Former WWE 24/7 champion Mojo Rawley recently spoke with Maxim to discuss all things pro-wrestling. Check out highlights from the interview below.
On growing up a WWE fan:
I was born and raised in Alexandria, VA, and am a proud T.C. Williams Titan, the school from the movie Remember the Titans. My family was in the United Nations so we are from everywhere, primarily the Middle East. I grew up watching WWE; every Monday Night Raw would be on television and my brother Casey and I would be watching.
How he got a chance in WWE:
I was a free agent in the NFL coming off a bad injury and was in talks with a couple of teams when I received a unique opportunity. Gordy Gronkowski, father of the Gronkowski brothers, arranged a meeting between me and his old college roommate and current WWE producer Mike Rotunda. The rest is history.
The similarities between pro-football and pro-wrestling:
The life lessons derived from a career in football are perfectly in line with what it takes to be successful in WWE. Dedication, perseverance, the comprehension of how a team works, and humility are extremely important here. To be completely honest, initially I was concerned that the WWE brand of entertainment would inevitably not satisfy my competitive streak, but this never became an issue. You compete to win the crowd, the trust of your coaches, and the respect of the locker room.
The backstage atmosphere:
The WWE locker room is very similar to the NFL. It’s all one big family. For the most part, everyone gets along and we get to travel the globe together performing and entertaining the greatest fans in the world, so the bonds are built very strong. Make no mistake, it is extremely competitive. Whereas everyone works towards putting on the best show possible, everyone also competes to have the best or most entertaining segment on the show, whether it is a match, an in-ring promo or backstage segment. Everyone wants to be the best and works hard to do so. WWE is unlike any business. I like to think of it as the world’s largest mom-and-pop business. We are around one another far more than our own families and we travel the world together. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, but we always entertain the WWE Universe. We are a global brand full of larger than life personas. To me humility is one of the most important characteristics in this business.
What the WWE schedule is like:
The schedule is actually relatively constant. On a normal week, I fly out Friday morning for four days of shows. The daily itinerary is the same; gym, show, drive. Gym, show, drive. On Tuesday, I fly home and go straight from the airport to the WWE Performance Center for weight training and conditioning with former NFL strength coach Sean Hayes. Then I go out to the rings to observe or join one of the various training sessions. From there I go to hot yoga, film study, a deep tissue massage, and finally sushi for dinner every Tuesday night with family or friends. If the flight after Monday’s show is a red-eye, then I do all of this on zero sleep.