Rhino spoke about his friendship with Stephanie McMahon and recalled the time she found him intoxicated backstage at a WWE Live Event.
Following the closing of ECW in early 2001, Rhino (then going as Rhyno) debuted in the WWF in March 2001. He aligned himself with friends Edge and Christian for a number of months, winning the Hardcore Championship three times and reaching the semi-finals of King of the Ring.
After joining the Alliance during the infamous Invasion angle in 2001, Rhino feuded with Chris Jericho, with Rhino defending on-screen owner of ECW Stephanie McMahon against Jericho’s constant insults. On the latest episode of the Talk’n Shop Podcast, the former ECW Champion detailed how Jericho taught him that working with Stephanie would ensure the program got the television time it deserved.
“So I was working with Jericho and Jericho came to me, and I still learned so much from talking to Jericho for five minutes, how could you not? And he goes, ‘it’s great that we have Stephanie in this angle because they are going to give the angle the time it needs, right? She’ll definitely make sure, you know?’
“So I’m like, that’s pretty cool, you get involved with certain people and you get that time because you know how it is.”
Rhino went on to talk about developing a friendship with the Billion Dollar Princess, getting to talk to her about her time growing up in the wrestling business and being friends with Andre the Giant.
“The cool thing about it is, if we were doing pre tapes, you’re always waiting for the sound guy, the light guys, so we would talk about how like when she was a kid, she’d have to work at the office and stuff too and it was really cool, and we had that friendship, working relationship type deal.
“I was always curious about how the company ran when I was a kid watching it and how she was friends with Andre. And that was one person I always wanted to meet, Andre.”
Rhino went on to detail how his friendship with Stephaine McMahon was most likely the reason that she didn’t say anything to anybody when she found the former Hardcore Champion intoxicated backstage, having drunk nearly a fifth of alcohol.
“I cut a promo, it was a live event, I came back and she said, ‘don’t mention ECW’, this was after that, the whole invasion. She’s like, ‘we’re trying to get away from that’. And I’m like, ‘cool’. So I wrestled Kane. Afterward, she knew I wasn’t drinking before, so Nunzio brought some.
“Nunzio wasn’t drinking and I almost finished a fifth, and I didn’t drink at the time, I’m just wasted. And they’re like, ‘why did you drink?’ Anyways, we’re leaving and I’m riding with Christian and we got a late flight, it was an afternoon show. I don’t know why I’m throwing waters in my bag, probably because I’m like, ‘waters!’
“I couldn’t take them on the plane, so I’m just throwing them in my bag and I’m staggering. She (Steph) comes up and she’s like, ‘Rhino, are you okay’. She wanted to make sure I wasn’t all pilled up, you could smell the alcohol. And I’m like, ‘what a buzzkill’.
“Anyway, I think it’s because we developed that friendship that she didn’t, you know, they didn’t say anything to me. And I’m like, ‘just grabbing a few waters, waiting on Christian. He’s driving’. I wanted to make sure she knew he was driving. But yeah it was cool, Hunter always liked me because he liked my work.”
Rhino worked for the WWE until he was released from his contract in 2005, but returned to the company for a brief run in NXT in 2015 before moving to the main roster to team with Heath Slater in 2016. The two went on to win the newly established SmackDown Tag Team Championships, reigning for 84 days until they were defeated by the Wyatt Family. Rhino remained part of the WWE until being released again in 2019.