high tech magnum boots on – starts kicking the door as hard as he can, like four times, but that door is not coming down. Right then I’m like I’m glad I didn’t kick it down because I don’t have the boots and I’m not as big as this dude, but as this is going on I see in the front window – and it freaked me out when I saw it – the glow of a fire was starting in the front window. That’s when I’m no longer standing back, I’m not leaving this to chance – and to be honest, the cops were a bit timid. I’d been saying at the time “Let’s get the battering ram, let’s get in there and take this guy down!” it might have only been five or ten minutes, but it felt like an eternity to me before they started actually trying to enter the place, you know what I’m saying? I see the fire starting in the front window, so basically I charged into action. The police officers broke the front window and I grabbed the hose and stuck it through the hole in the front window. I do that for about thirty seconds and a police officer takes over the hose. Then I walked around to the front and finally they’ve got the battering ram. They really crashed the battering ram into the door three times before they get the door off its hinges. That showed how strong the door was, and that it was barricaded which made it even harder. What happens then is, the door comes open and smoke comes billowing out. So, even the first cop that was trying to advance, smoke got into his eyes and he had to take a few steps back, he can’t even go in. and now I’m freaking out. Now I’m not even thinking about burning up I’m thinking about her dying of smoke inhalation. Bear in mind, he’s barricaded the door, so although they’ve knocked the door down and they’re trying to get in, they’re having to go piece by piece to get in the freaking place. At the point when I got the hose I basically started quarterbacking things. (laughs) Once I saw that they weren’t going to get her out the front, I told the two cops that were right beside me “Break those F’n windows, break those F’n windows! My mom’s in this room!” There’s a huge tree blocking the window, and they’re trying to work around the tree, so I’m like “Screw this!” I basically bear hugged the whole tree and broke it and brought it down parallel, and then they break the windows. They break the first window – nothing! Then they break the second window. At this point I pop into action and my mom pops up. I break the last piece of glass with my forearm, pull her out of the house and got her about thirty feet away from the scene and just comforted her. That moment I saw her was the most I’ve ever loved her in my life! You can imagine the relief. Once I had her in my arms and I knew she was safe it was such a relief to me.

Is she ok now? No smoke problems or anything?
No. She didn’t suffer anything from the fire. Obviously she’s a bit startled – let’s put it like this. She was barricaded in her room and listening to a complete stranger running through the house, putting wood on the over, running the bath tub. That’s the part that drives me crazy, that she was put through such a horrific ordeal. To have someone invade your house, barricade you in your room and listen to them – and have them threaten your life, tell her that she’s going to die tonight, tell her that he’s her son and she’s his mom, that he was basically going to kill her!

Scary stuff! It’s fortunate for her that you did take it so seriously and come down when you did.
Yea, I just thank god that I wasn’t out of town or missed the phone call or whatever, because my mom could be dead at this moment. Obviously, there are some details of the story from before I came to the house that still need to come out – why did the cops leave? Why did my uncle have no keys? Who did have the keys? And all that……but I’m not looking to point fingers, I’m just relieved she’s alive and I’m trying to deal with the aftermath of getting the possessions out of there. It was crazy – when I did ‘Good Morning America’ and they took me over to the house and we were looking through some of the debris in the front, some of that stuff is my childhood! (laughs) I lifted up one of the tubs and I see one of the old Andre ‘The Giant’ action figure boxes. There’s a lot of history in that house and it’ll be kind of weird getting all of that stuff out of there tomorrow.

On a completely unrelated note, as we wrap up, for any of the fans who haven’t seen you since your post-WWE days, you have really gone to town on the tattoos. What inspired you to get some of the tatts?
(laughs) I don’t think I went crazy on them. I did get another forearm tattoo. I love forearm tattoos and I already had the cross on my right forearm, so I thought of the Terminator ravaged arm design. I didn’t want people to look at it and think “Terminator” or anything like that, but the art was kind of cool. I have the veins over the machinery and I just thought the idea was……..I had one forearm tattoo and always thought I would get another one when I had a god idea for one. This one just popped in my mind and most people like it. Some people are freaked out and some people just hate tattoos, so you can’t win them over with it! It’s good art and I don’t think I’m going to necessarily get anything else, because I want to be tatted everywhere, but after sitting on it for a week I saw a tattoo artist and I went through with it!

Can you let everyone know how they can keep up with what you’re doing and how they can keep in contact with you?
Sure. They can follow me on Twitter – I’m @ChrisMasters310 and for booking or interview enquiries it’s so those are the best places!

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