Brodus Clay was recently interviewed by Reyan Ali of CT.com, here are some highlights.
Being discovered while working at the Saddle Ranch: “I was a bodyguard for the owner of the establishment. It used to be pretty crazy nights at the Universal location — 13, 1400 people. Girls dance on the stage. Pretty much everybody when they came to LA usually wanted to find out where Saddle Ranch was at — celebrities and stuff.
“Snoop’s people saw me there and offered me a job. Fortunately, Tommy Dreamer observed me breaking up a fight and doing it very Funkasaurus-like. I’m not gonna tease ya — they weren’t big guys so it wasn’t like feats of incredible human strength or an awesome karate fight scene from a movie. They were about as big as my leg, and I picked ’em up like suitcases and carried ’em out, but I made jokes while I did it. [Tommy] told me I should do that on TV, which I thought was hilarious. I had already tried a few times to get into wrestling and it didn’t really work out. It was kind of funny — I had all but given up. I was bodyguarding. At the same time, I was working with kids during the day. I worked at Five Acres, where I was a recreation therapist during the day. I worked with 6-, 7- and 8-year-olds on motor development, trying to teach ’em how to be kids again.”
His debut constantly being pushed, and if his future was in possible jeopardy: “My future? No, I don’t think so.
“[Chris] Jericho’s imminent return was coming, Kane’s return was coming, The Rock was coming. There were so many other things going on. In the meantime, there were these two personas that I have that are very much who I am. I’m literally split down the middle. I can either be the funniest guy in the room and life of the party, but I also can be the most uncomfortable-looking dude in the room at the same time. [With] the two personas I have, [the creative team] were really just trying to figure out, ‘Which one should he show the world?’ I’m glad [for] the wisdom that I didn’t necessarily understand at the time. Looking back, it was the right decision.”
Who came up with the Funkasaurus idea: “Actually, the original nickname that I was told — it scared me to death — was Heavy G. I think the last thing you want to be known as is Heavy anything. No offense to Heavy D — rest his soul. Worked for him, wasn’t really my bag. Rob MacIntyre, who I trained with, was a big reason behind me dropping me a hundred and 50 pounds. Him and I were lifting weights and making jokes, trying to figure out better names. First it was the Funk Monster and then Funk Nasty. Then, he looked at me and [said], ‘Funkasaurus’ and started laughing, and he pitched it.
“The writer was like, ‘I’ll get ready [your] debut. What are we going to call you?’ I was like, ‘I don’t want to be Heavy G.’ He was like, ‘Look, man, I’ve got like 12 other things to do. Just call yourself whatever you want to call yourself’ so I told the announcer to call me the Funkasaurus. He looked at me like I was crazy. I’m like, ‘I don’t know why I want to be the Funkasaurus.’ So I got lucky that the swamped writer had other things going on. Luckily, it stuck.”
The night he debuted the Funkasaurus in January: “The week before I was gonna debut, Road Dogg, who has been a huge help and influence, said to me ’cause we were in Memphis, ‘We’ve got to debut tonight. It’s gotta be tonight. We can’t do this in Corpus Christi. They’re gonna boo you out of the building. They’re gonna hate it.’ Time constraints, whatever [happened so] it got cut. [Later,] he comes up to me and he’s like, ‘Corpus Christi is exactly where this needs to happen.’ I had that going in my mindset and started thinking, ‘Nah, it’s not going to happen again.’ Then, I saw a vignette with my name with a disco ball on the door, and my brother texted me and said, ‘Why is there a disco ball with your name on it?’ I didn’t return his text ’til afterwards.
“I was in Gorilla [position by the entrance ramp] and I was like, ‘Finally, finally’ since I was chomping at the bit. Got a chance to go out there and could have dropped a pin. Fans were kind of shocked. There was one fan in particular who was dressed up like evil Brodus Clay, and he yelled at me, ‘You suck, Brodus Clay’ [with] a really sad face. I yelled back at him, ‘My bad.’ It wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have gotten ‘My bad.’ Everybody laughed and killed the tension, so it was cool.
“Honestly, as much as I thought the Funksaurus was great, to bring the interactive part was a huge risk. [The fans] could have been like ‘No.’ When The Rock first came out when he was Rocky Maivia and babyface, the fans didn’t buy it that way, which was good because maybe that [made] his real personality come out. When you look at it, I didn’t know [the outcome], but I knew that I was going to give a hundred percent and own it, and it’s a part of my personality. When you’re true to yourself, fans tend to see what’s truly somebody and what truly isn’t.
How far he thinks he can go with his character: “I think the sky’s the limit. A good measuring stick was the interactions I had with Big Show, who is arguably the greatest big man left in wrestling. The first time I knocked him down, that crowd went nuts, or when I was with Alberto Del Rio and I got a chance to do battle with Edge. There’s been opportunities where I’ve had measuring sticks to feel it, so I think with the Funkasaurus, when the time is right and the right opponent and right place, I think it can definitely happen. It’s the work. You can’t be satisfied, you can’t think you’ve made it. You’ve gotta reinvent yourself, you’ve gotta go back to where you started. When I’m not on the road, I go see Bill DeMott and train. I still live in Tampa, where I’m close to the training facility.
“You can’t ever stop working. I understood that you just can’t have a day off. If you start taking days off, you start losing steps or you’ll get to a certain point and you won’t just go any further. Some of it’s luck, but I believe my life has dictated that hard work always pays off. When I do the work, then I should be able to get there. If I don’t do the work, then I won’t get there, but it’ll be nobody’s fault but my own.