“Vince McMahon was still holding on to a lot of the same ideals in the 1980s and into the 1990s, trying to do the same things. Whether it worked or not, I knew that’s what he was looking for, and I knew he was always looking for someone to get over with the people, especially the working-class man. A ‘blue-collar’ gimmick was perfect and that’s why I came up with it in Florida when I was working the independent scene. I wrestled as ‘The Garbage Man’ Rocco Gibraltar.”
On owning the IP for his gimmick due to a provision he wrote into his contract:
“Interestingly, when I came in it was Shane McMahon who produced my vignettes because he was running through the different facets of the office. He was doing all of the different jobs in the company like he was maybe being groomed to take over the company someday, he was probably in his early twenties at that time. I sat down with him and they were throwing around a few names, Duke ‘The Dumpster’ was the first one he said. That’s the one they were going to use and ‘Droese’ is my real last name. It was the same gimmick but he a tan overshirt on it and covered up the name tag which still said ‘Rocco’ on it. That’s the only change they made physically to the character. I had it written into my contract that I own the intellectual property to that garbage man gimmick and the way it looked, that was all mine before I got there.”
On how not speaking up for himself may have affected his mindset:
“I was getting over just fine in Florida the way I was doing my gimmick. I’ll give an example—the first time I did interviews, we were doing them for an upcoming [live tour] and in Florida, I always yelled. I was a fan of the Road Warriors and there was never a time when they didn’t yell and scream, so I would yell in my promos. I don’t remember who the agent was but he said ‘no, no, you don’t need to yell. We don’t yell in interviews here, because if you yell all of the time it doesn’t mean anything.’ It was just this backward, old-school psychology.”
“I should have just done things the way that I did, but little by little, they would keep picking it apart and taking away pieces. I think that affected me. I made the mistake of trying to please everybody and it ended up tearing apart a lot of what I had done, what I created back in Florida. It made it so it was not fun to be there later on. It was interesting the way that they do try to take control over you and a lot of people made the mistake that I made in trying to please them. When you should be trying to get over. Vince doesn’t care if you’re trying to make Chief Jay Strongbow happy or making George ‘The Animal’ Steele happy, if you’re getting over Vince McMahon is happy and that’s all that matters. That’s the way I should have approached it from the beginning.”
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