New NWA National Heavyweight Champion Chris Adonis (fka Chris Masters) recently spoke with Alistair McGeorge of MetroUK and talked about a backstage incident he had with Bob “Hardcore” Holly during their WWE days.
Adonis first signed with WWE back in 2003 to begin working at the OVW developmental territory. He noted that Holly had a bad impression of him from the start. Holly, who had already developed a reputation of a bully among some, began training at OVW in the fall of 2003 to prepare for his return to WWE’s main roster following a broken neck. Adonis recalled how the OVW crew visited SmackDown one night, and the veteran Holly felt disrespected by the newcomer.
“Bob Holly just had a bad impression of me from the start, and that’s a whole other story,” Adonis said. “But I ended up missing my first TV taping in Ohio Valley Wrestling, and Bob Holly happened to be there. So, he knew that I’d missed it – again, that’s a whole other story, but he already had a bad impression of me. So, I go with the OVW crew to visit SmackDown so they can see the talent before the show and what not.
“I’m making way round backstage, I greeted mostly everyone I’ve come in contact with. But I walk through the locker room and I’m just walking straight to my bag and I don’t see out of the corner of my eye, but Bob Holly’s there and he’s having a conversation with a couple of other vets. I went straight to my bag, and Bob already had a bad taste in his mouth about me but he took that like I was shunning him or not showing him respect. When really, I wouldn’t say it was that at all.”
Adonis admits he can now see where Holly was coming from, but he insists he meant no disrespect. Holly was scheduled to wrestle Carlito in a dark match that night, but Adonis says Holly tried to get things changed so he could wrestle Adonis instead.
“He got really angry, man,” Adonis recalled. “He’s cutting promos on me. He was trying to get that [match] switched to me, essentially so he could rough me up, probably chop the s**t out of me and all of that.”
Adonis admits he found the early period in WWE to be “really difficult” to adjust to, adding that he second-guessed his place in the business.
“I was just really worried, like, ‘Oh man, will I be able to withstand this?’ It was just really a mindf**k,” Adonis said. “But on the drive home I realized, ‘This is what you wanted to do, this is your dream. This is what you’ve wanted to do your whole life, so you don’t have any other option, you gotta push forward and you gotta learn from this.'”
Adonis says he then started to pay more attention to backstage etiquette, to make sure he stayed on everyone’s good side.
“You eventually learn all these lessons as you go. You learn to make sure you shake people’s hands,” Adonis explained. “And if you don’t, you take a mental note and whenever you’re within the region of them or lock eyes with them, you make sure you get that in. It’s just a way of showing respect, but there’s a lot of little things like that I did when I was breaking in that got me a little heat!”
Adonis has now been wrestling for almost 20 years, and says pro wrestling remains his passion. He is currently working for the NWA, and just won back the National Heavyweight Title on last night’s NWA SuperPower episode. Adonis revealed how he’s considering a future as a behind-the-scenes producer.
“Since I was 19 years old, I’ve been in this line of work and it’s still my ultimate passion,” Adonis said. “So what still drives me is being able to make a good living at it, and contribute to it. I’ve really thought about the idea of potentially being producer. I like the creative process of putting together matches.
“Some people might kinda scoff at the idea of me doing that, but I think in my later years I started understanding the storytelling aspect and how to put a match together. So that’s something that potentially would excite me. I definitely wanna just be somewhere where my work can be seen. NWA is a great platform, it’s a growing brand.”