Heath Slater Recalls Turning ‘Chicken Shit’ Gimmicks Into Chicken Salad, Being Mentored By Dusty Rhodes & Dr. Tom
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On the latest edition of Brisco and Big Ace, Wes Brisco and Heath Slater discussed their time in FCW, learning under Dr. Tom Prichard and Dusty Rhodes, the high’s and low’s of the Nexus angle, and much more.
Slater praised having ‘Doctor Tom’ and Dusty as his mentors early in his career, noting that Prichard helped mold him in a way that truly helped his confidence.
“I have nothing but good things to say about Dr. Tom… Dr. Tom liked what I was doing (in the ring) but he would take it and say ‘ try to do that, clean this up, mold this here’ and I would just listen to him. If he saw something in you he would help you… His confidence in me made my confidence grow to where I thought I was unstoppable down there.”
Slater added that Dusty would tell him to act naturally and just be himself, and encouraged him to show more charisma in his character.
“Dusty would – everytime we had promo class – he would literally just tell me to be myself. He was like ‘oh baby you’ve got so much charisma just let it go, just let it come up. Flap that hair, move those hips, do your thing!’ That’s when I was Handsome Heath, this wild man shaking the ring posts… I’d come out with long hair, flapping my hair, shaking my hips… Dusty was like ‘come on, keep going’, Dusty was loving it.”
Slater has (arguably) been given some bad gimmicks in his WWE career, but he says made the most out of his roles and credited some advice from John Cena as to how he made it all work. Slater says despite being successful in getting a reaction as a villain, he still appreciates chatting with fans who openly admit they love to boo him.
“I had so many gimmicks that were legit chicken s**t that I had to turn into chicken salad… I remember John Cena telling me, ‘they always give you an inch, but somehow you bring it to a mile.’ I don’t know, I just try to take ideas and do it… What I loved about being a heel is that I’d go out, and people would see me out in a restaurant and say ‘I know you’re a bad guy, but I just want you to know that we love hating you. We love booing you. You’re just a fun bad guy.’ I love having a good chat with the fans. Even if it’s just like having a couple drinks…I’ve done that in so many bars it’s not even funny…. Over the years of just connecting on the screen and off the screen, it’s just really cool.”
Check out the full interview below: