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Taz Opens Up About Locker Room Friction, A Style Clash W/ Vince McMahon, Why He Left Impact, & More

Taz Opens Up About Locker Room Friction, A Style Clash W/ Vince McMahon, Why He Left Impact, & More

Taz was the latest guest on Bill Apter’s The Apter Chat podcast.

The former ECW star opened up on a myriad of topics related to his time in professional wrestling.

On How He Came Up With The Taz Name:

The initial thought of it came from the Tasmanian Devil because back then gimmicks were popular. Everywhere everybody had gimmicks. Everybody had a different reptile or bird or dog walking into the ring, so I didn’t want to do that. I figured I needed a gimmick and being that I was an undersized guy, being like 5’9″ I figured I needed something, so I always had a nickname where I was shorter and thicker, stocky, and I was a darker complexion. When I was younger a lot of guys would say, ‘Taz,’ and I had a Tasmanian Devil stuffed animal in my car and I was like, ‘You know what, this might be a good gimmick.’ I didn’t want to be comical. I figured, I didn’t want to get sued by Warner Brothers. I was nobody, like Warner Brothers is going to serve a cease and desist to a guy making $40 a match. I kinda said let me make it the Tasmaniac, which is a little different.

On His Early Influences:

It was a hybrid to be honest with you of The Missing Link, The Wild Samoans, and The Steiner Brothers when The Steiners first started out with doing different suplexes like really early Steiners, very early.

On Mike Tyson’s Influence:

I was inspired by Mike Tyson. Mike Tyson used to wear a towel over his neck. He wore a white towel. He cut a hole in it. He wore it almost like a poncho…a little bit of the Human Suplex Machine, a lot of it was inspired by Mike Tyson. He wore low black boots, black trunks, no frills, towel – he was from an area of Brooklyn called Brownsville, which wasn’t far from where I was from. I could relate to him. We were both in our prime at the same time. He actually did much better than I did. I wanted to do it on my head so that no one would know that I was being inspired by Mike Tyson.

On Locker Room Friction:

That’s why  the locker room hated me. That’s why they hated me for the most part because I acted that character, not the Tasmaniac – the Human Suplex Machine. I would show up at the arena three hours before the show and I was the Human Suplex Machine. I couldn’t break that in my mind. I wasn’t trying to work anyone. To portray that character I had to live that gimmick….I believed I was The Tasmaniac. I was the Human Suplex Machine. That’s who I was.

On His Broken Neck & Loyalty To Paul Heyman:

I broke my neck in 1995 in Fort Lauderdale. It was me and Eddie Guerrero, the late great Eddie Guerrero, against Too Cold Scorpio and Dean Malenko. I was out nine months and that’s when during that time I was sitting home stewing. Paul was like my psychiatrist on the phone and he paid me every week that he was supposed to pay me, if I was wrestling. That’s why I was so loyal for so long because he paid me. I just got married. I come home from my honeymoon and I break my neck. It sucked.

On A Style Clash With Vince McMahon:

Vince was more concerned – the wrestlers have too much pride to tell you. Vince was more concerned once I signed the deal. He was like, ‘Some of the stuff you do is a little bit scary for some of the guys.’ I go, ‘These guys are 6’9.” These guys are 7’0.” What am I? I’m a little guy. What are you scared of me? ‘Some of that stuff, you look like you’re killing guys.’ Well, that’s my job Vince. My job is to look like I’m killing you. That’s what I do.

On What Led To His Departure From Impact:

With TNA, I had a blast. I loved working with Mike Tenay. I loved everybody there. Dixie [Carter] is just a really nice person. It just got to a point where it got a little crazy there. I was there 6,7 years, whatever it was, and the next thing you know my checks are bouncing and I’m like, ‘Listen, if I don’t get paid, I’m not coming to Nashville to do voice overs. I’m not doing this. I’m not doing that.’ I was really pissed off. At that time I signed a contract to do a podcast with CBS Radio called The Human Podcasting Machine which was me talking about wrestling.

(Transcription Credit: Michael McClead, WrestleZone)

Readers interested in listening to Bill Apter’s Taz interview in its entirety may do so below:

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