Fred Rosser, former WWE Superstar Darren Young, was interviewed this week on The Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling podcast.
Here are some highlights from the interview:
Fred Rosser’s thoughts on getting into WWE: “I remember John Laurinaitis saying, because I had been an extra with WWE about 40 times between 2002-2009, and I remember asking Johnny what I needed to do to be part of the WWE family? He said, ‘You have to show me something different. You have to show me you have a personality.’ At the time, I was shy, and I still am to this day. Now I embrace shyness. But then I was not out and not comfortable with myself. I was a good wrestler but when it came to speaking, I didn’t want to do any of that. Eventually at the tryout, as a last resort in 2009, and if I didn’t get signed in 2009, I probably would have been a firefighter. I was thinking I have to get signed. I have to. That day out of 75 guys and girls from all over the world, I got signed and that was the same day AJ Lee got signed. I’ve had great experiences with WWE and I’ve always said great things about Vince McMahon because he gave me my last opportunity with Bob Backlund when I came up with that idea to team us up. Vince McMahon loved the idea.”
Rosser was asked how he felt being on the original NXT: “When those yellow ropes would be put on, I had nightmares. I always said if I wanted to do American Ninja Warriors or if I wanted to do American Gladiator, I would have signed up for that. It was like an obstacle course. A fan watching it would be thinking, this guys’ a choke. Let’s change the channel. That messed me up mentally. That confidence was so low. Now with what NXT is today, it’s incredible. I wished I would have debuted in NXT how it is now because it’s off the hook. Again, still blessed and grateful to be on the first season of NXT.”
Rosser was asked if CM Punk was a real mentor or was that just part of the show: Rosser laughed and said, “At that time, we probably only said two words to each other. I don’t think he was happy that he was traveling more. With NXT you had to travel an extra day. Fast forward to when I came out publicly in 2013, after his match with Brock Lesnar, he was iced up in catering at the Staples Center and he came up to me in front of everyone and told me to stand up and said to give him a hug. I gave him a hug. He said if I have any problems with anybody in the locker room to let him know. He said that was a brave move I did to come out publicly and as long as you’re cool with yourself, that’s all that matters. I will always tell that story. That’s a story nobody hears about. I want to speak from the heart and that surprised me. Along with him, there were guys like Randy Orton, Big Show, Mark Henry, and I remember on 4 or 5 different occasions at the time, Big Show and I were living in Miami. Anytime we had to travel out, we would be on the same flights. When I came out, I don’t know how he did it, but he would always get me upgraded to first class. He always took care of me. Those are stories I will always remember and always cherish.”