Former WWE star Robbie McAllister, real name Derek Graham-Couch, sat down with JOFO In The RING, where he reflected on the situation in 2008 when TNA showed him on TV in the crowd and got him in trouble with WWE.
You know, I was at Universal [Studios] that day [of the TNA show] and technically, I never really thought about it but I went and said hi to some friends and then they’re like, ‘Oh, you wanna come in and –’ technically, I believe at that time — I can’t really think of how I felt now but I was in a real bad spot and I knew that I did not want to be in WWE at all anymore. We got into a situation — I’m sorry, but getting pinned by a midget [Hornswoggle] just — where do you go from there? Seriously. You have no stock when you’re getting pinned by a midget. So I guess it was just my basically big ‘ole F you and a lot of people got pissed off and I’m not… you know, we all do dumb things and I was drinking back then. I wasn’t drunk then but we do dumb things. It was probably the dumbest thing I’ve ever done. But, in a way, I think it was a bit of a F you because you know, I was starting to look stupid and I was tired of looking dumb.
No, no [nobody from TNA asked me if I was okay with being shown on TV]. Jeff Jarrett just put me on there and they pulled up what name they could find on the internet and who I was and I’ve talked to Jeff Jarrett about it and at that time, like I said, I was in a really sh*tty spot mentally, not wanting to be there and you know, it still took six months to get fired from there so I had to stick around, I had to hang out for another six months and do the job every week on dark matches.
But technically, I should have never been there because I was stupid. We can look at it any way we want but the real blame is me, because I was in a bad spot and I didn’t wanna be in WWE… and you’re gonna have repercussions when you do something that… at that time, it’s almost like it was immature but at the same time, I was lashing out. I’m not the type of person that’s confrontational. I don’t like to get in fights with people but when your back’s to the wall and you’re treated like a piece of sh*t — I’m kind of getting a little emotional here — but, I’ve been in other relationships where you’re a nice guy and nice guys finish last and people start to take advantage of you and when you get your back to the wall, you lash out and do anything you can to say F you, this is over, we’re done. I’m done being your b*tch, technically [laughs].
John Laurinaitis had called me within a minute after I walked out of that building and said — I got a phone call and it was a secretary saying, ‘Hold for John Laurinaitis. You got a call from John Laurinaitis.’ He’s like, ‘What’s one of my talent doing at TNA!?’ And then I went back to the… and because I’m man enough to be able to face my own bullsh*t, I walked right back into the WrestleMania hotel and I faced it like a man from everybody that wanted to give me sh*t. Undertaker tore a strip off me, Fit Finlay tore a strip off me and at that time, I didn’t really care, because what happened at WWE was not what I thought was gonna happen. I thought it was gonna be — and when you look at it, you create your own destiny, you guide your own ship. I obviously didn’t guide my own ship the right way. But when you do your work and you’re man enough to look at it all, it wasn’t WWE that did me wrong, I did WWE wrong — I didn’t do them wrong, I did myself wrong because I didn’t do anything to keep myself there, didn’t do anything to secure my ship. You have to be in the pocket, telling ideas constantly. I never had that in mind. I have a wrestling ability, I’m a good wrestler. But I’ve never really been the storyteller; want to get into the storyline sh*t if you know what I mean.
Derek was released from his WWE contract in August of 2008.
I did try to get back in [WWE] myself but I think I got myself enough heat from what I did that they were never gonna look at me for a long, long time but I got myself backstage a lot after and then John Laurinaitis had to tell me one time in Buffalo, he said, ‘Don’t come back.’ He says, ‘You’re sneaking into the building. Don’t come back.’ I tried so many times, you know? And I was in Louisville, Florida, all over the place and I just — I guess I created enough heat from that incident that — but then again, I wasn’t in anyone’s pocket either so… [laughs]
On the demise of the Highlanders:
The demise of The Highlanders at WWE was not Robbie going to TNA. The demise of WWE was that we didn’t have that game in our back pocket. We didn’t have that political game where, you know, Stephanie [McMahon] and Vince liked us but, what did we do to keep it? You know what I mean?… It’s a politic game because people are always stabbing you in the back and it’s always — and it’s even the same thing with the producers, you know? Everybody’s conniving against everybody back there because you wanna keep your spot. That’s just how it is. Didn’t know how to play the game that well at that time.
On the creation of the gimmick:
But we did do a lot of tryouts [with WWE]. It was almost like we were going every other week and you know, pulling in the 500 bucks every two weeks for being there Monday and Tuesday and you know, finally, it would have been about a year and we finally asked can we get jobs and they basically — well John Laurinaitis basically, he basically crushed us and said we’d never have jobs there [Robbie laughed]. Yeah, pretty much [Laurinaitis was that blunt about it]. He says, ‘I can take any of the guys in OVW and put them in kilts and call them The Highlanders.’ He goes, ‘What makes you different?’ And that’s when The Highlanders evolved, just out of that conversation. ‘What makes you different?’ And that’s where — you know, we were just — I had short hair, I looked like every other guy on the indies with a decent physique, with the gas at about 240 and Rory looked huge, he was about 260 and you know, no big beards or nothing fancy to make us stand out in a crowd, you know? And when they told us we wouldn’t get jobs, we actually drove about two or three hours on the highway before I realized that we were going the wrong way. All of a sudden, we were almost in Providence, Rhode Island and then I realized that, oh, we gotta go back the other way to get to Canada because we were just so… I don’t know. We were almost floored because it felt like they liked us. We were getting dark matches on this and that and then to be totally blindsided like, ‘Yeah, we’re not gonna hire guys like you’ is just — so, then we evolved. We became hairy, disgusting looking highlanders from the 13th century.
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