Former TNA World Champion Bobby Roode recently appeared as a guest on The Art Of Wrestling and spoke about training with former WWE Superstar Val Venis in 1997, attempting to sign with WWE prior to TNA and more. Below are some of the highlights from the interview.
On training with Sean “Val Venis” Morley in 1997:
“I started training with Val Venis, Sean Morley. He was a friend of mine. He lived just 10 minutes from me, so I met him at a gym and we kind of went back and forth. I knew who he kind of was. He’s like, ‘yeah man, I’ve got a ring in the back of my backyard.’ I was like, ‘yeah?’ and he was like, ‘yeah, come on out.'” Roode continued, “I got in there and I kind of did some stuff with Sean and from that minute, like, from the moment I locked up and got inside the ring, I was hooked and I was like, ‘man, I’ve got to do this. I’ve got to learn.’ And he never charged me [anything]. Sean charged me absolutely nothing. I mean, I went to his house maybe twice and it wasn’t like formal training. It wasn’t like, ‘okay, we’re going to do rolls.’ It was like, ‘okay, this is how you lock up. This is how you hit the ropes.’ And then Sean took off. I think he went down to Mexico at the time.”
On trying to get a deal with WWE prior to signing with TNA:
“The excuse I always got from John Laurinaitis was ‘we have nothing for you and you’re too good for developmental, so go get over somewhere else and come back and see us’, so I went and got over somewhere else and I just haven’t left.” Roode added, “at the time, I felt like I deserved [a WWE deal]. I did everything you guys asked me to. I know I showed heart and passion.”
On Vince McMahon liking his work while he was doing WWE dark matches:
“I remember Sgt. Slaughter was the agent and he came back [after the match] and he was like, ‘that was really good.’ He goes, ‘Vince came on the headset and asked who you were.’ I go, ‘well, that’s cool.’ So then, I get up the next day and I drive six and a half hours to Kelowna Beach, B.C. [Canada] to do the [WWE] SmackDown taping and I’m at the building and I’m walking around, just kind of backstage. And Vince walks up to me and he shakes my hand and he goes, ‘I really liked your work last night. I love the way you sold. You looked really good out there. We’re going to get you another match tonight.’ It blew my mind. Right? So I go out there, I have another match. I think I worked [Johnny] Stamboli that night. It probably wasn’t a five-star match, but I mean, it was a decent match. And if Vince, the owner of the company, comes up to me and puts me over and then Johnny Ace is like, ‘yeah, we’ve got nothing for you’, those are the kinds of things that I’m like, ‘man, why am I doing this to myself?’ And not only that, I flew myself there and did whatever. I mean, we all did it, but it’s just like, those were the things that I was starting to be like, ‘this isn’t for me anymore.'”