Nick Dinsmore, better known to WWE fans as Eugene, has discussed the origins of that character and how he came to portray it in the company.
Speaking to Chris Jericho on his Talk Is Jericho podcast, Dinsmore revealed who came up with the initial idea for a character like Eugene.
“Rip Rogers [head trainer at then WWE developmental territory, OVW] came to me [and said] ‘Nixon I got an idea’ and he spelled out the whole thing. Rip’s son has autism so he’s telling me like, he could count in Korean and do all this stuff on the computer but he couldn’t be very social when he was in school. So what about a character that can do every move spot on but then when he goes to talk to somebody [he can’t].”
Dinsmore kept the idea on ice before having the opportunity to pitch it to WWE officials, as he recalls:
“So I put it at the back of my mind and a couple of months went by. Then they sent down the agents. Arn [Anderson] or Fit [Finlay] or Dean [Malenko], I don’t remember who it was. I pitched that character to them. [They said] ‘Nah WWE ain’t gonna do that.'”
“The next month the writers came down. Pitched it to them, [they said] ‘no, no, no, we’d never do that.’ So I guess I did get frustrated at one point because then I told Doug Basham ‘I think I’m gonna quit and try to go to Japan.’ I wasn’t gonna do that, I was getting paid to stay at home and be a star in my own territory but I think Doug told maybe Dean. Dean told Johnny Ace [John Laurinaitis, head of talent relations], all of a sudden I’m sitting in a meeting with Vince [saying] ‘I wanna get back to character-based wrestling.’ I just spit out this character.”
With the Eugene character getting approval, Nick Dinsmore details the first time he portrayed it in a WWE ring:
“They brought me up to do [the character] at a live event first and I wrestled Lance Cade. I think if I would’ve wrestled almost anybody else it wouldn’t have got over as well. But Lance knew exactly how to work with a gimmick…Eugene had never been on TV but by the end of the match [the crowd] were chanting my name. [Lance] didn’t beat me up, he picked on me, slapped me around, made fun of me; just a little different type of heat [that would suit Eugene]. Walked back through the curtain, Hunter, Stephanie, Fit, all [gave me] a standing ovation. They said ‘you committed to the character one hundred percent.'”
Dinsmore explains where he saw the character of Eugene fitting in the changing landscape of WWE at the time:
“There was only one kid’s character and that was Hurricane and he was on SmackDown so I knew that one brand didn’t have a kid’s character. That was kinda post- Austin, post-NWO, everybody wanted to be a cool, strong heel. I said I wanna do the complete opposite. I wanna be a sympathetic, comedy babyface. It was a slot that wasn’t filled at the time.”
Nick Dinsmore portrayed the character of Eugene full-time from 2004 until his release from the company in September 2007. During his run, he would win the WWE World Tag Team Championships with William Regal.
Credit: Talk Is Jericho