Colt Cabana’s “Art of Wrestling” #320 – Trevor Murdoch Interview (Sept. 29, 2016)

The Art of Wrestling with Colt Cabana
Episode 320 – Trevor Murdoch
Release Date: September 29, 2016


Report by Chris Davidson

Hot Topics

– Trevor Murdoch talks about his time in WWE and training with Harley Race
– Colt Cabana praises wrestling schools for would-be wrestlers


0:00 – Introduction
8:30– Song of the week
10:43 – Trevor Murdoch interview
13:05 – Trevor Murdoch talks growing up
21:37 – Trevor Murdoch talks about his love of wrestling
24:22 – Trevor Murdoch talks getting into wrestling
30:36 – Trevor Murdoch talks getting connected with Harley Race and wrestling Greg “The Hammer” Valentine
35:18 – Trevor Murdoch talks side jobs and small-town wrestling
39:32 – Trevor Murdoch talks early WWE tryouts
46:35 – Trevor Murdoch talks getting into WWE
54:26 – Trevor Murdoch talks about his current work
1:05:34 – Colt wraps up the show


0:00 – Introduction – Colt opened the show joking that he’s a very sore wrestler. Colt detailed a “Ringmaster’s Challenge” he wrestled in at an ROH show in Duluth, Georgia against Jay Lethal. Colt didn’t realize it, but he has adopted a wrestling style that is easy on his body, making the nearly 45-minute match very hard on his body. Colt plugged a few upcoming shows, and Shawn Daivari’s new wrestling school, before segueing into Trevor Murdoch. Colt has known Murdoch since 2002, and touched on Murdoch’s time in WWE, comparing Murdoch to Kevin Steen/Owens. Colt said he always got along with Murdoch, but he rubbed some people the wrong way due to his physical style. Colt told a story about Murdoch being nice to him, requesting to wrestle him on Sunday Night Heat, and letting him stay in his hotel room.

8:30– Song of the week – The song of the week this week is “Ultimate Warrior” by Jaysen Gold.

10:43 – Trevor Murdoch interview – Colt opened the interview surprised that Murdoch didn’t have chewing tobacco in his mouth for the interview. Murdoch did have chew in his lip, but joked that he looks like he’s dipping anyway because he’s got a fat lip. Murdoch said that he didn’t wrestle with dip in, but had used chewing tobacco as part of his gimmick. Murdoch joked that his high school had a smoking pit until the early-1990s, but many people take up chewing tobacco.

13:05 – Trevor Murdoch talks growing up – Murdoch talked about growing up in Fredericktown, Missouri. Murdoch lived 30 minutes outside of town, and had a 90 minute bus ride to and from school. Murdoch’s dad was a truck driver and his mom was a stay at home mom of 10 kids. Murdoch joked that he didn’t realize he was poor until he started making money. Murdoch talked about the living situation as a child, and his dad’s work as a truck driver. Colt asked if anyone of “any acknowledgment or accomplishment” had ever come out of Fredericktown. Murdoch said that no one had been as blessed as he had, but the local newspaper wouldn’t even write a story about his WWE tag-team title reign because they had a negative view of pro wrestling. When the newspaper wouldn’t write about Murdoch, his dad cussed them out and canceled his subscription. Murdoch got into wrestling watching World Class Championship Wrestling with his brother. Murdoch remembered a live event he saw at a flea market, where his dad let him “cut loose” and cheer how he wanted. Murdoch said that he really made a connection at the show, and he wanted to make connections with the audience as a performer.

21:37 – Trevor Murdoch talks about his love of wrestling – Murdoch didn’t go to his first live national show until he was 22-years-old. During his childhood, his parents split up, his father died, and he was put in various foster homes and group homes, but wrestling always stuck with him. Murdoch credited wrestling with helping him find love and peace, even when he was angry at the world and causing trouble. Murdoch said that wrestling was the only constant that he could always turn to, even though he never thought he could end up being a part of it.

24:22 – Trevor Murdoch talks getting into wrestling – Colt recalled seeing Murdoch and some of the other wrestlers from Harley Race’s school in wrestling magazine rankings. Murdoch praised Race for always pushing people in the ring, and having bigger name wrestlers come in to shows and help his trainees. Colt asked how Murdoch ended up with Race. Murdoch said that he had planned to join the Marines after he graduated high school, but because of an incident where his foster family put him in a mental health facility for a few days, the Marines did not allow him to sign up. Murdoch went to Job Corps and became a welder. After returning to Fredericktown, he worked security for a small independent promotion that his brother worked for, that had been the first promotion that Kane worked for. Murdoch’s first match was as a hooded character called the Deer Hunter, which he called a perfect way to start in wrestling because of the anonymity.

30:36 – Trevor Murdoch talks getting connected with Harley Race and wrestling Greg “The Hammer” Valentine – Murdoch trained “on the job” for about three years. During that time, he worked for Bill Ash in Arkansas, where he ended up being paid $7.36 for working three matches. Murdoch didn’t have any other money for gas to get home, and he was able to get back with the pennies built up in his car. After Ash “shafted” him, Ash met connected Murdoch with Harley Race and World Legion Wrestling. Murdoch told a story of Race and Gordon Solie putting the card together in a hotel lobby with a fifth of vodka between them, picking Murdoch to wrestle Greg “The Hammer” Valentine. Valentine had planned to let Murdoch get some offense but Race had other plans. Murdoch got worked really hard during the match, but he “loved every minute of it.” Colt asked if the romance of the scenario played into it, but Murdoch said he cares more about the believability of his matches.

35:18 – Trevor Murdoch talks side jobs and small-town wrestling – Colt asked when Murdoch stopped welding. Murdoch talked about the cycle of telling his employer he needed Fridays and Saturdays off, but when they’d inevitably tell him they needed him on a weekend, he would quit the job and find a new one after the next weekend’s shows. Murdoch backtracked to when he got a union welding job where he lived with his mother, and he traded in that lifestyle to become a landscaper and train to be a wrestler in a boxing ring. During this time, Race’s school moved from Springfield, Missouri to Eldon, Missouri. Murdoch discussed the small town feel of Eldon and the culture shock that would be created when Japanese wrestlers would come to town. Murdoch credited the small-town atmosphere with keeping many of the wrestlers out of trouble.

39:32 – Trevor Murdoch talks early WWE tryouts – Murdoch said that his goal was always to get to WWE, and Race helped him get those connections. Colt mentioned the early-2000s WWE atmosphere with a lot of bodybuilders and “steroids”. Murdoch reiterated that claim, but figured if he could show his wrestling talent, it’s just as good as a guy who looks good but can’t wrestle. Murdoch talked about the tryouts, and told a humorous story about trying to compare his height to Triple H. Murdoch said that WWE was the place to go, but after he went for a while, his “hopes kept getting smaller” because people started giving him the cold shoulder. Murdoch decided he wanted to go to Japan since he could get over no matter what he looked like. Murdoch said he is not a “gym guy” but he likes to cut down trees and do manual labor. Murdoch prided himself on not being able to get blown up in the ring, and tried to have hour long matches to be like Harley Race. Colt asked if Race was crazy. Murdoch called him tough, and someone who could give one word answers that made him feel dumb. Murdoch remembered when WWE wanted him to turn heel and he called Race, who told him to just do what he’d want the heel to do to him as a babyface. Murdoch took that advice, and considered his character.

46:35 – Trevor Murdoch talks getting into WWE – Since his tag partner was a tall, jacked, good looking guy (Lance Cade), Murdoch decided to be the ugliest looking guy he could be. Murdoch recounted coming back from Japan and getting a WWE tryout where Chris Benoit saw him doing some exercises he learned in Japan. Benoit found out Murdoch had trained with Race and had been in Japan, and got him a match that night against Rob Conway. Murdoch listened to Conway, hoping to go to OWV, and the next night he was on Smackdown having a 50/50 match against Rene Dupree. Murdoch was wrestling as Trevor Rhodes, but Dusty Rhodes had heat with Vince McMahon, so they changed his name to Trevor Murdoch. John Laurinaitis offered Murdoch a developmental deal that night, which Murdoch signed without even reading it. While Murdoch was preparing to go to OVW, he got a call that they wanted him to tag with Lance Cade to see how they looked. Cade told Laurinaitis he had good chemistry with Murdoch, and they started tagging right away. Murdoch said that he lucked out not having to go to developmental, but he wished he had so he could learn the WWE corporate structure. Colt said that had he done that, they easily could have not liked him once he got to OVW. Murdoch said he should have gone to OVW to see how it was run, but he spent his off days training with Race and showing the other trainees that success was attainable.

54:26 – Trevor Murdoch talks about his current work – Colt asked Murdoch about training. Murdoch had helped Race with training, and has been training again. Murdoch looks at training as giving back to the current crop of wrestlers, and hopefully he can pass skills on to future generations. Colt mentioned other trainers on the East Coast, but couldn’t think of anyone in the Midwest who was training wrestlers. Murdoch said WWE is coming around to knowing that independent guys are much better in and out of the ring than guys going through developmental with no real passion for the business. Murdoch mentioned his style being rougher that others, which he credited to Race. Murdoch got some het early in his WWE run with Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin because they didn’t think he deserved his success, but whatever they gave him, he gave back until he earned their respect. Murdoch thought it was funny that he got signed by WWE only after his time in Japan. Murdoch knew he would eventually get fired from WWE, so he rolled with whatever came to him for almost four years. Murdoch said he loves where he is today, because he can pick when and where he wants to wrestle, and he gets to work with passionate wrestlers every day. Murdoch remembered the low feeling of getting fired by WWE, and going from arenas to working in a parking lot outside of a bowling alley. Murdoch said he’s now having fun, which is when he feels the magic of wrestling again. Murdoch called working in WWE “restrictive” because it’s hard to tell a story in a six minute tag match. Murdoch plugged his wrestling school and social media before ending the interview.

1:05:34 – Colt wraps up the show – Colt praised Murdoch’s school, as well as some other trainers he knows give a good wrestling education. Colt plugged his upcoming events, thanked his fans, Trevor Murdoch, his tech help and sponsors. Colt teased his new documentary, although he isn’t sure when it’s going to be done, and joked about stretching before a match before signing off.


Score: 8.7 – Trevor Murdoch was a great guest for the Art of Wrestling. His story getting to WWE is unique, and hearing about his training with Harley Race was very fun to listen to. Murdoch went very in depth with all of his stories, but it seemed like he barely scratched the surface on his whole career, leaving me wanting more. Colt did a good job of moving the conversation along so that it didn’t drag, and Murdoch was open without being negative. Once again, Colt Cabana put out a top-notch interview that anyone can enjoy.

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