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Steve Cutler on wanting to revive the APA with Wesley Blake, WWE having him sit at home for eight months, ideas that were nixed, Vince McMahon telling him to shave his hair and beard



Steve Maclin, aka former WWE star Steve Cutler, spoke with Tommy Dreamer on the "House of Hardcore" podcast. Maclin recently signed with Impact Wrestling after being released by WWE earlier this year.

Steve discussed the difference between the main roster and NXT:

“The [WWE] Network just launched when I got there that May. The first TakeOver happens and here I am as a young talent like, this is going to be awesome. The goal at that time when I got there, you wanted to go to RAW or SmackDown. I never understood why people still don’t want that, but I get why they wouldn’t because NXT became something bigger than what it was supposed to be. No matter what, I always had the mindset that RAW and SmackDown is where the money is, where the exposure is, and that’s where I wanted to be as a kid, not NXT. But now if you look at it, it’s like wow, NXT is not a bad place to actually be. If you’re there, you’re taken pretty good care of in a certain sense. Then you go to the land of the sharks kind of up top. Hunter knew what you were, and then once you get up top, they don’t understand what you were because they were not around you 24/7.”

Steve said he had an idea for his team in NXT to be called POS:

“Blake and I wanted to go a different route from where everybody was going. We wanted to look grungy. We wanted to look like that Sons of Anarchy Jax and Opie look because it looked different and stood out more from how everybody was looking. Everybody had matching gear. We wanted to wear tights that looked ragged. That’s just who we are. We originally pitched the idea of us being called POS, Prisoners of the System, and they said, ‘We can’t do that because it sh*ts on NXT.’ We were like, ‘Yea, but people will connect with it because they will get it.’ I think people know now too, there is so much talent in NXT that’s just sitting there waiting, and that’s the story we were trying to get out. POS, for a crowd to chant POS, it’s great but we were playing on to it with Prisoners of the System. Of course, a few months later after we pitched that name, ‘Shock the System’ came out.”

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Steve said he and Blake pitched many ideas to creative and explained how the Knight of the Lone Wolf came about:

“We were going through an eight month process of throwing ideas. They said, ‘You guys are coming back.’ This is with Bruce Prichard at the time talking. He said, ‘Yep, you’re coming back. It’s you three. We’re just waiting for time.’ No matter what, we sent ideas in because I hated just sitting around collecting a paycheck. Does that sound stupid? Yes, but all we wanted to do was work. It’s like, you’re paying us money, I want to do my job, so let me come work. We pitched tons of ideas. Blake and I wanted to be the new APA where we could have it set up where we have an APA door. During the era of the ThunderDome, they were bringing in a lot more legends in because of viewership at that time because people weren’t tuning in as much. How can we make this work in our favor because this is what we wanted to do and still continue as a tag team.

One day we got told, ‘Hey, we’re starting fresh. New names. New look. New everything, just you and Blake, no Ryker.’ They switched over to Amway. This is around the October timeframe of last year. Blake and I were like, ‘We need a face to face because I’m sick of e-mail. Let’s just go to Amway. We have our Covid tests.’ We went over to Amway and sat in front of Vince’s door. We had a packet made for creative. We wanted to sit and talk. We hung out and were just trying to get word with somebody. We did sit down with Prichard, and we did get talks, and then we got nothing after it. He just wanted to get to know who we were and get to know our personalities. I was like, ‘Listen, I like to drink. I like to shoot guns. I served my country, and I love pro wrestling. Not much else you’re going to get out of me other than just me being who I am and Blake’s the same way. He’s a rancher. He grew up on a ranch in Texas. He likes to drink and shoot guns. How can we make that work?’

We still had the beard and the hair at the time. I still kept showing up for about three weeks. I think that’s what got us that call for the Knights of the Lone Wolf because we were showing up, and showed that we want to be there. We get the call saying, ‘Of the week of SmackDown, we need you guys to come in. We have two different looks. One is this NBA suit with a hoodie look. They sent us pictures of NBA players.’ I’m like, ‘How is that going to work? The swag works like that, but for me, I have a beard and hair, and I look like a disheveled, old vet. Same with Blake.’ They were like, ‘No, this is what creative thinks will work.’ Ok, cool. Another one was another look. I don’t know if you play video games at all, but like the Hitman series, where he has a nice tight shirt and tie. He has a clean-cut kind of look and slacks. So Blake wears the hoodie and the suit. I wear the tight polo, the tight slacks, and a nice pair of shoes. We came in. We get pulled into the office and this is what we’re going to go with. Vince is there and Prichard is there. Vince said, ‘Well Bruce, what do you like?’ He said, ‘I like that one.’ Of course, he points to Blake because we liked the look that I was wearing. He said, ‘We need you guys to have matching suits.’ We said, ‘Well, we don’t have that.’ He said, ‘What do you mean, you don’t have that?’ I said, ‘We were not told to have matching suits.’ Here we are, 45 minutes before going live on TV, driving to Men’s Warehouse to buy new suits. It’s one of those stories where again in pro wrestling we would never have expected, but it’s pretty funny to literally go out and John Laurinaitis says, ‘We’ll foot the bill.’ Here we are going to get non-tailored suits to be on live TV, and it’s just WWE. We would look at each other and laugh as we’re driving. Here we are trying to rush back to the arena and I’m like, ‘We’re going to look like crap.’ Then here we are, clean-shaven and no hair because Vince said, ‘Nope, beards off.’ Ok, cool. We walked in with beards. We left and one of the first people to see us was Cesaro. He was dying laughing and said, ‘Wow, you guys get the full treatment today.’ We were like, ‘Yep.’

If you use any portion of the quotes from this article please credit The House of Hardcore Podcast with Tommy Dreamer with a h/t to for the transcription.