Bobby Roode

Bobby Roode Is Absolutely GLORIOUS!

Bobby Roode (@realrobertroode) is a professional wrestler and producer for WWE. He sits down with Chris Van Vliet in Tampa, FL to talk about his incredible career, growing up in Peterborough, Ontario, wanting to play professional hockey as a kid, how he started training with Val Venis, getting his first big break with TNA, joining Team Canada, seeing Petey Williams do the Canadian Destroyer for the first time, being randomly paired with James Storm to form Beer Money Inc., becoming a 2-time TNA World Champion, getting signed by WWE in 2016, how important his “Glorious” entrance theme was to his character, winning the NXT Championship, his tag team with Dolph Ziggler, how a neck injury and surgery has kept him out of the ring, his current job as a WWE producer and much more!

Quote I’m thinking about: The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset. – Carol Dweck

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On still working for WWE: 

“Yeah, I had two neck surgeries. I had my C5 and C6 fused in November, on November 30 2022. And then May 11 2023, my birthday. I had my level four and five fused. So I have a two-level fusion.”

On the injury: 

“A lot of wear and tear over the years. I can kind of relate it back to almost 10 years to the day that I got re-injured. It was just a weird circumstance. I was in a match with Rob Van Dam and just something happened. I don’t know what it was. It wasn’t his fault, wasn’t my fault. It was just something that happened and I just landed on the ground. He does that front suplex thing where he lands you on the barricade and then jumps off and does a twisting Leg Drop. And Rob and I worked together for a month at least doing live events doing this exact same thing. And just so happened to be on pay-per-view that this happened and my leg went numb for it that felt like, you know, a minute and a half, two minutes. I felt like my leg, I had no feeling in my leg. But watching it back was more like 10 seconds. But I had no feeling in my leg. And then I ended up finishing the match and that was a ladder match. Finishing the match ended up wrestling the next day and the day after. I want to say I wrestled AJ on television the next day, and had like, no issues, totally fine. And I remember waking up Friday that week. And it felt like I had a golf ball in my back. And I had noticed I went to my cupboard to pull out a coffee mug to make coffee and I grabbed the coffee mug and my wrist just went like this. I had no strength and just lost everything. And I thought it was just you know, I’ll go to the gym and roll out and workout. It’ll be fine, just a stinger. And man, I lost all kinds of strength. I lost a bunch of muscle and I had a lot of nerve damage in my neck. But at that time, I just became the world champion at TNA. I didn’t tell anybody I was hurt. And different time of course. Yeah, I worked through it and miraculously enough, you know, the injury kind of repaired itself so to speak, I guess for 10 years and was able to continue on and do what I’ve done and then just so happened to be in Amarillo, Texas in a match with Omos and just landed wrong and nobody’s fault again. Just you know, I think just the wear and tear over the years, just kind of my neck said that was it.”

On wrestling again:

“Ironically enough, I just got green-lighted. The fusion has completely fused. So as far as like, looking at it from a medical point of view, it’s safe to get back in the ring, I guess. But at almost 48 years old, given the opportunity that I’ve been given now to work as a producer, which was my goal coming to WWE almost eight years ago. I’m quite happy doing this. And I feel like I’ve had a good run, as they say, and I’m happy to do what I’m doing now.”

On wrestling in the future:

“Could I do this full-time? There’s no way I could. Look, to be honest, the injury I have three levels that are bad. The level six and seven are not good either. So when I got my injury, back in 2022, when I re injured it, I got an MRI done the next day. And like, I mean, they said that your three levels are just not good. Two levels are not great. You need to get fixed. So I went to Birmingham and saw Dr. Cordova who was amazing. And he thought we need to do a two-level. Because the thing was, is that I wasn’t living in any pain. I didn’t have pain. I could go through the day without feeling any sort of pain that the issue with me was my strength. And then because I was losing strength, I started to lose muscle in my right arm. It just scared me because the first thing I thought it was like Paul Orndorff, right. And his injury and that’s what was happening to me, I was starting to atrophy really bad in my shoulder and in my bicep. So long story short, I was set to get a two-level fusion back in November 30, of 2022. And Dr. Cordova called me the night before, and I was in the hotel room in Birmingham, getting ready to get up at 5 am the next day to get up and go to do the surgery. And he’s like, I talked to you know, a couple of the doctors and I think we can just get away with doing one level, I think you’re gonna be fine. So we went in, and we did the one level and I felt great. Not great the next day, but like after the six weeks of doing nothing, and once I started, the physical therapy and all that other stuff, I felt pretty good, like my strength was coming back. And I felt like the muscle was coming back. And then just out of the blue, I remember March the 10th. I just remember having such wild pain that I never experienced before. And I don’t know what happened. We really don’t know what happened. But I remember getting really sick and vomiting and blacking out and then kind of coming to and not being able to like raise my arm up over my head. So what happened was the level above it just went. So level four and five just kind of went for whatever reason. So in hindsight, maybe we should have gotten both done at the same time. But look, that’s life and we just move on. But I had to get this other fusion done. And that level six and seven, like I said, is still not great but I’m feeling better. And so I just don’t mentally, I don’t think I could take the risk of going back in the ring and working a full-time schedule. Just knowing that as well. I just feel like I look differently to you know what I mean? I always kind of prided myself in the way that I looked on television. And sure, no, I love being in the gym and working out. And it’s just when you physically don’t look the same, it’s just a mental thing as well.” 

On one final match: 

“I think everybody would like to have one last match, right? But sometimes you just when the wheels fall off, the wheels fall off. It’s just that’s the nature of the beast in this sport.” 

On transitioning to a producer role:

“I mean, it’s like I said, that was kind of like the game plan. When I came to WWE, I had my conversation with Triple H, before coming to NXT. And at that time, I was almost 40. So I remember him, I was on a three-way call with him and Matt Bloom and I remember him asking me, like, what do you want to do? Do you want to be a coach? And I’m like, Well, maybe one day, like, that’s my goal, but I feel like I have a lot left in the tank. And yeah, he gave me that opportunity, which I’m super grateful for and here I am today. I had a pretty good run in NXT and then had a pretty good run on the main roster. And it is what it is. Like I said, when the wheels fall off, the wheels fall off.”

On not being hired by WWE in 1999: 

“A lot of things I guess. Look, this is not a bad thing, because I appreciate them telling me I was a good hand. They just creatively never had anything for me. I was also Canadian, I needed to get a proper visa. And back then, I’m six foot and 225. Back in the Attitude Era I’m not a big dude. You know what I mean? Back then, like there was some giants. I was a good hand and I could make guys look good, I was a good enhancement guy. But I was never I don’t think considered for a full time job in WWE as a performer. I mean, we talked about a developmental contract I did a developmental I guess it was like a camp in Cincinnati. And I did quite well there Dr. Tom ran it. And, everything was pointing towards me being hired finally in 2002 I believe it was and then Cincinnati ended up closing down HWA, it was one of the developmental territories for WWE. So when I finished that camp, I went home thinking I’m gonna get signed. A week later they shut it down and fired a bunch of guys and move the guys that they kept OVW, and just again just never got hired but kept coming back and kept showing my face and doing these enhancement and dark matches for the next two years until 2004.” 

On the Canadian Destroyer: 

“Chris Sabin, I think he’s probably told the story, but it was all Chris Sabin. It was Chris Saban’s idea. And Chris was like, I think he was the first one to take it. Because basically, you’re just doing a backflip. Petey [Williams] is just hanging on for dear life. But Petey got the credit. But it was the guys that were taking that that really made it look good.”

On Beer Money:

“Dutch Mantell was pretty instrumental in that. And Jeff Jarrett too. If it wasn’t for Jeff, I don’t think I’d be here doing this still. I mean, Jeff gave me the opportunity in TNA when nobody else really would. So Jeff, I owe a lot to Jeff Jarrett. But it was Dutch that came up with the Beer Money thing. At the time I was doing my singles run and James was doing his singles run. And we were just kind of floating around, kind of midcard guys, and they had an idea to put us together and just like and throw away tag team match. And we just kind of had this spark there. I don’t know when Dutch saw it. And Dutch just, you know, once you’re in Dutch’s sights and he’s any like something he sees, he kind of runs with it and makes it his baby. So yeah, we were just we were paired together I think we had a match. Again, we weren’t Beer Money yet. And we had a match. And we did a backstage promo right after and I think it was Vince Russo that wrote it. But it was I think that end line was something to the effect of the two things that make the world go round was beer and money. Because I was like the Wall Street, James was the beer-drinking cowboy. And we just said like, the two things that make the world go round or beer and money. And then it was like a light bulb went off. And we’re off to the races.”

On the Hogan and Bischoff era of TNA: 

“It definitely changed. I don’t know, it was different for sure. And I can’t really put a finger on what exactly changed, but I could just feel it. It was great for a while it really was. I can’t really say anything bad about Eric Bischoff or Hulk Hogan. They made me their champion. And I had a really good run. And you know, but it was different for sure. It’s just like this the changing of the guard. I don’t deal with change very well, and I think it just that’s just the nature of the wrestling business, when change happens, people kind of freak out a little bit. But yeah, I don’t know what it was. I think it was okay, for a while it was good. And then I think just the kind of the wheels just kind of fell off and everybody just stopped caring. And I think there was too many cooks in the kitchen.”

On losing the six-sided ring:

“I mean, I heard rumblings of it. Like when Hogan and Bischoff came in that they were going to switch back to the more traditional style, more traditional look. And yeah, it was just one day we just walked in, and the six-sided ring was gone and the traditional four-sided ring was there. And it was just one of those things.”

On his theme song being originally planned for Shinsuke Nakamura:

“I believe so. Yeah, I believe so. I think you’re right. I remember just being, look, when I signed, I had no idea about this song. We kind of talked, we being Triple H and I, talked a little bit about what I wanted to do character wise and what I was doing at TNA. I always like wearing the robes, I always like being like a throwback guy. Not that I wanted to be Ric Flair. But I always just love that look. I wanted to bring the robe back. I was at NXT TV one day, this was before I debuted and he’s like, I want you to listen to the song. I listened to it and it was like meh, It was just it was different, right? It wasn’t like a traditional theme song. But then I was like, Wow, this might work with like the robe and like, if the presentation is right, this will work. The presentation was above and beyond what I ever imagined right? But yeah, definitely that song changed my career.”

On WrestleMania 34:

“It’s quick, I remember that. Our time got cut, I remember that. That was a little bit disappointing. I remember our time got cut. I think the girls went a little bit long. But I was really looking forward to obviously getting a chance to work [WrestleMania], and it was for the US title. So getting a chance to work with Randy, who I worked with a couple of months prior, I think I dropped the US title to Randy the month prior, a couple months prior in a singles match, which was one of my favourite matches, by the way. But yeah, getting a chance to work with all four of those guys at WrestleMania in front of 80,000 people. But the thing that I was looking forward to the most was my entrance, and it got cut. Yeah, so I mean, it is what it is. But like, Yeah, I mean I can always say I got the opportunity to work WrestleMania that was like, bucket list, for sure. I got the entrance. But it was like a quarter entrance. The entranceway was like a mile long, of course. But like, I think I got three-quarters of the way down in the next guy’s music head. So I didn’t get to do the full Glorious entrance. But you know, it’s WrestleMania.”

On transitioning to WWE producer:

“So for me, I was off for almost a year, at least a year with my surgeries. So I was kind of, during that time, after my first surgery, I was like, Okay, I’m gonna get through this, I’m gonna be back in the ring in six, nine months. And then I remember going last February, going to while I was injured. I had my surgery in November and February was, I believe it was a Raw in Ottawa. So I drove two and a half hours to the show and see everybody. And I was there. And I was like, walking around ringside and thinking to myself, Man, I don’t know if I could do this full time anymore. This is with the one fusion, and I was like, I don’t know if I could. I don’t know if I could go out there and do this every night again. And then I saw Jason Jordan and saw Bruce Prichard. Bruce came up to me, he’s like, Hey man. Obviously asked me how I was doing from a physical standpoint, and have you ever thought about working as a producer. I just kind of thought about it for a second, not at that moment with him. But I kind of walked away thinking I think I’d really like to do this or at least give it a shot anyways, and see if I’m any good at it. Because I feel like I have a pretty good mind for the business. I have some good ideas. And look, I still have a long way to go. I’m still learning the creative aspect of it. I think I could be a really good coach and help guys in the ring. The younger guys, the younger talent coming up, I really like to help them with their in-ring stuff. But I really want to get good at the creative stuff. I’m good at it, but I want to be great at it.” 

What is Bobby Roode grateful for?

“Family, health and the business.”

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