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By Mike Johnson on 2023-10-31 08:18:00

WWE NXT's Mr. Stone sat down with yesterday ahead of his return to the ring during tonight's WWE Halloween Havoc 2023 broadcast, where he wil face Bron Breakker.  Highlights of the conversation:

Superfan, The Vladimir Documentary: "I think the last time I saw you Mike is actually when you were visiting the Performance Center. Yes. Was that three or four years ago? That's the last time I saw you. but obviously I still follow your Twitter and everything.  I just saw you tweet about the Vlad documentary that is now added to Peacock and I watched it last night and just to agree with you, and just go off topic for one second to clear my mind. What a great documentary that was.  Obviously, I grew up seeing him in the audience.  I didn't know his story, like I'm sure a lot of people don't know, wondering how he was there. Just to know that he has went to over 1000 wrestling shows. I mean, the way he put his money and life into it is just unbelievable. And yeah, I mean, I teared up a few times watching it. So, I did just want to say that, you know, this is not a plug that has to be done. Just...what a great documentary. I feel everyone should watch that."

Stone's Reaction to learning he would be stepping into the ring officially with Bron Breakker, his first promoted match in years on TV: "So, this you know, when I first heard getting back in the ring, the first thing is excitement. You know, I can still do this. I'm still in great shape. I could get it done. But then when reality sets in, I am not going to lie that I've had my moments of okay, this is Bron Breakker. He's, you know, almost half my age. He's a former NXT world champion. He almost ended my best friend's career, you know, is this the right guy that I should be going in the ring with? I don't know but it's happening. And you know now I've gotten to a point where I'm kind of empty minded about it. I'm just, I'm excited about it. I'm going to see what happens and I think I am going to be able to perform at my best. And I think, you know I think I'm gonna shock a lot of people."

Building the Match with some very personal comments on Twitter: "Well, that's what this is, there's so much going into this match. It is being a father because it's, you know, one of the first matches that my twins will ever really get to see me in, so a lot is on the line there. I want them to see me win, I want them to see me do a good job. Same for my wife who doesn't want me to do it because she's scared I'm going to get hurt. I want to, you know, prove her wrong. For my best friend Von who's hurt. I want to, you know, let him have a little smirk on his face when he sees that I tried to fight for him. The NXT locker room - I want them to see that I could still go. Like there's just so much I'm putting into it. It is the real me. You said it. You nailed it. And you know, as far as the stuff I've been tweeting all week,'s just kinda like to remind myself, to remind the world that like I've done it, and I can do it again. You know what I mean? Sometimes you just gotta have it out there in the universe. Those positive vibes  just for everyone to kind of go wow, I forgot that that happened or I didn't know that that happened. And now I think everyone's behind it. Let me tell you something. I think this was a match that people might have slept on, but I think it's the match that like, people didn't realize that they needed to see. There's gonna be a lot of eyes obviously on the whole show tomorrow. What a show it's going to be - Halloween Havoc Night 2, but I just feel like you know people are really into seeing Bron Breakker versus Mr. Stone because you know what, what the hell is gonna happen? I don't know what's gonna happen. You don't know. Anything could happen in this crazy situation with me versus Bron Breakker. It's just such a wild pairing. And so unexpected. I think it's bringing a lot of excitement to the show."

Whether Bron Breakker has any idea of Stone's pedigree inside the ring: "He doesn't, and, you know, there's no doubt in my mind that, you know, even when he came here, and he was, you know, this likable guy that everyone, you know, he was the World Champion and being you know, positioned to be the face of NXT. I knew from day one when he walked into that locker room that he had an ego, that he thought he was better than everybody else, that he didn't want to ask people, you know, men and women of his elder that you know, for any advice or anything, he thought he knew it all. So, I always thought he was kind of, you know, somewhat of an a-hole if you will. And so this has been a long time coming. To be frank, I've just, I've never liked him. And I feel like he doesn't respect me and never liked me before even any of this Bron stuff went down. So there's a lot of...there's a lot of boiling inside me and probably him too for us to go at it. But the reality is, as far as him knowing what I've actually done, who I've been in the ring with, you know, I don't think he ever even knows like, his I respect his uncle and his uncle respects me, and I don't think he knows about any of that. You know, I don't think he goes to get advice in this business to his own family, to his dad and to his uncle. I just don't think he cares. I think at this point, he thinks he knows it all. And he's good to go with the rest of his career. And that's a big mistake and it's gonna bite him later on down the road."

Whether he's doing anything out of the ordinary to prepare mentally and physically: "So, I think it's more and you know, the statement really holds up, it's just stay ready that you don't gotta get ready. I mean, I've always I don't know if this sounds cocky or whatever, but I'm just always in great shape. It's my lifestyle. It's how I live - the way I eat the way I train. So, there wasn't much that I had to change. You know, I was asked, I did a Busted Open interview last week and Tommy Dreamer asked me if I have done any in-ring preparation for this. And my answer was no. And I don't know if that, admittedly, I don't know if that was the smartest decision. You know, maybe I should have got in there and run the ropes and taken a few bumps but I just kind of said in such a short period of time, I didn't know what drastic changes could be made. So, I just kind of said I'm just gonna see what I have left in the tank. And in my opinion, I hope I'm not wrong. I think the tank is pretty full. So, I'm just kind of going into this thing with my normal day to day training. The only thing I have tacked on a little bit, is that I upped my cardio. I've been doing some two days where I go at night for a second round of cardio. That's the only extra thing I've done figuring, hey, this match - anything can happen when the bell rings, it could go 30 seconds or it could go 30 minutes. So I just need to be prepared for that. And one thing that I want to use in the match is speed. So that's why I wanted to up my cardio because I know my speed hopefully will be a key factor in this for me trying to one up Bron."

His role in WWE NXT keeping the art of the manager alive: "I think the cool thing about it was you know for a while, I mean obviously managers have always existed in sports entertainment, but for a while, you know, they were kind of not, you know, compared to what they were I guess in the 80s and early 90s. They weren't so much of a focus right. Would you agree with that? Yeah, so like it was kind of like in a part of where, you know, Triple H and HBK were kind of like, you know, we've always liked managers and we want to bring them back. So, to kind of be at the beginning of this rebirth of managers was cool and I feel I was the right guy for the job. I feel like I've done a good job. And it was cool to learn something new and you know to think that you know, you look at someone again, he's who I watched to learn from and he is my favorite manager of all time, Bobby "The Brain" Heenan, it's cool to have that role of just being able to check every box, you can do everything. Bobby was able to do everything and that is what I am attempting to do. You asked me to do this, I can do it. No matter what it is. If it's involved on our TV show or sports entertainment of any kind. I want to be able to do it and that's my goal. And to even think that maybe at some point I can be compared to Bobby "The Brain" Heenan, I mean, what an accomplishment."

The WWE Performance Center: "Every day is a grateful moment. I mean, just to watch it all go down, to watch people come in from scratch,, who you know, aren't very experienced or don't know anything about the industry and then learn it and learn to love it and just grow in it. Just seeing all that go down on the regular is such a cool experience to see. And you know, just there's so much like you said, I'm there all the time, I still use it because you could go there and practice commentary. You could go there and do practice matches, get in the ring, go on the interview set and do interviews. We're obviously there every week for live TV, which is so cool just to see the arena regularly. So, there's just so much going on there but I think obviously the best and most rewarding thing is just to see, you know, people's journey starting from nothing and moving on. I've literally...I've seen people who know nothing. Oh, so you know people who knew nothing in this industry I have seen go from walking in on day one to moving on through and becoming WWE Superstars and to see that all go down first hand - it's wild, you know, just to see people live out a dream they might not have even known that they had or to see people without dreams that they did know they had, whatever it is, it's cool to see people live out their dreams."

Time spent on reality television: "I'll tell you this - for Amazing Race, with the filming of it is, whatever it was, I went all the way to the final. So what, over 30 days? You certainly know how to work the camera and you get used to a camera always being in your face. So it's certainly helped with speaking, you're doing interviews every day. You're learning how to work the camera. I mean, of course, it's in front of you so much that at times you do forget it's even there. But what an experience it was. I mean, I don't know how much that helps me in wrestling. I'll say wrestling helped me in that. In the sense I was so used to being in airports and traveling and then you know, finding directions to places that that helped me a lot during that, that game during that race. As for Titan Games, the training going into that, it certainly helped me in wrestling. The Rock created that show and it was wild. It's funny, I was actually...on my season, it's public knowledge. I don't know how many people know but Ivy Nile was on the same season as me. We competed on the Titan Games together. And then a few months after that she had her  WWEtryout and started here. But, you know, I'm sure she would tell you the same - just a crazy experience. I remember after I did my competition, which I lost in, it was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. I mean, I was sore for like a week. I don't think I've ever been that sore in my life after attempting to do the competition I did on Titan Games. It's crazy."

Whether he expects to be as sore following the Bron Breakker match: "I mean, I'm pretty sure that is going to be the case but I already have a massage booked for Wednesday and I'm going to visit my chiropractor this week. I've already taken precautions, Mike."

Halloween Havoc's main events: "I mean, Carmelo Hayes and Ilja Dragunov off like I mean, it delivers before it even delivers, you know that's going to be, you know, a memorable match, one that you won't forget for a while. There's just something about Dragunov. When you could bring that intensity and those facial expressions and that realism when you watch him. You feel the pain that he's going through. It's almost like you're a part of a match. It's almost like you're feeling hurt when he hits someone. It's just wild, the roller coaster that he brings you on when you watch him, so he's obviously a favorite of mine to watch and him and Carmelo are going to tear it up. Dominic Mysterio, Nathan Frazer is going to be off the charts like it always is. Obviously, everything Dominic Mysterio touches now turns to hatred because everybody hates him. But you just, you don't want to take your eyes off him because you just want to watch him get beat up because everybody hates him so much. You got the finals of the woman's breakout tournament Lola Vice. She's been doing such a great job, she's going up against Kelani. That's going to be, I mean, whoever wins that tournament is I mean, their career is going to change. So that is going to be cool to see who wins that because that is a life changing moment right there. And what else women's... Women's Tag Team Championships, Piper Niven and Chelsea Green are on. It's just, it's gonna be such a stacked show."

Whether he'd like to keep wrestling more consistently in the future: "You know, I think putting on the boots or shoes or whatever it is that's used to wear when I wrestled these days. I think that's something that I whip out when it's needed. You know, if Von is in a bind and needs a tag partner and a situation like this when Von is hurt and I gotta do what I gotta do to stick up for him. Those kinds of...those kinds of situations, you know, I'm willing to do it but as far as full time, I'm just, a manager is what I've been put here to do. And I enjoy it so much and I feel I'm good at it. I think...I mean, maybe it'll be different after the match tomorrow and I'll feel a different way but right now, I think, you know, I want to stick to what I'm doing."

The WWE NXT Talent he'd like to work with in the future: "You know, he just was on The Bachelorette. And Kale Dixon, I don't know if you're familiar with him. He's performed on NXT Level Up. He got offered a baseball deal and turned it down to come here to be part of NXT and I think he has so much potential. He reminds me, the way he moves and talks and his swag, he reminds me of like a young, I don't want...big, big comparison here, but almost like a young Randy Orton and I just think he has so much to him. He has such a bright future ahead of him. I think me and him would click really well. I think he's the man, I've told him this and I think yeah, down the line I'd love to work with him."

Advice from someone who hustled on the independent scene to those doing it today hoping to get to WWE: "First and foremost, don't give up. I've seen I feel like nowadays people are just like, I want to be a wrestler and I want it to happen in six months and if it doesn't, I'm gonna wash my hands of it. I have seen throughout my 24 years in this industry, so many talented people. And I mean, I'm sure you have too and the list could go on and on, where if they would have just stuck with it, they would have landed somewhere. You know, it's not going to happen overnight. You have to realize that this is 'right place right time', this is 'there's no rhyme or reason why anything happens'. You know, the right person has to see you, the right role has to present itself. It could happen in two months or it could happen like it did for me in 19 years to get to the WWE where you want to go. So, the one piece...if you believe in yourself when you think that you aren't good enough, the one piece of advice I would say is no matter what, stick with it. It doesn't mean you gotta do it five times a week or you gotta train five times a week. When you get to a certain point. You know, if you feel you're experienced enough, you only want to do bigger shows or whatever it is, but do not fully quit or give it up. Because I promise you, I've seen so many guys who threw away careers where they would have had an opportunity to be somewhere to make a name for themselves and make money in this business for sure."

Halloween Havoc memories: "So, I wasn't the first pay per view that I ordered because I ordered ones when I was a little, little kid but when I fell back in love with wrestling and like, God, I think I was in eighth grade or ninth grade, we ordered Halloween Havoc and the main event I believe you might know, was it '96 where the main event was Hogan versus Macho Man?  That sticks out because that was the first one when it was like okay, I'm spending this money on a pay per view again and I'm ordering it and how exciting. I remember watching with my brother in my room upstairs and I don't know if I used my own money or my mom bought it, I don't remember but I do know it was so exciting. And then from there, yeah Halloween Havoc was just always like a favorite pay per view just for you know, the set is always cool. You saw how cool the set was last week on Halloween Havoc Night One. It's always like a fun vibe and fun matches and it's just like a's just a really cool event. So, it really has always been a favorite of mine. So for this to be the one that, you know, my first scheduled one on one match is happening on, I'm glad it was Halloween Havoc."

Why everyone should tune in tonight to Halloween Havoc: "I mean beyond the matches that we just listed, there's just so much that goes into each match - the story, the backstory of every match, and look if you enjoyed Halloween Havoc Night One, you've got to say to yourself that Night Two is going to be even better because everybody wants to up each other's game. Everybody wants to outwork everybody. So, we want to do better on Night Two than Night One if that's possible. Breakout tournament finals, my return, World Title match, North American Title match. I mean, what more could you ask for on a Tuesday night?"

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