Former Tough Enough contestant Daniel Puder, who almost broke Kurt Angle's arm on Smackdown, talks his WWE contract and the possibility of going to TNA
World Wrestling Insanity interview with Daniel Puder
Host: James Guttman
Interview available at WorldWrestlingInsanity.com via ClubWWI.
Daniel Puder is known by combat fans for his time in MMA and pro wrestling. Now, years removed from the ring, Dan is embarking on a new journey to help victims of bullying (both the bullies and the bullied). Raising awareness through his Kickstart program (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/749855444/my-life-my-power-an-easy-123-for-the-future-of-our), Puder is making a positive difference for young kids today.
The program is a big part of his life and, as James Guttman points out, hits close to home. Not only was Puder bullied as child but his instant locker room heat upon winning the Tough Enough challenge was something that people might not be able to handle. They talk about the mix of heat and respect that the new Million Dollar Man brought with him upon being named the winner. But James mentions how Puder didn't walk away with a cool million. The contract structure was one where he had to be with WWE for four years in order to make it all. JG brings up the way wrestling works and how your time with a company is ultimately out of your hands. Did Puder realize that WWE was going to try to find a way out of the long term deal before he won the event? For many fans, it seemed like an inevitability once time began to pass. As Daniel tells ClubWWI.com members, it wasn't something he expected or something he planned for.
"I was planning on being there for a long time. I wanted to. But when you lose respect for somebody else based on how they treat you - when you start a job with me and I say I'll pay you 100 grand a year, then after a year I go, 'You know what? You've already bought a house. You have your girlfriend, your wife, whatever. Oh, you already moved out here. I'm gonna pay you 50 grand a year or 30 grand a year.' You'd be like, 'Dude. My expenses, my travel, everything else, my investments I set up.' It's interesting to see that perspective. Some people are like, 'Oh. You should have just stayed after they offered you the average deal.' But it was more than just the money. It was the respect level."
James actually agrees with Daniel's point and reminds ClubWWI.com listeners that it was the WWE that put the contract offer on the table. He mentions how they often take a stance of "We're going to give you all this money" then when you ask for it they tell you that you're being selfish. Puder agrees.
"Exactly. Exactly. It's not much money for them at the end of the day. They're doing great internationally. They're doing pretty good. Internationally especially, they're killing it. It is what it is. I've seen crazier contracts. Whatshisname? The powerlifter. (Mark) Henry. He got a ten year guarantee at 250 a year I think it was. It's insane."
Of course, the question of TNA has to come up. Much like every other former WWE star, Dan gets asked about the company a lot. So James asks too. Has he been approached by Impact Wrestling? As theClubWWI.com interview continues, Puder responds with a comment that knocks Guttman for a loop.
"They have. Angle's scared of me. So he doesn't want me there."
Things get quiet for a second and then Daniel chuckles.
"No. I'm just joking. We were going to do something and I'm definitely interested. The thing is with my schedule now and what I'm doing - the deal they were going to offer me was their normal deal. OK. Cool. But I don't need the money. I don't need them. I get on TMZ more than they do. I get on national TV a lot. And once I build this (Kickstart) program, them, WWE, and everybody else are going to beg me because my program is already going to start rolling out soon for three million kids. If I'm in front of 3 million kids every week with my weekly PSAs and people get to see my face when I'm in front of ten million, then I'm going to be doubling what WWE is doing. So I'm going to be bigger than WWE through my charity. So there's stuff like that where now they're going to have to - if they want me to do something with them - they're going to have to do something. (WWE) is going to have to step up to the plate and say, 'We shouldn't have treated you like that. Here's a million bucks for your charity and we want to get on board.'"
But, as the Kickstarter points out, it's not a guarantee that they board will even approve it. It's about keeping the charity associated with companies he feels are positive.
"I would be interested, but it really comes down to how they treat people and how they treat me. Because I'm not partnering with anyone in the future unless they're a good reputable company."
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