Eric:Your theme song is on the RAW greatest hits CD despite the fact you have been on RAW for less than a year. How does it feel to have your song placed aside the songs of wrestlers like the Rock & Steve Austin so early in your career?
Mr. Kennedy: It’s a testament to the hard work that I’ve put forth all these years and I’m honored to be on the CD next to those greats. It’s weird. They say that success happens over night and I’ve been working at it for so long, for over seven years, that when stuff like this happens you have to step back for a moment and say that I’ve made it. To be on that CD is a testament to the fact that I’ve made it to some degree. I’ve still got a lot to do.
Eric: How did you wind up with Turn up the Trouble as your theme song?
Mr. Kennedy: I sat down with Vince and Stephanie (McMahon), Kevin Dunn, the executive producer, and John Laurinaitis, who is the head of talent relations, and we all had a meeting together one day. Vince said “what kind of music do you like to listen to?” At the time, coming from the independent scene, I had been using Pour Some Sugar on Me by Def Leppard. I said that I kind of want that ‘80s rock. I like that stuff and thought it was good for my character. Kevin said that “I think we’ve got something that we’ve had in the tank for awhile and we really haven’t had a place to use it”. So Jim Johnston had made this song and they played it for me. I remember listening to it and not really liking it the first time I heard it because the voice was a lot different on there. Jim Johnston’s voice kind of sounded like Sammy Hagar and I can’t stand Sammy Hagar. I’m a Van Halen fan, not a Van Hagar fan.
I remember Vince asked me what I thought about it and I said I don’t like the voice on it and asked if there was anything they could do about that. He went back and I guess that Jim came back into the studio that week and re-recorded the song and put a little twist on his voice. In the track, I’d say he kind of found an AC/DC type of voice. He came back to me, played it for me, and I said “that’s great, that works”.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have the same music the whole time I’ve been in the WWE and I don’t plan on changing it anytime soon.
Eric: Who came up with the idea for saying your name twice and having the microphone drop down to you?
Mr. Kennedy: It was a combination of years and years of different things happening and it is just kind of weird how it all came together. I used to announce basketball games when I was in high school and as kind of a rib, one of my friends suggested I say the last names twice because it would be kind of funny because old boxing announcers used to do it. So I started doing it and people were laughing at it and thought it was good, and were entertained by it. It brought another little dimension to the basketball games I was announcing.
When I got down to OVW, Paul Heyman said just on a whim one night, “Hey, tonight I’ll let you go out there and announce yourself”. And I kind of just pulled that from my archives and I said “Hey, would you mind if I said my last name twice?” He told me to go for it. I went out there and I did it. I came back to the locker room and everybody was like “that was great when you said your last name twice.”
I was just telling someone earlier that it is funny how the stupidest things in life get over. And I worked six-and-a-half years to get to the WWE, clawing, scratching, and fighting my way in. It took me to say my last name twice in order to get the job. Five weeks later, I was on TV.
Eric: When you wrestle a televised match, are you more concerned with putting on a great performance for the live crowd or the television audience?
Mr. Kennedy: Well TV is a lot different than our house shows. At our live events, we have a lot more lee-way to play with the audience a little more. [On televised shows] We know that the audience is there but I don’t cater to the audience as much when we are on live TV. We’ve got certain times that we’ve got to hit and I don’t have the time to sit and cater to the fans [in the audience].
Eric: At last year’s WrestleMania, you won the Money in the Bank match in front of over 80,000 people. How does it feel to work in front of such a large crowd?
Mr. Kennedy: It’s weird because before I went out I was very energetic, pumped up, and had those little goose bumps. I don’t get that all the time. Usually, I’m pretty calm before I go out for a match. I’ll tell you, I was real nervous, but it was a good nervous. It wasn’t a “Oh God I’m not going to be able to do this nervous” or a weak-kneed nervous, it was a kind of positive stress.
I went out there and I remember thinking to myself that it doesn’t look like 80,000. When I was in the ring, they were all kind of packed on top of each other and it didn’t look like there were that many people there. I remember afterwards, I went to the top row where all the families were sitting, and I looked and it was amazing to me to see how many people were there. When you looked down from above, it was like a sea of people. It was insane. And that’s when it really hit me that “man I can’t believe I just performed in front of all those people”.