Dave Lagana Discusses Why Ring Of Honor’s Death Before Dishonor VIII Will Be The Best Pay-Per-View Wrestling Product In The Month Of June, Why Leaving The WWE Was “The Best Thing That Ever Happened” For Him (And Putting To Rest Being The Supposed Leak During His Time In World Wrestling Entertainment), Why He Feels There Are More Potential Future PPV Main Eventers In ROH Than Being Created In FCW, How The NXT Invasion Is Similar To The Billy/Chuck Wedding, Bryan Danielson’s WWE Release: Work Or Shoot, & The Definition/Lowdown Behind The Now Infamous “Creative Has Nothing For You”
Former WWE SmackDown head writer & current ROH on HDNet producer, Dave Lagana, was one of the special guests on this week’s live edition (06/14/09) of the award-winning Monday Night Mayhem. You can feel The Mayhem live every Monday night (at 7PM ET/6PM CT), exclusively on The Monday Night Mayhem Radio Network (www.MondayNightMayhem.com).
Dave joined The Big Mosh, Jimmy Noonan, & “The Chairman of the Board” Todd Vincent for his debut on “Your Home of Wrestling Radio” (to preview Ring of Honor’s forthcoming “Death Before Dishonor VIII” iPPV in Toronto, Ontario, Canada), which is now available in Windows Streaming Media or via Monday Night Mayhem’s official Podcast on iTunes:
Interview highlights courtesy of The Mayhem’s official correspondent, Paterson From New Jersey:
The differences between the WWE’s & Ring of Honor’s creative environments: “It (the WWE) was a very fun environment, and I enjoyed all six of my years and enjoyed my three years out of there the same, if not more, because it’s a new challenge. It’s a lot of fun doing the ROH TV show for over a year because we have no rules. We have no restrictions, and there is no one telling us no, except for ourselves; sometimes personal restraint is the hardest thing to teach yourself.”
The learning experience he had from Ring of Honor’s first Internet PPV (The Big Bang), why he sees Death Before Dishonor VIII as being the best wrestling Pay-Per-View available in the month of June, & the daunting challenge of directing DBD VIII: “It’s kinda ironic that we produce our TV show in the old ECW Arena, because that’s where I learned a lot about wrestling. I kinda ‘cut my teeth’ in wrestling in the building where we are producing ROH in, and then learning the WWE & the big time side of production. And now, being on the quote unquote as Michael Cole & the people feeding him call it ‘the minor leagues,’ we’re charged with making a good product on the screen. We don’t have pyro, we don’t have millionaires like Jim Johnson designing our music. We have just a bunch of guys that are real hungry to get their chance and happy to get that chance. So for me, the first Pay-Per-View (The Big Bang!) was a huge learning experience. There are two other PPV’s that are happening within eight days of this one (Death Before Dishonor VIII); when the sun sets on Sunday, you’ll be able to say which of the three was the best wrestling product…I think it’ll be ours. I have the fun & daunting challenge of directing it, which is something I hadn’t done since college, so it was real interesting for me to kind of take that aspect back on.”
Which WWE superstar he feels has not gotten their deserved shot, which TNA performer does he feel the ROH fans could have reacted to the most in an interesting/unique way, & why he strongly believes that the Ring of Honor roster has more potential PPV main eventers than being created right now by the WWE in FCW: “I’ll talk about talents in the WWE that aren’t getting their shot or the potential hasn’t passed. Guys like MVP, who the boat sailed two years ago…guys like that. Guys who could go, like Mr. Anderson when he was a free agent, I thought would be interesting. I would have been interested in how the fans would have reacted to him. I would love to go down everyone in Florida and then go by show and see if you would trade this guy for a guy on the ROH roster. Our guys are good if not better, and I believe there are more potential Pay-Per-View main eventer’s in 2012 on our roster right now than that’s being created in Florida.”
How difficult (from a creative perspective) it was to pull off the NXT “Invasion” on RAW without anybody finding out prior to the show & what storyline/angle from his time writing WWE television that he could compare it to (from the aspect of the element of surprise): “After I left WWE, one of the fun rumors was that I was a ‘leak’ there. It seems like there’s more people inside that department that’s talking now than ever when I was there. I actually like surprises. Putting something like that off is very similar to Billy & Chuck’s wedding when we did that in 2002. Nobody knew that Eric Bischoff was under that mask, and that is the most similar example to the NXT storyline. As great as a one night it is, the value of that angle will be known in two years if Wade Barrett is on top of Pay-Per-Views in six months or two years, if Bryan Danielson is back there and on top, because otherwise it will become a WCW Invasion where none of those remained. Here we nine years after the WCW Invasion…and not one of those guys I think are still there. Your legacy is not built on one night, and the guys did great. But how do they follow up? How do you follow up, and how do you keep people interested, and how do you sell Pay-Per-Views?”
Has he been able to put to rest the heat he received for being the supposed “leak” during his career in the WWE: “I know even less about the terms of my goodbye than everybody else. There’s plenty of speculation on all things. Nothing was ever said to me, and I really don’t care because it ended up being the best thing that happened to me because after the whole Benoit stuff. Everybody in that company talks because it’s what’s best for them. I see more coming out of the creative department now in the last years than when I worked there. I’m not gonna point any fingers because it’s not fair to anybody, but if they didn’t want it to happen, it wouldn’t happen. I know who put the tag on me as being the person. If they don’t like you, they’ll do everything in their power to take you down, and make you look bad, and spread bad things about you. In reality, it comes down to your legacy of the work that you do, and I stand by everything I did there; I stand by every talent I hopefully helped and worked with.”
If he believes Bryan Danielson was fired by the WWE, if Danielson’s release is a “work” or “shoot,” & why WWE superstars have been/continue to be told “Creative has nothing for you” (and the reality behind that now infamous phrase) “I think it’s a legit work. If it is or it isn’t, why not enjoy the ride? I know as much as everyone else. Everyone now thinks it’s a work based on the twitter by John Cena. What I know about John Cena is John’s a stand-up guy. Here is a story or an angle that was done to help John Cena get over, and because of whatever happened in that thing, one of the guys got fired. Well John, I’m sure, feels pretty bad, because I’m sure they talked about everything out that was going to happen in that angle. People knew, the agent of that segment had to know, because for them to single out Justin (Roberts) and say, if it was impromptu, they would have just hit him. It was worked out because the cameraman knew where to go, they knew what to focus on, and it’s a shame Bryan was the scapegoat. I heard ‘Why wasn’t the director fired? Why wasn’t the agent fired?’ Because I don’t know. It was probably cheaper to fire Bryan than it was to fire the agent who probably makes three time what Bryan makes and the director who probably makes three times what he makes and has stock & all that stuff. And the boys end up getting the heat. That’s why they’re told ‘Creative has nothing for you,’ when in reality, it’s someone else’s problem, and we are simply there moving the cogs around.”
More is contained in this exclusive interview with Dave Lagana in his first-ever appearance on The Monday Night Mayhem Radio Network, including his candid thoughts/comments on why he is more focused on preserving the legacy of Ring of Honor instead of his own personal legacy, why he feels that Tyler Black has been able to learn more within the past year in ROH than he ever could under a WWE developmental contract, what he has enjoyed the most from producing the “Death Before Dishonor VIII” HDNet video packages, what aspect of his WWE career has helped him the most into his work with Ring of Honor, his thoughts on the naming policies of WWE superstars (including the Season II NXT rookies), & so much more! While gearing up for one of ROH’s biggest weeks in history, be sure to follow Dave Lagana on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/Lagana. Log on to www.ROHWrestling.com & www.Tickets.com to purchase your tickets to Ring of Honor’s return to the Buffalo, NY area (at the Erie County Fairgrounds Agri-Center) this Friday night, June 18th, along with ROH’s “Death Before Dishonor VIII” iPPV in Toronto, Ontario, Canada (at The Ted Reeve Arena) this Saturday evening, June 19th. Unable to be a part of DBD VIII in person? Purchase the event right now on www.GoFightLive.tv for only $14.95!
Check out the official Monday Night Mayhem Audio Vault, along with the official MNM Podcast on iTunes, and listen to select programming & audio content from the past five+ years of The Mayhem. You can re-live interviews with some of the finest warriors & biggest personalities from Ring of Honor (ROH President Cary Silkin, ROH on HDNet Executive Producer Jim Cornette, ROH World Champion Tyler Black, “The Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels, Davey Richards, ROH World Tag Team Champions Chris Hero/Claudio Castangoli, Austin Aries, Kenny King, “Mr. Wrestling” Kevin Steen, & Jerry Lynn), plus some of the biggest names in the worlds of sports, entertainment, & Hollywood (Ice-T & Coco, Dennis Rodman, Jim Kelly, Curtis Granderson, Nancy O’Dell, Michael Buffer, & the stars of Vh-1’s “Basketball Wives”). Hear these interviews & many more right now by logging onto www.MondayNightMayhem.com, and don’t miss all-new episodes of “Your Home of Wrestling Radio” every Monday evening live at 7PM ET/6PM CT along the airwaves of the Monday Night Mayhem Radio Network!