Thursday, September 1, 2011
Exclusive Interview: Eric Watts Talks Tough Enough, Andy Leavine, Where he is Now and More!
The other day, I was able to talk to, Eric Watts about his experiences on, Tough Enough, as well as his humble beginnings and what he's been up to since this season of, Tough Enough had come to an end. Watts certainly has shown signs of promise and I hope you enjoy this interview!
Rallo: First off, I'd like to thank you for taking time to do this interview. My first question is, when did you decide Pro Wrestling was what you wanted to do for a living? Where there any wrestlers you grew up watching that inspired you? Who? Also, in terms of pursuing your dream, did you have many doubters or many supporters? If so, who?
Watts: I have always been a fan, but I really wanted to make a go at it when I started to grow big and tall. I was (and still am) a huge Undertaker fan. Seeing a guy at that size moving the way he does is really inspiring, not to mention the awesome character and mystique that he has. There are people out there who thought that wrestling was a phase for me. Imagine their surprise when they saw me on a Monday night WWE program. My family has always been pretty supportive of me.
Rallo: Prior to your worldwide exposure on, WWE Tough Enough, can you tell us of your previous experience in the craft of Pro Wrestling? Who had trained you and mentored you? When did your quest of becoming a wrestler begin? Any previous experiences you'd like to discuss?
Watts: I was initially trained in Lucha Libre here in Southern California back in 2007. I later bounced around a bunch of schools, and learned a bunch of things...But if I had to give credit to one school, I'd say Knokx Pro Wrestling, which (at the time) was lead by Orlando Jordan, Black Pearl, Gangrel and Rikishi.
Rallo: Now, moving on to WWE Tough Enough, you were selected with 13 other young men and women to earn a WWE contract. Before I get into more detailed questions, could you explain your overall experience at Tough Enough? What did you think of the training? How did you feel you benefited from working with the likes of Steve Austin, Bill DeMott, Booker, and Trish? What was your favorite and least favorite experience while there?
Watts: The Tough Enough experience was absolutely incredible. The trainings were intense (as you saw), yet very informative. I learned more in my time there, than I have in all of my years. I mean, I got to work with Hall of Famers, and future Hall of Famers, along with current top stars. I got the best education possible from the best to ever do it. My least favorite part? Not being as conditioned as I am now.
Rallo: Speaking of your opponents in the competition, could you tell us of some of the people you met? Who in your competition did you feel possibly didn't belong in the competition? Did you think anyone was too advanced as a wrestler/entertainer to be on Tough Enough? In general, what did you think of your opponents in the competition and who did you feel deserve/not deserve to be given such an opportunity and why?
Watts: It's not my place to say who should have, or who shouldn't have been there.
Rallo: The competition itself featured many different, skill challenges and life lessons. What did you think of them in general? What different challenges and lessons did you view as your favorite? What was your least favorite and why? Also, did you feel some of them were too "gimmicky" or not too relevant to the competition? What were your general thoughts on this?
Watts: I think the life lessons were good because they showed everyone's personalities. My favorite was from the first episode, where we got to pick up trash and be grunts. The reason I choose that one, is because I got to be backstage and was able to see how everything looks and works. Many of the other contestants had done extra work before. Not me. I was in awe.
Rallo: Throughout the competition, you were called a "disappointment" from some of the trainers on the show. After viewing Tough Enough and seeing Austin discuss yourself with his trainers on a weekly basis, what did you think from their opinion of you? Did you feel you were a disappointment in terms of expectations? You clearly showed bits and pieces of pure intensity, but some performances fell flat. How do you personally evaluate your outing on Tough Enough? What do you think was necessary to advance further and even possibly win?
Watts: Steve and the trainers know a lot more about WWE than you or I do! So, what ever they had to say wasn't far from the truth. If I had come in better shape, I would've won. FOR SURE. Think about it: I made if half way in horrible shape. I think that says a lot. My conditioning, and overall physical appearance is worlds better than it was on the show. I still have a ways to go, but I'm getting there.
Rallo: Moving onward to the finale of, Tough Enough, what did you think of winner, Andy Leavine? Spending many weeks with the man, what are your personal thoughts to Andy's work and his personality? Did you feel he deserved the win or would have you preferred to see Luke Robinson win in the finals? What are your thoughts on the final judgment by Steve Austin and the trainers? Accurate?
Watts: Andy kept to himself a lot. He liked to do his own thing, so I let him. I was surprised to hear his name announced as the winner, honestly. I thought Luke was the more polished of the two. BUT, If Steve thought Andy was better, then I wont argue,
Rallo: Moving away from the competition, can you tell us what you have been up to since Tough Enough ended? Have you had any contact from any other wrestling organizations or even any word from, WWE? Also, since, Tough Enough, what have you done to improve yourself overall as a Pro Wrestler/Sports Entertainer to one day possibly end up in the WWE or another organization? Has a place such a TNA been in any contact with you? What has life been like outside of the Tough Enough competition?
Watts: I just recently started doing Indys again, and it's been awesome. I get mixed reactions most of the time, some love me and some hate me, what can ya do? I keep in contact with Bill and Steve. I go to them whenever I have a question about anything, they've been great. I have always wanted to wrestle overseas, ESPECIALLY Japan. Hopefully I will soon. Since TE ended, I've been going to the gym 5 days a week, sometimes with 2 a days. People are telling me that they see a big difference, so I guess it's working.
Rallo: A more general question, if you continue to improve and pursue a wrestling career, what do you think you bring to the table for a place such as WWE or TNA? What are your opinions on the business today and what do you feel you could contribute to an organization? Where do you feel you best thrive (mic, ring, personality, etc) that sets you apart from others and makes you a commodity to any company you belong too?
Watts: I feel like I have a unique look and presence, that could be developed into something worth taking stock in. I can do it all, baby!
Rallo: Wrapping up, do you have any last words or stories you would like to share with your fans who want to see you on their television sets in the near future? What is next right now for, Eric Watts? Working on anything or appearing anywhere where your fans can see you? Last words or final thoughts to your fans?
Watts: I just want to say thanks for supporting me, and I will be back! Follow me on twitter @DarthWatts Add me on Facebook.com/bigwatts