Good evening, boys and girls. We have an incredibly special treat for you tonight, as we officially forgo our usual reviews and instead take an opportunity to interview one of the most interesting figures in wrestling this decade. I could, of course, only be talking about the Masterpiece himself, Chris Masters! Tonight, Chris takes time from his busy schedule to sit down with us to talk about his career, his future and what he thinks of sites just like this one.
To start things off, you’ve gone on record as saying that you were a huge wrestling fan growing up. When did you know you wanted to be a pro wrestler and how did you go about breaking in?
Chris Masters: I decided at about 15 I wanted to pursue wrestling. I just had this moment where I was like “What do I want to do with my life?” I was the wrestling nerd at school, before the boom in 98 being a fan was like this small fringe of outcasts. I’d be reading PWI in class, hitting my buddies with my back pack like a chair, and throwing each other into lockers and selling it. So I just narrowed it down to what do I love and have passion for. All fingers pointed towards pro wrestling. So I got a job to raise $ for wrestling school, and started training. I would go from school to work, and then to the gym. My day didn’t end till midnight, so my academics really suffered and I ended up dropping out of H.S to pursue my dream at 17.
I started at UPW, the same day as Cena actually, and trained for 2 months. But I ended up fracturing my ankle and having surgery. I took 2years off after that, realizing i was far too young and needed to concentrate on building up my body based on what I’d seen in UPW. Came back at 19 a completely different guy and I was signed about 1 year later and sent to OVW.
As someone who has worked all over the world and also came up through the developmental system, which do you think better prepares people for the WWE experience?
Masters: The developmental system is great. But guys are shipped there with no experience in some cases, and then on TV within a year. It takes time to really understand this business, if ever, and there are so many components to it being selling, promos, baby face fire, facials, pacing, and storytelling that you just can’t put every piece of the puzzle together overnight. When you start out all you’re thinking is spots and moves. And please don’t let me forget anything. My time on the Indies helped but I really started to understand it best on my last WWE run. You gotta become emotionally invested in your work. You gotta believe when you’re out there. HBK is the greatest example. He brings emotion. You believe his pain and that’s how you get the crowd behind you.
When they first approached you with the idea for the Masterpiece character, what did you think of it? Did you think that a full nelson would go over these days as well as it did?
Masters: The Masterpiece character started in OVW. I was already being type cast as a body guy and Matt Morgan came up with Masterpiece. Seeing as that I was going by Chris Masters at that point it was a perfect fit. As far as the Masterlock goes, I had my doubts about such a basic hold but WWE was transitioning and wanted to trail back the high risks and kinda go back to the basics. Even in doubt HHH said just keep it going and the Masterlock challenges really got the hold over.
When you came back to WWE after your release, the internet was abuzz about your work on Superstars. Many people suggested that you had improved greatly in your time off and had really come into your own as a performer. Do you agree with this, and if so, what would you attribute it to?
Masters: I did come into my own the second time around. HHH gave this speech after the Mania he wrestled Sheamus stating who’s next to reach for the brass ring. I thought to myself “Why can’t that be me? I have all the tools.” At that point I new they had no intention of using me and Michael Hayes criticized my selling. So I went back to the drawing board and completely changed the way I approached everything. I blocked out all the wrestling I watched over the years and just went out there and emotionally invested myself, meaning every time I’d get hit how would I sell it for real. And just going into that mind set where you’ve just taking an ass whooping from the heel, I’m pissed and bout to make a mad comeback. Key is to believe! If you do, then the fans do.
I felt I was one of the top workers in that company before my departure and had really reached my peak, although you would only know if you watched Superstars. The office also acknowledged it; pulling me aside on several occasions stating my vast improvement. I really thought it was gonna be my year. I was becoming a guy that could pull off a good if not great match with every heel on the roster.
Do you feel like WWE ever really gave you a fair shake?
Masters: WWE gave me chances but I wasn’t really ready till this past run and I guess by that point it was too late. I’d become one of their top performers but was used so poorly upon returning that you can’t just go from Superstars to main eventing. Fans don’t buy that, so it either came down to me needing a slight repackaging or fresh coat of paint as HHH put it. But in the end it was either that or one of the powers that be not digging me. I had no reason to think that seeing as that they were up my ass every time I came back to gorilla.
You told us that you read Rajah often. Do you give a lot of thought to what people say about you online on forums and in reviews? Have you ever read something online and thought “Hey, yeah! I should do that!”?
Masters: I’ve been going on websites such as Rajah since before I ever broke into the business. I was I guess what you would call one of the IWC smarks. That’s why the criticism of how I was just a body guy really affected me. I was inspired but the great in ring guys of my time so I really made it a mission if not to get a top spot to at least prove I wasn’t a Luger or Warrior. I love this gig,and didn’t want people thinking I was some bodybuilder turned wrestler. Only reason I ever took up weights was to make it in wrestling, prior to that I never touched a weight and hated working out.
As far as ideas I’ve gotten from reviews, I always thought the Masterlock modified into a camel clutch was a good idea. I mean who could get out of that? And somebody had mentioned it at one point and I was like “That’s right! I gotta do that!” Gives the hold a more dominate appearance. And I’ve been using it in that fashion for Ring Ka King.
Since leaving WWE, you’ve wrestled all around the world. Where can your fans catch you these days?
Masters: I’ve been staying busy, for the independent circuit at least. Already doing a lot of international shows and some national such as Portugal, Puerto Rico, Belgium, Philippines, India, Mexico and London at the end of this month. Not to mention a much anticipated trip to Amsterdam next month. I can definitely say the most fun I’ve had is on the Indy circuit because you get to do what you love without any of the BS. Not to say that beats a consistent check obviously.
But for those looking to see what I’m doing I’d suggest checking out Ring Ka King. Our first season is airing right now in India and you can catch it on YouTube and various other sites. I’m working as The American Adonis. A heel once again!
You’ve started a Twitter campaign to rally your fans to help get you to TNA (#MTI, or Masters To Impact). Aside from Tweeting about this, how can your fans get involved in helping to make this happen?
Masters: My #MTI campaign is strictly due to the fact that I feel I’m the best of ever been and based on the feedback I’ve gotten. I shouldn’t be 29 years old at my peak with my only job qualifications being Samoan drops and suplexes and be technically unemployed. I was one of the IWC before I ever made it, I have the same views. I kinda look at it like supporting one of your own. A true fan with passion and love for this that was lucky enough to make it.
To support the cause publicly endorse #MTI. Make signs! Tweet the higher ups! I plan to make shirts that’ll be free to anyone going to a TNA or WWE show.
What about TNA interests you and what would you like to accomplish there?
Masters: I’m very interested in TNA. I think I’m a good fit. Not a game changer, but they seem to be really emphasizing in ring work and my best days are ahead of me. I could really be a player there, and one company’s loss can be another one’s gain.
You’ve said that your dream growing up was to wrestle Shawn Michaels. Now that you have, what’s your dream from here on?
Masters: My dream was to wrestle HBK. He was my idol as a kid and I felt so lucky to be get the chance to work him before he retired. How many kids get to compete against their childhood heroes?
My goal from here on is to continue this passion and continue to evolve and show everybody around the world whether it’s 200 in Reno or 8000 in the Philippines that I’m one of the best today. And that I should be on one of the main stages whether it’s Impact, WWE or ROH. I really enjoy going out there and performing more then anything, and have devoted far too much of my life to this to just walk away quietly.
And before we let you go, do you have any advice for wrestlers just now breaking into the business?
Masters: My advice to anybody just breaking in would be that you don’t even know enough to know that you don’t know. This biz is very complicated and you don’t stop learning. Ever! You have got to have thick skin, play the politics right, and overcome the deep deep mind F**** this business will present. Once you think you have it figured, you may realize u don’t know s***.
Well that will do it for us this time, kids. We hope you enjoyed this sit down with one of our favorite wrestlers, and we’re certain that you learned something. On a personal note, Chris was a true gentleman and in our opinion any company would be tremendously lucky to have him. So we wish him the best of luck and we remind you to get the word out about the MTI campaign if you’d like to see him in TNA putting the Masterlock on everyone. Tell a neighbor, tell a friend, but most of all tell anyone going to a TNA or WWE show because a free shirt is pretty sweet.
So until next time, remember to keep reading and be good to one another!