On him leaving the WWE for a while: "Vince knew and I knew for the entire run that I would be leaving as soon as the new record came out (Sin and Bones). We knew the entire time what my time frame was. Originally I was supposed to leave at the end of May and then I signed for another 3 months, and the record got pushed back. But I didn't know until the day I showed up, actually ten minutes before Raw started in Fresno that we were doing this contract vs contract thing. So I didn't even know this was going to happen. I just figured I would have a match with Dolph and that would be the end of it. So people who think that there is some long, drawn out, plan. I t really wasn't. It was about ten minutes before the show started and I was like "Oh, we are doing a contract vs contract thing? Oh ok." So there you go, a little special behind the scenes look."
Is Dolph Ziggler the next big main eventer?: "Times have changed so much in that guys are learning on the fly. Dolph is one of the best guys on the roster but he is still learning as are a lot of the other guys. People say "oh Damien Sandow is the next guy or Kofi" .These guys are still learning. In time, I think these guys will be amazing, amazing performers. But right now they are still on their way up the learning tree. So yes I think Dolph is going to be an amazing performer. Yes I think the Miz is going to be a great performer. Lots of guys are getting into that zone, but they are still learning. It's not like what it was in my day. I worked for nine years before I came to the WWE. There are guys now who have been working there nine months that are on the show. It's a different world out there right now than the way it used to be. There is a lot of great, great performers or potential great performers that are on the way to getting there."
On the importance of experience in wrestling: "It's not so much experience time wise, it's also experience with who you are working with. This is the cold, hard fact that nobody in the WWE has been working in wrestling longer than me with the exception of The Undertaker. I've been working longer than Kane, longer than Triple H. If you throw in Kane, Triple H, Jericho, Undertaker, geez who else has long term experience where you can go in with a young guy and instantly identify their strengths and weaknesses.? We can tell them, "you need to work on this and this is amazing. Keep doing what you're doing on that end." It's not just about having good matches, it's about knowing what to do. Knowing how to put together good matches, feeling things. How to react when things don't go the way you want them to. Right before I left there was a tag match between myself and Zack against Dolph and Miz. Putting together the match, there were things that were obvious to me that they were still figuring out, which is cool and ok with me. But I was like wow this is second nature for guys that have been around a long time and they are still figuring it out and when that light bulb comes on and they already have ninety percent, but that last ten percent is what makes you a great performer. Some guys never figure out that last ten percent and when the guys do, that's when they become guys you can base companies around and put in main events."
Did it bother him when a guy like the Miz who had little experience, had the WWE title?: "No because that's the world we live in now. It's not like what it used to be back when I came in 1999. I bet when you look at that roster in '99, I bet you would have at least eight to possibly twelve legitimate, main event, superstar, amazing character, amazing workers. I bet there was at least ten. Now, there is probably four and with potential for four or five more. The experience level and the character development is completely different now."
When will the time come for the WWE to rely on their young stars instead of the older stars?: "We are pretty much at that point now. It's more necessity than anything. When Daniel Bryan first came in a couple of years ago, you saw the evolution of the character. He came in as like the NXT nobody, then gets fired and then comes back as a nerd and as a vegan. The vegan thing came about because Vince hates vegans. Vince would say "how could you not eat steak?" He made vegan into a heel tendency. I always knew Daniel Bryan would get over because once again look at his career path. He had gotten over everywhere he had been. You can make jokes that he wrestled in a bingo hall or a gym, but getting over is getting over whether it's in front of 200 people or 20,000 people. It's the same principle. How do I get the crowd on my side either as a heel or a babyface? He always had that, he just figured a way to do it. That's what all the other guys are going to have to start doing. They are already kind of making that switch. If you look at Wrestlemania this year, what's the top three matches? You had Undertaker vs Triple H with HBK, all part timers at best. You had Cena and Rock, one workhorse who works every show, the other part timer at best. Then you had Punk and Jericho. So three of the six were on Raw the next night. Sooner or later it's going to have to get to that point. There is still pure business at stake. What are people going to pay to see? It does take time for people to accept some of these guys as legitimate money-making main eventers that you would pay to see."
Talks about his creepy promos leading to his return: "It all started with the Mayans saying 2012 would be the end of the world. So I thought it would be cool to come back with the end of the world as you know it in the sense of kind of like the old Y2J promos where the whole company kind of went into the tank and it's the end of THAT world and... (Continues on next page)