WWE Artist Rob Schamberger, who produces weekly videos for WWE’s Canvas 2 Canvas web series and has painted live for WWE at WrestleMania and SummerSlam, recently participated in an exclusive interview with PWMania.com. Schamberger talks about making jackets for the Ultimate Warrior, WWE WrestleMania 32, NXT and more. Here are some highlights from the interview.
Making jackets for Ultimate Warrior: It was really surreal. A couple of months before the show his agent reached out to me to see if I’d be interested in painting the jacket he would wear and of course I was like ‘Yeah, of course!’ Then time goes by and it was like ‘Plans change or whatever.’ Weeks before WrestleMania, meanwhile I’m doing all this preparation for painting there as well, and I get another email from the agent asking ‘Hey, sorry time got away. Would you still have interest in doing this? Would you be able to do this?’ In my mind I’m like yes and no. Yes, I’d love to do this; no, I do not have time. It’s not an opportunity to pass up on. So I respond ‘Yes, absolutely, no problem.’ Then there’s going to be two jackets. Meanwhile I’m ‘Oh no.’ ‘And Warrior will call you later today or tomorrow.’ Meanwhile in the back of my head I’m thinking this has got to be some kind of elaborate practical joke that someone is pulling on me. Someone has hacked Ultimate Warrior’s email address and they’re pulling a big rib on me [laughs] But a few hours later, Warrior calls me and it was a really cool conversation. He was an artist himself, so we were mostly talking about technique and he spoke about how he watches my videos every week and daydreams about being in the studio with me and learning how to paint with me and I’m just picturing him as WrestleMania VI Ultimate Warrior, shaking everything. [laughs] We talked quite a bit and he threw out all these ideas he wanted for jackets and the plan was, because he had just signed a long-term deal with WWE, for every appearance he would have a different jacket and he wanted me to be the guy doing that. And so, originally I did two – one for WrestleMania itself and the other for Raw. The plan originally was for him to come out wearing the jacket at Mania, and so I get down there and I have to keep these jackets secret. One fan saw me bring them into the hotel and I’m like ‘Oh god. I’m sure he’s calling Dave Meltzer right now to tell him about it’ but I made it through. Unfortunately I didn’t actually get to meet him, I spoke with him on the phone and dealt with his agent quite a bit, and they’d rented a house for him in New Orleans – they called it The Warrior Compound, which was great – but I was so busy, he was so busy, our schedules just didn’t mesh up. So a WWE staffer took his jackets over to him and I got a message right away that he loved them.
NXT being involved in WrestleMania: Absolutely. I’m a fan of NXT. Something else that’s cool to think about is that at least one person there, there’s a good likelihood that five years from now that they’ll be main eventing WrestleMania. I’ve become friendly with a lot of the people down there, when I’ve been backstage at Raw and SmackDown and they’re on tour with them. Everybody’s just been so cool. There’s a real cool vibe with what they’re doing there. As far as the actual WrestleMania show, I guess the important thing is that it’s the right introduction for them. It’s not just some Battle Royal; letting them show what they can do. But also, they get to perform at all the Axxess sessions which is great for the fans. A lot of them aren’t too far removed from their time in the indies so they really know how to put on a show for a small crowd, at Axxess it’s something special.
Who leaves WrestleMania as WWE Champion: Oh boy that’s tough! That’s one my wife and I talk about quite a bit. Luckily I married a woman who shares my passion for wrestling, so it makes life a lot easier, she puts up with all the different wrestling that I watch all the time. Even though I’m involved with the company I try to stay far away from spoiling myself on anything creative. If I’m talking to guys behind it about the show that night I’m like, ‘Don’t tell me!’ I just want to enjoy it. So I’ve really no insider information for everyone to know. But all those people involved are worthy to be champion and it will be fun to see how it plays out. Cop out answer but that’s the one I have. [laughs] It’s a fun time to be a fan I think.
Schamberger also speaks more on Ultimate Warrior, which Superstars he would like to make gear for and more. You can read the interview in its entirety at this link.