Former WWE star Maven is probably best remembered for his moment in the 2002 Royal Rumble match where he shocked the world and eliminated The Undertaker. Now one of the original winners of Tough Enough has discussed how he found out about his magic moment and what the legendary Phenom’s reaction to it was.
By winning the first season of Tough Enough, Maven earned himself a WWE contract. While he made a few appearances against Tough Enough trainer Taz and had a match against Booker T on television, the rookie had spent most of his time in the developmental territory of the Heartland Wrestling Association.
Speaking to Chris Van Vliet on his Insight podcast, the former Hardcore Champion discussed the night his career changed forever at the 2002 Royal Rumble.
“If you ask anyone to mention anything from the 2002 Royal Rumble, what are they going to say? I honestly have no clue who won that match. So at the time, I was finally training and I was in HWA in Cincinnati. They flew me to Atlanta and they said ‘You’re probably going to have a spot in the Rumble.’ I’m like OK maybe I will get to come out. But I had wrestled Taz a couple of times and I had also wrestled Booker T on SmackDown. I had a little bit more TV experience by this time. I get to the arena and I am walking to the ring.”
“Shane [McMahon] and Taker come up and see me. They say ‘Mave, we want to tell you what we’ve got going on tonight.’ Already, Shane, why does he care? And why is Taker here? I thought it would be one of the agents coming up to me telling me ‘Hey you are coming in 17th and going out 18th.’ Then they tell me. They are like ‘Taker is going to sh*t can everyone out. The Hardys, Lita, then you are going to come out. It’s going to be you and him. You’re going to hit him with that dropkick and eliminate him.’ I’m like ‘What?’ Taker, no lie, turns, looks down at Shane, and says ‘Are you f*cking kidding me?'”
Maven continued, telling Van Vliet that The Undertaker was just having him on:
“I didn’t know. I thought he was being told this information at the time too. I’m like Jesus I’m dead. Please just die right now. Then he just turns and winks at me. That just shows what a professional he was. He was willing to put me over and to do that favour. It wasn’t just for me, it was for the wrestling business. I will spend the rest of my life answering questions about that for the rest of my life. He gave me a career.”