The former Intercontinental Champion – who now wrestles as Chris Adonis in the NWA – has reflected on his introduction to the business as he tried to get used to a new environment in his early 20s, and it seems a row with Holly made things a bit more difficult.
He exclusively told Metro.co.uk: ‘Bob Holly just had a bad impression of me from the start, and that’s a whole other story. But I ended up missing my first TV taping in Ohio Valley Wrestling, and Bob Holly happened to be there.
‘So, he knew that I’d missed it – again, that’s a whole other story, but he already had a bad impression of me. So, I go with the OVW crew to visit SmackDown so they can see the talent before the show and what not.
‘I’m making way round backstage, I greeted mostly everyone I’ve come in contact with. But I walk through the locker room and I’m just walking straight to my bag and I don’t see out of the corner of my eye, but Bob Holly’s there and he’s having a conversation with a couple of other vets.
‘I went straight to my bag, and Bob already had a bad taste in his mouth about me but he took that like I was shunning him or not showing him respect. When really, I wouldn’t say it was that at all.’
The Masterpiece admitted he can now see where the veteran was coming from, but he didn’t mean any disrespect.
‘He got really angry, man. He’s cutting promos on me,’ Adonis recalled. ‘He was trying to get that [match] switched to me, essentially so he could rough me up, probably chop the s**t out of me and all of that.’
The hulking superstar admitted he found that early period ‘really difficult’ to adjust to, and he even second guessed his place in the business.
‘I was just really worried, like, “Oh man, will I be able to withstand this?” It was just really a mindf**k,’ he said. ‘But on the drive home I realised, “This is what you wanted to do, this is your dream. This is what you’ve wanted to do your whole life, so you don’t have any other option, you gotta push forward and you gotta learn from this.” ‘
He admitted from then on, he started to pay more attention to backstage etiquette to make sure he stayed on everyone’s good side.
You eventually learn all these lessons as you go. You learn to make sure you shake people’s hands,’ he explained. ‘And if you don’t, you take a mental note and whenever you’re within the region of them or lock eyes with them, you make sure you get that in.
‘It’s just a way of showing respect, but there’s a lot of little things like that I did when I was breaking in that got me a little heat!’
Now, Adonis can be seen in NWA and he’s excited to be getting such a big platform as he looks to the next stage of his career after picking up lessons along the way.
‘Since I was 19 years old, I’ve been in this line of work and it’s still my ultimate passion. So what still drives me is being able to make a good living at it, and contribute to it,’ he said, noting his goals go beyond just being in the ring.
‘I’ve really thought about the idea of potentially being producer. I like the creative process of putting together matches. Some people might kinda scoff at the idea of me doing that, but I think in my later years I started understanding the storytelling aspect and how to put a match together.
‘So that’s something that potentially would excite me. I definitely wanna just be somewhere where my work can be seen. NWA is a great platform, it’s a growing brand.’
*Chris Adonis faces JTG for the National Championship tonight (July 6) on NWA Powerrr. Tune in at 10.05pm via Fite TV.
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