Alan Wojcik: For anyone who is not aware, you are a second generation wrestler. Please tell us who your father is and his major contributions to wrestling, plus where did the Stasiak name come from?
Shawn Stasiak: My father wrestled for 27 years. Was one of the pioneers of the wrestling industry and was the fifth wrestler in the WWE to become champion. He was a big hit all over the world namely the in the Pacific Northwest where he was a multiple time champion. The name STASIAK actually came from the original Stan Stasiak who was a wrester back in the 1930’s I believe. He actually passed away from blood poisoning he got from a wrestling match. Years later, my dad came along and was just getting started with the business and a promoter saw that my dad resembled the original Stan Stasiak. Look so much like him and so they gave him that name. Later, my father put the moniker “The Man” to the name and the rest is history.
Alan Wojcik: It seems second generation stars like Ted DiBiase & Dwayne Johnson are pre-destined to wrestle. Did you feel that way or did your dad try and stop you from it?
Shawn Stasiak: He had mixed emotions about it. He knew the hardships of the business and what all it entailed. Some of the cut throating and demeanors of a lot of the folks involved but knew it could be a great life that was full of prosperity and fulfillment. He just wanted to make sure that I was protected and had more good things happen to me and my career than bad. I now understand what he must have felt as if I ever have a son and he wants to get into the business, I would have mixed emotions too.
Alan Wojcik: Before we get to your recent medical training, you attend Boise State University and also wrestled there (Stasiak was a 2-time Pac-10 runner-up). Why was communications your course of study and any college wrestling memories; if you have any, you wish to share?
Shawn Stasiak: Sure, I majored in Communications because the type of courses I was mainly interested in were speech, video, audio productions, and journalism. It is more of an art orientated type of field. And because I loved the professional wrestling business so much and had such a passion for acting and entertainment, those types of courses enabled me to connect with those passions the closest. Apart from theater classes I loved writing stories, being in front of and behind the camera, setting up scenes, working with lighting, editing, etc…..and of course working in the college’s radio station and playing around with special effects and music to make my own productions was something I was always drawn to.
As far as my amateur wrestling career at Boise State. I had a successful wrestling career. I was one of the most successful heavyweights in the schools history. Though I didn’t achieve winning the Pac-10 championships or the NCAA’s, I was a force to recon with, placed second two consecutive years, won lots of matches and was ranked high up on a national level. Looking back however, and of course hind sight is 20/20 and talk is cheap……….still there is no doubt in my mind that if I could go back in time with the mind I have today, I would win the Pac-10’s and NCAA’s if not place in the top 3 for sure. I feel very strongly about that. What kept me back from accomplishing that back then was me. I was my worst enemy. Man, I wish I could go back sometimes and get a few matches back that I fell short of. But it is what it is and you live and learn and I have definitely benefited in life from my wrestling experience at Boise State. It is where I learned how to build character and be disciplined.
Alan Wojcik: What led you to decide to go into the family business and what was the training like under Dory Funk Jr. and Tom Pritchard? Also who is Phobia?
Shawn Stasiak: Of course my father’s influence of the wrestling business. I was brought up around it especially in the territory days such as the Pacific Northwest territory. Portland wrestling was big for many years and a lot of the biggest names in the industry came through there. I had the opportunity and experience to grow up as a kid around that environment. What great memories now looking back. Thank you Portland wrestling for all the wonderful memories. Training under Dory Funk Jr. and Tom Prichard was some of the best training a young aspiring pro wrestler could ever ask for. Dory’s camps were brutal but fun and very valuable. Dr. Tom’s training was very technical and psychology driven. Tom is a great guy.
“Fobia” is a Halloween alter ego come to life comic book hero……….wow, did I just say all that? Yes, he is my creation, I own it, and love playing the character. People trip out on it when I bring him out. It gets more attention and requests to have a picture with it then Shawn Stasiak. LOL. I love playing the character. Stay tuned as I will be posting something on “Fobia” on my website www.shawnstasiak.com and on You Tube. You should get a kick out of it. Also, the character looks to be involved in some upcoming TV projects soon. Stay tuned.
Alan Wojcik: Most fans will remember you debuted in WWF as the character Meat, the brainchild of the Pretty Mean Sisters (Terri Runnels, Jacqueline and Ryan Shamrock.) First off who came up with the Meat character and how did you get along with the ladies “controlling” Meat?
Shawn Stasiak: Not too sure who came up with the idea but I think it was Ed Ferrara. I just played the part the best I could for what I was given. Not my favorite character but it was a start and ya gotta start somewhere. I had no problem working with all those gorgeous ladies. And I don’t think they minded working with me.
Alan Wojcik: You were the 1st WWF opponent of current TNA star and 1996 Olympic medalist Kurt Angle. Can you talk about that match and are you surprised Angle is still competing today with all the injuries he has accumulated over his career?
Shawn Stasiak: It was great to work with Kurt. I looked up to him in college. We had some great matches together that were never televised. He is a great athlete and so am I and I would love to face off with him one more time but do something with merit. Work an angle with him……..no pun intended. I travelled with him for almost a year. He was doing a lot of dark matches during my rookie year as “Meat”. I got to know him pretty well and thought that we had created a bond of friendship. Doesn’t surprise me he is still wrestling. He’s a pro wrester………competition is in his blood just as it is in mine. Plus, he’s Kurt Angle, he’s a world class tough son of a bitch athlete, a real stud. So no, I am not surprised. But I do hope he considers it soon as I feel he has nothing more to prove and his health and well being and family and friends are what he should probably now focus on and put more energy towards. Cause at the end of the day……..that stuff is what counts the most.
Alan Wojcik: In 2000 you left WWF to join WCW. What led to that decision and were you aware of the power struggle taking place in WCW on what seemed to be a daily basis? What level of interaction did Turner/AOL Time Warner management have if any at wrestling events?
Shawn Stasiak: Honestly, I don’t know.
Alan Wojcik: We’re going to be talking about some people who have sadly left the world. The first would be the man you attacked in your Nitro debut (April 10, 2000) Mr. Perfect Curt Hennig. At Slamboree 2000 you wrestled him and then were coached by him. Talk about the Curt Hennig experience.
Shawn Stasiak: It was an honor to work with Curt. It is sad that he is no longer with us. He was a great asset and value to the business. I idolized him when I was a teenager. And it was a match I was watching with him wrestling back in high school that I made the mental claim that I wanted to be a professional wrestler. So I looked up to him. It was an honor to have the “Perfect” moniker put to my name but at the same time was concerned and didn’t want it to be disrespectful. I think a lot of fans felt that way but hey………it got a lot of heat with the fans and that is what they were bringing me in as. I just did what I was told at that point. They wanted to do the “Perfect” thing.
Alan Wojcik: From May 31, 2000-July 10, 2000 you and Chuck Palumbo held the WCW World Tag Team championship (1st of three reigns) defeated Brian Adams and Brian Clark (Kronik). Were you cool teaming with Chuck and thoughts on holding the tag titles.
Shawn Stasiak: Yes, I like Chuck he’s a cool cat. He had fun together working with each other, travelling together basically living on the road together. Winning the tag titles was exciting. I had fun teaming with Chuck and working the big Kronik giants.
Alan Wojcik: Throughout the rest of 2000 you and Palumbo faced off with several teams. Did you have a favorite WCW opponent and address the schedule WCW had you working.
Shawn Stasiak: That year was a year full of diversity, I wrestled with Chuck, against him, with the Natural Born Thrillers with Kevin Nash which was fun and then of course began to get a single’s push with Stacey Kiebler as my valet. I was getting tons of TV time, promos, and working a full time schedule. I have no complaints with WCW as I worked more, had more fun, and made more money. The only issue was the quality of the product, too many chiefs and not enough Indians so to speak, there was no direction. But my overall experience was good.
Alan Wojcik: In 2001 you under went change of sorts, becoming billed from Planet Stasiak. Was this the creation of Vince Russo/Ed Ferrera, Bischoff or you and why the change?
Shawn Stasiak: WCW completely and utterly screwed that up. That was my creation and was not at all showcased as what my vision of the character was. The character Planet Stasiak was supposed to be a take off from Jim Carrey’s character he played in Batman as the Riddler. He was supposed to be graceful, funny, articulate and smart, but a force to reckoned with. Not a joke or an enhancement for other wrestlers. Although I have no problem doing business and what’s best for the company so putting guys over is a must but not job out a character and make a joke out of it. That’s what they did. Planet Stasiak was also a message to people that they can connect with lost loved ones such as my father Stan “The Man”. Planet Stasiak was a character that was someone who could connect with his father’s spirit and draw from that positive energy to use in the ring and kick some butt. That was my intention with the significance of the name. A positive message, an inspirational piece that fans could relate to and use in their real lives. But for some reason, WCW had their plans with me and it wasn’t nothing more than to make a joke out of me. I really thought eventually through busting my ass, doing what I was told, staying in shape, perfecting my craft, that I would eventually get a fair shake at it. I thought that would come, it never did and then they fired me. In essence, I really did feel betrayed in so many ways. But I am over it now and all things do happen for a reason. I learned from that experience and now have a much bigger self value. I would never allow that to happen again. Why would I? It’s a waste of time for me and a company. Why not do something with merit that could actually make money. Especially with someone of my background, lineage, experience, and attributes that I do possess. I am a humble man and respectful to others but now I am just calling a spade a spade. Let’s see what the near future holds with my one last run at this business. I feel that is coming real soon. And it will finally be something that draws and puts asses in seats and draws good ratings. I sometimes feel like Vince McMahon didn’t like my dad or something and took it out on me. Seriously, why else would you waste a good talent and someone if given the proper backing and marketing support to draw big money? Makes no sense. Someone obviously in office or with political pull didn’t like me and the rest is history. But I do believe in Karma and what comes around goes around. Those people know who they are and I say no more.
Alan Wojcik: You were with WCW until it went out of business and WWE made the memorable purchase. How in the dark was the WCW roster kept and how soon after WWE bought it, did you decide to follow your fellow co-workers into the WWE?
Shawn Stasiak: I didn’t worry about it too much as I was at the top of my game in so many ways at that moment in time. I felt confident that my year with WCW was a productive year and that I had proven myself as a good talent in the ring and on the mic and that I had learned from previous mistakes. I had matured and was really starting to develop my craft. And at the time of the purchase, I had been getting tons of TV exposure and was given a bit of a push as a singles wrestler and felt that with what they gave me to work with was working out ok. So I really felt good about being accepted over. Besides, most if not all knew that the “Tape Recorder” incident was completely blown out of proportion and was just an excuse that was used by a few to get me fired a year or so prior to all of this. It just goes to show the paranoia and insecurities that are within that industry. Most if not all knew in their hearts that I meant no harm or wrongful intents but rather a rib that I was playing on a couple of guys that went sour and got blown completely out of proportion. It was a crock of shit of what happened to me. And if that situation hypothetically ever presented itself which it never would but let’s say I was disrespected like I was by a few back then, and those folks know who they are there would be some ass whippin’ goin’ on and I am dead serious when I say that. But lesson’s learned and you move on and for me it was probably the best thing that could have happened as I ended up going to WCW to have more TV time, fun, and made lots more money. So no complaints there. But I do wonder and wouldn’t be surprised if there was someone backstage or who had Vince’s ear when I did come back for my second tenure that prevented me from ever getting a push or at least a fair shake. Something other than knocking myself out on milk trucks and steel armors or playing a whacked out guy who thought he was from another planet. That was not my intent or vision. I wanted and knew that I had all the potential in the world to develop into a top guy in that company if not THE top guy eventually. But that never came and quite the contrary happened. Oh well, maybe the “Tape Recorder” incident was something some insecure and paranoid person that had some political pull up there had something to do with the derailment of my second run. Who knows. But the second release I received allowed me to a new freedom and I went on to become a doctor with my time away from mainstream.
Alan Wojcik: As noted earlier you already had been part of the WWE. There were online rumors that the WCW talent had issues initially getting along with the WWE talent, specifically with the WWE talent feeling they were superior. Did you witness any of this and was the WCW talent told WWE was planning a separate TV show & traveling company of WCW?
Shawn Stasiak: I didn’t feel that way as it felt like home for me initially. I really thought in the beginning of my second run with WWE that they were going to let bygones be bygones, forget about the stupid “Tape Recorder” incident and see me for my talents and attributes that I could bring to the table. I really felt excited and glad to be back and had this faith that with my improvements and sheer desire to be the best I could be, I was a sure thing to eventually get to the top and be a big team player for the WWE. I got along with everyone, WWE or WCW, we are all the boys trying to make a living but there was a feeling of competition and I just felt I had to be at the top of my game to not just keep a position on the roster but to climb to the top. I really thought that this was it and that my time was finally going to come. But history speaks for the reality of what really happened. But it all happens for a reason.
Alan Wojcik: Like many on the WCW roster you had to deal with WWE also merging in former ECW talent into the invasion storyline. Did you feel lost in the shuffle and who was doing the creative work at this time?
Shawn Stasiak: Like I said, I just went with the flow with an underlying feeling of faith I had at the time that the main decision makers in the office would see true talent out of the bunch and I felt that as long as I did the best I could do and keep improving each and every week, I would single myself out and be seen for what it was. That it would elevate me to that next level. I didn’t get too caught up with who was writing or who was with who as far as ECW guys and WCW guys, etc. I was back home, where it all began for me and a place I felt so loyal to dating back to my teenage days I was back in the WWE where I belong and I am going to make sure that everything works out here. I had made a mistake, a harmless one, it backfired, I got fired, went away to another company for a year, proved myself on many different levels, my contract got purchased over back to WWE and thought things would only grow and climb up from there. That never happened.
Alan Wojcik: Around the time of Survivor Series you underwent surgery for a knee injury. Was it a “wear & tear injury” or did it occur during a match? For fans interest does WWE have medical insurance for the talent or did you have to pay for surgery on your own?
Shawn Stasiak: I jumped off the top rope to splash Billy Gunn, but he moved and I came down hard on my knee cap which ruptured my bursa sac on right knee. It was very painful, tender, and would swell up as big as a softball many times before I had to get it drained. This went on for a few months when I just finally had to have the bursa sac removed. So, it wasn’t a major surgery or anything but still painful. Now I have no issues with it. The wrestling talent is responsible for their medical insurance or at least it was that way when I worked for WWE/WCW. But if you had an injury or a ring or work related injury while you were at a wrestling venue, they covered the expense.
Alan Wojcik: By early 2002 you were back wrestling on Raw and Heat in addition to working with Les Thatcher’s Heartland Wrestling. Did you go to HWA to rehab from the injury or did the office send you down for another character change?
Shawn Stasiak: Both reasons.
Alan Wojcik: In late April/May you faced current UFC star Brock Lesnar during his rookie time in WWE. What are your memories of working with the “Next Big Thing” and the obvious follow-up, could you ever see yourself competing in the mixed martial arts?
Shawn Stasiak: Probably the strongest human being I ever competed with. Brock had an underlying respect for me as he knew I came from his same background, amateur wrestling. Wrestlers always stick together for the most part. If I was 10 years younger or even if let’s say Dana White or some promoter who could set up a good fight for me that I had at least 4-6 months so train for and worked out a good pay day for me, I would totally consider doing it. Though I am 39 years old, I am a young and healthy and hungry 39 year old that feels like a caged bird salivating to get out and kick the crap out of someone. Not in a malicious way but in a good sportsmanship kind of way. But I am still an athlete, I love to compete, and am full of piss and vinegar. I would consider it even NOW. But the money has to be right cause I don’t care how tough you are, you are still kicking the crap out of your body, still getting punched in the face, and who knows what other damage you are doing to your body. But I do have an extensive amateur background and have been training submission wrestling and boxing off and on for the workouts. Stuff kicks your ass but I love it. I am a big Randy Couture fan. He is truly an inspiration and a class act.
Alan Wojcik: In July of 2002 Eric Bischoff proved hell could freeze over when he joined WWE as an onstage performer. What was your reaction to seeing Eric and thoughts on 3 Minute Warning who squashed you and D-Lo Brown on an episode of Raw?
Shawn Stasiak: I thought it was completely dumb. What was the logic to that? My case in point with what I was saying earlier in the interview regarding WWE’s way to market me.
Alan Wojcik: September 2002 saw your tenure with WWE ended. Did you ask for your release, was the creative department or someone else the reason?
Shawn Stasiak: No, Johnny Laurinitas called me and said that they were releasing me. I was back home visiting friends in Toronto from a loop I had just finished and got the call. I thought it was a joke at first as I had heard rumors that I was being moved to Smackdown, but no it wasn’t a joke, they released me. Again, mixed emotion a feeling of betrayal but yet so relieved as I was so frustrated with them for months. And this freed me up to finally go and pursue my other aspiring career as a doctor of chiropractor. 30 minutes after I received the call to hear I was being released is when I made the decision to go back to school and become a chiropractor and that is exactly what I did.
Alan Wojcik: Your official website (www.shawnstasiak.com) has a hyperlink to another site (www.drshawnstipich.com) which takes people to your current day job, chiropractor and personal trainer. What made you decide to go back to school for medical training and at any point during the course work were you ever contacted by TNA Wrestling during their initial opening?
Shawn Stasiak: I don’t want to say too much about TNA but I will say that yes, there is definitely a possibility and an interest to join TNA. I like the newness with Hogan there, now my good buddy RVD, among others. I like their schedule much better than WWE and can see myself having a fresh slate with a new company. I am doing independent shows lately; feel real good in the ring. I am much leaner, a bit lighter on my feet, don’t get blown up and am now seeing and doing things in the ring that I had never done before. I am really connecting with my fans. I have a whole new fire, passion, and emotion that I draw from my real life. The struggles, adversities, challenges, etc. I take all of that emotion and channel it into an energy that fans can feel and believe in. That’s because it is REAL emotion. Makes my work in the ring and on the mic much easier now. And makes for a great show and experience with the fans. I chose to be a chiropractor and do some personal training on the side as the fitness lifestyle has been a culprit of who I am and what I have built my foundation on. I feel like Clark Kent, the sophisticated doctor by day, but the Superman, Super hero that performs in a ring every once in a while. The wrestling business is in my blood and always will be. I am in the best place I ever have been on a mental and spiritual realm and happen to be in the absolute best shape of my life. NOW is a perfect time to unleash the energy that has been built up for 7 years. This will make for great TV.
Alan Wojcik: In addition to being Doctor of Chiropractic as well as certified personal trainer, you also have training in Manipulation Under Anesthesia. What exactly is MUA?
Shawn Stasiak: It is a specialty that I am certified in that deals with chronic pain patients. It has really helped a lot of folks who felt they had no hope to live a life free of pain. MUA’s gives the certain candidate that hope. It works.
Alan Wojcik: In 2007 you starred in “Shawn Stasiak Determined.” What was the genesis of that project and what made you decide to add motivational speaker to your resume?
Shawn Stasiak: Just had the opportunity to share my life on all facets. I wanted to give the wrestling fans a REAL and AUTHENTIC and GENUINE peek into my life. Not what they saw on WWE programming in the way they exploited me. And just getting older and gaining wisdom has made me open up to people and has given me this intuition that God placed me on this planet to make a TRUE difference in as many people’s lives as I can. A positive difference for people to stand in their greatness and live a life that is full of passion, inspiration, peace, love, fulfillment, joy, real purpose, and to live a life that is full of good health, enchantment, and vibrance. I feel a need to connect with people now in that fashion.
Alan Wojcik: In 2007 you worked in the local Dallas area for PCW. What is Shawn Stasiak’s future? Can you see yourself working full time for either WWE or TNA and do you watch wrestling at all?
Shawn Stasiak: Yes, I am now ready for one last kick at this. But this time make it truly count. I didn’t even scratch the surface in my past tenures. Though I am a bit older, I am wiser, don’t take things for granted, am very grateful and thankful for all the things that I do have but am ready to make a TV return to showcase the talents I have always had. Now is the time and I am more ready than ever. I am willing to put my chiropractic career on hold for a few years if that is what it is going to take and as long as the wrestling business finally treats me right with the right business opportunity. But I am returning to what I love to do and what I have a passion for. So, to all of my fans, I love you, thank you for all of your support over the years and get ready for something real special. Blessings!!!