The current WWE 24/7 Champion Drake Maverick visited Busted Open Radio this week to speak with WWE Hall of Famer Bully Ray Dudley about his career. Maverick talked a bit about his size and stature, mentioning how he's embraced this part of himself that others may see as a negative.
"I'm blessed every day. For somebody who is of smaller stature than everyone else in the industry, you have to make sure you stand out, as every performer does," Maverick explained. "But I truly believe that trying to find what makes you different [is key]. I know a lot of people that get into this industry that don't embrace the fact that they're small. That, to me, is what makes me special. I am just proud to be in this industry. I am obviously proud to represent the United Kingdom, but I am just proud to be in this industry. The changes that have been made over the last few years and everything that they do for the athletes here in the WWE - I am a very proud man, and I am very proud to work for the company that I do, and I am very proud to work in the industry."
Maverick looks forward to the various charity events that he can be a part of as a WWE employee. He recognizes the joy that WWE superstar can bring to peoples' lives, especially after feeling similar elation when he was young.
"Anything I've been able to do in regards to putting smiles on faces, charity work, anything like that, that is the stuff that I am most proud of," Maverick said. "I remember when I was a kid and I saw a WWE superstar; I would lose my mind. It would be the best day of my life. If you could put a smile on someone's face and forget about the problems that are going on, that is a blessing and that makes me proud every day. I'm just very proud of this industry. It has given me a great life that I had never expected. That is what I have always wanted to do: I want to put smiles on people's faces. It is a pleasure to work in it every day."
Even though he feels comfortable and inspired where he is currently at, Maverick admitted that there have been times that he doubted coming to WWE. Most of it was spawned by a strong affinity to where he was born and raised.
"[I doubted going to WWE] many times. I think it's a really British mentality of [the UK] is where we live, this is where we are going to meet a girl, this is where we are going to have children, this is where we are going to stay, and this is where we are going to work the rest of our lives, and this is it," Maverick stated. "I don't know why I [wrestle], but I just know I have to. It was one of those things where I really believed in what I was doing. As stupid as everybody thinks this is and that it is a dream, I say that to everybody: if it makes you happy, just keep chasing it. What is the problem? I really believed in this and I really believed in myself."
Maverick noted that certain independent British promotions and TNA/Impact Wrestling opened his eyes to how all-consuming and fulfilling working as a professional wrestler could be. It surprised him to see the transitional period when stars like AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, and Bobby Roode were finally moving over to WWE NXT from Impact Wrestling.
"When you work for places like the British independents and when you work for Impact, it becomes your livelihood," Maverick explained. "You respect the business so much more when every ticket for a seat counts, and every time you are at the merchandise table selling merchandise, and meeting fans, everything counts. That is what really changed my mentality when I moved into the United States, when it became my full time living.
"I found that it was attainable when I saw the people I was working with at Impact [moving to WWE]. It seemed like there was a time that WWE wasn't looking at TNA talent, but then Samoa Joe left the company and went to NXT. Bobby Roode left the company and went to NXT. Eric Young is another example; and that is when you were like, okay, there may be an opportunity down the road. I'm one of the fortunate ones in the world because there aren't many spots in this industry full time. So, again, I'm just blessed."
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Busted Open Radio with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.