What kind of effect do you think (WWE developmental brand) NXT is having on the independent wrestling scene?
I certainly think it shines a light on how much great talent is out there on the scene. We used to have a tendency to look down on indy wrestlers. Now indy wrestlers are looked at and treated with a new respect. It's a conversation I just had with some of the indy guys. Having come from an indy background myself, I understood how difficult it is to work hard each night and, in "wrestle speak," get over with a different audience without the benefit of known entrance music, that Pavlovian response, and an established fan base. So I think NXT is great for indy wrestling, and knowing that when we come to Auburn, fans may very well be seeing the stars of the future of the wrestling business.
You've been very outspoken about your support for women's wrestling, which is starting to be taken more seriously, particularly in NXT. What do you think it'll take for WWE itself to turn that corner?
I think the only thing that remains is to change the established patterns of wrestling fans who, for years, saw Divas matches as a time to get up and take a break. So most people are catching on, are taking note of the marked improvement in the women's division. I think calling it the women's division, dropping the "Divas" moniker, is the next logical step in that progression.
Your daughter Noelle has developed quite a following among wrestling fans with her presence on social media. Does she have any plans to work in pro wrestling?
I would love for Noelle to be on the other side of the business, the non-wrestling side, but the truth is that if she were to come to Auburn High, she would outdraw me as far as autographs. She definitely draws a crowd. We all grew up loving wrestling, and we still do.
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