booker to safeguard our talent when they won't safeguard themselves, it's beyond a question of doing the right or wrong thing. There's legalities on top of that. So we have to do the right thing for our talent, and I think we're doing the right thing here. We can come back to this angle at any time (with BLKOUT), the heat's there for it and the fans are ready to see it. I do firmly believe that our fan base wants us to protect our talent first and foremost... There's nothing more I would love than Saturday night to deliver the Gangstas vs. BLKOUT. I'm a huge mark for this business and I would love to see this angle play out. But from the booker of the company, I also have to be aware, letting New Jack go out there injured, when he's told the world that he's putting off surgery, and he's got a broken heel and a broken ankle, and all these different things, for me to allow someone like that to go to the ring, I'm doing a disservice to him and to the fans... because they can't clearly perform to the level I expect for Extreme Rising, and I'm doing the company a disservice, by allowing someone in that condition to perform... And what if he got hurt performing? What do we say afterwards?
On Luke Hawx and Papadon: I've known him (Luke) for about 12-13 years. The kid has amazing potential. Underscore the word potential. The attitude of some of these guys, not just him, a lot of the younger guys in the business, like they're owed something even though they never proven themselves, to me is confounding. To me, when I broke into the business, when I was that young snot-nosed kid who didn't know up from down, who thought I was the greatest thing to come along since sliced bread, I was very humbled very quickly...These kids that endeavor for the top haven't proven anything in the business. To me, that's where the balancing act falls out of whack. What made my first run as champion in ECW, having traveled with Ricky Steamboat and worked with guys like Terry Funk, and a lot of guys from the previous generation, that for me I knew what was coming with it, so I expected it. Not that I liked it any less or more, but I had an understanding... The feedback I've gotten from the Pittsburgh show, it's been 10 out of 10 people that have told me this... 100 percent, the fanbase is amazed at Papadon. They were really impressed with this kid that nobody had heard from or of, that really didn't have a lot of expectation, and yet walked away going "wow, that kid's got it." And the Luke Hawx feedback I get is, and as booker I take it all in, was "we expected a lot more." This is the issue: when you try to push yourself as a talent beyond what your capabilities are, whether it's talent level or attitude level, or whatever. When you push yourself beyond that, the expectation from the fanbase shoots through the roof. And when they believe you to be a 10 just off what they're reading and hearing, then they see it and walk away and you're a 6 or a 7, which still ain't bad, but they were expecting you to be a 9 or a 10, in their eyes you dropped the ball. The feedback on Luke has been, across the board 100 percent, "We expected a lot more." Did Luke Hawx, with all this ranting and raving on Facebook and the social medias present himself as something much bigger than he is, and made expectations much higher than they should be, or would he have been better off letting his ability in the ring do the talking? I think the kid is very talented. Trust me, as a young punk I was the same way. But I quickly found out I was wrong, and I took the time to learn. That's my concern about Luke Hawx, that he's not going to live up to his potential because of his attitude.
On who he has his eye on for Extreme Rising: There are several (talents) and the only reason I don't want to give names off the top, I know WWE and TNA listen- I found it quite interesting that Luke Hawx was on a WWE show. I didn't see it but I heard a lot of feedback, and texts and stuff that came to me. So I don't want to go and tip my hand but I can tell you for someone that's been out on the independent scene for the last 4 years, I've been seeing a lot of talent out there. I can tell you this up front, and this is not "hey I'm so great, my generation was great and these kids aren't." I've not seen anyone out there that convinces me that they are the total package. For me, I've seen a lot of talent out there that really impresses me. Kids that seem to have it, seem to get it, and I'm watching a match, you'll see them do something fantastic, and in the middle of the match you'll see them do something and go "why the hell did he do that? That made no sense." But Shane Douglas at that stage did the exact same thing, if not worse. So you try and balance it out and say "what do these kids have to bring? What pieces of the puzzle do we need to fill?" And then to plug it in that way. There are a number of Papadons out there waiting to be found, and that's what I'm hoping and expecting for Extreme Rising. For a company that's on the move, stepping from ground zero and building from stage to stage. Five years from now, I'd like to be doing this interview with you guys and saying "Man, remember five years ago we started with nothing and now look at the guys we have. Look at the roster we have..." The magic that came out of the ECW locker room was amazing, and that's what I'm trying to recapture with Extreme Rising.
On Crowbar: My thing with Devon, from earlier on in ECW, you know he's been around, and he certainly has the skill level, he knows where the camera is, he knows the psychology, but to me his approach to the business was much too subdued. He was always a bit too apprehensive, a bit not sure of himself. And what I saw of him in April was somebody cocksure of himself. Willing to step into a very difficult situation, and not just step in, but step in and deliver, and he did that in spades. That's when I realized that he's finally arrived;... (Continues on next page)