Why It Ended – Chris Masters
Release Date: 12/04/18
Running time: 1:03
Recap by: Joe Aguinaldo
Matt and Robbie welcome Chris Masters to the show. He was recently travelling in the UK and India.
- 5 or 6 years ago, So Cal Val told Robbie that she met Chris at a Raw and they went out on a date.
- He’s hazy when it comes to the details of the date but he remembers meeting her before he made it. Eventually when he got to WWE, she popped up again and she was in the business which was awkward but cool at the same time seeing someone make it into the business.
- Chris started training for wrestling at 16 (same day as Cena) but he hurt his ankle. He took two years off and came back when he was 18. That’s when everything kicked into gear as within a year he got signed and went to OVW.
- Chris loved wrestling his whole life. It’s all he’s ever known. Warrior got him watching in 1988. In 1993 he took a year or two off but got pulled in again at around the time of the Bret/Shawn Iron Man Match (WM XII).
- During training, he was doing a leap frog and landed awkwardly on his ankle and fractured it. He didn’t know it and kept going for a few weeks however his ankle kept hurting. When he got it checked out, he had to get a scope done and decided to take some time off to work on his body.
- Weightlifting was Chris’ first period class in grade 10 but he never did anything. This was before he got into pro wrestling.
- Once he decided to get into wrestling is when he started taking weightlifting seriously, however, prior to that he never liked or cared for bodybuilding.
- Eventually, he started following the Mr. Olympias, read all the magazines and worked in a bodybuilding magazine store. He became entrenched in the culture and it became a hobby.
- OVW saw Chris through UPW when he was 18. He was in great shape and could move for a big guy which was rare back then. He caught their attention for the next year or so and they ended up signing him around his 19th birthday
- Chris had faced some struggles on his way to OVW. For example, he tried out for Tough Enough (with John Morrison) and only made it to the second round. He got hurt in wrestling school with his ankle. He never thought of quitting but it was ‘always back to the drawing board’ to work on improving then coming back. He faced some adversity but in his mind he was always convinced wrestling was what he meant to do.
- Getting signed happened fast but it wasn’t shocking to him because he had felt like he had failed a couple times, re-evaluated and things worked out. He was grateful but not shocked.
- Looking back, this was maybe the best time in Chris’ career. The OVW scene was old school with Jim Cornette, Danny Davis and Rip rogers who was the trainer. For example, Cornette wouldn’t let heels and babyfaces hang out together.
- Chris didn’t know what to expect but it was a lot of fun. They had a tight knit group that lived and hung out together. Chris said it was like the last bit of innocence before getting signed to the main roster where there was politics and money involved.
- When Chris got to OVW, it took him a long time to win people over. He was a young, big kid getting a lot of things thrown at him created resentment especially with those who had been working hard. Chris understood where they were coming from but with time, as people got to know him, some of those walls came down
Where He Got His In-Ring Name
- Matt Morgan has been given credit for coming up with the Masterpiece gimmick. Chris was hanging out with Matt, Chris Cage and Mickie James. They had come up with the name Masters for him and Matt blurted out Masterpiece. Chris pitched it to Cornette the next day.
Getting Signed To The Main Roster
- There wasn’t a definitive moment where someone told him he was on the roster. He was working on the road with OVW and Tommy Dreamer would call him up to do dark matches but then he would go back to OVW.
- Then they would send him to Connecticut do pre-tapes which would be aired on TV.
- Fast forward a couple of months he was on TV. Everything happened incrementally. It wasn’t like one day he was in OVW the next day he was on Raw.
- On Chris’ TV debut in Pennsylvania he got food poisoning. Robbie was there and people were talking about Chris throwing up.
- Chris says it was the sickest he had ever been. He thinks it was turkey wrap at a gas station from the night before. The next morning he went to grab breakfast and couldn’t take more than two bites. The whole day, he couldn’t hold down anything and was a mess.
- Along with food poisoning, in his debut match he ends up breaking Stevie Richard’s nose and orbital bone. All in all it was not a great start. At the time he was 21 years old.
- They had put a lot of time into Chris’ vignettes. The day of Chris’ debut, Triple H and Shawn Michaels were helping him with his entrance.
- There were others who helped with the wrestling aspect such as Arn Anderson and Fit Finlay.
- During this period he was getting a bit of a push and it was surreal to him. It seemed to Chris that sky was the limit but one thing he learned in pro wrestling was that things can change quickly.
- When he injured Stevie, Chris was put on Heat for a while to make sure he wouldn’t hurt anyone else.
- During this time he was on Taboo Tuesday and was teaming with Gene Snitsky against whoever the fans picked who happened to be Rey Mysterio and Matt Hardy. Vince was adamant about Chris not getting pinned but nobody told them. They put the match together were Chris ended up taking the pinfall. It was a great match but when they got to the back, Vince was going crazy. They wanted to keep Chris strong so he could work with Cena. That circumstance hurt him a bit.
- Chris grew up idolizing Shawn Michaels so the idea that he was going into his first program with HBK was a dream come true. He considers Shawn the greatest wrestler and in-ring performer he’d ever seen. It was exciting but also stressful and didn’t want to be the only guy in history to have a bad PPV match with HBK.
Chris’ First Release From The WWE
- Chris’ first release was a result of popping on the wellness policy a second time. He was in Europe and dislocated his elbow. He was sent home because he couldn’t finish the tour. When he got home he was told he got caught on the test
- At first they were going to overlook it but this was around the time Guerrero and Benoit. There was a lot of heat on the company and it went from taking the 60 day suspension to getting released.
- Matt mentions the backlash on the Benoit situation led to a heightened focus on abuse and PEDs. Chris clarifies that people automatically think he got caught with PEDs or steroids. That wasn’t the case with Chris, it was painkillers and prescription pills. He had personal issues with those addictions.
The Unwritten Rules Of Locker Room Etiquette
- Chris ran into issues with the unwritten rules of locker room etiquette. At the time, everyone in OVW wanted to go to Raw not necessarily because it was Raw but because Smackdown had veterans such as Bob Holly and JBL who were known for giving younger guys a hard time.
- Chris had a big problem learning the unwritten rules of etiquette in wrestling.
- Bob Holly wanted to kill Chris on his first day of Smackdown. Bob already had a bad impression of Chris for missing his first OVW TV taping.
- Chris was shaking hands with everyone in the locker room but missed Bob because Bob was talking to a bunch of people. Bob took it as a sign of disrespect and called Chris out in the locker room. Bob also wanted to change his dark match from Carlito to wrestling Chris.
- Chris thinks Bob’s attitude may be resentment due to him being a veteran and seeing a young guy like Chris get a push. That said, Chris does see the need for showing respect for those who paved the way before them.
- When Bob was yelling at Chris, he couldn’t believe Bob thought he disrespected him. Chris looked up to all those guys because they were wrestlers he watched growing up. He thinks it was the way he looked and because he kept to himself which may have rubbed people the wrong way. He left Smackdown not knowing if he was going to be back.
- Chris says Viscera was a vet who smartened him up and let him know what was happening when it came to the backstage politics. He was good to Chris and a great guy in the locker room.
- Chris was in a match with Cena and Angle for the world title. Everything was moving so fast at that point that he didn’t have time to process. He was involved in so many different things.
Chris’ Mindset After His First Release
- When Chris got released the first time, he always felt he was going to be back. He knew he needed to get his stuff together and get himself straight.
- Over the next couple of years he enjoyed himself being on the indie scene for the first time. He definitely enjoyed life out of the WWE but knew eventually he was going to get back because he didn’t want to leave it the way it ended.
Triple H and JBL Cut A Promo On Chris
- Triple H made a comment on-air about Chris having to lose some weight. It was a pre-planned line and can take it however you want. Chris says Triple H does do these kinds of things with his friends and it makes Chris want to believe that Triple H wasn’t malicious but something to stir up the internet marks.
- At that point in time he was fighting to keep himself clean and sober and didn’t process what Triple H said as upsetting and he doesn’t hold a grudge.
- Chris says one thing you don’t look for with your peers in wrestling is sympathy. He keeps that in mind when people make comments like Triple H said. He doesn’t expect anyone in the business to put his arm around him.
- JBL made a comment that someone he wrestled looked like he was from a concentration camp and was as skinny as Chris Masters
- Chris didn’t know about that comment but says JBL was one of the guys that gave Chris hell. He tried to break Chris down but Chris didn’t break down.
Return To The WWE
- When Chris came back, he didn’t get the same type of push he had compared to the first time. He felt like he was on probation.
- Chris had a different mind set and had a lot of gratitude to be back. He had overcome some of his issues and wasn’t preoccupied with his position. He was happy to be back.
- It was different when he got back and he wasn’t used in a main spot. He was on all the house shows but not TV. He also turned babyface during this run.
- During this period, he really focused on the in-ring aspect and tried to up his game. He didn’t want to be a stereotypical body guy who people thought couldn’t wrestle. He wanted to have good matches and understand the theatre of wrestling.
- Chris isn’t sure what the WWE wanted to do with him. He worked hard and at a certain point, he wasn’t going to just be happy to be there. He wanted to do something. He worked to put himself in a favorable position. You can only be booked a certain way before fans won’t accept you as a main event guy. After a certain point he needed to go away and re-invent but says throughout that time Triple H acknowledged Chris was improving but needed put a fresh coat of paint on him.
- He did start winning a majority of his matches and did have some optimism near the end of his run
- His second run ended abruptly. He had been winning a lot of matches in his last three months and there was a consensus he had improved. At his last taping, he was booked to beat Jack Swagger on a TV match but in the middle of the match they switched the finish.
- The next Friday after the taping, he got the phone call that he was being let go. There was nothing that happened and it caught him by surprise.
- He doesn’t remember the conversation other than they didn’t have anything for him.
Getting Release A Second Time
- After Chris got released the second time, unlike the first time, he never thought about a third shot in the WWE.
- Chris had a few matches with TNA. Robbie E wrestled Chris and says that’s one of the few matches he won in TNA.
- Chris isn’t sure why it didn’t pan out in TNA. He left there with a good impression thinking it might be something he would do but he never heard back from them.
- Chris was also announced as part of Global but not a lot happened with that. Chris isn’t surprised by this and has been around long enough to know you don’t put a lot of stock into those things. You can’t get your hopes up.
- This led to a few stints in TNA where he was part of a few angles. Chris wasn’t making enough money for the amount of work, plus he wasn’t been highlighted. It wasn’t worth it for him to show up to work so on his last day of TV tapings he booked a flight and left. He also didn’t believe in what TNA was doing and basically didn’t like what they were doing.
- Chris still wrestles and says it’s a good time to be a pro wrestling. The business is hot right now with the Indie scene and NJPW booming. All-In was a huge success and when events like that are successful, everyone wins. It triggers work for everyone.
- Overall, the wrestling business has been good to Chris and while there are hot and cold patches, it’s been consistent for him.
- Chris is 35 and still taking bookings. If someone wants to get a hold of Chris, you can reach him @ChrisMaster310 (Twitter and IG) or you can reach him by email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Robbie and Matt thank Chris for being on the show and they sign off.
Rating – 8/10
I didn’t know a bunch about Chris Masters and was initially not going to listen to this podcast. But, I’m glad I did because this was an excellent podcast. Chris comes across as very well spoken and the story about him getting into the business and working in the WWE was interesting. Plus there was a bunch of good info most notably about locker room etiquette. I would definitely put this one at the top of your podcast playlist. Definite thumbs up recommend.
Joe is a long time wrestling fan from Toronto. He is a co-host on the Pull Apart Podcast with Jeff Rush and Caitlin Lavelle as well as a contributor to www.pwpodcasts.com. One of his life goals is to be a guest host on one of Wade Keller’s post-show podcasts. He doesn’t consider himself any sort of expert, he just likes wrestling. Check him out on Twitter and Instagram @ja113.