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â€œHotshotâ€ Johnny Devine has gone through some rough times since he last spoke to Alan J. Wojcik on the record. Their last interview in 2004 was with Devine and the members of Team Canada. As you will read lots of things have gone down. Namely his current allegiance to Raven as Havok in the Serotonin faction. Thanks to Ross Forman & Steven Godfrey for approving this interview.
Alan J. Wojcik: I am sure you have answered this question numerous times, but please take the readers through the night of September 26, 2004 in Nashville where you and Andy Douglas nearly met death.
Johnny Devine: Well Andy came away with pretty light wounds compared to mine. I can tell you the internet got it wrong like always. We were not at a club called the Mix Factory; we had left Bar Nashville and went to meet friends at another club. We were driving along and there was a car of guys who were complete assholes. They followed us for 4 or 5 lights and were throwing stuff at the windows, trying to pick a fight. A girlfriend in our car said something to them and a guy in their car spit on her. We got cut off into a parking lot and decided letâ€™s do this. It was a 4 on 2 brawl and I know for a fact I put one of them in the hospital because I dropped him on the concrete. The end came when one of them pulled a knife on Andy and stabbed him in the leg. I had a kid on the ground and the knife puller punched me in the stomach or at least I thought he did. It felt like a six year old punched me and I decked him with a punch. They decided to run for it and left us there as someone else had called the cops. Being the good wrestlers we are, we spilt and drove off. Andy realized he had a wet spot on his leg and we decided to take him to the hospital. I was wearing a black dress shirt and it took five minutes for me to realize I too had a wet spot. I opened up my top and saw a hole in my gut. I told Andy he better step on it because they got me good. I shoved my fingers into the wound and kept pressure on it. Thatâ€™s end of story since the Nashville police never caught any of the guys.
Alan J. Wojcik: Just when it looked like your career was back on track you suffered a severe knee injury in March 2005, tearing your ACL & MCL. Did you think â€œdamn this isnâ€™t fairâ€ or did you take the role of working for Bert Prenticeâ€™s TV show in Nashville as something to keep you involved while you recovered?
Johnny Devine: It was real frustrating. Around the time I got stabbed Showtime (Eric Young) and I were to take on the NWA World Tag champs. Instead Showtime and Bobby (Roode) became the champs. Around that time Eric and I were Mid-South Tag Team champions. During a title defense at the Memphis Coliseum I fell off the ring apron. I hit a wet spot on the floor and bam my knee went to pieces. I had been working for Bert during the recovery from the stabbing but my knee injury sent me home to Canada.Â
Alan J. Wojcik: What is the Canadian medical system like, because I have read its universal health care for anyone who wants it?
Johnny Devine: Well itâ€™s free but it takes forever to get something done. Thanks to Coach Dâ€™amore being the pimp he his I got looked at fairly quickly and within a week I got an MRI and was under the knife. That is almost unheard of unless you have millions of dollars. They did a fantastic job leaving some nice scars. They told me recovery was 12-16 months but I was in the ring by 6 months. They gave me recovery numbers to average people who arenâ€™t hitting the gym daily. So for six months all I did was hit the gym and get my body right inside and out.
Alan J. Wojcik: What was your initial reaction to being told Team Canada was going to be busted up and you were going to eventually be paired with Alex Shelley in Paparazzi Productions. Was this something you were ok with and did you have any say in your character?
Johnny Devine: The breaking up of Team Canada was heartbreaking because I missed the entire run of success. The real white hot heat was beginning when I got stabbed and when I came back each time it was great but I never got to fully be part of it. I thought we could have been Four Horseman like with out talent but the powers that be dissolved the group. You have to accept things like that and move onto the next thing which was Paparazzi. I enjoyed being aired with Shelley. He is one of the most prepared talents in the ring and I respect that hard work attitude. He is a tremendous talent in the ring and his attention to detail in his outfits is what makes him look like a million bucks. We were a bit of a clash in the ring but that can be a good thing. Kevin Nash is quite possibly the funniest guys on the planet but we clashed in that area because I was in a no-win scenario. Shelley and Nash have such an amazing chemistry and it makes me laugh when I watch those Paparazzi Productions vignettes. I felt like a wrench in the well oiled machine. It was hard to stand out behind these two comedic geniuses. I was a good foot soldier and made myself useful in the ring. Career wise it wasnâ€™t taking me anywhere but it got me into some great angles. It was a little of a let down when they took me out of the angle but I moved into better things which we will surely talk about.
Alan J. Wojcik: You were part of the initial â€œout of Orlando PPVâ€ which was the Detroit based Bound for Glory 2006. (Devine was part of the Kevin Nash X Division Open Invitational match) What was the overall atmosphere like that weekend and did you enjoy working outside Orlando and Nashville?
Johnny Devine: I thought it was tremendous and despite the internet reports it was packed and the crowd was alive the entire night. Nothing against the Orlando crowd but sometimes its great to work outside of Universal. They do a great job each taping but they are spoiled by the best wrestling on the planet bi-weekly. That makes it hard to get a reaction out of them after they see AJ Styles against Rhino in the Elevation X match. What do you do to follow that, blow someoneâ€™s face off with a shot gun? Where as when we travel itâ€™s a new audience and the reactions are more genuine. Wrestlers feed off that reaction. The more we do PPVâ€™s out of Orlando the better for the development of the wrestlers and maybe TV tapings will be the next step.Â
Alan J. Wojcik: I want to go back to something. What do you think of the directions your former Team Canada members have gone creatively? (Team Canada also included Petey Williams, A1 who was let go by TNA, â€œShowtimeâ€ Eric Young, Robert â€œDonâ€™t call me Bobbyâ€ Roode and â€œCoachâ€ Scott Dâ€™amore.)
Johnny Devine: Everyone needs a change. White bread eaters need to get some multi-grain in their diet. Showtime is quite possibly the most entertaining man on television. There is nothing he does that doesnâ€™t entertain me, he can do no wrong. Bobby Roode, not sure on the direction but where did he get all that money because he didnâ€™t have it when we ran in Team Canada. Robert, I mean Bobby is ridiculously talented and has World title written all over him. He has the entire package and itâ€™s a matter of time. Petey and I are in the same boat, you knew we were around but not seen on TV. He is so talent and has the most awe-inspiring move in wrestling with that Canadian Destroyer. But they tried to Americanize him and it didnâ€™t seem to work out with the fans. I think given the right opponents and given two hours Petey will be in the main events soon and the X Division title picture. Itâ€™s a shame A1 didnâ€™t succeed. He has such a personality that never got shown to the TV audience. We had an idea for him to be my caveman in some gimmicks, it would have been gold. He has some real in-ring potential and hopefully he will find a home.
Alan J. Wojcik: With TNA Wrestling being shown nationally on Spike TV and on other channels internationally do you find yourself being recognized by people when you travel for work and has it garnered you any outside TNA bookings?
Johnny Devine: Itâ€™s inevitable with a big weekly cable audience. We can only hope with more time and exposure we will be working nearly every night. I have seen the pluses of being on TV and I thank TNA and Spike TV for them.
Alan J. Wojcik: On TV Kevin Nash announced you were ousted from the group for not wanting to work with German snuff. How long after that were you told about the Serotonin faction with Raven?
Johnny Devine: There was about a week in between gimmick changes. I was a good soldier and adapted quick.
Alan J. Wojcik: What was your reaction to going from â€œHotshotâ€ Johnny Devine to Havok, plus what were your thoughts on your change in costuming? Did you have an opinion in your current look?
Johnny Devine: This is something I have wanted to address with you and the media. The overall Havok look was my original idea. Everything from costuming to the makeup and hair is all me not the office. They told me about the move to Serotonin but said to build myself into the niche. Matt (Bentley AKA Martyr), Frankie (Kazarian AKA Kaz) and I sat down and talked it out because basically we are The Flock â€œVersion 2.7.â€ We decided to do something different and the original idea was for each of us to be different musical genres. Matt was supposed to be the â€œGlam Rockâ€ era of T-Rex and the like. I was supposed to be early Ozzy Osbourne and Deep Purple. Frankie was supposed to be a Goth soldier of Erasure, Depeche Mode style stuff.
Alan J. Wojcik: Hey watch the Depeche Mode bashing there tough guy.
Johnny Devine: Iâ€™m not bashing them so calm yourself. He was thinking about their Violator album with the Goth leather look.
Alan J. Wojcik: So he wasnâ€™t going for a Trent Reznor, Marilyn Manson look?
Johnny Devine: I think he was going for a Robert Smith-Cure look. That was the original idea but we switched things up and I decided Havok was going to become basically a comic book character. I lifted stuff from Wolverine and Sabretooth. The M on my face is from Bishop and Cable. The smile is 100% Joker.
Alan J. Wojcik: If memory serves, you were the first of the trio to be hit with the Singapore cane by Raven at the Genesis 2006 PPV. Having never been hit by a Singapore cane (and I donâ€™t wish to ever be hit by one) describe what went through your mind in the ring besides damn that hurts?
Johnny Devine: I thought they better be going somewhere with this because it hurts like a bastard. At it progresses along it hurts less.
Alan J. Wojcik: Didnâ€™t you suffer some damage to your elbow or upper arm?
Johnny Devine: He caught me on the triceps and it swelled up to the point I had Scott Steiner arm for the day. I walked up to Scott the next day showing off my wound and said you maybe big but what do you think of that?
Alan J. Wojcik: While we are in a joking around mood I have to bring this up. In a recent Pro Wrestling Illustrated profile you told the interviewer in your eyes Frankie â€œthe Futureâ€ Kazarian didnâ€™t resemble Antonio Banderas but â€œa ruggedly handsome Gene Hackmanâ€. My question for you is: are you on drugs he is the spitting image of Banderas or as you call him Zorro. Plus if someone was to do a movie on your life, who do you think should be cast as you?
Johnny Devine: I would cast myself since I also have an acting background. As far as current popular actors I think Mark Wahlberg would be perfect.
Alan J. Wojcik: Who many say look like a certain world champion we wonâ€™t mention.
Johnny Devine: I think he is jacked already and could pack on the pounds to fill out my uniform. I like some of his recent movies.
Alan J. Wojcik: How do you not see the Zorro or Puss N Boots resemblance he has?
Johnny Devine: I donâ€™t see it, I see Frankie. To me he looks like Hackman or a white Morgan Freeman.
Alan J. Wojcik: This is such funny stuff but we need to briefly switch gears. Since we last talked both heads of the legendary Hart clan have passed on. What did Stu and Helen mean to you as people since their home was the birthplace of your career?
Johnny Devine: Everyone says the same thing, they were great people. Family dinners showed Helen was a queen and carried herself with some regalness. She made you feel like family no matter who you were. My only regret is I didnâ€™t get to meet Stu earlier in his life because his memory was fading towards the end and he couldnâ€™t stretch you as long as he used to. Both of them had hearts of gold.
Alan J. Wojcik: You recently suffered another personal loss with the death of â€œBad News Brownâ€ Allen Coage. What did he mean to you since he was your co-trainer along with the Harts?
Johnny Devine: Bad News was one of those guys that if you didnâ€™t know him, he scared the shit out of you. Everything about him was intimidating and he carried himself with such confidence and dressed impeccably. He spoke for a reason not just to be heard. I got to work with him in Stampede because he was our TV color commentator. He took a liking to me and from that I worked with him and got the chance to work in Japan. I wish I had more time with him because he was a fountain of knowledge and I learned so much. I will use that stuff to the end of my career. I was a little upset that only my last trip to Calgary I didnâ€™t get to spend time with him and it will haunt me for a long time.
Alan J. Wojcik: The weekend that we were initially going to do this interview, TNA Wrestling celebrated its 5th anniversary with a return to Nashville. Do you have any thoughts you wish to give on this amazing accomplishment for a promotion many didnâ€™t think would last 5 weeks let alone 5 years.
Johnny Devine: I couldnâ€™t be more proud to be part of their product. Everyone kept discounting them week to week and had them dead many times. Itâ€™s a testament to the office and the boys. TNA will be around for a long time no matter what people think. If you arenâ€™t in the office or part of the company you donâ€™t have a clue.
Alan J. Wojcik: For fans that might have missed it, what was it like to be the man to break Kurt Angleâ€™s glasses before his match at Victory Road?
Johnny Devine: Damn Wojcik you had to bring it up.
Alan J. Wojcik: Hey Iâ€™m not the one who was so cocky at the Ale House after the PPV.
Johnny Devine: Funny story you want and you will get it. We do the thing where he tries to get Matt and I to help him out. We refuse and he levels us with those 20 pound title belts. He won the battle but we won the war because we broke his glasses. Thatâ€™s right we are the guys who kicked the ass of Kurt Angleâ€™sâ€¦glasses. Period.
Alan J. Wojcik: Who does your out of TNA bookings and if any promoter wants to book you how do they get in touch with you.
Johnny Devine: I do my own stuff but you can go through Bill Behrens and the TNA office. I handle the majority of my stuff and can be reached at [email protected]
Alan J. Wojcik: Is there a Johnny Devine website or is your MySpace page acting as your main site?
Johnny Devine: There is a site but it hasnâ€™t been updated in a while. Check out the MySpace page at www.myspace.com/canadiandevine
Alan J. Wojcik: In closing what do you hope the future holds for Johnny Devine or should we say Havok?
Johnny Devine: I hope the future hold many years of wrestling and work. I love making fans happy each night I work. You come see me work and you will go home satisfied I gave you 1000% in the ring.