Maven On Insight With Chris Van Vliet: Podcast Recap

Former WWE Superstar Maven was a recent guest on Chris Van Vliet’s podcast Insight. On the show, they talked about Maven’s time in Tough Enough and winning the competition. They also discussed the famous Royal Rumble 2002 spot, his entrance theme, what he is up to now and more. The most notable quotes can be found below:

On competing on Tough Enough:

“The show came out pre 9/11. So it was like 2001 when we started filming. This was the early days of reality television, back before you could make a career out of being a reality star. Literally going into it we were promised one thing and that was a chance to get into the WWE. I’ll tell you a secret too that I haven’t told very many because I kind of feel stupid. When I was interviewing to go on Tough Enough, the MTV people pulled me aside. They asked me ‘Do you want to be a wrestler, or do you want to be on TV?’ They offered me a spot on the upcoming Real World or Road Rules. But I was a wrestling fan I grew up watching wrestling, that’s what I wanted to do.”

On wanting to be a wrestler as a kid:

“How do you become an astronaut? It’s the same thing. How do you become a wrestler? I did, but who knew how to get into that business? I was a schoolteacher, I was teaching 6th grade. Man I can’t believe people trusted me with their kids but they did. So I was 22, it was my second year teaching 6th grade. I was a high school baseball coach living in Portland, Oregon. I was at home with a buddy of mine watching RAW. Jim Ross came on and said ‘Have you ever wanted to be a wrestler?’ I said ‘Yes. Yes I do.’ Then things fell into place at that point. I made the dumbest video you could imagine.”

Chris asks how dumb?

“Ok this is how dumb. Skin tight neoprene shirt and indoors with sunglasses on. I acted like I was reading a newspaper that the person recording the video interrupted. I put the paper down and I went into my spiel. It was just complete ridiculousness.”

On thinking the Tough Enough call was a joke:

“Me and my buddy played jokes on each other. I am in my classroom and the phone rings, I’ve got 6th grade going on. I pick up the phone and the ,lady on the other end went ‘Maven this is Christina from WWF and MTV.’ I went ‘Yeah right. Tell Kirk very funny.’ And I hung up. I called him later and I was like yeah very cute have that person call. He said to me ‘No it wasn’t me. That was somebody calling you.’ So I prayed they would call back, they did. They invited me to go to New York and I did. It was at times square when WWF New York was at Times Square. I get there, if you want to get into steroids later, yeah I admit it. I took steroids and I took a lot. I loved the reaction it gave me. Probably not good for my health, but I did it, I’m not going to hide that. I get there having not taken anything, and I see these gigantic, enormous, jacked dudes. I’m 205, what am I doing here? I almost left right then. The only reason I didn’t was because I paid for a plane ticket to get there and I said I’m going to see this through. I was this close [puts fingers close together] to leaving. It was a 2 day process, by the end of the second day I was on the show. No part of me thought I was going to quit my teaching job, but I had a plane ride back to Oregon to figure out how it was going to be done.”

On his main competition on the show:

“Chris Nowinski. For the mere fact that he had wrestled before and he was good. He was a big kid and in wrestling Vince likes big guys. Chris was a good 2 inches taller than I was, probably 30 pounds bigger, Harvard educated, actually f*ck that [laughs]. Josh Matthews was the best in-ring technical wrestler. But with Chris, you know how your mind plays tricks on you? You see a girl and you think she won’t like me for this, this and this. That was what my mind was doing to me, WWE doesn’t want me for this, this and this. Of course I thought they are going to want someone like Nowinski. Someone who has got experience, is not going to make them look stupid. Technically, he was good enough and had the look. But I was all in. I quit my job, sold my car and pretty much when I knew it was over, if I didn’t win I was moving back home with my mom.”

On knowing the result beforehand:

“I knew I was winning going into it. [They told me] In so many words. My mom was sick at the time. My mom was battling cancer and I had to leave the show probably at week 7 of the 9 week show. 13 people started Tough Enough and 8 people quit. I couldn’t get it. Is it easy? No, it’s going to hurt, it’s going to suck. But I wasn’t going to quit. The only thing that was going to make me quit was my mom. I sat Al Snow down and said ‘Listen, I don’t want to leave, but my sister literally just sent me a message saying “Your mom is in the hospital. They don’t know if she is going to make it through the weekend.” I got to go. I don’t want to but I have to. I’ll pick up training on my own when I figure out what is up with her.’ They said to me ‘Listen. We’ll stop the show, fly you home and figure it out.’ Without the cameras there they pretty much said ‘You are the front runner right now. Get home then get back here, just don’t be a f*ck up and it’s pretty much yours.”

On what he is doing now:

“Crazily enough I work in the weirdest industry you can work in right now. I work in finance at Wall Street. I travel in and I work for a company that is right there on Wall Street. I have never worked in this industry before. I found out that a lot of people in finance are really into music. Everyone I work with has a CD coming out or a video coming out. I live in New Jersey and I commute.”

On addiction issues:

“It started in wrestling but wrestrling didn’t do it. I wouldn’t even take Tylenol for a headache back then. The pill I ever took I was like yeah I am onto something here. I was in pain at the time, I just ahd hand surgery. But taht’s life man.

Is it the crazy slippery slope?

“It is. One pill turn into two, turns into thirty. When that happened I was taking forty to fifty a day. But here’s what’s crazy, I could function on them. I could do them and then do two hours on HSN [Home Shopping Network] and sell the hell out of some football merchandise. I knew this ends bad, just not today. Next day, this ends bad, but not today. Then you are three years later and it’s still the same thing.”

On WWE helping him with addiction:

“They reached out to me. It hit the news on TMZ and they reached out to em a day or two later. Johnny Ace and D-Von Dudley reached out to me on the day. No one knew I had a problem. I could maintain and I could hide it. I said it wasn’t a problem for me, but yeah it wasn’t sustainable. I needed that. It also hit me financially pretty difficult, but that’s just life. You are going to get kicked down, but it is about falling forward.”

On whether he was supposed to go through the second rope at the 2002 Royal Rumble:

“No. Taker f*cked that up big time. Of course he did, and I told him. I said ‘Listen, when you throw me out, you better…’ No honestly it was something that no one really thought about. It wasn’t a f*ck up at the time, it was something that just the spot was kicking him. Then the spot was him coming in and me cowering like ‘No I didn’t mean to do it.’ After that was just the chair shot. I will still say that is one of the hardest chair shots ever. Then the whole popcorn machine. No one ever thought about the going through the ropes scenario. Then it blew up on the internet. Maven’s not eliminated! They fixed it with the title shot against Jericho the next day.”

On being pitched the spot with The Undertaker:

“I dare to say that it was the spot. If you ask anyone to mention anything from the 2002 Royal Rumble, what are they going to say? I honestly have no clue who won that match. So at the time I was finally training and I was in HWA in Cincinnati. They flew to be to Atlanta and they said ‘You’re probably going to have a spot in the Rumble.’ I’m like OK maybe I will get to come out. But I had wrestled Taz a couple of times and I had also wrestled Booker T on SmackDown. I had a little bit more TV experience by this time. I get to the arena and I am walking to the ring. Shane [McMahon] and Taker come up and see me. They say ‘Mave, we want to tell you what we’ve got going on tonight.’ Already, Shane, why does he care? And why is Taker here? I thought it would be one of the agents coming up to me telling me ‘Hey you are coming in 17th and going out 18th.’ The they tell me. They are like ‘Taker is going to sh*t can everyone out. The Hardys, Lita, then you are going to come out. It’s going to be you and him. You’re going to hit him with that drop kick and eliminate him.’ I’m like ‘What?’ Taker, no lie, turns, looks down at Shane and says ‘Are you f*cking kidding me?’ I didn’t know. I thought he was being told this information at the time too. I’m like Jesus I’m dead. Please just die right now. Then he just turns and winks at me. That just shows what a professional he was. He was willing to put me over and to do that favour. It wasn’t just for me, it was for the wrestling business. I will spend the rest of my life answering questions about that for the rest of my life. He gave me a career.”

On not liking his theme song:

“I don’t love it. It’s the saddest thing because if people bring up The Undertaker thing first, they bring up my music second. That’s no joke. Everyone loves it but me. I feel bad because the band is great, it’s a good song. But here’s what it is, it’s just not the song I would have picked for me to come out to. When I was growing up and thinking late at night about the theme I would come out to, that isn’t it. What would I have picked? At the time I was probably into a bit more hip hop music. Or, to this day, if I need something to bump to, then Kickstart My Heart [by Mötley Crüe], old Metallica, stuff like that. Stranglehold by Ted Nugent. To me that’s the best opening music ever. But I love the song because of how much the fans love it.”

On missed opportunities:

“I could have been a lot better on the mic than a lot of the guys that they had. I definitely think they could have done more with me. They could have exposed more of my personality. Trust me, when I left and started doing stuff with TNA, I am a hell of a heel. I’m a damn good bad guy.”

On deciding to retire from wrestling:

“Retired? I did a show a couple of weeks ago. But as far as making my money from wrestling, retired? Fair enough. Other stuff came. I started ding the Home Shopping Network and that was the best job. I did it as a joke at first. It turned out to be the best place to work and I was good at it. Other opportunities came. When I got to speak on HSN for half an hour selling football jackets, no one is hitting me with a chair. It pays really well, who isn’t going to stay there?”

On who is the most successful Tough Enough contestant:

“I think is between The Miz and John Morrison. You got 2 guys that are amazing in-ring. The Miz is a former WWE Champion and has had success outside the ring. They used to bring us in when they did the future Tough Enough. I remember seeing John Morrison with his short hair, you could definitely see something in him. These guys followed in my footsteps, it’s crazy to think.”

On deciding to use steroids:

“I was told, I won’t say by who, that I was 205 and we need you to get a little bit bigger. I listened to that advice, but I would have sought that out regardless. Just to look good. If you look at me when I started compared to two years later it’s night and day. But looking like that, that’s the addictive part of it. You just feel great, you feel that hardness and it feels good. It’s not a euphoric feeling, you just feel it when you look good. It also gives you a psychological edge. I would go to the gym and I was like I am here so I’ve got to get my moneys worth. I had a doctor that was telling me how much of each to take. I was getting good stuff from good pharmacies that was shipped to my house completely legal, because it was prescribed. I have bought vehicles that were harder to get.”

On advice from The Rock:

“So it’s WrestleMania 18 in Toronto. I went in the Hardcore Champion and left the Hardcore Champion. I’m backstage and I am scared to death, there’s 70 something thousand people out there. The Rock sees this and he says ‘Mave, come here.’ So I go up to him and I think I’m going to get words of advice from the best. He goes ‘Hey, no one is really expecting much out of you. So just do the best you can.’ He turns around and walks away I’m like what the f*ck was that? He then turns and winks at me. That calmed me down. That one little joke, then it was like f*ck it lets have some fun.”

On what he is grateful for:

“Health, opportunity and family.”

Featured image: IMDB

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