by FKO! Cub Reporter Nolan Syers
Last Thursday, I had a monumental opportunity. I was going to interview the current World Wrestling Entertainment Champion; Triple H.
My friend, Kyle and I drove from Trenton, NJ, all the way to Stamford, CT. The drive was about two and a half hours, but it was well worth it.
When I arrived at the WWE Headquarters around 9:30, I was greeted in the lobby by a man named Al Stavola. Al is the Publicity Coordinator at the WWE.
I was a little bit intimidated by the size of the building and its history, but Al welcomed me with open arms. I sat in the lobby, waiting for Al, and he entered through the elevator door.
“Hi, you must be Nolan” Al said in the friendliest voice. He made me feel a whole lot better. By him greeting me like that and by him being as nice as he possibly could, all the butterflies in my stomach went away. We entered the elevator on the ground floor and he asked me if I wanted to start the tour from the top or the bottom.
“From the bottom up, please” I exclaimed.
We entered the 1st floor, which had a piece of one of the WWE’s stage support beams. It also had a vintage jean jacket on display that Triple H wore in 2002. We continued the tour walking through one of the hallways, which had (Former WWE Superstar) Andre the Giant’s wrestling boots on display.
About five more feet down the hall the whole wall was covered in WWE Superstar photos. While walking through the halls, I managed to see a WWE legend, “Freebird” Michael P.S Hayes! I was too shocked to say anything. All I could muster up was “Hello”.
Hayes replied with “Hi buddy, I’m Michael Hayes, how ya’ doin’?” His voice went right through me.
So, we continue the tour, and Al shows me where they make the WWE Magazines. The room was very quiet and only had about three people in it. Next, he showed me where the superstars do some photo shoots. Then, he took me to the cafeteria, where we had breakfast.
Continuing the tour, we entered the weight room. The room could’ve had at least maybe 100 treadmills in it. The superstars some time work out there, but it’s mainly for the staff. We continued to walk around and talk about the interview.
After an hour and a half, Al told me and Kyle to get in our car and follow him to the WWE TV Studio. The drive to the studio was about five minutes away. The cool thing about the studio is that it is so secluded from everything. If you were driving on the road of the TV studios, you would never find on how seclude it is.
The security gate (where you enter) is covered in trees. When you finally get through the gate your surroundings are just trees and trees. Finally, there is this building there and it doesn’t even say WWE on it. The reason for this seclusion is because; the WWE has over a million dollars worth of equipment in there. So, we enter the studios and the front desk and around it is all dark. We go past and we enter a sound proof TV production room with all cameras and computers.
Actually, its two rooms, but its separated by a sound proof glass wall. The one side had all the equipment, couches and a giant screen, so they could preview the editing. The other side had a stool, cameras, a blank screen in the background, and Triple H!
I couldn’t interview him just yet because he was doing a satellite tour with a news channels across the country trying to promote their show. I sat in the other room, on the couch, and watched him tell the news stations (via satellite) that their show is switching channels. He did that for an hour, and he had a break and I went in and greeted him.
“I don’t want to bother you, I know you’re busy right now” I told him. “You’re not bothering me….Hey is this the kid you wanted me to slap around, ha ha ha”.
I’m glad Triple H had a good sense of humor. Well, he had to go back on, and I went back in the other room to watch. After about 15 minutes, he came in to the other room, (where I was) and we started the interview. I first asked him how the WWE’s tour in Iraq went.
“We didn’t leave yet. I think we leave around mid November. I don’t know if I’m going. I think you know if you’re going, two weeks before the tour.”
Then I asked him that when he was there, how you changed their holidays. “Well, when I was there, we were at the base where a lot of the incidents happen. The soldiers told us, what are you doing, you could get killed; go back to the safe area. See, the WWE are not like other people who go to Iraq. Other people just go there, do their show, or whatever there doing, and leave.
We go there and interact with all the troops and make sure that they’re having a good time. I remember, I think it was two years ago, a couple soldiers told me that their two best friends were just killed in a bombing the other day and that with us here, they could get through this. It was an honor being there and having someone says that to us.”
Next, I asked him after winning all the championships that he won, what would he want to accomplish before he hangs up his boots. “Well I think I’m going after the Women’s Championship. They’re making my bikini now. No, really, I just love going out there and giving there fans there moneys worth. You don’t pay to see you neighbor, do you? My next accomplishment is selling out are next arena, or walking down the ramp and slap some kid’s hand, and you know that you’ve just changed his life, you know?”
We went off topic and we were talking about the satellite tour and other things. Triple H then had to go back and finish the satellite tour.
He told me he would finish the interview when he was done (which was another half hour). I didn’t mind, I loved seeing my idol in action like that. After about 30 minutes, he came back in and we finished up the interview. I asked him after being trained by the late great Killer Kowalski, is there anything that he taught you, that you still use today.
“Well he always told me to be larger than life, and that’s what I tried to be, larger than life. You can’t sit on your but and wait for someone to call you and ask; hey would you like to be the next Hulk Hogan? No matter how good you are, it doesn’t work that way, you have to get up and go make a name for yourself in this business, because if you don’t, be prepared to look for a new job. Even though you are at the top of your game, always have a back up plan in life.”
Next I asked him what his parents were like and how did they take wrestling. “When I was about 18 I told my mom, I said, mom I want to become a wrestler. And she looked at me like I was a complete idiot, but she said, hey, if that’s what you want to do, do it, always follow your dreams.
Now, she loves it, but back then my parents weren’t really glad that I wanted to become a professional wrestler, but they were always supportive.”
I asked him if it was hard to juggle your family life with your wrestling life. “I don’t juggle, I save that for circus performers, no really, yeah it’s hard. You’re on the road almost 300 days of the year. And when you’re off, sometimes, you still have to work. It’s hard when your little daughter is crying when you have to leave, but I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.”
My final question was, I asked him if he had advice for any up and coming superstars. “My advice for kids who want to be superstars is, get an education. Graduate from high school, go to collage, get a degree, if you still want to be a wrestler, go ahead. It’s not a race, it’s a marathon.
Yeah, get an education first, and always have a back up plan, because some things just don’t turn up the way you planned.”
The interview was great and rewarding; I learned a lot of things. He also, gave me a gift bag, which had DVD’s, hats, posters, magazines, and other cool things. If I had the chance to interview a WWE superstar or Triple H again, I would do it in a heartbeat.
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