Chris Masters On Bobby Lashley Using The Hurt Lock, Returning At The Royal Rumble, NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship

Chris Masters (@ChrisAdonis) is a professional wrestler known for his time in WWE and also in IMPACT Wrestling and NWA where he performs under the name Chris Adonis. He sits down with Chris Van Vliet in Hollywood, CA to talk about getting signed to WWE when he was 22 years old, his impressive bodybuilding physique, the people he looked up to as a kid including Mr. Perfect, Ultimate Warrior, Bret Hart and Ric Flair, the changes he has made both personally and professionally over the last 2 years, his pitch to make a return at the Royal Rumble, his thoughts on Bobby Lashley using the Hurt Lock and much more!

The origin of the Chris Masters name:

“Actually, you know what I just found this out recently. I just walked into OVW one day and they just told me my name was Masters, but I never really investigated like who came up with Chris Masters. It was just like, given to me as a you are this. It’s like, okay. And then I you know, as Dr. Tom, now works with us, Dr. Tom Prichard in NWA and he actually told me the story about how we came up with Masters and it actually came from a another wrestler. Forgive me, Dr. Tom, I can’t remember all the details. But he told me this story about how we came up with it. I was like, Wow, I’m finding this out 20 years later, this is amazing. Honestly, that’s how it happened. I walked into OVW, nobody told me who came up with it. I don’t even remember. I guess it might have been Dr. Tom who told me initially, but they just told me you’re Chris Masters now. That’s how it works.”

On possibly returning to WWE:

“So, you know, all of this stuff has happened. And like I’ve never even thought about going back to WWE, honestly, because, and it’s not out of anything bitter. It’s just, you know, I had a couple of runs there and it ended the way it did. And, you know, I just realised that my love is for professional wrestling even if it’s not with WWE. But you know, with everything that I’ve learned in the last couple of years and then also seen Shelton, Carlito, MVP all my buddies you know, I finally started you know, looking at it and it was more out of this what you just mentioned. It was more not out of Chris Masters coming back, it was more out of because I remember getting in touch with that young wrestling fan. I remember what is it that we’re always looking for? We’re looking for that oh sh*t moment you know, I mean, like that Ultimate Warrior comeback at WrestleMania 8. It’s not to say anything I could do can measure to that but the Bobby Lashley scenario is fascinating because I haven’t been there for so long though.”

On Bobby Lashley using The Hurt Lock:

“People ask me this all the time. I mean, like, the thing is, if you were to look at the situation, and you see that Bobby Lashley was the one to break it. It only makes sense for him with me not being there, to kind of be the guy to adopt it. But it doesn’t change the fact that the Master Lock is the OG and I know a lot of people are gonna bring up Hercules and Ken Patera. But we’re talking about in the modern era, ladies and gents. So I mean, I think Hurt Lock Master Lock would still be kind of interesting. But like, you know, it only makes sense. For Bobby. I’ve never come out on like, some dirt sheets and buried Bobby and like, here’s the thing. Think about this. I mean, from my standpoint, would you rather have Bobby Lashley adopt it or some guy maybe that they push for a month who doesn’t even amount? I don’t know, you know what I mean? Like, it’s just one of those things where. You’ve seen certain wrestlers throughout history will after they’ve worked, somebody will kind of adopt some, like you’ve seen HBK do that a number of times. You know what I mean? Like after he worked Benoit, I think he used the crossface. I know that’s taboo to even bring up but like, you know, like, and then him [Lashley] being the guy to break the Master Lock, again, it’s just and like he’s such a physical specimen. Like so with all that being said, you can’t really argue like, Okay, if somebody’s using the Full Nelson and he broke it. He looks the way he does. Yeah, he’s, like a mutant.”

On the connections Between Chris Masters and Bobby Lashley:

“Oh, there’s a lot of connections there. I’m kind of like a ghost from his past at this point. But like I just feel like you know in the right scenario you know, you have Lashley dominating with the hurt lock and then you were to hear that OG Chris Masters theme. I feel like and again this more is because everybody you know, I feel like since I’ve kind of started within last year, and this year to petition for the rumble, again, it’s not as I don’t feel like I’m ever coming back to WWE full time. For me, it would just be it would be great to come back to the rumble to, you know, sort of make amends with certain people within the company, but also to show like you were saying before show the WWE Universe the polished performer that I become and like, yeah, I wasn’t able to do it there, unfortunately. But I did get there. And so for me, that would be, that would feel good. And like again, and but the biggest thing being about that oh sh*t moment of having that moment of me coming down the aisle and having like, some guy sitting next to his buddy slap on the chest, like, Oh, my God, Hurt Lock vs. Master Lock like, it’s gonna happen. Yeah, that’s what it’s about. So like, it’s really not out of a place of selfishness and we’re like, let’s, let’s have Chris Masters come back full time. But like, for all those reasons, it would be awesome.”

On being a body guy:

“Oh, yeah, totally. I didn’t even see that coming. Honestly, I just knew that when I first started in UPW, I started the same day as John Cena, and this other guy, Basil. And I had already started working out, you know what I mean? But I wasn’t [ready], and I had made progress, but I wasn’t like, ready ready yet. And like, when I got there, I saw the way those guys were built. And also, just like all the wrestlers, we grew up on it, it wasn’t any big secret, like, Oh, I got to really kind of invest time in the gym and like really build, you know, build myself up. But like, like you said, I didn’t really see that coming. I didn’t think I was going to be a body guy, so to speak. But like I kind of figured that out pretty early on, like when I got to OVW ike, Oh, you’re kind of falling into this class. Like, because everybody was muscular. But it was like I was on that level, like, oh, well, you’re, you’re a straight up like body guy, you know?”

On Chris Masters’ first impressions of John Cena:

“Oh, just, you know, impressive, just physically so impressive. You know, and, you know, big personality, just like, you know, everybody knows now and, you know. I think everybody just kind of felt like he was gonna have some degree of success. But I mean, I don’t think any of us really knew that he would necessarily be like the Hulk Hogan of his generation. So um, you know, but it was funny, man, because I can still remember how us in the ring training those first couple months and just, you can only imagine how clunky it was and just, I just always had this flashback. You know, there was a guy named Andrew Bryniarski, he’s a good guy, he played Leatherface on the chainsaw movies. He was on the programme, a lot of people know he’s a big guy, but he’s training for wrestling. He went to leg drop Cena from the second rope and literally landed with his ass straight on Cena’s head. Yeah, like we almost ended the franchise before he ever became a franchise, you know, I mean, and so, you know, those were just I don’t know, those are my impressions. You know what I mean? Like, and then, you know, by the time I came back to UPW, like Cena was already on his way. So it was kind of like, you know, we were always a couple years kind of behind each other. And, you know, we were never really close though. But you know, it was always interesting. We’re just very different guys.”

On turning 40 and age being a factor:

“Yeah, absolutely, it does. And that’s why like, everything I said to you rings true. You know, talking about the urgency and all that because, you know, I do understand that at least, you know, yeah, I’ve acquired all the knowledge and information. And I’ve been, you know, I’ve seen almost everything you can see in professional wrestling. But physically, you know, there will be a decline somewhere. You know what I mean? So, um, but also then, at the same time, I look at some of the guys in this business who are having the most success of their careers. Speaking of like, Bobby Lashley, AJ Styles and Jericho. Yeah, like, I mean, honestly, when you look at professional wrestling, it’s the type of work where really, you can kind of peak in your 40s. Because, I mean, yeah, it’s competitive, but we’re competitive in a different way, right. And we do work with each other. And it’s just at that kind of end, like, honestly, it’s such an art form, that it almost takes that long to really kind of, I don’t even want to say master it. Exactly. But like it really it’s an art form that you’re continuing to develop. And that’s actually what makes it fun is like anybody who feels like they have this shit figured out in the first three years the first six years even the first 10 years no, you don’t, but that’s the beauty of it is you’re constantly learning and getting better because there’s so many little aspects to it, you know. I mean, it’s not just what you see it’s not just oh, it’s a fight between two guys, it’s an art form and the selling, the offence, the believability. You know what I mean? The showmanship now, the all of that stuff packaged together.”

On being signed to WWE at a younger age:

“Yeah, and the funny thing is, so my whole goal when I was around, you know, we’re talking about that time when I was like 16 to 18 was, I knew what I wanted to do, and I just wanted to get there as young as possible. And I did that. But like so when I feel like there’s a lot of value, though when I talk to kids now I will tell them, like, you might not like let’s say you do want to be a wrestler and you don’t see like, oh, I don’t see any use for school now because I want to do that. But like the thing is, is whether you’re going to use that history class or literature, like in school, you pick up life skills that you need to carry on into your adult life in your profession. So like, yeah, you might not specifically need certain things, but you are still acquiring tools and like. So I tell kids, I’m like, that’s great if you know you want to do like, that’s one of the greatest things ever. Because like, it’s hard if you don’t, right. But like, don’t fast track it, you know, go finish school, go through, you know, whatever you need to. I’m not necessarily saying you have to go to college. But like, in my case, I didn’t even finish high school. Once I got to about the 10th to the 11th grade, I knew 100% I wanted to wrestle, I started working a job. So and like I just didn’t prioritise school and it just got to the point where it didn’t even make sense going, you know what I mean? And, but like, I’m happy to say now, like, so I you know, I tell kids, you know, do that, because then you can always go into whatever you want to right after, there’s not a big rush, you know what I mean? But like, you know, you fast forward now. And like last time I was talking to you, you know, I was staying with my dad in Michigan during the pandemic, and I started going back to school, you know, I decided, you know what, these are life skills that I still need to pick up like, yeah, they might not apply, like, it might not translate to a job for me, but like, hey, why not learn history? Hey, why not, you know, improve literature? Hey, why not see if you can pass a math class, you know, I mean, which I was able to do all those and it was like, it was really a great confidence booster for me, because I hadn’t been in any kind of educating, you know, circumstances in what, 20 years outside of like wrestling and critiquing wrestling, and psychology and wrestling and all that kind of stuff. So, for me, it almost felt like man, do I even have the attention span to get through a math class and pass it and you know, I did. So that was amazing.”

On becoming a fan again:

“Yes, exactly. And like, what did he love about wrestling? What what did he like about his favourite performers? And like, like, you know, I essentially became a fan again, for a point in time there. But then, like, it was just more about, like, how do I translate that? Like, how do I make that seven or eight year old, a fan of Chris Masters The Masterpiece or Chris Adonis? And like, you know, I just started looking at all the different aspects of wrestling, you know, what I mean, there’s so many different aspects, whether it be your gear, your presence, you know, politics, you know, what I mean? Even just like selling like, and just, you know, just seeing how, like, what I can do, like what mattered to me, as a fan. What mattered to me, and what can make me a fan of Chris Masters. And so like I, you know, do that , it gave me a chance to kind of evolve a bit as a performer, you know, what I mean, and some things just kind of fell in my lap. But you know, it was just, and NWA obviously, came on to, which has been a tremendous place to work, and a great place for me to kind of show who I am in 2023 now.”

On the infamous HHH backstage promo:

“I was aware of it ahead of time. It’s funny, because this has come up almost in all of my interviews, but I mean, there’s a couple of ways to look at that. Like Hunter, if you’ve looked into, like, if you watch his history, I mean, he’s very much a ballbuster, even to HBK. Right, his best friend? So I mean, like, yeah, the timing of it’s more like, it’s not something that I don’t think he would have. I think it might have been more about the timing of it, than anything, just because of everything we had been through with, you know, you talked about Eddie and then Chris, and then and then, you know, we were under so much scrutiny. And then, you know, I came back, you know, from rehab, and I was, you know, about 20 pounds lighter or whatever. So, I mean, it was just, it was just more about, like, if it had happened at any other time, maybe it wouldn’t have been, you know, as big of a deal. I guess, because I think, you know, I don’t think again, I just think, you know, he’s kind of a ballbuster so it wasn’t like that’s something he would have kind of said at any point in time. I just think it was maybe at that time, it was probably a bad time to say it.”

On Tyrus winning the NWA Heavyweight Championship:

“I mean, it was controversial, and it got people talking. And it’s like, it just is what it is. But it’s also an opportunity. I mean, like for all those people on the internet, you know, complaining about it, who would have thought that you know, Chris Masters could be your beacon of light. You would have never imagined that 15 years ago, and we’re like who’s that body guys? So like, Hey, I might be your saviour. You know Matt Cardona says he’s gonna save NWA. But I say Chris Adonis.”

What is Chris Masters grateful for:

“My health, my profession and my perspective on life.”

Featured image: Wrestling Headlines

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