In the latest episode of WWE’s After The Bell With Corey Graves, Byron Saxton was the special guest. While Saxton is currently the color commentator on Monday Night Raw, what you may not know is that Saxton was Dusty Rhodes personal assistant during his time in NXT. I would highly recommend that everyone listens to this interview. Here’s some of the key highlights from that interview.
His Longevity & Positive Outlook
“I never really talked about this publicly. 2012 was my final match in NXT, we had already transitioned of course from FCW. At that time, I’ve been in developmental longer than anybody, I was there for five years and change. And this was a time where, again, it was a lot of transition happening from FCW to NXT, we had a new coaching staff coming in. Bill Demott, funny enough, had come back into the fold. And I gather, just from the outside looking in, and using what smarts I had, I guess, I think the new administration probably came in and went, okay, who do we have on our roster here in developmental, how long have they’ve been here, what’s their career trajectory? And that ended up translating into a phone call that I received one day from talent relations. I was basically told, listen, if you would like to continue your professional wrestling career with this company, that may not be possible. But, if you would like to pursue something else behind the scenes, we might still have an opportunity, and that was that.
I was trying to be a smart, forward thinking business man. I said to myself, well, I’m not opposed to learning a new skill, and part of that is my faith, you know, letting god kind of take control of my life. Look, I still wanted to wrestle, that probably never goes away, as you know. It’s a risk, I don’t know where this road is gonna take me, but if the company is basically telling me i’m gonna be fired if I wanted to continue to be a wrestler, let me see what this other option is, and that’s how it came to an end. It’s really just taking a step back and appreciating life. How many times have you heard people say, life is short, you’ve got to take advantage of it? But I really take that to heart, you know, I think to myself, what kind of impression would I leave on the world if, heaven forbid, I died tomorrow? What kind of impression am I leaving on the business if something happen, and they were like, hey, see you bye, thank you for service, go do something else?
So, I try to soak in every moment, I call them chapters. I believe everyone on this earth, whether it’s this industry or any walk of life, we’re all writing our own story, we’re all writing our own book, and that book has so many different chapters, you know, that one chapter might be high school, one chapter might be a relationship, one chapter might be a successful job, whatever it is. But, enjoy that chapter. Like, so much, especially in our world, guys are always thinking, what’s next? All right, i’m in developmental, when am I gonna get to the main roster? Im on this show, how am I gonna get to SummerSlam, how am I gonna get to WrestleMania? It’s like, guys and girls, a lot of times don’t take the time to stop and smell the roses, and appreciate your path, and appreciate your story as opposed to comparing it to this guy. I want to be in their spot, I want to do what they’re doing, look, you are paving your own way, enjoy it. It’s not always easy, but I try to apply that to my own life. I get up every morning, I thank god for blessing me with another day, and I ask him for the strength, and just be a positive impact on people. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I fail, i’m human, but I just try to take this blessing of a job which, I mean, how many people can say they’re actually living their dream? That’s the coolest thing to me. And, hey, if they said, hey, you’re done tomorrow, fine, I had an awesome time. This has been an awesome ride for me. I guess I don’t fear the future. For me it’s like, how could I be afraid of tomorrow, when I don’t know what tomorrow holds? I might as well just enjoy what I have today, so that’s how I try to keep myself level head, and that’s how I tried to do it on every level of my career here.”
Dusty Rhodes & NXT
“At the time they said to me, hey, your wrestling career is ending, you’re gonna be doing something behind the scenes. I didn’t exactly know what that meant until I walked into the office that day, and I found out that I’m basically going to be Dusty’s Assistant. And that goes back to, just the unexpected, like, my gosh, what an opportunity to sit under the learning tree of one of the most creative and influential individuals that our industry has ever seen. Sitting next to him, every morning, being able to help come up with entrances. I remember at one point, I don’t know if you (Graves) recall, it was me, you, and Terry Taylor going over your entrance. So just having the chance to, again, learn a different aspect of the business, and apply some creative juices was awesome. Dusty, my gosh, he saved my job, I mean, there was a time at FCW where I know for a fact, it was basically me or someone else that was gonna go. And I know that Dusty spoke up for me, to keep me around, so i’m forever indebted to what he’s done for me. Just as a human being, he had an innate ability to just lift you up, you know, to tap into who you are. Not, hey, go be like Stone Cold, go be like The Rock, no, who is Corey Graves, who’s Byron Saxton, how could we accentuate that? He was so good at that. He was a legend, but he was just as much a legend behind the scenes.”
Getting Stunned On 316 Day !
“316 Day, Stone Cold Steve Austin, a special guest, and next thing you know, I found out I’m actually going to be involved in a segment with Stone Cold Steve Austin, yet, another butt puckering moment for me in my career. So, the fan in me is like, woah, i’m ready for this, and the other side of you is like, oh my gosh, don’t screw this up. So we’re guzzling a beer, it’s like dripping all over the place, all of a sudden, boom, there’s a Stunner, bam. Of course, if you watch back the video, you’ll see that the initial kick was a little low into the discos. And I remember, I got the kick, I got the stunner, i’m laying there, Stone Cold says, well, sorry kid, and proceeds to drink some more. Everyone was like, oh my god, Saxton got hit there, which hurt, but that wasn’t the worst part.
The worst part was when Raw went off the air, I think I had a total of 3 or 4 stunners between Stone Cold and Becky Lynch, and a couple happened off air. At one point, you know, Stone Cold is catching more beer cans, well, i’m laying there in the center of the ring, he misses the beer can, boom, gets me right in the face. So, that was the worst part of it all, I ended up having a black eye afterwards. I gingerly turned my body over like, oh my gosh, this is so cool, but it hurts so bad. To this day, I still have that suit, I’ll never wear it again because it’s all stained up. I’ll tell you what, man, it was such an honor to just be in that position, to share the ring with Stone Cold. The 15 year old me was like, no way this is happening.”
The full episode is embedded down below. Transcription credit to @TheHootsPodcast
Checkout Episode 217 of The Hoots Podcast