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It's 20 years since the beginning of your in-ring career in WCW. In your first match at Halloween Havoc you captured the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. Did you ever think you would still be doing this, two decades later?
No, I didn't, I had no idea what I was getting into. I just knew that I was a fan, I was young, I was a good athlete and it just seemed like the coolest job in the entire world to do. I mean I had no expectations of becoming a world-renowned superstar or anything like that, I just knew that guys that I had grown up watching like Arn Anderson, Ric Flair, guys in the ring like that, I had a chance to learn from them and go on the road with them.
Twenty years later, to be a veteran in this industry, who has got to work with almost every major superstar who ever made it, from Stone Cold Steve Austin to The Rock, Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, all those guys... I've been a real lucky guy to tell you the truth, to walk into this whole thing and be very successful at it. I'm very thankful.
Do you think your character has suffered at times by having too many turns?
I actually try not to look at it as a bad thing, I try to look at it as I'm lucky enough that I'm able to flip flop back and forth for whatever our product needs. If I need to be a bad guy to get Roman Reigns and Ryback over, then I'm able to do it. And if I need to be a good guy, to be an attraction to help out bad guys that they are trying to build, then I'm able to do that. I'm kind of a Jack of all trades, master of none.
As far as big celebrations, milestones, anything like that, I'm just a working guy. I'm on the road five days a week, I work every night. I love being in front of the crowd, I love helping the guys in the back develop their characters and I give back to the business as best I can. I've never been a guy to sit back and look at all my trophies and look at all my awards, that's not me. I can't remember what I did three weeks ago anyway.
You won the second annual André the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 31 and will face Ryback and The Miz for the WWE Intercontinental Championship at SummerSlam. From what you've said, it sounds like you're not planning for life after WWE just yet, so what do you think of some fans chanting 'please retire'? Do you find it disrespectful, or do you think it's a sign you are doing your job well?
No, I think I'm doing my job as a heel. I think a lot of it too is just a way for the audience to have fun. I mean, let's face it, I don't have people coming up to me in the street telling me to please retire, I have people I meet in person who are thankful for everything I've done and they appreciate it. I think that's just the audience having fun and when they chant that, I'm going to react to them and be engaging and have fun with them and tell them I'm going nowhere. I'm going to be a bad guy and react appropriately.
I think everything comes to an end and eventually I'm going to retire out of this industry, I don't think I'm going to do any big retirement tours or farewell, I'm just going to kind of slide out the door and I'll be gone. That's the way I like to do things, nice and quiet, not a lot of fanfare, and just roll on to the next evolution of whatever else it is I'm doing, movies or TV. Then maybe come back and do some commentating, stuff like that. I'll always be a part of this business, I love it, I love helping young talent and I love the fans, whether I'm a good guy or a bad guy, but all good things come to an end eventually.
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