Cody Deaner remembers very vividly doing extra work for WWE back in 2004.
The IMPACT star discussed this topic during a recent interview with Fightful, where he reveals that former WWE Chairman Vince McMahon personally thanked him after the work he did, but it never led to a WWE contract, a moment Deaner believes was one of his first disappointments in the industry. Highlights from the interview can be found below.
Recalls working as an extra for WWE and Vince McMahon personally thanking him:
That was my very first break in wrestling. I had been wrestling for four year and my very first opportunity wrestling on television, I had done a dark match that night before with a character that had a short shelf life in Muhammad Hassan. That went so well they decided, ‘That kid needs to be with Kurt Angle tomorrow.’ So I got to be on SmackDown with Kurt Angle and that also went very well. So well that when I came back through the curtain and started to walk towards the locker room, I hear, ‘Cody!’ I turn around and Vince McMahon was sitting at a table in Gorilla, behind a monitor, and he stands up out of his seat and comes around the table and starts walking towards me. So this man that created every hero of mine since I was a child, just said my name and is now walking towards me. My first thought was, ‘Oh, my God. What did I do wrong?’ Instead of him coming up and telling me something I did wrong, he took his hand, he extended it to me and said, ‘Thank you for tonight. You did an amazing job,’ and shook my hand. I was like, ‘Wow.’ You don’t get any better than that in terms of professionally. That was a very high point for me. So that high point also led to one of my first disappointments in wrestling. I go home and I have all these people calling me, people that worked in the WWE, telling me, ‘Man, you did
such a good job. Happy that you’re gonna be getting signed and have a contract and you’re gonna be here.’ I’m like, ‘Well, that’s news to me.’ I did not know I was going to be getting a contract and then that phone call that I thought I was going to get with that contract never came.
How he never got the call from WWE after that:
So it was [the] first of many disappointments in terms of timing and being willing to push through those hardships and persevere and have persistence when needed, it was my first real big disappointment after reaching such a high. I know a lot of guys that after a moment like that, they quit. They go, ‘I thought that was it’ and it wasn’t, and then they’re gone. I knew then, ‘No, I’m not done. I belong here in this business at that level. I know I can perform at that level. I’m going to keep moving forward,’ and that’s exactly what I did. Over two decades later, I’m still here. I’m finally passed the torch, I’m leading a group and I’m super stoked about it.