Ahead of the MLW Fusion television taping on July 12 from GILT Nightclub in Orlando and Battle Riot on July 19 from the Melrose Ballroom in New York City, here Gotch looks back at his year post-WWE and gives his honest opinions on a number of topics in part two of our recent interview. You can check out part one of the interview at this link.
Fans can catch the champ and all the stars of MLW on MLW Fusion 8 p.m. ET Friday nights on beIN Sports. Battle Riot will air as a two-hour special 8 p.m. Friday, July 27 on beIN Sports.
What is it like to be with another promotion like MLW that has television behind it?
MLW is very different from WWE as far as the experience of working for them. WWE is a global brand that right now is so massive and spread out that you don’t necessarily feel you’re given the freedom to do your job to the best of your ability. You sort of do the job they are asking of you, whether its good or bad is irrelevant. It’s just what they want from you tonight. MLW because it’s a growing brand, as opposed to just a set part of the American landscape. You’re actually helping to build something. When you’re going out there, you can give 100 percent and have the best match you can have or cut the best promo you can cut. You’re helping to build that brand and expand it because even though we are obviously on an international and national television station like beIN Sports. There is still the matter of having to build that audience and getting people to be intrigued by what they are seeing. Again, you can have the biggest platform in the world. But if you’re not presenting a product that is worth watching, nobody is going to watch it.
When you initially appeared for MLW, was it always the plan to move with them long-term? Or was it a matter of you were there one time and became caught up in what they were doing?
I liked the idea of helping build something. You look at a company like Ring of Honor, and they are already established. Championship Wrestling from Hollywood is already established. The bigger independent organizations are already established in some way, shape or form. MLW was a company that I could help grow and is relatively new. On top of that, it’s the opportunity to work with people that I actually wanted to work with. I’ve wrestled Tom Lawlor before. It was a pleasure to get to share a ring with him doing the Team Filthy stuff. I’ve known Sami Callihan at this point for six years. Jake Hager, Jack Swagger, just showed up. He was a guy I got to work with in WWE. There is ACH, just a wealth of talent there. It’s no longer that feeling of, “I got to be in Ring of Honor in order to work with good, quality guys.” Or, “I got to be in Progress Wrestling if I want to work with good guys.” I can be here and work with these guys and help build the brand at the same time. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s 10 minutes from my house. Even though there isn’t a shower at the building, the GILT Nightclub. I’m able to be in my own shower 10 minutes after the show ends. That’s a nice plus and bonus.
So, you get people staying over your house on show days?
No. MLW is good about taking care of the guys when they come in. I have yet to get that call of being asked if they can stay over at my house.
As far as what you’ve been doing with the “Prize Fight,” obviously it comes from an old-school story. But the $250. How did you arrive at that number? Tell me how this all came about and gained traction the last couple of months.
They told me that would be the prize amount. For me, the funnier thing was that it is not a large sum of money. It’s a joke that I’m offering this prize fight for such a minimal amount, no reasonable person would want it. You actually have to have a grudge with me to take up the challenge. Part of the reason I do a pause after 50, we get the over inflation with numbers and figures. Not only in wrestling, but in the real world. If you’ve ever seen the movie Dodgeball, one of the best jokes in the film is Ben Stiller trying to bribe Vince Vaughn with $100,000. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen $100,000 anywhere aside from movies, but I assure you it doesn’t do it justice. He opens the briefcase and it’s just a small stack of money. The reality is $100,000 in physical bills isn’t that much. In wrestling, I used to laugh when they said it was a $10,000 battle royal. I think to myself, “Well, I did a battle royal at WrestleMania. I got paid $20,000, and I lost in like 90 seconds. So, $10,000 isn’t actually that much.
There is even an incident where an independent company was implying that a wrestler left $350,000 at another wrestler’s house, so he wouldn’t show up to a match, a title match. The thought I had was, “Who as an independent wrestler has $350,000 to buy there way out of a single title match?” I was looking into the photos they chose to use for the money. You can see the watermark that said PropMoney.com. There are three different photos with three different bags of money. One of which was, for reasons I don’t understand, was Australian money.
The kicker is I go to the website to look up to the photos to see what it was attached to. It would be attached to, in real world terms, $500,000. This sort of speaks to what I’ve been saying of over inflation of numbers and figures. This bag was filled with “$500,000,” but to give the visual of $350,000, they thought two more bags were necessary. The steal cage is 30-feet high. Well, actually it is 15-feet high, and 15-feet is a long way to fall. So, you really shouldn’t have to lie about it, but we are so used to that in wrestling and real world that I thought it was a funny jab at that to have such a small amount of money and the idea that it was such a tiny prize. Yet even now we have the first guy be a random guy and the second be Mike Parrow. You never know who is going to come out now.
It’s a really fun take on an open challenge. Last question, moving forward a year into your career now outside of WWE. I know you had years before WWE as well. What are some of your goals you’ve set for yourself to keep you motivated, aside financially of course?
I never look for goals for motivation. I really don’t even look for motivation. The reality is I was a wrestler before WWE. I was a wrestler in WWE, and I’m a wrestler now. I don’t really look for motivation because the art is what I do. It’s not something I feel I need to be motivated to do. A shark doesn’t need to be motivated to swim. A bird doesn’t need to be motivated to fly. I don’t’ need to be motivated to wrestle. I wrestle because it’s just what I do. My brother made the point that I was a wrestler before I was a wrestler when it came to how I approached things in life. It was never about money. It was about, “This is what I do. This is how I express myself. This is my artform. This is my canvas, pun intended.” I’m just going to keep doing what I do best, and that is wrestling.