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Eric Schwarz (english)
Eric Schwarz is one of the top workers of the European wrestling scene. Some weeks ago, the 30 year old German had a WWE tryout in Sheffield – an opportunity for which he set his body on the line: Schwarz’ left cruciate ligament was ruptured when he absolved his tryout. In his other leg, there is no cruciate ligament anymore. Cagematch.de talked to Schwarz about his nearly insane effort to make it on the big stage.
CAGEMATCH: Eric, first of all: How is your knee doing?
ERIC SCHWARZ: Quite alright, I will be getting surgery on December 9 and I hope rehab will go well!
CAGEMATCH: How did the injury occur?
ERIC SCHWARZ: The main reason was a bulldog from the rope at the EWP Wrestling Festival in Hannover. Nothing special, just like my first cruciate ligament rupture. I cannot even say anymore if it happened during the jump or the landing. The fact of the matter is that I rolled out to Ecki Eckstein and told him that I just ruptured my cruciate ligament. But I wanted to go through with the match. This wasn’t that healthy either.
CAGEMATCH: What was going through your mind when you got the staggering diagnosis so shortly before your WWE tyrout?
ERIC SCHWARZ: I was thinking: F@ck!– already when I was landing in the ring and knew it was ruptured. I knew about the WWE tryout before so I was actually happy to be in Hannover to practice and to learn something.
CAGEMATCH: In spite of it all you absolved the tryout. How did you do that?
ERIC SCHWARZ: I trained my left leg heavily to make it strong enough for it. I really made it within four weeks – according to the physiotherapist it takes at least 12 weeks for normal people (laughs). The tryout went quite well but they could not place a hobbler in the ring at the tapings – which was understandable of course.
CAGEMATCH: What was the procedure of the tryout?
ERIC SCHWARZ: Two 30 seconds promos in front of the camera and a little sparring match against Chris The Bambikiller – pure wrestling without knick-knack, that was it. It was planned that the good boys step in the ring with Kurt Angle and Shelton Benjamin. But there was no more time for it – or we all were too shitty.
CAGEMATCH: How much potential do you see in Bambi? Are you in contact and do you give each other advice?
ERIC SCHWARZ: Bambi has become a top wrestler within the past couple of years. Of course we are in contact, the whole “RätPäkkk” always is. Bambi has tried psychological warfare before the tryout: He has sent me pictures and videos of his training to intimidate me. Well, I responded with a picture of my fat belly and that was it (laughs).
CAGEMATCH: Are there other wrestlers in the German speaking area that could make it to the US?
ERIC SCHWARZ: There are some good, even some very good wrestlers here. Actually anyone could make it, since things that counted before do not count anymore today. Anyone can make it, you do not even have to be a good wrestler anymore.
CAGEMATCH: Considering your injury, do you think that WWE would HIRE you anyway?
ERIC SCHWARZ: It is impossible that anyone is signed on the spot. It takes time. I was told that I should recover my knee. When it is healthy once again I should come back. So with a little bit of luck I will be at the next RAW and SmackDown! tapings in London.
CAGEMATCH: Apart from your injury, how realistic is your chance? Aren’t you afraid that all this hype around the tryout is a publicy stunt by WWE in the direction of the European market?
ERIC SCHWARZ: I don’t figure out anything, speculating is not my cup of tea. But the fear with the publicity gimmick was the first thing that came to my mind. Nevertheless it was a chance and I would have been dumb if I wouldn’t have taken it. You do not get that every day!
CAGEMATCH: Were there things you did not like in the tryout?
ERIC SCHWARZ: It was boring. It’s horrible to hang out 13 hours in an arena. There were other things, but I do not want to talk about that.
CAGEMATCH: Do you think your style would fit into the company?
ERIC SCHWARZ: I do. I can work different styles – not like many other who are only able to act.
CAGEMATCH: Are you afraid that you are forced in the cliché role of the Evil German?
ERIC SCHWARZ: I have been totally over as Evil German in foreign countries – that is what counts, so I wouldn’t mind
CAGEMATCH: Are there potential opponents in WWE you would like to face?
ERIC SCHWARZ: This is pure speculation and I do not make up my mind with that! I do not even know most of them.
CAGEMATCH: You already had a WWE tryout against The Heart Throbs. How did that come off?
ERIC SCHWARZ: Thanks to Riptide, a former ECW wrestler who was amazed by my matches on La Reunion – just like she was by Bambi, Crazy Sexy Mike, Nikita and Wesna. She told Tommy Dreamer about that, he demanded a tape and I was booked for RAW and SmackDown! in Birmingham. It was no tryout, I went there and Johnny Ace told me that I should team up with Domino to face The Heart Throbs. Perhaps I shouldn’t have asked: Who please? (laughs)
CAGEMATCH: How satisfied was WWE with the match? And more importantly: How satisfied were you?
ERIC SCHWARZ: I could be very satisfied. I gave my opponents much more of a beating than I had to take and I only lost because of an unfair double team move. I don’t give a damn when you write that I was a jobber. Of course I do my job! There were about seven things in the bout that I could have done better – I am very self-critical. Some of the WWE guys were satisfied with the bout – but I don’t believe anyone anyway.
CAGEMATCH: You once said that you are a WWE mark. How come? One of the most respected workers of the Euro scene loves a promotion which is regarded as Satan by the internet fans – a promotion in which entertainment became more important than the sport, where divas get more airtime in one show than Paul London in a month, a promotion where people wear gold who have to be carried by their opponents to look good… Well, you know all that.
ERIC SCHWARZ: Actually I am a mark of the former WWF! By now I hardly watch WWE, it has become senseless and boring for the most part. Nevertheless, Wrestlemania for example is a must-see! But it’s a pity that wrestling is not in the foreground anymore. The thing with guys that have to be carried is true, unfortunately. I couldn’t believe what I saw in Sheffield: One wrestler who is under contract for at least three years did not even know the simplest wrestling term – one that is known by any Euro wrestler and even the fans. But I won’t start with that.
CAGEMATCH: In the end, what did you take along from the tryout?
ERIC SCHWARZ: Nothing special: I lost some money, I tried to take my chance and I will try again as soon as my leg is recovered. When I grow old… if I grow old I don’t want to live with the thought that I did not even try.
CAGEMATCH: Your right knee is not that healthy either, you do not have a cruciate ligament in it anymore. How does that work?
ERIC SCHWARZ: The leg musculature partially compensates the missing ligaments. It is no ideal solution since I do not train my legs too intensively – I run around enough when I go to work! Of course I always took care of my right leg and I was able to stress my left one more, but that is over now! I don’t have serious problems with my right leg at the moment, but I can guarantee that it’s only a question of time! Unfortunately I don’t have the time to have my right leg fixed once again.
CAGEMATCH: You already had to suffer several career-threatening injuries. Why do you always set your body on the line to step back in the ring?
ERIC SCHWARZ: Because of my will to achieve my goals – or perhaps because of my stupidity. It’s a thin line. Of course I will regret what I have done to my body one day.
CAGEMATCH: When you look back, do you still think it has been the right decision not to stay in America after your training with the Hart family? You see that talented Europeans linke Burchill, Nigel McGuinness or Claudio Castagnoli have been going their way there.
ERIC SCHWARZ: It would haven been impossible for me from the financial point of view. I have been standing on my own two feet since I was 17 and you don’t become a sheik by working well and honestly. Sponsors, please call me! (laughs)
CAGEMATCH: You were trained in the legendary Dungeon. Do you remember an especially painful experience?
ERIC SCHWARZ: When King Lau loosened three of my teeth with a mutant clothesline right in the kisser. Well, it wasn’t that painful but it was the first thing that came to my mind. But I guess you are keen on those good old stretching stories with Stu, don’t you? Yes, Stu an Keith have been knotting me regularly. I bore up against it and I have got even more respect for the business. In former times anything has been solved man vs. man, today there are all those Waldorf students with their lawyers or their daddies. Go and play golf, pussies! Most people in this biz need to be stretched properly once in a lifetime until they shit and piss in their pants from fear. Then they would have more respect – or end their career. Sorry, I am flying off on a tangent.
CAGEMATCH: Speaking of respect: In the beginning of the year you complained that many people did not respect you and some of your Euro colleagues. What did you mean by that?
ERIC SCHWARZ: I will not go into deep; this stuff is maddening me once again. I was talking about some veterans who are not respected by promoters, fans and colleagues – or let’s say wannabe colleagues. There are rookies who are allowed to dare anything they want. And the promoters even like that and push them – great! It just hurts the biz when those guys do senseless shit. I won’t call names but I have been talking to those guys directly. Of course they did not listen to me: Hell, what do I know?
CAGEMATCH: Your relationship to the German fans has become a bit ambiguous. Do you feel unrecognized a bit? You know the phrase with the prophet in his own country…
ERIC SCHWARZ: You know, it is kind of logical that I am not praised that much anymore by the fans here – I have been jumping around in front of them for nine years now. And I already had two storylines which makes it even more interesting. But when some US indy dude comes around he gets praised to the skies – well, those guys also twist their legs when they shit!
CAGEMATCH: Let’s say that you’re going to WWE and you’re going to leave the Euro scene behind. What would you miss most and which piece of advice do you have for it?
ERIC SCHWARZ: I would my miss the fun with the REAL colleagues! Just as I said, nobody ever listens to my pieces of advice.
CAGEMATCH: In this interview you can see once again that you do not hide anything. Many people like you were not becoming too happy in WWE. Doesn’t that make you think?
ERIC SCHWARZ: Hell no! I’m going to remain true to myself.
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