RF VIDEO had the pleasure of sitting down with former NXT and WWE star Simon Gotch for one of those interviews that pulled no punches. I love sitting down with talent who are open and honest when the camera and lights go on. I knew within the first 5 minutes that Simon Gotch was going to be one of those guys who held nothing back. His interview was very insightful into the world of the WWE/NXT since he has been there over the past few years.
Simon talks in very great detail about his early days breaking into the CA indy scene and working for APW and Pro Wrestling Iron. He has stories on what it was like to work with Roland Alexander and what shadiness hit him for the first time being around the business in CA. What was a young Bryan Danielson like to be around, along with Donovan Morgan and Mike Modest. You will hear tons of stories on his early days working in some of the bigger indy companies in the states like ROH, Chikara, TNA and of course Pro Wrestling Iron. What was it like to be in the ring for Simon when he faces Japanese Legend Misawa and Ogawa.
How did Simon land a job working for WWE and how did he get signed to NXT? We talk all about his training days at the Performance Center. What was it like working with Dusty Rhodes, Terry Taylor, Steve Keirn, Billy Kidman, Norman Smiley, Matt Bloom and the infamous Bill Demott. How did he get his name and more importantly how did the The Vaudevillains come to be. You will hear stories on every major name in NXT as Simon has some of the best locker room stories covering the early days of NXT.
I loved the fact that Simon had stories for every question that I asked and they were all amazing. We go into great detail about his entire NXT and WWE run on Monday Night Raw and Smackdown. What went wrong for Simon to get himself released? Was it his fist fight with Sin Cara at Smackdown? You will hear exclusive stories on the fight never told before along with some candid pictures!! Did he get released because it could been about the time he approached Vince McMahon with a creative idea, when Bray Wyatt told him at all costs, not to ever talk to Vince because Bray felt that his personality would clash with Vince’s. Did he have heat for his debut match with Enzo and Cass on the PPV where Enzo took a bad bump? Simon talks in great detail about that match and why he felt it was not his fault. In fact Simon talks all about his feelings on Enzo and why he feels he is not a good worker and gives tons of stories to back up his claims. It’s safe to say after hearing this that Enzo and Simon will never be exchanging holiday cards any time soon, as Simon does not like him particularly very much. Trust me he pulls no punches during this part of the interview. Simon talks about his programs in the WWE with the other tag teams and how the gimmick got started and who helped them behind the scenes. In this business there is always a struggle getting yourself over and there is always backstage obstacles in your way, wether its with the office, other talent or just creative. We touch on everything on why the tag team never really got off the ground in the fashion it should have. Were they heels or babyfaces, and what were they told to do in the ring to get themselves over as heels, when they were clearly being cheered. Simon also talks about his interactions with the people behind the scenes in the company some are very positive and a few are not, but he was open and honest and backs up his reasoning for not agreeing with a few people like Terry Taylor. You will hear on advice that Terry would give him after he would come thru Gorilla and why at times he didn’t agree with some of it. We talk all about PWG, ROH rumors, and all of the talent that he shared the locker room with. If you love hearing current stories on NXT and WWE you will love this interview.
Were you a wrestling fan growing up?
What are your favorite memories of wrestling? What led to you wanting to get into the business?
How did you first discover the APW school in Hayward, CA?
First memories of Roland Alexander?
The training at APW was done at the time by Bryan Danielson, Donovan Morgan and Michael Modest, correct? What are your memories of training under them?
What aspects of the business came easy to you and which did you have to work harder on?
How long were you training before you had your first match?
Memories of the infamous APW Garage? Describe the venue and what made it work so well for fans there.
Why do you think Tony Jones, who a lot of people were high on, never made it past that level?
Was there anyone from APW you thought deserved to go all the way and find a national role?
Talk about the Psycho Seth character you portrayed at that point?
Early memories of training and wrestling alongside Cheerleader Melissa Anderson?
Early memories of Joey Ryan from that time period?
Talk about what the California wrestling scene was like at that point?
Memories of the following: Jardi Franz, Robert Thompson, Steve Rizzono, Larry Blackwell
When Mike Modest and Donovan Morgan split with APW and created Pro Wrestling Iron, was there ever a question of what side to be loyal to?
Memories of creating the Ryan Drago character that we saw in PW Iron?
Memories of wrestling Nigel McGuinness in Iron?
What are your favorite memories of Iron and why do you think Morgan and Modest eventually had to shut it down?
Memories of wrestling Misawa and Ogawa in Iron in 2004?
How did you ROH dark match in 2005 against Oliver John in NYC come about? Did you ever get any feedback as to why the company dfidn’t take a greater interest in you?
You worked the first ever Pro Wrestling Guerrilla match in 2003 – Charles Mercury, Sara Del Rey & Supa Badd defeat Ryan Drago, Topgun Talwar & Zokre – what are your memories about the formation of the company and that first show?
Memories of working some TNA taping in 2006 and how that came about?
Memories of the EPIC promotion in California and why you don’t think the promotion lasted?
Memories of working the CHIKARA King of Trios in 2006? Thoughts on Quackenbush and the entire presentation of the promotion, since it was so unique at the time?
Memories of working for Supreme Pro Wrestling in CA?
In 2013, you went to train under Harley Race and worked for his WLW promotion. What sort of advice and pointers did you take away from Race that helped you?
Talk about the WWE tryout process and how you connected with WWE management? Did it take a long time and who did you first communicate with?
What advice do you give to international talents who want to get WWE’s attention?
What was the tryout like?
What sort of guidance do they give you in terms of what they want for you to improve on?
When do you finally learn they want to sign you?
What do you think were the qualities that made them want to sign you?
First impressions of the following coaches:
Talk about how important Dusty was and what it was like being in promo class?
What were your first impressions of HHH as a boss and dealing with him personally? Was he approachable?
For anyone who hasn’t been inside the Performance Center, walk us through a tour of what the facility is like compared to your average wrestling school? Take us through an average week in NXT?
Memories of working with Ryan Katz?
Who are some of the people who don’t get the credit they deserve for their work behind the scenes in the PC and developmental?
Was the Simon Gotch name a tribute to Karl Gotch?
What were your first impressions of Aiden English? Did you get along at first?
When did you learn there was talk of creating a tag team with him?
Was it hard building the relationship right off the bat?
How involved were you and Aiden with the creative aspect of building the team and the characters?
Was the idea for Gotch to always be a silent character in NXT, because initially it was all facial expressions and over the top physical movement in the promos for the team?
Memories of filming the team’s introductory vignettes?
Thoughts on working at Full Sail Live and what the atmosphere is like?
Memories of your debut against Angelo Dawkins and Travis Tyler?
What sort of feedback would you get from WWE Producers and agents about the gimmick and how to try and change it up?
Memories of feuding with the Lucha Dragons in NXT?
Later on, you had some issues with Sin Cara on the main roster, which we will talk about, but how did you get along with him in NXT?
Memories of Takeover: Brooklyn, where you won the belts from Blake and Murphy?
Do you think that show was the peak for you in NXT and in WWE in general?
Talk about what that show was like from the perspective of the talents and what that night meant to the NXT brand in general?
Do you think it changed NXT’s perception within the company?
Did you ever notice any resentment or jealousy from main roster talents or staff towards the NXT brand or talents?
Compare how a day went at a WWE TV taping compared to the main roster?
Memories of the following in NXT:
Let’s talk about some of the talents you’ve worked and trained with in NXT. Favorite memories of working and traveling with the following during the NXT era?
Enzo & Cass
Dash & Wilder
When did you first learn you were being moved to the main roster?
Was there a lot of talk about it or did it seem to come out of nowhere?
What were your expectations when you heard you were going up?
Did you meet with creative before you moved?
Memories of debuting on Smackdown against the Lucha Dragons?
Do you think the main roster creative ever “got” the gimmick?
Were there growing pains going from NXT to the main roster – what was the best and worst part of moving up?
You made your PPV debut at the Payback PPV facing Enzo and Cass, which was stopped when Enzo got a legitimate concussion. Were you worried that the team was going to get heat because of the injury?
Memories of wrestling New Day at the Extreme Rules PPV in 2016?
At some point, they took away your entrance , at least on TV- any idea why?
What do you think about the brand split ?
What happened the day of the brand split that you ended up in a fistfight with Sin Cara?
What sort of heat did you get in the company over the situation?
When the brand split happened, you were moved to Smackdown – was there a hope that perhaps they would give you more attention?
How did the locker room change with the brand split?
Did you feel it was going to be a positive for the wrestlers?
Would you have preferred going to Raw?
Do you think the fight caused The Vaudevillains to not get pushed?
Were you disappointed you were booked to be eliminated in the first round of the Smackdown Tag title tournament?
How had Daniel Bryan changed since the days he was training you?
Thoughts on Daniel Bryan’s retirement? Do you think he will wrestle again?
Thoughts and memories of working with the following:
Alberto Del Rio
Who was the better boss – Vince or HHH?
Do you think Vince ever truly understood the gimmick?
How do you think WWE will be in Stephanie and Hunter’s hands?
Was it exciting to be working your first Wrestlemania earlier this year?
Walk us through what a week as a WWE Superstar is like at Wrestlemania?
Memories of the Andre the Giant Battle Royal at Wrestlemania 33?
Was the Mania afterparty fun?
Your final bout was against American Alpha at Smackdown at Mania – did you have that sinking feeling the release was coming at this point?
Who spoke to you about the decision?
What was your first reaction after WWE released you? Were you relieved?
What was Aiden English’s reaction?
There was an online rumor that you and English had gotten into a physical altercation right before your release – what actually happened if anything?
Did you ever consider just leaving the business when you received your release?
Was there anything you didn’t get to accomplish during your run you wish you had been able to do?
Who’s the one talent you’d like to see WWE use more?
Are you still watching the product today or is it to hard to watch it?
What was the best part about working for WWE?
What was the worst part?
If there was anything you feel you could have done differently during your WWE run that would have changed how it went down, what would it be?
Who are the most underrated guys and girls in the locker room today that you hope get more attention with the split?
Do you think you’d ever want to go back to WWE down the line?
Could Impact be a potential home for you?
You were recently backstage at Ring of Honor events. What led to you being there? Are you looking to go there?
Where did the Simon Grimm name come from?
How excited are you to start working independents?
Is there anyone you are looking forward to wrestling on the indy scene?
What advice do you have for indy talents who want to get signed by WWE?
How much do you think the indy scene has been changed by NXT when you look at what it is now compared to how it was when you first broke in at APW??
Any favorite road stories?
Favorite cities to wrestle in?
Any great rib stories?
How does it feel having control of your destiny as opposed to running around on WWE’s schedule?
What was the best and worst part about being under contract to WWE?
What are the biggest misconceptions of you?
Where do you think Simon Grimm will be a year from now?
Any final words for your fans?