A former WWE Hardcore Champion has discussed the less than inspiring words that The Rock gave him prior to the biggest show of his career.
Maven entered the world of WWE when he competed in and won the first season of the reality series Tough Enough. As part of his prize, he was given a contract with the company, spending the first part of his career in the company’s developmental territory of Heartland Wrestling Association.
His career experienced a significant uplift at the 2002 Royal Rumble when Maven shocked the world by eliminating The Undertaker from the match. Not long after – and despite receiving more than one vicious beating from The Deadman – Maven then defeated Undertaker for the Hardcore Title.
It was as Hardcore Champion that Maven entered WrestleMania 18 in the Toronto SkyDome in 2002. Speaking to Chris Van Vliet on his Insight podcast, Maven recalled The Rock having a little fun at his expense before the show:
“So it’s WrestleMania 18 in Toronto. I went in the Hardcore Champion and left the Hardcore Champion. I’m backstage and I am scared to death, there’s 70 something thousand people out there. The Rock sees this and he says ‘Mave, come here.’ So I go up to him and I think I’m going to get words of advice from the best. He goes ‘Hey, no one is really expecting much out of you. So just do the best you can.’ He turns around and walks away I’m like ‘what the f*ck was that?’ He then turns and winks at me. That calmed me down. That one little joke, then it was like f*ck it lets have some fun.”
Maven defended his championship against Goldust but lost the title mid-match to Spike Dudley as the runt of the litter made the most of the 24/7 rules the title had at the time. Hurricane Helms, Mighty Molly Holly, and Christian all won the Hardcore Title during the event before Maven won it back from Christian and jumped in a taxi to make his escape.
During the conversation with Van Vliet, Maven also discussed the pressure he felt during his wrestling career to use steroids to improve his look.