Nick Dinsmore, best known for his run in WWE as Superstar Eugene, recently appeared on Talk is Jericho. They talked about his wrestling promotion, Midwest All Pro Wrestling. They also discussed his wrestling career, the creation of the Eugene character, and how it was received.
On Moving to Sioux Fall, South Dakota and starting his own promotion:
“My wife and I relocated here in 2015. She’s from South Dakota, and I always wanted to start a wrestling company in a territory. We started it up, and I’ve got 27 students right now. Over the past 5 years I’ve had a lot more. The one advantage here is that there has been no independent wrestling at all, so when I started it up, independent fans were coming to see us. It has been really well received. In November, it will be 5 years. We have run shows monthly all that time. I’ve learned to budget well, to get the most out of advertising by spending the least amount possible. When I first started I had to call people from Omaha because I didn’t have anyone. First show I got my first 2 students. Second show we had Carlito and Shayna Baszler (who is from Sioux Fall). Now I’ve got enough people that I don’t have to call anyone anymore.”
On how he got started in the wrestling industry:
“I went to high school, I wanted to be a pro wrestler. At homecoming, a girl told me that her dad had a wrestling school, who turned out to be Nightmare Danny Davis. I was so excited. I got injured playing football, so I was rehabbing that. I started at 19, just working with Danny in Louisville for 3 years. I started in 1996, and in 1999 I got a developmental deal. When it became OVW, I was being used as test dummies for the fresh talent. I was working with Cena, Brock, Batista. Randy Orton was really good off the bat. John Cena thought he wasn’t going to make it when he first walked in. But finally when he relaxed it was off to the races”
On the origins on the Eugene character:
“Rip Rogers came to me, he said “Hey I’ve got this idea.” He spelled out the whole thing. Rip’s son has autism. He can count in Korean and do all this stuff on the computer, but he is not very social at school. So how about this character that can do all these moves perfectly, but when he goes to talk to someone. I put it in the back of my mind. A couple of months later, pitched it to the agents. They all said WWE are not going to do that. Next month the writers came down, and again they said WWE wouldn’t go for it. I thought about going over to Japan. Word got out, next thing I know I was in a meeting with Vince. He said he wanted to get back to character wrestling. I just spit out this character.”
“The name came from a fan in Pittsburgh. I met him with WWE, he is a long time fan and came to the shows. I think he had downs syndrome. I don’t think they thought I could pull it off. I wrestled Lance Cade on my debut at a live event. He got the character. He didn’t beat me up, he just picked on me. When I walked back through the curtain, Hunter and Stephanie gave me a standing ovation. There was only one kids character on the roster, The Hurricane. But he was on Smackdown. I knew one brand didn’t have a kids character. Post-Austin and post-NWO, everyone wanted to be this cool heel. I wanted to be the opposite. I wanted to be this comedy babyface.”
On how the Eugene character was received by people:
“I’ve got a lot of positive comments from people who have family members that have disabilities. They told me the people with disabilities were saying “I can do it because Eugene can do it.” I’ve got a lot more pats on the back than people saying “you shouldn’t have done that.” In my first couple of weeks, I wasn’t wrestling. When I won my first match, it turned into an underdog story.”
On his release and working the independent scene:
“Non compliance. I failed a drug test, but I had a prescription. I think if that didn’t happen, I could have continued the character. Vince didn’t want to turn me heel, because he didn’t want to compromise any gimmick wrestlers moving forward. My first release was in 2007, and I started doing independent wrestling. I didn’t realize how much independent wrestling is out there. I was working every Friday and Saturday, sometimes Sunday. I called myself “Ugene.” I have no idea how I got away with it though. I was also coaching at OVW when I wasn’t wrestling. I got rehired in 2009, WWE was in Louisville. They wanted me to be a off-screen wrestler and coach. A couple of months later they thought I was out of shape and I got fired again. I never felt that Eugene was meant to be a body guy.”
On if he became Eugene and meeting people in character:
“I don’t know. It just came out of me. The same way that Jim Carrey played Andy Kaufman. I couldn’t do it as well today. It was a time period and a feeling, especially with the live crowd. Most people I met thought I was real. The Diva Search contestants did, and when I did press I was in character. When I met the woman who became my wife, she thought I was genuine too (his wife confirmed this on the show).”
On his favourite Eugene moments:
“I’ve had so many. I was a general manager, I’ve been in the ring with The Rock. I’ve had a Wrestlemania moment with Hulk Hogan, and I’ve even pinned Vince McMahon. It was the DX vs Vince and Shane feud. The McMahons lured me into the pack and pulled pranks on me. They poured paint on me and put my head in the toilet. I was in the ring, it was Vince and Shane vs Eugene. DX distracted Vince, I rolled him up 1,2,3.”
On his promotion Midwest All Pro Wrestling:
“Our classes are Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings. When they start I want them to get their cardio up, get their core strong, get the basics. I think everyone should be able to take certain moves. The elbow drop, hip toss, body slams. I then assess their strengths and weakness, and work on characters too. I try to maximize the strengths, limit the weaknesses, and keep them safe. What makes a main eventer is how the crowd reacts to them. The guys that have put in time and have got themselves over. I would love to have TV, but I haven’t managed to put it all together yet. I am recording it, editing it and doing the graphics though. It’s just me and my wife doing it all. We try to find sponsors to promote the shows, find the venues and promote the school.”
Nick Dinsmore can be found on Twitter here.
More information on Midwest All Pro Wrestling can be found here.
Full podcast audio can be found here.