Ken Kennedy Speaks On His Career Thus Far, His Mentor Steve Austin, More
Reader Steven Wilson sent the following recap:
WWE’s Mr Kennedy Interview Recap – The Main Event Wrestling Radio Show – May 4th 2008
Interview Audio Can be downloaded at www.maineventradio.com
Q: Ryan Rider alongside Steve Rockamaniac, and today we’ll be interviewing a man who’s voice you’ll pretty much recognize right away, WWE Superstar Ken Kennedy, or should I say, Mr Kennedy…Kennedy, How’s it going Mr Kennedy?
A : I was just going to correct you , but you did well and corrected yourself, so I applaud you.
Q: First off, lets go back to your early days, growing up were you always a wrestling fan?
A: No I wasn’t actually, When I was a little kid, I watched Saturday night’s main event with my dad and , WWF Superstars, but I kinda fell away from it as I got a little older and it wasn’t until 96 or 97 when I was at a buddy’s house and he forced me into watching wrestling as he told me we were going to watch wrestling, and I was like we’re not gonna watch that garbage, Im not gonna watch two guys rolling around all oiled up, he just said yea but you cant look at it that way, it’s a male soap opera, and he said trust me, there is this one guy named Stone
Cold Steve Austin, your gonna love him, so at least watch it for that, so I did and I immediately saw Steve coming out to the ring driving a pickup truck throwing in a six pack of beer and flipping people off, I just thought right away that was a guy I could relate too, and I started watching every week religiously just to see him, and pretty soon I got roped into everything else and realized what I had been missing all these years, so I started doing my homework and really went back and looked at the archives, got as many tapes as I possibly could and went back a revisited wrestling history.
Q: So what made you want to make the leap into the business?
A: Well it was just something that I was always always since I was a little kid, been interested in the entertainment industry, I was always making people laugh, goofing off and joking around, doing impersonations of people and reciting lines from movies from the time I could remember so that played into it.
Q: What was your training like?
A: My in ring training was about 9 months of taking bumps, slamming in a 16 x 16 foot ring and it was in a small little dingy poorly lit room in a old mall in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The ring was like concrete and we would just get in there and just do bump after bump all day long, and I would only do it 1 or 2 days a week but at that time being new to the business, you know the first bump you take, I remember the second day, after I had my first day of practice, I went to work and it felt like I had been in a car accident, cause here I thought I would be landing on a trampoline, instead I was landing on railroad ties covered up by a piece of plywood, so it was pretty rough.
Q: Any good stories from your early days in the business?
A : One of the things about the wrestling business is that you run into some real goofs, you run into some people who try to sell you on pipe dreams, people who actually believe their own hype, and there working to try to accomplish something, but they immediately try to put themselves first. I do remember one of the things one of the guys told me that your not considered a wrestling fan anymore, your above the fans, the fans are weak, the fans are nothing, you don’t listen to them, you don’t talk to them, you don’t associate with them, and its funny cause I always found that weird, because I always look at it as, Im a wrestling fan, and im still a wrestling fan even though im in the business, Im the biggest wrestling fan because I wanted to be in the business because I loved it so much, and I was at a show, and it was my 9th match I believe and the promoter had scheduled us to
win the match and take the tag titles from these guys and they refused to put us over because I was too green in their eyes, I hadn’t had enough matches and we had some pretty funny exchanges, and it involved a guy wearing a mask and nothing else, and another guy with a bottle of jack daniels wearing a Ku Klux Klan shirt waving around a 9mm handgun in the basement of this place called the watering hole that we were wrestling in so it was a pretty interesting time.
Q : How long was it between the time you started wrestling to the time you got your WWE developmental contract and how did that come about.
A: It took about 6 and a half years for me to actually get a contract and it was a lot of different things falling into place at once and I had prepared myself and made all these contacts and I just kept trying out and trying out for the WWE, I kept sending tapes, I made it a religion to send them a tape every 6 months and I wouldn’t hear back from them and when I finally did it was like we’ve got nothing for you, but once in a while they’d give me a few pointers, but often nothing at all. So I kept working and working and working and sending tapes and every time they were in the area I would call them and ask if I could go in a try out match and I would normally get that and I would just get around the ring the minute I got there and try to be a sponge and sponge off the guys like Arn Anderson, Fit Finlay and Dean Malenko and whoever else was working out in the ring at the time
and slowly but surely I just kind of put all the pieces together and you know eventually after about 6 and half years all those pieces fell into place, and all those contacts I had been making started to come through for me you know like Arn Anderson saw me
and liked what I was doing, Paul Heyman saw me and liked what I was doing, Tommy Dreamer and a couple other people and all those people came together and said lets pull the trigger on this guy and see what he’s got.
Q: Well as we have seen you did end up getting that WWE contract and have been successful thus far, but part of your success can be attested to the fact that you say your name twice, what gave you the idea to do that and are you at all surprised at the level of success you have achieved thus far in the WWE?
A: Well I wouldn’t say Im surprised because it was one of those things that I knew I was always going to get there, I had tons of people, when I was working on all those independents for 6 and a half years who would come up to me and say, man when are you gonna get a real job, when are you gonna stop this? Cause here I was driving sometimes 15 hours one way to wrestle in a city in front of 50 people, and get paid 40$ or nothing at all and drive back 15 hours, and you know they thought I was crazy for doing it and I always knew I was going to be successful, it was just something in me that I knew I would rather go to my grave having tried as hard as I possibly could and failed rather than being on of those frustrated jocks who say man I should of played college ball because I could of gone pro cause I was so good in high school, those kind of guys and I wouldn’t be that guy, and as far as the ring introduction goes, I used to announce basketball games back when I was in high school and I was speaking with Paul Heyman one night and he said I want you to do something different tonight, I want you to go out there and announce yourself and I actually just kinda pulled that one from the memory banks, as for some reason when I was in high school I used to say the last name twice for some of the guys to spice it up a little bit and everyone thought it was kind of a hoot, kind of a joke, so I went out there in OVW and did it and when I came back through the
curtain and I remember everyone was like man when you said your last name twice that was awesome and I was like are you kidding me, that’s all it took, its weird, and it just goes to show that the weirdest things can get over and you just never know and you just always gotta keep trying stuff.
Q: For most of your time in the company you have played a rule breaker or heel, and this past Monday on Raw you seemed a little different, may I say even a little nicer or face-ish, so is this part of your game plan to take things to the next level?
A: You know I dunno if someone would say I was any nicer it just happened that I was talking to William Regal, and I would talk to William Regal as I would talk to pretty much anybody, You know I was up in his face I called him on the carpet for something that I believe to be true and I know its true, so I dunno, We’ll see, that was a pretty good fan response the other night so we’ll see.
Q: Do you have a preference when it comes to working heel or face?
A: You know when I first came into the company I sat down with Vince and he asked me what do you prefer, and I said that ive always found that the best way to come into the company, no matter if I was working a little independent in Nashville,
and I’m from Green Bay Wisconsin, it just always seemed better that if I came in as a rule breaker and then won the fans respect in a way and then kind of turn into the good guy so to speak, and that seems to be a good formula, its just really hard to walk into a new place, especially like the WWE where the fans are
pretty unforgiving, and expect them to cheer for you just because you say hey yay im a good guy, cheer for me, so I think its truly easy to go the other route.
Q : You mentioned Stone Cold Steve Austin earlier, one of your all time favorites in the world of professional wrestling and over the last couple of years it has been suggested that he has actually taken the time out to give you some pointers here and there and his advice on your direction, so what has Stone Cold’s mentorship meant to you?
A: You know it’s a little odd to have the guy you looked up to, It’s a little bit surreal sometimes to have the guy you looked up to that I never expected that when I got into the business that I would be working side by side with Steve or be able to call him up for advice or anything like that, and its just been fantastic
because Steve still has so much to offer to this business, he has such a great wrestling mind, even if his body isn’t there to wrestle a 100%, and he’s made enough money to retire many times over, so he doesn’t necessarily have to be there giving his input as a creative member but he does have some very creative ideas
and every once in a while he calls me up and says ive got one for you, why don’t you try this one, and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but he is one of those guys who I just respect so much, and everytime he’s got a unique way to look at everything, I mean ill watch my match 10 times, and then Steve will call me up and say hey I want you to watch this match with me over the phone and he’ll go through stuff that I hadn’t even noticed that would just make the match that much more exciting for the fans, it’s just stuff too that he picks out that you wouldn’t believe and its just an awesome tool to be able to have and Im very grateful to have someone like Steve to be able to call upon for his knowledge.
Q: We’re not far removed from Wrestlemania 24, how was this year’s MITB ladder match compared to last year’s which you won?
A: Well this year’s pretty much sucked cause I didn’t win it, nah but it was a good experience, one less body in there to cause damage, we only had 7 this year instead of 8 and that’s a hard deal to put together a match with that many competitors, and its such a big stage, the grandest stage of them all, and everyone has to get their time in, and the other thing was I wasn’t there the whole week, normally for Wrestlemania you go in and your there 4 or 5 days before the show and this year I only came in 2 days before the show so didn’t have as much time to prepare myself for that match.
Q: Something that has happened quite often to you since you came to the WWE is that everytime it seems that your on the brink of greatness something happens to slow you down, whether it be a injury or last summer’s drug scandal, how have you been able to deal with these adversities and not get too frustrated?
A: Well as far as the injuries and stuff go, hey this is wrestling and what we do isn’t ballet, I mean things are gonna happen and I got injured and im sure that wont been the last injury ill have, what we do is very physical and very violent
on the body, and your gonna get injured, period, and so I had to look at it that way, and everytime I got injured I just go into it with the good understanding that hey you know stuff happens and im gonna try to use the time off to get better mentally, and I don’t just sit on my laurels when im home, I watch tapes, I train, get in better shape, and actually the times that I have had off have been nice little breaks where I have been able to give my body a little time to recover. You know there was a injury last year when I tore my triceps, I had just been red
lining it up until that point wrestling batista, undertaker, kane all those guys, most beating the snot out of my body and I ended up with two months off and it was a nice little break to rest up the bings and the bangs.
Q: Who has been your favourite opponent to work with?
A: Honestly that’s a really hard question for me to answer, there’s so many guys that I liked working with for so many reasons, Shawn Michaels was an awesome opponent, The Undertaker was fantastic, he was one of those guys who said hey, im gonna take a shot with you, like he approached me one day and said Id love to do business with you, he’s a guy who kinda took me under his wing and said come on kid lets go for a ride, and he didn’t have to that, he’s there, and he’s the type of guy that is there already and now he wants people to come play with him at the top of the mountain, and that’s whats great about him. Ive also had matches with Triple H, and Matt Hardy who ive had some of my more favorite matches with in the WWE as we always have a way of getting out there and really beating the hell out of eachother but at the same time having a good match and we usually come back and the bosses are happy with our matches and everything so.
Q: What would you say is harder, the actual in ring action or being on the road all the time?
A: Well the in ring stuff is easy, cause you got the adrenaline, you got the excitement of the crowd being right there, but you know its afterwards when the adrenaline wears off and the crowds not there anymore and you realize you’ve taken 15 back drops in the past two weeks as well as a host of other high impact moves and that’s when the pain starts to set in and you know you get a little tired, being on the road, being away from the home, things like that, but I love it, you know I love this business, and we make do when were on the road as we become one big family, we take care and look out for eachother and you make do as everyone is in it together and it sure as hell beats the job I was doing 3 years ago when I was personally training people in Green Bay, Wisconsin, I was miserable. So I love what I do.
Q: Lately you’ve been working on a movie project, Behind Enemy Lines 3, what has that experience been like?
A: It was a good experience, I was down in San Juan, Puerto Rico area, we were filming for the last 6 or 7 weeks, and it was an awesome experience, I got to work with some people in the industry who ive always looked up to, Tim Matheson, directed the film, some of you may remember him from Animal House, Steven Bauer, who was in Scarface, he was Tony Montana’s best friend and confidant in that movie and a few other people, Joe Mangianello stars in the movie, and Im right behind him in second position, and so it was a good experience, a lot of fun, and the people I worked with were great, so I think it will be a fun movie, and I think its gonna be entertaining, and it will be out in January.
–Ryan Rider – Ken, It was a pleasure having you on today, we hope to speak with you again in the future, you have attained a lot of success thus far in the WWE, and best of luck in the future Mr Kennedy.
–Mr Kennedy – Thanks Very Much Guys, The Pleasure Was All yours.
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