Former WWE Superstar Paul London recently spoke to Slam! Wrestling about the fact that WWE has been hiring more independent wrestling stars lately, training with Shawn Michaels early in his career and whether or not he’s interested in making a return to WWE.
Below are highlights from the interview.
On WWE hiring more independent wrestlers these days: “I like the fact that they are hiring independent guys right now. I mean NXT is WWE’s flagship program to be honest with you. They are paying attention to the guys’ history more. Like Devitt (Finn Balor) and his body paint or Steen (Kevin Owens) and Sami Zayn working together. When I look at NXT now, I feel like I was hired a decade too early. But at the same time, the advantage, if anything, I came at the time when I think it opened up a mental possibility for my peers on the independents. They could look at me and say, ‘Well, he’s not very big and he’s not all that good.’ I mean, I’m good, but I’m not great or I’m not the best around. I’ll never make that claim. I’m just a working son-of-a-bitch. But I’m not much of a head turner if you’re walking down the street. But in 2003, there was still that size stigma.”
On training at Shwn Michaels’ wrestling school early in his career: “Shawn was the biggest influence on my career, but there a slight misconception there. I trained mostly with Rudy Gonzales, who was Shawn’s head trainer. I kind of came in when Shawn was about to close the doors. An article in a magazine kind of took that and ran with it in the wrong direction. The funny part is that fast forward years later, in WWE, Shawn pulled me over in his locker room and asked me, ‘Correct me if I’m wrong, I’m having a hard time. Did a train you?’ So I told him the same story and he goes, ‘Good, because everyone keep saying that I trained you, but I don’t remember being in the ring so much with you, and I just figured that I’d remember training you, because you’re so talented. I thought I was going senile!
Shawn is the best wrestler that I have ever seen and after his injuries, it wasn’t that he changed his work a whole lot, but he got smarter. He gets so much mileage from every single move. Everything registers in a way that the audience can really digest it instead of just watching a firework show. When I was feuding with Lance Cade and we were having house shows matches, Shawn and Arn Anderson once put me over for several minutes in front of everyone, saying that I was someone with no storyline, who was able to get over no matter what and that my selling was good. It lasted for 10-15 minutes. It was completely unexpected!”
On whether or not he’s interested in a WWE return: “WWE is just not a flavour that really appeals to me unless they would throw an insane amount of money at me to go back to that environment. Japan is different. I would love to have the opportunity to go back to Japan. That being said, I would love to go back to the big stage, but it’s not a priority right now. I like the fact I’m traveling and getting to know new cultures.”
Check out the complete interview at Slam.Canoe.ca.